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Kevin White 05-25-2021

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News About the Latest Technological Advances 

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EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO START USING FREE SOFTWARE

It is not difficult to name at least a handful of free software examples: Android, WordPress, Firefox, and others not so popular. Undoubtedly, using free software has its advantages and benefits. Can you imagine a world without antivirus, piracy, and free legal software? This type of program offers in some way, although it is worth clarifying that not all free software is free.
Access to the source code allows the development of new products without starting the process from scratch. This, at the same time, allows security flaws to be minimal. The fact that the source code can be seen allows hackers and security companies worldwide to customize the programs.
In some cases, free software is more efficient. The joint interest of the community has shown that it is possible to fix security flaws in free software more quickly, something that is the opposite case is more difficult and expensive. It is for this reason that operating systems are trending towards openness lately.
Most Linux distributions incorporate systems that unify the method of installing programs by users. This simplifies the process to the point where you only have to check or uncheck a box to manage the software; It is possible to access thousands of existing applications safely and for free while avoiding having to resort to dubious ethical websites users are exposed to various malware.
You can also try other free alternatives that bring technological tools for daily use, such as open-source social networks; Diaspora or Ello are two examples. You can also experiment with free software apps like Wiznote, which works as an open Evernote. Or switch from WhatsApp to its free alternative, Telegram. There are even smartphones that use an original Ubuntu-based operating system: the Ubuntu Phones. 

Browser
Google Chrome is, in fact, the son of a free software browser: Chromium. The operating system that powers the Chromebooks is based on this same OS.

Media player
Plain and simple, one of the best players on the market: VLC has more downloads than most of its proprietary peers, offers better stability, and accepts various formats and extensions.

Compressors
¿ WinRAR or 7Zip? Both are excellent, although the second offers a bit more variety when handling different compressed file extensions.

Mail service
Thunderbird has many advantages that make it a great option as an email manager. It has an activity manager that monitors the interactions between the program and its servers. It also has add-ons on the platform. You no longer need to visit the plugin website; instead, open the plugin manager, which offers convenience and security.

Office
Libre Office is very similar to the classic Windows office suite. All necessary programs can be found, from spreadsheets to diagramming software. It is updated often and has considerably better compatibility and backward compatibility than Windows Office. You no longer have to get upset when a .odt or .rtf file cannot be opened in Windows.

Operating system
The final and most difficult step for many users: changing the operating system. A few years ago, this required learning how Linux works and knowing how to use the command console. Today there are alternatives such as Linux Mint or Ubuntu Mate that are aesthetically and functionally the same as a normal Windows or Mac desktop, with a taskbar, folders, and a simple update button (free and not mandatory).

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Free and Free Software - What is it all about?

Probably each of you has heard about free and free computer software for which you do not have to pay. Probably many of you have encountered free software before. Probably many of you are also wondering if the use of free programs is really legal and why someone provides a free program similar to the one for which you have to pay a fair amount.
Anyone who doesn't like to spend money should be interested in free and free computer software. Very often, such software is a fully functional replacement for expensive applications. In my blog, I would like to present you with a few free applications that I use every day, but in the meantime, I would like to introduce you to the concept of free and free software.

What's the difference between free and free software?
The difference between free and free software needs to be cleared up once and for all. The terms similar and for the average "home" computer user may usually mean the same, but the differences are fundamental.
Free software (often freeware) is distributed for free without access to the source code. This means that we can use it without modifying it. Freeware may also be limited, e.g., for home use only (then it cannot be used in companies or other institutions). In addition, freeware programs may have limitations in sharing, e.g., we cannot place the installer on our website.
 
Free software, in addition to the fact that we can get (download from the Internet) for free, people who know it can look at the source code, modify it and adapt the application to their own needs. For less advanced users, free software has the advantage that we can use it for free for any purpose (including commercial purposes, e.g., in a company). We can easily distribute free software, for example, by giving away CDs with a copy of the program to friends or by publishing a version of the program modified by us on our website.

What do developers of free and free software earn?
Many of you are probably wondering why you have to pay for some programs and not for others? Well, the answer is quite simple. The creators of free software are either enthusiast who creates their programs for their own use and makes them available to the world later or has a different way to earn money than selling CD boxes.
Some people help homeless animals. Some make cakes for their friends, and some make free software that we can use and praise them for that! Wikipedia is a great example of a project created by enthusiasts. This encyclopedia is constantly developed and translated into hundreds of languages ​​by millions of people who do not take a dime for their work.
 
Their software is also often made available by companies that want to make a profit. They do not earn directly from the sale of software, but benefit from its "consequences," such as the sale of plug-ins extending the application's functionality, books with the program manual, or broadly understood technical assistance, including implementation large company. Contrary to appearances, you can earn a lot of money on such activity, and the initial costs (release, distribution, and advertising of the program) are gone.

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Smartphones target a third of cyberattacks.

In 2018, according to the Annual Survey of IT Use by Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV), we went from being a smartphone per capita in Brazil. There are already 220 million smart devices, alongside 86 million portable computers. The use of smartphones has doubled in the country in the last five years, and it already dominates the business. It is in this scenario that online purchases and the digital relationship with banks grow at record speed.
The report published in September by Panorama Mobile Time shows that 80% of Brazilian users make purchases using smartphones. But the ease of having services in the palm of your hand, accessible with digital printing, masks an equally growing risk: that of online attacks. For users, this means a potential source of headache, with moral and financial losses, as for the companies, a risk to the reputation in the market, capable of bringing even giant companies into bankruptcy.
The Ipsos-PayPal survey on the profile of the Brazilian online consumer shows that 14% of all internet purchases made in Brazil between March 2017 and March 2018 were made by cell phone, with a total of R$41.8 billion handled. With companies outside the financial sector betting on payment applications, such as Casas Bahia, the trend is increasing. In October of this year, the retailer announced creating an MPOS (Mobile Point of Sale) that will allow customers to pay off installments of the store's booklet and other bills, such as water and electricity, through smartphones.
All over the world, the use of cell phones for purchases and payments is growing, and Brazil is no exception. According to ThreatMetrix, in the second quarter of 2018, more than half (58%) of online transactions were made through mobile devices, increasing about 72% per year. While these deals are still safer than those performed by desktops, tablets, and notebooks, fraudsters are starting to target smartphones as they look for new opportunities to capitalize on the intensification of operations via mobile devices.
An alarming fact that reveals this trend is the increase of about 50% in the rate of intrusions to mobile payment systems in the second quarter of 2018 alone. South America, mainly due to Brazil, had a 34% increase in spoofing - the act of assuming the identity of a person to carry out a fraudulent act – in mobile transactions in just one year – the highest rate in the world – which makes it the third region with the highest incidence of attacks, 9.3% of participants in the planet.
To improve the security of smartphones, experts recommend that users do not open links in SMS messages from unknown numbers or in applications such as WhatsApp and be extra careful when installing apps of dubious origin and avoiding internet access through public systems Wi-Fi. Logins to unknown networks are the most fertile ground for cyber-attacks and can compromise smartphones without adequate protection.

Companies on alert
Mobile devices are an operation's weakest security point: in addition to being easy to hack, they can contain information as sensitive as corporate computers, especially for those who read emails or have remote access to the company's website via the Internet, saving documents and confidential data on their mobile device. The situation is aggravated when the personal cell phone is used for professional purposes – what is called BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).

How to Prevent Attacks
In this sense, to prevent attacks on the corporate network or leaks of sensitive business information, the path is to adopt specific security solutions for mobile, which enable the implementation of access and control policies for applications and data. Embratel provides MDM (Mobile Device Manager), MTD (Mobile Threat Defense), and AVPT (Vulnerability Analysis and Penetration Testing) services for companies of all sizes.
All three solutions are part of a set of security technologies for companies that allow their employees to use smartphones, meeting the growing demand for information protection. MDM, for example, allows the company to remotely manage users' cell phones, ensuring that only corporate or authorized applications are installed, in addition to enabling remote updates and downloads. If the device is lost or stolen, it is even possible to erase sensitive information. The technology also allows for complete separation between corporate and private content if the employee owns the device. Using features such as encryption, access limits, and antivirus, the software ensures that the company has control over its data,

The MTD solution
The MTD solution extends MDM protection through additional features against viruses and other types of more advanced threats – available for any mobile operating system such as iOS and Android. And thinking of organizations that develop mobile applications for their employees or customers, Embratel offers AVPT services, which can map the security of an application, indicating the vulnerable and critical points to be fixed before its launch.

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How a Biometrics Leak Can Impact Your Business

Biometrics is used to control and access employees in a company, but leaking this data can lead to fines and extortion.
Main highlights:
Security breach in the company led to the leak of one million fingerprints;
A breach can lead criminals to copy biometrics to impersonate victims;
Understand how such a leak can impact businesses, customers, and employees.

Biometrics solutions are used to maintain control and access to buildings and systems in organizations: public agencies, banks, retail companies, among others.
Recently, a security flaw in the South Korean company Suprema's BioStar 2 software resulted in the leak of one million fingerprints from its database.
The exposed data was discovered in early August. According to Israeli researchers, who notified the Suprema after the incident, the software was unprotected and unencrypted.
The researchers also had access to nearly 30 million company records using BioStar 2 (a total of 23GB of data), including:
Customer admin panel, dashboards, back-end control panel, and permissions;
Biometric data;
Users' image and facial recognition information;
Usernames, passwords, and other user IDs (such as email) without encryption;
Entry and exit records from security areas;
Employee records, including employment start date;
Security levels and employee time off;
Personal information such as the employee's home address and emails;
Hierarchies of company employees;
Mobile device and operating system information used by employees.
The list above shows how a biometric leak can impact companies using such a solution.
“Biometric data refer to an individual. Biometrics is used to vote or make a withdrawal at the bank, for example. But you can't change your fingerprint like you change an email password when there's an episode like that,” explains Henrique Poyatos, professor of Technology at FIAP.
A leak of sensitive data (such as the fingerprint is considered by the General Data Protection Law – LGPD ) brings everyone involved. Both for the owners and the custodians of this data.
For companies, one of the consequences is the payment of fines due to the leak. As for employees and customers, the headache can be greater. The hackers can spoof the biometrics and pass by the victim, carrying out extortion, threats, and other crimes.
  
The impacts of a vulnerable biometrics solution
Fingerprint and facial recognition information cannot be altered, so the company must invest in multiple layers of security to prevent leaks. “She can use biometrics together with other solutions that make it difficult to identify the person,” comments Poyatos.
In the case of BioStar 2, Suprema did not create a fingerprint hash (which there is no way to revert to the original data, as we have already shown in Mundo + Tech ). But yes, it saved it “raw,” which could be copied for malicious purposes.
With biometrics and other data available in the leak, criminals could use the information for various illegal and varied activities. VpnMentor's report pointed out how some security incidents could negatively impact companies:

1. Account takeovers and security breaches
As with BioStar 2, a security hole can give full access to administrator accounts in the biometrics solution. This would allow you to make security changes to your company's network or create new accounts to gain access to secure areas of a building or facility.

2. Theft (physical) and fraud in the company
Biometrics theft can give complete access to an organization's building, whether it's a small business or a government office. The hacker can use this database to enter a room and grab any item of value.
The leak also gives hackers the ability to break into corporate networks, which may not be available outside the building. As a result, they can steal valuable information, plant viruses, monitor and exploit systems.

3. Identity theft and threat to users
The BioStar 2 leak contained many personal details of employees. This can make employees and customers of affected companies the targets of fraud and other crimes.
The amount of information can be used to create effective phishing campaigns and provide a solid foundation for threatening users for illegal financial gain.
Hackers can also sell information (even fingerprints) on the dark web. This would lead to numerous criminal and untraceable activities, compromising the data of employees and customers of affected companies.
“No one can change the fingerprint, but customers and users can change some info such as passwords for e-mails, cell phones, or other services to make it difficult to identify them,” advises Poyatos.

4. Blackmail and extortion
Criminals can blackmail or extort company executives, who will have greater access and permissions to internal environments and processes. With personal information available, hackers will exploit these professionals with vulnerabilities such as family and relationships.

The security of biometrics data
Cloud would be the least favorable option for leaks, says Poyatos. For the professor, “depending on the volume of data, it is unfeasible to keep it inside the company, as in a data center, since it is a solution that can bring other security breaches,” he says.
It also suggests other layers of security that will make it difficult for users to identify. “Companies can use biometrics and another token on the employee's smartphone. But they must encrypt and store this data on separate servers.”
Poyatos says that all companies should be concerned about data security. “We know that the bank is careful with biometrics, but what about a gym? She uses this recognition to check-in students, but it's not her core business. Maybe after the LGPD comes into effect.”

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How is technology reshaping the way virtual dating is done?

HoloPresence technology uses holograms to engage people and generate results from work meetings to training sessions and lectures.
Face-to-face meetings have not been all that popular since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The physical space gave way to the virtual environment, and many companies needed to adapt the way of holding events, conferences, meetings, and training.
However, it has become tiresome to use numerous videos calling platforms where interaction is practically minimal. This “Zoom fatigue,” a term taken from the North American press, has two consequences: employees' exhaustion and obsession with their own image.
How, then, to engage employees, leaders, and others who need to be constantly present, albeit virtually? If it is up to ARHT Media, a Canadian company in the events sector, the hologram will be the “new normal” of virtual meetings.
The company has patented HoloPresence, a technology that realistically projects a person from holograms. The news has drawn the attention of several companies, such as WeWork, which announced a partnership with ARHT Media to promote “in-person” meetings.
 
How is hologram technology in practice?
O'Reilly explains that the hologram works from a green screen background, much like a person presenting a weather forecast on a newscast. The content – ​​whether from a meeting, training, or lecture – is recorded in 4K.
After recording all the content, the video and audio files are compressed, encrypted, and transferred via an internet connection. 
The executive also highlighted that the low latency allows the audience to perceive that the person is really in the place presenting something. It takes less than 0.03 seconds that impression, he said.
Those who have already adopted the technology we're able to see good results guarantees O'Reilly. HoloPresence was used in a virtual conference by Novartis, a pharmaceutical company. In one presentation, three researchers discussed and interacted as if they were side by side.
But actually, one was in Australia, one in Germany, and the third in Greece. “This was so impactful that Novartis reported that other presentations had 4 to 500 views. The one made with our technology reached 2,400 views.”

Sectors that can benefit from technology
According to O'Reilly, several sectors can make use of HoloPresence. Until then, ARHT Media has already served companies in the financial, educational, healthcare and telecommunications areas. 
– Finance:
A financial institution held an event, but an unforeseen event made it impossible for an executive to participate in person. ARHT Media set up a holographic screen, captured the images of this leader, and broadcast them in real-time, even allowing interaction with the public.
The use of technology-led the public to engage in social media, positioning the ARHT customer as an innovative and advanced technology company.
– Education:
A London university has embraced technology to deliver the best lectures to the institution's MBA students. After holding an event that brought together several women IT leaders, the university started offering events through holograms.
– Telecommunications:
A Chinese telephone operator hired HoloPresence to demonstrate the benefits of 5G technology. This partnership resulted in a presentation on how the adoption of holograms can foster the communication market and the education market.

What are the expectations for the future?
In a conversation with the Cheddar News website, O'Reilly highlighted that technology could improve communication within companies today. “Everyone has heard of streaming, the fatigue [of being in front of a screen too long] or seeing too many people on one screen.”
Despite a different dynamic and corporate use, the CEO believes the technology could be in people's homes in the next five years. The reason is that the number of innovations being released can make the price of the solution drop.
However, O'Reilly did not make it clear in the interview whether the technology will have an API for other companies to customize the solution, although he said that "just put a layer on our software and go [about the price reduction]."

Main highlights of this article
Technology projects a person's hologram in real size and time.
Innovation can change the way companies conduct virtual meetings, lectures, mentorships, and conferences.

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Why can malware be a major threat to business?

Cybernews portal report showed that anyone could buy malware on various cybercrime forums on the dark web.
Can you tell how much it costs for malware to damage your company? Only US$50 (R$278.50). Yes, anyone can buy malicious software from cybercrime forums available on the dark web with that small amount.
This finding is part of the study by the CyberNews portal, which brings together investigative journalists and security experts. For the report, the team evaluated 10 popular markets on the dark web and considered some factors:
Availability of malware programs for sale.
The cost of malicious tools on offer.
Availability of customer support for these contracted tools.
The CyberNews team found an environment where criminals with no malware knowledge could purchase one within minutes. While it is possible to purchase malicious tools for free, “customer support” is only offered to those who pay for them.
It is worth noting that, despite the search for these markets having been done on the dark web, many forums were available for anyone to find.

What is malware?
Although the name “malware ” is on your company's radar, you need to understand the definition of the word: it is a set of malicious software designed to cause extensive damage to data and systems or even gain unauthorized access to a network.
Historically, the first recorded threat was in the 1970s, with the appearance of the Creeper virus, which copied itself onto several computers and displayed the message: “I'm the creeper: catch me if you can” (“I'm the Creeper: pick me up if you can,” in free translation”).
Currently, malware can be classified into five types:

1. Virus:
The most common type, viruses attach their malicious code to a system's clean code and wait to be executed by a user or automated process. These attacks often corrupt files, block users or interrupt system functionality.

2. Worms:
Worms get their name from the way they infect systems. From an infected machine, they work their way across the network, connecting to multiple machines to continue the spread of the infection. This type of malware can infect entire networks of devices very quickly.

3. Spyware
Spyware, as its name suggests, is designed to spy on what a user is doing. Hidden in the background on a computer, the malicious program will collect information without the user's knowledge, such as credit card details, passwords, and other sensitive data.

4. Trojans
Just as Greek soldiers hid on a giant horse to attack, Trojans hide or disguise themselves as legitimate software. Acting unobtrusively, it will breach security by creating backdoors that allow easy access to other malware variants.

5. Ransomware
Also known as scareware, ransomwarecomes at a very high price. Capable of blocking networks and users until a ransom is paid, this type of threat targets some of the largest organizations in the world today – with costly results.

Trojans are the most available for sale.
Of the five types of malwares, the CyberNews report identified that trojans – mainly banking ones – are the most common in the forums searched by the portal. They are options with values ​​between US$ 50 to US$ 150 (R$ 835) and which also have support to those who purchased for any problem.
As the research highlights, several sites on the dark web provide detailed lists of forums that allow you to hire these tools. It is even possible to buy and sell malicious programs organized by country.
However, what stands out is that many hackers offer a service by subscription to ransomware or even the option of a lifetime subscription. In addition, CyberNews managed to trace some details of the profile of these criminals:
They are from countries and regions where cybercrime laws are not strictly enforced.
They are talented people with extensive knowledge in technology but do not find many paid job opportunities.

The current scenario calls for more agile security measures
With remote work increasingly adopted by companies due to coronavirus, information security must happen end-to-end. However, executives still need to deal with employees.
Also, as they are working from home, each residence becomes a new point of contact, further increasing the possibility of attacks. This subject was even discussed at Embratel Talks; a webinar held by Embratel that addressed security.
 

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