Apple Acquires learnsprout

 

Apple recently purchased education-technology startup LearnSprout. LearnSprout develops educational software for schools and teachers to track student performance and other educationalparameters. It seems that Apple would like to build its own educational technology for the educational purpose which will greatly influence classroom and also help in encouraging schools to adopt iPads and other Apple products.

Apple confirmed the education-technology startup LearnSprout’s acquisition with a message:

Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans

According to the educational technology startup, Learnsprout’s educational software is already used in more than 2,500 schools across the United States. Some of the features of this software are:

  • Aggregating the student grades
  • Letting teachers and administrators know about a weak student
  • Allow schools to analyze collected data from the students
  • Discovering attendance trends across the school
  • Monitoring Student health, and more.

According to education analysts, Apple is trying to increase its iPad sales. In the recent release of iOS 9.3, Apple has already made an effort to make the tablet more appealing to the education sector.

On the other hand, it is thought to be another strategy to counter the Google for education. Students use Chromebook to access all the data, study materials and submit their assignments as well. Students can also email to their teachers and authorized personals of their schools. Some say still Chromebooks have failed in the long way. Let’s see how Apple’s quality is going to affect the education sector in the US.

What do you think about it? Is Apple going to bring some change in the education system in the US?

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Teen hacker hacks into US National Intelligence Director James Clapper’s email account

Teen Hacker who had earlier hacked into CIA Director’s emails, breaks into US National Intelligence Director’s email accounts

Hackers have now turned their attention to the personal online accounts of James Clapper, the director of US National Intelligence just months after breaching the personal email of John Brennan, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Citing an intelligence official, the Associated Press confirmed that the personal email and other accounts connected to Clapper have been hacked.

DNI spokesman Brian Hale said on Tuesday that Clapper’s office is aware of the hacking and has reported the incident to appropriate authorities. He declined to provide other details.

An individual not authorized to discuss details who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was aware of the hacking incident before it was first reported on Tuesday by Motherboard.

Motherboard reported that the same teenage hacker who broke into Brennan’s account also targeted Clapper. The hacker, who goes by the name ‘Cracka’ online, and is a part of the “Crackas with Attitude” group, claimed that officials were not aware of the attack.

The alleged hacker claimed to have broken into accounts connected to Clapper including his home telephone, Internet and his wife Susan’s Yahoo email, Cracka told Motherboard.

The hacker also stated that he was able to reroute calls intended for Clapper’s home phone to the Free Palestine Movement, a pro-Palestine advocacy group.

Cracka also told Motherboard that he changed the settings in Clapper’s Verizon FiOS account so that every call to his home phone was forwarded to the Free Palestine Movement.

Motherboard said Cracka provided them with what was said to be Clapper’s home phone number and when called, Paul Larudee, co-founder of the Free Palestine Movement answered.

Brennan said in October that he was annoyed that someone hacked his personal email account and publicized sensitive data, including his contact list and his wife’s Social Security number.

He called the hack an “outrage” that highlighted the challenges faced by intelligence and national security communities in a more connected world.

“What it does is to underscore just how vulnerable people are to those who want to cause harm,” he said in October, according to a CNN account of a speech at an intelligence conference. “We really have to evolve to deal with these new threats and challenges.”

The hacker has said he is a high school student protesting U.S. policy. He said he fooled Verizon into providing him access to Brennan’s account.

Meanwhile, security expert Michael Adams, who worked for US Special Operations Command, said it was “insane” that Clapper’s personal information wasn’t hidden better.

“If I’m the Director of National Intelligence of the United States of America nobody is going to know where the f*** I live, nobody is going to have my goddamn phone number or address,” he told Motherboard.

Until now, it is not clear if anything other than Clapper’s some personal information anything else has been exposed. When Brennan’s accounts were hacked, documents and draft papers detailing the CIA chief’s thoughts on torture and Iran were stolen and published later by WikiLeaks.

DNI-JAmes-Clapper-at-NSS-2014-1024x682-702x336

How to Improve Your Organisation’s Mobile Security

mobile sec

Mobile security is increasingly important for organisations to address, as the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend blurs the line between personal and company data.

84% of mobile users utilise the same smartphone for business and personal use. This means that anyone accessing the internet from their mobile phone, connecting with home and work networks, is putting both their personal and their organisation’s information at risk.
6 Ways to Improve Mobile Security
1) Use Strong Passwords
62% of smartphone users don’t use a password to secure their device. Passwords are the first line of defence against unauthorised access to your phone’s data, so it’s imperative that you follow password best practices to keep your organisation’s data secure. Strong passwords should be 8 characters long as a minimum, and contain no personal information.
2) Install Anti-Malware Software
Mobile operating systems are increasingly becoming targets for malware, so if you’re using your phone to access the internet, you should install anti-malware software on your device – and keep it updated. This will help to keep your personal and company data safe from malware attacks.
3) Choose Mobile Applications Carefully
When you’re downloading software for your desktop computer, no doubt you’re careful to only download from reputable and secure sources, so why would you take risks when downloading apps for your smartphone? Not all applications are created to the same standards of security. Installing rogue or insecure software even on just a single device can compromise your entire organisation’s information security.
4) Avoid Unsecured WiFi
It’s important that your employees know to treat WiFi access with caution, so they’re not putting your company’s data at risk. This is particularly relevant to employees who work remotely, who may choose to work from a local coffee shop or log on to public WiFi between meetings.
But equally, if you’re using the same smartphone for work and personal communication, connecting to the WiFi while you’re out shopping, or in a restaurant at the weekend can pose a security risk to your organisation. Employees should ensure their phones don’t automatically connect to WiFi networks, and if possible opt for unlimited data contracts so they don’t need to rely on WiFi.
5) Encrypt Sensitive Mobile Communication
Most experts recommend all mobile communications be encrypted because wireless communications are so easy to intercept. Employees accessing company data from outside of the office should use a virtual private network (VPN) to protect and secure their communications.
 
6) Create a BYOD Policy
BYOD can offer a number of benefits to organisations, such as lower hardware costs and giving employees greater flexibility in terms of their working hours. However, this is at the expense of your organisation’s security. To address the security problems associated with BYOD working, it’s essential that your organisation has in place a BYOD policy, outlining the procedures employees need to follow to secure their devices.

Largest DDoS Attack in History

ddosDDoS attacks are one of the biggest enemies of a website admin. The year 2015 saw an unprecedented growth in the number of DDoS attacks. Along the similar lines, Arbor Networks recorded an attack peaking up to 334 Gbps. Well, things aren’t looking good in 2016 as a hacktivist group has taken the responsibility of the DDoS attack on BBC website that peaked up to 602 Gbps.

On New Year’s eve, the BBC website and iPlayer service went down due to a massive Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. The attack peaked up to 602 Gbps, according to the claims made by the New World Hacking group, who took the responsibility of the attack. In another recent attack, the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s main campaign website was also targeted by the same group.
Earlier BBC announced that the service failure was due to some technical failure. Later it rephrased that the New World Hacking group took the responsibility just to “test its capabilities.”
602 Gbps – Largest DDoS Attack in History
DDoS attacks are conducted by flooding a web server with a torrent of traffic. These attacks are widely popular and often used by hackers with an aim to bring down the websites.
The BBC websites including the Player on-demand service suffered at least three hours outage on Thursday due to the DDoS attack.
This group is calling itself a hacktivist group whose main target is ISIS.  One of the members of the group – calling himself as Ownz – has told ZDNet their real motives.
Detailing the attack, Ownz said that they have their own ways to bypass the security layers of the Amazon Web Services.They Said,
“The best way to describe it is we tap into a few administrative services that Amazon is use to using. The [sic] simply set our bandwidth limit as unlimited and program our own scripts to hide it.”

Clean Energy Technology

Bill Gates And Mark Zuckeberg Join Hands To Change The World With Clean Energy Techbill-gates-mark-zuckerberg-clean-energy

Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, along with the other most powerful figures in tech world, have come together to launch the Breakthrough Energy Coalition to invest in new clean energy technologies. “We need to move to sources of energy that are affordable and reliable, and don’t produce any carbon,” Gates wrote on his website, announcing the initiative.

Just before the United Nations climate talks in Paris, Bill Gates has announced the Breakthrough Energy Coalition. This is a joint act of more than 20 billionaires who have decided to invest in the clean energy innovation. In Bill Gates’ words: “We need clean-energy innovation and lots of it.”The Breakthrough Energy Coalition comprises of Bill Gates, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Alibaba chief Jack Ma, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, and others. These tech giants will work with the countries that are developing new technologies for zero-emission energy solutions.

Earlier this year, Bill Gates announced plans to invest about $1 billion in clean energy tech over the next 5 years. On his website, he mentioned that when we are willing to fight a global war, this investment will matter less.

Bill Gates and the tech leaders has also announced an initiative called Mission Innovation that involves commitment by 20 countries including USA, China, India, Japan, France, Brazil, and many others. The countries have pledged to double their investment in the clean energy research and development.

The group will consider early stage investment in the basic sectors like electricity generation, agriculture, transportation and energy system efficiency.

Stressing on the need of partnership with government, the coalition says that a transparent and workable structure will make things possible.

It should be noted that most venture capitalists are unwilling to invest in these transformative technologies that as they give returns after a longer period of time. This joint initiative also wishes to link the promising clean energy projects with investors who are ready to enter a long-time commitment.

Java 9 is Coming – Release Dates and Major Features

General availability of Java 9 is announced by Oracle and it is coming on Sep 22nd, 2016. The major feature in Java 9, the module system, will be a boon for developers and it will also bring improved scalability and performance to Java platform.

Java 9 release dates and roadmap is finalized by Oracle and you can expect it to be available by Sep 22nd, 2016. If you are interested in trying it out now, the early access version of JDK 9 is available here. The milestone definitions for JDK9 are the same as those forJDK 8.Modularity via Project Jigsaw is a key feature of Java 9. Java 9 will treat modules as a fundamental new kind of program component, with the system improving scalability and performance, a key Oracle Java official says.

In a blog post this week, Oracle’s Mark Reinhold, chief architect of the Java platform group, discussed the goals of the module system. Chief among them is reliable configuration, to replace the “brittle, error-prone, class-path mechanism” with a means for program components to declare dependencies on each other. Strong encapsulation, which allows a component to declare which public types are accessible to other components, is also a goal.

“These features will benefit application developers, library developers, and implementers of the Java SE Platform itself directly,” said Reinhold. “And indirectly, since they will enable a scalable platform, greater platform integrity, and improved performance.”

Reinhold defined a module as a self-describing collection of code and data. Code within it is organized as a set of packages containing types, essentially classes, and interfaces. Data within modules includes resources and other kinds of static information.

Other than Project Jigsaw and Modularity to Java 9 platform, some of the other notable features worth mentioning are –

  • jshell – a new command line tool for Java that will add native support and popularize a Java way to REPL (Read-Eval-Print-Loop).
  • JMH – a Java harness for building, running, and analyzing nano/micro/milli/macro benchmarks.
  • Probably G1 as default garbage collector.
  • Full support for HTTP 2.0 and feature a new HTTP client for Java that will replace HttpURLConnection, and also implement HTTP 2.0 and websockets.

A list of other features coming along with Java 9 is listed here by Oracle. You can also check the countdown page for Java 9 and subscribe to get latest updates and it approached the release date.

Java 9 Release Schedule

2015/12/10 Feature Complete
2016/02/04 All Tests Run
2016/02/25 Rampdown Start
2016/04/21 Zero Bug Bounce
2016/06/16 Rampdown Phase 2
2016/07/21 Final Release Candidate
2016/09/22 General Availability

We will be covering more on Java 9 as we get more information from Oracle. Stay tuned.

If You are Excited..!!! Comment Below.

Mozilla Firefox: “We Don’t Need Google’s Money Any More”

Firefox is one of the most loved web browsers around. The parent organization Mozilla has now revealed that its tight bond with Google doesn’t exist anymore and it is becoming more dependent on newer partners like Baidu, Yahoo, and others.

Few years ago, Mozilla, the open-source organization behind the widely popular Firefox web browser, was dependent on Google for millions. With time, Firefox has become bigger and moved out of the shadow of search engine giant. Now it has become dependent on newer partners like Yahoo, Baidu, and others.Recently, Mozilla has said that it no longer relies on Google for its revenue and is confident that new search engine deals will be even more profitable in the upcoming years.

If you are a long-time Mozilla user, you must be aware of the fact that Google paid Mozilla for the web searches and making it the default search engine. This contract ended last year when in 2014 alone, Mozilla earned $330 million.

Beyond Google, Mozilla turned to Yahoo in the US, Yandex in Russia, and Baidu in China. In Europe and some parts of the world, Google is still the default search engine of Firefox, but the non-profit doesn’t earn any profit.

Also read: How To Make Mozilla Firefox Faster For Web Browsing

“We don’t have a commercial relationship with Google at this point. It goes back to our strategy of how we can encourage more competition,” said Denelle Dixon-Thayer, Mozilla’s chief business and legal officer

In the past, Mozilla has repeated its commitment to offer a more open Web and it will gain more independence by making a move in the opposite direction from Google.

Recently, a shift in Mozilla’s overall strategy change is being observed. With Firefox OS and iOS version of Firefox, Mozilla is looking to make a greater impact on the mobile ecosystem and the outcomes of its efforts will be seen in the next decade.

While Google and Apple control your web experience and dictate the choices before you see them, Mozilla looks committed to what is started.

With inputs from CNET.

You Post Pictures of “Good Times” On Facebook Because You’re Jealous

Source: You Post Pictures of “Good Times” On Facebook Because You’re Jealous

According to a new study, you post more pictures and status updates of “happy times” on Facebook as you are subconsciously jealous of your friends sharing the same. Read more to know about the study and tell us if you agree with this study.

We’ve known this for some time that Facebook is responsible for making you more envious of your friends and their lives. Now a new study is here to support this claim and prove that envy is one of the key factors deciding the content of your Facebook posts.
“Social media participation has been linked to depression, anxiety and narcissistic behaviour, but the reasons haven’t been well-explained,” said Professor Izak Benbasat from Sauder School of Business. In his new study dealing with Facebook and human behaviour, he says that envy is the missing link and reason behind the complications developed in us with time.

As you might have experienced in your personal lives, the travel pictures of your friends on Facebook is the major contributor to this envy, pushing you to click “more perfect” pictures. However, the study reveals that as a result, you don’t post pictures to make others jealous, but to keep appearing on Facebook and compete with your friends.

Also read: Black Hole of World Wide Web: Facebook Is Sucking The Internet In

For his study, Prof. Benbasat and the co-authors of research surveyed 1,193 Facebook users in Germany and asked them questions regarding their Facebook habits.

When people were asked about their negative feelings due to Facebook, 25 percent of users responded with ‘envy’ as their answer. But, when this question was coupled with the situation where others are using Facebook and posting pictures, this percent shoots to 50 percent.

While Facebook is a great medium to connect to our friends and family, the dark side of the social network must be told to common people and young Facebook users. Prof. Benbasat says that more you use Facebook, you’re more likely to consume the negative emotions.

Top Ten OS for ethical hackers and security researchers.

kali-wp-june-2014_1920x1080_a-702x336Here is the list of top ten. Note that these are based on Linux kernel hence are free and open source:

1- Kali Linux:

Kali Linux is an advanced penetration testing tool that should be a part of every security professional’s toolbox. Penetration testing involves using a variety of tools and techniques to test the limits of security policies and procedures. What Kali has done is collect just about everything you’ll need in a single CD. It includes more than 300 different tools, all of which are open source and available on GitHub.
Click Download For kali Linux OS.

2-BackBox:

Backbox is a linux distribution based on Ubuntu. It has been developed to perform penetration tests and security assessments. BackBox is a lightweight OS and requires less hardware capacity. The power of this distribution is given by its Launchpad repository core constantly updated to the last stable version of the most known and used ethical hacking tools. The integration and development of new tools inside the distribution follows the commencement of open source community and particularly the Debian Free Software Guidelines criteria.

3-Parrot Security OS:

Parrot Security is an operating system based on Debian GNU/Linux mixed with Frozenbox OS and Kali linux in order to provide the best penetration and security testing experience. it is an operating system for IT security and penetration testing developed by the Frozenbox Dev Team. It is a GNU/Linux distribution based on Debian and mixed with Kali.

Parrot uses Kali repositories in order to take latest updates for almost all the tools, but it also has its own dedicated repository where all the custom packets are kept. This is why this distro is not just a simple Kali “mod” but entire new concept which relies on Kali’s tool repositories. As such, it introduces a lot of new features and different developing choices.Parrot uses MATE as a Desktop Environment. Lightweight and powerful interface is derived from famous Gnome 2, and thanks to FrozenBox highly customizable with captivating icons, ad-hoc themes and wallpapers. System look is proposed and designed by the community members and also members of Frozenbox Network, who are closely following the development of this project.
Click Download to Get.

4-DEFT:

Deft is Ubuntu customization with a collection of computer forensic programs and documents created by thousands of individuals, teams and companies. Each of these works might come under a different licence. There Licence Policy describe the process that we follow in determining which software we will ship and by default on the deft install CD.
Click Download to get 4-DEFT.

5-Samurai Web Security Framework:

The Samurai Web Testing Framework is a live linux environment that has been pre-configured to function as a web pen-testing environment. The CD contains the best of the open source and free tools that focus on testing and attacking websites. In developing this environment, we have based our tool selection on the tools we use in our security practice. We have included the tools used in all four steps of a web pen-test.
Download Samurai Here.

6-Network Security Toolkit:

Network Security Toolkit (NST) is a bootable live CD based on Fedora Core. The toolkit was designed to provide easy access to best-of-breed open source network security applications and should run on most x86 platforms. The main intent of developing this toolkit was to provide the network security administrator with a comprehensive set of open source network security tools.

What we find rather fascinating with NST is that we can transform most x86 systems (Pentium II and above) into a system designed for network traffic analysis, intrusion detection, network packet generation, wireless network monitoring, a virtual system service server, or a sophisticated network/host scanner.
Download NST here .

7-NodeZero:

It is said the necessity is the mother of all invention, and NodeZero Linux is no different. There team is built of testers and developers, who have come to the census that live systems do not offer what they need in their security audits. Penetration Testing distributions tend to have historically utilized the “Live” system concept of linux, which really means that they try not to make any permanent effects to a system. Ergo all changes are gone after reboot, and run from media such as discs and USB’s drives. However all that this maybe very handy for occasional testing, its usefulness can be depleted when your testing regularly. Its there believe that “Live System’s” just don’t scale well in a robust testing environment.

All though NodeZero Linux can be used as a “Live System” for occasional testing, its real strength comes from the understanding that a tester requires a strong and efficient system. This is achieved in our belief by working at a distribution that is a permanent installation, that benefits from a strong selection of tools, integrated with a stable linux environment.
Download Node-Zero Linux here.

8-GnackTrack:

GnackTrack is an open and free project to merge penetration testing tools and the linux Gnome desktop. GnackTrack is a Live (and installable) Linux distribution designed for Penetration Testing and is based on Ubuntu.

Backtrack is not only a single player in the field of ethical hacking, so you can try some other distribution as well, if you are Gnome lover than must try this, however backtrack 5 is also available on Gnome platform. Just like backtrack, Gnacktrack comes with multiple tools that are really helpful to do a effective penetration testing, it has Metasploit, armitage, wa3f and others wonderful tools.
Download Gnacktrack here.

9-Blackubuntu:

Blackbuntu is distribution for penetration testing which was specially designed for security training students and practitioners of information security. Blackbuntu is penetration testing distribution with GNOME Desktop Environment. It’s currently being built using the Ubuntu 10.10 and work on reference BackTrack.
Download Blackbuntu here.

10- Backtrack

The other well known linux based Operating system is backtrack that is being used from few pwevious years and best known as the OS for network cracking and pentesting. And its also the one of the best OS that can perform various network hacks with privacy.

Download backtrack here.

Bugtraq:

Bugtraq isnt a operating system but  an electronic mailing list dedicated to issues about computer security. On-topic issues are new discussions about vulnerabilities, vendor security-related announcements, methods of exploitation, and how to fix them. It is a high-volume mailing list, and almost all new vulnerabilities are discussed there.
Bugtraq team is experienced freaks and developers, It is available in Debian, Ubuntu and OpenSuSe in 32 and 64 bit architectures.

If there is any OS which is not included or deserves a better place in the list, you may let us know in the comments.