Staring at an ATM machine that is unable to dispense money or visiting a hospital for an operation only for it to be cancelled may have been scenarios in a Hollywood movie depicting the most dramatic of cyber attacks in the past. Today, however, that was what some Ukrainians found when they tried to withdraw money from their banks. ATM machines were locked out by the latest global cyber attack and they had to borrow money from relatives and friends. In the United States, hospitals were hit as well by the fast-spreading malware, leaving patients scheduled for operations waiting until the computer systems could be restored. The latest online threat today is based on a piece of ransomware called Petya, which tells victims to pay up US$300 in digital currency to unlock their machines. That’s a suspiciously small amount, so some industry experts are saying it may be a cover for targeting a specific victim and stealing information on the quiet while everyone is rushing to fix this urgent issue. Whatever the real motivation, the effect it has had on everyday life is indisputable. Coming just weeks after similar WannaCry ransomware attacks, this cyber infection spreading uncontrollably across the globe is the latest warning that the consequences of such attacks have escalated dramatically. From a Russian bank that was left paralysed to an Australian factory for the Cadbury chocolate brand being forced to halt production, the victims suffered from temporary disruption to serious worries about lost data and even nuclear fallout. At the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine, workers were forced to manually monitor radiation when their computers failed, The New York Times reported. Just days ago, in a separate attack on the British parliament, hackers compromised up to 90 e-mail accounts before being contained. The country’s defence secretary has since threatened military strikes against such attackers. And let’s not forget that the latest malware attack used the same hacking tool that the US National Security Agency developed. When this so-called Ethernal Blue tool was leaked, it became something that could be traded online. Entire ransomware systems are set up today to not only hawk malware but to identify victims’ locations and send the ransom note in their language. Those from wealthier countries are naturally of higher priority among a pool of compromised machines, according to security companies familiar with the threat. In other words, someone with access and means can sign up for a “ransomware as a service”, much like buying software or music on demand, to deploy it around the world. That points to one worrying conclusion: In the arms race today, the defenders appear behind the curve against increasingly well-organised and sophisticated hackers. It shows when even a known threat can wreak such havoc. Based on a Windows loophole that was patched by Microsoft back in March, Petya and WannaCry can be stopped if users are more vigilant or organised. Unfortunately, in an interconnected world of machines that are not always well maintained, the task is not as easy as it sounds. And what of the “zero-day” exploits that even Microsoft and others have no clue about but which have been developed by governments as secret cyber weapons? There’s good reason to fear the unknown. Indeed, there aren’t any surefire defences that users can rely on, except to make themselves less of an easy target. Or to prepare for an attack so as to recover more quickly from it.
IntroductionIntel's 7th generation of high-end desktop processors (HEDT), known as the Basin Falls platform, is set to compete with AMD's Ryzen CPUs and upcoming Threadripper platform. These new Intel CPUs opt for a new socket and chipset--socket LGA 2066 on motherboards with X299 chipsets. As AMD looks to release several SKUs of Threadripper on top of the abundance of cost-effective Ryzen CPUs, Intel is coming out with a total of nine SKUs for its new platform; five under the Core i9 family, three as Core i7, and one as Core i5, which range from quad-core to 18-core multithreaded CPUs. All these new Intel CPUs are also branded as the X-series.
We were able to get our hands on the Core i9-7900X--the 10-core 20-thread Skylake-X CPU--for evaluation. It's priced at $1000, which is about $700 cheaper than Intel's previous 10-core 20-thread offering in the Core i7-6950X. As you can tell, HEDTs don't come cheap since they're meant to perform high level operations like video encoding and image rendering, even several of these operations at the same time. They're not intended for gaming alone and are frequently targeted at "prosumers" who typically stream, game, and produce video content often simultaneously.
The following chart outlines all the known specifications of Intel's new CPUs:
Intel 7th-Generation Basin Falls CPU Line
CPU NameThreads / CoresBase Clock (GHz)Boost Clock (GHz)L3 CacheTDPPriceCore i9-7980XE18 / 36TBDTBDTBDTBD$1999
Core i9-7960X16 / 32TBDTBDTBDTBD$1699
Core i9-7940X14 / 28TBDTBDTBDTBD$1399
Core i9-7920X12 / 24TBDTBDTBDTBD$1199
Core i9-7900X10 / 203.34.3 (4.5)13.75 MB140W$999
Core i7-7820X8 / 163.64.3 (4.5)11 MB140W$599
Core i7-7800X6 / 123.54.08.25 MB140W$389
Core i7-7740X4 / 84.34.58 MB112W$339
Core i5-7640X4 / 44.04.26 MB112W$242An additional detail to note is that the i9-7900X, i7-7820X, and i7-7800X CPUs all support quad-channel memory. The i7-7740 and i5-7640X Kaby Lake-X CPUs only support dual-channel memory, however.
PromotedAcer E3 PC Round UpCatch up with Andrea Rene as we cover all the big PC related news coming out of the E3 2017 conference.
Pre-orders are now open for the i9-7900X down to the i5-7640X, which are all set to release on June 26. The rest of the Core-i9 CPUs, which don't have final specifications, are slated to release sometime later this year.
Technical DetailsThough i9-7900X's cores have a stock clock speed of 3.3 GHz, it can reach up to 4.3 GHz with Turbo Boost Max 2.0 and 4.5 GHz with Turbo Boost Max 3.0. With these technologies, the two best performing cores will receive the biggest boost while the more taxing workloads can be directed to those cores. Each CPU in the X-series comes unlocked which means you won't be bound by boost clocks and can overclock to your heart's desire, given the right cooling and voltage circumstances.
The 7900X is built with the 14nm FinFET manufacturing process technology, which is currently the most advanced for the desktop processor market. It also sports the new Skylake-X microarchitecture, which handles more instructions per clock than previous geneations. It also trades L3 cache size for a larger, more efficient mid-level cache (MLC) compared to the last-generation Broadwell-E architecture. The 7900X supports 44 PCI-e 3.0 lanes, most of the Skylake-X CPUs so far.
MethodologyWe're in the midst of benchmarking this CPU and we'll be comparing it to Intel's previous 10-core 20-thread offering in the Core i7-6950X Broadwell-E CPU. As for an AMD comparison, the 8-core 16-thread Ryzen 7 1800X is most powerful from CPU currently on the market to compete against Intel since Threadripper isn't out yet. Take note that the R7 1800X is half the retail price ($500) of the i9-7900X ($1000).
We're equipped with Gigabyte X299 Gaming 9 motherboard, which received a BIOS update on June 16 to help optimize the performance of turbo boost technology. Our X299 system features 16GB of Corsair Vengeance Pro DDR4-2666 RAM in dual-channel, and all systems use the Nvidia GTX 1080 reference graphics card to help keep specs consistent across systems.
Cinebench R15 is a 3D image rendering benchmark that really makes the most of CPU cores, and for now, these results give small taste of the Core i9-7900X's capabilities. It shows to be about 15.9% faster over the 6950X when we ran the multi-core test, and about 12.5% faster using the single-core test. In this regard, Skylake-X proves to be a substantial improvement over the previous Broadwell-E architecture. The 7900X is also faster than the R7 1800X by about 33.2% in the multi-core run and 17.4% faster in the single-core run. It shouldn't be a surprise since the 1800X is an 8-core 16-thread CPU at half the price.
We look forward to analyzing more results as we complete our testing of the Core i9-7900X, which will include the following benchmarks:
Sensitive personal details relating to almost 200 million US citizens have been accidentally exposed by a marketing firm contracted by the Republican National Committee.
The 1.1 terabytes of data includes birthdates, home addresses, telephone numbers and political views of nearly 62% of the entire US population.
The data was available on a publicly accessible Amazon cloud server.
Anyone could access the data as long as they had a link to it.
Political biases exposedThe huge cache of data was discovered last week by Chris Vickery, a cyber-risk analyst with security firm UpGuard. The information seems to have been collected from a wide range of sources - from posts on controversial banned threads on the social network Reddit, to committees that raised funds for the Republican Party.
The information was stored in spreadsheets uploaded to a server owned by Deep Root Analytics. It had last been updated in January when President Donald Trump was inaugurated and had been online foar an unknown period of time.
"We take full responsibility for this situation. Based on the information we have gathered thus far, we do not believe that our systems have been hacked," Deep Root Analytics' founder Alex Lundry told technology website Gizmodo.
"Since this event has come to our attention, we have updated the access settings and put protocols in place to prevent further access."
Apart from personal details, the data also contained citizens' suspected religious affiliations, ethnicities and political biases, such as where they stood on controversial topics like gun control, the right to abortion and stem cell research.
The file names and directories indicated that the data was meant to be used by influential Republican political organisations. The idea was to try to create a profile on as many voters as possible using all available data, so some of the fields in the spreadsheets were left left empty if an answer could not be found.
"That such an enormous national database could be created and hosted online, missing even the simplest of protections against the data being publicly accessible, is troubling," Dan O'Sullivan wrote in a blog post on Upguard's website.
"The ability to collect such information and store it insecurely further calls into question the responsibilities owed by private corporations and political campaigns to those citizens targeted by increasingly high-powered data analytics operations."
Privacy concernsAlthough it is known that political parties routinely gather data on voters, this is the largest breach of electoral data in the US to date and privacy experts are concerned about the sheer scale of the data gathered.
"This is deeply troubling. This is not just sensitive, it's intimate information, predictions about people's behaviour, opinions and beliefs that people have never decided to disclose to anyone," Privacy International's policy officer Frederike Kaltheuner told the BBC News website.
However, the issue of data collection and using computer models to predict voter behaviour is not just limited to marketing firms - Privacy International says that the entire online advertising ecosystem operates in the same way.
"It is a threat to the way democracy works. The GOP [Republican Party] relied on publicly-collected, commercially-provided information. Nobody would have realised that the data they entrusted to one organisation would end up in a database used to target them politically.
"You should be in charge of what is happening to your data, who can use it and for what purposes," Ms Kaltheuner added.
There are fears that leaked data can easily be used for nefarious purposes, from identity fraud to harassment of people under protection orders, or to intimidate people who hold an opposing political view.
"The potential for this type of data being made available publicly and on the dark web is extremely high," Paul Fletcher, a cyber-security evangelist at security firm Alert Logic told the BBC.
Amazon is getting into the grocery business in a bigger way than anyone imagined.
The online retailer, which has spent the last few years toying around with experimental physical stores, said it had agreed to acquire Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion, or $42 a share. The companies expect the deal to close in the second half of the year.
Whole Foods radically transforms Amazon, which has grown into a retailing juggernaut by undercutting rivals and primarily relying on its more efficient online business. It's helped kill of a myriad of physical retailers like Circuit City and Borders, and yet it's getting into that very business. By acquiring the grocery train, known for its upscale, healthy food, the online retailer will get 460 stores in the US, Canada and the UK.
"Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a press release.
Amazon isn't a stranger to groceries, offering its $300-a-year grocery service, AmazonFresh, in various cities around the country. The company has invested in various book stores, including opening one in New York.
ADVERTISINGThen there was Amazon Go, a concept grocery store with no staff and an automated check-out system. While just a single test store in Amazon's campus, the news was significant enough that the retail industry freaked out.
It's unclear whether these innovations, which include bookstores with dynamic pricing and no price tags, will make their way to Whole Foods. Amazon said that Whole Foods would remain a separate brand and still operate in its Austin, Texas, headquarters under CEO John Mackey.
Whole Foods exploded with popularity by offering a wide selection of organic and natural foods for a premium price. "South Park" made a Whole Foods store the center of an arc of episodes on the gentrification of its town.
But the chain in recent years has struggled to stand out as other supermarket chains expanded their own organic and natural food offerings, often at lower prices. In February, the company said it was reducing the anumber of stores -- the first time since 2008 -- as it cut its forecast for the year.
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