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With the Galaxy S20, Samsung too has jumped on the security chip bandwagon – Android Central

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Samsung is finally joining Apple and Google in having a dedicated security chip built into its phones. However, unlike Apple’s (T2 Security Chip) and Google’s (Titan M) offerings, Samsung’s chip has a rather dull name: S3K250AF.

The chip, combined with software smarts, makes up what Samsung is calling its “Secure Element (SE) turnkey solution for mobile devices.” And just like the competition, the plan here is to protect a user’s most sensitive data by partitioning it away from the rest of the phone’s storage and keeping it in a more secure enclave (the security chip).

Samsung’s new turnkey solution is a dedicated tamper-resistant strongbox that securely stores users’ confidential and cryptographic data such as pin numbers, passwords and even crypto-currency credentials separate from the typical mobile memory such as embedded Universal Flash Storage (eUFS).

It’s not entirely clear how it fares against Apple and Google’s solutions, but the chip has earned a Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level (CC EAL) 5+ rating, which Samsung proudly claims is the highest level received by a mobile component.

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The company says it’s begun mass producing the chip, and that it’s already shipping it in the new Galaxy S20 series. And according to the folks at SamMobile, the chip may also be available for third-party manufacturers to purchase for their own phones, which would undoubtedly go a long way in democratizing this technology that has, so far, been offered by only a few smartphone makers.

Galaxy S20, S20 Plus and S20 Ultra hands-on preview: Samsung’s biggest camera bump in 4 years

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WhatsApp Introduces Default Disappearing Messages, Multiple Durations for Chats – iPhone in Canada

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Aiming to provide users with more options to control their messages and how long they stick around, WhatsApp has just introduced default disappearing messages and multiple durations options for new chats.

WhatsApp users will now have the option to turn on disappearing messages by default for all new chats. When enabled, all new one-on-one chats you or another person start will be set to disappear at your chosen duration.

The company has also added two new durations for disappearing messages: 24 hours and 90 days, as well as the existing option of 7 days.

At the same time, WhatsApp has introduced a new option when creating a group chat that lets users turn it on for groups they create. This new feature is optional and does not change or delete any existing chats.

“For people who choose to switch on default disappearing messages, we will display a message in your chats that tells people this is the default you’ve chosen. This makes clear it’s nothing personal – it’s a choice you’ve made about how you want to communicate with everyone on WhatsApp moving forward. Though of course, if you need a particular conversation to remain permanent, it’s easy to switch a chat back.”

To get started, go to your Privacy settings and select ‘Default Message Timer’. More information about disappearing messages is available at this link.

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Ransomware attacks soar, hackers set to become more aggressive – Canada spy agency

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Global ransomware attacks increased by 151% in the first half of 2021 compared with 2020 and hackers are set to become increasingly aggressive, Canada‘s signals intelligence agency said on Monday.

The Communications Security Establishment (CSE), citing attacks on North American health facilities and a U.S. pipeline, said the scale and scope of ransomware operators represented both security and economic risks to Canada and its allies.

“Ransomware operators will likely become increasingly aggressive in their targeting, including against critical infrastructure,” said a report issued by the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security https://cyber.gc.ca/sites/default/files/2021-12/Cyber-ransomware-update-threat-bulletin_e.pdf, a unit of CSE.

The agency said it knew of 235 ransomware incidents against Canadian victims from Jan. 1 to Nov. 16 this year. More than

half of these victims were critical infrastructure providers.

In 2021, the global average total cost of recovery from a ransomware incident has more than doubled to C$2.3 million ($1.8 million).

“Ransom payments are likely reaching a market equilibrium, where cybercriminals are becoming better at tailoring their demands to what their victims are most likely to pay,” CSE said.

The agency reiterated previous statements that actors in Russia, China and Iran posed a major threat.

“Russian intelligence services and law enforcement almost certainly maintain relationships with cybercriminals, either through association or recruitment, and allow them to operate with near impunity as long as they focus their attacks against targets located outside Russia,” it said.

($1 = 1.2786 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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Raven Software employees walk out to protest Activision Blizzard layoffs – VentureBeat

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Join gaming leaders, alongside GamesBeat and Facebook Gaming, for their 2nd Annual GamesBeat & Facebook Gaming Summit | GamesBeat: Into the Metaverse 2 this upcoming January 25-27, 2022. Learn more about the event. 


Several employees at Raven Software, one of the development teams under Activision Blizzard, are walking out to protest layoffs at the company. Several members of the QA team were laid off last week, and other employees are asking that they be reinstated, saying Activision Blizzard had promised them better pay in the future.

The Washington Post reported on the layoffs last Friday, saying that management laid off (or planned to lay off) up to a third of Raven’s quality assurance team. Associate community manager Austin O’Brien shed some more light on it in a tweet chain, saying that Activision promised the QA team better pay following an upcoming pay restructure, only for some to be let go instead. Some had also recently relocated to Madison, Wisconsin. At the time of this writing, some workers still do not know whether they are being kept on or being let go.

Raven Software is the major development team behind Call of Duty Warzone, one of Activision’s staple games. The most recent release, Call of Duty: Vanguard, is due to cross over with Warzone shortly. According to a letter written by the protesting workers to management, Warzone generates $5.2 million a day. Alex Dupont, a member of the QA team, told Bloomberg that the other members who were let go were not given a clear reason for it.

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Activision Blizzard initially responded to the news of the layoffs with a statement that implied that these workers were the unfortunate few whose contracts were not upgraded to a full-time position, but that 500 contract workers would be upgraded eventually.

This is just the latest in a series of problems at Activision Blizzard. Its sexual harassment, assault, and discrimination scandal has continued apace since July, when the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued the company. More and more employees are coming forward with new reports from within the company. Most recently, a report last month in the Wall Street Journal leveled allegations against CEO Bobby Kotick.

Activision Blizzard employees have walked out during those previous reports in protest of the way the company handled these allegations. Other major figures in the gaming industry, including the heads of all three console manufacturers (Phil Spencer of Xbox, Jim Ryan of PlayStation, and Doug Bowser of Nintendo), have criticized the company’s actions.

The company has also shown signs of problems on the game development side, too. At its recent quarterly report, Activision revealed it was maintaining decent numbers, but it was also delaying two of its most anticipated releases: Diablo IV and Overwatch 2. The company currently has thousands of job openings, and seems to be eager to bring in new talent.

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