McAfee Announces Antivirus for Your Home

Notorious antivirus software provider McAfee has announced that it is rolling out cybersecurity services for your home as part of a suite of products designed to bring the company’s services out of computers and into the rest of your life.

The result of a partnership between McAfee and hardware manufacturer D-Link, the home protection comes in the form of a router that will block threats to all devices on your network.

Designed to combat the growing security problems associated with connected smart home devices, the snappily named D-Link AC2600 Wi-Fi Router Powered by McAfee is designed to combat threats including viruses, malware, botnet attacks and phishing attempts.

“As the number of connected devices in homes increases, consumers are increasingly concerned about online security threats. D-Link teamed up with McAfee and Intel to address these concerns with a powerful, easy to manage, all-in-one solution,” said Anny Wei, D-Link president and CEO. “The new AC2600 Wi-Fi Router Powered by McAfee is our solution for consumers to help protect their homes and children from evolving online threats.”

The D-Link AC2600 Wi-Fi Router Powered by McAfee. Image courtesy of D-Link

McAfee announced the product today at CES, alongside a number of other announcements including the rollout of Samsung Secure Wi-Fi – a Wi-Fi protection service underpinned by McAfee that is now available for the Galaxy Note8 – and McAfee Identity Theft Protection.

The latter has been developed primarily for the American market in response to the growing number of data breaches, which have seen the personal data of almost the entire US adult population being leaked.

Designed to provide users with peace of mind, the service offers a suite of features to ensure users’ identities remain protected. A cyber monitoring service performs scans of online black market, and notifies users if it finds evidence of their personal data being up for sale, while a Social Security Number Trace service provides users with a list of aliases and addresses tied to their SSN so that they can see if anyone shady is using it.

The service also offers credit monitoring, complete with alerts to changes in their status, and provides a support line for anyone subject to identity theft or credit issues.

“Data breaches are increasing in volume and therefore calling into question who consumers can rely on to keep their personal information safe,” said John Giamatteo, executive vice president, consumer business group, McAfee.

“Today, McAfee is trusted by 375 million consumers worldwide to protect what matters most – whether that is their devices, their child’s online safety, or their identity and privacy. McAfee is a name synonymous with cybersecurity, one that consumers can depend on to continue to evolve and innovate to help put consumer minds at ease when digital security uncertainty is high.”

McAfee’s antivirus products are the most installed of their kind, but have proved controversial. Image courtesy of Cineberg /

The move is undoubtedly an attempt by McAfee to keep its business relevant in a time when antivirus is becoming a vanishingly small part of cybersecurity efforts, however whether people will be happy for the company to play an increasing role in their lives remains to be seen.

Despite being the most commonly used antivirus on the planet, McAfee has attracted considerable criticism, particularly for the immense difficulty associated with uninstalling it.

McAfee founder John McAfee, for example, who now has no involvement with the company, in 2015 said in a Reddit AMA: “McAfee is one of the worst products on the f**king planet”, and famously produced a video entitled How to Uninstall McAfee Antivirus,  which culminates in him shooting a laptop to ‘uninstall’ the product.

Many may fear that the company will use similar practices with these new products, so it will be up to the company to prove that its offering will help consumers, not leave them feeling frustrated and locked into a McAfee-run system.

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Source: Tech Crunch

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Source: The Telegraph

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Source: Quartz

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Source: Motherboard

Russia accused of engineering cyberattacks by the US

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Source: BBC

World-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76. When Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease aged 22, doctors predicted he would live just a few more years. But in the ensuing 54 years he married, kept working and inspired millions of people around the world. In his last few years, Hawking was outspoken of the subject of AI, and Factor got the chance to hear him speak on the subject at Web Summit 2017…

Stephen Hawking was often described as being a vocal critic of AI. Headlines were filled with predictions of doom by from scientist, but the reality was more complex.

Hawking was not convinced that AI was to become the harbinger of the end of humanity, but instead was balanced about its risks and rewards, and at a compelling talk broadcast at Web Summit, he outlined his perspectives and what the tech world can do to ensure the end results are positive.

Stephen Hawking on the potential challenges and opportunities of AI

Beginning with the potential of artificial intelligence, Hawking highlighted the potential level of sophistication that the technology could reach.

“There are many challenges and opportunities facing us at this moment, and I believe that one of the biggest of these is the advent and impact of AI for humanity,” said Hawking in the talk. “As most of you may know, I am on record as saying that I believe there is no real difference between what can be achieved by a biological brain and what can be achieved by a computer.

“Of course, there is unlimited potential for what the human mind can learn and develop. So if my reasoning is correct, it also follows that computers can, in theory, emulate human intelligence and exceed it.”

Moving onto the potential impact, he began with an optimistic tone, identifying the technology as a possible tool for health, the environment and beyond.

“We cannot predict what we might achieve when our own minds are amplified by AI. Perhaps with the tools of this new technological revolution, we will be able to undo some of the damage done to the natural world by the last one: industrialisation,” he said.

“We will aim to finally eradicate disease and poverty; every aspect of our lives will be transformed.”

However, he also acknowledged the negatives of the technology, from warfare to economic destruction.

“In short, success in creating effective AI could be the biggest event in the history of our civilisation, or the worst. We just don’t know. So we cannot know if we will be infinitely helped by AI, or ignored by it and sidelined or conceivably destroyed by it,” he said.

“Unless we learn how to prepare for – and avoid – the potential risks, AI could be the worst event in the history of our civilisation. It brings dangers like powerful autonomous weapons or new ways for the few to oppress the many. It could bring great disruption to our economy.

“Already we have concerns that clever machines will be increasingly capable of undertaking work currently done by humans, and swiftly destroy millions of jobs. AI could develop a will of its own, a will that is in conflict with ours and which could destroy us.

“In short, the rise of powerful AI will be either the best or the worst thing ever to happen to humanity.”

In the vanguard of AI development

In 2014, Hawking and several other scientists and experts called for increased levels of research to be undertaken in the field of AI, which he acknowledged has begun to happen.

“I am very glad that someone was listening to me,” he said.

However, he argued that there is there is much to be done if we are to ensure the technology doesn’t pose a significant threat.

“To control AI and make it work for us and eliminate – as far as possible – its very real dangers, we need to employ best practice and effective management in all areas of its development,” he said. “That goes without saying, of course, that this is what every sector of the economy should incorporate into its ethos and vision, but with artificial intelligence this is vital.”

Addressing a thousands-strong crowd of tech-savvy attendees at the event, he urged them to think beyond the immediate business potential of the technology.

“Perhaps we should all stop for a moment and focus our thinking not only on making AI more capable and successful, but on maximising its societal benefit”

“Everyone here today is in the vanguard of AI development. We are the scientists. We develop an idea. But you are also the influencers: you need to make it work. Perhaps we should all stop for a moment and focus our thinking not only on making AI more capable and successful, but on maximising its societal benefit,” he said. “Our AI systems must do what we want them to do, for the benefit of humanity.”

In particular he raised the importance of working across different fields.

“Interdisciplinary research can be a way forward, ranging from economics and law to computer security, formal methods and, of course, various branches of AI itself,” he said.

“Such considerations motivated the American Association for Artificial Intelligence Presidential Panel on Long-Term AI Futures, which up until recently had focused largely on techniques that are neutral with respect to purpose.”

He also gave the example of calls at the start of 2017 by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) the introduction of liability rules around AI and robotics.

“MEPs called for more comprehensive robot rules in a new draft report concerning the rules on robotics, and citing the development of AI as one of the most prominent technological trends of our century,” he summarised.

“The report calls for a set of core fundamental values, an urgent regulation on the recent developments to govern the use and creation of robots and AI. [It] acknowledges the possibility that within the space of a few decades, AI could surpass human intellectual capacity and challenge the human-robot relationship.

“Finally, the report calls for the creation of a European agency for robotics and AI that can provide technical, ethical and regulatory expertise. If MEPs vote in favour of legislation, the report will go to the European Commission, which will decide what legislative steps it will take.”

Creating artificial intelligence for the world

No one can say for certain whether AI will truly be a force for positive or negative change, but – despite the headlines – Hawking was positive about the future.

“I am an optimist and I believe that we can create AI for the world that can work in harmony with us. We simply need to be aware of the dangers, identify them, employ the best possible practice and management and prepare for its consequences well in advance,” he said. “Perhaps some of you listening today will already have solutions or answers to the many questions AI poses.”

You all have the potential to push the boundaries of what is accepted or expected, and to think big

However, he stressed that everyone has a part to play in ensuring AI is ultimately a benefit to humanity.

“We all have a role to play in making sure that we, and the next generation, have not just the opportunity but the determination to engage fully with the study of science at an early level, so that we can go on to fulfill our potential and create a better world for the whole human race,” he said.

“We need to take learning beyond a theoretical discussion of how AI should be, and take action to make sure we plan for how it can be. You all have the potential to push the boundaries of what is accepted or expected, and to think big.

“We stand on the threshold of a brave new world. It is an exciting – if precarious – place to be and you are the pioneers. I wish you well.”