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 / Shutterstock.com

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.

Robot takes first steps towards building artificial lifeforms

A robot equipped with sophisticated AI has successfully simulated the creation of artificial lifeforms, in a key first step towards the eventual goal of creating true artificial life.

The robot, which was developed by scientists at the University of Glasgow, was able to model the creation of artificial lifeforms using unstable oil-in-water droplets. These droplets effectively played the role of living cells, demonstrating the potential of future research to develop living cells based on building blocks that cannot be found in nature.

Significantly, the robot also successfully predicted their properties before they were created, even though this could not be achieved using conventional physical models.

The robot, which was designed by Glasgow University’s Regius Chair of Chemistry, Professor Lee Cronin, is driven by machine learning and the principles of evolution.

It has been developed to autonomously create oil-in-water droplets with a host of different chemical makeups and then use image recognition to assess their behaviour.

Using this information, the robot was able to engineer droplets to have different properties­. Those which were found to be desirable could then be recreated at any time, using a specific digital code.

“This work is exciting as it shows that we are able to use machine learning and a novel robotic platform to understand the system in ways that cannot be done using conventional laboratory methods, including the discovery of ‘swarm’ like group behaviour of the droplets, akin to flocking birds,” said Cronin.

“Achieving lifelike behaviours such as this are important in our mission to make new lifeforms, and these droplets may be considered ‘protocells’ – simplified models of living cells.”

One of the oil droplets created by the robot

The research, which is published today in the journal PNAS, is one of several research projects being undertaken by Cronin and his team within the field of artificial lifeforms.

While the overarching goal is moving towards the creation of lifeforms using new and unprecedented building blocks, the research may also have more immediate potential applications.

The team believes that their work could also have applications in several practical areas, including the development of new methods for drug delivery or even innovative materials with functional properties.

Mac spyware stole millions of user images

A criminal case brought against a man from Ohio, US has shed more light on a piece of Mac malware, dubbed Fruitfly, that was used to surreptitiously turn on cameras and microphones, take and download screenshots, log keystrokes, and steal tax and medical records, photographs, internet searches, and bank transactions from users.

Source: Ars Technica

Drone swarm attack strikes Russian military bases

Russia's Ministry of Defence claims its forces in Syria were attacked a week ago by a swarm of home-made drones. According to Russia's MoD Russian forces at the Khmeimim air base and Tartus naval facility "successfully warded off a terrorist attack with massive application of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)"

Source: Science Alert

Las Vegas strip club employs robot strippers

A Las Vegas strip club has flown in robot strippers from London to 'perform' at the club during CES. Sapphire Las Vegas strip club managing partner Peter Feinstein said that he employed the robots because the demographics of CES have changed and the traditional female strippers aren’t enough to lure a crowd to the club anymore.

Source: Daily Beast

GM to make driverless cars without steering wheels or pedals by 2019

General Motors has announced it plans to mass-produce self-driving cars without traditional controls like steering wheels and pedals by 2019. “It’s a pretty exciting moment in the history of the path to wide scale [autonomous vehicle] deployment and having the first production car with no driver controls,” GM President Dan Ammann told The Verge.

Source: The Verge

Russia-linked hackers "Fancy Bears" target the IOC

Following Russia's ban from the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics, the Russia-linked hacking group "Fancy Bears" has published a set of apparently stolen emails, which purportedly belong to officials from the International Olympic Committee, the United States Olympic Committee, and third-party groups associated with the organisations.

Source: Wired

Scientists discover ice cliffs on Mars

Using images provided by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, scientists have described how steep cliffs, up to 100 meters tall, made of what appears to be nearly pure ice indicate that large deposits of ice may also be located in nearby underground deposits. The discovery has been described as “very exciting” for potential human bases.

Source: Science Mag