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Two big fakes & two big flaws | Avast

Updated:  The DNC cyberattack was deemed to be a simulated test by an unknown third party.  This has been removed from our security roundup for the week.

Security flaws haunt Ghostscript

For the third year in a row, researchers have found exploitable flaws in the open source software Ghostscript, a PDF and PostScript interpreter used by hundreds of programs on all major platforms. While the software includes a sandbox protection option, researchers have now identified a series of sandbox bypass vulnerabilities. For a bad actor to take advantage of the flaw, he or she would only need to send their victim a specially modified file in a format that triggers interaction with Ghostscript (PDF, PS, EPS, or XPS). Doing so would grant the malware’s C&C remote code execution privileges on the infected system, thereby allowing them to essentially take it over. No patch is available yet, so experts are advising that Linux distributions disable PS, EPS, PDF, and XPS coders in ImageMagick’s policy.xml, as the image processing library seems to be the most affected project by the flaw.

Dog days, always: the most fetching trends for National Dog Day

For someone like me who barely asks permission to pet puppers passing by on the street, every day is a day to celebrate doggos. But then there are days like National Dog Day, where our favorite floofers get a little extra attention.

In honor of this most important day of puppreciation this Sunday, Dogust 26, we took at look at Google Trends to sniff out what people search for when it comes to canines.

If you’re like me, you probably have your own unique dog needs. Are you on the hunt for a hound dog pic? Do you feel like your bowwow-logical clock is ticking, and you’re hankering to bring a new BFF home with you from the shelter? Does your next weekend project involve turning your kitchen into a barkery for churning out homemade biscuits? No matter what you’re looking for, Search has it all.

Have a sploot, and let’s dig into some of the top queries and questions people in the U.S. have asked about dogs in the past 12 months.

Bowwow why?

Of all the canine curiosities that might cause your head to tilt, these are the top dog-related questions:

  1. How to draw a dog
  2. Why do dogs eat grass?
  3. How long are dogs pregnant for?
  4. Why do dogs eat poop?
  5. Why do dogs lick?

Decoding Doggos

Let’s admit it: we all talk to dogs, and I, for one, am convinced they understand us. But sometimes it’s clear we’re not speaking the same language. Here are the top “what does it mean” dog related searches we’ve seen:

  1. What does it mean when a dog licks you?
  2. What does it mean when a dog howls?
  3. What does it mean when a dog eats grass?
  4. What does it mean when a dog’s nose is dry?
  5. What does it mean when a dog shakes?

Teacher’s Pet

We all love to teach our dogs new tricks. Here are the top “how to teach my dog to” related searches:

  1. How to teach my dog to speak
  2. How to teach my dog to fetch
  3. How to teach my dog to roll over
  4. How to teach my dog to play dead
  5. How to teach my dog to shake
  6. How to teach my dog to come when called
  7. How to teach my dog to heel
  8. How to teach my dog to smile
  9. How to teach my dog to find things
  10. How to teach my dog to stay

Canine Cookin’
Especially on National Dog Day, all the good boys (and girls) out there deserve a treat. If you’re a DIY-inclined dog parent (or neighbor, or stranger who just loves dogs), give one of these top searched dog recipes a try:

  1. Dog treat recipes
  2. Dog food recipes
  3. Dog cake recipe
  4. Dog birthday cake recipe
  5. Dog biscuit recipe
  6. Dog ice cream recipe
  7. Dog cookie recipe
  8. Dog cupcake recipe
  9. Peanut butter dog treats recipe
  10. Dog shampoo recipe

Pupper Pics

Our furry friends come in all shapes, sizes and varieties of softness and fluff. Of all the perfect pooches out there, here are the breeds that saw the most Google Images searches:

  1. Siberian Husky
  2. Bulldog
  3. Pit bull
  4. German Shepherd
  5. Labrador Retriever
  6. Golden Retriever
  7. Pug
  8. Chihuahua
  9. Yorkshire Terrier
  10. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Parting GIFs

If you’re having a ruff time expressing your love of labradoodles, leonbergers and lhasa apsos, nothing gets the message across like a GIF. Check out the top puppers on our GIF search engine, Tenor, so you can say “I love you” or “I need a belly rub” with the adorable canine of your choice.

Avast security products win awards | Avast

You deserve protection online, no matter what device or operating system you are using. When we started Avast, over 30 years ago, our motto was “cybersecurity for everyone.” Today, those words still serve as our guiding star, and we are committed to providing everybody with all the tools necessary to be safe and secure in their digital worlds.

Amazon Lightsail Update – More Instance Sizes and Price Reductions

Amazon Lightsail gives you access to the power of AWS, with the simplicity of a VPS (Virtual Private Server). You choose a configuration from a menu and launch a virtual machine (an instance) preconfigured with SSD-based storage, DNS management, and a static IP address. You can use Linux or Windows, and can even choose between […]

An update on state-sponsored activity

We’ve invested in robust systems to detect phishing and hacking attempts, identify influence operations launched by foreign governments, and protect political campaigns from digital attacks through our Protect Your Election program.

Our Threat Analysis Group, working with our partners at Jigsaw and Google’s Trust & Safety team, identifies bad actors, disables their accounts, warns our users about them, and shares intelligence with other companies and law enforcement officials.

This week, there has been a lot of news about attempted state-sponsored hacking and influence campaigns. We wanted to provide an update on some of our ongoing work in this area:

  • State-sponsored phishing attacks 
  • Technical attribution of a recently-reported influence campaign from Iran 
  • Detection and termination of activity on Google properties

State-sponsored phishing attacks

Phishing—attempts to trick users into providing a password that an attacker can use to sign into an account—remains a threat to all email users. Our ​improving ​technology has enabled ​us to ​significantly ​decrease ​the ​volume of ​phishing ​emails that ​get ​through to our users. ​Automated ​protections, ​account ​security ​(like ​security ​keys), ​and specialized ​warnings give ​Gmail users industry-leading ​security. As part of our security efforts, for the past eight years, we’ve displayed prominent warnings to Gmail users who are at risk of phishing by potentially state-sponsored actors (even though in most cases the specific phishing attempt never reaches the user’s inbox).

In recent months, we’ve detected and blocked attempts by state-sponsored actors in various countries to target political campaigns, journalists, activists, and academics located around the world. When we’ve seen these types of attacks, we’ve notified users as well as law enforcement.

On Monday morning, we issued our most recent series of notifications to Gmail users who were subject to suspicious emails from a wide range of countries. We posted about these sorts of warnings here—if you received this type of warning, please read the blog post and take action immediately.

Iran and FireEye

To complement the work of our internal teams, we engage FireEye, a leading cybersecurity group, and other top security consultants, to provide us with intelligence. For the last two months, Google and Jigsaw have worked closely with FireEye on the influence operation linked to Iran that FireEye identified this week. We’re grateful to FireEye for identifying some suspicious Google accounts (three email accounts, three YouTube channels, and three Google+ accounts), which we swiftly disabled. FireEye’s full report has just been published today. It’s worth reading.

In addition to the intelligence we received from FireEye, our teams have investigated a broader range of suspicious actors linked to Iran who have engaged in this effort. We’ve updated U.S. lawmakers and law enforcement about the results of our investigation, including its relation to political content in the United States. We wanted to provide a summary of what we told them.

Connections to IRIB: forensic evidence

Our technical research has identified evidence that these actors are associated with the IRIB, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.

We can’t go into all the technical details without giving away information that would be helpful to others seeking to abuse our platforms, but we have observed the following:

  • Technical data associated with these actors is strongly linked to the official IRIB IP address space.
  • Domain ownership information about these actors is strongly linked to IRIB account information.
  • Account metadata and subscriber information associated with these actors is strongly linked to the corresponding information associated with the IRIB, indicating common ownership and control.

These facts, taken together with other technical signals and analysis, indicate that this effort was carried out as part of the overall operations of the IRIB organization, since at least January 2017. This finding is consistent with internet activity we’ve warned about in recent years from Iran.

Detecting and terminating activity on Google properties

Actors engaged in this type of influence operation violate our policies, and we swiftly remove such content from our services and terminate these actors’ accounts. Additionally, we use a number of robust methods, including IP blocking, to prevent individuals or entities in Iran from opening advertising accounts.

We identified and terminated a number of accounts linked to the IRIB organization that disguised their connection to this effort, including while sharing English-language political content in the U.S.:

  • 39 YouTube channels that had 13,466 total US views on relevant videos; 
  • 6 blogs on Blogger
  • 13 Google+ accounts

Our investigations on these topics are ongoing and we will continue to share our findings with law enforcement and other relevant government entities in the U.S. and elsewhere, as well as with others in the industry.

The state-sponsored phishing attacks, and the actors associated with the IRIB that we’ve described above, are clearly not the only state-sponsored actors at work on the Internet. For example, last year we disclosed information about actors linked to the Internet Research Agency (IRA). Since then, we have continued to monitor our systems, and broadened the range of IRA-related actors against whom we’ve taken action. Specifically, we’ve detected and removed 42 YouTube channels, which had 58 English-language political videos (these videos had a total of fewer than 1,800 U.S. views). We’ve also identified and terminated the account associated with one blog on Blogger.

We continue to actively monitor our systems, take prompt action, share intelligence, and remain vigilant about these and other threats.

Fifteen grants to support computing research for undergraduate women

Ayanna Howard, Professor and Chair of the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, wouldn’t be where she is today without her undergraduate research experiences at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Growing up, Ayanna seemed to have a knack for math, puzzles, computers and gaming. By the time she started college, she had figured out her passion for robotics, and became a summer intern at JPL. The hands-on research experiences, the formation of a strong network of peers and advisers while at JPL helped motivate Ayanna to pursue her PhD and eventually a career in academia.

Studies show that undergraduate exposure to hands-on research experiences can profoundly influence a student’s academic and career path. This is particularly true for women who are underrepresented in computing and who may see research careers as “not for them” because of the lack of support when pursuing research careers and pathways to computing.

To get more women involved in research and computing, we’re providing 15 exploreCSR (Computer Science Research) grants to support universities running CS research-focused workshops for undergraduate women. These workshops, modeled on, and inspired by Carnegie Mellon University’s, OurCS, will help undergraduate women to enhance their research skills, create a sense of community with peers and faculty, instill confidence to problem solve beyond the classroom, and inspire and motivate them toward careers in research.

Here are the recipients (including Ayanna Howard!) who collectively plan to reach ~1,200 undergraduate women in 2018-2019:

California State University, Long Beach
Shadnaz Asgari, Associate Professor and Chair
Computing to Change the World for the Better: A Research-Focused Workshop for Women

Georgia Institute of Technology
Ayanna Howard, Professor and Chair
Improving the Academic Matriculation of Undergraduate Women in Graduate Computing (I.AM.GradComputing) Workshop

Howard University
Latifa Jackson, Assistant Professor
Broadening Participation in Data Mining (BPDM) Workshop

Indiana University – Bloomington
Suzanne Menzel, Senior Lecturer
OurCS: Opportunities for Undergraduate Research in Computer Science

Louisiana Tech University
Benjamin Drozdenko, Assistant Professor
Cyber Research for Empowering Women Experimenters (CREWE)

Michigan Technological University
Jean Mayo, Associate Professor
Exploring Computer Science Research

The University of Texas at El Paso
Martine Ceberio, Associate Professor
Building Pathways to Graduate School as a Way of Recruiting and Retaining Undergraduate Female Students in Computing

University of Maine, Orono
Penny Rheingans, Director, School of Computing and Information Science
ResearchME: Maine Research Focused Workshops and Mentor Networks

University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Danyelle Ireland, Associate Director, Center for Women in Technology
The CS-Impact Workshop Series: Exploring Opportunities for Undergraduate Computer Science Research & Graduate study

University of Michigan
Rada Mihalcea, Professor and Co-Director Girls Encoded
Building a Diverse Research Community: Introducing Women to Computer Science Research

University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Maria Gini, Professor
Exposing students to undergraduate research opportunities, while guiding and mentoring them through the process

University of New Mexico
Lydia Tapia, Associate Professor
Becoming a Robot Guru Workshop

University of Pennsylvania
Chris Callison-Burch, Associate Professor
SPUR WOMEN: Support and Promote Undergraduate Research for Women

University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
Nayda G. Santiago, Associate Professor
Increasing Hispanic Women participation in Undergraduate Computing Research

University of Washington
Richard Ladner, Professor Emeritus
OurCS@UW + AccessComputing

The selected group of grantees represent a diverse mosaic of faculty and institutions that brings a clear focus on cultivating and retaining a “critical mass” of women in computing, and a commitment to exposing undergraduate women in computing to foundational research training. As the workshops take flight in the new school year, we hope to share updates on each workshops’ progress and results.

Don’t run out of data: Two new ways Datally can help

Everyone runs out of data sometimes. These moments sting—which is why we built Datally to help. And today, we’re releasing two new features to help you tame your data.

Emergency bank

Emergency bank saves some of your data so you have it protected for later—just in case you need it. Enter your balance and how much data you’d like to save for emergencies, and Datally will automatically block your apps from using data once you reach your emergency data allowance. You decide when and how to use your emergency bank data—for example, to send that urgent message or schedule a ride home.

Bedtime mode

Check your data balance before bed, then check again when you wake up. It should be the same, shouldn’t it? Too often, apps drain your data overnight. Bedtime mode turns off all of your phone’s data usage at night. Choose your bedtime and wake up time, and Datally makes sure your data isn’t draining while you’re dozing.

Datally’s mission is to help you never run out of data. You can use Emergency bank and Bedtime mode starting today.

VR Labs open doors of opportunity for STEM students

For students pursuing STEM degrees like biology, hands-on time in a lab can be as essential as time spent in the lecture hall or library. In fact, for many science-based degrees, it’s required. But getting access to a lab isn’t always easy. Many students don’t live close enough to a lab facility or a university that offers their degree of choice. Others find it hard to get enough lab time because student demand is too high or their school can’t afford to provide unlimited access.

Through its ability to take people anywhere, virtual reality can be a powerful resource for students who otherwise would not have access to the lab time they need to complete their degrees. We partnered with science education company Labster to create more than 30 virtual labs on the Daydream platform, where students can do their lab work in VR without having to walk, drive, or fly to a campus. These VR labs can be particularly useful to students and faculty at the rapidly-growing number of schools that offer online science degrees. 

Earlier this month, students in Arizona State University’s online B.S. in Biological Sciences program began working in these virtual labs for full course credit. Soon students at the University of Texas at San Antonio, McMaster University, and other institutions across North America and Europe will be able to do their lab work in VR as well.  

Through its ability to take people anywhere, virtual reality can be a powerful resource for students who otherwise would not have access to the lab time they need to complete their degrees.

UsingDaydream View or the Lenovo Mirage Solo with Daydream, students can do things that previously necessitated a physical presence in a lab, like examining organisms under a microscope and sequencing DNA. They can also do things that wouldn’t be possible in the physical world, like seeing and manipulating DNA at the molecular level and visiting Astakos IV, a newly discovered exoplanet being explored as a potential habitat for human beings.

Because there’s no time limit, students can review theories, concepts, and techniques as many times as they want. In addition, students receive personalized feedback in the app to help them understand which concepts they need to review, and which techniques need more practice.


We’re hoping to make the virtual lab experience available to more students worldwide, including undergraduates, graduate students, and even high schoolers.

If you’d like to bring the virtual lab experience to your school, you can learn more at

AI and Machine Learning: Boosting Compliance and Preventing Spam

Some of the most advanced strategies in the current technology and analytics spaces include artificial intelligence and machine learning. These innovative approaches can hold nearly endless possibilities for technological applications: from the ability to eliminate manual work and enable software to make accurate predictions based on specific performance indicators.   In this way, it’s no…

The post AI and Machine Learning: Boosting Compliance and Preventing Spam appeared first on .

7 of the Best Free Time Tracking Apps for iPhone in 2018

There are so many time tracking apps for iPhone and other mobile platforms that most users are simply overwhelmed with choice. When you do find a tool you want to try, the price can be a shock. Not anymore. We’ve come up with a list of best iPhone time tracking apps, and best of all,…

The post 7 of the Best Free Time Tracking Apps for iPhone in 2018 appeared first on Remote Team Management, Startup Marketing & Growth Blog by Hubstaff.

Introducing the Ad Archive API

We’re starting to roll out the Ad Archive API so researchers and journalists can more easily analyze Facebook ads related to politics or issues of national importance.

Easier Search Console access for Analytics owners

Verifying websites in Search Console can be useful for site owners, giving you access to information about how your site is performing in Google Search. You can also get notified of issues, such as accidental blocking of Googlebot or getting hacked. Ov…

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