The day started with security bells ringing around every computer powered by Intel processor. The company confirmed that a security flaw leaves Intel-powered devices dating back nearly 20 years at risk. However, the bigger risk seemed to be around potential data breach of Aadhaar, which has the potential to affect over a 1 billion Indians. UIDAI claims Aadhaar is safe, but the digital security around it remains questionable.
Moving away from vulnerability and data breach, Samsung launched its powerful Exynos 9 chipset which will be at the heart of next Galaxy flagship, while Honor made its View10 official at Rs 29,999. Here is a rundown of all the major tech news that you need to know including data breach, security threat, flagship smartphone and chipset launch and a fun thing in the form of WhatsApp stat.
Intel confirms security flaw in its chipsets
Intel has confirmed that a security flaw in its chipset affects computers made in the past 20 years. The new security flaws are dubbed “Meltdown” and “Spectre” and has been known among security professionals for few months now. Researchers have observed that Meltdown particularly affects devices using Intel chipsets, but Spectre largely remains an unknown with researchers suggesting it will be difficult to exploit.
With the flaw having come to light, it allows any attacker to access low-level kernel memory that is normally protected from higher programs and user access. There are no reports yet to attackers taking advantage of the flaw just yet, but Linux developers have already started separating kernel’s memory from users processes as seen from the current state of kernel page-table isolation. The vulnerability also affects large-scale cloud service providers Microsoft, Amazon and Google.
Initial reports claimed that the software fix for the hardware flaw compromises performance by as much as 30 percent. However, Intel has denied that drop in performance and says the flaw does not affect Intel chipsets in particular. All Windows, Linux and macOS users should immediately check for updates and get their devices patched against this security flaw.
Samsung announces Exynos 9 SoC with Face ID competitor
Samsung has launched its Exynos 9 SoC, the chipset that will power company’s next flagship Galaxy S9 smartphone. Like Apple and Huawei, the Exynos 9 Series 9810 SoC also brings neural processing and deep learning to smartphones. The South Korean company says Exynos 9 will use deep learning algorithms to support face detection and object identification images.
It seems Samsung is hinting at its own Face ID competitor and Google Lens rival with the launch of Exynos 9. The Exynos 9 is an octa-core chipset built around the second-generation 10nm architecture that brings performance improvement apart from improvements in handling AI-related tasks. Like Apple’s Secure Enclave, the chip will also have dedicated secure processing unit for storing biometric data such as iris scan, face and fingerprint scans. It also brings fast data connectivity and will likely be at the heart of Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+.
Honor View10 India price revealed
Honor View10, the flagship smartphone from Huawei’s e-brand, has been priced at Rs 29,999 in India. The smartphone was seen as the competitor to OnePlus 5T, but the pricing totally undercuts the offering from OnePlus. The Honor View10 will be available exclusively on Amazon India and the e-commerce site has started registrations for the first open sale to be held on January 8.
In terms of specifications, the Honor View10 features a 5.99-inch Full HD+ display with 18:9 aspect ratio, Kirin 970 SoC with dedicated neural processing unit, 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. It offers dual rear camera setup with 16-megapixel color sensor and a 20-megapixel monochrome sensor. There is also a 13-megapixel front camera with portrait mode. The View10 runs Android 8.0 Oreo,and is backed by a 3,750mAh battery. Read our full review of AI-first phone here.
Another report of Aadhaar data breach but UIDAI calls it misreporting
Aadhaar is again in the crosshairs for a data breach affecting over a billion Indians. A media report claimed that anonymous sellers have been providing unrestricted access to details of more than 1 billion Indians with 12-digit Aadhaar number on WhatsApp. The report says the Aadhaar data is available for mere Rs 500 with payment being accepted via Paytm. Sounds scary right?
However, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has denied the data breach, and is calling it as misreporting about Aadhaar. UIDAI maintains that Aadhaar data including biometric information is protected with highest level of encryption and any misuse of data by third-party is traceable. This comes amidst ongoing privacy battle surrounding Aadhaar and the recent extension of deadline to link Aadhaar with mobile number and bank account by the Supreme Court.
Samsung Galaxy A8+ (2018) India launch set for January 10
Samsung Galaxy A8+ (2018), the successor to Galaxy A7 (2017) is set to launch in India on January 10. The smartphone will be Amazon India exclusive, and the e-commerce giant has started putting out teaser for the device.
The biggest selling point of the Galaxy A8+ (2018) is the Infinity Display design first seen on Galaxy S8 series. The smartphone features large 6-inch display with 18.5:9 aspect ratio, and comes with updated processor and option for up to 6GB RAM and 64GB storage. Samsung has also improved the camera and has packed a big 3,500mAh battery. There is no word on pricing or availability just yet.
WhatsApp records 75 billion messages sent on New Year’s eve
WhatsApp has now revealed that its 1.2 billion users combined sent 20 billion messages on New Year’s Eve. It says the messages were sent between 12AM and 11.59PM on December 31. The Facebook-owned messaging platform says New Year’s Eve was it’s biggest messaging day ever.
WhatsApp users in India sent 14 billion messages through the platform and it is no wonder that the platform went down due to such huge message load. WhatsApp had a great 2017 with the platform adding new features like voice and video calling and even successfully copying Snapchat with its own Status feature.