Kaspersky Unveils New Tech to Protect Against Audio Spying

Kaspersky Unveils New Tech to Protect Against Audio Spying

To help people protect themselves from the threat of audio surveillance, Russian security software firm Kaspersky Lab has developed a method to counteract unauthorised access to microphone data on Windows devices.

The patented technology filters internal commands sent to, or received by, the Windows Audio service and indicates the creation of each new audio stream by any application.

It then uses Kaspersky Lab’s ‘Application Control’ feature, which categorises all programmes depending on their reputation, content and manufacturer.

If it recognises that an ‘untrusted’ or ‘low/high restricted’ programme is trying to access the microphone, the request is immediately blocked, the company said on Thursday.

“When it comes to audio protection, the main difficulty in the development of this technology was the existence of an audio stream multiplexing system within Windows so that several applications can record sound simultaneously,” added Alexander Kalinin, Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab.
“However, this problem was resolved easily with help of our rich kernel driver infrastructure, which includes a mechanism to control commands between Windows services,” Kalinin, who was involved in the research, said.

The method is used in the company’s flagship home solutions – Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Total Security.

Till now, no other security solutions on the market have integrated technologies to protect microphones from malicious access, the statement added.

Audio protection is part of the ‘Privacy Protection’ set of technologies included in Kaspersky Lab’s home security solutions.

It also contains Webcam Protection – which notifies users about access to their integrated or connected webcam – and the Private Browsing feature, which blocks any attempts to collect data on users via a web-browser.



YouTube Unveils VR180 Format, Reveals Mobile Users Spend an Hour a Day on Average

YouTube Unveils VR180 Format, Reveals Mobile Users Spend an Hour a Day on Average

YouTube’s VR180 video format to be supported by new cameras
Google working with YI, Lenovo, and LG for new camera
1.5 billion logged in viewers visit YouTube every single month
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki at VidCon on Thursday announced an all-new video format VR180 that will make VR content creation slightly easier for creators. Google has also confirmed that the Daydream team is working with several manufacturers to build cameras from the ground up for VR180 video format.

The company says that the new VR180 video will ensure what’s in front of the user is high resolution, and “look great on desktop and on mobile.” YouTube’s main focus is to boost VR with the new video format as it can be seen on phones with regular 2D screens as well as VR headsets like Cardboard, Daydream, and other headsets which show images stereoscopically in 3D. The new video format will enable depth, where “near things look near, and far things appear far,” adds Wojcicki. Additionally, the VR180 format also supports live streaming videos.

Google has named some partners like YI, Lenovo, and LG who are working with the company to bring new cameras priced same as a regular point-and-shoot camera. Videos and live streams will be easy to upload to YouTube from these cameras. Google has revealed that the first cameras will hit shelves this winter. The new format is capable of delivering 3D video while capturing 180 degrees of vision.

Google has also opened a VR180 certification program for other manufacturers who want to join. Z Cam will be one of Google’s first partners under the program.
“We want to make VR more accessible and more affordable for viewers and creators. The reality is, filming 360-degree VR videos isn’t easy for most creators and some VR cameras are expensive. That’s why I’m thrilled that YouTube and Daydream have worked together on a new format, VR180, and new cameras, which make it easy and affordable for anyone to make VR videos,” said Wojcicki.

Wojcicki also revealed that now, 1.5 billion logged in viewers visit YouTube every single month and on an average, viewers spent over an hour a day watching YouTube on mobile devices alone. YouTube also announced an all-new change to YouTube app which will in the coming weeks “dynamically adapt” to whatever size users choose to watch it in. YouTube last month teased the new redesign interface which will come with a Dark theme as well.

The company will soon let user share a video with friends right from YouTube app and this will be available to users in Latin America and the US in couple of weeks.


AdSense Unveils a New Look for Mobile Text Ads

Google has given AdSense mobile text ads a sleek new look. In a recent article on the official Inside AdSense blog , the search engine giant has unveiled the new format that “allows for higher performance with a more beautiful and user-friendly appearance.”

The redesigned version has been rolled out on mobile devices, so you should be able to take a look at it right now.

Changes to Ad Appearance

Compared to the previous look, the headline and body copy appear bigger now. Google has also changed the font that makes the ads look more visually appealing than before.

Another key highlight is the text ads now feature elements such as a shaded background and a centered button, which according to Google “bring together the parts of the ad into a cohesive whole.” In the blog post, Clyde Li, AdSense Software Engineer explains that “the look and feel is inspired by material design, like richer text ads” that were launched earlier in 2015.

Looking at the comments left by users on the blog post, it would seem the response to the changes is largely positive.

Facebook Catching On

Google’s latest move to give a new look to text ads on mobile seems largely influenced by Facebook’s growing interest and popularity in this space.

Facebook has been eyeing mobile ads for some time and trying to catch up to Google. Last year, the social networking company reported mobile ads represent 59 percent of its overall ad revenues. For Google, on the other hand, the ride is turning out to be quite bumpy. Even though Google’s ad business grew 16.5 percent in the same quarter, it was less than what was expected.

To stay on top of its game, Google is taking some important steps. In October, the company announced its AMP project to accelerate mobile page loading times. The following month, Google revealed the fast loading mobile pages with ads will be coming in 2016.

The AMP initiative will reduce mobile data usage and curb ad-blockers that have impacted the company’s ad revenue.

The message is pretty clear: Google doesn’t want to lose its share of the mobile advertising pie. Updating the look of mobile ads is probably one of the many changes it has in store. It will be interesting to see what the next move is.

Image: Google


Apple Unveils iOS 10 Update with New 3D Touch Pop Ups, More

Apple Unveils iOS 10 Update with New 3D Touch Pop Ups, More

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced some updates to its mobile operating systems across the board during Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2016 recently. Those updates included some new features and a more open policy for app developers, which will hopefully bring more innovative solutions in the future. Since the mobile division is the bread and butter of the company, the spotlight was definitely brighter on iOS 10.

Apple says the iOS 10 update is the biggest release to date, with more than 70 new features designed to make your mobile experience better than ever.

Before you visit the App Store to download the latest version, you should know it won’t be available until later this fall, and only for the following devices: iPhone 5 and later, all iPad Air and iPad Pro models, iPad 4th generation, iPad mini 2 and later, and iPod touch 6th generation.

Meanwhile here are some of the more important features Apple wanted the world to know from iOS 10?

A Peek at the iOS 10 Update

3D Touch

When 3D Touch was introduced on the 6S it was well received, but there were some complaints, especially on how quickly it responded. The app has been tweaked to be more responsive, and all you have to do is deep press an icon for an app a little longer and it brings up key info without having to enter the app.

For the home screen this is a great feature, as you have all the apps you use most front and center. If you want to take a quick look at a notification, you deep press it and you can see the messages right away.

Companies that want to create apps for this feature, such as Uber, food delivery, service related companies or others can provide information on their location and how long it will take them to a customer’s location.

Smarter Lock Screen, Raise to Wake

The lock screen experience is much smarter now because you can view it by just picking up the phone, hence the name Raise to Wake. This feature is also integrated with 3D Touch, which lets you see inside of Notifications, Today view and Control Center with a deep press. 


The biggest news for Siri is that Apple will be releasing the Siri API to the developer community, which might be the only truly big surprise of the whole event. With the SiriKIt, developers will have access to many of the voice controlled capabilities so they can design apps for messaging, phone calls, photo search, ride booking, personal payments and workouts, as well as controls for some home appliances and automotive functions.


The new feature in the Photos app is called Memories, which scans all your photos and videos and finds favorite people, trips and events to present them in a collection. It goes through your pictures and turns them into highlight-style reels with on-device facial, object and scene recognition technology.

There are also new facial and location detection capabilities along with a more powerful search.


Maps is also being made available to developers so they can create new applications. The Maps API will bring in OpenTable, Uber, Lyft and other services so users can book tables at restaurants and get a ride back home when they are finished — all within the Maps app.

The app also proactively delivers directions based on your routine or appointments on your calendar. And once a route has been planned, it can search for gas stations, restaurants, coffee shops and more.


This is a native app which expands on the Homekit framework for the connected devices in your home. With more appliances and home infrastructure slowly but surely becoming part of the Internet of Things (IoT), this is an application with many long term prospects.

Apple Unveils iOS 10 Update - Home

Support for HomeKit is growing, and it will include thermostats, lights, window shades, door locks, video cameras and more. Apple also announced how HomeKit devices will be integrated by leading home builders, including Brookfield Residential, KB Home, Lennar Homes and R&F Properties.

Apple Music and News

Apple Music has a new design for easy access to your music library as well as discovering new music. The news app has a new For You feature that is organized into categories to make it easier to find stories, breaking news notifications, and paid subscriptions to news services.

Other updates include an overhaul to iOS 10’s Messages app including iMessages. If you regularly use an iOS powered device to keep you connected while on the go in your business, you can see a new overview of 3D Touch and other features here.

Images: Apple