Laptops

Newly discovered bugs leave two decades of devices vulnerable

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Are you using a machine made after 1995? Chances are, your computer is vulnerable to two newly discovered security exploits that can steal all your information.

On the bright side, you’re just as vulnerable as every single user on the planet. Plus, every major hardware and software company is scrambling to patch the exploits before they get out of hand.

Just as the fireworks from the new year died down, researchers from Google Project Zero announced the discovery of these two exploits — named Meltdown and Spectre. The vulnerabilities can cause attacks on the device’s physical memory, rather than just its kernel memory. This indicates that practically all the microprocessors manufactured by Intel from 1995 onwards are vulnerable.

The first one, Meltdown, allows malignant applications to access a system’s entire library of sensitive files. The second one, Spectre, tricks secure programs to leak their sensitive information to an end user. Both exploits affect offline hardware and cloud computers.

Despite its universality among devices, security measures can’t detect or block any Meltdown or Spectre exploits. They don’t leave any traces of their execution. Antivirus software, likewise, can’t distinguish the exploit from safe programs.

Tech giants like Windows, Google, and Intel are already issuing statements and patches to combat Meltdown. Cloud computing companies are also upgrading their servers to plug the exploit from being abused.

Spectre, however, is a harder nut to crack. While the exploit is harder to abuse for hackers, it’s also harder to patch. Concrete patches have not been released for Spectre yet. In fact, the exploit is so-named because researchers believe that Spectre will haunt them long after its discovery.

As consumers, the only thing we can do is implement the respective patches when they come out.

SEE ALSO: Your foolproof password isn’t good enough

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Laptops

Acer launches the first Snapdragon 7c powered Chrome OS laptop

Can give up to 14 hours of battery life

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Most Chromebooks available right now are powered by an Intel processor. And every Chromebook is powered by Google’s Chrome OS. Now, this monopoly is about to break because Acer has launched a new laptop that’s powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c chipset.

The new Chromebook Spin 513 is powered by a Snapdragon 7c processor, which was launched alongside the Snapdragon 865. It includes an octa-core Kyro 468 CPU built on an 8nm process and integrated Adreno 618 GPU. It has 4GB RAM and 128GB storage.

The Snapdragon 7c is actually Qualcomm’s entry-level offering for laptop processors. But Qualcomm is confident that the loss in computing power is covered up by its exceptional battery life. And true as it holds, Acer says the Spin 513 can deliver up to 14 hours of battery life.

The Chromebook has LTE compatability, making it an excellent portable browsing machine. It has a 13.3-inch screen with Full HD resolution and Gorilla Glass protection. It weighs 1.2kg and has a backlit keyboard. On the ports front, it has two USB-C ports and a USB-A port.

Acer will sell the Chromebook Spin 513 (CP513-1H) from US$ 399 in North America, from February.There’s also an enterprise version available that’ll go for US$ 699. The Enterprise version has added security features for businesses.

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Enterprise

Acer launches 3 new TravelMate laptops for enterprise use

Comes with military-grade design

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Alongside a host of upgrades to its existing lineup, Acer announced three new laptops in the TravelMate series. TravelMate laptops are not available for retail purchase and can only be purchased by businesses or enterprises via the commercial channel.

Hence, these laptops are designed to keep purely work in mind and are supposed to be power houses. This includes TravelMate Spin P4, a convertible touchscreen notebook; TravelMate P4, a powerful machine with a traditional build; and TravelMate P2, a durable notebook with tonnes of ports.

The laptops are powered by 11th Gen Intel processor and Iris X graphics or NVIDIA GeForce MX350 dedicated GPU. They can sport up to 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, and longer battery life. Acer claims the Spin P4 and P4 can last up to 15 hours on a single charge while the P2 clocks in 13. The former duo takes just an hour to charge the battery by 80 percent.

Being the fancier laptop, the Spin P4 gets Gorilla Glass protection and 360 hinge convertible design. The Spin P4 also gets MIL-STD-810G certification, which means it can endure rugged usage. The keyboard is spill proof and the corners are shock absorbent.

The Spin P4 and P4 are light weight and weigh around 1.5kg. The P2 is slightly heavy at 1.6kg. All three laptops support WiFi 6 and 4G LTE compatibility via an eSIM. On the port section, a Thunderbolt 4 port is included along with the standard selection of USB-C, USB 3.0, and more.

Lastly, the laptops are secured by the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 with an anti-tampering chip. Additionally, it has support for Windows Hello, built-in webcam covers, and a fingerprint reader for authentication.

Pricing and Availability

The TravelMate P2 (TMP214-53) will be available in North America in March 2021 starting at US$ 799.99; in EMEA in November starting at 759 EUR ; and in China in October, starting at CNY 4,999.

The TravelMate P4 (TMP414-51) will be available in North America in December starting at US$ 899.99; in EMEA in November starting at 899 EUR ; and in China in October, starting at CNY 5,999.

The TravelMate Spin P4 (TMP414RN-51) will be available in North America in December starting at USD 999.99; in EMEA in November starting at 999 EUR ; and in China in October, starting at CNY 6,999.

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Laptops

ASUS announces new 11th Gen Intel-powered consumer laptops

Bringing power and creativity to the next generation

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ASUS 11th Gen

ASUS wants you to stay on top of your game, no matter what the situation is. Whether it’s working on your reports or simply creating your next masterpiece, they strive to give you devices to be incredible. Now, they’re offering you a new range of 11th Gen devices that just might help you reach greater heights.

Introducing the all-new ASUS ZenBook 13 and ASUS VivoBook S14, now with the latest 11th generation Intel processors. Both laptops not only come with the latest Intel processors, but will also come with the latest Intel Xe integrated graphics, as well. These new devices hope to bring more power to your professional or creative output.

The ASUS ZenBook 13 still has that 13.3-inch FHD NanoEdge display, giving you more space for your work. Meanwhile, the ASUS VivoBook S14 comes in four vibrant colors to add some style to your laptop. Select models for the VivoBook S14 will come with an NVIDIA MX350 graphics processor for efficient multitasking.

Further details will be revealed on October 23 with ASUS’ #BeIncredible kick-off launch.

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