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Here’s the latest security bug your computer could be exposed by

A newly discovered firmware vulnerability could leave countless Windows and Mac computers at risk from a hack, according to security researchers from Duo Labs1 . The vulnerability could be used by malware to gain deep access to systems. The bug involves the extensible firmware interface, or EFI, which is the first bit of code that runs when you hit the power button – part of its responsibilities include validating the software that’s running on the machine. Based on tests on 74,000 Apple Macs, the Duo Labs team found that the EFI firmware was not always being updated at the same time as the operating system, leaving a security hole that could potentially be exploited . The vulnerability could also affect Windows PCs, the researchers say2.

Risk assessment

The good news is that a hack taking advantage of the EFI vulnerability would need to be quite a complex one, and it’s only really worth the trouble if you’ve got some pretty important data locked away on your machine. What’s more, Duo Labs says it hasn’t spotted anyone actively making use of this security loophole yet – it’s working with Apple and other computer makers to get the bug patched. “For most people in most situations, the risk is currently not severe,” the researchers say. If you’re on a Mac machine, updating to the latest version of the software (macOS High Sierra) is enough to squash the vulnerability .

For more details about how the security vulnerability works and how to guard against an attack, see the Duo Labs blog3.

References

  1. ^ from Duo Labs (duo.com)
  2. ^ the researchers say (www.bbc.co.uk)
  3. ^ see the Duo Labs blog (duo.com)

Tunisia must live up to promises to end impunity for security forces at UN Human Rights Council

The use of torture in custody and human rights violations committed in the name of security and counterterrorism will continue unabated unless Tunisia lives up to the commitments it has made today at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, said Amnesty International. During today s session, the outcome of the third Universal Period Review of Tunisia s human rights record was adopted . The Tunisian authorities accepted 189 recommendations on how to improve the country s human rights record, including pledging to boost accountability for abuses by security forces, eliminate torture and other ill-treatment and ensure that counterterrorism and national security measures do not jeopardize human rights.

The commitments made by Tunisia today are a step in the right direction . But the government must swiftly implement these reforms if its promises of human rights progress are to be realised, said Heba Morayef, North Africa Research Director at Amnesty International. The commitments made by Tunisia today are a step in the right direction .

But the government must swiftly implement these reforms if its promises of human rights progress are to be realised

Heba Morayef, North Africa research director at Amnesty International

Two recent proposed bills have called into question the government s commitment to accountability . Last week Tunisia s parliament approved a controversial bill granting amnesty to officials accused of corruption under former President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali s rule. Tunisia s pledges related to security sector reforms will be seriously undermined if the government goes ahead with a bill1, known as the Repression of attacks against armed forces bill , which would grant security forces immunity from prosecution for unnecessary use of lethal force and criminalize criticism of police conduct . The bill could be reintroduced in parliament as soon as next month.

Tunisia s promises to end impunity for the security forces will be meaningless if the authorities proceed with a bill that gives the security forces protection from prosecution for human rights violations . The authorities must demonstrate they are committed to keeping the promises they have made today by scrapping this bill immediately, said Heba Morayef.

Tunisia s promises to end impunity for the security forces will be meaningless if the authorities proceed with a bill that gives the security forces protection from prosecution for human rights violations

Heba Morayef, North Africa research director at Amnesty International

For years Amnesty International has called on the Tunisian authorities to step up their efforts to reform the security sector and to stamp out impunity . Yet since the 2011, the overwhelming majority of credible allegations of torture and other serious violations by security forces have not been independently and impartially investigated, and there have been only a handful of prosecutions. Out of 248 recommendations from more than 100 countries, Tunisia has adopted 189, acknowledged 55 and deferred 4 at its UN review session today. As part of their commitments, the Tunisian authorities have agreed to ensure all allegations of torture are impartially and effectively investigated.

In its February 2017 report Abuses under Tunisia s state of emergency Amnesty International highlighted how violations including torture, arbitrary arrest and restrictions on movement have been committed in the name of national security since the fall of President Ben Ali in 2011.

Tunisia must not squander this chance to adhere to its commitments under its own constitution and international human rights law by implementing the reforms it has pledged to uphold and delivering genuine human rights progress, said Heba Morayef. During a recent meeting with Amnesty International in Tunis, Tunisia s Minister of Relations with Constitutional Authorities, Civil Society and Human Rights, Mehdi Ben Gharbia, discussed the outcome of the UN human rights review . He emphasized that the government takes recommendations relating to physical integrity very seriously and that efforts to address torture are ongoing but that it is taking time to overcome the legacy of the Ben Ali era . He added that the authorities are also working hard to end forced anal examinations which are regularly carried out on men suspected of engaging in same-sex sexual relations . Amnesty International considers that these examinations amount to torture.

In this regard Amnesty International welcomed today Tunisia s acceptance of two recommendations to immediately cease the practice of forced anal examinations and ensure the protection of LGBTQI persons from all forms of stigmatization, discrimination and violence . However the organization deeply regrets Tunisia s rejection of 14 recommendations relating the decriminalization of same-sex relations by repealing article 230 of the Penal Code. During today s session Tunisia s authorities also committed to bringing national laws in line with the country s new constitution and international human rights standards . Amnesty International is now urging the authorities to expedite the long overdue process of establishing a constitutional court and to amend the country s penal code to ensure all articles relating to freedom of expression, association, torture and the death penalty are brought in line with international law.

Disappointingly, Tunisia rejected a recommendation to end military trials of civilians, in violation of international fair trial standards. This is the country s third Universal Periodic Review by the UN Human Rights Council . Amnesty International delivered an oral statement at today s session, and ahead of it, submitted a report to the council highlighting the main human rights issues in the country as well as key recommendations.

References

  1. ^ bill (www.amnesty.org)

Nest’s new home security system aims to combine power with ease of use

Nest is taking home security to the next level with Nest Secure, a new alarm system that protects your abode with a hands-off approach that’s just as effective at protecting against intruders. There are multiple components to the system – making it modular, if you will – which Nest unveiled at an event in San Francisco, starting with Nest Guard. This is the brains of the operation, and acts as the alarm and keypad as well as a motion sensor . Shaped like a hockey puck and smaller than the Amazon Echo Dot1, you tap your Nest Tag (which we’ll get to in a bit) to arm and disarm the system. Guard will also utter a countdown clock of how much time you have to leave the house once you’ve armed it. Nest's New Home Security System Aims To Combine Power With Ease Of Use

Nest Tag and Nest Guard Then there’s Nest Detect . This battery-powered motion detector is placed on the wall and will sense when doors or windows are open, and picks up movement in rooms (both when it’s on a door). You can tap a button on Detect to disarm a door with a featured called Quiet Open if, say, it’s the middle of the night and Fido needs to go outside. The aforementioned Nest Tag is a little tile that can attach to your key chain . It allows you to arm and disarm your security system without needing to input a passcode .

Just walk in the front door and touch your Tag to the Nest Guard. Nest's New Home Security System Aims To Combine Power With Ease Of Use Nest Detect

You can control the entire system from the Nest app, arming and disarming your alarm wherever you are and receiving alerts if something is detected. It’s all designed so you actually use it, rather than be turned off by complicated and intrusive systems that don’t fit with the average person’s lifestyle . There’s a battery backup and optional $5/month ($50 per year) cell backup service so your system is always primed should Wi-Fi cut out or your power is off. As for price, a Nest Secure starter pack costs $499 (about 370 / AU$620) . This includes one Nest Guard, two Nest Detects and two Nest Tags. You can add on additional components as well, with each Nest Detect costing $59 (about 45/ AU$75) and additional Tags priced at $25 (about 20 / AU$30) . Best Buy will also sell a package with a Nest Cam Outdoor for $598. The Nest Secure system is available for pre-order from Nest today . It will ship to the US this November, with availability in Europe and Canada coming next year.

New Nest IQ

Nest also introduced a new Nest IQ outdoor camera at its event today. The camera is weatherproof, Nest says, and uses facial recognition as well as motion detection to sense who’s there. Nest's New Home Security System Aims To Combine Power With Ease Of Use It will launch in the US, Canada and European markets where Nest products are available in November . Pre-orders open today . The Nest Cam IQ outdoor price is $349 (about 260 / AU$435), or two for $598 (about 440 / AU$740). Nest also unveiled a smart doorbell, called Nest Hello2 .

It, too, uses facial recognition to tell who’s come a’knockin’, can record in HDR, and has a night-vision mode.

References

  1. ^ Amazon Echo Dot (www.techradar.com)
  2. ^ Nest Hello (www.techradar.com)