New Image Format Will Soon Get Browser Support

In 2015, a new image format was born of a collaboration between Cisco, Google, and Dubbed AVIF, the format is based on the Av1 video codec.

It is royalty-free and widely regarded as the most highly optimized image format to be developed to date, superior to old standbys BPEG, PNG, and even the newer WebP.

Netflix rolled out support for the AV1 video format in 2018, even before the new standard was formally approved in February 2019. Microsoft gave the format another significant boost in May 2019 when it incorporated support for the AV1 format into Windows 10 and made it available in a video codec on the Microsoft store.

Taken together, these companies' ready acceptance of the new format prompted companies that make a variety of video playback software to follow suit, setting the stage for easy acceptance of a new image format with a similar pedigree.

Billions Of Breached User Credentials Are Available For Purchase

On a regular basis, we see headlines talking about how this or that company got hacked and X number of employee or customer logins got exposed. However, since those headlines happen in isolation, it's easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. A trip to the Dark Web will reveal just how big of a problem the world faces. If you dare venture into those waters, you'll find literally billions of user accounts for sale.

In fact, by scouring various forums on the Dark Web, you can find more than fifteen billion credentials for sale, and more than five billion of them are unique.

Typically, hackers sell login credentials by company, but some larger collections are aggregated by industry. Of those, user accounts and passwords from non-financial service companies including VPN, the adult industry, the video game industry, and social media tend to be the least expensive. They tend to be sold for less than twenty dollars. Contrast that with user accounts and passwords from the financial services sector average about $70 each.

The real money though, is in accounts where a hacker can confirm a bank balance for an online bank account. In those instances, depending on the confirmed balance, the credentials can go for $500 or even more.

The most expensive login credentials on the web are those with confirmed domain admin access. These are not sold at a fixed price, but rather, auctioned to the highest bidder. They average more than $3,000 per account, but in one instance, sold for a staggering $120,000.

The bottom line here is simply this: Your information is valuable, and there's a largely invisible market for your login information. Guard it closely and make sure your passwords aren't easily guessed. When a company you do business with is hacked, don't take any chances. Change your password immediately. Don't become a statistic.

Apple Music Might Be Draining Some iPhone Batteries

Apple users are in a state of absolute uproar. Recently, battery life has taken a hit, with batteries draining more quickly than ever, sending legions of iPhone users on a hunt to track down the culprit or culprits. Early indications are that more than one app is responsible for the drastic reduction in battery life, but the most commonly identified suspect is the company's music app.

If you have an iPhone and you've been noticing that you've had to put it on your charger a lot more frequently, you're not imagining and you're certainly not alone. It's causing no end of complaints from the company's user base.


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Microsoft Will Add Plagiarism Checker To Word Program

Recently, Microsoft announced a small but important improvement to one of its signature products, Microsoft Word.

The company is planning to roll out a plagiarism checking tool bundled with a virtual writing assistant powered by the company's increasingly powerful AI/Machine Learning code.

If you're interested in trying it out, it's currently available to customers using Microsoft 365 EDU A3 and A5. The plan is to make it available to all Microsoft 365 customers beginning in July 2020 for Education customers, and to Consumer and Enterprise users by the fall of 2020.


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Hackers Used Favicon Website To Steal Credit Card Information

Hackers are constantly on the lookout for new ways of causing mayhem and stealing data.  Recently, researchers have unearthed a new technique to be on guard against. A few hackers have begun embedding credit card stealing scripts inside favicon meta data.  If you're not familiar with the term, you definitely know what a favicon is. It's a custom icon used by websites for branding, associated with a specific URL. Although not universal, they are ubiquitous on the web and most companies have them.

While the idea of embedding malicious scripts on websites to steal credit card information is not new, the notion of hiding those scripts in the EXIF files of a company's favicon to avoid detection is both new and innovative. The new technique was spotted by researchers at Malwarebytes. They discovered the script embedded as described above, and designed to steal credit card data from sites making use of a popular WordPress ecommerce plugin called WooCommerce.


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