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DefCon, Black Hat brought cybersecurity precautions to Vegas

The 2017 DefCon has grown in size over the years as Information Technology security has become a mainstream matter.

Ronald Delos Santos

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Las Vegas DefCon Black Hat
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DefCon is one of the world’s largest hacker conventions — held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada — with the first conference taking place all the way back in June 1993.

Now in its 25th year, the DefCon draws as many as 25,000 people with the skills to hack into computers, smartphones and other internet-connected devices. The show, which began on Thursday and runs through Sunday, July 27–30, 2017, is being held for the first time at Caesars Palace to house a bigger crowd.

Kwame Joyner, a barman on the Las Vegas Strip, knows to turn off his WiFi this week and learned to be careful surfing the internet on public WiFi hotspots.

Like many others on the Las Vegas Strip, Joyner knows plenty of hackers and cyber-security specialists are in the city. Those hackers and alike may want to test their skills hacking onto the local networks.

“It is amazing to me that we have enough of a reputation now that people here know to turn things off,” said Brad. Brad, like many information technology gurus attending the DefCon conference in Las Vegas, declined to provide his last name for safety and security reasons.

DefCon comes on the heels of Black Hat, a conference and trade show for the cybersecurity professionals that provides security consulting, training, and briefings to hackers, corporations, and government agencies around the world. The six-day Black Hat show, which pulled more than 15,000 people, ended on Thursday at Mandalay Bay.

While the conferences are a lucrative business for both Mandalay Bay and Caesars, filling up hotel rooms and restaurants during what is traditionally a slow period for the convention and meeting industry, they do require extra security precautions.

“All of Vegas prepares. There are memos that go out to the IT teams to let them know who is in town,” said Melanie Ensign, a spokeswoman for 2017 DefCon. “We have seen more outreach to smaller businesses to be aware.”

“We do take steps to monitor our systems during this prestigious gathering. As the host venue, we can be a tempting target for some mischief,” said Gordon Absher, a spokesman for MGM Resorts International, the parent company of Mandalay Bay. “We use this as an opportunity to remind our employees of the importance of protecting our computers and systems from unauthorized use.”

“Just as we do year-round, we ask our employees to follow our ‘see something, say something’ protocol and alert security and their managers of any suspicious activity,” according to Jennifer Forkish, vice president of corporate communications for Caesars Entertainment Corp.

Employees at both Mandalay Bay and Caesars said they were warned by the managers to be cautious when using their smartphones at work to surf the internet. The UPS center at Caesars Palace notified customers that they will only accept email attachments and no USB flash drive or email link will be accepted.

All Black Hat and DefCon attendees interviewed during the event said that they were taking extra precautions to keep their personal information safe and secured. While some said they are putting their devices into airplane mode while at the conferences and using only virtual private networks to access the worldwide web. Yet others are using so-called burner phones — a cheap, disposable, and prepaid handset device — that they will discard once the conference is over.

Other attendees in the conferences said they preferred to stay at hotels not hosting the events. Many, especially those attending DefCon, were concerned regarding using their credit cards and withdrawing money from ATMs at the convention centers.

Hewlett Packard (HP), an exhibitor at Black Hat trade show, gave away free holders that prevent people from reading the data on your credit cards.

“The big thing for me is cash only. You don’t want to swipe a card,” said Glenn who is attending DefCon for the first time. Glenn added that he is putting his mobile phone into airplane mode while at the conference.

There is no online registration requiring attendees to provide their names, addresses, contact number, email and work places. Attendees pay $260 in cash at the entrance and receive a generic badge. Credit cards are not accepted, because they are a form of identity.

Member of the press and media are not allowed to capture photos and videos in the hallways and are required to ask anyone for permission to photograph them. Some attendees are from government agencies like the FBI, CIA and National Security Agency and want to remain anonymous.

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New video of Apple’s iPhone X in silver colorway emerges online

A new video clip of a silver colorway iPhone X in the wild materializes online.

Ofelia Adamson

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iPhone X in the wild 2017 reddit

The pre-orders for Apple’s much-awaited iPhone X is just around the corner and it will finally kicks off this coming Friday, October 27th, with shipping scheduled to commence just a week later, November 3. With the Apple’s iPhone X release now less than a couple of weeks away, the general public are starting to see more photographs and video clips of Apple’s first $1000 premium smartphone out online. Most notably, a 10-second video uploaded to Reddit over the weekend showing a silver colorway of an iPhone X in all its adoration.

The near bezel-less edge-to-edge OLED screen — which the Cupertino tech giant calls it Super Retina Display — looks stunningly beautiful, but the video is also noteworthy to watch because it gives us an idea what a third-party app looks like with the controversial notch design of the iPhone X — and in this case Instagram app. To be honestly fair, APpple’s iPhone X’s notch on the uppermost of the front panel appears like an scar on the beautiful display of the device in the video here, but we’ve heard from a number notes that it’s far less irritating when using the handset as opposed to looking at photos and videos of it.

The Instagram user interface appears quite a little unrefined, but it stands to a mere fact that it will be far less of a problem once third-party app developers update their respective apps suitably.

As a number of Redditors commented:

I have been making iPhone apps for 8 years now. Testing my app on iPhone X produces a handful of problems in Portrait and about a million problems in Landscape.

Even if you do everything exactly as Apple wants, there’s going to be issues. The API to handle the notch “correctly” (safe area) is new in iOS 11. There’s no way to have preemptively written to support it. Readable layout guides get you some of the way there, but only in landscape and not really.

Day 1 iPhone X users are in for problems in most apps.

Thank you. We’ve coded Halide, our camera app, completely with auto layout. It completely conforms to Apple’s ‘way of doing things’ – we still need to do work to get the UI looking right for the X.

Most apps that use standard, system-provided UI elements like navigation bars, tables, and collections automatically adapt to the device’s new form factor..
Even my own app that I did not optimize for iPhone X has space on the top (automatically) because I used Apple’s UINavigationBar and did not give it any hardcoded values for space.

With all that being said, seeing as how the Apple iPhone X marks the first radical redesign to its smartphone line’s design since way back in 2014 (iPhone 6 ans 6 Plus), it’s a safe to say that early birds will happily experience a few developing discomforts using the iPhone X with its edgeless OLED display.

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Apple’s iPhone X has a new and more affordable Sharp’s Aquos R Compact

The Sharp Aquos R Compact is an Android 8.1 Oreo midrange smartphone. It has an Apple’s iPhone X-esque design with the prominent notch on the topmost screen.

Ofelia Adamson

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Sharp Aquos Compact R Apple iPhone X display design

Apple’s current flagship iPhone X may not be featuring a very slim bezels similar the competing rivals from the Android ecosystem like that of the Samsung’s Galaxy S8, S8+ and Note 8 but it’s still has a very attractive aesthetic design however. The only point at issue so far is that if you want to purchase the iPhone X, you will need to shell out a thousand dollar from you savings. Or even if you have the funds of the money isn’t your problem, still, you may not be able to secure an iPhone X unit during the launch because of the limited supply. Lucky you if you get one. So, good luck.

Meanwhile, you can now get some of the bezel-less hype with that notch on the top of the screen of the iPhone X without shelling out a four figure from your bank, thanks to the Japanese multinational corporation — Sharp.

Sharp P stylized as SHARP — has been in the glare of publicity recently for making a considerably great appearing of smartphones with bezel-less screen display designs and the manufacturer have now ventured to bring this new design trend to the the wild with the SHARP Aquos R Compact smartphone. The handset phone has a manufacturer suggested retail price tag of $372, the smartphone has an aesthetic design quire similar to that of the iPhone X including the notch at the top of the latter.
Sharp_Aquos_R_Cpmpact
The SHARP Aquos R Compact has tiny roundy notch at the very top of the front that houses the selfie camera. The main difference is that there’s no cutting-edge 3D facial recognition rivaling technology situated at the very top. Additionally, the device has a notably thick bottom chin with a home button that also accommodates the fingerprint biometric sensor.

Specification side, the Sharp Aquos R Compact handset unit in between the low- and mid-end range smartphone with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 octa-core system-on-chip processor sitting at the very core of it, which is paired by 3GB worth of RAM alongside a 32GB of internal storage. The narrow-bezel screen has a 4.9-inch LCP display with Full HD+ resolution and the prominent notch you notice above the front panel is an eight-megapixel camera. There’s also a whopping 16.4MP shooter on the rear. The device will be shipped an Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box, which is a plus factor. The main disadvantage of this phone is that it has a relatively smaller 2500mAh battery, but thanks to the Quick Charging 3.0 handset supports fast charging.

While it may not have public attention to details on par with Apple’s very own flagship iPhone X, it’s definitely a good device for those consumers who are looking to get a fancy advanced screen display at the price of feature-rich midrange handset.

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