Kali Linux 2018.1 Released For Ethical Hackers

In 2016, Offensive Security–the developer of Kali Linux ethical hacking distro–decided to switch to a rolling release model. However, from time to time, they keep releasing the Kali snapshots with all the latest patches, fixes, and updates. Following the same tradition, the developers have pushed the first snapshot for 2018.

Aptly named Kali Linux 2018.1, this release contains all the fixes and updates released since last November’s Kali 2017.3. The team faced challenges like Spectre and Meltdown exploits, whose patches can be found in Linux 4.15 kernel.

This release is powered by the new Linux 4.14.12 kernel, which brings support for newer hardware and improved performance. This will enable the ethical hackers and penetration testers to use Kali in a more efficient manner to safeguard the security.

Notable Kali 2018.1 features

2018.1 comes with the support for AMD Secure Memory Encryption. It’s a new feature of AMD processors that allows automatic DRAM encryption/decryption. This will, theoretically, prevent the machines from cold-boot attacks.

Kali 2018.1 also supports the increased memory limits. With kernel 4.14, the new CPUs will be able to support 128PB of virtual memory and 4PB of physical memory.

In case you’re running Hyper-V to run Kali VM images, there’s some more good news. In the new release, Hyper-V integration services are included, which support Network Monitoring, Replication, and Dynamic Memory.

Kali Linux 2018.1 update and download

It goes without saying that a number of packages have been updated. This list of updated tools includes reaver, dbeaver, seclist, zaproxy, burpsuite, etc.

In case you’re already running Kali, run this command to get all the updates:

The brand new torrent and ISO files for Kali Linux 2018.1 can be found on this download page. The links for a pre-made ARM and VM images are also provided there.

Leaked Nvidia GTX 1050 Max-Q cards could target Intel AMD combo chips

When it was announced that Intel and AMD had collaborated on a processor design that bundled together an Intel CPU core and an AMD graphics chip on the same die, it seemed as if dogs and cats were about to start living together. But as the days rolled on, other market participants absorbed the news, which is why it’s no surprise that a leaked Nvidia specification appears to be going after the new combo-chip with a design termed GTX 1050 Max-Q.

Spotted by NotebookCheck in the latest Nvidia driver release for Linux platforms, the GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti Max-Q chips are expected to sit somewhere just beneath the standard GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti cards in terms of performance, offering improved efficiency and thermal controls. If the speculation is correct, the idea would be to integrate such chips into lightweight laptops.

Although that kind of talk is all conjecture, the educated guesses at clock speeds by the likes of VideoCardz suggest that these new 10-series graphics processors (GPU) could have a purpose beyond expanding the existing range of Nvidia chips. Their speculated performance would put them around about the power of the recently announced Kaby Lake G series with AMD graphics on board. These new Max-Q GPUs could be Nvidia’s attempt to counter the new strategy from the chip giants.

How effective a strategy that will be, though, remains to be seen. We still don’t know what the real-world performance of the new Kaby Lake G chips will be like, as the close proximity of the CPU and GPU and the pairing with second-generation high bandwidth memory (HBM2) could give it a unique performance profile. Nvidia’s more typical graphics chip design could end up more powerful in some scenarios and less so in others.

Nvidia has yet to make any sort of official announcement of the GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti Max-Q cards, so we have no idea when we can expect them to see the light of day. However, with them starting to receive official, certified driver support, we would be surprised if they didn’t appear, at least in a reference design, some time in the next few months.

Intel should work harder to beat AMD in 2018

However you spin it, AMD gave Intel a bit of a kicking over the last year. You can still argue about Intel’s overall performance lead, their vast revenue streams, and that they still have the highest core-count processor, but they need more than that if they want whip the AMD upstarts in 2018.

I’m pretty confident if you were to ask Intel how 2017 had been you’d hear a lot of bluster about their 18-core Skylake-X Core i9, and about how they’d released the most scalable CPU range there’s ever been. You might also hear about how they’d squeezed six HyperThreaded Intel cores into their mainstream desktop range for the first time and how it was the absolute bestest CPU for gamers.

Well, that’s arguably what you’d hear if you spoke to anyone from their marketing department anyways. Anyone outside of marketing trying to feed you such PR spin is probably just talking out loud to convince themselves and barely even noticed you were trying to get their attention.

The reality is that Intel had no idea how good the AMD Ryzen range of processors was going to be, what they were planning to do with their secret mega-core Threadripper lineup, and had no plan in place for how to respond. That resulted in a seemingly panicked Intel yanking in the release dates for every single processor launch post-Ryzen. That, in turn, either screwed over the motherboard vendors, meant customers couldn’t actually buy the new CPUs, or resulted in the early retirement of erstwhile CPUs that had only launched a few months back.

It was all a bit of a mess.

Intel Core X-series CPUs

So what can Intel do to turn things around in this new year? Start early. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) kicks off in Las Vegas in January, and we’d be willing to bet there will be some serious Intel-ing going on up and down the Strip. But the very first thing they need to do is make sure they get the Intel Coffee Lake stock situation sorted and ensure there are enough CPUs to go around.

The effectively paper launch of Coffee Lake feels like it was a damaging step for Intel. They made big noises about a new generation of processors, released them to the press garnering positive reviews, then only had a handful of retail chips to go around the world. These new chips made at least three of the recently released Core X-series CPUs obsolete and meant that no-one wanted to spend any money on the only Intel processors you could actually buy. Why would you even think about buying a Kaby Lake chip when the promise of Coffee Lake is being dangled like a silicon carrot in front of you?

Intel also need to sort out the Z370 motherboard monopoly. Having only a single possible chipset choice is unforgivable right now. There are reports Intel are prepping a host of new Coffee Lake CPUs for the new year, as leaked via a recent AIDA64 update. So long as these come in decent numbers, alongside the previously ‘launched’ Core i7 8700K, i5 8600K, and i5 8400, that’s great. But if they launch a slew of new chips – featuring four Core i5 CPUs and four Core i3 – without bringing us the mainstream H370 and B360 chipsets they’re missing a trick.

Intel Z370 motherboards are the only option right now

Intel have to get the two lower-end motherboard chipsets released as soon as they can. They’ve created, what I think, is the best gaming CPU they’ve ever made in the Core i5 8400. It’s rocking six full Intel cores, has fantastic single-threaded gaming throughput, and a bargain price… at its release RRP at least. But when all you can partner it with are expensive Z370 motherboards then it’s a waste. The same can be said of the Core i3 8350K, a chip which is effectively just the best gaming CPU of the Kaby Lake generation but with a $100 price cut.

With AMD’s Ryzen 5 / B350 chipset combo offering great gaming and computational performance for a relatively bargain price, Intel are going to have to get a competing platform ready almost as soon as the new year’s hangover has started to ease in January.

But those are the obvious things, things Intel really should have sorted out in the last year. Intel also need to take some risks in order to put AMD back in their box again. And that is exactly what Brian Krzanich has been promising in his Christmas Queen’s Speech to Intel employees.

“The new normal for Intel is that we are going to take more risks,” he said in a December memo. “The new normal is that we will continue to make bold moves and try new things. We’ll make mistakes. Bold doesn’t always mean right or perfect. The new normal is that we’ll get good at trying new things, determining what works and moving forward.”

Intel 9th Gen Core i3 series chips could be budget heroes

The biggest risk they could take would be to ditch their HyperThreading shenanigans. By that I don’t mean kill off the ability for each core to tackle multiple problems concurrently, but stop turning it off for marketing reasons. At the moment Intel segment their chips in such a way that their top Core i7 CPUs include HT as standard, with the Core i5 processors essentially being the same but without HT. It’s a similar situation lower down the stack for the Core i3 chips.

With the rumours of Intel releasing an eight-core mainstream processor at some point in 2018 that would be the perfect opportunity for them to really take the core-count battle to AMD. The red team have built the House of Ryzen on the huge increase in cores and threads their CPUs have brought to the party, but Intel could easily outgun them by retaining HyperThreading on all their processors.

The Core i7 chips could sit on eight cores and 16 threads, the Core i5 range could then utilise the six-core, 12-thread design, with the Core i3 chips following up with four cores and eight threads. That would level the playing field in the Ryzen vs. Core situation at the 7 and 5 strata, but give Intel a huge lead in the budget sector – traditionally a place where AMD has been nesting.

While this has been mooted as a possible move around their 9th Gen Core it would still require some cojones on the part of Intel. It would mean the Core i3 range suddenly looks an awful lot like the Core i7s of the 7th Gen Core architecture. That’s a big jump, and would make them the go-to for the gamer on a budget, but it would mean Intel swallowing the risk that it might cannibalise the sales of their higher-end, higher-margin processors. Such a move would certainly take the wind out of AMD’s sales as they ride the high seas of high core count CPUs, but whether Intel have the chutzpah to go through with it I don’t know.

Intel socket death

I would suggest they stop releasing tiny, iterative updates to their CPU sockets too. While the future-proofing of AMD’s AM4 platform – the basis for all their mainstream CPUs and APUs until 2020 – is a great bulletpoint feature it’s worth has yet to be tested as we’re still sitting on the first flush of Ryzen chips. But Intel constantly changing chipsets and sockets with each successive generation is getting real old. The fact that people have managed to get Coffee Lake operating on the 100- and 200-series motherboards is quite damning, especially given that we’ve effectively been sat on the same ol’ 14nm architecture for years.

The biggest thing Intel can do to take the fight to AMD, however, is get Raja to magic up a discrete graphics card to put the fear of Koduri into his former employers. I can almost guarantee that won’t happen, but if Intel can start talking seriously about what Raja Koduri is up to in the discrete GPU arena, with a few potential hints at where they’re aiming performance at, we could be very much on the way to a third way for graphics cards.

In an ideal world Intel would come back hard against the AMD incursions, which is historically what’s happened whenever the AMD horde has been at the border, and that would only benefit us consumers. After years of stagnation and barely iterative product releases, however, there is always the chance that Intel will remain mired and immovable. That would mean a few slight tweaks to their release schedule, and nothing major. Fingers crossed Brian Krzanich’s risk-taking Christmas message will bear fruit and won’t just be a desktop Core i9 with eight cores.

Intel squeezed an AMD graphics chip, RAM and CPU into one module

Intel may have unveiled its latest Core CPUs for mainstream laptops, but the company has something more advanced up its sleeves for what it calls its “enthusiast” customers. The new chip will be part of the 8th-generation Core H series of processors, and comes with discrete-level graphics cards built in, as well as its own RAM.

Having all this built into the processor frees up space for other components inside a laptop, so device manufacturers can squeeze in things like larger batteries or more optimal fan designs. Intel is not sharing performance details for the new CPUs yet, but it’s promising power that will be good enough for gamers or content creators who often run taxing programs like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.

Specifically, the new processor integrates a “semi-custom” AMD graphics chip and the second generation of Intel’s “High Bandwidth Memory (HBM2)”, which is comparable to GDDR 5 in a traditional laptop. The three typically distinct components are able to coexist on one chip because of Intel’s Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge (EMIB), which “allows heterogeneous silicon to quickly pass information in extremely close proximity.” The company also came up with a power-sharing framework that lets the GPU manage each component’s temperature, performance and energy use.

This infrastructure should free up about three square inches of board space that could either be used for other components as described above, or make for thinner laptops altogether. The idea is that powerful laptops for gamers no longer have to be chunky beasts.

The new Core H processor is the first consumer product to use EMIB, and will be released in the first quarter of 2018, and many laptop makers are expected to offer products powered by the chip. This is a pretty significant development that not only benefits the enthusiast audience, but could also have trickle down effects that could improve mainstream laptops (and even other devices) in the future.


Intel and AMD enter into partnership to combine Intel CPU with AMD graphics

The two chip manufacturers Intel and AMD have announced that they have entered into a partnership to combine Intel CPU with an AMD graphic chip. The companies expect to bring more robust graphics power to lightweight notebooks.

Intel is currently relying on technology called Embedded Multi Die Interconnect Bridge which reduces the average silicon footprint to less than half on a motherboard. This is the result of the combination of the CPU and discrete graphics in a single processor package.

The EMIB is a bridge that quickly passes information in extremely close proximity and eliminates height impact along with manufacturing and design complexities. The elimination results in faster, more powerful and more efficient products in small sizes.

Intel is expected to bring one of its eight generation Core H series processors with a semi custom graphics chip from AMD. Intel which is facing a stiff competition from NVIDIA the partnership might help both the companies in the longer term.

Laptops are expected to get a big boost in power with the new chip and help manufacturers to provide more space to other components in the devices.

Currently there is no confirmed ETA mentioned by either of the companies but we expect the manufacturers to begin shipping with the new chip some time in the first quarter of 2018.

Source: windowslatest.com

This blockchain-powered phone and PC could be out next year

Sirin Labs today announced it’s developing a smartphone and PC designed to function on the blockchain. The devices will ship with built-in resource-sharing capabilities and run on their own cryptocurrency token.

The Finney smartphone and PC are being billed as niche` products, and with a price tag of $999 for the phone and $799 for the PC. After all, not everyone needs a secure e-wallet device that allows them to spend tokens on shared resources — but it would be really cool if we all had one.

Moshe Hogeg, CEO and Founder of Sirin Labs, is a big-picture kind of person. The companies last device, the Solarin, was a $16,000smartphone billed as the world’s most secure cell phone. It seems like the idea was to provide a solution for celebrities and secret agents who are willing to spend anything to keep their data safe.

This time he’s building for the cryptocurrency market and, like many other startup CEOs, he’s betting on the blockchain.

While there’s no word yet on some specifics such as release date, Sirin Lab’s website does list the following technical specs for the Finney phone:

  • 5.2-inch QHD Display
  • 256GB of internal memory storage
  • 8GB RAM
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ac
  • BT 5.0
  • 16MP Main camera
  • 12MP Wide-Angle selfie camera


And for the Finney PC:

  • 24-inch (diagonal) 2K Display
  • Biometric security sensors
  • 8GB Memory
  • 256GB storage
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ac

The technology behind the phone and PC will be released as open source. Hogeg told TNW that Sirin Labs will release the hardware designs as well, in hopes that other manufacturers will make unique offerings of their own. He envisions a plethora of devices being designed and created in places like Taiwan and Hong Kong, all operating on the same token: Sirin Lab’s own SRN.

Sirin Labs will be launching its SRN token sale sometime in October, with early adopter bonuses and bounties. They’ll be accepting fiat money and popular cryptocurrency like Bitcoin and ETH.

iPhone 8 crushing Samsung Galaxy Note 8 in benchmark tests for speed, performance

According to various benchmark tests, the iPhone 8’s A11 processor performs well above many competitors, including Android flagship devices and some laptops.

When it comes to speed and performance, Apple’s iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are blowing the competition out of the water.

According to various benchmarking tests conducted using Geekbench software, Apple’s iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus outperformed the Samsung Galaxy S8, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, and various other Android devices in speed and performance. As noted by Tom’s Guide in its review, the phones also performed better than the 7th-generation Core i5 MacBook and the Dell XPS 13 laptop in some tests as well.

Much of this is due to Apple’s A11 Bionic chip, a six-core CPU, and a new Apple-designed GPU. The A11 is about 25% faster than its predecessor, the A10, in single-core processing. But, when looking at complex, multicore processing, the A11 outperforms the A10 by about 80%.

To understand the benchmark scores, it is important to know how some of the biggest tools establish their metrics. The popular Geekbench, for example, uses a baseline score of 4000, which equates to an Intel Core i7-6600U. So, a score of 8000 is double the performance of that particular processor.

For multicore performance, according to Geekbench 4 results from Tom’s Guide, the iPhone 8 Plus scored 10,472, while the iPhone 8 scored 10,170. The top-scoring Android device, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, only scored 6,564 on the same test. The Samsung Galaxy S8 scored 6,295.


Image: YouTube/Tom’s Guide

In terms of laptops, it was a closer race, but the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus still came out ahead. The 7th-generation Core i5 MacBook scored 9,213, according to Tom’s Guide. The Dell XPS 13, on the other hand, took 7,159. While these comparisons are impressive, Geekbench founder John Poole told Tom’s Guide that laptops tend to offer better sustained performance over time.

Tom’s Guide also used 3DMark’s tool for measuring graphics performance as well. In that test, the iPhone 8 Plus scored 64,412 and the iPhone 8 scored 62,212. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8, however, only managed to score 39,834.

The Tom’s Guide team also compared the iPhone 8, Galaxy Note 8, and Galaxy S8+ in their ability to edit, export, and save a two-minute 4K drone videos. The Galaxy Note 8 completed the task in three minutes and three seconds, while the Galaxy S8+ did it in four minutes and seven seconds total. The iPhone 8 did it in 42 seconds. This led Tom’s Guide to conclude in its review that the iPhone 8 is “easily the fastest phone ever.”

The tests are a definite win for Apple, as premium Android phones continue to advance their hardware specs. And Apple’s additional involvement in the chip making process could have been one of the key drivers of the A11’s success.

The Pirate Bay Uses Your CPU Power To Mine Cryptocurrency

Many top torrent websites add an option to donate them via bitcoins. They also provide .onion address to help you access them via dark web. In a first, The Pirate Bay torrent has been found to be using a cryptocurrency miner.

It was found that the JavaScript code in the website uses your processor to mine Monero digital coins. According to a report by TorrentFreak, The Pirate Tested this feature for about 24 hours as a way to earn revenue.

“The miner does indeed appear to increase CPU usage quite a bit. It is throttled at different rates (we’ve seen both 0.6 and 0.8), but the increase in resources is immediately noticeable,” the report adds.

The website has been using a miner from Coinhive and the code was embedded in website’s footer. This code was spotted when many The Pirate Bay users noticed a spike in their CPU usage.

It was also noticed that the Monero cryptocurrency miner wasn’t enabled. Instead, it only appeared in category listings and search results; it didn’t appear on the homepage or individual torrent download page.

As it was spotted as an experiment, we can’t predict the future of this initiative. There is also a possibility that The Pirate Bay can replace the ads with some cryptominer.

Keep reading SmartArenaPost, we’ll be keeping you updated with the latest developments.

LinkedIn open sources Kafka Cruise Control

Although Apache Kafka is widely adopted, there are still operational challenges that teams run into when they try to run Kafka at scale. In order to restore balance to Kafka clusters, LinkedIn open sourced and developed Cruise Control, its general-purpose system that continuously monitors clusters and automatically adjusts the resources needed to meet pre-defined performance goals.

According to LinkedIn staff software engineer Jiangjie Qin in a LinkedIn engineering post, Cruise Control started off as an intern project by Efe Gencer, who is currently a research assistant at Cornell University. Several members of the Kafka development team helped to brainstorm and design Cruise Control, and the project received several other contributions from the Kafka SRE team at LinkedIn.

Cruise Control for Kafka is currently deployed at LinkedIn, where it monitors user-specified goals, makes sure there are no violations of these goals, analyzes the existing workload on the cluster, and then automatically executes administrative operations to satisfy those goals, according to Qin.

Cruise Control was also designed with a few requirements in mind, which meant it needed to be reliable, resource-efficient, extensible, and serve as a general framework “that could only understand the application and migrate only a partial state and be used in any stateful distributed system,” writes Qin.

Cruise Control follows a monitor-analysis-action working cycle, providing a REST API for users to interact with. This REST API supports “querying the workload and optimization proposals of the Kafka cluster, as well as triggering admin operations,” according to Qin.

Cruise Control is also made up of a Load Monitor, which collects standard Kafka metrics from the cluster and derives per partition resource metrics that are not available. For instance, it estimates CPU utilization on a per-partition basis, writes Qin.

The Analyzer is the actual “brain” of the open source project, using a heuristic method to generate optimization proposals based on the goals and the cluster workload model from the Load Monitor.

According to Qin:

“Cruise Control also allows for specifying hard goals and soft goals. A hard goal is one that must be satisfied (e.g., replica placement must be rack-aware). Soft goals, on the other hand, may be left unmet if doing so makes it possible to satisfy all the hard goals. The optimization would fail if the optimized results violate a hard goal. Usually, the hard goals will have a higher priority than the soft goals.”

Now that Cruise Control is open sourced, Kafka users can check out its architecture and what challenges it aims to solve. LinkedIn recommends users check this reference for a guide.

Microsoft has announced a new edition of Windows 10. Named Windows 10 for Workstations, it has been designed for power users who aim to use Windows 10 on high-performance, server grade hardware.

This new version comes with features like resilient file system, persistence memory, and faster file sharing. Windows 10 for Workstations is slated to arrive later this year with Fall Creators Update.

Microsoft aims to create so many editions of Windows 10 that you won’t be able to keep the count. Their latest offering was Windows 10 S, which was specially crafted for schools with extra security fencing and Windows Store apps. Now, Microsoft has announced a new Windows 10 version named Windows 10 Pro for Workstations.

What is Windows 10 Pro for Workstations? What are its features?

Windows 10 Pro for Workstations is being termed as a high-end edition of Windows 10 Pro, which comes with the support for server grade hardware. Designed for the most advanced users, this edition is for meeting the demanding needs of intensive and critical workloads.

The highlight features of Windows 10 Pro that distinguish it from the regular Windows 10 Pro are as follows:

Faster file sharing:

Thanks to a new feature called SMB Direct, Windows 10 for Workstation allows increased throughput, low latency, and low CPU utilization during large data transfer. SMB Direct allows the use of network adapters with Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) feature to facilitate this improved transfer at full speed.

Persistence memory:

With the non-volatile memory modules (NVDIMM-N) hardware, Windows 10 Pro for Workstations enables one to read/write the files with fastest possible speed. As NVDIMM-N is non-volatile, the data will still be there even after the computer is turned off.

ReFS (Resilient file system):

ReFS is designed to handle the large data volumes and to be resilient to data corruption. It’s able to protect large volumes of data with integrity streams on mirrored storage device. With the help of integrity streams, ReFS knows when data gets corrupted on a mirrored drives and protects your data.

Better hardware support:

With Windows 10 for Workstations, Microsoft is expanding hardware support. Now the users can run Windows 10 on devices with high-performance Intel Xeon or AMD Opteron processors. The CPU limit has been bumped from 2 to 4 and memory limit has been increased from 2TB to 6TB.

When will Windows 10 Pro for Workstations arrive?

Windows 10 Pro for Workstations will be arriving as a part of Fall Creators Update, which is scheduled to release later this year.

To know more about the upcoming Windows release and features, keep reading SmartArenaPost