Don’t Count Out Software’s Old Guard

h companies that make business software are never going to match the glamour of their consumer counterparts. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is a household name, but many would be hard-pressed to identify the bosses of SAP or Oracle — even if we use their products every day.

For investors, though, dull doesn’t have to be unattractive. As SAP and Microsoft’s results show in the three months to June, the old guard is doing alright despite a generational shift in the way that businesses buy and use technology.

Cloud computing, which uses networks of internet-hosted remote servers to run technology tasks (rather than doing so locally), is forcing SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and others to overhaul products and business models.

It has given birth to fast-growing upstarts such as Salesforce.com, Workday, and Amazon Web Services, which offer less cumbersome subscription-based systems.

SAP and Microsoft began adjusting a while ago. SAP believes its sales of cloud-based software will be bigger than traditional products by 2018. It’s had 13 consecutive quarters of more than 30 per cent growth from cloud services, excluding merger and acquisition effects.

Microsoft sales in its cloud division rose 6.6 per cent to US$6.7 billion in the latest quarter. Revenue from Azure, the Microsoft platform that sells data-center computing power and services, has doubled in two consecutive quarters.

Nomura estimates that the cloud will account for about 30 per cent of Microsoft sales by mid to late 2018 from just 5 per cent in early 2015. Chief executive Satya Nadella (recognize him?) deserves credit for starting to fix Microsoft after predecessor Steve Ballmer’s missteps, including the value-destroying buy of Nokia’s mobile phone business.

Of course, it’s early days in the cloud era. The old guard must still prove they can cut costs to protect margins, while being nimble enough to ward off those new rivals. Cloud services, sold by subscription, are often less profitable than on-premises software.

For SAP, the shift doesn’t mean it can ignore traditional products entirely. Investors are closely tracking adoption of its new S/4 Hana suite, a set of products sold mostly to big companies.

Growth-obsessed investors favor Salesforce and its upstart kin since they were created exclusively to provide cloud computing services. Salesforce trades on 72 times expected earnings over the next 12 months, showing the faith people have in that growth. Yet while sales have quadrupled in five years to hit almost US$7b, it didn’t make a profit over the period. Nor does it pay dividends. Boring old SAP, Microsoft and Oracle do. That’s a bonus in a low-interest rate world where yield is scarce. It might be time to brush up on those names.

[Source:-TOP TECH NEWS]

Siemens not planning any more big software acquisitions: source

Siemens logo is pictured at a building of the manufacturing plant of Siemens Healthineers in Forchheim near Nuremberg, Germany, October 7, 2016. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

German engineering group Siemens is not planning any more big purchases of industrial software makers, a person close to the company told Reuters.

“We are pretty much done building the house of industry digitalization,” the source said on Thursday.

Siemens has bought a dozen software companies over the past 10 years, mostly in the United States, spending close to 9 billion euros ($9.6 billion) to keep pace with changes to manufacturing technology.

Last month, it agreed to buy U.S.-based Mentor Graphics in a $4.5 billion deal.

[Source:-REUTERS]

Volkswagen recalls 61,000 cars in Australia to fix diesel emissions cheating software

VOLKSWAGEN has gained approval from the Federal Government to commence recall work on 61,000 cars with software that can cheat diesel emissions tests.

While recalls have already begun on up to 11 million VW cars caught up in the “diesegate” scandal overseas — and vehicles in the US are being bought back in a landmark $20 billion settlement — affected models in Australia are among the last to be addressed.

VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN WINS CARSGUIDE CAR OF THE YEAR

A statement from Volkswagen Australia says “software solutions” are available for 35,000 vehicles immediately, the remainder will be done next year.

This is in addition to the recall of 9000 Amarok diesel utes issued earlier this year.

Affected vehicles will undergo a software update and some “minor” mechanical changes at Volkswagen dealers free of charge.

The recall comes as Volkswagen Australia continues to face two cases in the Federal Court.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has accused the German car maker of “misleading conduct”.

An open class action is being jointly undertaken by Bannister Law and Maurice Blackburn Lawyers; even VW diesel owners who have not signed up for the case will still receive a benefit if one is awarded.


Up to 11 million VW diesel cars are caught up in the scandal globally. Photographer: Jochen Eckel / Bloomberg.

Volkswagen believes Australian customers are not entitled to compensationbecause it claims there will be no adverse affect on its vehicles once the upgrades are made.

“Our confidence in this solution is based on the experience of thousands of Amarok owners in Australia and more than 1.7 million customers internationally who have had the update implemented,” Volkswagen Group Australia managing director Michael Bartsch said in a media statement.

“Authorities in Europe conducted a review and certified that following the update, the fuel figures and Co2 emissions originally listed by the manufacturer were confirmed. Engine performance, maximum torque and noise emissions were unaffected,” he said.

What remains unclear is what were the true emissions of Volkswagen diesel cars in Australia — in normal driving conditions rather than in a test lab — before the recall upgrades were made.

In April 2016, Mr Bartsch, said Volkswagen had not breached any local laws.

“There are no regulations in Australia or anywhere in the world that requires us to meet real-world driving emissions tests,” said Mr Bartsch.

“The reality is that no manufacturer is required to provide emissions data based on real-world driving performance.”


Recalls have already commenced on the VW Amarok ute. Picture: Supplied

Owners of affected vehicles will receive a letter from Volkswagen, inviting them to make an appointment with their local dealer.

In the meantime, customers who remain unsure if their vehicle is affected can enter their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) via a link www.volkswagen.com.au, www.skoda.com.au and www.volkswagen-commercial.com.au, or call 1800 504 076.

How VW was busted:

May 2014

West Virginia University and a couple of clean air campaigners — Peter Mock and John German — complete a real-world driving test that found the toxic emissions in certain VW diesels were up to 35 times higher than what was allowed in the US at that time. The results are forwarded to the US Environmental Protection Agency, VW is formally asked to explain the discrepancy.

December 2014

After initially claiming there must have been a glitch with the diesel cars tested, Volkswagen recalls approximately 500,000 vehicles to address the emissions discrepancies.

May 2015

US authorities conduct follow-up tests on the recalled vehicles and discover they are still belching out too many toxins. None of VW’s explanations for the discrepancy satisfy authorities.

June 2015

VW is warned their latest diesel cars will not be approved for sale until the issue is resolved with the older cars. This is believed to be the first time the US government has been forced to use its powers to stop sales of vehicles that are already in showrooms.

3 September 2015

VW admits to authorities it used software to sidestep US emissions regulations.

18 September 2015

The EPA in the US makes its findings public, VW announces 486,000 cars in the US are affected.

22 September 2015

VW says the number of diesel cars with the cheat mode has climbed to 11 million globally and includes other VW-owned brands such as Audi and Skoda.

Volkswagen

Golf (2009-2013)

Polo (2009-2014)

Jetta (2010-2015)

Passat CC (2008-2012)

Volkswagen CC (2011-2015)

Passat (2008-2015)

Eos (2008-2014)

Tiguan (2008-2015)

Caddie (2010-2015)

Amarok (2011-2012)

Audi (certain versions of the following models)

A1 (current generation)

A3 (previous generation)

A4 (current generation)

A5 (current generation)

A6 (current generation)

Q5 (current generation 2.0 TDI)

TT (previous generation)

Skoda

Octavia (2009-2013)

Yeti (2011-2015)

Superb (2009-2015)

[Source:-COURIER MAIL]

Don’t Count Out Software’s Old Guard

h companies that make business software are never going to match the glamour of their consumer counterparts. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is a household name, but many would be hard-pressed to identify the bosses of SAP or Oracle — even if we use their products every day.

For investors, though, dull doesn’t have to be unattractive. As SAP and Microsoft’s results show in the three months to June, the old guard is doing alright despite a generational shift in the way that businesses buy and use technology.

Cloud computing, which uses networks of internet-hosted remote servers to run technology tasks (rather than doing so locally), is forcing SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and others to overhaul products and business models.

It has given birth to fast-growing upstarts such as Salesforce.com, Workday, and Amazon Web Services, which offer less cumbersome subscription-based systems.

SAP and Microsoft began adjusting a while ago. SAP believes its sales of cloud-based software will be bigger than traditional products by 2018. It’s had 13 consecutive quarters of more than 30 per cent growth from cloud services, excluding merger and acquisition effects.

Microsoft sales in its cloud division rose 6.6 per cent to US$6.7 billion in the latest quarter. Revenue from Azure, the Microsoft platform that sells data-center computing power and services, has doubled in two consecutive quarters.

Nomura estimates that the cloud will account for about 30 per cent of Microsoft sales by mid to late 2018 from just 5 per cent in early 2015. Chief executive Satya Nadella (recognize him?) deserves credit for starting to fix Microsoft after predecessor Steve Ballmer’s missteps, including the value-destroying buy of Nokia’s mobile phone business.

Of course, it’s early days in the cloud era. The old guard must still prove they can cut costs to protect margins, while being nimble enough to ward off those new rivals. Cloud services, sold by subscription, are often less profitable than on-premises software.

For SAP, the shift doesn’t mean it can ignore traditional products entirely. Investors are closely tracking adoption of its new S/4 Hana suite, a set of products sold mostly to big companies.

Growth-obsessed investors favor Salesforce and its upstart kin since they were created exclusively to provide cloud computing services. Salesforce trades on 72 times expected earnings over the next 12 months, showing the faith people have in that growth. Yet while sales have quadrupled in five years to hit almost US$7b, it didn’t make a profit over the period. Nor does it pay dividends. Boring old SAP, Microsoft and Oracle do. That’s a bonus in a low-interest rate world where yield is scarce. It might be time to brush up on those names.

[Source:-TOP TECH NEWS]

In these turbulent times, take a break from social media to find comfort

A man walks along a tree lined path

Five days after the election of Donald Trump, I stood in line at the airport wanting to kill time. I glanced at Twitter on my phone, almost by instinct, to snuff out a momentary feeling of boredom. What greeted me shouldn’t have been a surprise, given what I had read all week: a steady stream of hate promised, chronicled, photographed as it was unleashed throughout America, filled my timeline.

As the plane began its taxi, my mind spiraled down an abyss of dark thoughts.Was the America I knew, loved, and once lived in, now a place I should viscerally fear? Would I witness this hate firsthand? Would I walk by unsettling graffiti, or feel the string of racism shouted as I spoke in front of crowds of strangers? My stomach churned as the plane climbed, and when the seatbelt sign turned off, I had to lock myself in the bathroom for a few minutes, taking deep breaths to stop my whole body from shaking.

As I walked back to my seat, I unexpectedly spotted my friend Avi. “Oh man,” I said, squeezing his head in a massive hug, “you have no idea what a sight for sore eyes you are.” The relief in a familiar face was immense. I sat back down, read a novel, had a great conversation with my seat-mate and even slept a bit. By the time the plane landed, the fear that had consumed me on takeoff seemed silly.

I noticed that Twitter, Facebook and other digital forms of communication fed and nurtured my very real anxiety until it consumed me. Whenever I turned to the internet for a distraction, and even a possible sense of reassurance, I was instead sent reeling to the worst corner of my psyche. Only when I consciously stepped away from the screen, did I regain some sense of calm and perspective.

I wasn’t burying my head in the sand. One morning, in Washington, DC, I read the newspaper over breakfast. While the news was increasingly alarming, reading about it on the printed page didn’t spur the same sense of panic that it did online. It was more manageable in paper. And trust-worthy: there are no bots or fakes to worry about. It’s all vetted enough to make it into print. The headlines didn’t stream forward or suck me down a rabbit hole, either. They lay there, next to my eggs and coffee, and relayed their information. No more. No less.

Not so long ago, the internet was a reliable escape from the harsh reality of the world. Today, it is the reality we need to escape from. Like many others, I am seeking comfort away from the screen. The only things that seem to make any sense, and to lighten the darkness, are those precious moments offline. Listening to a record. Escaping into the pages of a familiar paperback. Playing board games with friends. Seeking refuge from the uncertainty fed up so efficiently online, in ways that feel grounding and familiar.

Inevitably, these interactions lead me away from the echo chambers and into face-to-face interactions with fellow humans and strangers. These were conversations, not comments, which established empathy – sometimes even greater degree of understanding. Online, it seemed like an army of racist reactionaries had conquered America. But the America I knew was still there, full of its usual problems and prejudices, but also its broad smiles, big bellied laughs and generous servings of abundance.

This Thanksgiving, we gathered around the table, filled our glasses with wine and our plates with turkey, laughed and talked, as Bonnie Raitt spun on the turntable, and a fire crackled in the fireplace. Throughout that epic meal, none of us picked up a phone, even to take a photo. As our kids ran wild through the house, we openly shared our fears, frustrations, and even hopes over what happened, and what might come to pass.

We weren’t ignoring the present for some pre-digital nostalgia. We were taking hold of the world we could see and feel, while giving thanks for the chance to connect, just for a brief moment, in a way that felt really, truly, comforting.

[Source:-THE GUARDIAN]

Don’t Quit Social Media. Put It to Work for Your Career Instead.

As director of digital communications and social media at the career site Monster, I read Cal Newport’s recent Preoccupations column, “Quit Social Media. Your Career May Depend on It,” with great interest. Mr. Newport argues that social media is harmful for careers because it is too much of a distraction and doesn’t provide a valuable return on investment professionally.

As someone who spends the majority of his work time on social media helping people find careers they’ll love, I disagree with his assessment. I believe that you should not quit social media — and that doing so will actually damage your career.

Understandably, you might be questioning my motives — “Hey, this guy does social media for a living, so clearly he’s got a vested stake in this matter.” Well, you’re right. But let’s start with the point that I’m not the only one who makes a career doing this: Just one platform, Facebook, has created more than 4.5 million social media industry jobs globally, according to a study conducted by Deloitte. Talk about literal career benefits. The number of people in the creative industries, advertising and more who make a living on social media is probably much higher.

But I’m not just here to proclaim the greatness that is social media. I agree with some of the points that Mr. Newport makes about the potential harm it can cause. But I think there are ways to navigate these hurdles rather than hiding from social media altogether.

Here’s how I believe we can address some career challenges presented by social media, as outlined by Mr. Newport:

“Many people in my generation fear that without a social media presence, they would be invisible to the job market.”

This is actually a reasonable belief, and it’s a reality that is becoming more clear each day. Tools are available that enable employers to search all the digital bread crumbs you leave behind to see a fuller picture of who you are and how you might fit within their organization.

Most employers and customers I’ve talked to are ultimately looking for confirmation of their excitement about you, not reasons for suspicions or doubts. Not having any profile could be seen as a red flag, so why give a potential employer any reason to question your candidacy?

Your social media presence — and, really, your whole digital footprint — is no longer just an extension of your résumé. It’s as important as your résumé. Social media use is now a standard of the hiring process, and there’s little chance of going back.

You need to realize that social media wields great power: What you say there — including saying nothing at all — has an effect on your network or on the employer who is checking out your Instagram account. But remember that you control what people see. By being more judicious about what you share or by altering the platform settings where possible, you can manage your digital trail to increase the odds that a potential employer will form a positive impression of you.

“Cultivating your social media brand is a fundamentally passive approach to professional advancement.”

One reason to leave the social world behind is the torrid pace of maintaining a public, digital brand on social media for little return. Mr. Newport’s column tells of a writer who became overwhelmed by his sense of obligation “to update his blog every half-hour or so,” for very little value delivered. But the rabid sharer is just one type of social media user.

There are many people with a presence on social media who are what we affectionately call lurkers, those who may never or rarely post or share but who simply consume content widely. These activities may seem passive, but they are not. Lurkers may be doing much to further their careers: learning new things, keeping up with the latest trends or preparing for any conversation that might crop up in the break room or during a job interview.

“Social media use is decidedly not rare or valuable.”

In many cases, social media can have a substantial effect on important issues and on public discourse. For instance, I fully believe social media indirectly affected the 2016 presidential election by generating a kind of mass conversation that further polarized supporters of the two major candidates. In today’s reality, these conversations often influence what becomes news — real or fake.

Regardless of your sentiments about these mainstream discussions, not staying on top of them means you’re excluding yourself from critical conversations with co-workers and clients. In the case of clients in particular, exposing yourself to diverse views expressed on social media will make it easier to find common ground, as you can expect to work with people from all walks of life and political backgrounds. This will not happen naturally if you visit the same publications every day (which are probably in line with your views), but it can happen on social media if you follow a well-rounded collection of sources. The main point is this: Social media is often where news — real or fake, in line with your views or not — is happening, and being aware of it is crucial for business professionals today.

In the end, for these reasons and more, I don’t support abandoning social media. I suggest we embrace it, fully and more actively than ever, but also thoughtfully and deliberately. In doing so, we create important career opportunities, from simply expanding our networks and improving our knowledge, to exposing ourselves to jobs we may not have previously considered.

[Source:-THE NEW YOURK TIMES]

Russia Avoids Android To Secure Its Smartphone Future

Finnish-based smartphone and software developer Jollahas announced that its mobile operating system, Sailfish OS, has been accepted as “the only mobile OS in Russia to be used in governmental and government controlled corporations’ upcoming mobile device projects.”

The certification of Sailfish OS will allow the Russian government and associated agencies to reduce its reliance on foreign-controlled operating systems. Strictly speaking the certification is for a Russian version of the OS under development by Sailfish and Russian company OMP. Work has been going on for eighteen months alongside regular development of Sailfish OS, which acts as the core component of OMP’s Russian version of the OS.

The certification means that Sailfish – at least in this part of the smartphone ecosystem – has a natural advantage over Android and iOS in Russia that will help stabilise the company after a rocky start, and the company is working with other BRIC governments on similar certifications.

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting of the Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects at the Kremlin (Photo:Sergei Ilnitsky/AFP/Getty Images)

Jolla’s history really started with Nokia’s move away from Symbian OS and the in-house Linux-based MeeGo successor towards Microsoft MSFT +0.09%. As part of that process the company saw substantial layoffs. Many of the former staff from the MeeGo team pooled resources and started Jolla with as much of the open-source components of MeeGo as they could use.

Since then it has been a rough road for Jolla. Following limited success with its first self-titled handset and an aborted crowd funded tablet device, it focused on the operating system software. Now christened Sailfish OS it can be found in some specialist handsets (including the Intex Aqua Fish, the Turing Phone and the Jolla C developer handset).

Today’s news should contribute to a much more stable business environment for the OS to be developed and allow Jolla to grow as a business that has pivoted into a niche enterprise and B2B space.

Jolla's Sailfish OS (image: Jolla.com)

Jolla’s Sailfish OS (image: Jolla.com)

Sailfish’s Chairman Antti Saarnio has also acknowledged in an interview with TechCrunch that there is no mass-market potential for a Sailfish device. The Jolla, Jolla Tablet, and Jolla C devices will remain as limited-run devices. No doubt fans of the platform who get a hold of the 2017 devices will need to practice thinking in Russian.

[Source:-FORBES]

Microsoft Finally Joins the Linux Foundation

you can’t beat them, join them. That seems to be the stance Microsoft has taken with the announcement that it is joining the Linux Foundation. The move represents a stark change in attitude toward open source software for the company that was once the standard bearer for the closed source, proprietary development model.

“We want to help developers achieve more and capitalize on the industry’s shift toward cloud-first and mobile-first experiences using the tools and platforms of their choice,” Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Executive Vice President Scott Guthrie (pictured above) said today at the company’s annual Connect(); developer event. “By collaborating with the community to provide open, flexible and intelligent tools and cloud services, we’re helping every developer deliver unprecedented levels of innovation.”

Getting to the Cloud with Open Source

The company described its decision to join the Linux Foundation as part of a broader strategy to work more closely with the open source community. Microsoft said the move will benefit customers through increased collaboration and innovation throughout the diverse open source ecosystem.

Open source software has become a key component of a number of technologies that power cloud computing. As cloud platforms have become more popular Microsoft has been eager to ensure it is not left out. The company has even developed its own open source application framework, .NET Core.

“By becoming a Linux Foundation Platinum member, Microsoft is better able to collaborate with the open source community to deliver transformative mobile and cloud experiences to more people,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation. “Microsoft has been a key contributor to many projects, and we see the company intensifying its involvement and commitment to open development.”

Google Joins .NET Foundation

Joining Linux wasn’t the only major announcement Microsoft made about open source projects today. The company also said Google will be joining the .NET Foundation, an independent organization Microsoft established to promote adoption of .NET. The inclusion of Google should help reinforce .NET’s position as a key open source technology by bringing in a major industry player.

Microsoft also previewed a new version of its Visual Studio platform for the Mac operating system that will enable developers to write cloud, mobile, and macOS apps on Apple’s Mac OS using the popular development environment.

The company also offered a peek at the next version of the its flagship SQL Server database with support for Linux, Linux-based Docker containers, and Windows-based environments. Microsoft also previewed its Azure App Service on Linux with support for containers, a new service for app developers announced yesterday.

[Source:-CIO TODAY]

HMD Set To Bring Nokia Back, India Will Be Key

HMD-Set-To-Bring-Nokia-Back-India-Will-Be-KeyThe name Nokia is synonymous with the modern smartphone, Heck, during their heyday, Nokia was the smartphone. No other manufacturer could come close to the magic that Nokia had, they made one hit after another, with each device growing their popularity and brand to even higher plateaus. Then just when it seemed like Nokia was destined to rule the world of smartphones forever, the iPhone happened and it was all downhill from there. The wizards at Nokia were outdone at their own game and like many companies that tried to desperately to cling on, Nokia took the baby steps toward touch screen devices too late. They plummeted like Icarus, having flown too close to the sun.Now a new day is about to dawn for Nokia, rising like the phoenix from the ashes of their failures, no doubt wiser, having learnt from their mistakes. In 2017, the world will see another Nokia phone, for many who grew up communicating on Nokia devices, this news was an overload of Nostalgia. They are not doing it alone though. HMD global, the company led by Nokia alumni, Arto Nummela has been chosen to shoulder the burden of this feat. While many will be sceptical of a company that has been around only since 2016 to handle a brand as iconic as Nokia, it’s not difficult to realise why the choice was made, nearly all key executives at HMD have ties to Nokia and almost all of them carry memories of their time at Nokia and the Bittersweet symphony of the relationship with Microsoft.

HMD will clearly will bank on the nostalgia and history associated with the Nokia brand. In an Interview with Reuters, Nummela was quoted as saying “Consumers may be carrying different smartphones now, but are they really in love and loyal to those brands?”

After all, Nostalgia is a powerful tool, it kept Nokia going through the many ups and downs before the shutdown. The Lumia devices, based on a then untested mobile operating system, Microsoft’s Windows Phone, sold on name alone. The fact that the customers were willing to put up with the irritants of a new operating system was because the Nokia name was associated with the project.

It’s fitting then that the new Nokia phones move to a new operating system, Google’s Android. It was a move that many fans wanted the company to make ever since the demise of the much loved N9. Nokia has already waded into the Android territory with the N1 tablet and HMD will be looking to use that experience to make up for lost time. It’s not going to be just the operating system though, there is a solid plan in place.

Analyst Ben Wood of CCS Insight says “For a new entrant, having an established brand provides it with an instant on-ramp, the barriers to entry for the Android phone space are low, What HMD has is the Nokia brand and management experience. The key to its success will be driving scale.” He added that phone vendors with weak brands should not take the challenge lightly.

HMD, leader, Nummela was once the spearhead of Nokia sales and Product development. “We want to be one of the key competitive players in the smartphone business,” he told Reuters.

Given the renewed focus on capturing market share, it’s a safe bet that HMD will likely start from the ground up, aiming to wrestle market away in the feature phone and mid-ranged phones segments first. Both these categories are among the highest sold in the Indian market, where spending power on premium smartphones is relatively lower than in other countries.

It’s not going to be easy, where Nokia phones once made large numbers in the feature phone segment, the fiscal year of 2015 saw an almost forty percent plunge in sales, leaving the Nokia brand tattering in the doldrums. Then there is the challenge of selling phones in a market with seemingly endless vendors are offering many options, that can make distinguishing your product a challenge. HMD seem optimistic of their chances, Nummela says his team’s enduring relationships with phone service providers and retailers could help HMD quickly convince owners of Nokia feature phones to upgrade in markets like India, Indonesia and Russia.

Analyst Ben Wood added “The feature phone is the essence of the business, don’t be under any illusions that this market is over.”

[Source:-GIZMODO]

North Korea’s Government Sanctioned Operating System Can Be Hacked Remotely

Today a group of hackers found a new vulnerability in Red Star OS—North Korea’s government sanctioned operating system—which allows it to easily be hacked remotely.

The hermit kingdom’s linux-based OS has never exactly been known for its security features and significant vulnerabilities have been exposed on numerous occasions since it leaked to the rest of the world last year. The latest vulnerability, exposed by the information security company Hacker House “to mark Red Star’s anniversary leak,” allows a hacker to remotely access users’ computers simply by getting them to click on a hyperlink.

The third and latest version of Red Star OS comes with a modified Firefox web browser called Naenara, as well as a number of other bizarre features such as a wine wrapper that allows users to run Windows 3.1 applications. According to Hacker House, it was the “trivial remote exploit attack vectors” contained in Naenara that allowed the hackers to do their thing.

Specifically, the Hacking House hackers exploited a certain application that handles uniform request identifiers (URI), which is a way of naming resources in a network (web addresses are a type of URI, for example). In particular, Hacking House cited the ‘mailto’ URI request that is used for email as a weakness in the Naenara system because it doesn’t wipe the request from the application’s command line. This allowed the hackers to “trivially obtain code execution” by simply injecting malware links into the command line.

The exploit after being executed by Hacker House in Red Star OS. You can see the arbitrary command ‘id’ executed in the highlighted ‘To’ line in the email client. Image:Hacker House

The end result on the user side is a normal looking web link that points to ‘mailto.cmd.’ When the mail client opens up the link, it allows hackers to remotely execute arbitrary commands on the user’s computer.

One can only wonder if at least part of the reason the North Korean government maintains its stranglehold on internet access is because it’s simply embarrassed by its information security protocols—or rather, the lack thereof.

[Source:-MOTHERBOARD]