What is Azure certification? – Android Authority

What is Microsoft Azure certification?

Azure, also known as Microsoft Azure, is a cloud platform that provides a number of different services for businesses. These include cloud storage, IoT, security, machine learning, containers, database management, and more.

Microsoft Azure certification demonstrates that an IT professional is familiar with these tools and can help employers and clients integrate them into their own workflow. But is Azure certification worth pursuing? What types of certification are available? Read on, and we’ll explore what you need to know.

Also read: What is Azure? Azure certification for professionals

A bit about Azure

Azure is one of several competing cloud platforms, also referred to as “infrastructure-as-a-service.” It is the second largest of these, with roughly 16% market share. That places Microsoft Azure ahead of Google Cloud (8%) and behind Amazon Web Services (33%).

The question to ask yourself when considering Azure certification then is whether you would be better served by Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Google Cloud certification. AWS is in most demand and Google Cloud is superior for machine learning, but Azure certification has many unique benefits of its own.

Microsoft logo

It boasts seamless integration with many of the Microsoft products and services that businesses are already familiar with. It also has an excellent, scalable pricing model that ensures users only pay for the services they need. As Microsoft is keen to point out, AWS is up to five times more expensive for many comparable services.

Also read: AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud – Which certification is best for professionals?

The best option for developers and IT professionals is to gain certification in all three of the major cloud platforms. As cloud computing is amongst the fastest growing technologies, this is a smart move for anyone looking to “future-proof” their CV.

Azure certification is also valuable on its own: for someone with experience looking to specialize, or someone looking to find work with a business that already relies on Azure.

About Azure certification

With Azure certification, a candidate will demonstrate they have the skills to help businesses integrate these cloud services into their products and workflow. This is a highly valuable skill set and may command a higher salary. That said, certification should always be considered as a way to “augment” a resume, with experience and qualifications taking precedent.

Also read: Microsoft Certification: A guide for tech professionals

There are 12 different types of Azure certification with associated exams. These include:

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist – Associate Exam AZ
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer – Associate Exam AI-100
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer – Associate Exam AZ-203
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator – Associate Exam AZ-203
  • Microsoft Certified: Solutions Architect – Associate Exam / Expert Exam AZ-300 / AZ-301
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Database Administrator – Associate Exam DP-300 (beta)
  • Microsoft Certified: Security Engineer – Associate Exam AZ-500
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure – Fundamentals Exam AZ-900

The right Azure certification for any given professional will depend on the nature of the work they are looking for. For example, a developer may benefit from an Azure Developer certification, whereas security specialists would be better served by the Security Engineer certificate. Professionals can also choose between Fundamentals, Associate, or Expert level exams. Fundamentals are often suggested as optional prerequisites for Associate exams.

Also read: The best online certificate programs for enhancing your career

Most Associate exams cost $165, making this a smart investment that should provide significant returns. Exams can be taken at physical testing centers or online. You can find more information and a full list of all Microsoft Certifications and exams here.

Preparing for Azure certification

Those with no prior experience with Azure should educate themselves prior to taking an exam. There are lots of great online courses that will provide a full, comprehensive introduction to Microsoft Azure for beginners and pros alike. Many of these provide specific training and prep for the exams.

Android Authority readers can get some big discounts on a number of Azure Certification courses. The Essential Microsoft Azure Certification Bundle is available for just $29.99 (a 97% discount) and includes all the materials you need to gain a broad knowledge of Azure.

Senator asks DHS if foreign-controlled browser extensions threaten the US

Photo illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Enlarge / Photo illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Getty Images

A US senator is calling on the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity arm to assess the threat posed by browser extensions made in countries known to conduct espionage against the US.

“I am concerned that the use by millions of Americans of foreign-controlled browser extensions could threaten US national security,” Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, wrote in a letter to Christopher Krebs, director of the DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. “I am concerned that these browser extensions could enable foreign governments to conduct surveillance of Americans.”

Also known as plugins and add-ons, extensions give browsers functionality not otherwise available. Ad blockers, language translators, HTTPS enforcers, grammar checkers, and cursor enhancers are just a few examples of legitimate extensions that can be downloaded either from browser-operated repositories or third-party websites.

Unfortunately, there’s a darker side to extensions. Their pervasiveness and their opaqueness make them a perfect vessel for stashing software that logs sites users visit, steals passwords they enter, and acts as a backdoor that funnels data between users and attacker-controlled servers.

Extensions: A short, sordid history

One of the more extreme examples of this type of malice came last year when Chrome and Firefox extensions were caught logging the browsing history of more than 4 million users and selling it online. People often think that long, complicated Web URLs prevent outsiders from being able to access medical or accounting data, but the systematic collection, dubbed DataSpii, proved the assumption wrong.

Among the sensitive data siphoned by the extensions was proprietary information from Apple, Symantec, FireEye, Palo Alto Networks, Trend Micro, Tesla, and Blue Origin. The Dataspii extensions also collected private medical, financial, and social data belonging to individuals. The collection only came to light thanks to the dogged and costly work of an independent researcher.

Other examples of abusive extensions can be found here, here, here, and here.

Wyden’s letter mentions the case of an extension provider that’s from China, a country critics say pays hackers and others to steal source code, blueprints, and other proprietary data from its foreign adversaries. The senator wrote:

For example, my office has been investigating Genimous Technology, a Chinese company that, through a series of shell companies in offshore jurisdictions like Cyprus and Cayman Islands, controls a network of web browser extensions used by more than 10 million consumers. Genimous’ subsidiaries offer dozens of browser extensions, which provide users with some limited, free functionality, such as weather reports or package tracking, in order to gain access to users’ computers. The true purpose of Genimous’ browser extensions is to change users’ search engine to one offered by Verizon Media, which pays Genimous a fee for doing so.

I am concerned that the use by millions of Americans of foreign-controlled browser extensions could threaten US national security. In particular, I am concerned that these browser extensions could enable foreign governments to conduct surveillance of Americans.

Neither Genimous nor Verizon immediately responded to a request to comment for this post.

Nation-hired hackers

There are at least two reported cases of foreign governments using extensions in espionage hacks. The more advanced attack came to light in 2017. It involved Firefox extensions used by Turla, a Russian-speaking hacking group that many researchers believe works on behalf of the Kremlin.

One such extension analyzed by security firm Eset masqueraded as a security feature available from the website of a fictitious security company. Behind the scenes, it acted as a backdoor that connected infected computers to a Turla command and control server that retrieved stolen data and could upload and install new or updated malware.

To cover its tracks, the extension didn’t call the server directly. Rather, it connected to the comment section of Britney Spears’ Instagram account. By computing a hash from a comment and using a programming technique known as a regular expression, the backdoor was able to derive the server address. Researchers from Bitdefender stumbled upon the same Turla campaign that used other Firefox extensions.

A separate nation-sponsored hack involving extensions occurred in 2018. It used Chrome extensions, available in Google’s official Chrome Web Store, that security firm Net Scout believes stole data such as browser cookies and/or passwords. To give the extensions an air of authenticity, the hackers copied reviews left for other extensions that either praised or criticized them.

Getting answers

Over the years, Wyden has pressed both government officials and business leaders on a host of topics relating to technology. Last year, he and Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, called on CISA’s Krebs to investigate VPNs, which like extensions, have the ability to covertly collect sensitive information and do other nefarious things.

“To that end, I ask you to assess the threat posed by web browser extensions offered and controlled by companies in adversary nations,” Wyden wrote. “If you determine that these companies and their products threaten US national security, please take the appropriate steps to protect US government employees and government systems.”

Belgium launches COVID-19 exposure notification app using Apple-Google framework

Belgium has launched its coronavirus exposure notification app, “Coronalert,” on Wednesday, after several months of development with Apple and Google’s frameworks.

Belgium’s new “Coronalert” COVID-19 contact detection and tracing app is available to download starting on Wednesday. Like many others in circulation, the app utilizes the Apple-Google framework for exposure notifications and is available for both Apple and Android phones. The app was developed by Belgian companies DevSide and Ixor, and audited for security by NVISO.

Like many countries, Belgium uses the app to help alert users to high-risk exposures to those who have tested positive for COVID-19.

High-risk exposure is deemed as being within six feet or less of an infected person for a minimum of 15 minutes.

If a user of the app is infected with COVID-19, they can choose to alert anyone who has met the minimum threshold for high-risk exposure. This alert is anonymous and helps to supplement traditional contact tracing efforts.

The Belgium government strongly encourages all citizens to download the app if possible, as contract tracing apps only work if a sizable percentage of the population utilizes them.

Mobile Application Security Testing Market with COVID-19 Impact 2020

Global Mobile Application Security Testing Market This research report provides COVID-19 Outbreak study accumulated to offer Latest insights about acute features of the Mobile Application Security Testing Market. The report contains different market predictions related to market size, market status, market trends and forecast, the report also provides brief information of the competitors and the specific growth opportunities with key market drivers. Find the complete Mobile Application Security Testing Market analysis segmented by companies, region, type and applications in the report.

Scope of Mobile Application Security Testing: Mobile Application Security Testing Market report evaluates the growth rate and the market value based on market dynamics, growth inducing factors. Complete knowledge is based on the latest industry news, opportunities, and trends. It also examines the role of the leading market players involved in the industry including their corporate overview, financial summary and SWOT analysis. It presents the 360-degree overview of the competitive landscape of the industries. Mobile Application Security Testing Market is showing steady growth and CAGR is expected to improve during the forecast period.

Major Players Covered in this Report are:
Accenture (Republic of Ireland)
Micro Focus (UK)
Veracode (US)
Synopsys (US)
Pradeo (France)
Rapid7 (US)
Tieto (Finland)
Trustwave (US)
WhiteHat Security (US)

Type Segmentation (On-Premises, Cloud, , , )

Industry Segmentation (Government & Defense, BFSI, IT & Telecom, Healthcare, Retail/Manufacturing)

The segmentation chapter allows readers to understand aspects of the Global Mobile Application Security Testing Analyzers Market such as products/services, available technologies, and applications. These chapters are written in a way that describes years of development and the process that will take place in the next few years. The research report also provides insightful information on new trends that are likely to define the progress of these segments over the next few years.

Mobile Application Security Testing Market: Regional Analysis Includes:

  • Asia-Pacific (Vietnam, China, Malaysia, Japan, Philippines, Korea, Thailand, India, Indonesia, and Australia)
  • Europe (Turkey, Germany, Russia UK, Italy, France, etc.)
  • North America (the United States, Mexico, and Canada.)
  • South America (Brazil etc.)
  • The Middle East and Africa (GCC Countries and Egypt.)

Key questions answered in the report include:

  • What will the market size and the growth rate be in 2025?
  • What are the key factors driving the global Mobile Application Security Testing Market?
  • What are the key market trends impacting the growth of the global Mobile Application Security Testing Market?
  • What are the challenges to market growth?
  • Who are the key vendors in the global Mobile Application Security Testing Market?
  • What are the market opportunities and threats faced by the vendors in the global Mobile Application Security Testing Market?
  • Trending factors influencing the market shares of the Americas, APAC, Europe, and MEA.
  • What are the key outcomes of the five forces analysis of the global Mobile Application Security Testing Market?

Global Mobile Application Security Testing Market 2020 Key Insights:

  • Research and analyse the Mobile Application Security Testing Market standing and future forecast           associated with production, Mobile Application Security Testing price structure, consumption, and Mobile Application Security Testing Market historical knowledge.
  • The report understands the structure of Mobile Application Security Testing trade by distinctive its varied segments and sub-segments.
  • Market split the breakdown knowledge by company, products, end-user, and prime countries, Mobile Application Security Testing Market history knowledge from 2016 to 2020 and forecast to 2026.
  • Analysis of Mobile Application Security Testing Market regarding individual growth trends, future prospects, and their contribution to the overall Mobile Application Security Testing Market.
  • Global Mobile Application Security Testing Market 2020 report analyses competitive expansions like agreements, new product launches, and Mobile Application Security Testing Market acquisition.
  • Research report target the key international Mobile Application Security Testing players to characterize sales volume, Mobile Application Security Testing revenue, growth potential, drivers, SWOT analysis, and Mobile Application Security Testing development plans in coming years.

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Note: In order to provide more accurate market forecast, all our reports will be updated before delivery by considering the impact of COVID-19.

“Joker”—the malware that signs you up for pricey services—floods Android markets

“Joker”—the malware that signs you up for pricey services—floods Android markets

September has been a busy month for malicious Android apps, with dozens of them from a single malware family alone flooding either Google Play or third-party markets, researchers from security companies said.

Known as Joker, this family of malicious apps has been attacking Android users since late 2016 and more recently has become one of the most common Android threats. Once installed, Joker apps secretly subscribe users to pricey subscription services and can also steal SMS messages, contact lists, and device information. Last July, researchers said they found Joker lurking in 11 seemingly legitimate apps downloaded from Play about 500,000 times.

Late last week, researchers from security firm Zscaler said they found a new batch comprising 17 Joker-tainted apps with 120,000 downloads. The apps were uploaded to Play gradually over the course of September. Security firm Zimperium, meanwhile, reported on Monday that company researchers found 64 new Joker variants in September, most or all of which were seeded in third-party app stores.

And as ZDNet noted, researchers from security firms Pradeo and Anquanke found more Joker outbreaks this month and in July respectively. Anquanke said it had found more than 13,000 samples since it first came to light in December 2016.

“Joker is one of the most prominent malware families that continually targets Android devices,” Zscaler researcher Viral Gandhi wrote in last week’s post. “Despite awareness of this particular malware, it keeps finding its way into Google’s official application market by employing changes in its code, execution methods, or payload-retrieving techniques.”

Digital sleight of hand

One of the keys to Joker’s success is its roundabout way of attack. The apps are knockoffs of legitimate apps and, when downloaded from Play or a different market, contain no malicious code other than a “dropper.” After a delay of hours or even days, the dropper, which is heavily obfuscated and contains just a few lines of code, downloads a malicious component and drops it into the app.

Zimperium provided a flow chart that captures the four pivot points each Joker sample uses. The malware also employs evasion techniques to disguise download components as benign applications like games, wallpapers, messengers, translators, and photo editors.


The evasion techniques include encoded strings inside the samples where an app is to download a dex, which is an Android-native file that comprises the APK package, possibly along with other dexes. The dexes are disguised as mp3 .css, or .json files. To further hide, Joker uses code injection to hide among legitimate third-party packages—such as org.junit.internal, com.google.android.gms.dynamite, or com.unity3d.player.UnityProvider—already installed on the phone.

“The purpose of this is to make it harder for the malware analyst to spot the malicious code, as third-party libraries usually contain a lot of code and the presence of additional obfuscation can make the task of spotting the injected classes even harder,” Zimperium researcher Aazim Yaswant wrote. “Furthermore, using legit package names defeats naïve [blocklisting] attempts, but our z9 machine-learning engine enabled the researchers to safely detect the aforementioned injection tricks.”

The Zscaler writeup details three types of post-download techniques to bypass Google’s app-vetting process: direct downloads, one-stage downloads, and two-stage downloads. Despite the delivery variations, the final payload was the same. Once an app has downloaded and activated the final payload, the knock-off app has the ability to use the user’s SMS app to sign up for premium subscriptions.

A Google spokesman declined to comment other than to note that Zscaler reported that the company removed the apps once they were privately reported.

Day after day

With malicious apps infiltrating Play on a regular, often weekly, basis, there’s currently little indication the malicious Android app scourge will be abated. That means it’s up to individual end users to steer clear of apps like Joker. The best advice is to be extremely conservative in the apps that get installed in the first place. A good guiding principle is to choose apps that serve a true purpose and, when possible, choose developers who are known entities. Installed apps that haven’t been used in the past month should be removed unless there’s a good reason to keep them around.

Using an AV app from Malwarebytes, Eset, F-Secure, or another reputable maker is also an option, although they, too, can have difficulty detecting Joker or other malware.

Apple’s automotive ambitions extend far beyond self-driving systems

For a product that Apple still hasn’t officially admitted that it was working on, the “Apple Car” is getting a lot of research and development work, including steering, ventilation, and software-based self-adjusting sensors.

Self-adjusting sensors

“Multi-sensor real-time alignment and calibration,” one of the newly granted patents, is to do with “real-time alignment and calibration” of multiple sensors that the “Apple Car” will use.

“An autonomous vehicle includes numerous optical sensors configured to sense a surrounding environment around the vehicle,” says Apple. “The optical sensors provide information regarding the environment to the vehicle such that the vehicle is spatially aware of the vehicle’s surroundings in order to determine an appropriate action.”

Projectors display a known pattern and then sensors compare their alignment to it

Projectors display a known pattern and then sensors compare their alignment to it

That makes sense, and it’s also something we’re used to seeing from Tesla cars. However, Apple is concerned with how these sensors perform over the long term.

“Over time, the vehicle may encounter various impacts that may disrupt positioning of the sensors, such as bumps in a road, vibrations from driving or sudden stoppage while driving,” continues the patent. “These impacts can potentially cause the sensors to be out of alignment from original factory specifications. Unaligned or misaligned sensors can disrupt autonomy functions of the vehicle due to incorrect or misinterpreted data from the sensors.”

One solution would be for Apple to reduce the recommended time, or miles driven, between services. But this is Apple and that won’t do.

“Taking the vehicle into a service center for realignment of the sensors is inefficient and inconvenient for an owner of the vehicle,” says the patent. “Relative calibration may improve the functionality of the sensors to detect the surrounding environment.”

Apple’s logic is that to align a sensor properly, you need precision equipment — and you’ve already got that right there in the car. This patent is about leveraging the whole set of sensors in order to spot when one has gone out of alignment.

“Apple Car,” then, may include “a projector configured to project a pattern on a target location,” which the sensors then check out. “[One] or more sensors may also be configured to detect the pattern at the target location,” and the car has a calibration system on board.

“[This] calibration system is configured to determine whether a particular sensor of the one or more sensors is out of alignment based on a relative position of the pattern as detected by the one or more sensors,” says Apple. It will also then have the ability to fix the alignment and recheck it.

Steering “Apple Car”

The sensors that need alignment “may include one or more actuators,” says Apple. This is the term used for any number of different elements in the car, elements that operate mechanisms or physically move. They include ones specifically for steering.

“Steer-by-wire system with multiple steering actuators,” also newly-granted, is a patent regarding steering and especially when a driver allows the car itself to take control.

While not specifically stated, the patent includes the option for four-wheel drive

While not specifically stated, the patent includes the option for four-wheel drive

“Examples of vehicle actuators are propulsion actuators, braking actuators, steering actuators, and suspension actuators,” explains Apple. “Steer-by-wire systems can eliminate or disconnect a physical connection between a steering wheel… and the road wheels.”

Despite all of the advances in car steering systems, right up to power steering, it is still fundamentally the case that when you turn the wheel, you directly turn the car. With Apple’s proposed system, it could be that the car recognizes you’ve turned the wheel, and then separately indirectly matches that movement.

That disconnect between your physical action and what the car does could be as jarring as the first time you use cruise control. However, it is only one of many options, and this patent is to do with the car switching between them.

“[One] control mode is a fully manual mode in which the human operator steers the vehicle using a physical connection that is established between the steering wheel and the roads wheels,” says Apple. Others include “an automated control mode,” where the car is doing the driving. Or “some vehicles can also be operated in a remote control mode.”

What the patent is concerned with is less the car taking over control and leaving you to spin the wheel uselessly, and rather exactly what happens when you reassert control. It’s similar to how cruise control will switch off when you lightly touch the gas pedal, but the system can’t suddenly slow down to the speed that light touch would suggest.

Riding in comfort

Whether you’re in control of the car, or the car itself is, you’ve still got to be sitting there for a long time. The third of the newly granted patents is concerned with making your environment as comfortable as possible.

“Body structure ventilation,” is about making a strong, lightweight, and well-ventilated car chassis. Every car maker aims to do exactly this, but every car maker is constrained by certain engineering requirements.

How Apple plans to make more room for ventilation in a car body by carefully designing and shaping support structures

How Apple plans to make more room for ventilation in a car body by carefully designing and shaping support structures

“Typical vehicle body structures include structural rails, sills, and pillars that support portions of the vehicle, such as a roof and a door,” says Apple. “As an example, most vehicles include structural pillars referred to as ‘A-pillars’ that are positioned adjacent to a windshield and forward of a front door of the vehicle.”

There are also B pillars, between the front and rear doors, plus C-pillars that are “positioned rearward of the rear door of the vehicle.” All of these, plus “roof rails [and] door sills function to support the roof and the doors of the vehicle” and each has to be made to “satisfy certain strength requirements.”

Add to this that cars have to include features such as safety airbags, and the space in a car’s chassis is tight. Apple argues that this constraint is what prevents adequate ventilation around the vehicle.

That’s as much about keeping the car itself cool, as it is about doing the same for the driver and the passenger. Under Apple’s proposals, the space in the chassis for a heating duct is maximized, while “vehicle body structure [still] supports portions of the vehicle.”

Apple proposes creating the structure from, in part, a “flanged portion” includes indentations that “form passageways… and a duct.” Ultimately, it’s about using the space available more effectively, and creating more such space where possible by the design of the individual supporting elements of the chassis.

These three patents are credited to a total of seven people. The sole inventor listed on the sensor alignment one, Micah P. Kalscheur, has previously worked on patents to do with Apple’s Face ID technology.

The Driving Forces For Better Workflow In Businesses

Technology has become the daily saviors in the workplaces and the organizations have been thriving their existence on applications. The overall enterprise mobility can be calculated from the time when the enterprises started to invest more in technology and intelligent applications and started to rely simply on tech advancements. But have you ever thought what exactly is the purpose of these technologies and the intelligent applications? The purpose is to ease up the workload and complete tasks without moving from the seat. Not to forget, the advantages are so vast that it is difficult to pen but we must know how intelligent applications are making workplaces a better place every day.

As much as the organizations are going digital, the use of intelligent apps is increasing. Here are some of the statistics that will confirm the rising popularity of these apps.

According to MarketandMarketers, the intelligent apps market size in 2017 was USD 7.33 billion and it is predicted to reach USD 46.98 billion by 2023 with a CAGR of 32.9%.

Before knowing what intelligent apps are doing, first, let’s understand what exactly are intelligent apps? Intelligent apps are applications that acquire historical and real-time information from user interactions and various sources in order to provide suggestions and predictions. Intelligent apps are basically the products of machine learning and data analytics and provide a personalized user experience.

Micro Apps and Increased Demands

In 2018, Gartner predicted that around 200 organizations need to leverage intelligent apps much beyond the VPAs. For this, organizations need to use intelligent apps synch as micro-apps.

Micro apps are the most developed example of intelligent apps. They are small single-purpose apps that are used for doing things quickly. The micro apps designed for workplaces can identify the user’s needs, deliver relevant results, and enable suggestions based on user preferences. Micro apps are different from other applications because not only they access all the data in the systems but also know what disorder in the system needs immediate attention. They can connect with all the enterprise systems and provide more efficient, data-driven solutions, and quick business decisions. The workplace micro apps use modern systems to deliver relevant information and completion of demanded tasks.

The micro apps for workplaces work similarly to Google micro-app. When you search ‘temperature’ on Google, the ‘temperature’ delivers a micro-app that provides the current temperature scaled with different places along with the temperature at your place. As the Google temperature app uses Google data to deliver information about the temperature, the workplace micro app helps in delivering that data using the workplace system.

Creating automatic conversations with intelligent apps

‘Alexa play this song’ looks amazing right? Yes, this is where the organizations are depending on automatic communication. With time the use of chatbots will be a part of every organization. Gartner predicted in 2019, 40% of the organizations will depend on chatbots for the in-office conversation and also for remote conversations. With the onboard ease of automatic work and the availability of intelligent communication applications, the organizations are not even thinking twice before adopting them.

Chatbots and conversational interfaces are the living examples of the increased use of intelligent communication in the workplace. The bots help enterprises to automate help desk resources and handle requests with active, immediate response. The bots then notify the correct person who will be responding to the query through a notification or alert. Not only this but the employees can use bots to request time off for a specific task, automatically manage inventory or send voice-orders to other employees. They help in increased response time, improve data accuracy, decision making thereby leading to more productivity in the organization.

Intelligent apps in the workspace

2020 is not the year when the simple mobile applications and under-process technology is running the organizations. They are prepared for now and most of them are also well-versed for the upcoming failures if any. The organizations and the employees both now demand better user experience and usability and intelligent apps are providing all of that. From conversation to management, intelligent apps are helpful in humongous ways.

Intelligent apps can be used in the mobile workforce to provide rightful information so that the users can do their tasks in more effective ways.

Intelligent apps can convert complex issues into simple forms and natural languages while gaining response time and enhanced outcomes.

The users can filter and streamline the needed information as intelligent apps offer personalized and sensitive information with appropriate decision making.

It’s clear that intelligent apps are proffering an established way for the business to explore better work circumstances, improve work productivity, ease communication, and ensure long term gains to the organizations. As artificial intelligence and machine learning are lessening the gap between organizational goals and achievements, intelligent apps are helping in the process.

Canon EOS R6 review: Lower resolution, higher quality?

(Pocket-lint) – It was back in February 2020 when Canon was teasing a new camera: the EOS R5. When that 8K-video-shooter eventually surfaced, it appeared alongside a lower-spec (and more affordable) derivative: the EOS R6.

For many it’s this R6 that will actually make a lot more sense. Not only will you save a packet by comparison – even though it’s far from cheap – the specification is still often jaw-dropping for a full-frame camera.

The EOS R6 is, in many respects, representative of where Canon’s mirrorless series is also headed. This camera is reflective of the company’s DSLR line-up in terms of physical layout and (to some degree) operation, yet crams in better-still image quality and features, furthering the company’s commitment to its RF lens mount. 

But with Nikon also hot on the heels and with its new cameras – the Z6 and Z5, which are each available for even less cash – has Canon got the balance right here?

Design & Lens Mount

  • Canon RF mount (EF/EF-S via adapter)
  • Dual SD card slots (UHS-II compliant)
  • Dust & moisture sealed magnesium alloy body
  • Built-in electronic viewfinder (0.5in, 3,690k-dot OLED)
  • Tilt-angle mounted touchscreen (3.2in, 1,620k-dot LCD)

When Canon launched its first RF mount camera, the EOS R, it was received with a mixed response. There was no doubt that the lens mount has heaps of potential – something that the R6 benefits from – but its layout was downright odd.


That latter point isn’t a concern for the EOS R6: picking up this camera feels like using an up-to-the-minute Canon DSLR, with an easy-to-use intuitive layout with everything to hand. It’s almost like a 7D II in that respect.

The R6 benefits from a solid construction, its magnesium top-plated polycarbonate body bringing dust- and splash-resistance for assurance, while negating too much weight as a result (it’s 680g – although far more with any RF lens attached).

Spec for spec the EOS R6 echoes the Nikon Z5 to a fair degree: the built-in OLED electronic viewfinder is the same in terms of size, resolution and refresh. That’s to say it’s a super experience – although that Nikon can deliver much the same here for a lot less cash is up for question.


Where the EOS R6 steps up a notch is by including a vari-angle mounted 3-inch high-resolution LCD touchscreen. Being able to move this to the side of the camera, then through a full 360-degree rotation as you please, is really useful for shooting dynamics – whether stills or moving images, handheld, on a rig, or from a tripod.


  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF II autofocus system
  • Image stabilisation system – to 8 stops
  • Face/eyes/animal detection & tracking
  • 12fps burst (20fps electronic)
  • Adjustable AF point size
  • Wi-Fi & Bluetooth

There’s a whole lot going on under the hood of this Canon too. It’s among the first EOS cameras to receive Canon’s second-generation Dual Pixel CMOS AF system. In this new 2020 guise it’s quicker than ever before – as fast as 0.05s, Canon asserts – and also features eye/face/body tracking and animal detection.


Not that the EOS R6 is just for shooting your pets. The camera also has deep learning, so the more you shoot subjects, the more context the camera will have to understand your methods. Sure, dogs and cats are the dominant species it’s programmed to recognise, but there’s also birds – including birds in flight – which will be a huge deal for a large swathe of enthusiasts.

The latest Digic X processor being on board also means considerable speed: the R6 can clack away at 12fps using its mechanical shutter, or you can boost that to 20fps using the electronic only shutter. That’s a lot faster than the Nikon Z5, so we can easily see why you’d pay the extra pennies here to benefit from such a high-end feature.

That new autofocus system is generally impressive too. Unlike some of Canon’s simpler cameras, there’s an abundance of modes here: tracking; spot, 1-point, expand area, expand area around, zone, large zone, and large zone horizontal.

Pick any of the area options and the camera is super snappy to lock onto subjects – whether you’re using touchscreen to assist, using the rear joystick, or letting the camera sensibly select as it sees fit. There’s no lack of accuracy, either, with 1,053 available areas being used – and visibly showing on the screen in real-time – to lock onto your target subject.


The EOS R6 is also astute to low-light conditions. It can autofocus as low as -6.5EV, which is beyond moonlight conditions – more like candlelight really – and it does a good job in dim conditions. The bigger problem we’ve been having is when being too close to subjects for focus to be possible. But being able to easily shoot even heavily backlit subjects is great.

All of this is further benefitted by Canon’s built-in image stabilisation system, to eke out extra sharpness from each shot. That’s exactly what you want to have to hand when shooting with a large full-frame sensor, no doubt, and the system does a stellar job in assisting.

Image Quality

  • 20-million pixel full-frame CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100 to 102,400 sensitivity (expands to 204,800)
  • Video capture: 4K at 60/50/30/25/24p (1.7x crop); Full HD (1080p) at 120/100/60/50/30/25/24p

The only real oddity – if you could call it that – is the EOS R6’s 20-megapixel resolution. While 20 million of anything is hardly ‘low’, that is lower than much of the competition is offering these days. And we know that Canon’s RF mount can handle much higher fidelity – which is part of the purpose of this system’s capabilities, and why the EOS R5 offers over twice the resolution (at 45MP).


That said, 20MP images are still relatively massive. And with the capacity to shoot bursts of shots, the resolution and speed do seem to go hand in hand. Still, a 24MP or 26MP sensor would have made more sense in our view – even just for the additional potential to crop into shots.

Nonetheless, this resolution brings its benefits: images from the EOS R6 are gloriously averse of image noise – to that point that even a five-figure ISO sensitivity won’t show any colour noise in a shot. Sure, there’s not quite the same degree of detail at ISO 10,000, but it’s staggering how good the overall quality is here. Shoot at the entry ISO settings and you can expect sublime image output up to ISO 800, with barely any difference in visible detail.

Quality isn’t just down to searching out image noise, but of course, with the EOS R6’s full-frame sensor allowing for glorious shallow depth-of-field possibilities. The sensor’s extra size just enhances that melty blurred background look and the degree of control over it.


And there’s really no doubting the RF lenses quality. The 24-70mm f/2.8 that we’ve been using is totally stunning. It is rather larger against the R6’s modest body though. But that size play-off is worth it for the sharpness and aperture control on offer.

Beyond still image capture there’s video capture up to 4K in a whole range of frame-rates. That’s generally good news, but Canon can’t go the long distance here – with overheating a known issue that can meddle in ability to record in this UHD resolution. Drop it to Full HD/1080p and there’s no such issue though. Something to consider, although the R5 is more the model with a video focus.


Although the EOS R6’s relatively low resolution – not that it’s properly low – might leave some scratching their heads as to why it’s not destined to pull greater fidelity from Canon’s RF mount, in practice the 20MP full-frame sensor delivers glorious images with little image noise of concern right up to five-figure ISO sensitivities.

Plus the on-board stabilisation, more advanced autofocus system, and heaps of speed when it comes to burst shooting, further add to the EOS R6’s overall appeal. The price doesn’t, mind, while the limitations to 4K video capture are also worth pointing out – thus we don’t see this Canon as a great threat to Sony or Panasonic.

So has Canon balanced out the EOS R6’s proposition? By and large, yes, it’s a highly capable mirrorless system camera with much more familiar DSLR-style layout and controls than the original EOS R. The asking price could be yet more competitive and the resolution a little higher though.

Also consider


Nikon Z5


No, it’s not a Canon, so if your allegience and lens collection doesn’t match then it’ll be of no interest. But if you’re new to mirrorless and are looking for something almost equally as capable but for a little less cash then the Nikon is a blindingly good camera to consider.

Writing by Mike Lowe.

One of this year’s most severe Windows bugs is now under active exploit

Image of ones and zeros with the word

One of the highest-impact Windows vulnerabilities patched this year is now under active exploitation by malicious hackers, Microsoft warned overnight, in a development that puts increasing pressure on laggards to update now.

CVE-2020-1472, as the vulnerability is tracked, allows hackers to instantly take control of the Active Directory, a Windows server resource that acts as an all-powerful gatekeeper for all machines connected to a network. Researchers have dubbed the vulnerability Zerologon, because it allows attackers with only minimal access to a vulnerable network to login to the Active Directory by sending a string of zeros in messages that use the Netlogon protocol.

Zerologon carries a critical severity rating from Microsoft as well as a maximum of 10 under the Common Vulnerability Scoring System. Despite the high rating, the escalation-of-privileges vulnerability received scant, if any, attention when Microsoft patched it in August, and Microsoft deemed the chances of actual exploitation “less likely.”

The security world finally took notice last week with the release of several proof-of-concept exploits and a detailed writeup, which demonstrated severity of the vulnerability and the relative ease in exploiting it.

All hands on deck

On Wednesday evening, Microsoft issued a series of tweets that Zerologon was now being exploited in the wild.

“Microsoft is actively tracking threat actor activity using exploits for the CVE-2020-1472 Netlogon EoP vulnerability, dubbed Zerologon,” Microsoft representatives wrote. “We have observed attacks where public exploits have been incorporated into attacker playbooks.”

The company provided several digital signatures of files used in the attacks, but it didn’t publicly provide additional details. Microsoft has published a threat analytics report that’s designed to help administrators assess the vulnerability of their networks, but it’s available only to Office 365 subscribers. For everyone else, the best resource is this white paper from Secura, the security firm that discovered Zerologon. Microsoft representatives didn’t respond to an email asking for a copy of the analytics report.

Crown jewels

It’s hard to overstate the severity of an exploit that makes it possible to take control of an Active Directory using several dozen lines of code. Active Directories (and the domain controller servers they run on) are the resources most cherished by ransomware attackers. With control over the central provisioning directory, they can infect entire fleets of machines within minutes. Nation-sponsored hackers performing surgical-precision espionage campaigns also prize such access because it allows them to control specific network resources of interest.

Both types of attackers often begin hacks by compromising a computer with low-level privileges on a network, often by tricking an employee into clicking on a malicious link or file or by entering a password on a phishing page. It can sometimes take weeks or months to escalate low-level privileges to those needed to install malware or execute commands. In certain cases, Zerologon can allow an attacker with this kind of toehold to almost instantly gain control of the Active Directory.

There may also be ways to exploit Zerologon directly from the Internet with no previous access. Internet searches like this one and this one show more than 33,000 and 3 million networks are exposing domain controllers and Remote Procedure Call login servers to the public Internet. In the event a single network is exposing both resources, the combination may leave a network wide open with no other requirements.

Domain controllers exposed to the Internet.
Enlarge / Domain controllers exposed to the Internet.

Binary Edge

Remote Procedure Call exposed to the Internet.
Enlarge / Remote Procedure Call exposed to the Internet.

Binary Edge

The risk posed by Zerologon isn’t just that of facing a catastrophic hack. There’s also the threat of applying a patch that breaks a network’s most sensitive resource. Late last week, the cybersecurity arm of the Department of Homeland Security mandated agencies to either apply the patch by Monday night or remove domain controllers from the Internet.

With word less than three days later that exploits are in the wild, it’s clear there was good reason for the directive.

Deals: First material discounts hit Apple Watch Series 6, SE at Amazon

Apple’s brand-new Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE are already on sale at Amazon, with double-digit discounts in effect on several styles.

Apple Watch deals at Amazon

$15 off Apple Watch Series 6

  • Apple Watch 6 GPS (40mm, Space Gray Aluminum, Black Sport Band): $384 ($15 off)
  • Apple Watch 6 GPS (40mm, Silver Aluminum, White Sport Band): $384.99 ($15 off)
  • Apple Watch 6 GPS (40mm, Red Aluminum, Red Sport Band): $384.99 ($15 off)
  • Apple Watch 6 GPS + Cellular (40mm, Space Gray Aluminum, Black Sport Band): $484.99 ($15 off)
  • Apple Watch 6 GPS (44mm, Space Gray Aluminum, Black Sport Band): $414.99 ($15 off)
  • Apple Watch 6 GPS (44mm, Silver Aluminum, White Sport Band): $414.99 ($15 off)
  • Apple Watch 6 GPS (44mm, Red Aluminum, Red Sport Band): $414.99 ($15 off)
  • Apple Watch 6 GPS (44mm, Gold Aluminum, Pink Sand Sport Band): $414.99 ($15 off)

  • Plus many more Apple Watch markdowns…

  • Apple Watch SE GPS (40mm, Space Gray Aluminum, Black Sport Band): $269 ($10 off)
  • Apple Watch SE GPS (40mm, Silver Aluminum, White Sport Band): $269 ($10 off)
  • Apple Watch SE GPS (44mm, Space Gray Aluminum, Black Sport Band): $299 ($10 off)
  • Apple Watch SE GPS + Cellular (40mm, Gold Aluminum, Plum Sport Loop): $319.99 ($10 off)

  • Plus even more Apple Watch SE deals…

Plus additional Apple savings

Apple Price Guides

AppleInsider and Apple authorized resellers are also running additional exclusive deals that will not only deliver the lowest Apple prices on many of the items, but also throw in bonus savings on AppleCare, Office 365 and more. Here are a few choices: