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Is your favorite Linux desktop Cinnamon, MATE or Xfce? Or are you longing for something different and potentially better?

Then one of your best options is the upgrade to Linux Mint 21 “Vanessa” released on July 30th. It comes in a choice of Ubuntu- or Debian-base flavors.

It is an important step for me to make this recommendation. Once my daily Linux driver, I had a major fallout with this distribution several years ago, when an upgrade caused some troubling issues, leading to unpleasant reactions to — and no solution at all — Linux Mint tech support. from the community.

I then jumped into Linux Mint, a near-clone of Phaeron OS, and was a happy user until the distro’s developers made a radical design change and moved away from the traditional Cinnamon desktop.

So I jumped to distros again. I had reviewed the then new Cinnamon Remix distro released by an independent Linux developer. My go-to Linux distro became Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix, later renamed Cinabuntu. I’ve been very happy with its performance and usability options since then.

The ability to pick and choose operating system and configuration options is one of the shining beads you can polish your way to with Linux. It is not possible with Windows or macOS to be able to quickly install a replacement OS with the same look and feel.

However, with the release of Linux Mint 21 my Linux reviewer got the best of me. I was curious what I was missing.

I have detected some features that are not available in my current Cinnamon version. Those new features are in the MATE and Xfce versions as well. LM 21 versions include the latest versions of the three supported desktop environments: Cinnamon 5.4, Xfce 4.16, and MATE 1.26.

Read on to see what’s pulling me back to Linux Mint. Since Cinnamon is my favorite desktop, I focused on that version for this review.

hello old friend

The Vanessa release rekindled my appreciation for how tightly knit Linux Mint is as a computing platform. From the initial loading of the live session DVD to the impeccable installation, I was up and running in less than 30 minutes.

The welcome screen is becoming a standard setup routine for Linux installations. They can all take lessons on how to do this correctly using Linux Mint as an example. Even for experienced Linux users, Linux Mint’s approach is fast and convenient to perform all first-run tasks.

The left column panel of the panel provides general information, documentation, and a great index for completing the first steps. This is especially useful for new users who are unfamiliar with Linux in general – and LM in particular.

The main window area walks you through each step of updating system components and basic desktop configuration. Each section briefly describes what is included. The green themed launch button sets each part of the process in motion.

Steps include desktop color selection, choosing a traditional or modern panel layout, updating drivers and system components, setting up system settings, and software manager. The process also includes activating the built-in firewall, which is an item that many users overlook.

Linux Mint 21 Welcome Screen

The Linux Mint 21 welcome screen guides you through all the setup steps after installation, and it’s also a handy reminder that updates need to be made from time to time.


desktop difference

Design and usability features are one of the reasons I favor the Cinnamon desktop. It has one of the most detailed and organized configuration panels of any Linux distribution.

The System Settings panel keeps all the configuration options in one place. But unlike other desktop layouts with very few options, Linux Mint organizes all system controls into four general categories. In total, 40 icons hide related subcategories until you click an icon to open it.

KDE Plasma is the only other desktop with such an amount of configuration options. But that design is a series of separate settings panels that scatter controls and user options across a lot of menu locations.

While the configuration options available in the MATE and Xfce versions are less extensive, they still offer the ability to customize the look and feel to suit your computing needs.

Linux Mint does a better job than other desktops in how it handles the screen design and usability aspects. It has a wide range of quick access tools called desktops that reside on the desktop screen. Its use of applets that reside on the lower panel adds flexibility.

lm also provides a collection of extensions that provide even more usability options (similar to those available in the KDE Plasma desktop). This combination of features is a solid reason to try this distro.

Linux Mint 21 Desktop Configuration Options

The desktop configuration options available in the MATE and Xfce versions are less extensive than in Cinnamon. They still offer the ability to have the same look and feel as your computing needs.


under the hood

Linux Mint 21 is based on Ubuntu 22.04 and provides a full WIMP display like Windows, Icon, Menu, Pointer. This is a Long Term Support (LTS) release supported until 2027.

Vanessa, which continues the LM’s imagination for naming all releases with female names ending in the letter “A”, is packed with notable improvements in performance, compatibility, and stability. It ships with the Linux kernel 5.15 LTS.

Other changes include a new NTFS file system driver that simplifies interaction with Windows partitions, improvements to the default EXT4 file system, as well as improved hardware support, security patches and bug fixes.

A major Bluetooth change to the LM Blueman circuitry replaces the Blueberry app, which relies on GNOME-desktop plumbing. Like Blueberry, Blueman is desktop-agnostic and integrates well across all environments. It depends on the standard bluez stack and works universally, including from the command line.

Blueman Manager and Tray Icons have features that were not previously available in Blueberry. It handles more information for connection monitoring or troubleshooting Bluetooth issues and brings better connectivity to the headset and audio profiles.

Linux Mint 21 Cinnamon Desktop

Linux Mint 21 classic Cinnamon desktop design sports a favorites column, application category list, and a changing sublist of installed titles.


pain point solution

Welcome to Vanessa. Its lack in earlier releases was a usability issue. To address this, a new XApp (Linux Mint Exclusive Application) project called xapp-thumbnailers was developed for Linux Mint 21.

Process Monitor is a pain point solution for me. It places a special icon in the system tray when automated tasks are running in the background. Such tasks can slow down the performance of the system until it is completed. This new monitor is a silent alert that explains computer slowdowns.

Timeshift was an independent project for backing up and restoring OSes. The producer abandoned the application. LM took over the maintenance of Timeshift prior to the release of the LM 21. Timeshift is now an XApp.

One immediate benefit is the change in the way rsync mode works. It now calculates the space required for the next OS snapshot storage. If there is less than 1 GB of free space on the disk when the snapshot is executed, it quits proceeding.

Another pain point remedy is how LM21 now handles package removal. This prevents removal from the main menu (right-click, Uninstall) if the evaluation shows that other programs will be affected. This triggers an error message and stops the operation.

If no damage is found to major system components, uninstalling an application from the main menu also removes dependencies for applications that were installed automatically and are no longer needed.

Linux Mint 21 Scale and Expo Window View

Scale and Expo window views in Cinnamon are triggered by heated corners and applets on the lower panel.


ground level

The computer hardware requirements for Linux Mint 21 have not changed. You need a modern computer because LM is not as light on system resources as it used to be. That means a box with a 64-bit processor, at least 2GB of RAM, and 15GB of free space.

If you need help installing Linux Mint 21, the Linux Mint website has a comprehensive installation guide. But that shouldn’t be a possibility. Installation Engine is well polished. Most of my computers run multiple partitions, which usually forces manual intervention.

The LM 21 installer does not stumble. It simply asked where to put the OS. The installer handled all the splitting and adjustments in the background.


suggest a review

Is there a Linux software application or distro that you would like to recommend for review? Something you love or want to know?

Email me your thoughts and I’ll consider them for future columns.

And use the Reader Comments feature below to provide your input!

Last week Apple launched new iPhones with many interesting new features. One feature reports if you’ve been in an accident (assuming your phone can connect), and the other connects the phone to satellite in a very limited way for the times when a cellular tower is out of range.

Starlink and T-Mobile are promoting a yet non-existent service that should make Apple’s satellite service look like it’s survived years of modems. All of these follow AST Spacemobile which will install its first 4/5G satellite next year to begin its coverage.

Let’s talk about our future of satellite cellular services this week. Then we’ll close with our product of the week: a very affordable pair of active noise-canceling headphones that could be perfect for those who take long trips and need to sleep with them.

apple fills a need

Apple’s emergency SOS via satellite service, which will be the first for these next-generation services, is very limited. One big advantage of this is that it will work long before the others reach critical mass.

If you’re in the middle of nowhere and need help, it won’t do any good to have a service that doesn’t work yet, so Apple service limitations only become a problem for Apple when other services become critical. Mass. Look for it in or around 2025.

This service only works in open areas that have a clear view to the sky and, I expect, you may have to do a little dancing sometimes to get enough signal. It won’t work if you fall into a ravine, get stuck in a cave, or are in a bunker.

Yet, every year there are a ton of people who get stuck at my place of residence. What they don’t realize is that the weather here can change very quickly, and that if you’re too far from your car or civilization in only shorts and a T-shirt, you’ll need help if this happens, or you’re likely to lose. Chances are anything from a few fingers to your life.

The app helps you find a satellite and then, through menus, uses the phone’s intelligence to narrow down the message and pass it on to someone who can help you. However, it can take anywhere from 15 seconds to several minutes for the satellite to get a clean line for this to work. So, if you have a broken leg, or are otherwise handicapped, you may still be out of luck.

Apple is working with Globalstar for this feature. iPhone 14 users, who initially got this facility, will get two years of this service for free. Until then, there will likely be alternatives available, and this initial offering will undoubtedly be even better.

The service is better than nothing and right now, unless you want to invest in an expensive Iridium (or other satellite) phone, it’s your only choice. Iridium’s service, while expensive, I remember it being much less expensive than traditional cellular, but still more expensive.

Starlink and T-Mobile

Elon Musk has an idea of ​​a minute and many are surprisingly good. Although I’ve worked with a guy like Musk and know it’s a nightmare to work for or with someone like this because not every idea is good and generally, people like this can’t tell the difference Huh.

Having said that, the idea of ​​turning Starlink satellites into a telephone solution is interesting. However, given that Starlink is already experiencing bandwidth issues, this service could make Starlink less attractive if it reduces bandwidth for existing Starlink customers.

Musk also tends to overpromise and underdeliver, miss announced delivery dates, and cause a fair number of problems for his companies. Still, SpaceX is the cheapest launch platform currently in service, surprisingly reliable, and most Starlink reviews I’ve seen have been impressively positive.

Personally, I would have waited until Starlink was profitable and performing extensively before offering another service on the network, but that’s not Musk’s way. So far, their big, risky bets have mostly worked out. But he and his companies remain a big mistake away from the crisis. Given the complexity of his companies, it looks like he’ll eventually hit a bad wall.

The service will initially be more capable than Apple’s satellite offering but will not be true cellular, and will require upgrades to the Starlink satellites. A beta of this service is rumored to last until the end of 2023, with full service expected within the next year in areas where there is a significant mass of new satellites. If it doesn’t reach critical mass, T-Mobile and Starlink are in an interesting position to be the first to succeed with a satellite-based smartphone solution.

AST Spacemobile

AST Spacemobile, which is set to launch its Low Earth satellite in 2023, has partnered with companies such as Vodafone and AT&T to provide a robust route to early worldwide coverage. They would need between 45 and 65 satellites to reach critical mass, assuming no major market changes or the emergence of largely better competitive technology, before the end of 2025.

The company is wrapped up with 2,400 patents and should be able to provide good 4/5G coverage once critical mass is achieved. The service will be treated like international travel or on-plane service to areas that have cellular options, so your phone will work where it currently doesn’t. Or as primary phone service for people who are outside cellular coverage areas, such as remote land or sea locations.

This will certainly improve ship-to-shore and most radio solutions for police and first responders are operating in areas where there is either no cellular service or where cellular service has been disrupted. Unlike the other two services, AST SpaceMobile will be like regular cellular in that it will support both voice and data and will not have the limitations of the other two services. But its quality and data throughput will surpass terrestrial cellular services indefinitely.

This service should work on planes as well and be better than what you currently get on airplanes. It will support both voice and data whereas planes currently only support data (people are against getting cellular coverage on planes for fear that those using it will drive them crazy with loud incessant phone calls).

wrapping up

With Apple’s announcement last week, we are now in the world of consumer satellite cellular communications and the growing potential to be able to call for help from anywhere in the world, regardless of where the cell tower is located.

This can be huge for those who find themselves in trouble or lost in remote areas and provides peace of mind for parents who can’t locate their children.

Apple is just the beginning. Companies like Starlink and T-Mobile promise far better data bandwidth than Apple, and AST Spacemobile promises global general-purpose 4/5G cellular service that includes both voice and data in the same general time frame. .

By the latter part of this decade, the idea of ​​going out of service may be as obsolete as the need to find a phone booth was in the 1990s. That, my friends, is something worth looking forward to.

Technical Product of the Week

Soundcore by Anker Space Q45 Noise Canceling Headphones

I travel a lot, so I have a lot of noise-canceling headphones with me.

Most headphones are not only very expensive, they are also not comfortable to sleep on a plane. Many are in the $250+ range, which is way too expensive for kids and, considering I leave these on airplanes, they add up for me too. Also, I don’t like earbuds or earplugs because they make my ears itch, which makes it difficult to sleep.

Well, I may have found the perfect solution in a set of headphones you can sleep in: the Soundcore by Anker Space Q45 Adaptive Noise Canceling Headphones. At a retail price of around $150 on Amazon, they’re not the cheapest on the market, but they’re a ton less expensive than most of the headphones I currently own.

Soundcore by Anker Space Q45 Noise Canceling Headphones

Space Q45 Noise Canceling Headphones (Images Credit: Soundcore)


These are an over-the-ear design with very soft pads, which make them much easier to sleep than my Bose and Sony headphones, and far more comfortable long-term for me than earbuds or on-ear products.

The Space Q45 headphones offer 50-hour battery life (I haven’t tested it), support Bluetooth 5.3, and have one of the most robust noise cancellation solutions I’ve tested—including five levels of noise cancellation Which are either turned off automatically or can be controlled by an app. If someone wants to chat with you – and you want to listen – they have a voice passthrough button.

These headphones have big 40mm drivers that lend themselves to decent lows and the sound quality was pretty good, to my ears, with significant range. For those who need an over-the-ear, affordable, noise-canceling solution they can sleep with, the Soundcore by Anker Space Q45 Headphones may be the ideal solution—and it’s my product of the week .

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.

Do you use a desktop computer or laptop with a large screen monitor as your daily driver? Either way, adding a second display will more than double the convenience and productivity.

Intel’s P15NF 15.6″ QLED Portable Monitor can boost your work and play performance. This plug and play, no configuration required portable panel is a perfect FreeSync HDR gaming or work monitor.

If you manage to play computer games on your smartphone, or travel a lot, the lightweight, P15NF lets you bring a big-screen powerhouse to life in a handy 0.17″ x 14″ x 9.1″ package that weighs only 1.41 lbs.

The display delivers a stunning FHD 100% DCI-P3 color gamut with 500-nit brightness and has an impressive assortment of connection ports: two USB-C, one mini-HDMI, one Type-C OTG , and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Intehill P15NF as a desktop display

The Intehill 15.6″ portable monitor has enough real estate and enough features to be a full-service desktop display. (image credit: Intihill)


An on-the-go (OTG) port isn’t always included on portable monitors, but having it increases convenience and productivity. The OTG adapter allows you to connect a full-sized USB flash drive or USB-A cable to your phone or tablet via a micro USB or USB-C charging port.

The monitor’s right edge sports a mini-HDMI port and two full-featured Type-C ports for turning this screen into a portable laptop and computer monitor.

It is also ideal for PS5/4, Xbox, Steam Deck and Switch. The monitor’s power ports include a USB-A to USB-C connector with a wall socket power plug, a USB-C to USB-C cable, and a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable.

unbeatable screen performance

The QLED panel with 10-bit color depth delivers an immersive visual experience. It offers better text clarity and vivid image colors in both portrait and landscape view.

The display offers a 178° viewing angle that doesn’t look washed out or faded at the edges of the screen. You can set the panel’s menus to intensify the flicker-free display and adjust for a low blue light mode that helps reduce eye strain when staring at the screen for long intervals.

Intihill 15.6-inch portable display connected to HP Chromebase

The Model P15NF’s 500-nit visual display (R) is connected to a Chromebase computer with a 250-nit, 21.5-inch display. Note that the portable monitor displays a ChromeOS bottom docking bar, which essentially gives full functionality without launching from the main display and dragging it to a second monitor.


business view standard

Another contributing factor to this solidly built portable panel is the difference that DCI-P3 (Digital Cinema Initiative – Protocol 3) over sRGB brings into the picture.

DCI-P3 is a new technical standard for a set of colors from the Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), designed to standardize the colors used in the film industry .

sRGB is an older color display standard that was jointly created by HP and Microsoft in 1996 for use on monitors, printers, and the Internet.

While the older sRGB standard is still common in portable monitors, DCI-P3 brings a wider color gamut and its use in this device is a boon for gamers and graphic professionals. Especially if you use the monitor outside, or in brightly lit offices or graphic studios, the P15NF model with DCI-P3 is more visible.

Intihill Monitor Vinodes 10 Display Adjustment

The Integral Monitor (L) in Microsoft Windows 10 Display Adjustment requires only a minor configuration change. Note that each monitor is showing different content and bottom bar for full functionality.


Smart Cover, Dumb Results

The so-called Smart Cover included in the box is a typical weak point for a portable monitor. Most come with some sort of fold-around case to protect the panel while carrying and storing it. The Smart Cover also doubles as a tabletop stand.

Intel Smart Cover
Intel Smart Cover

Unless you love solving puzzles and folding origami creatures, Smart Cover on a monitor can be a pointless and frustrating experience. In this case, however, the textured surface of the cover is a non-slip surface that wraps neatly around the panel.

The heavy plastic vinyl material around a small magnet helps keep the cover attached to the back of the monitor. Its trifold design is more rigid and usable, thanks to a smaller hinge-like reinforcement that forms part of the center of the folding section.

Still, when I use this monitor for long work sessions, I stick to two double-sided pieces of mounting tape. One piece prevents the back flap from sliding off, and another piece prevents the bottom front edge of the panel from sliding forward.

A better solution is to attach a metal mechanism that pulls very much like a picture frame. I’ve only seen that method used on some portable panels.

extra matter

Connectivity is a plus with this monitor. It easily connects to phone, desktop and laptop computers. The only requirement is that the host device must have a Thunderbolt or HDMI port. This is rarely a problem with newer Mac, Windows, Linux, and ChromeOS computers. The panel is also compatible with SteamOS.

Intehill 15.6-inch Portable Panel Dragging Feature

The Intihill Portable Screen (L) displays various content easily by dragging a window from a Linux laptop. With Linux computers, duplicating desktop elements and launchers is not carried over to the second monitor.


The FHD monitor consumes minimal power, which is an added advantage for portable use. It requires 10 watts, but it comes with a 15W power adapter—a sufficient option if the host computer doesn’t power the portable monitor from the connector port.

Since the P15NF model uses less than 10 watts, the 20,000 mAh power bank can keep the monitor working for more than 10 hours when performing regular tasks.

This unit supports all Samsung phones with DeX. You can also extend the screen for the iPhone, but this requires a Lightning to HDMI adapter.

Keep in mind that not all Android phones send an output signal to the USB-C connector. This determines whether your phone works with this portable monitor.

Even my new Moto Stylus 5G (2022) smartphone is dumb in this regard. That result is not Intelehil’s fault.

where to buy

The P15NF 15.6″ QLED Portable Monitor is currently available at the Intelhill Store on Amazon. Its list price is $269.


suggest a review

Is there a technology product or application that you would like to recommend for review? Something you love or want to know?

Email me your thoughts and I’ll consider them for future columns.

And use the Reader Comments feature below to provide your input!

Apple on Wednesday refreshed its iPhone, Watch and AirPods product lines at an online event, as well as introduced a new Ultra watch for activity in challenging environments.

The Apple Watch Ultra is designed to operate in extreme cold and hot environments as well as under 130 feet of water. It’s housed in a rugged titanium case and its face is made of tough sapphire crystal.

The Ultra also has an “action” button that is programmable, an 85-decibel siren for emergencies, and its controls are designed for use with gloves. It has three microphones for voice call clarity, even in windy conditions.

Apple Watch Ultra Programmable Action Button

Apple Watch Ultra Programmable Action Button (Image Credit: Apple)


Cellular is built into the Ultra, which has a battery life of 36 hours on a single charge, though Apple promised that would be increased to 60 hours with new battery optimization software, available this fall.

In addition, the Ultra supports dual-frequency GPS, and can be turned into a scuba diving computer with the Dive Plus app.

The Ultra will sell for US$799 and will be available on September 23.

“I’m a scuba diver, and I’ve had several dive watches that were over $1,000,” said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, a technology consulting firm in Campbell, Calif.

“Here’s getting you a dive watch and everything else, plus cellular for $799,” he told TechNewsWorld. “It’s a really good deal.”

“It will be a huge hit among extreme sports enthusiasts and scuba divers,” he said.

crash detection

Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research, a consumer technology consulting firm in New York City, calls Ultra a “statement product.”

“This shows that the Apple Watch can be used in harsh environments by people engaged in extreme activities,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“It’s not something that mainstream people need, but you can see how some technology, like action buttons, could filter out future iterations of other models,” he said.

Apple also rolled out its Series 8 Apple Watch at its pre-taped event. The watch sports a new temperature sensor, which women can use to track ovulation. Ovulation is usually measured with a thermometer and a journal. The new watch makes that task a lot easier and more convenient by providing automatic retrospective ovulation estimates.

“The Apple Watch has turned into a digital-health wearable solution,” Mark N. Venna, president and principal analyst at SmartTech Research in San Jose, Calif., told TechNewsWorld.

The watch, as well as the new iPhones, also has a new crash detection feature. When an accident is detected, the watch will automatically connect to emergency services, provide the location of the accident, and notify emergency contacts on the watch.

To make up for the feature, Apple added two new motion sensors to the Series 8, an improved three-axis gyroscope, and a higher G-force accelerometer. The accelerometer can measure up to 256 Gs, allowing it to detect the extreme effects of an accident.

Apple Watch Crash Detection Feature

Crash Detection uses an advanced sensor-fusion algorithm and a new, more powerful accelerometer and gyroscope in the Apple Watch to detect and deliver car crash alerts. If the user does not respond after a 10 second countdown, the device will dial emergency services. (image credit: Apple)


This feature operates only when a user is in a moving vehicle and collects data only around the time of a potential accident.

“The Apple Watch is not only for health, but also for safety,” Bajrin said.

Series 8 watches have a battery life of 18 hours but with the new Low Power Mode feature the battery life can be extended up to 36 hours.

Series 8 will be available on 16 September. The GPS version costs $399 and the cellular version costs $499.

satellite sos

During its online event, Apple also introduced iPhone 14 Pro with 6.1-inch display and Pro Max with 6.7-inch display.

The Pro models, as well as the 14 and 14-Plus models, support a new emergency SOS service via satellite. Newer iPhone models have special antennas built into them so they can send text messages to high-flying satellites.

To aid in the connection, the software on the phone shows a user where to point their phone to connect to the satellite and stay connected for the satellite to go on.

The iPhone 14 line features emergency SOS via satellite

The iPhone 14 lineup offers Emergency SOS via satellite. This feature enables users to message with emergency services when cellular or Wi-Fi coverage is not available. (image credit: Apple)


Due to the narrow bandwidth involved in satellite communications, Apple created a custom, short-text compression algorithm to reduce the average size of a message by a factor of three.

Initially, satellite service will be limited to the United States and Canada, where it will be offered free of charge for two years.

“The satellite phone feature will have tremendous value for a lot of people,” Venna said.

“It would have been the perfect call for Tom Hanks in the movie Castaway,” he joked. “If he had the iPhone 14, though, it would have been a very short film.”

Bajrin announced that Apple is leading a new path in personal safety and security. “It’s going to be a big part of their DNA going forward,” he said.

“The satellite feature in the iPhone 14 Pro sets a new precedent in smartphones,” he added.

dslr challenger

Apple has also upgraded the cameras in the new Pro model. The main camera at the rear of the unit houses a 48-megapixel sensor with support for a fast f/1.78 lens, while the front camera houses a 12MP sensor with an f/1.9 lens. The main camera also supports the ProRaw format.

The Pro model also has a new chip, the A16. “With the A16, Apple has the most powerful smartphone camera on the market right now,” Bajrin said.

“The 48 megapixels and ProRaw capabilities bring the iPhone 14 Pro series very close to a true DSLR,” he said.

Vena notes that Apple is shooting beyond analogy with digital single-lens reflex cameras. “It’s clear that Apple doesn’t want the camera in its phone to be on par with a DSLR, but they want it to be better than a DSLR in many ways,” he observed.

He said the upgrade to the front camera on the new iPhone represents another change in Apple’s thinking about the cameras in its phones. “It used to be that the back camera was the most important camera,” he said. “They now view the front camera and the back camera with equal importance.”

Apple iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max 48MP Camera

The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max have the first 48MP camera on the iPhone. (image credit: Apple)


Apple has made great strides in video stabilization with the Pro and Max models. “You can literally take video with very little image movement,” Rubin said.

The frequently worn notch on the front of the Pro and Pro Max models has been changed to a dynamic notification center. “They’ve turned it into a profit rather than a loss,” Rubin said.

The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus will be available in five colors: Midnight, Blue, Starlight, Purple and (Product) Red. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max will be available in four colors: Space Black, Silver, Gold and Deep Purple.

The iPhone Pro 14 will sell for $999; Pro Max for $1,099. The iPhone 14 will sell for $799; 14-Plus for $899. All will be available on 16 September.

Better AirPods

Apple also introduced a new version of its AirPods Pro, which features a new H2 chip, longer battery life, and noise cancellation technology that’s up to two times more efficient than its predecessor at blocking out noise.

It’s also improved the earbuds’ “Transparency” mode by filtering out some of the disruptive noise that would normally be heard with noise-canceling. “I haven’t seen other earbuds do this,” Rubin observed. “It addresses one of the disadvantages of transparency mode. You let the whole world in, including harsh noises.”

The new AirPods Pro will go on sale on September 23 for $249.

apple airpods pro

AirPods Pro brings upgrades in transparency mode, spatial audio, and convenience features while canceling twice as much noise as its predecessor. A new low-distortion audio driver and custom amplifier deliver rich bass and crystal-clear sound. A new extra-small ear tip could provide a better fit to more users. (image credit: Apple)


“Most of these devices are just upgrades,” said Jim McGregor, founder and principal analyst at Tireus Research, a high-tech research and advisory firm in Phoenix.

“There’s only one new use model that is the Apple Watch Ultra,” he continued. “Some of the features they’re advertising on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus have been on Android phones for three or four generations.”

“It’s becoming increasingly difficult for Apple and everyone else to justify these annual upgrades,” he said. “However, I will give Apple credit. I am happy to see that they are offering these products in a reasonable price range, and they are not trying to offer a $2,000 smartphone.

A new phishing-as-a-service offering on the dark web poses a threat to online accounts protected by multi-factor authentication, according to a blog posted Monday by an endpoint security company.

Called EvilProxy, the service allows threat actors to launch phishing campaigns, with the ability to largely bypass MFAs without the need to hack upstream services, the Resecurity researchers noted in the blog. .

The service uses methods supported by APT and cyber espionage groups to compromise accounts protected by MFA. According to the researchers, such attacks have been discovered against Google and Microsoft customers whose accounts have MFA enabled via SMS text messages or application tokens.

Phishing links produced by EvilProxy lead to cloned web pages that have been compromised by accounts associated with multiple services, including Apple iCloud, Facebook, GoDaddy, GitHub, Dropbox, Instagram, NPM, PyPI, RubyGems, Twitter, Yahoo, and Yandex. has been prepared to do.

Threat actors using EvilProxy to gain access to their repositories are targeting software developers and IT engineers with the ultimate goal of hacking “downstream” targets, the researchers wrote.

He explained that these tactics allow cybercriminals to capitalize on end users who believe they are downloading software packages from secure resources and do not expect them to be compromised.

faster, faster, better

“This incident poses a threat to software supply chains because it targets developers by giving the service’s cybercriminal customers the ability to launch campaigns against GitHub, PyPI and NPM,” said Avid Gershon, leader of the security research team at Checkmarks. Said, an application security company, in Tel Aviv, Israel.

“Just two weeks ago,” he told TechNewsWorld, “we saw the first phishing attack against PyPI contributors, and now we see the service take it a few steps further by making these attacks accessible to less tech operators and adding capability. To bypass the MFA.”

Checkmarx’s head of supply chain security Tzachi Zorenstein said the nature of supply chain attacks increases the reach and impact of cyber attacks.

“Abusing the open-source ecosystem represents an easy way for attackers to increase the effectiveness of their attacks,” he told TechNewsWorld. “We believe this is the beginning of a trend that will increase in the coming months.”

A phishing-as-a-service platform can also increase attacker effectiveness. “Since PhaS can operate at scale, it enables adversaries to be more efficient at stealing and defrauding identities,” said Resecurity CEO Jean Yu.

“Old-fashioned phishing campaigns require money and resources, which can be overwhelming for one person,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Fas is just faster, faster, better.”

“It’s something that’s very unique,” he said. “It’s very rare to produce a phishing service on this scale.”

well packed

Many illegal services, hacking and malicious intent are solution products, explained Alon Nachmani, field CISO at AppviewX, a certificate lifecycle management and network automation company in New York City.

“By using a PhaS solution malicious actors have less overhead and less to spring an attack,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“Quite honestly,” he continued, “I’m surprised it took so long to become a thing. There are so many marketplaces where you can buy ransomware software and link it to your wallet. Once deployed , you can collect the ransom. The only difference here is that it is completely hosted for the attacker.”

While phishing is often considered a low effort activity in the hacking world, it still requires some work, said Monia Deng, director of product marketing at Bolster, a provider of automated digital risk protection in Los Altos, Calif. You’ll need it to do things like stand up to a phishing site, create emails, automate managers, and nowadays, steal 2FA credentials on top of primary credentials, she explained.

“With Faas,” she continued, “everything is neatly packaged on a subscription basis for criminals who do not require any hacking or even social engineering experience. It Opens the ground for many more threat actors who want to exploit organizations for their own gain.”

bad actors, great software

Security researchers explained that payment for EvilProxy is conducted manually through an operator on Telegram. Once the subscription funds are received, they will be credited to the account in the customer portal hosted on TOR. The kit is available for $400 per month.

EvilProxy’s portal has many tutorials and interactive videos on using the service and configuration tips. “To be clear,” the researchers wrote, “the bad actors did a great job in terms of service usability, and configuration of new campaigns, traffic flow, and data collection.”

“This attack just shows the maturity of the bad actor community,” said George Gerchow, CSO and senior vice president of IT at Sumo Logic, an analytics company focused on security, operations and business information in Redwood City, Calif.

“They are packing these kits nicely with detailed documentation and videos to make it easier,” he told TechNewsWorld.

The service uses a “reverse proxy” principle, the researchers noted. It works like this: Bad actors lead victims to a phishing page, use a reverse proxy to get all the legitimate content the user expects to see, and sniff their traffic through the proxy.

“This attack highlights how low the barrier of entry is for unsophisticated actors,” said Heather Iannucci, a CTI analyst at Tanium, creator of an endpoint management and security platform in Kirkland, Wash.

“With EvilProxy, a proxy server sits between the legitimate platform’s server and the phishing page, which steals the victim’s session cookie,” she told TechNewsWorld. “This can then be used by the threat actor to login to a legitimate site as a user without an MFA.”

“Defending against EvilProxy is a challenge because it combines cheating a victim and MFA bypass,” Yu said. “The real compromise is invisible to the victim. Everything sounds good, but it’s not.”

still in effect

Nachmany warned that users should be concerned about the effectiveness of MFAs that use text messaging or application tokens. “Fas is designed to use them, and this is a trend that will grow in our market,” he said.

“The use of certificates as an additional factor is what I expect to see an increase in use soon,” he said.

While users should be careful when using an MFA, it is still an effective mitigation against phishing, said Patrick Harr, CEO of SlashNext, a network security company in Pleasanton, Calif.

“It increases the difficulty of leveraging compromised credentials to disband an organization, but it is not foolproof,” he said. “If a link leads the user to a counterfeit replica of a legitimate site—which is nearly impossible to identify as not legitimate—the user may be the victim of an adversary-in-the-middle attack, such as this one by EvilProxy.” is used to .”