A few weeks back the internet was set ablaze with speculation and rumors after Elon Musk met with Apple's executives, and while everyone else was hung up on acquisition rumors, I reported that the talks were more than likely about investing in a new battery manufacturing facility. A little over a week later, my suspicions were confirmed when Elon Musk announced what is to be the world's largest battery factory.
Musk says that Tesla will build the largest battery manufacturing facility ever with the help of investments from others totaling $5 billion of which $2 billion Tesla will invest itself. Musk's goal for the new "Gigafactory" is to have the 10 million square foot facility producing more batteries annually by 2020 than the entire world's current annual production. This would allow Tesla to ramp up its production to the levels of that of Ford, GM and other major manufacturers today.
With Apple one of the largest consumers of Lithium-Ion based batteries in the US, and tons of reserve cash just sitting in banks, it made perfect sense for Tesla to approach the Cupertino-based company as a potential investing partner. With Tesla only looking for $1.6 to $2 billion in extra funds, Apple could easily front the money in exchange for deep discounts, or better battery technology that results from the deal. With battery manufacturing mostly an automated process due to the extreme hazards of the chemicals involved, labor cost would be very low, making the investment even more attractive for Apple.
Popular retailer Target is still dealing with continued fallout from a data breach in late 2013 that left more than 70 million customers affected. The malware targeting Target's point-of-sale solutions should have raised immediate alarm bells for other retailers trying to prevent similar attacks.
Target is now being sued by a handful of smaller banks that accuse the store of not doing a good job of protecting customer data.
"So far, seven financial institutions have filed class action suits against Target alleging the retailer didn't adequately protect customer data," according to the Wall Street Journal's Joel Schectman. Other banks could join the class action suit, accusing one of the largest U.S. brick and mortar retailers of not boosting its security defenses when warned of possible malware threats.
Third-party applications are responsible for 76 percent of vulnerabilities now plaguing the 50 most popular programs, according to IT security firm Secunia. The company's research looked at the top 50 programs used on private PCs - including solutions approved and maintained by IT experts - with vulnerabilities largely stemming from non-Microsoft applications.
Of the 1,208 total vulnerabilities found in 2013, 76 percent were sourced to third-party applications - even though they account for just 34 percent of the top 50 programs.
Despite continually improving security, many users still blame Microsoft for a wide variety of security loopholes - but Secunia's research indicates it's these downloaded and installed third-party apps that continue to cause problems.
Intel is apparently working on 750 Series PCI Express interface based solid state drives for performance enthusiasts and professions, according to a news report. Recently, Intel released 730 Series SATA III SSDs recently, but it seems that Intel plans to introduce a PCIe version for the next series of SSD lineups.
Intel plans to release its 750 Series SSDs code-named 'August Ridge' which will use current gen MLC flash NAND with PCIe x8 interface. It will also have a M.2 form factor. These SSDs will come with storage variants of 180, 240, 360, 480 and 600GB. The performance of the 750 Series is said to be up to 1500 MB/s read and up to 1100 MB/s with random 4K IOPS to be 180/24k reads and writes.
Alleged British hacker Lauri Love is accused of hacking into US Federal Reserve computers, and his lawyers will "vehemently oppose" all attempts to extradite him. If convicted in the United States, Love faces up to 12 years in federal prison, according to FBI officials anxious to have him land on U.S. soil.
The UK national Crime Agency also is looking into Love's alleged hacking behavior, though the UK court system wants to see the "sophisticated hacker" stay in the UK.
"If there is an extradition request from the United States it will be vehemently opposed," said Karn Todner, Love's legal advisor, in a statement to the BBC. "We believe that if Mr. Love is to face charges that they should be, and will be, in the UK."
RSA 2014 - The bitcoin currency is extremely popular, and has become a great target for cybercriminals trying to steal a quick payday. Targeting Apple's OS X applications, the CoinThief Trojan is designed to steal bitcoins when hidden in pirated versions of mobile apps.
The CoinThief malware was discovered earlier in the month, and works by installing a browser plugin that remotely steals login information used on bitcoin wallet and exchange sites.
There are currently more than 100 forms of bitcoin-stealing malware in the wild, available for purchase starting around $25, according to security experts. Underground forums provide an ideal location for cybercriminals to show their wares - and if you are able to gain access and become a trusted member of the community - it's possible to purchase customized malware for next to nothing.
We take a grilling seriously here in Texas. Some people prefer charcoal, some prefer gas, whatever you use you need to amok sure you have enough of it. It's easy enough to look in the bag and see if you have charcoal and shake the lighter fluid bottle. It's not so easy to tell if you have enough propane left in your tank.
That means that more than a few grillers end up running out of propane mid cookout and cursing the fact that most grills and tanks have no way to tell how much fuel is left. A new propane tank system called Refuel has turned up that will prevent you from ever running out again.
The tank system is app enabled and the app will tell you how much gas is left in the tank. The system has a waterproof scale that sits under the propane tank and sends data to the Wink mobile app. The app will tell you how full the tank is and how long you can keep cooking based on how much you used in the past.
Samsung's Galaxy S5 wont be available for several more weeks, but today we got a glimpse of what it could retail for. Thanks to a leak from the UK's Clove Technology, one of the EUs largest online suppliers, it appears that the Galaxy S5 will cost around $920 USD for the 16GB model, which escalates it into a pricing category higher than Apple's iPhone 5S.
A second leak from Amazon's spanish division has listed the Galaxy S5 on pre-order for $729 euros, putting it right in that $920 USD price range. The site is also listing the 32GB model for just over $1000 which prices the phones higher than ever before. Hopefully these are highly inflated prices designed to get the most out of early adopters. If not, then Samsung may have shot themselves in the foot as the Galaxy S5 is not much of a departure from the Galaxy S4. It does have new features like a fingerprint reader, better screen, and a heart rate monitor, but none of that garners a 50-percent price increase.
The number of mobile gamers out there that use smartphones and tablets is booming. Many of these mobile gamers are kids that download freemium apps that are supported by in-app purchases. The problem is that many of these apps don't clearly let players know that things in the game cost real-world money.
This often leads to accidental purchases by kids and adults alike. Officials from the European Union have announced that they are meeting with Apple, Google, and others on how developers are representing in-app purchases to consumers in Europe. The officials want to set regulations that will force app developers to be more transparent.
The ultimate goal is to prevent children from making accidental purchases. The EU justice commission says that the new rules will help to make customers aware of exactly what they are buying when they make purchases in-app.
Mobile banking users looking to access bank accounts from smartphones and tablets are becoming increasingly sophisticated and demand intuitive banking services. Mobile banking adoption also continues to see strong growth, so banks now have the ability to embrace customers across a variety of platforms.
In Europe, customers are twice as likely to log into mobile banking apps while using a tablet over a smartphone, though financial institutions must cater to both market segments.
"Mobiles and tablets offer banks a variety of benefits but in different ways," a recent Forrester blog claims. "While widespread mobile and smartphone adoption presents banks with a large opportunity to engage consumers today, surging tablet ownership rates over the next few years will demand a robust tablet banking platform as well."
As banks and other financial institutions prepare for increased mobile use from customers, there are glaring security issues that must be properly addressed. Sophisticated malware open the door to security threats that many banks are struggling to try and keep up with, and security experts continue to call for banks to boost mobile security.