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Raspberry Pi OS update: Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Google Meet now run better

New Raspberry Pi OS update drops Flash support but brings Chromium 84 to make Teams, Zoom, and Meet run well….



Raspberry Pi Trading has announced the latest release of Raspberry Pi OS, the default Debian-based operating system that ships on SD cards for Raspberry Pi devices. Raspberry Pi OS has now been updated with Chromium version 84, the open-source foundation of Google Chrome.

The Raspberry Pi OS team says it’s done a lot of testing and tweaking in Chromium 84 to ensure Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom videoconferencing apps work well on it.

The move is part of efforts by the team behind Raspberry Pi to help users participate in the online video meetings that are now essential for work and family, almost a year after China acknowledged the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan.

SEE: Virtual hiring tips for job seekers and recruiters (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

“They should all now work smoothly on your Raspberry Pi’s Chromium,” says Simon Long, a user experience engineer for Raspberry Pi.

The other big change is that Raspberry Pi’s version of Chromium is dropping support for Adobe’s Flash Player software. This will be the last version of Chromium on Raspberry Pi that supports Flash.

Adobe, along with Apple, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla, jointly announced in 2017 that they would end support for Flash at the end of 2020. Flash historically has been a favorite target for cybercriminals but its capabilities have largely been replaced by open web standards like HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly.

Adobe will no longer issue free security updates after December 2020, but enterprise customers can still buy patches via Samsung-owned Harman.

“Flash Player is being retired by Adobe at the end of the year, so this release will be the last that includes it. Most websites have now stopped requiring Flash Player, so this hopefully isn’t something that anyone notices,” said Long.

Raspberry Pi OS is also moving to the PulseAudio sound server, which deals with a lot of the complexities with audio on Linux systems.

The biggest problem, according to Long, has been the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA), a low-level interface that Raspberry Pi hardware has needed but restricted audio output to a single app, such as YouTube. That meant no simultaneous sound from VLC, the software that Raspberry Pi devices otherwise rely on for playing audio files.

“Similarly, if you want to switch the sound from your YouTube video from HDMI to a USB sound card, you can’t do it while the video is playing; it won’t change until the sound stops. These aren’t massive problems, but most modern operating systems do handle audio in a more flexible fashion,” explained Long.

The PulseAudio update places a layer between the audio hardware and applications that send and receive audio and allows the output to shift between different devices while it is playing.

The feature furthers Raspberry Pi’s ambition to be seen as a proper PC – a claim the UK company has been making since the release of the Raspberry Pi 4, which is available with up to 8GB of RAM or in the new Raspberry Pi 400 computer keyboard with 4GB of RAM.

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The Raspberry Pi 4 boots pretty quickly and apps start consistently swiftly but it’s not as fast as most laptops, and that’s not surprising given the OS is loading from an SD card, according to ZDNet reviewer Jamie Watson.

On the other hand, starting from a low position, the only way is up and the latest improvements to Raspberry Pi OS push it in the right direction.

Long notes that PulseAudio runs by default with audio controls using PulseAudio rather than ALSA.

Raspberry Pi users can install the OS on a new card using the Raspberry Pi Imager, or download it from Raspberry Pi’s Downloads page.


Raspberry Pi’s version of Chromium is dropping support for Adobe’s Flash Player software.

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  • Source:



    Apple releases emergency update for older iPhones and iPads

    If you’re running iOS 12, this is an update for you.



    Apple is getting pretty committed to the idea of pushing out security updates to older iPhones and iPads. Not only will the company continue to support iOS 14 come the release of iOS 15, we are also seeing a trickle of patches for older versions of iOS.

    If you have an iPhone or iPad that’s still running iOS 12 — because that was the end of the line for your device — then Apple has released an emergency update that you need to download and install as soon as possible.


    Because of the three security fixes contained in this update, two “may have been actively exploited.” In other words, the bad guys might already be using the vulnerabilities to compromise smartphones and tablets.

    Must read: Apple will finally give iPhone and iPad users an important choice to make

    iOS 12.5,4 is available for the following devices:

    • iPhone 5s
    • iPhone 6
    • iPhone 6 Plus
    • iPad Air
    • iPad mini 2
    • iPad mini 3
    • iPod touch (6th generation)

    To check what version your device is running, tap on Settings > General, then on Software Update. Here you will see what version your iPhone of iPad is running along with any updates.

    Note that if you have stayed on iOS 12 but the device is compatible with later versions, then this update will not be available to you. Your path is to upgrade to the latest release of iOS 14 or iPadOS 14.

    There have been several high-profile security issuers plaguing iPhone and iPads over the past few months, and while for some there’s a hesitancy to install updates, it is the first and best line of defense against attack.

    And iOS 12 and later will do it for you. Tap on Settings > General > Software Update > Customize Automatic Updates and then turn on Install iOS Updates.

    Because of the three security fixes contained in this update, two “may have been actively exploited.” In other words, the bad guys might already be using the vulnerabilities to compromise smartphones and tablets.



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    SSD market to reach $51.5 billion in revenue by 2025: IDC

    The IDC is predicting that SSD unit shipments will increase with a CAGR of 7.8% in coming years.



    The International Data Corporation is expecting an increase in worldwide solid state drive (SSD) revenue and shipments over the next four years, according to a newly published forecast of the market.

    The IDC said SSD unit shipments are expected to grow with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.8% and revenues are slated to increase at a CAGR of 9.2% from now until 2025. The market will reach $51.5 billion in revenue by 2025, according to IDC.

    IDC also predicted that SSD capacity shipments worldwide will expand further at a 2020–2025 CAGR of 33.0%.

    Jeff Janukowicz, research vice president at IDC, explained that the worldwide demand for SSDs has increased because the pandemic has accelerated the need for transformation.

    The steep increases are driven by growing demands for storage that expanded throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as millions increasingly worked and schooled from home, using their own devices in many instances.

    Demand for PCs has skyrocketed and the IDC said higher SSD demand is also reflected in the enterprise market, where companies are making investments in both cloud and traditional IT.

    “IDC believes that most of the long-term trends remain intact, enabling broader SSD adoption over the forecast period, and worldwide SSD units and capacity shipped are higher than the prior forecast thanks to increasing demand from client devices, enterprise storage customers, and cloud service providers,” Janukowicz said.

    The IDC added that there have been some key developments in the SSD market globally, including:

    • The pricing of SSDs is still volatile and elevated because of the increased demand.

    • Technological advancements, like NAND flash, will emerge in the next few years and “will continue to enable more cost-effective solutions helping to further increase demand for SSDs.”

    • Client SSDs are in higher demand because of permanent moves toward remote work and remote schooling.

    • Demand for SSDs among cloud and traditional IT market segments has continued to hold strong.

    • IDC believes lower prices will help “drive demand elasticity and system optimization around flash.”

    The report also predicts similar growth in the HDD industry because of how COVID-19 has affected the markets for enterprise storage systems, PCs, personal and entry-level storage devices, video surveillance systems, and consumer electronics products. Worldwide HDD industry petabyte shipments are slated to see a compound annual growth rate of 18.5% through 2025, according to IDC.

    Edward Burns, research director for IDC, noted that the client HDD market has had a long-term secular decline due to rising SSD attach rates. But the COVID-19 pandemic has over the near term increased the demand for certain types of HDDs, particularly mobile HDDs as well as capacity-optimized HDDs, Burns added.

    Jeff Janukowicz, research vice president at IDC, explained that the worldwide demand for SSDs has increased because the pandemic has accelerated the need for transformation.



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    Avaddon ransomware group closes shop, sends all 2,934 decryption keys to BleepingComputer

    Bleeping Computer worked with Emisoft to create a free decryptor that any Avaddon victim can use.



    Avaddon ransomware group, one of the most prolific ransomware groups in 2021, has announced that they are shutting the operation down and giving thousands of victims a decryption tool for free.

    BleepingComputer’s Lawrence Abrams said he was sent an anonymous email with a password and link to a ZIP file named, “Decryption Keys Ransomware Avaddon.”

    The file had decryption keys for 2,934 victims of the Avaddon ransomware. The startling figure is another example of how many organizations never disclose attacks, as some reports have previously attributed just 88 attacks to Avaddon.

    Abrams worked with Emsisoft chief technology officer Fabian Wosar and Coveware’s Michael Gillespie to check the files and verify the decryption keys. Emsisoft created a free tool that Avaddon victims can use to decrypt files.

    Ransomware gangs — like those behind Crysis, AES-NI, Shade, FilesLocker, Ziggy — have at times released decryption keys and shut down for a variety of reasons. A free Avaddon decryption tool was released by a student in Spain in February but the gang quickly updated their code to make it foolproof again.

    “This isn’t new and isn’t without precedence. Several ransomware threat actors have released the key database or master keys when they decide to shut down their operations,” Wosar told ZDNet.

    “Ultimately, the key database we obtained suggests that they had at least 2,934 victims. Given the average Avaddon ransom at about $600,000 and average payment rates for ransomware, you can probably come up with a decent estimate of how much Avaddon generated.”

    Wosar added that the people behind Avaddon had probably made enough money doing ransomware that they had no reason to continue.

    According to Wosar, ransom negotiators have been noticing an urgency when dealing with Avaddon operators in recent weeks. Negotiators with the gang are caving “instantly to even the most meager counter offers during the past couple of days.”

    “So this would suggest that this has been a planned shutdown and winding down of operations and didn’t surprise the people involved,” Wosar explained.

    Data from RecordedFuture has shown that Avaddon accounted for nearly 24% of all ransomware incidents since the attack on Colonial Pipeline in May. An eSentire report on ransomware said Avaddon was first seen in February 2019 and operated as a ransomware-as-a-service model, with the developers giving affiliates a negotiable 65% of all ransoms.

    “The Avaddon threat actors are also said to offer their victims 24/7 support and resources on purchasing Bitcoin, testing files for decryption, and other challenges that may hinder victims from paying the ransom,” the report said.

    “What’s interesting about this ransomware group is the design of its Dark Web blog site. They not only claim to provide full dumps of their victims’ documents, but they also feature a Countdown Clock, showing how much time each victim has left to pay. And to further twist their victims’ arms, they threaten to DDoS their website if they don’t agree to pay immediately.”

    img-8885-1.jpg DomainTools

    The group has a lengthy list of prominent victims that include Henry Oil & Gas, European insurance giant AXA, computer hardware company EVGA, software company Vistex, insurance broker Letton Percival, the Indonesian government’s airport company PT Angkasa Pura I, Acer Finance and dozens of healthcare organizations like Bridgeway Senior Healthcare in New Jersey, Capital Medical Center in Olympia, Washington and others.

    The gang made a note of publishing the data stolen during ransomware attacks on its dark web site, DomainTools researcher Chad Anderson told ZDNet last month.

    Both the FBI and the Australian Cyber Security Centre released notices last month warning healthcare institutions about the threat of Avaddon ransomware.

    screen-shot-2021-06-11-at-10-11-24-pm.png Australian Cyber Security Centre

    The notice said “Avaddon threat actors demand ransom payment via Bitcoin (BTC), with an average demand of BTC 0.73 (approximately USD $40,000) with the lure of a decryption tool offered (‘Avaddon General Decryptor’) if payment is made.”

    The group was also implicated in multiple attacks on manufacturing companies across South America and Europe, according to the Australian Cyber Security Centre.

    Cybersecurity firm Flashpoint said that alongside REvil, LockBit, and Conti, Avaddon was one of the most prolific ransomware groups currently active.

    Digital Shadows’ Photon Research Team told ZDNet in May that a forum representative for the Avaddon ransomware took to the Exploit forum to announce new rules for affiliates that included bans on targeting “the public, education, healthcare, and charity sectors.”

    The group also banned affiliates from attacking Russia or any other CIS countries. US President Joe Biden is expected to press Russian President Vladimir Putin on ransomware attacks at a summit in Geneva on June 16.

    “This isn’t new and isn’t without precedence. Several ransomware threat actors have released the key database or master keys when they decide to shut down their operations,” Wosar told ZDNet.



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