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For Sale – *NEW* ASUS P6X58D-E mobo, i7 960 (3.2Ghz) CPU & 24Gb Memory (6x4Gb 1333)

Wow, this sold far quicker than I thought, something tells me I undervalued the cost of this lot

Yes of course it includes the Intel CPU heatsink & fan along with the rear I/O shield.

Its been a while since I sold anything here, can I take tmknight’s offer for the asking price? or am I breaking any forum rules by doing this?

Thinking about this logically I should be asking ‘gamesaregood’ if he wants to match ‘tmknights’ offer, he did make an offer first?

Of course happy to receive any higher offers, but I am hedging my bets here


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Using automated machine learning for AI in insurance

Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, one of the largest insurance firms in Japan, began the process of digital transformation several years ago. The company launched multiple projects, and continues to start new projects, to send it further into the digital age.

One of MSI’s more ambitious undertakings is the MS1 Brain platform, an AI in insurance project to create a more personalized experience for customers.

AI in insurance

Released earlier this year, the MS1 Brain platform uses machine learning and predictive analytics, along with customer data, including contract details, accident information and lifestyle changes, to recommend products and services to customers based on their predicted needs.

The platform also generates personalized communications for customers.

“Our business model is B to B to C [business to business to consumer]. We provide our products through agencies,” said Teruki Yokoyama, deputy manager of digital strategy in the department of digital business at MSI. “Until now, we have provided products to customers, both individuals and corporations mostly by leveraging experienced agents’ intimate knowledge of client needs.”

“By providing the needs analysis outcomes of each customer to the agency by MS1Brain, now even an inexperienced agency can make optimal proposals to customers with higher demands,” he continued.

To build the platform, MSI chose dotData, a startup automated machine learning vendor based in San Mateo, Calif.

Machine learning
Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance used automated machine learning to build out a machine learning platform

Automated machine learning

MSI first connected with dotData in 2017, when MSI‘s CIO visited Silicon Valley for a technical survey, Yokoyama said.

At that time, dotData was just getting started, and it hadn’t released a product. Still, MSI was intrigued by its automated machine learning platform, which claims to provide full-cycle machine learning automation. DotData competitors include DataRobot, H2O.ai and Auger.ai.

Automation of the data science process is the only way a company can truly deliver value from AI/ML investments and provide competitive differentiation by investing in predictive analytics.
Teruki YokoyamaDeputy manager of digital strategy, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance

“When it comes to data analysis, model accuracy often gets the most attention; dotData, on the other hand, focuses on how quickly you can move from raw data to working models — the AI-based feature engineering is what stood out,” Yokoyama said.

MSI had to build a lot of intelligent models, said Ryohei Fujimaki, CEO and founder of dotData. But, the firm didn’t have the data science team to build them.

DotData’s platform was scalable and enabled MSI to automate the entire AI building process, from feature generation to model implementation, Yokoyama said.

“Everyone should embrace this approach,” said Yokoyama of the automated machine learning approach.

“Automation of the data science process is the only way a company can truly deliver value from AI/ML investments and provide competitive differentiation by investing in predictive analytics,” he said.

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Preferred Mutual relies on VMware virtual desktops during pandemic

On Tuesday, Preferred Mutual Insurance Co. decided to shut down its headquarters and satellite offices, asking its employees to start working from home for the foreseeable future.

The New Berlin, N.Y.-based firm, which provides property and casualty insurance to more than 232,000 customers in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, was aided in its effort to set up a remote-work infrastructure by its use of virtual desktop products.

Ben Moore, Preferred Mutual’s lead systems engineer, said the company has been a VMware customer for years, using its workspace software VMware Workspace One and its desktop and app virtualization product VMware Horizon (formerly called Horizon View).

Moore recently spoke about his company’s evolving remote-work situation, and how he saw virtual desktop technology assisting in the transition.

How did Preferred Mutual’s relationship with VMware begin? Why did you decide to pursue the products you use?

Ben Moore, lead systems engineer, Preferred MutualBen Moore

Ben Moore: I started at Preferred about nine years ago, and they were already a small VMware customer, mostly for server virtualization. We went fully virtualized, from a server aspect, within a couple of years. It was right around version four of [virtual desktop software] VMware View that we started looking into [desktop virtualization] heavily. [Managing] a few hundred endpoints — imaging Windows on [them], having hard drives fail or things like that — it was a nightmare for a small service desk. We looked at virtualizing it, bringing it back inside the data center and going the thin client route. It made things much easier to manage.

What software do Preferred employees use?

Moore: We use Microsoft Office 365 — Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, all of that. Our call center runs off the VDI environment as well. We run softphones [software used for making telephone calls] when people work from home, and we allow the softphones to run right within the virtual desktop and just pass through the audio and microphone [into the virtual desktop environment].

Right now, all our call center employees are working remotely out of their house. It’s pretty impressive that VMware allows us to do that — to go that far without a VPN client.

[We also use] a number of specialized apps for our claims system — document retention, imaging, [etc.].

Preferred decided to send its employees home this week. Have you seen issues emerge as a result of that decision?

Moore: We really haven’t had any issues crop up. The biggest thing was making sure people took their hardware when they left the building. The majority of our people are running HP thin clients. Everybody was already 100% using Horizon View for their day-to-day work. They just connected to their home Wi-Fi, and [Wednesday] — for that many impacted users — was a quiet day for our service desk.

As the coronavirus pandemic could make provisioning a challenge, companies may be forced to rely on employee devices to enable a remote-work expansion. Your company has a bring-your-own-device policy; what are your thoughts on security?

Moore: We give all our employees the option of either using a work device or utilizing their own home machines. From a zero-trust perspective, we have our policies in place with Horizon View, where you can’t transfer files back and forth between your View client and the local machine, copy and paste is disabled, [etc.]. We’ve got all the security aspects in place from that perspective.

For us, accessing your VDI desktop from either a company-owned laptop that has the View client installed on it versus using it from my personal desktop at home — there’s really no difference. There’s no VPN client, there’s no local network access — all I’m doing is seeing the screen and sending the keyboard and mouse commands through the View client.

We see very little risk and little to no difference, regardless of what device you’re accessing it from.

We have some users who live and die by Apple laptops, or they want to use their Android device. Personally, I use a Chromebook on occasion. Having that flexibility to say, ‘Hey, use what you’re comfortable with, but here’s your VDI client to access corporate stuff,’ works well.

Remote work means employees must have a workable internet connection. Was that a challenge?

Moore: Leading up to this pandemic response, that was a big concern, as far as what people had available. In our area — we’re in the middle of nowhere — there’s a lot of employees who live where all they have is low-speed DSL, if that.

We did send out a survey, last week, asking employees to provide information on their home internet — the type, their provider, a speed test — so we could gather that information and see what we were looking at.

So far, the only providers that we’ve seen issues with are people who have satellite internet. We’ve got a couple of employees on satellite internet, and the latency was 600-plus milliseconds. You’re talking almost half a second to a full second between clicking a mouse and having it take effect; it makes it almost unusable. … For those employees who didn’t have internet, which is rare, or had internet like that, we provided them with LTE hotspots.

This work-from-home situation has been a sudden one for everyone. What are your thoughts on the transition?

Moore: I can’t imagine what companies are going through right now, even just trying to acquire equipment. Everyone’s trying to do it all at the same time. I’m sure distributors are already feeling the pressure and are backed up. It would be a whole different story right now if we weren’t using VDI.

Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

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Deepfakes: Security experts undecided on the threat level

Deepfake technology has advanced at a rapid pace, but the infosec community is still undecided about how much of a threat deepfakes represent.

Many are familiar with deepfakes in their video and image form, where machine learning technology generates a celebrity saying something they didn’t say or putting a different celebrity in their place. However, deepfakes can also appear in audio and even text-based forms. Several sessions at RSA Conference 2020 examined how convincing these fakes can be, as well as technical approaches to refute them. But so far, threat researchers are unsure if deepfakes have been used for cyberattacks in the wild.

In order to explore the potential risk of deepfakes, SearchSecurity asked a number of experts about the threat deepfakes pose to society. In other words, should we be worried about deepfakes?

There was a clear divide in the responses between those who see deepfakes as a real threat and those who were more lukewarm on the idea.

Concern about deepfakes

Some security experts at RSA Conference 2020 feared that deepfakes would be used as part of disinformation campaigns in U.S. elections. McAfee senior principal engineer and chief data scientist Celeste Fralick said that with the political climate being the way it is around the world, deepfakes are absolutely something that we should be worried about.”

Fralick cited a demonstration of deepfake technology during an RSAC session presented by Sherin Mathews, senior data scientist at McAfee, and Amanda House, data scientist at McAfee.

“We have a number of examples, like Bill Hader morphing into Tom Cruise and morphing back. I never realized they looked alike, but when you see the video you can see them morph. So certainly in this political climate I think that it’s something to be worried about. Are we looking at the real thing?”

Jake Olcott, BitSight’s vice president of communications and government affairs, agreed, saying that deepfakes are “a huge threat to democracy.” He notes that the platforms that own the distribution of content, like social media sites, are doing very little to stop the spread of misinformation.

“I’m concerned that because the fakes are so good, people are either not interested in distinguishing between what’s true and what’s not, but also that the malicious actors, they recognize that there’s sort of just like a weak spot and they want to just continue to pump this stuff out.”

CrowdStrike CTO Mike Sentonas made the point that they’re getting harder to spot and easier to create.

“I think it’s something we’ll more and more have to deal with as a community.”

Deepfake threats aren’t pressing

Other security experts such as Patrick Sullivan, Akamai CTO of security strategy, weren’t as concerned about the potential use of deepfakes in cyberattacks.

“I don’t know if we should be worrying. I think people should be educated. We live in a democracy, and part of that is you have to educate yourself on things that can influence you as someone who lives in a democracy,” Sullivan said. “I think people are much smarter about the ways someone may try to divide online, how bots are able to amplify a message, and I think the next thing people need to get their arms around is video, which has always been an unquestionable point of data, which you may have to be more skeptical about.”

Malwarebytes Labs director Adam Kujawa said that while he’s not so worried about the ever-publicized deepfake videos, he does show concern with deepfake text and systems that automatically predict or create text based on a user’s input.

“I see as being pretty dangerous because if you utilize that with limited input derived from social media accounts, anything you want to create a pretty convincing spear phishing email, almost on the fly.”

That said, he echoed Sullivan’s point that people are generally able to spot when something is obviously not real.

“They are getting better [however], and we need to develop technology that can identify these things you and I won’t be able to, because eventually that’s going to happen,” Kujawa said.

Greg Young, Trend Micro’s vice president of cybersecurity, went as far as to call deepfakes “not a big deal.”

However, he added, ” I think where it’s going to be used is business email compromise where you try to get a CEO or CFO to send you a Western Union payment. So if I can imitate that person’s voice, deepfake for voice alone would be very useful because I can tell the CFO to do this thing if I’m the person pretending to be the CEO, and they’re going to do it. We don’t leave video messages today, so the video side I’m less concerned about. I think deepfakes will be used more in disinformation campaigns. We’ve already seen some of that today.”

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For Sale – MacBook Pro 16” 2.6ghz 6 core i7, Radeon 5500, 32GB Ram, 512GB SSD

Hi Everyone, Looking to sell my iMac (if I can get the right offer) as I am contemplating a change my setup, partly driven by what’s going on at the moment and having to work from home (I work on Windows). It was bought new directly from Apple in January 2018 and has been very well looked…

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Telia Carrier looks to expand U.S. channel partner roster

Telia Carrier, a network services provider based in Stockholm, is looking to work with large master agents and regional partners in the U.S., targeting enterprise opportunities such as SD-WAN.

The company this week launched a partner program with the goal of raising its profile in the U.S. The channel initiative aims to help partners cross-sell a range of offerings that include internet services, Ethernet, MPLS, a public cloud gateway and SD-WAN services. Telia Carrier earlier this month released a new SD-WAN offering  based on Cisco’s Viptela technology.

Rob Pulkownik, head of channel sales at Telia Carrier, said the company recently built out its internal infrastructure to work with partners, creating mechanisms to track orders, pay commissions and avoid channel conflict.

“Now that we have that in place, my plan for this year is to scale up with … two more of the large masters and then regional [agents], on a more ad hoc basis,” he said.

Telia Carrier has master agent agreements in place with AppSmart (formerly WTG), Telarus and other companies.

The channel sales effort represents a shift for Telia Carrier, which has operated primarily a wholesale player, with customers including content providers, carriers, multisystem operators and ISPs. The enterprise sector was much less of a focus. Telia Carrier has staffed eight to 10 salespeople in the U.S. market, while competitors have more than 1,000 salespeople, Pulkownik noted.

We are going to rely on doing a lot of this through the channel.
Rob Pulkownik Head of channel sales, Telia Carrier

“We are not going to ramp up a sales team like that,” he said. “We are going to rely on doing a lot of this through the channel.”

Features of Telia Carrier’s partner program include a self-service portal, which lets agents keep tabs on inventory, usage, trouble tickets, invoices, customer payments and commissions, according to the company.

Telia Carrier aims to roll out an automated deal registration system in the second quarter of this year. At the moment, deal registration is a manual process.

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For Sale – Custom built PC. 8GB, i5 core, 1TB drive. Large upgradeable Cosmos tower.

Custom built by Online PC Company. Asking £250.

*BASE_PRICE: [+430]
CAS: CoolerMaster Cosmos Silent Gaming Tower Case w/ 420 Watts Power Supply (Full Tower) [+118] (Original Color)
CS_FAN: Default Case Fan
CPU: Intel Core i5 750 2.66 GHZ 8MB Cache LGA1156 ***Overclockable XXX***
CD: (Special Price) LG 22X DVD+/-R/+/-RW + CD-R/RW DRIVE DUAL LAYER (Black Color)
CD2: Lite-On IHOS104-37 4X Blu-Ray Player [+50]
FLASHMEDIA: INTERNAL 52in1 Flash Media Reader/Writer [+6] (BLACK COLOR)
HDD: Single Hard Drive (1TB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16M Cache Hard Drive [+16])
MOTHERBOARD: GigaByte P55M-UD2 Intel P55 Chipset SLI/CrossFireX DDR3 ATX Mainboard w/ 7.1 HD Audio, GbLAN, USB2.0, SATA-II RAID, 2 Gen2 PCIe, 2 PCIe X1 & 3 PCI *** XXX overclocking ***
MEMORY: 8GB (4x2GB) PC10666 DDR3/1333mhz Dual Channel Memory [+96] (G.SKILL NQ Series w/Heat Spreader ***Overclockable XXX***)
OVERCLOCK: No Overclocking
OS: Microsoft(R) Windows Vista(TM) Home Premium w/ Service Pack 1 [+74] (64-bit Edition)
OS_UPGRADE: Upgrade to Microsoft(R) Windows(R) 7 Home Premium (64-bit Edition)
POWERSUPPLY: 700 Watts Power Supplies [+22] (SLI / CrossFire Ready Quad Rail Power Supply *** Not Recommended for Overclocking***)
USB: Built-in USB 2.0 Ports
VIDEO: NVIDIA GeForce 9500 GT 1GB 16X PCI Express
VIDEO2: NVIDIA GeForce 9500 GT 1GB 16X PCI Express [+39]
WNC: PCI Wireless 802.11g 54Mbps Network Interface Card [+9]

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Maze ransomware gang pledges to stop attacking hospitals

The notorious Maze ransomware gang announced Wednesday that it will not attack any healthcare organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has put a strain hospitals and public health agencies in recent weeks as governments across the globe struggle to contain the spread of COVID-19, also known as the new coronavirus. Some security vendors have expressed concern that coronavirus-related threats could soon include ransomware attacks, which would have a crippling effect on healthcare and government organizations working on treatment and containment of the virus.

But at least one cybercrime outfit is pledging to refrain from such attacks, at least on healthcare organizations. The Maze ransomware gang, which last year began “shaming” victims by exfiltrating and publishing organizations’ sensitive data, promised to ” stop all activity versus all kinds of medical organizations until the stabilization of the situation with virus,” according to an announcement on its website.

BleepingComputer, which first reported the announcement, also contacted other ransomware operators about stopping attacks on healthcare and medical organizations during the pandemic. The DoppelPaymer gang also pledged to stop such attacks, though other ransomware groups such as Ryuk and Sodinokibi/REvil did not respond to Bleeping Computer’s queries.

The Maze gang’s pledge, however, says nothing about attacks on city, state or local governments or public health agencies. The Maze gang also said it will “help commercial organizations as much as possible” during the pandemic by offering “exclusive discounts” on ransoms to both current and future ransomware victims; the cybercriminals said they will provide decryptors and deleted any data published on its website.

A screenshot of the Maze ransomware gang's announcement that it will not attack healthcare organizations during the coronavirus pandemic.
A screenshot of the Maze ransomware gang’s announcement that it will not attack healthcare organizations during the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the promises of the DoppelPaymer and Maze ransomware gangs, it’s unclear how much control they have over what organizations are attacked. Many outfits use a ransomware-as-a-service model where they develop the malicious code and then sell it to other cybercriminals, which are often called affiliates.

These affiliates then conduct the actual intrusions, data exfiltration and ransomware deployment and pay the authors. Many ransomware incidents are initiated through phishing emails and brute-force attacks on remote desktop protocol instances; threat researchers have said it’s likely that ransomware actors aren’t specifically targeting organizations by name or industry and are merely capitalizing on the most vulnerable networks.

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