Newsletter: Siri Gets A New Voice & Speculative Store Bypass A New CPU Flaw

Newsletter: Siri Gets A New Voice & Speculative Store Bypass A New CPU Flaw

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

“Everything is designed. Few things are designed well.” ~ Brian Reed

NEW AND IMPROVED SIRI

THE STORY

In the forthcoming WWDC event, Apple will reveal a brand-new voice for Siri and another smart speaker.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

Usually, Apple chooses Worldwide Developers Conference to announce new updates. This time WWDC will be held in San Jose on June 4th. Along with all the other announcements, it is set that Apple will announce Siri, the digital assistant as smarter than ever, with a new look and a new voice as well.

Siri was introduced for the first time in October 2011, and since then due to its repeated staggers it has been looked down by the users.

Rumor has it, this time with the new changes, Siri might be praised.

WHY THIS CHANGE?

Undoubtedly, Siri is popularly used as it said to be the first virtual assistant ever. But when compared to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, it lags in many areas.

Recently at Google I/O developer conference, it was announced the Google Assistant will also get new voices over the summer, including John Legend’s voice. So, does this mean the speculations about Siri getting better is a ripple effect of Google’s announcement or is Apple really focusing on improving its virtual assistant?

apple wwdc
Screenshot from Apple tease about new smarts for the Siri personal assistant (Photo: Apple)

WHAT’S NEW FOR SIRI IN WWDC 2018 AND WOULD IT REALLY WORK THIS TIME?

If you are few of those who think the same, welcome to the club. At WWDC Apple invites developers to publicize what’s new and how developers can take advantage of the new features.

Promises made by Apple about Siri in earlier WWDC’s:

  • 2013, Siri was said to be revamped with a new interface and voice.
  • 2014, Hands-free Siri operation (“Hey, Siri”),
  • 2015, Siri will become more smart and active in answering your questions without much efforts.
  • 2016, Siri will become a helpful tool that will work in conjunction with third party apps. But few developers showed interest in signing the software tools called SiriKit as Apple allowed Siri to be used in six categories only.
  • 2017, on command music selection via Siri on HomePod and the voice assistant will be able to translate some foreign phrases.
  • 2018, no comments at the time of writing this blog.
siri new voice
Apple’s tease for a new Siri voice (Photo: Apple)

A NEW SECURITY VULNERABILITY IN CPU

 THE STORY

Speculative Store Bypass (variant 4) is a new vulnerability detected by Google, Microsoft and Intel.

WHAT IS THE NEW CPU SECURITY VULNERABILITY

The new security vulnerability is known as Speculative Store Bypass (variant 4) detected is indistinguishable to Meltdown and Spectre flaw discovered this year. It exploits speculative execution used in CPUs and in return allows hackers to access sensitive information. These bugs should be reduced instead of fixing them out rightly.  This vulnerability can be fixed using a firmware update that will disable the Speculative Store Bypass protection by default. As it is enabled CPUs performance is affected. Intel has already started to deliver microcode updates to fix the flaw.

HOW WAS THE BUG DISCOVERED?

Google, Microsoft, and Intel have joined hands to bring this vulnerability to the light. They modified Spectre and meltdown flaw and the bug was discovered back in November 2017. Microsoft’s offering of up to 250,000 to detect a bug similar to Spectre and meltdown added more to the research.

SHOULD THE FIRMWARE UPDATE BE DONE?

End users and particularly system administrators will have to make a choice between security or optimal performance. As if the firmware is updated performance will be decreased and if not chances of being attacked will be increased.

WHAT IS BEEN DONE TO TACKLE SUCH VULNERABILITIES?

Intel is already in the process of preparing CPU to handle such situations. It’s called next generation Xeon scalable processor and will be available in second half of 2018. It is redesigned in a manner to stay protected against attacks like Spectre or of the new variant 4.

Preeti is a technical writer with Systweak. She covers new technology and troubleshooting. She loves gadgets and is an avid reader. In her free time, she likes to travel and explore new places solo.

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