Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+ Smartphones Boast Array of New Features

Today’s topics include Samsung revealing its new Galaxy S9 and S9+ smartphones; Samsung and PTC partnering on IoT initiatives; Microsoft’s Quantum Development Kit arriving on Linux and macOS; and CrowdStrike revealing time to breakout as a key cyber-security metric.

Samsung's flagship Galaxy S9 and S9+ smartphones were unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Feb. 25, replacing last year's S8 and S8+ flagship models.

The new devices include updated main cameras that offer improved low-light photographs, expanded slow-motion video capabilities and improved speakers for better sound. They also use faster 64-bit, octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 CPUs, and the S9+ model includes 6GB of memory, compared to 4GB in the S8+. Both new devices use the Android 8.0 Oreo operating system.

The phones will be offered in Lilac Purple, Midnight Black and Coral Blue in the U.S. and will be offered by all major carriers. Preorders will begin March 2, with availability through the carriers beginning on March 16. The unlocked Galaxy S9 is priced at $719.99, while the Galaxy S9+ will sell for $839.99.

On Feb. 26, Samsung Electronics announced a partnership with Boston-based Parametric Technology Corp. to enable industrial internet of things customers to get to market faster with smart, secure, connected products and services that improve operational efficiency.

PTC provides management solutions for how applications and other products are created and serviced. The new deal combines PTC's integration and consulting talent with its ThingWorx Industrial Innovation Platform and the Samsung ARTIK Smart IoT Platform.

Through the partnership, Samsung said ARTIK users will be able to develop and deploy data-driven applications even faster. Meanwhile, PTC customers can use ThingWorx Ready-certified IoT components and services from Samsung ARTIK for connectivity, device management and integrated security.

Microsoft has released an updated version of its Quantum Development Kit for Linux and macOS. The kit, which made its debut at Microsoft's Ignite conference in September 2017, followed by a beta release in December, includes the Q# programming language and a simulator for coders exploring how to build applications for quantum computers.

It also integrates with Visual Studio Code, a lightweight code editor from Microsoft, which is also now available for both operating systems. Meanwhile, the Windows version of the kit now supports the Python programming language.

Microsoft also open-sourced its quantum development libraries, enabling developers to incorporate them into their own applications or add their own contributions. Finally, the kit's quantum simulator now runs with a four to five times improvement in performance, particularly in simulations involving 20 qubits or more.

Cyber-security vendor CrowdStrike released its 2018 Global Threat Report on Feb. 26. Among the highlights is an analysis of what CrowdStrike refers to as the average breach breakout time.

Dmitri Alperovitch, CrowdStrike’s chief technology officer and co-founder, said, "The breakout time is the time that it takes for an attacker to escape the initial beachhead machine that they were able to compromise.” According to CrowdStrike, the average breakout time in 2017 was 1 hour and 58 minutes, which Alperovitch said "shines a light on how much time defenders have to actually contain an incident before it becomes a breach.”

While detecting attackers before they are able to break out from an initial infection point is important, so too is blocking attackers at the network perimeter. If organizations are not preventing and blocking as much malware and attack activity as possible, security teams won't have the time to properly look at the more sophisticated threats, Alperovitch said.