Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 8, 2013

Microsoft Security Essentials Tanks Another Antivirus Test – In November and again in January Microsoft failed certification. The Microsoft product team issued a rebuttal basically stating that the test in question didn’t measure their actual real-world protection. However, a new test just released by London-based Dennis Technology Labs puts Microsoft in last place, way behind all of its competition.

Improve your security in four easy but rarely implemented steps – I don’t want you to just read this blog post. I want you to act to make your computing experience more secure. One exercise session and one well-balanced meal won’t produce health. A one-time improvement in your password won’t produce security. Secure computing is very much like exercise and diet: you have to make good choices over time.

Increase BYOD productivity by adding five apps to your devices – With the right productivity apps you can manage to remain productive when you’re using your own devices at your place of business.

Windows 8 apps for the productive Desktop user – Greg Shultz takes a look at a selection of apps that he thinks are a good fit for the desktop user running Windows 8 with a keyboard and mouse.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

The latest trend: The ‘you’re not invited’ wedding e-mail – The soon-to-be-betrothed are feeling the need to inform those who are not invited by electronic means. Are they slightly loopy?

Netbooks still rule the education market – Remember netbooks? Yes, the once-popular devices which eventually fell out of favor once tablets like Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Kindle took the mobile world by storm. But all is not lost for the trusty netbook, which still rules the education market. Indeed, according to ABI Research analysts, nearly fifteen million computing devices will be shipped to the lucrative sector in 2013.

LibreOffice 4.0 ships with new features, better looks – The Document Foundation has announced LibreOffice 4.0, the latest version of the free software competitor to Microsoft Office that spun off from the OpenOffice.org effort in 2010, describing it as nothing less than “the free office suite the community has been dreaming of since 2001.”

Fan pages pop up on Facebook to support fugitive ex-LAPD cop – More than a dozen pages appear on the social network as a manhunt stretched across Southern California for the suspect in the murder of three, including a police officer.

Protect Windows machines from bot-spreading websites with Mirage Anti-Bot – Mirage Anti-Bot is a free solution that SOHOs and small businesses can use to block bots from infecting their machines. This easy to use application updates your computer’s host file (using data provided by abuse.ch) to blacklist specific IP addresses and domains known to be guilty of spreading bots. The data provided by abuse.ch will prevent the machine from contacting all IPs and domains added to the host file. You can even create your own rules to block websites not included in the downloaded list.

Regulators confirm Facebook deleted all EU facial recognition data – Facebook has deleted all European facial recognition data, the Irish data protection commissioner and a German data protection regulator confirmed independently Thursday after reviewing parts of the social network’s source code.

Security:

Critical flaw lets attackers control hospital, military buildings’ systems – A critical zero-day remote-access vulnerability in an industrial control system that is widely used in hospitals, military installations, manufacturing plants and other critical locations has been discovered and demonstrated by noted researchers Billy Rios and Terry McCorkle at the latest Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit, Wired reported.

US-CERT Current Activity – Microsoft has issued a Security Bulletin Advance Notification indicating that its February release will contain eleven bulletins. These bulletins will have the severity rating of critical and important, and will be for Microsoft Windows, Internet Explorer, Server Software, and .NET Framework. These bulletins are scheduled for release on February 12, 2013.

Whitehole exploit kit in the spotlight – The ability to evade antimalware detections, to prevent Google Safe Browsing from blocking it, and to load as much as 20 files at once will likely make it easy for Whitehole to secure a considerable slice of the market for itself. The smaller price when compared to Blackhole is also worth mentioning. The kit is currently employed in several campaigns to deliver the ZeroAccess backdoor and downloader Trojan and ransomware.

Adobe patches Flash – heads off in-the-wild attacks against Windows and Apple users – Hot on the heels of Oracle’s not-on-a-Tuesday emergency patch for Java comes a “Patch Thursday” update from Adobe. This time it’s Adobe’s Flash player that gets an upgrade, and it sounds well worth applying as soon as you can. The update heads off in-the-wild attacks against both Windows and Apple users.

Company News:

LinkedIn eyes future as professional publishing hub – The company seems set on making business content, not social networking, the focus of the site.

Samsung Secures ‘Colossal’ Lead Over Apple – Android-based phones – particularly those from Samsung – rule the roost. According to Thursday data from Canalys, Android smartphones made up 34 percent of global phone shipments during the fourth quarter, while iOS came in at 11 percent. Overall, smartphones represented 50 percent of the phones that shipped during the quarter.

NBC deems EveryBlock a dead end, turns off news service – The hyperlocal source of news and information may have been an innovative approach to media, but NBC says it wasn’t doing well as a business.

7-Inch Wikipad Coming This Spring for $249 – After delaying the launch of its 10-inch device, Wikipad today announced that it will first offer a 7-inch version of its tablet/game controller

Apple to ‘evaluate’ hedge fund’s cash demand – In a response to a legal threat from a prominent shareholder, Apple says it’s still evaluating its cash pile options.

Webopedia Daily:

Linux virtualization – Linux virtualization refers to running one or more virtual machines on a physical computer that’s operated by the Linux open source operating system. Linux virtualization can be used for isolating specific apps, programming code or even an operating system itself, as well as for security and performance testing purposes. Today’s more powerful computers and hardware have made virtualization more practical and feasible for both desktop and server environments, helping to save power by consolidating several workspaces on one system as well as maximizing the workload that the compute can handle. Popular Linux virtualization solutions include Xen, KVM, QEMU, VirtualBox and VMware.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Why Don’t Any Animals Have Wheels? – Animals flap, flutter, float, run, walk and hop. They swim, slide, skate, oscillate, glide and paddle. Occasionally, they’ll even curl up into balls and tumble head over heels. But not one animal rolls around upon a rotating body part: a biological wheel. The fact seems even more shocking when one considers the relative simplicity of wheels compared with eyes.

US appeals court asks whether to limit software patents – Should an abstract idea written into software and run on a computer be patentable? That’s one question a U.S. appeals court will consider Friday when it hears arguments in a case with broad implications for software patents for companies as diverse as Google and Red Hat.

30 Error Messages You Never Want to See – Nothing announces the arrival of a horrible day like a nice, sternly-worded error message on your PC. Some, as everyone reading this knows, are much, much worse than others. We asked you to photoshop some error messages that nobody wants to see, ever.

Captain Kirk Calling Captain Canuck – Science fiction meets science reality – William Shatner, aka Captain Kirk of the USS Enterprise, has been chatting with fellow Canadian Chris Hadfield, who is about to take over as the commander of the International Space Station. (suggested by Michael F.)

Auxiliary sources of income for IT consultants – If you want to supplement your IT consulting income, read these suggestions for diversifying your revenue stream.

U.S. Postal Service gives in to Internet; moves to kill Saturday mail delivery – Starting this summer your bills, random letters, and Netflix envelopes may not arrive on Saturdays. The United States Postal Service recently said it can shave $2 billion off its annual expenses by dumping Saturday letter delivery, a reduction in service that the USPS hopes to begin this August. Note that the Postal Service’s call for five-day delivery has been rejected many times by the U.S. Congress

Electromagnetic Sniffing An Emerging Security Threat – While we talk a lot about the dangers of digital intrusion, some security experts and governments are becoming increasingly concerned about electromagnetic sniffing, where information is lifted as it moves through electronics by a nearby observer.

Today’s Quote:

“Examine what is said, not him who speaks.”

-     Arab Proverb

Today’s Free Downloads:

Songbird – Songbird is a desktop media player mashed-up with the Web. Songbird is committed to playing the music you want, from the sites you want, on the devices you want, challenging the conventions of discovery, purchase, consumption and organization of music on the Internet.

ScreenBlur – ScreenBlur allows you to lock and hide your desktop, easily unlocking with a password. Hide visible windows, icons, gadgets and taskbar, also has auto lock, hotkeys, mute sound, customizable lock screen, and more.

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5 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

5 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 8, 2013

  1. Dave B.

    In RE: Microsoft Security Essentials Tanks Another Antivirus Test; I’m curious as to what happened there, went from one of the best free AV solutions to the worst, this just confirms av-test.org’s findings. Although as I was forced to find another free AV app I sucked it up and tried Norton (free if you’re a Comcast customer) and have to say I was pleasantly surprised, it’s not the giant, bloated mess it used to be.

    • Hey Dave,

      It really is a stunning reversal. MS needs to refocus and quickly.

      I’m with you on the Norton experience – a huge improvement. Been testing some of their freebies, including a Win 8 app – Norton Satellite – pretty cool!.

      Looks like we’re both going to be shoveling our butts off today. :)

      Best,

      Bill

      • Dave B.

        AV is an ever changing area, sometimes hard to keep track of the good and the bad. We had a bunch of clients affected by the recent Kaspersky update snafu, luckilly we had the cause tracked down in about an hour and were able to get everyone back online without waiting for Kaspersky to fix it.
        Not supposed to get real nasty here till later in the afternoon, I might even get a full days work in :)

  2. It’s hard to take a lot of these public comparative testing and news reports seriously. They don’t actually employ researchers (like Microsoft does) and they don’t actually have customers (like Microsoft does). And people who know zip about the actual technology are confident that they can draw definitive conclusions. Garbage in, garbage out. If you’re serious about protecting yourself from malware, you will pay heed to Microsoft’s advice and use a “defense in depth strategy for anti-malware protection” which includes using Microsoft Security Essentials (or Windows Defender in Windows 8), keep all software up to date and to educate yourself about the risks (no virus scanner will protect you against a clever social networking scam).