Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 14, 2013

Ultimate Google toolbox: 20 tips, tricks and hacks – With this handy arsenal of third-party tools, you can bend Google to your will and extract more from its services than ever before.

Zero-day PDF exploit affects Adobe Reader 11, earlier versions – Researchers from security firm FireEye claim that attackers are actively using a remote code execution exploit that works against the latest versions of Adobe Reader 9, 10 and 11. The exploit drops and loads two DLL files on the system. One file displays a bogus error message and opens a PDF document that’s used as a decoy, the FireEye researchers said.

Ditch the PDF headaches: Three safer, speedier Adobe Reader alternatives – Another day, another critical security exploit discovered for Adobe Reader. Ho-hum. The PDF software’s near-ubiquitous presence has made it a big, fat, juicy target for years now, and by this point, you shouldn’t be asking what Adobe’s going to do to shore up its perpetually leaky program. Instead, you should ask yourself: Why are you still using Adobe Reader at all?

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Slacker Radio Gets a Makeover, Simplified Navigation – Slacker radio today unveiled its revamped service, now available anywhere you could possibly want to listen to music.

Google Now widget comes to search app for Android 4.1 – Latest update to Google Search brings the rumored Google Now widget, along with movie passes and other new features.

For a sneak peek at Ubuntu phones, try this Android app – Many outlets have reported that Ubuntu phones are due in October, but that’s still far from certain. Work on apps, however, has clearly begun. In the meantime, those who can’t bear the wait now have at least some solace: an Android app you can download today that gives you at least an early taste of what Ubuntu Linux for phones will really be like.

Politician moves to make vulgar Photoshopping illegal – A state lawmaker in Georgia is so perturbed that someone used Photoshop to put his head on a porn star’s body that he now wants any kind of lewd Photoshopping to be banned.

USA sinks Atlantic cable plan over Huawei worries – The planned trans-Atlantic Hibernia Networks cable project is in limbo due to American concerns at the involvement of Chinese government-linked vendor Huawei. According to the paywalled Capacity magazine, Project Express – which was to run between New York and London, serving the world of high-frequency trading with sub-60 ms latency – is on hold because large US providers said using the cable would lose them US federal government contracts. (suggested by Michael F.)

Online transfer with one number wrong costs woman $40,000 – For two years, a woman accidentally makes bank transfers not to her joint account with husband, but to a stranger’s. Now she can’t get the money back.

Security:

Jawbone Hack Exposes Email Addresses, Passwords – Jawbone has informed customers of a hack that resulted in the theft of “limited user information.” The breach affected customers of Jawbone’s MyTALK service, which lets customers personalize their headset or speaker with updates, features, and apps.

Cybersecurity Executive Order Short on Action, Long on Voluntary Initiatives – The executive order that President Barack Obama signed yesterday in advance of his State of the Union Address contains a lot of provisions for information sharing on attacks and threats on critical infrastructure, and also calls for the development of a framework to reduce cybersecurity risks in federal agencies and critical infrastructure. What the order does not include are any mandates, required changes or a plan for significant action.

Global malicious websites increase by 600% – Year-over-year, the number of malicious web-based attacks increased by nearly 600 percent, according to Websense Security Labs. These attacks were staged predominantly on legitimate sites and challenge traditional approaches to security and trust. The timed, targeted nature of these advanced threats indicates a new breed of sophisticated attacker who is intent on compromising increasingly higher-yield targets.

Infosec pros don’t trust their own networks – A SafeNet survey of 230 United States security professionals, revealed that, despite continued investments in network perimeter technologies, respondents are not confident that they are employing the right technologies to secure their high-value data. When asked if they were confident in the security industry’s ability to detect or prevent security breaches, only 19 percent were confident, 49 percent remained unconvinced that the industry can thwart current threats, and 33 percent have become less confident in its ability to do so.

Ruby on Rails Patches DoS, Remote Execution Flaws – Web app framework Ruby on Rails patched two security flaws this week in the open source framework that could have led to denial of service attacks and remote execution vulnerabilities.

Company News:

YouTube fights Russian public safety agency’s video ban – Google’s video site, YouTube, is challenging a Russian federal agency’s ban on one of the videos it hosts in a bid to clarify the effects of a law some Russian IT companies say could lead to Internet censorship.

Nvidia Bucks PC Industry Trend With Strong Earnings – Graphics chip maker reports booming sales for its fiscal 2013 and the final quarter of last year though profits dipped a bit on both an annual and sequential quarterly basis

Qualys and iViZ partner on cloud-based web application security – Qualys announced its partnership with iViZ to help companies ensure and validate the security of their web applications and web sites.

Work on Surface Tablet Will Help Partners, Microsoft Says – Microsoft’s work on the Surface tablet will benefit – not alienate – its hardware partners, according to Peter S. Klein, Microsoft’s chief financial officer.

HP to make Android tablets, report says – It already offers a Windows 8 tablet; now Hewlett-Packard is diving into the crowded market for Android tablets, according to a report.

PayPal, Lenovo Alliance on the Hunt for Password Alternatives – Led by Lenovo, PayPal, and four other founding members, the FIDO Alliance launched this week with the aim of revolutionizing online authentication.

Webopedia Daily:

CRM – Customer Relationship Management – CRM is the abbreviation for customer relationship management. CRM entails all aspects of interaction that a company has with its customer, whether it is sales or service-related. While the phrase customer relationship management is most commonly used to describe a business-customer relationship, however CRM systems are used in the same way to manage business contacts, clients, contract wins and sales leads. CRM solutions provide you with the customer business data to help you provide services or products that your customers want, provide better customer service, cross-sell and up sell more effectively, close deals, retain current customers and understand who the customer is.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Put Down Your Phone and Listen to the President – Many politicians were live-tweeting last night’s State of the Union address, and while their commentary can be funny, it’s just plain rude.

Finally confirmed: An asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs – A team of American and European researchers have confirmed, Sebastian explains, that the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction — the event that wiped out roughly 75% of the planet’s species, including almost every dinosaur — was caused by an asteroid impact in Mexico 66 million years ago.

The Ballsiest Living Cheater (Who Never Broke a Rule) – Barney Curley is a name that would be synonymous with gambling if you had ever heard it. We will now spend the next 600 words correcting that. In 1975, Curley made the equivalent of 2.1 million pounds ($3.3 million) in today’s money with perhaps the finest display of loophole abuse ever seen — exploiting the fact that, in those days, bookies had to get all of their information about the type, amount, and volume of bets being made at a particular racetrack via telephone. Basically, if one horse was getting a lot of attention, they could call a track and adjust their odds to avoid a potentially catastrophic payout.

Not just Windows Blue: The rest of Microsoft is shifting to yearly releases, too – If a source close to Microsoft is to be believed, Windows Blue is a lot more than just annual updates to Windows 8 — it’s a massive shift towards regular updates for almost every Microsoft product, including Windows Phone, Windows Server, and online services such as Hotmail and SkyDrive. Not caught up on Windows Blue? You should probably do that.

Today’s Quote:

“First things first, but not necessarily in that order.”

-      Doctor Who

Today’s Free Downloads:

Hotspot Shield 2.87 – Hotspot Shield creates a virtual private network (VPN) between your laptop and the wireless router. This impenetrable tunnel prevents snoopers and hackers from viewing anything you send over a wireless network.

NirLauncher – NirLauncher is a package of more than 100 portable freeware utilities for Windows, all of them developed for NirSoft Web site during the last few years.

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