Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 11, 2013

Online-Shopping Scams to Watch Out For;  Five data recovery utilities; Holiday Tech Gifts for Men;  Xbox One Kinect sees through your clothes; The rise of the Chromebook;  Hacking for Fun and (Not) Profit; SpringPublisher 4.0 (Free);  Protect Privacy on Public Wi-Fi;  A website for women scorned;  11 games worth revisiting;  iPad Air explodes.

Tin foil hats need to come back in style if we’re to save our privacy – We laughed at the tin foil nutters, called them crazy, but now that it’s been found that the US is spying on everyone, of course they’re nowhere in sight now that we need them.

10 Excellent Holiday Tech Gifts for Men – Need holiday shopping inspiration? These fun tech gift picks for the guys in your life strike the perfect balance between useful and thoughtful.

Five data recovery utilities – I’ve lost count of the number of times over the years that I have had friends, family, and even clients contact me because a hard disk failed and no backup of the data exists. In these types of situations the only option is often to use a data recovery utility to try to get back some of the data. This article discusses five such utilities.

Yes, Xbox One Kinect can see you through your clothes – Anything that would stick out and affect your clothing in some way can be seen with the Kinect camera. If you take a look at the video from Microsoft’s research group on the new Kinect sensor, you can see it’s really not at all difficult to make out a penis. Depending on the type of clothing, this same effect would be present for breasts.

How to Protect Your Privacy on Public Wi-Fi Networks – Working unsecured on a public hotspot could get you into trouble. To find out just what the risks were, we consulted Con Mallon, a mobility expert with Symantec. There are three major ways these free, open hotspots could get you into trouble, he explains.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Open pages in Chrome as panels with PIP Viewer extension – It’s a great way to dock your Facebook news feed, Twitter feed, or a YouTube video, whether you are keeping an eye on a TED talk or a Cleveland Browns game from the mid-1980′s when Bernie Kosar was at the height of his powers.

Beehive ID advises who’s real and who’s an Internet fake – Dear Internet bots and sockpuppets: Your days are numbered, because the Beehive ID service is out to spot the frauds online.

Microsoft releases Windows 8.1 patch to fix mouse lag while gaming – Microsoft has now released a patch for Windows 8.1 that is supposed to fix an issue that was causing a great amount of lag in some mice products while playing certain games.

Street lights to spy on everything that happens in Vegas? – What happens in Vegas stays with the authorities? Las Vegas is installing Intellistreets, which are street lights that have many talents — including the ability to record sound and shoot video.

Low-end laptops: The rise of the Chromebook – Experts say Chromebooks are the one segment of the PC market that’s growing while everything else shrinks.

Five tech strategies to help expand your small business – Even though your business is small, you still need to innovate in order to grow. Jack Wallen identifies five budget-friendly ways to do so.

Rental options in a post-Blockbuster world – Rest in peace, Blockbuster stores. Long live Redbox, libraries, streaming services, and other alternatives.

Meet Sense, 3D Systems’ Cheap, Dead-Simple 3D Scanner For The Masses – South Carolina-based 3D Systems just recently outed a cheapish, consumer-friendly scanner called the Sense, and I swung by Engadget’s Expand show in New York this weekend to see the thing in action. Here’s the TL;DR if you’re on a tight schedule: at $399 price is right and I came away awfully impressed with the little thing. And I do mean little, as 3D Systems concocted a portable affair that’s about the size of a small hardback or staple gun.

McDonald’s wants a 3D printer in every restaurant so they can print Happy Meal toys – McDonald’s IT director Mark Fabes says that the chain is thinking about putting a 3D printer in every restaurant so they can 3D print whichever Happy Meals toys a child wants.

Hacking for Fun and (Not) Profit – Thanks to a handful of commands I’d typed into the terminal window on my loaner Linux laptop, I’d managed to take over a remote Windows machine. While giggling fiendishly the entire time, I’d also added a user account for myself and remotely rebooted that computer. I was hacking, or rather, proto-hacking, and it was a tremendous rush.

iPad Air explodes, faulty overcharge protection circuit suspected – An iPad Air spontaneously combusted this week in a Vodafon store in Canberra, Australia, filling the store with smoke and sending a continuous stream of sparks flying from the charging port of the device. The store was evacuated, the fire brigade was called, and the spectacular flaming tablet was officially extinguished. No one was injured in the fireworks.

Instagram Cracks Down on Drug-Related Hashtags – Drug dealers might need some new Instagram slang, as the Facebook-owned photo-sharing site is apparently cracking down on narcotics-related hashtags.

All about beamforming, the faster Wi-Fi you didn’t know you needed – Instead of broadcasting a signal to a wide area, hoping to reach your target, why not concentrate the signal and aim it directly at the target? Sometimes the simplest concepts are the most difficult to execute, especially at retail price points. Fortunately, beamforming is finally becoming a common feature in 802.11ac Wi-Fi routers (at least at the high end). Here’s how it works.

Security:

3 Holiday Online-Shopping Scams to Watch Out For – Along with all the amazing holiday Internet deals come the scammers, with new and inventive ways to trick you.

Stealing PIN Codes With a Wink and a Nod - The technique is deceptively simple in concept: The researchers’ software runs on the mobile device and when a user types in her PIN code, the software records keystroke sounds through the microphone and uses the camera to judge the phone’s orientation and watch the user’s face while she’s typing. Using those inputs, the researchers’ software has shown that it can infer the user’s four-digit PIN code better than 50 percent of the time after just five attempts on a Samsung Galaxy S3.

Technology no match for social engineering – A security researcher says there is a 100-percent success rate any time pen-testing uses social engineering to target victims. Here are some of the techniques used.

Women Utterly Destroy Men in Social Engineering Competition – How did women do against their male counterparts? “This year, the women not just won,” said Hadnagy. “They obliterated men.” Three of the top five slots went to women, and the top scoring social engineer had over 200 points more than the next highest scoring participant. “The women winning shows something, but we have no data that shows they were women talking to men.”

FBI posts $50,000 reward for ‘Lover Spy’ malware writer – The FBI has offered large rewards for information that could help catch accused cybercriminals who have been wanted for years. The details published on the FBI website covers all types of cybercrime, including database theft and hacking, telecom fraud, and malware scams. But it is the curious tale of Carlos Enrique Perez-Melara that offers the most more unusual case.

The Consequences of CEOs Surfing for Porn – Malware analysts can’t fully protect their companies from cyberattacks because of internal obstacles including avoidable malware messes by senior executives.

Phishing increase builds on hijacked brand names, study reports – The number of brands used in spoofed emails that trick people into visiting malicious Web sites or clicking on malware attachments rose in the second quarter.

Enterprise data breaches often left undisclosed, malware analysts say – According to new research, enterprise malware analysts often address data breaches which are kept under wraps by companies.

Beware scammers gathering data via fake social net IDs – Spear phishing is one of the most effective ways to break into a corporate network, and recent studies show that employees can be easily tricked on social media.

Rogue US-Israeli cyberwar weapon ‘infected Russian nuclear plant’: Even the space station has been infected by malware, claims Kaspersky – Stuxnet – the famous worm widely credited with crippling the Iranian nuclear weapons programme for several years – also infected the internal network of a Russian nuclear plant. Unspecified malware has even reached the International Space Station, according to the boss of Russian anti-virus firm Kaspersky Lab.

Company News:

Google ordered to hand over Street View data or face massive daily fines – Google is back in the news regarding its Street cars and data collecting practises, this time in Brazil where a massive investigation is underway due to possible government data snooping by the NSA.

Motorola patents a tattoo that works as a wireless mic and lie detector – In the Motorola patent application, the tattoo is described as having a microphone, wireless transceiver, power supply, and a power controller. Signals would be passed from the electronic tattoo to your smartphone via NFC, and it would only wake up when instructed to do so by a particular audio stream — presumably something your phone would broadcast when a call connects, for example.

Intel acquires interactive education startup Kno – The proliferation of tablets have made using digital textbooks a more feasible choice than they were even a handful of years ago, and with them has come a growing number of textbook-related digital bookstores. Kno is one such company, and following rumors of such, Intel has officially acquired the startup, boosting its own Education business.

Google invests $608 million in Finnish data center – Google is investing $608 million into its Finnish data center in a bid to meet mobile video demand. The site in Hamina, some 150 kilometers outside Helsinki, was opened two years ago after Google bought a facility from a Finnish paper company for $272 million. It is currently one of three Google data centers in Europe.

Games and Entertainment:

Hot PC Games for the 2013 Holiday Season – With some of the most anticipated PC game releases delayed until 2014, we have put together a list of the hottest PC titles that have and will become available this holiday season.

Xbox One boots in 17 seconds, among leaked revelations – The latest Xbox One revelations ahead of its official Nov. 22 release date come by way of Twitter user @Moonlightswami, whose early acquisition of a console was likely made possible through a mistake on the part of Target. Among @Moonlightswami’s confirmed findings are a 17-second boot time, an initial 500MB software update, some very large game downloads in the Xbox Live Marketplace, and others.

Play ‘em again, Sam: 11 games worth revisiting – Big updates and new modes and content give these mobile games replayability for days. (And days.)

New World of Warcraft expansion, Warlords of Draenor, announced – There will be new raids spread across seven zones, a new PvP zone, and new rewards causing you to skip work for a week so you can better manage the infinitesimal drop rates. Along with these usual additions, Draenor adds a new mechanic where players can build, upgrade, and maintain their own garrison. Players can also recruit NPCs and send them off to gather resources or complete quests.

PS4 Games You’ll Want on Day One – If you’re planning to buy a PlayStation 4 on launch day, you’ll need games. Here are some of the most intriguing titles available.

GAME and STA launch the ‘ultimate’ round-the-world trip for gamers – 4 weeks, 3 continents, 8 countries and 13 gaming-themed destinations are in store for intrepid voyagers embarking on the “ultimate gaming adventure” – with prices starting from £5,582 ($8,950).

Off Topic (Sort of):

Beyond Verbal gets inside your customers’ heads – New technology can read a person’s mood, attitude, and personality by listening to their person’s voice.

She’s a Homewrecker: A scorn-filled website for women scorned - We all know infidelity stings, but who’s to blame when it happens? If you ask the community behind She’s a Homewrecker, it’s not the people breaking the boundaries of their relationship, it’s “the other women.” She’s a Homewrecker is basically an online burn book that’s been “exposing the women who choose to become involved with an involved man” since 2012. Slighted women are encouraged to upload several photos of the mistress who’s driving them mad, and their stories to the site. Each “homewrecker” is listed and tagged by her full name and the state she lives in.

The Microsoft Kinect game revolutionizing rehab for stroke survivors – Researchers have developed a game using Microsoft’s Kinect motion tracking system, which is transforming rehabilitation for patients left partially immobile after a stroke, with incredible results.

Women sue: Caffeinated underwear doesn’t zap fat – Underwear performance underwhelming, says suit targeting Maidenform’s caffeine microcapsule undies that promise to burn cellulite.

F-bombs away! Twitter map tracks curses in real time – A new interactive site displays where, and how often, people around the world use the F-word on Twitter. Looks like New York is really effed up.

Das Keyboard HackShield Backpack review: A totally thief-proof backpack – This is the Fort Knox of backpacks. Because it’s impossible to break into, not because it’s full of gold bars.

Why dollars are better than bitcoins (and always will be) – Say anything negative about Bitcoin and the moles come out of the dark to throw stones. But the truth is that dollars are better than Bitcoins. And here’s why. (I’m not a mole – but, I’ll wager 2 bushels of wheat against one goatskin that this writer has a limited perspective on MONEY.)

Something to think about:

All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.”

-     Sir Winston Churchill

Today’s Free Downloads:

WOT (Web of Trust) – Web safety is not just about viruses and malware. WOT’s ratings are powered by a global community of millions of users who rate websites based on their own experiences. Add WOT to you browser for protection against online threats that only real life experience can detect, such as scams, untrustworthy links, and rogue web stores.

SpringPublisher 4.0 – SpringPublisher is a professional and easy to use desktop publishing software. With its included various templates and online template store, powerful multi-layer editor, detailed help-files, SpringPublisher enables you to design and print Business Card, Flyer, Postcard, Letterhead and other artworks within a few minutes.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Internet engineers urge security against online spies – Members of the Internet Engineering Task Force discussed at its meeting in Vancouver, Canada last week how the organization could turn its plan to protect the web from government spying into action. IETF chair Jari Arkko also spoke at a UN event in Bali about the need for the engineers behind the Internet to push for new standards that would make it more difficult for government intelligence agencies like the NSA to spy on Internet users en masse. In his speech, Arkko suggested two main tenets to the plan extending SSL-like encryption to all pages of the Internet, and improving encryption algorithms.

GCHQ hacked GRX and OPEC employees via Quantum inserts, Snowden papers show – A new analysis of the Snowden papers by German magazine Der Spiegel shows GCHQ–the English counterpart to the US’s NSA–served false copies of LinkedIn and Slashdot pages to install malware on a few target individuals’ computers. This latest revelation is not a mass spying program, but a server-heavy, speed-dependent initiative to spy on key individuals deemed to be assets by the GCHQ. Targets included employees of GRX providers Comfon, Mach (now owned by Syniverse), and nine members of OPEC, the global oil cartel.

Indonesian hackers crash Australian intelligence agency’s site – The hacking comes one week after a wave of cyberattacks against over 170 Australian sites, mainly belonging to small businesses. The attacks were in retaliation against Australia for reportedly using its Jakarta embassy for spying.

Snowden serves up another lesson on insider threats – The Edward Snowden saga continues to serve up valuable lessons on the dangers posed to enterprise data by insiders with privileged access to systems and networks. The latest lesson involves the risks of allowing password sharing among employees.

White House reportedly considers civilian NSA chief – As the role of the US National Security Agency continues to be examined, the White House thinks about picking a civilian to replace outgoing Gen. Keith Alexander, reports The Hill.

3 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

3 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 11, 2013

  1. ltcnursejackie

    I think it’s important for your readers to know that WOT is also very easy to sway one way or another. Their so called “Super Users” are basically given free access to either pan or favor sites for any reason. If they don’t like something about the site they give it a bad rating and there is nothing the site’s owner can do about it. If you go through and read the comments on many of these “poorly rated” sites you will see the rating has nothing to do with the site being bad, it just didn’t fit into the reviewer’s requirements (for example, if the site owner doesn’t post it’s direct contact information (private registration) so the spammers can’t fill their mailbox).

    Community reviews are nice but treat the information as opinions not truth. WOT’s “super users” have made them an unreliable resource for me.

    • Hi Jackie,

      Couldn’t agree more. WOT’s “Super Users” need to be brought under control. Far too many examples of illogical (stupid really), crafted and created site assessments.

      I’ve had more than a few conversations with WOT executives regarding this issue over the years – to no avail. In fact, you can see one such argument regarding these nitwits (g7w), here – All Forums › General discussion.

      Nevertheless, given the continuously deteriorating security netscape, WOT offers a level of protection (despite the nitwits), which we all should take advantage of.

      Thank you for commenting.

      Best,

      Bill

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