Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 4, 2010

Security Software: Protection or Extortion? – Security software is a scam. A rip-off. A waste of money, a pain in the neck, and a surefire way to bring even the speediest PC to a crawl. Half the time it seems to cause more problems than it solves. Oh, and one more thing: It’s unnecessary. Heresy? Crazy talk? Recipe for disaster? No, no, and no. For the past several years, I’ve run Windows (first XP, and now Vista) without a single byte of third-party security software. I use nothing but the tools built into Windows and a few tricks I’ve learned.

IE9 the best browser? Not so fast – Browsers are more important than ever, but misinformation, new standards, and evolving tests makes it hard to rate them.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

New vulnerability impacts Internet Explorer users – Microsoft is investigating new, public reports of a vulnerability in all supported versions of Internet Explorer. The main impact of the vulnerability is remote code execution. This advisory contains workarounds and mitigations for this issue.

Troubleshooting features found in the Windows 7 System Configuration tool – In this edition of the Windows Desktop Report, Greg Shultz takes a closer look the Microsoft Windows 7 System Configuration utility.

35% of YOU are vulnerable to remote code execution! – Yes, I’m talking to YOU. After reading Ryan Naraine’s post on Flash adoption rates for readers of his Zero Day blog, and discovering that 35% of his readers were running outdated Flash plug-ins, I decided to check the logs for Hardware 2.0. I was hoping to find that you guys would be on the cutting-edge when it came to keeping your software updated.

Hole in iPhone PayPal app allows account hijacking – PayPal customers that use the payment company’s iPhone application to effectuate payments should update it as soon as possible, because a vulnerability that can be exploited to hijack their accounts has been found by a security researcher and confirmed by PayPal.

SEO Poisoning Attack: A Look Inside How It Works – One of the biggest risks that users run across during their everyday Internet browsing at the moment is from what security researchers call search engine optimization poisoning or SEO poisoning. Criminal hackers are taking advantage of our blind trust in popular search engines such as Google and Bing to trick us into clicking into malicious links. The bad guys use blackhat SEO techniques to boost the page rankings of their bogus sites. As these higher ranked sites start breaking into the top ten and top 20 results of a popular search term, users are lured into trusting the links.

Creator Defends FireSheep: App Does More Good Than Harm – One of a pair of developers who created FireSheep, a Firefox browser plug-in that makes it easy to snoop on others’ social networking sessions, has written a blog post defending his creation, saying it has helped elevate discussion about security on the Web.

Company News:

Dell places bets on tablets and the cloud – On Tuesday, Dell showed its hand on two of the big bets it’s making for the future. Learn about the company’s cloud computing acquisition and its tablet strategy.

Google Pays Cash to Hackers for Finding Web Security Flaws – Google is trying to boost security through a program that pays hackers for discovering exploits in its popular Web services such as Gmail, Blogger, YouTube, and Google.

Review: Weezo 2.1 remote access application – Weezo basically turns your computer into a secure Web server that allows secure access to files, simplified sharing of files, and even quick and easy Web publication of your content and desktop.

Twitter test ‘promoted tweets’ – ads in user’s stream – Twitter is trying out a new feature to display ads, or promoted tweets, directly in a user’s Twitter stream, but the company admits it’s watching carefully to see how people react.

Off Topic (Sort of):

How Big a Screen Do I Need for My Room? – Distance from a television screen affects your viewing experience. The closer you are to the screen, the more engaging and absorbing the experience. The farther you are from it the more distant the action will be. Sit the correct distance from the screen–not so far that you can’t see the detail, but not so close that you get distracted by the rows of pixels that make up the screen.

Experts run large cyber attack simulation exercise – Europe’s cyber security experts are testing their responses today in the first ever pan-European cyber-attack simulation exercise. In “Cyber Europe 2010”, experts will try to counter simulated attempts by hackers to paralyze critical online services in several EU Member States.

U.S. Is Bankrupt and We Don’t Even Know It – Let’s get real. The U.S. is bankrupt. Neither spending more nor taxing less will help the country pay its bills. What it can and must do is radically simplify its tax, health-care, retirement and financial systems, each of which is a complete mess. But this is the good news. It means they can each be redesigned to achieve their legitimate purposes at much lower cost and, in the process, revitalize the economy. (submitted by Michael F.)

Popular online services graded on SSL implementation – It seems that Firesheep has succeeded where similar tools have failed in the past: the issue of full end-to-end encryption for all websites – especially the most popular ones – is finally getting the attention it deserves.

Today’s Quote:

It was on my fifth birthday that Papa put his hand on my shoulder and said – Remember, my son, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.”

Sam Levenson

Today’s Free Downloads:

CollageIt – Collages are a fun way to combine multiple images into one, and they have many potential uses, from greeting cards and scrapbooks to social networking profiles. CollageIt enables you to create good-looking collages without a lot of hassle.

3 Free Dancing Fountains Screensaver – A well-done screensaver can have a surprisingly big impact, letting you imagine–however briefly–that you’re not actually stuck in a cubicle, but are in a relaxing, bucolic setting. 3 Free Dancing Fountains Screen Saver seeks to transport viewers by superimposing digitally created fountains on three attractive still images.

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