Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 6, 2011

Download Squad: Top new and updated Windows apps of 2010 – 2010 has been one heck of a year for software development. We’ve seen scores of great new apps released and major updates for many of our favorites. “Release early, iterate often” has become the norm — with alpha and beta downloads coming at us fast and 0.1 becoming the new 1.0. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite apps which released major updates or debuted in 2010!

Guide to Windows 7 File Sharing Permissions – A short video at, one of my favorite sites, explains the file sharing options on Windows 7, especially as they relate to permissions. The examples use a system which is a member in a Windows domain. The lesson that Advanced permission settings give you much more flexibility and power than the basic ones goes as well in the case of workgroups/homegroup.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Fuzzing tool discovers over 100 vulnerabilities in popular browsers – The public release of cross_fuzz – a cross-document DOM binding fuzzer that is able to detect vulnerabilities in all browsers by examining how they interact with various elements while they render web pages – by the Google-employed security researcher Michal Zalewski has unveiled some worrying information. First, that some of the over 100 vulnerabilities found in browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, and WebKit powered Chrome and Safari are still currently unpatched.

Quick Tip: Kill rogue processes with taskkill in Microsoft Windows – The ability and power that comes with the taskkill command can be a very valuable tool that might save you from having to forcibly reboot a machine. Having a solid grasp of this tool, in conjunction with using the Windows Task Manager, will help to keep your Windows machines enjoying longer uptime and, should the occasion strike, the ability to manage a task when a virus, rootkit, or trojan has taken over your machine.

Undetectable fake ATM keyboard steals PINs in real time – Thieves and scammers are an inventive bunch, especially when it comes to stealing your money indirectly. And the latest discovery of a fake keyboard that is placed over an ATM’s legitimate one and records the typed-in PIN – in conjunction with a fake magnetic strip reader that can be manufactured from cheap spare electronic parts – shows that this kind of crime does not require a lot of funds and can bring in quite a lot of money.

Spam from Rustock, Lethic and Xarvester Disappears over the Holiday Season – Over the 2010 Christmas holiday, the level of spam in circulation has dropped drastically. For example, at the time of writing, the amount of spam hitting our spam honeypots is the lowest it has been since McColo, the rogue ISP, was shut down in November 2008. As can be seen from the global spam level estimates in figure 1 below, the amount of spam worldwide has dropped dramatically since 25th December 2010.

Microsoft warns of Windows image rendering flaw – Microsoft warned of a Windows vulnerability that could allow an attacker to take control of a computer if the user is logged on with administrative rights.

Researcher Publishes Method for Bypassing Flash Local-with-filesystem Sandbox – A security researcher has published a simple method for bypassing one of the sandboxes that Adobe has implemented to prevent Flash files from taking unwanted or malicious actions on users’ PCs.

Company News:


Sourcefire acquires Immunet – Sourcefire announced the acquisition of Immunet, a provider of cloud-based anti-malware technologies. This acquisition immediately enables Sourcefire to provide endpoint protection from client-side attacks and Advanced Persistent Threats (APT).

Samsung adds backup and security software to portable drives – Samsung announced two new portable drives and a new desktop drive, featuring distinctive styling as well as SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interfaces. The portable drives also offer up to 1TB capacity and add enhanced backup and security software. Their software offers a suite of tools with an easy-to-use graphical user interface.

Intel Touts Tiny 310 SSD’s Capabilities at Storage Visions – Measuring about two inches long by one inch wide, less than 0.20 inches thick and weighing just 10 grams, the Intel 310 SSD series is specifically designed for dual-drive notebooks, single-drive tablets, and rugged, low-power military or industrial embedded applications, the company said. The fast ultra-compact SSD will help accelerate boot time and access to frequently used applications or files.

Has ASUS discovered the strategy to take down the iPad? – ASUS has a different tablet strategy than most of the vendors trotting out tablets at CES 2011. Learn it’s two-pronged strategy for beating the iPad and get the details on its four tablets

Off Topic (Sort of):


Estonia institutes volunteer cyber army – Estonia became the first country ever to actually be engaged in a cyberwar, but that didn’t make them despair. If anything, that incident was what spurred them to institute their own Cyber Defense League – an organization that gathers computer scientists, programmers, software engineers and cybersecurity specialists and would, in time of war, be under the direct command of the military.

Poll Results: Should the U.S. federal government censor the Internet? – See how your TechRepublic peers answered this question: Should the U. S. federal government censor the Internet?

Criminals beware: a DNA test for hair color – Criminals can run, but they might be leaving some incriminating evidence behind. Scientists have figured out how to use DNA information to predict a person’s hair color.

South Korea Invests Heavily in Robotic Teachers – Korean school officials are touting the success of a 14-week trial program that supplemented preschool and kindergarten classrooms with robot teachers. Officials are so pleased with the results; they have already laid plans to expand “R-Learning” in 2011 with an $8.69 million investment that will broaden the program to 500 preschools. By 2012, the investment will be more than quadrupled to $36 million, expanding to 8,000 kindergarten and preschools by 2013.

Today’s Quote:


Confidence is the sexiest thing a woman can have. It’s much sexier than any body part.”

–    Aimee Mullins

Today’s Free Downloads:


Six Downloads to Improve Microsoft Office – Anyone who uses Microsoft Office will agree on two things: It’s a powerful collection of applications, and it needs improvement. These six programs bring Office a lot closer to what it should be.

TrueCrypt – The best things in life are free, and Truecrypt may be one of them. When you encrypt files on your hard disk, not only do you want to scramble the files, but sometimes you want to prevent others from discovering that the files even exist, a sleight-of-hand known as steganography. Not only does Truecrypt use strong encryption when it creates encrypted volumes (including 256-bit AES and 448-bit Blowfish), it also creates hidden volumes that are indistinguishable from random data.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 6, 2011

  1. John Bent

    Hi Bill,

    I’ve been using TrueCrypt for some time and find it ideal for encrypting pen drives so that, if you lose one, the contents cannot be accessed by anyone else. It’s a great second layer of security for passwords stored using RoboForm2Go or KeyPass.

    I find another of your suggestions, Secret Disk, is great for hiding stuff on your hard drive.

    Kind regards

    • Hi John,

      Couldn’t agree more re: TrueCrypt. This, from a guy who’s managed to lose more than a few USB drives over the years.

      Again, you’re dead on with Secret Disk – great for quick hides.