Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 31, 2011

6 Super Security Freebies – These six free downloads will bolster your system and network security.

Quick Tip: Block unwanted sites using the Windows hosts file – By adding entries to the Windows hosts file, you can block access to specific unwanted or known malware-infested websites.

U.S. Gov’t to Thank for Phone-Wiping Panic Button – Red Alert! Cops coming and you’re concerned about deleting what’s on your cell phone in case it’s confiscated? Thanks to the U.S. Government, there will be an app for that – the panic button app will be able to wipe phones.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Erase Yourself From the Web – Drunken party pictures from college haunting you? Fed up with Facebook? Victim of Internet overwhelm? Here’s how to protect yourself by wiping your data off the Web.

McAfee’s Website Full of Security Holes, Researcher Says – This isn’t just embarrassing, but also somewhat discrediting for McAfee, which markets a McAfee Secure service to enterprises for their customer-facing websites. McAfee Secure claims to test for personal information access, links to dangerous sites, phishing, and other embedded malicious dangers that a website might unknowingly be hosting.

Web-Based Spam Now a Global Problem – Since virtually the dawn of the commercial Web and the advent of widespread email use, spam has been a major problem and it has grown to a point that botnets are now spewing trillions of spam messages every month. But, email spam is just one piece of a much larger ecosystem that now is mainly dominated by Web-based spam pushing users to malicious, or at best, worthless, pages.

European Parliament computer network breached – According to the Parliament’s spokesmen, the attack was still ongoing yesterday morning and information technology services have put in place some security measures – such as blocking access to webmail.

Two more Comodo RAs compromised – The investigation Comodo has mounted following the recent compromise of one of its Registration Authorities and the issuing of rogue certificates for popular sites has revealed that two additional RAs have been compromised but that no more bogus certificates had been issued.

Microsoft to push IE 9 broadly via Windows Update in late June – Microsoft will begin pushing Internet Explorer (IE) 9 to users in earnest starting at the end of June 2011, using its Windows Update mechanism, officials said this week.

Company News:


Qualys partners with StopBadware – Qualys is partnering with the non-profit anti-malware organization StopBadware. The two organizations will leverage one another’s strengths to bolster the Web’s collective defenses against malware. Qualys joins Google, Mozilla, PayPal, Nominum, and Verizon in supporting StopBadware.

Microsoft Exec: Tablets Could Be Temporary Fad – At least one Microsoft executive seems unconvinced that tablets are much more than a passing fad.

Apple AirPlay Headed for TV Sets, Says Report – Apple’s attempt to dominate the living room could stretch even further with the integration of AirPlay technology in HDTVs, according to a Bloomberg report. With AirPlay built into TV sets, users would be able to wirelessly stream content from an iPad, iPhone or Mac straight to the TV, without the need for a $99 Apple TV.

Amazon’s Cloud Drive Riles Music Industry – So, the record companies are not exactly thrilled with Amazon’s move. This should be no surprise to anyone, given the music industry’s current position on any type of music sharing (plus, it looks like their request for $75 trillion from LimeWire isn’t going to pan out, so they really do need the money).

Off Topic (Sort of):


FBI asks public to break a code, help solve a murder – An interesting request for help has been made public yesterday by the FBI: “Cryptanalists, help solve an open murder case”. The murder happened back in 1999. 41-year-old Ricky McCormick’s dead body was discovered in a field, and in his pants’ pocket were found two encrypted notes, which the FBI believes could shed a light on why and by whom he was murdered.

Creepy – Creepy is an application that allows you to gather geolocation related information about users from social networking platforms and image hosting services. The information is presented in a map inside the application where all the retrieved data is shown accompanied with relevant information (i.e. what was posted from that specific location) to provide context to the presentation.

Messenger Spacecraft Sends First Image From Mercury’s Orbit – NASA on Tuesday released an image of Mercury captured by its Messenger spacecraft – the first ever obtained from the planet’s orbit.

Nearly 50% of tweets consumed are from tiny fraction of Twitter users – A mere 20,000 Twitter users steal almost half the spotlight on Twitter, which now ropes in a billion tweets every week. That means only 0.05% of the social network’s user base attracts attention, according to a new Yahoo Research study titled, “Who Says What to Whom on Twitter.” (submitted by Michael F.)

Today’s Quote:


So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work.”

–    Peter Drucker

Today’s Free Downloads:


Microsoft Network Monitor – Ever wonder exactly what is being sent across your network–the packets that comprise the lowest level of network traffic and which programs are sending them? If the answer is yes, Network Monitor 3.4– a free utility from Microsoft–is all you need to find out what’s flowing back and forth.

The Dude – This network enumerator and mapper comes in handy when I’m trying to map out a customer’s network. Of course, it shows icons representing the devices on your network, but it goes beyond that. Hovering over an icon shows you the type of services available, recent bandwidth usage, and other info.

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