Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 27, 2011

Sony PlayStation Network compromised – A week after shutting down its PlayStation Network (PSN), Sony has finally come clean and admitted that its 70 million users’ personal information has been compromised – including names and addresses, dates of birth and passwords. The company is also warning that hackers could well have gained access to users’ credit card details.

Do Apple, Google and Microsoft Know Your Every Step? – A Handy ChartA fun side-effect of the iOS secret-tracking fiasco is that a lot of other different types of location data and transmissions to and from your smartphone are being conflated into a huge pile of fevered paranoia. But! Don’t freak out. To simplify all this (hopefully), here’s a chart that lays out what’s happening on three of the major platforms.

IE9 versus Chrome: which one blocks malware better? – Social engineering has become the dominant method of distribution for fake antivirus software these days. Google Chrome puts you at risk: in my testing, malware broke through Chrome’s defenses.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

The other Patch Tuesday brings crucial fixes for Windows – If it’s the fourth Tuesday of the month, it must be time for another round of Microsoft updates. And sure enough, the “other” Patch Tuesday this month brings a handful of fixes for performance, reliability, and application compatibility. One of the fixes is especially important for any Windows user with a new, extra-large hard drive.

Safe Harbor: Why EU data needs ‘protecting’ from US law – ZDNet’s USA PATRIOT Act series: An overview of the Safe Harbour principles, which allows data to flow freely between Europe and the US; but not without caution.

“You’ve got a postcard” spam emails lead to fake AV – Easter has come and passed, but the threat of bogus e-cards is alive as it ever was. This particular method of luring users to malicious pages or to download malicious attachments has been around for ages, and the fact that it is still used proves that it is effective enough for spammers to bother with it.

Amazon EC2 Outage Shows Risks of Cloud – The outage of Amazon cloud services proves the cloud is still risky, but affected customers have to also look in the mirror when choosing who to blame.

Company News:

Facebook Deals Tries to Out-coupon Groupon – Facebook jumped into the coupon space Tuesday by launching Facebook Deals. The feature works largely like Groupon or Living Social by offering users heavily-discounted deals at local businesses. What Facebook can bring to the space–besides its 600 million users–is a social component lacking from the other e-mail-based discount companies.

Yahoo Joins Linux Foundation – By joining The Linux Foundation, Yahoo can maximize its investment in Linux while directly supporting the Linux community’s developer and legal efforts.

GFI Software adds SharePoint log management to GFI EventsManager 2011 – GFI Software announced it has added enhanced security and compliance features to GFI EventsManager 2011, including Microsoft SharePoint log management, and auto-update patch management capabilities.

Android Outranks Apple in Desirability — and That’s Huge – Android has now surpassed Apple’s iPhone in terms of consumer desirability, according to a new study — and believe you me, that is some seriously huge news.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Inexpensive Eye-Tracking System Offers Hands-Free Computer Control – While eye-tracking systems to control computers do exist, such systems are too expensive for most disabled persons to afford. Now a team of students has created an inexpensive version built into a tablet computer, on which users can access anything from solitaire to Skype without the use of their hands.

90% of organizations have problems with password resets – With increasing numbers of remote and mobile workers, and more and more complex passwords to remember to log onto corporate networks, employees often need to contact IT support helpdesks to reset their forgotten passwords.

No limits to the law in NoLa – A federal justice report on policing in New Orleans since 2009 presents damning evidence of brutality, cop misconduct and systemic abuse of black citizens post-Katrina. The city’s jails are not far behind. (submitted by Dar)

Retro Video: How Computers Work – This 1990 production is classic and may have inspired many of you to join our very industry. Oh, and it’s also kind of funny.

Today’s Quote:

A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures.”

–    Daniel Webster

Today’s Free Downloads:

Apture Highlights for Firefox – Install the add-on, and then highlight any word or phrase on a Web page. A gray “Learn More” bubble appears just above it. Click that bubble and a window appears with three tabs on it: Explore, Videos, and Images. The Explore tab includes a summary of Wikipedia information about the word or phrase and a link to the entire Wikipedia entry; a link to a YouTube video; a small thumbnail of any relevant Google Maps; as well as photos related to the word or phrase, if any are available. Beneath all that are search results from Google and Bing on their own subtabs.

KompoZer – KompoZer is a tool for anyone who ever works with a Web page. Downloadable for free and compatible with Linux as well as the usual other alternatives, KompoZer is a WYSIWYG editor, meaning that you can edit Web pages visually as well as by working with the raw HTML code.

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Filed under Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

7 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 27, 2011

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  2. Dave B

    RE: Sony PlayStation Network compromised; IIRC I said not too long ago that it wouldn’t be long before the next big hack came along, and this is a big one!

  3. John Bent

    Hi Bill,

    I have been a long-term Sony customer, fortunately not interactively. I find this whole debacle extremely disappointing and it will definitely make me think twice about buying from them again.

    As has been said, it’s not the fact that they were hacked so much as the way it was handled that pees people off.

    BTW I believe their online video and music store, which rejoices in the name Qriocity, was also affected. I don’t subscribe but checked on my (Sony) TV and there is a message saying it is currently offline.

    Kind regards,

    • Hi John,

      Sony had an obligation to inform those affected by the breach immediately. I suspect that by the time all is said and done, Sony will have taken a massive hit to their wallet based on their shoddy response.

      Hopefully, other companies will observe and learn from this debacle.



  4. Dave B

    A quote from their latest release “The personal data table, which is a separate data set, was not encrypted, but was, of course, behind a very sophisticated security system that was breached in a malicious attack.”
    Very sophistcated? They got names, addresses, phone numbers, DOB, email addresses, passwords, how stupid does Sony think people are? Well considering their history of screwing their customers the answer to that is obvious. Sony has for me gone from a last resort to buy from to gone from the list altogether.