Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 24, 2012

60-minute Security Makeover: Prevent Your Own ‘Epic Hack’ – Here are some ways to beef up security on your digital life — before someone hacks into your digital life.

Five free disk cloning apps – Sooner or later, you’re going to need to recover from a disaster. If you have a cloned image, the task will be far easier. But many IT budgets can’t cover the cost of some of the pricier cloning tools, like Acronis Backup and Restore. When you don’t have the budget, what do you do? If you’re lucky, you have access to one of the following free applications, all of which do an admirable job of cloning disks.

3D printers: 10 machines for home manufacturing – The age of being able to print off anything – from washing machine parts to shoes – in your home is approaching. Today, there are a slew of 3D printers aimed at the home market, many of which are based on the open-source RepRap printers. TechRepublic has rounded up 10 machines for fabricating items at home.

How the new Windows 8 license terms affect you – What’s changed in Microsoft’s radical new license agreements for Windows 8? I’ve got full details about how you can transfer Windows to a new PC, downgrade rights, and who qualifies for upgrades.

McDonald’s, General Mills accused of collecting kids’ data – Children’s advocacy groups this week reportedly file complaints with the FTC against large corporations over brand-related online games that ask kids for friends’ e-mail addresses without parental consent.

China not enemy in fight against cybercrime – The Asian giant is often portrayed as the perpetrator of cyberattacks and online espionage but one Chinese official says it is a victim too, and is eager to play a bigger role in fighting cybercrime.

How to monitor hard-drive health with DiskCheckup for Windows – Even if you happen to have a good backup solution, a hard-drive failure can be a major inconvenience. If you don’t have a good backup solution, then a drive failure can be catastrophic. There are clues, however, that can help you predict problems with your hard drive. DiskCheckup for Windows uses your drive’s S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) info to monitor its health and help you notice problems before you experience a complete failure.

Tablet adoption could give flip phones new lease on life – In an unexpected twist, some tech-savvy customers are supplementing fancy tablets with simple phones.


Bogus emails carry malware – According to MX Lab researchers, the campaign takes the form of emails supposedly coming from the agency, confirming a bogus reservation. They urge the recipient to download and open the attached .zip file, which contains an executable by the name of Hotel-Booking_Confirmation.exe. As expected, the file is actually malicious – a new strain of the Andromeda backdoor Trojan, which is currently detected by 27 of the 42 AV solutions used by VirusTotal.

Porn browsing at work leads to corporate security breaches – Users accessing porn at work is a gateway for malware and ransomware that IT pros have to clean up. And if the content is also illegal, it’s an even bigger problem.

Aramco hackers threaten to attack oil giant again – The group of hackers that claimed responsibility for the recent Saudi Aramco breach has announced that it will be targeting the company again because they want to prove that they accomplished the attack without the help of a company insider. The group has announced their intention in a post on Pastebin, and has set the date and the time for the attack to August 25 (Saturday) at 21:00 GTM. Since the attack, Saudi Aramco has had difficulties in returning their websites online.

Your Clever Password Tricks Aren’t Protecting You from Today’s Hackers – Security breaches happen so often nowadays, you’re probably sick of hearing about them and all the ways you should beef up your accounts. Even if you feel you’ve heard it all already, though, unfortunately, today’s password-cracking tools are more advanced and cut through the clever password tricks many of us use. Here’s what’s changed and what you should do about it.

DHS warns Siemens ‘flaw’ could allow power plant hack – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is probing Siemens’ technology that may allow hackers to attack critical infrastructure, such as power plants.

Company News:

Microsoft Releases Windows 8 Enterprise Evaluation Version – Microsoft has released the Windows 8 Enterprise Evaluation version making it available free for 90 days in an effort to prove to major customers that the added features in the new operating system are worth the time and expense of an upgrade. In a blog post accompanying the release, Mitch Irsfeld, editor of the Microsoft publication TechNet Flash, wrote Aug. 22 that Windows 8 Enterprise will be built upon Windows 8 Pro, the OS for business-targeted client devices, but will add enterprise-class features on top of that. Offers Free Cloud-Based, Multi-Party Video Conferencing – Zoom Video Communications is the latest startup to enter the increasingly crowded video conferencing market, rolling out a free service called that enables up to 15 people to participate in a video call from PCs or mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets. Zoom officials unveiled Aug. 22, touting the service’s easy one-click capabilities and the integration with both Google’s Gmail and Facebook, so contacts from these services are displayed and users can get a multi-party video call going within seconds.

Before Windows 8, Microsoft Unveils New Logo – For almost three decades, Microsoft’s logo has simply been the company’s slightly italicized name in thick letters (below). Going forward, however, the new Microsoft logo (left) will feature the logo on the right and a block of four, colored squares on the left.

Sony Mobile Cutting 1,000 Jobs, Moving to Tokyo – Sony announced plans to move its mobile unit from Sweden to Tokyo, effectively cutting 1,000 people from Sony Mobile’s global workforce.

Webopedia Daily:

Transaction Processing – A type of computer processing in which the computer responds immediately to user requests. Each request is considered to be a transaction. Automatic teller machines for banks are an example of transaction processing. The opposite of transaction processing is batch processing, in which a batch of requests is stored and then executed all at one time. Transaction processing requires interaction with a user, whereas batch processing can take place without a user being present.

Off Topic (Sort of):

What Apple’s $623 Billion Buys You These Days – This week, Apple became the most valuable company in the world with a market cap of a whopping $623 billion. And this isn’t just dot-com or social media hype-pricing; Apple builds real stuff. Plus, it has about $100 billion in cash, which opens a lot of doors these days. So what could you buy with $623B? To put this in perspective, PCMag went shopping .

How to Improve Your Site’s Search Ranking Using SEO – How to Improve Your Site’s Search Ranking using SEOAs any website owner knows, search-engine optimization—SEO—is a rapidly moving target. What worked well last week might work against you today. Hordes of website operators learned this the hard way earlier this year, when two key updates to Google’s algorithms took effect.

Should developers be sued for security holes? – Software makers should face legal action if sloppy coding leads to hackers emptying users’ bank accounts, argues a Cambridge academic.

The 3D Printing Revolution Won’t Happen in Your Garage – Just when the 3D-printing reaches epic levels of excitement, ExtremeTech’s Ryan Whitwam asks the simple questions: what exactly are you going to do with this thing? You can print out a few plastic army men and maybe some jewelry for your kids, but ultimately, it is still going to be cheaper to mass produce and distribute “stuff” than to print it in your garage. Maybe. Then again, as William Gibson wrote 30 years ago, “the street finds its own use for things.”

Infographic: The age of apps – From IBM Simon and RIM, which paved the way to the app world we live in, this cool infographic predicts the market all the way to 2016.

Today’s Quote:

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

–     Henry David Thoreau

Here’s a little help with that one –

A face; a man on a horse; a girl by a river? But, did you see the stone arch over the river?

Today’s Free Downloads:

Nitro PDF Reader – Create PDF files, fill-in and save forms, review and collaborate electronically, stamp your signature, type text directly on the page, repurpose content, and work with electronic documents in a way that’s never before been possible in a free PDF reader.

Norton Power Eraser – Eliminate deeply embedded and difficult to remove crimeware.



Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

9 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 24, 2012

  1. Michael Fisher

    How do you know it’s a girl that’s by the river?

    Now THIS is definitely a girl by a river wouldn’t you say Bill? 🙂

    [& an old woman BTW]

    • Hi Michael,

      Yep – you caught me. I’ve had women on my mind all week. 🙂

      I’ve been invited to “shoot” a fashion show tomorrow, during which I’ll take advantage of my entire bag (a virtually empty bag) of “point and click” photo skills. And thus, the focus on “the ladies”. 🙂

      Great link, BTW.

      Have a super weekend.



    • John Bent

      Hi Michael,

      How do you know it’s an old woman?

      Sorry, couldn’t resist; but I reckon it could be Hamlet, or Julian Assange in need of a haircut.


  2. delenn13

    I didn’t know it was a woman either…Awesome link, Michael.

    Watch out, Bill. You might get your face slapped if you aren’t careful where you “point and click”. “Point and click” is games, I think. Isn’t it “point and shoot”???? But then..maybe they like games..

    • Hey Delenn13,

      So there ya go – can’t even get the lingo straight when it comes to cameras. 🙂

      Been playing Skyrim this summer and I guess “point and click” has taken over.



  3. delenn13

    Not going to see Kate Mulgrew at Fan Expo Canada? If I had known earlier, we would be there.

    • Hey Delenn13,

      Nope – but, I’ve been watching the highlights on the news. Saw a couple tie-the-knot on last night’s report. That was very cool. 🙂