Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – September 4, 2012

Five free disk cloning apps – A lot of imaging solutions come with a hefty price tag. Here are five good alternatives that don’t cost a dime.

WinPatrol – Clean up your Taskbar, ActiveX, Brower, and Startup programs. WinPatrol monitors and exposes adware, keyloggers, spyware, worms, cookies, and other malicious software. This program puts you back in control of your computer with no need for constant updates. WinPatrol’s goal is to help you better understand what programs are running on your computer and to alert you to any new programs added without your permission.

Secure operating system Qubes officially released – “After nearly three years of work, I have the pleasure to announce that Qubes 1.0 has finally been released,” Joanna Rutkowska, Founder and CEO of Invisible Things Lab, announced today. “In Qubes OS, it’s the user that is responsible for making all the security decisions – how to partition her digital life into security domains, what network and other permissions each domain might have, whether to open a given document in a Disposable VM, etc,” she explains. “This provides for great flexibility for more advanced users, but the price to pay is that Qubes OS requires some skills and thinking to actually make the user’s data more secure.” Qubes OS will make users as secure as they are able to make themselves by choosing the right security choices. For example, Qubes will offer users the option of using disposable virtual machines for executing tasks they believe could harm their computer. These VMs will be lightweight, easily and extremely speedily created and booted, and would be just as easy to discard.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Who Has it Best? Windows 8 Pricing: US vs UK – As if there wasn’t enough ammo in the, “Who’s better, the UK or America” contest, Microsoft has gone and thrown a new wrench into everyone’s gears by confirming its Windows 8 pricing for UK users. That’s Windows 8 upgrade pricing, however – a key distinction, as Microsoft has yet to officially announce the actual cost of Windows 8 proper, which includes pricing for its “normal” and “Pro” iterations. So, which region has it best?

HBO Updates ‘Go’ App, Now Supports Jelly Bean on Android – Assuming you have an HBO subscription, you can now stream HBO programming to your Jelly Bean device

Get to know Dolphin Browser – Version 6.0 introduces an entirely new look and feel to this free iOS browser, along with a handful of new features. Will the new Dolphin Browser lead you to stray from Safari or Chrome?

Who owns your downloaded music after you die? – Bruce Willis may not challenge Apple to who owns his iTunes collection after his death, but one question remains: What does happen to your downloaded music collection once you fly to the sky?

Panda 2013 reaches out, touches its Windows 8 future – With a new interface designed for touch screens and support for Microsoft’s new operating system, Panda’s annual security suite update puts a good paw forward in anticipation of Windows 8.

Nokia launches music streaming service – Nokia Music has just gone live in the US. The service allows users of Nokia Windows Phone devices to listen to unlimited music through an Internet connection. It is a completely free, frictionless service that requires no registration process or any kind of premium upsell. And when you find yourself without mobile data, there is an offline playback mode with limited access to playlists that users have already saved.

Android-powered Cubieboard has a $49 price tag – Adding to the ever-growing list of Android-powered dev boards for modders is the new Cubieboard. This device is similar to the Hackberry and Gooseberry, albeit with a cheaper $49 price point. The Cubieboard is powered by the versatile and ubiquitous Allwinner A10 ARM-Cortex A8 processor we’ve all become familiar with over the past few months.

What the mobile payment craze is really about: Coupons! – Everyone’s talking about paying for stuff via smartphone. But you already have a credit card — so here’s how your phone will really pitch in


Scammers use ‘FBI virus’ to demand money – The FBI warned computer users on Thursday to ignore a fake message, purportedly from its officers, that freezes people’s screens and demands that they pay a fine for visiting inappropriate websites. “We’re getting inundated with complaints,” said Donna Gregory from the US Internet Crime Complaint Centre, referring to the virus known as Reveton ransomware, which has hit users in the US and globally. (recommended by Bob S.)

Attacks on Java security hole hidden in bogus Microsoft Services Agreement email – Online scammers are using a recent email from Microsoft Corp. as bait in a widespread phishing campaign that exploits vulnerabilities in Oracle’s Java software to install malicious programs on vulnerable systems.

“Win 8 Security System” rogue AV spotted – Windows 8 has not yet been released and cyber crooks are already taking advantage of its name. McAfee researchers have recently spotted a new rogue AV solution dubbed “Windows 8 Security System” which, at first glance, does look rather legitimate. “Win 8 Security System will display lots of fake alerts and messages and will show a scan window on each system boot. It will display lots of detections, though it is obvious these are fake,” the researchers warn.

Google users targeted with malware-laden “Suspicious sign in” notices – “Someone recently tried to use an application to sign in to your Google Account,” says in the email. “We prevented the sign-in attempt in case this was a hijacker trying to access your account. Please review the details of the sign-in attempt in attached file.” The attached file is deceptively named, and actually contains an executable file – a backdoor Trojan that opens the way for other malware to be delivered to the victim’s machine, and is currently detected by only half of the AV solutions used by VirusTotal.

Anonymous leaks 1m Apple device UDIDs stolen from FBI – A file containing a million and one record sets containing Apple Unique Device Identifiers (UDIDs) and some other general information about the devices has been made available online by Anonymous hackers following an alleged breach of an FBI computer. According to the hackers’ statement, the point of publishing a redacted list of only one million UDIDs, Apple Push Notification Service DevTokens, device names and device types was not to compromise Apple users in any way, but to make them and everybody else realize that the FBI is likely using the device information to track citizens.

Largest malware rise in four years – McAfee found the biggest increase in malware samples detected in the last four years. McAfee Labs detected a 1.5 million increase in malware since Q1 2012 and identified new threats such as mobile “drive-by downloads”, the use of Twitter for control of mobile botnets, and the appearance of mobile “ransomware”.

Company News:

HP, Dell, Lenovo, Others Pack Tablet Market at IFA 2012 – Lenovo, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Acer, Samsung and others used the kickoff of the IFA 2012 trade show in Berlin, which runs Aug. 31 through Sept. 9, to introduce armloads of new devices. These products, from smartphones to tablets to all-in-one PCs, are intended to sustain them through the holiday shopping season and beyond.

IBM Preps Watson for Business-Based Smartphone Assistance – After its besting the top human champions on the TV game-show Jeopardy!, IBM’s supercomputer Watson is being prepped for less glamorous duties. Researchers are working to turn the über-computer into a smartphone-sized attendant, a la Apple’s Siri, for businesses.

Webopedia Daily:

Collateral Hacking – Collateral hacking refers to when a company’s critical data is compromised as a result of a third party in possession of the company’s sensitive data being hacked. Rather than directly hacking into a company, collateral hackers go through a third party in order to get to the company’s sensitive data. Collateral hacking frequently results in additional companies having their data compromised, as the third party firm will often have the data of numerous companies stored on the hacked server or resource. The security concern of collateral hacking has become more prevalent with the increasing popularity of companies storing sensitive data via server virtualization, in the cloud or with other third-party storage hosting services.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Child abuse photo collector forgets to encrypt his USB stick – Bad security is a good thing – The Burton Mail reports that a 46-year-old British man was found guilty of downloading indecent images of children after he accidentally shared his USB memory stick with a work colleague. When police were called they found “279 images in the mildest category and six which were slightly more serious” contained on the memory stick.

How Do You Define Open Source? It’s not just about the license…or is it? – It’s not as easy a question as you might think. For me, I used to (perhaps naively) believe that any license approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI) is open source. Those licenses are all supposed to conform to the Open Source Definition. Speaking at the LinuxCon conference, Red Hat lawyer Richard Fontana led an awesome session that really illuminated by view of the whole discussion.

Linus Torvalds on the Linux desktop’s popularity problems – Prompted by an article on trouble with the Linux desktop, several top Linux developers talked about the technical roots to Linux desktop’s popularity problems on Google+.

With Windows 8, just what does “no compromises” mean? – Over the past year, Microsoft has consistently used the phrase “no compromises” to define its overall goal with Windows 8. My experience in a cramped coach seat on a trans-Atlantic flight helped me understand what that phrase really means.

Steve Jobs’s dire legacy: Devastating bad taste – Apple’s appetite for destruction in the mobile phone business sits uneasily with its history and its moralising. How much damage is enough?

Today’s Quote:

The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced.”

–       Frank Zappa

Today’s Free Downloads:

Remote Utilities Free Edition – The Remote Utilities installation package consists of a server application (available for silent remote installation) and a viewer, along with a standalone, portable version of the viewer that doesn’t require installation. This is ideal for use on a portable USB drive or borrowed workstation for quick access to files or settings that might otherwise be unreachable. Security is top-notch, with industry-standard 2048-bit RSA and 256-bit AES keys employed for encryption, and plenty of warnings about password protection during setup.

TunnelBear – VPN’s come and go so fast, it’s hard to keep track of them all. TunnelBear is one of the exceptions. This lightweight software app is able to access both US and UK websites with literally the flick of a button and so far, there doesn’t seem to be a website it can’t handle. There is no lag, it’s very fast and it is extremely simple to use. There’s zero set-up required which means even the most tech-ignorant user can handle it with ease. For those who like their software goodies free, TunnelBear provides everyone with 500MB free every month (and an additional 1GB per month free if you tweet about them on Twitter). But regular usage of the app means that this 1.5GB is soon gone. Which means that if you intend to use TunnelBear for more than listening to some songs or watching a couple of TV programs every month, you will have to look at upgrading to the unlimited plan which costs a mere $5 a month. For the high-quality app you’re taking advantage of, $5 a month is a great deal.


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