Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 9, 2012

The Digital Afterlife: Pass on Passwords – Last will and testaments manage the fate of your children, money, and assets, but how will your digital accounts and passwords get into safe hands after your demise? We show you how to pass on your logins and passwords.

Weighing Security Against Convenience: What Works, What Doesn’t, and What’s Best for You – Everyone and their mother has a password security strategy, some better than others. Choosing the right one means weighing security against convenience so you can stay safe without losing your mind. But what’s the best balance? Is it the same for everyone? With the help of a security expert, I decided to find out.

Cybercrime costs rise nearly 40 percent – Conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by HP, the 2012 Cost of Cyber Crime Study found that the average annualized cost of cybercrime incurred by a benchmark sample of U.S. organizations was $8.9 million. This represents a 6 percent increase over the average cost reported in 2011, and a 38 percent increase over 2010.

How to download Google Docs in older Office formats – Google Docs dropped support for older Office formats, but there are still at least three options to continue using the file formats you want or need.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Facebook’s phone search can be abused to find people’s numbers, researchers say – The attack is possible because Facebook doesn’t limit the number of phone number searches that can be performed by a user via the mobile version of its website, Suriya Prakash, an independent security researcher said in a recent blog post.

Cocoon privacy plug-in for Chrome watches your back as you browse – With the free version of Cocoon, you get anonymous browsing, privacy on shared computers, secure Wi-Fi connections, and freedom from Facebook tracking.

Chrome/Firefox Extension Gmelius Makes Gmail More Readable – With numerous buttons and options you may never use, Gmail’s rich interface can get in the way of actually reading email. To be fair, Google packs a lot of functionality into the interface, but no interface is perfect for 100% of its users. Gmelius is a simple Chrome extension and/or Firefox add-on that lets you pick and choose which features you want to see, and how you want to use them.

Facebook scans private messages to inflate the “Like” counter on websites – Facebook has confirmed that it’s registering all URL shares as Likes to a website. That means we’re all adding to a website’s Facebook Like glow, whether we want to or not, when we alert friends to URLs via private Facebook conversations.

Rovio’s Angry Birds Star Wars Coming Nov. 8 – Rovio officially announced the upcoming launch of Angry Birds Star Wars, which will debut on Nov. 8.

Beware the Bad Piggies: Fake games hit 82k Chrome users with adware – Google Chrome users are warned that supposedly “free” versions of the Angry Birds spin-off “Bad Piggies” are fakes that harvest data and install adware.

10 reasons why the desktop PC will live forever – Sure, your phone, tablet or even laptop might conveniently fit in your pocket or backpack, but all these devices are fraught with compromises, whether it’s computing power, screen size, or, well, a really expensive price tag. No, friends, the so-called post-PC world is not yet upon us. But if you’re still not convinced, here are ten reasons you shouldn’t give up your desktop any time soon.

OwnCloud Makes Personal Cloud Easy & Affordable for SMBs – The free, open source OwnCloud personal cloud server makes setting up file sharing and shared calendaring as easy as falling over.

A Top Tablet for Kids – With robust and sturdy hardware, and an excellent child-friendly content environment, the Fuhu Nabi 2 is a tablet kids and parents alike can love.

Organize your photos and share them on every device – Has your photo collection passed the dreaded 30,000 mark? Your PC can bring order to chaos, and help share those images everywhere.

iPhone 5 Gets Strong Recommendation from Consumer Reports – Consumer Reports has come down hard on Apple in the past, but not this time. The iPhone 5 is “the best iPhone yet” and among the best smartphones in its official rankings, the consumer watchdog announced in an Oct. 5 blog post.

Security:

Ransomware adds audio component to force users to pay up – Not satisfied with just showing the fake FBI note, the criminals behind one of the many ransomware campaigns going on at the moment are trying to assault the users’ other senses as well. According to Trend Micro researchers, the malware is delivered along with a non-malicious MP3 file that gets copied in the current directory of the malware, and it repeatedly informs users that their system is blocked because of a certain violation on the federal law they committed.

Skype worm spreads, using LOL trick to infect unwary users – Skype users are warned to be on their guard, regarding malicious instant messages that have been sent through the service, designed to infect Windows computers.

Proxy service users download malware, unknowingly join botnet – In yet another example of if-it’s-too-good-to-be-true-it-probably-isn’t, hundreds of thousands of users signing up for a cheap and supposedly legitimate proxy service have ended up downloading malware and being ensnared into a botnet. The service – ProxyBox – supposedly provides access to its entire list of thousands of proxies for only $40 a month, which is obviously too cheap a price for the provider to break even. Nevertheless, users flocked to it. In order to use it, they were required to download some software, which turned out to be the Backdoor.Proxybox malware.

New TDL4 rootkit successfully hiding from AV – A new variant of TDL4 has been identified, and it is now ranked as the second most prevalent malware strains within two months since detection. This new variant is capable of infecting the Volume Boot Record (VBR) (also known as Partition Table), and commercial antivirus products are unable to detect it, let alone remove the malware.

NatWest banking scam hits UK online banking clients – Bitdefender detected a new scam where criminals pretending to be from NatWest bank are attempting to steal customers’ credentials by circulating a fake satisfaction survey via e-mail. This follows the recent announcement that the NatWest ‘Get Cash’ app was suspended after abuse by fraudsters.

Company News:

Motorola Pulls Plug on Webtop – Motorola will ditch its Webtop efforts after the technology failed to take off with consumers. Webtop is an operating system of sorts found on phones like the Atrix 4G that turned a phone into a mini-laptop running a desktop version of Linux.

Quark unveils new HTML5-based App Studio – Quark has announced an upgrade to its App Studio program for creating and publishing mobile apps, and it is relocating this creative tool to the cloud. The new version of App Studio will allow designers to create rich, interactive apps not only for iOS mobile devices, but also for Android devices and the Kindle Fire eReader.

Microsoft: Expect 100,000 Win 8 apps by Feb. 1; 400M devices by July – Microsoft has set some ambitious goals for Windows 8—400 million devices in customer hands by next July and more than 100,000 applicationsstocked in the Windows Store by the end of January, according to a top Microsoft sales exec.

RIM’s PlayBook tablet pulled from US online stores – Research in Motion’s PlayBook tablet have been pulled from online stores of some top retailers in the U.S. and Canada, a move one analyst said could be a sign that the company is readying a successor tablet.

Chip startup Calxeda raises $55 million for ARM-based servers – The Austin, Texas, company builds data centers that feature low-power chips like those normally found in cell phones.

Webopedia Daily:

Netroots – A term derived from “Internet” and “grassroots.” The term is used to describe political activism or the empowering of an electoral campaign through the use of online social media and services such as blogs, podcasts, newsletters, or wikis. May also be seen written as net-roots.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Report Urges U.S. to Avoid ZTE, Huawei Tech Over Security Concerns – A House panel warned that Huawei and ZTE might be using their entrance into the U.S. market as a way to spy for the Chinese government.

Be lazier than ever with the self-making bed of the future – While we don’t really make it a habit of talking about stuff that has been circulating through the Web for a while now, I’m going to make an exception for this unusual bit of home furnishing. Apparently, thanks to Spanish furniture maker OHEA, a bed that automatically tidies itself after your afternoon siesta is now a thing.

The Disappearing Web – Despite our best efforts, we may be losing important online documentation of significant historical events.

Facebook jacket hugs you when friends interact, is less annoying than a poke – Some people out there have the urge to check Facebook nearly every minute of the day—you may be one of them. But if you want to feel a sense of love from Facebook interactions, maybe you could get a hug…from a coat. Like-A-Hug by MIT’s Melissa Chow, Andy Payne, and Phil Seaton is an inflatable jacket which has a unique and friendly way of letting you know if a friend liked something on your Facebook wall.

Today’s Quote:

Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.”

–      John F. Kennedy

Today’s Free Downloads:

DVDFab Passkey Lite 8.0.7.6 – DVDFab Passkey is a Windows-based driver that works on-the-fly to unprotect encrypted movie DVDs and Blu-ray discs. For DVD, it removes all DVD copy protections. For Blu-ray, it removes all known AACS and BD+ copy protections, Region Code, BD-Live and UOPs.

RealVNC Free 5.0.3 – VNC is remote access and control software for an unrivalled mix of Windows, Mac, UNIX and Linux computers. With a simple peer-to-peer architecture, no agents or centralized servers are required.

3 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

3 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 9, 2012

  1. Mal

    Hey Bill
    Re: New TDL4 rootkit successfully hiding from AV
    I always get a bit worried about news of these new rootkits, wondering whether my protection is adequate enough. I was relieved to read Hitman Pro is picking this new threat up, I use Hitman on a regular basis as a backup scanner. I think it is an absolutely top notch program. Would recommend it to anyone.
    Cheers
    Mal