Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 7, 2012

How (and why) to surf the web in secret – Not everyone likes the idea of having his or her entire digital lives scraped, analyzed and (in countries with restrictive regimes) controlled outright by third parties. So please consider the following tools and tips, which will hide your IP address and have you surfing the web in blissful anonymity in no time.

PC security: Your essential software toolbox – Mobile malware is getting lots of attention these days, but you can’t forget about your PC’s security—after all, you probably still use it to pay bills, shop online, and store sensitive documents. You should fully protect yourself to lessen the chance of cybercriminals infiltrating your computer and your online accounts, capturing your personal information, invading your privacy, and stealing your money and identity.

Does Snapchat offer safe sexting from smartphones, or a false sense of security? – Millions of teenagers have adopted a smartphone app which has been touted as a way of safely “sexting” and sharing photos. But is it really a safe way to share intimate photographs of yourself?

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Critical Flash updates delivered early, be sure to update now – Adobe have released a critical update for Flash Player that fixes seven remote code execution vulnerabilities. Set phasers to patch!

The Assumptions You Make About Your Slow PC (and Why They’re Probably Wrong) – Computers are supposed to make our lives easier, yet sometimes it feels like they exist only to cause us endless amounts of frustration. Popular advice for slow computers includes antivirus, RAM upgrades, or even reinstalling Windows from scratch, but these make a lot of assumptions about what’s wrong with your computer (that may not be true). Here’s how you actually get your PC running fast again.

How to Control your PC or Mac from the Road – All too often, you find yourself needing access to a file you left behind or a program you don’t have on your tablet or laptop. To tackle these and other productivity challenges, check out LogMeIn Free. It provides easy access to a remote computer running Windows or Mac OS and it runs on desktops, laptops, tablets and even smartphones. Plus, true to its name, it’s free! Here’s how remote access takes the worry and hassle out of your business trips.

Amazon Offering 50 Percent Off Angry Birds Games – Psyched about the new Angry Birds Star Wars game dropping this Thursday? So is Amazon.

How to avoid fake Download buttons – This is an increasingly common tactic among advertisers and even spyware distributors: ads that masquerade as Download buttons. When you’re looking at a download page for any given piece of software, your eye naturally goes to the large, colorful button that plainly says “Download”–and your mouse pointer instinctively follows. But that can lead to big trouble: spyware, viruses, and other system-clogging junk.

The 10 Best New-Style Windows 8 Apps – Windows 8 brings a whole new class of full-screen, touch-friendly, Web-connected apps. Here’s the best of the crop.

11 winning alternatives to Windows 8’s built-in apps – Not all of the new Windows 8 apps are 5-star winners. Allow us to suggest some worthy options.

How to rename and resize images in bulk for easy organization – With the help of some free tools, however, quickly labeling multiple photos only takes a few seconds. Many images can also be processed simultaneously to reduce their file size and thus their storage requirements, and in this guide we’ll show you how to do it all quickly and easily.

HP bets big on Linux – HP has long been a contributor to Linux and open source software, but on Monday it ratcheted up its support another notch. Specifically, the company announced at the LinuxCon Europe event going on this week in Barcelona that it has made the $500,000 investment necessary to become a platinum member of the Linux Foundation, upgrading from the gold membership it held previously.

Microsoft to close Messenger and consolidate IM service on Skype – Microsoft will shut down Windows Live Messenger next year, compelling users to migrate to Skype, whose latest version can import users’ Messenger contacts. With the exception of mainland China, Windows Live Messenger will close in the first quarter of 2013, and its users should install the latest version of Skype, Microsoft said on Tuesday.

Valve Launches Closed Steam for Linux Beta – Valve today announced the launch of a limited access Steam for Linux beta

Security:

Short and pithy IT security tips for users – Dominic Vogel came up with 10 short security tips for users that he thinks will do the most good without overwhelming them with too much information.

“USPS delivery problem” spam leads to malware – If you are a regular user of the United States Postal Service, beware of fake emails seemingly coming from the company, telling you that they have failed to deliver one of your packages on time.

Most Android malware are SMS Trojans – The rapid growth in the number of new mobile malicious programs for Android continued in the third quarter, prompting the specialists at Kaspersky Lab to identify the platform versions most frequently targeted by cybercriminals. More than half of all malware detected on users smartphones turned out to be SMS Trojans, i.e. malicious programs that steal money from victims’ mobile accounts by sending SMS messages to premium rate numbers.

Android 4.2 blocks premium rate messages and verifies third-party apps – Users have already been informed of the many improvements and new features of Android 4.2, but there hasn’t been much talk of security improvements it will bring – and they are big. The second security feature makes allows Android 4.2 to detect and block any suspicious SMS sending initiated by any of the installed apps. User are alerted and can choose whether they will let the app send the message or not. Given that premium text billing is the most common tactic used by malware writers to commit financial fraud on mobile, this feature is definitely a welcome addition to the OS.

Cyber-Criminals Rent or Buy What They Need: It’s Cheap! – Underground forums offer cyber-criminals a diverse array of products and services to enhance their criminal enterprises. With prices falling, it’s easier than ever to embark on the life of cyber-crime.

Email: the forgotten security problem – Sadly, email wasn’t designed with security in mind. The paradigm it is based on is that of a peer-to-peer network – messages are passed from server to server in plaintext (no encryption) until they reach their destination. So even though you connect to your email provider securely to download your mail (normally using SSL/TLS security), there is nothing to stop your private communications being intercepted in transit.

Company News:

Apple walloped with $368M in damages in VirnetX patent suit – The tech giant gets hit with a hefty judgment for allegedly infringing on VirnetX’s network patents, which incorporate products like FaceTime.

Pandora Sues Over Unreasonable Online Music Rates – Internet radio service Pandora filed suit against the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) over what it considers to be exorbitantly high royalty rates.

Apple to Switch From Intel Chips to ARM Silicon: Report – Consumer technology giant Apple is getting ready to replace the Intel processors used in its PCs with silicon developed by British company ARM, according to a Nov. 6 report in Bloomberg, which quoted unnamed sources familiar with the situation.

Amazon Lockers Heading to Staples Stores – Worried you’re going to miss a package from Amazon? Soon you’ll be able to pick it up at a nearby Staples store.

Yahoo, Samsung Partner to Ramp Up Smart TV Connectivity – A new partnership aims to bring Yahoo’s Connected TV platform to Samsung’s 2012 lineup of smart TVs.

Webopedia Daily:

Geotagging – The process of assigning geographic location metadata to a photos’ EXIF data, which normally would only contain details about the camera being used to take the photo. The geographic information can include details such as the latitude and longitude coordinates or city and state details for the geographic location of the photo. The EXIF data can be read by programs that can allow you to see maps of where a photo was taken. Geotagged photos, when shared online, can also be linked to several map services including Google Maps, Microsoft Virtual Earth, Yahoo Maps and other applications. Also called geocoding.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Rights groups praise change in Twitter takedown policy – Twitter’s new policy governing takedowns of tweets allegedly infringing on copyright material is being praised by Internet rights groups. Under the new policy, Twitter will replace tweets challenged by copyright holders under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) with another tweet notifying its community of the challenge and exhibiting a link that leads to information about how to contest the challenge.

Gartner: Smartphones and tablets growth exploding, especially in business – Gartner report that 1.2 billion smart devices will be purchased in 2013, breaking the 1 billion mark for the first time.

Obama faces piracy, privacy tests in his second term – It’s difficult to predict what technology topics will confront the president over the next four years, but Internet surveillance and a successor to the Stop Online Piracy Act are likely on the menu.

Obama ‘four more years’ tweet skyrockets to No. 1 retweet – Moments after winning re-election, the president tweets a picture of himself hugging the first lady, quickly eclipsing a Justin Bieber tweet for retweet champion.

Today’s Quote:

My definition of an expert in any field is a person who knows enough about what’s really going on to be scared.”

–      P. J. Plauger

Today’s Free Downloads:

WinGuard Pro – Secure your computer by password protecting your Windows applications, programs and EXE files. Plus, protect your data with encryption for your files, folders and drives – directly from Windows Explorer.

AutoHotkey – Customize your keyboard, joystick, and mouse with an open source scripting language (AutoHotkey) that is backward compatible with AutoIt v2. AutoHotkey it includes a quick-start tutorial, an automatic script writer (macro recorder) that records your keystrokes and mouse clicks, and a comprehensive help file.

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