Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 1, 2012

Google Chrome leads the browser pack at preventing phishing, study finds – Phishing attacks are an all-too-common threat on the Internet today, but among the top browsers Google’s Chrome does the best job of preventing them. That’s according to a recent study by security research firm NSS Labs, the results of which were published on Wednesday.

Are SSDs the new RAM for boosting system performance? – RAM was once the king of the system performance boost. Now, there’s a new kid in town that’s usurping the throne: SSDs.

CCleaner – A new update handles Chrome add-ons and integrates with Windows 8. CCleaner’s simple and intuitive layout will appeal to users of all skill levels. Its four features — Cleaner, Registry, Tools, and Options — are prominently displayed on the left side of the window.

7 killer upgrades to supercharge your PC gaming – PC gaming can be a pricey hobby, which can make tracking down the right gift for the gamers in your life a bit troublesome. Fortunately, gaming gear like headsets and mice offer an oft-overlooked (and relatively inexpensive) way to upgrade a friend’s or loved one’s gaming setup for the holidays. We’ve looked at a few options in great gaming accessories that will also keep your pocketbook intact.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Stream and share YouTube music videos with Tubalr – Web app Tubalr lets you quickly and easily mine YouTube for music videos. Register with the site and you can also create custom, sharable playlists.

Transfer a Windows 8 ISO to a bootable USB flash drive – Greg Shultz shows you how to transfer a Windows 8 ISO to a bootable USB flash drive.

Facebook app now auto-uploads smartphone photos – Facebook starts to roll out the new feature — which automatically uploads phone photos to a private album online — after months of testing.

How to enable metered Wi-Fi connections in Windows 8 – Windows 8 can designate Wi-Fi connections as metered, so you can better manage data usage on connections with a data limit.

Report: Little demand for Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet – Lackluster demand has reportedly prompted Microsoft to slash orders of its Surface RT tablet from 4 million to 2 million units. According to DigiTimes, the slow start for Redmond’s ARM-based tablet could ultimately persuade Microsoft to lower the price of its upcoming Intel x86-powered Surface Pro ($899 for 64GB and 128GB for $999) which is slated to ship in January.

Security:

FBI Warns of New Twist to Reveton, Citadel Malware Scams – The cybercrime group behind the Citadel malware and Reveton ransomware has upped the stakes with a new extortion technique, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center said today.

Personal data of 235,000 WCSU students exposed – The vulnerability existed from April 2009 to September 2012 and potentially exposed information, including Social Security numbers, of about 235,000 people whose records were collected by the university over a 13-year period.

Hacker attack siphons off $150,000 in teacher salaries from payroll systems – Hackers used the Thanksgiving holiday to launch a crafty attack against a local school district in the state of Wisconsin, compromising a direct deposit system, and stealing $150,000 intended for teachers.

PayPal Fixes Trio of Remote-Access Vulnerabilities – PayPal has repaired three remote-access vulnerabilities found in different areas of its website, including a cross-site scripting (XSS) flaw on its PayPal Community Forum.

Phony T-Mobile, Vodaphone Notifications Duping U.K. Users – Cybercriminals in the United Kingdom this week have launched two separate but similar scams intent on gaining access to users’ computers. Both scams impersonate e-mail notifications from popular British cell phone companies and both ultimately open a backdoor on the targeted computers.

Worm Tries AutoRun, Then Social Engineering to Infect – Once the infection takes place, according to Sophos, the malware performs all the usual operations. It phones home to its command and control server, receives instructions for downloading further payloads, and then, at least in the case that Sophos looked at, downloads a banking trojan from the Zeus family, and tries to steal its victim’s money in one way or the other.

Company News:

AVG Updates its AntiVirus for Android and Introduces New AVG Safe Browser for iPad and iPhone – AVG Technologies, the provider of Internet and mobile security to 143 million active users, today announced it has updated AVG AntiVirus for Android and launched the new AVG Safe Browser for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

AMD branching out to solid state drives with Radeon-branded SSDs? – Apparently not just satisfied with its Radeon lineup of graphics cards, AMD has already extended the brand into desktop and laptop RAM and is now looking to jump into the highly competitive solid-state-drive market, according to SemiAccurate.com.

Facebook’s “Hacktober” tests employees’ security awareness – For the second time in a row, Facebook has celebrated “Hacktober” by testing their own employees with simulated attacks and threats. Users who reported the threats were rewarded with Facebook-themed swag (T-shirts, stickers and bandannas), while those who failed to spot them can look forward to additional security training.

Google acquires BufferBox, provider of delivery lockers – The Canadian startup could help Google build out its e-commerce efforts.

Apple, Starbucks Launch (RED) Gift Cards for World AIDS Day – Apple and Starbucks have joined forces to offer a special electronic gift card designed to assist in the fight against AIDS.

Webopedia Daily:

Commodity Hardware – Computer hardware that is affordable and easy to obtain. Typically it is a low-performance system that is IBM PC-compatible and is capable of running Microsoft Windows, Linux, or MS-DOS without requiring any special devices or equipment.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Majority of human diversity occurred in ‘recent’ times – To put the time-scales involved into context, it is important to understand that humans have been around for the past 100,000 years so mutations arising in the past 5,000 years are considered very recent in human history.

Do You Read Privacy Policies (and Do You Understand Them)? – According to the Internet Society’s Global Internet User Survey, only 16% of internet users read privacy policies. Of those who do, only 20% actually understand them. Reading policies and legal documents aren’t like an issue of Highlights for Kids, so many of us agree to the terms and move on. What about you?

Beyond hype: 70 percent will use data analytics by 2013 – Survey of over 1,300 TechRepublic and ZDNet members shows a growing expectation that data analytics and big data will have a major impact on businesses’ performance in the next two years.

Google Wallet: Where it’s been and where it’s going – Google Wallet is an evolving online service that facilitates shopping for consumers and transactions for merchants. Learn more about how it works.

How were Syria’s networks and Internet taken offline? – Reports suggested that Syria was cut off from the outside world, but how was it achieved?

Technical paper: Journey inside the Blackhole exploit kit – Do you want to learn more about the exploit kit that is arguably responsible for the most malware infections this year? Well read the latest technical paper from SophosLabs, where Gabor Szappanos uncovers some of the details behind the Blackhole exploit kit.

Today’s Quote:

“It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.”

–       H. L. Mencken

Today’s Free Downloads:

SARDU – SARDU creates one multiboot support USB or a multiboot disc CD or DVD. The disc or USB device may include comprehensive collections of “antivirus rescue cd”, collections of utilities. You can turn all of your bootable ISOs into a single ISO or USB with a simple boot menu. SARDU create a multiboot device (USB stick or other removable) with Utilities, Antivirus, Windows PE and Windows XP, Vista, Seven Installers and all Windows Recovery Disks easily and in a few minutes without any knowledge of multi boot system.

FileMany – FileMany is program that finds and deletes duplicate files on your HDD. This easy-to-use program is extremely effective before conducting defragmentation to secure more space. It features fast and accurate search, conditions can be specified in detail, and you can preview search results.

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5 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

5 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 1, 2012

  1. Personally, I think that the data-mining capabilities of Google and Facebook make them the two biggest threats to information security and privacy that have EVER existed in the history of the world.

    Whatever they may offer (privacy tools???) and whatever they may say publicly, the reality as I see it is that there is an absolutely monstrous gap in the public consciousness between what it even MEANS to digitize information (those permanent footprints or fingerprints or whatever dopey thing you want to call them – that are there indelibly and irretrievably) and the potential implications and effects of that digitization.

    These companies aren’t evil in any way. They’re just – how do you say it? A-moral? Or Neutral when it comes to impact? We’ve seen this when it comes to the exposure of places like (well, really any big company) using Chinese (what is essentially sweat-shop) labor.. and countless ways that defy imagination.

    The point is – people can’t even conceive of how their information could be used. In fact, I surmise that even these companies themselves have only just begun to figure out how they can use the untold terabytes of information that flows into them every single day. I’m not even sure there is a means of quantifying it. But, they hire the BEST and the BRIGHTEST and well they should.

    The conundrum remains though. You can’t teach people about something they don’t even know exists. It’s just not on people’s RADAR in general. It won’t be until there’s a critical mass of exploitation. I’ve got NO clue as to what that breaking point will be – but it will happen.

    Unfortunately, it is already too late (in a sense) for most of us – who have been (including myself – and I’m a cybersecurity student!) streaming information out there for countless years… all in cleartext – all sitting on countless redundant servers in countless places around the world.

    I’m staggered by the implications and I don’t even think I know the extent of the implications 🙂 Until encryption is (hate this word) UBIQUITOUS there is really not much hope. And until people stop putting their lives online (which is almost inconceivable actually at this point in how society functions) – or are much, much more selective about it – it is probably hopeless. We can only true to accelerate the seepage – and keep writing about it until it seeps into public consciousness and then maybe we can (or some generation can) come to grips with the Matrix that we’ve already created. Right now though? We aren’t even putting on the bandages that are out there – because people don’t even know they are bleeding!

    • Hi Matthew,

      Thank you for taking time to post your thoughful comment. I’m sure it won’t surprise you to hear that I am in complete agreement with your assessment.

      Best,

      Bill

      • Thank you. I’d love to be able to select the items that you write about that pertain to cybersecurity – is that possible? I would re-post them on my blog – or re-blog, as it were 🙂 and add some of my dopey comments (as a newbie). Writing is my passion and outlet – but if you look at my bog you can see that my CPU (cognitive processing unit) is also quite passionate about many, many topics.

        I’ve got a BA from U of Michigan and an MSW – but I’ve been directionless for decades. I was a tech journalist/Website Managing Editor at Internet.com (imagine getting THAT domain name!) years ago – before they morphed into whatever else Alan Meckler came up with (I think he’s not even at Jupitermedia anymore?).

        Blogging is quickly becoming kind of like a black hole for me – and it actually keeps me from getting my work done! (school work in cybersecurity). I just downloaded approximately 4700 (yes, 4,700) podcasts alone from iTunes! OMG! A lot of brilliant, contemporary thinking is audio/visually accessible in this format and can you imagine how long it would take me if I just sat and tried to listen/watch (some are video podcasts) to just those??? I can’t help myself. It is a good thing that there are NOT more people like me 🙂 I think it’s a manic, OCD, thing or something! Science, technology, physics, Skepticism, security – it is endless.

        If you did look at my blog, you’d see what a lack of focus there is… which is probably really bad for my blog ever becoming ‘popular.’ I would also think that many blogs that become somewhat popular are so because of certain factors – like the blogger doing it full time, or being from some already public orientation (like someone from NPR or something) – and also that the blogs that truly make it are probably focused at least on some category. Unlike mine:-) I would have to create multiple blogs and reduce my ‘unrelated’ categories that clearly exist now.

        I don’t care that much about popularity – it’s not why I started to blog – but when things become self-evident to me I feel compelled to act on them. It is also nice if SOME people do read my blog I suppose. I know there are many, many subtleties that I haven’t even begun to touch. I read that if you make it more of a conversation (in a sense) and ask explicitly for reader feedback, content suggestions, and whatever else… you can expand your audience – who then feel that they are not being ‘blogged to’ but are part of the ‘process.’ I don’t know the validity of this assertion though.

        Anyway – I’d love to have an efficient way to access your content that is related to my school work in cybersecurity – which of course is from the ground up so I’m talking about just about everything IT I guess. I’m taking the A+, Network+, and ultimately CISSP and SSCP related academic foundations right now. I’m sure you know what I mean.

        If you know of any phenomenal, cutting edge (yet accessible to laypeople and beginners like myself) cybersecurity related blogs and/or Websites please tell me. I do need to focus there at least. Yes, I know about Defcon and a few others – but there are so many others that are even more ‘original source’ when it comes to threats/vulnerabilities, etc. I’ve seen them referred to in my textbook – which I have to go back and check – things like NIST and IETF and their ilk. The ‘sources’ of information about information, I suppose (in the infosec context) predominately).

        What I REALLY need (and sooner rather than later!) is internship and/or job opportunities – I live near the Hudson River (as you can tell by the town name below) and it’s a 53 minute train ride to Grand Central Station in NYC. So I need something in that area – or obviously I can exist on a ‘virtual’ basis! (but in the end I need socialization – as I have been out of work for 4 years and mainly alone (aside from my wonderful family)

        By the way, speaking of Defcon – have you EVER heard of this move called Code2600? I just can’t seem to find it anywhere and I promised my professors that I’d find it – so they could buy it- and I’d like to have a copy myself. Last I checked there was this fantastic trailer – which I’ll try to post to my blog – but I could not for the LIFE of me find the movie for sale (or otherwise 🙂 and I pretty much NEVER fail to find stuff I’m looking for online! I think it was code2600.com

        Thanks for even reading this – IF you even get this far!
        Best,
        Matthew Peretz
        Croton on Hudson, NY

        • Hi Matthew,

          Yep, got right to the end. 🙂

          Sure, use whatever you like from here – no worries.

          As for the “black hole” aspect – as it relates to Blogging – and, having had the same experience (as have many of my associates), you should find over time that your efforts will become more focused.

          You’re right – your suggestion that leading your readers into a conversation (you/them/others), generally has dramatic impact in both increasing readership as well as ensuring that current readers continue to feel part of a “community.”

          Given your interests, I recommend that you start following Bruce Schneier – checkout his Wiki page here – or, his website here.

          Best,

          Bill

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