Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 15, 2013

CNET: Best Windows security apps – Just because threats to your PC continue to mutate doesn’t mean that you must pay for your peace of mind. We’ve collected some of the top free security and privacy programs available that will keep your computer safer.

The BIG browser benchmark (January 2013 edition) – The BIG browser benchmark — where the leading browsers are pitted against six of the toughest and most comprehensive benchmark tests — which browser will be triumphant?

Get Organized: Migrating From One Computer to Another – Preparing to transfer your computer’s data from one machine to another? These organizational tips will help you do so without defiling that “new computer” feeling.

10 iPad Apps Everyone Should Have – The first thing most people do after buying an Apple iPad or iPad mini is head to iTunes and start downloading apps. But with hundreds of thousands to choose from, where do you start?

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Why a smartphone may not be the best choice for everyone – In this edition of Ask Maggie, CNET’s Marguerite Reardon advises against expensive smartphones for consumers who don’t use their phone’s capabilities. And she offers some affordable alternatives for unlimited data packages.

NRA Releases ‘Practice Range’ Shooting App – The iOS game lets players shoot various targets with a gun of choice.

Infographic: Which Social Networks Make the Grade? – Now that the dust has settled on the year that gave us Pinterest, a Facebook-Instagram acquisition, and even the news that MySpace is resurfacing, marketing software provider Pardot has graded Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Google Adds Speech Recognition to Chrome Beta – The future of Web browsing is here, according to Google, which today released an update to the beta version of its Chrome browser that allows for speech recognition.

One more CES gem: a $55 mini PC that runs Android 4.1 – Running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the device features a dual-core 1.6GHz Cortex A9 along with 1GB of RAM, 4GB of built-in flash, and a microSD slot. WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth, and DLNA support are included, as are micro-USB, full-size USB, and female HDMI ports along with a 3.5mm headset jack.

Fedora 18 finally to be released with game-changing features – Fedora 18 is finally here (as of Jan. 15). Jack Wallen takes a look at some of the included features and draws the conclusion that the wait for Spherical Cow might might well make up for delay.

CNET Picked Dish Hopper as ‘Best of CES’ … Until CBS Stepped In – Tech site CNET today confirmed that it initially selected the Dish Hopper for its Best of CES award. But that prompted parent company CBS to step in and order that the site select another winner due to ongoing litigation between CBS and Dish. The controversy has led to the resignation of at least one CNET staffer, Greg Sandoval, who covered digital media.

GPS sends Belgian woman to Croatia, 810 miles out of her way – A woman trying to go 90 miles to a Belgian railway station instead ends up in Zagreb because she says that’s what her GPS told her to do.


Microsoft patches critical IE 0-day used in watering hole attacks – The critical “CDwnBindInfo” use-after-free remote code execution vulnerability is present in Internet Explorer versions 6,7, and 8, and users of these are advised to update them as quickly as possible if they haven’t got automatic updates enabled. Users of Windows Vista can also upgrade to IE 9 or 10, which are not impacted by the issue.

Fake MSN/Hotmail email alert phishes for user info – Some of these campaigns consist of emails that are so effectively crafted that they could fool even some of the more advance users, while others look so obviously fake that they are spotted by all but the most inexperienced ones.

Dangerous remote Linksys 0-day root exploit discovered – The vulnerability itself was discovered during a Cisco Linksys product security evaluation for a client and it took the researchers 12 days to develop a fully working exploit. After the researchers posted their findings online, Cisco finally got in touch again. They are expected to release a fix in time for the full advisory, which should see the light of day in about 10 days.

Malware Infects Two Power Plants Lacking Basic Security Controls – During the past three months, unnamed malware infected two power plants’ control systems using unprotected USB drives as an attack vector. At both companies, a lack of basic security controls made it much easier for the malicious code to reach critical networks.

Vulnerable medical devices: A clear and present danger – Technology is helping to save lives, but vulnerable medical devices and computers are a real risk. Michael P. Kassner asks the experts about the state of healthcare security.

Mozilla Security Blog: Click-to-Play Plugins, Blocklist-Style – You may have heard of click-to-play plugins (in short: don’t load plugins until they’re clicked). You may have also heard of the blocklist (essentially a list of addons and plugins that are disabled to prevent users coming to harm; this includes vulnerable and outdated versions of popular plugins). Now, appearing together for the first time in Firefox Beta, allow me to introduce click-to-play blocklisted plugins!

Canada Student Loans borrowers in giant data breach – 583,000 records gone – The Human Resources and Skills Development department of Canada’s federal public service (HRSDC) has admitted that a veritable treasure trove of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) has gone missing from one of the department’s offices in Quebec. PII of 250 of the department’s employees and 538,000 Student Loans borrowers has been “lost” on an unencrypted removable hard disk.

Rocra Espionage Malware Campaign Uncovered After Five Years of Activity – For five years, it hid in the weeds of networks used by Eastern European diplomats, government employees and scientific research organizations, stealing data and infecting more machines in an espionage campaign rivaling Flame and others of its ilk. The campaign, called Rocra or Red October by researchers at Kaspersky Lab, focused not only on workstations, but mobile devices and networking gear to gain a foothold inside strategic organizations.

Company News:

1 million Surface RT tablets sold in last quarter – Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet sold 1 million units in the fourth quarter, fewer than expected, according to a UBS analyst. The analyst, Brent Thill, had expected 2 million Surface RT tablets to sell. In a note to investors, he said that customers are preferring iPads over Surface tablets.

Report: Dell ‘In Talks’ To Go Private – Dell is in “buyout talks” with private investors, according to a report published by Bloomberg Monday that sent the struggling computer maker’s shares surging.

RIM attracts 15,000 apps for BlackBerry 10 in two days – It’s starting to look like the BlackBerry store will be well stocked with apps when Research In Motion launches BlackBerry 10 at the end of this month. The company held an event over the weekend where it offered app developers incentives to port their programs to the BlackBerry 10 platform and managed to attract 15,000 app submissions.

Samsung ships 100 million Galaxy S Android phones – Samsung on Monday announced it has shipped more than 100 million Galaxy S phones since May 2010, when the original Samsung Galaxy S Android smartphone was released.

Judge Allows Apple, Google, Microsoft to Buy Kodak Patents – A judge last week approved the sale of Kodak’s digital-imaging patents to a group of tech giants, including Apple, Microsoft, and Google. The $527 million deal, which should take about 45 days to close, was settled for much less than the company wanted, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Twitter goes global by putting its service on feature phones – The social network pushes further into Eastern Europe, Asia, South America, and the Middle East as IPO chatter increases.

Webopedia Daily:

Lightning Connector – An 8-pin power connector developed by Apple, Inc. in 2012 as a replacement for the traditional 30-pin connector previously used on Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The Lightning Connector is currently utilized by the iPhone 5, iPad Mini, fourth generation iPad (iPad 4), fifth generation iPod touch and seventh generation iPod Nano.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Dvorak: Apple’s Swan Song – Make no mistake, Apple is still the leader in mobile phone technology from a number of perspectives, not the least of which is the prestige of owning an iPhone. This, of course, amounts to fashion and fashion is fickle. Already Apple has reportedly cut orders for iPhone 5 parts, indicating that sales are falling. In this economy, one has to question how much longer the expensive iPhone can compete with lower-cost smartphones.

Fun with statistics: Who hates Java the most? – Over the past five days, lots of you have used Naked Security to find out how to turn off Java in one of the five major browsers. And that has given us browser statistics. There are too many variables to know what they tell us, but they do make a neat-looking graph!

US DOJ says it did not entrap Megaupload – Megaupload’s charges that the DOJ conspired to entrap the site on criminal copyright charges are “baseless,” an official with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia wrote in a court document filed Friday. Earlier this month, Megaupload filed court documents saying that in 2010 the DOJ asked the site, through its hosting vendor, to keep infringing files as part of a DOJ investigation, then later charged Megaupload with copyright infringement.

Report: Warner Bros. Planning John McAfee Movie – Warner Bros. has picked up the rights to a recent Wired magazine article called John McAfee’s Last Stand, with the goal of turning it into a feature film, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Today’s Quote:

“Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly.”

–    Isaac Asimov

Today’s Free Downloads:

PrivaZer 1.6 – When you use your PC (at home or working at your office), go on the Internet, watch a video, download, copy/remove files on your PC, install/uninstall or use software, etc., you always leave sensitive traces. We decided to develop a new type of cleaning tool to give you the peace of mind that once your data is gone, it is gone for good.

CoolNovo (formerly ChromePlus) – CoolNovo has all the functionalities of Google Chrome Web browser and more. CoolNovo added some useful features such as Mouse gestures, Super drag, IE tab, etc.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 15, 2013

  1. Dave B.

    Geez Bill, I don’t think I’ve seen another days worth of articles that so clearly displays the fact that people just refuse to learn. Rather than improving things, the failure of companies to secure data just seems to encourage everyone else to follow suite.

    Critical power company computers with no backups, PII being tossed in the dump, and hard drives still going missing with unencrypted customer data. And the fines are a joke, probably why it keeps happening, and why it will keep happening, although hiring a couple high school kids to sit at a paper shredder for a couple days probably would have been cheaper than the $140k fine, it boggles the mind.

    • Hey Dave,

      I was thinking about this today – just like I do everyday.

      These folks – the ones who screw up like this, are our neighbors and friends. And, we already know how much they know about simple security practices – NADA!

      Worse though (in my view), is the total lack of leadership on this issue in enterprise – from Mom and Pop operations all the way to – well, fill in the blanks. Very, very discouraging.