Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 19, 2013

How to encrypt (almost) anything – Encrypting your data makes it completely unreadable to anyone but you or its intended recipient. Best of all, much of the software used in offices and on personal computers already has encryption functionality built in. You just need to know where to find it. In this article, I’ll show you where and how.

Facebook Graph Search leaves little privacy and no opting out – Facebook could ease users’ worries with more privacy tools related to search, such as the ability to hide your location, photos, or status updates from certain groups of people. That way, users could still keep their profiles somewhat open on a standalone basis without letting those details be aggregated. But I wouldn’t count on Facebook making any big changes.

Get 1 million Facebook ‘Likes’ for sex — and a puppy – In one story, a girl tells a boy she will sleep with him if he gets 1 million Facebook Likes. In another, a dad tells his kids he will get them a puppy for the same “achievement.” Is the world demented?

Microsoft Rebuts Antivirus Test Failure – Joe Blackbird, Program Manager at the Center, explained in a blog post that failing this test does not mean Microsoft’s user aren’t protected. I grant the point that AV-Test didn’t use all of the malware actually encountered by Microsoft’s users for their test. That would be impossible. Antivirus testers must do their best to use representative samples. However, my own hands-on testing with Microsoft Security Essentials, using samples that are far from zero-day, suggests that it’s just not as effective as the best antivirus products.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

News, censorship and defiance on Internet Freedom Day – Things are heating up today on Internet Freedom Day, the anniversary of the largest protest in Internet history. Digital rights activists have already seen MLK’s “I Have A Dream Speech” video removed.

This iPhone app will make your kid smile before every picture – Tired of jumping around and acting goofy in an attempt to get your kid to smile for a picture? An iPhone app called Picasound may be what you’re looking for.

Surf turns Chrome into a BitTorrent app – BitTorrent’s not the first to build a torrent-catching browser add-on, but it is the first to do so with the creator of the torrent protocol behind the wheel. In development for the past six months, according to the BitTorrent blog announcing the add-on, Surf lets you find torrents on the Web and download them.

Windows 8 Pro upgrade price rises to $199.99 after Jan. 31 – Microsoft announced on Friday that a Windows 8 Pro upgrade will cost US$199.99, up from special prices as low as $14.99. Microsoft is running two special offers for upgrading to Windows 8 Pro. One is for people upgrading an existing Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 PC and lets them acquire Windows 8 Pro for $39.99 via download or $69.99 from a retail store DVD.

Bethesda confirms February launch date for Skyrim PS3 DLCs – It’s probably safe to say that most PS3 owners have been less than thrilled with Bethesda over various issues plaguing Elder Scrolls: Skyrim.

OpenSUSE 12.3 beta is ready to run – OpenSUSE Linux is on track for an on-time, March 13th delivery of the next version of its operating system.

Six new features coming in LibreOffice 4.0 – It’s hard to believe LibreOffice has only been around about two years, so thoroughly has it come to dominate as the leading free and open source productivity suite, but late last week a release candidate for its next major version appeared.

The end of strong password-only security – More than 90% of user-generated passwords will be vulnerable to hacking in a matter of seconds, according to Deloitte’s Canadian Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions 2013 report. “A machine running readily available virtualization software and high-powered graphics processing units can crack any eight-character password in about five hours.” It’s human behavior and a tendency for password re-use that puts password security at risk.

Can hardware help kill the password? Google thinks so – To help the Internet move on from usernames and passwords, Google wants to put a ring on it. Google’s engineers have been experimenting with hardware that would act as a master key for online services. The idea is to prevent remote hackers from accessing online accounts through stolen usernames and passwords. Without physically stealing the login device, they’d have no other way to gain entry.


Cybercriminals exploit Java 0-day fears to serve malware – As expected, malware peddlers were quick to exploit this development and have already set up compromised websites that supposedly offer the latest update (7u11) for download. “The fake update in question is javaupdate11.jar, which contains javaupdate11.class that downloads and executes malicious files up1.exe and up2.exe,” Trend Micro researchers shared.

Security vulnerabilities in ESPN ScoreCenter mobile app – ESPN ScoreCenter, one of the most popular mobile sports apps on the market, has significant security vulnerabilities that could compromise users’ mobile devices, including the threat of data theft. The flaws were unearthed using Zscaler Application Profiler (ZAP), the free online tool that makes it easy to assess mobile apps for security risks. ESPN said it is looking into the vulnerabilities in the ScoreCenter app.

Why Facebook Graph Search will help cybercriminals – While Facebook’s newly announced graph search capability is awesome for people who like social networking, it also provides criminals with another source of information about potential targets. The ability to query like this really opens a can of worms. We’ve seen law enforcement catch criminals by creating fake identities on Facebook to gather information, and we know that advertisers use information from social networking sites to target customers, criminals do the same.

Company News:

Google to invest $1B in new U.K. headquarters – Reuters – Google is investing 650 million pounds (about $1 billion) in a 2.4-acre plot at the Kings Cross Central development in London, Reuters reported yesterday, citing developers involved in the purchase. The company plans to build a one-million-square-foot building on the plot that will become its U.K. headquarters when it’s finished in 2016.

Report: Acer building a Google Chromebox – It comes as little surprise that industry heavyweight Acer may be prepping a Chromebox which has apparently been code-named “Kiev.” According to François Beaufort, the device is powered by an Intel chip (running at 2.70 GHz) paired with 2GB of RAM and a 500GB SATA HDD instead of an SSD. Chrome OS can best be described as a Linux-based operating system designed to operate exclusively with web applications and Mountain View’s cloud-based Google Drive.

Kim Dotcom’s Mega Launches Saturday With 50GB of Free Storage – Kim Dotcom this week provided “early-access users” a sneak peek at his new file-sharing service, Mega, which will launch tomorrow with 50GB of free storage for everyone.

Intel’s bet on Windows 8 ‘convertibles’ iffy, say analysts – The chipmaker is betting pretty heavily on Windows 8 convertible designs to rescue the PC. But analysts say they don’t see a lot of designs yet that could turn things around.

Al Gore exercises Apple stock options worth $29 million – The former VP and Apple board member exercised his Apple stock options to buy 59,000 shares of the company for just $7.475 apiece.

Webopedia Daily:

OpenStack Folsom – OpenStack Folsom is the follow-up to the Essex release of the OpenStack open source cloud computing platform. OpenStack Folsom debuted in September 2012, seven months after the OpenStack Essex release, and represents the efforts of more than 330 contributors who worked on adding 185 different features. Among OpenStack Folsom’s most notable new enhancements are a Software-Defined Network (SDN) project called Quantum and Block Storage services known as Cinder. The Folsom release additionally adds Hyper-V support, a new translation framework and various other cloud enhancements.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The dirty and dangerous side of tech – We take our smartphones, computers, and HDTVs for granted, assuming that their only price is the one we paid at the register. But our gadgets are filled with substances that damage the air and water where they’re mined, manufactured, and disposed of. Some of the poisons get back to us.

Cracked: 5 So-Called Signs of Genius That Any Idiot Can Learn – You know what would be cool? Superhuman intelligence. To walk into a room like Dr. House or Sherlock Holmes and show everyone your brain works twice as fast as theirs. Unfortunately, we can’t turn you into a genius — genetics and the public school system have already tried and failed. But what we can do is teach you all the tricks you need to seem like one. Because with very little practice, you can …

Cracked: 5 Reasons You Should Be Scared of Google – You’d be hard-pressed to find a company more beloved than Google. And why not? They make the Internet easier to use, pamper their employees and foot the bill for YouTube even though it loses money like it’s got a gambling problem that’s made of cocaine. Unfortunately, much of what is awesome about Google also makes them increasingly terrifying with each passing day.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could always access your data from anywhere? – I have data stored locally on my PCs and tablets, and data stored on external USB hard drives, and data stored across various cloud-based services including iCloud, SkyDrive, Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, and possibly others I’ve forgotten about. Some of the data is redundant—duplicates of data stored elsewhere—and I do my best to consolidate the data I really need in one place, but there’s still an opportunity there for a provider to give me a tool that just lets me access all of it no matter what device or platform I’m using.

Why dogs are tameable and wolves aren’t – It’s long puzzled biologists why dogs have become man’s best friend while wolves remain fiercely wild, when genetically the two are so similar.

Firefighters Pop High-Tech Pills to Monitor Vitals Wirelessly – Firefighters in Australia are popping a purplish capsule that harbors a micro-sized thermometer and wireless transmitter as part of a trial designed to help authorities better understand how the human body manages heat stress while dealing with life-threatening blazes.

Today’s Quote:

“I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed!”

–     William Shakespeare

Today’s Free Downloads:

Auslogics Disk Defrag – Auslogics Disk Defrag is designed for fast optimization of today’s modern hard disks. Get the maximum performance out of your expensive hardware investments. And it’s absolutely FREE.

foobar2000 1.2.2 – foobar2000 is an advanced audio player for the Windows platform. Some of the basic features include ReplayGain support, low memory footprint and native support for several popular audio formats.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

4 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 19, 2013

  1. Wow, lots of information here Bill, my favorite actually is the very first one – How To Encrypt Almost Anything.. Can’t wait to apply your tips actually.