Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 2, 2013

Facebook is turning facial recognition back on – so here’s how to check your “photo tagging” settings – Facebook is turning its controversial facial recognition feature back on so that your “friends” can tag you more easily in photographs. Now would be a good time to revisit your photo tagging security settings – here’s how.

Tools for the paranoid: 5 free security tools to protect your data – Because even a law-abiding citizen like you has a few secrets to keep, we’ve found five industrial-grade tools to help you hang on to what’s yours. No need to enter a credit card number to get them, either—they’re all free.

How to get Google Voice Search on your PC – If you own an Android-powered smartphone or use the Google app on your iOS device, it’s a good bet you’ve fallen in love with Google’s voice-powered search. It works freakishly well. What you may not know is that you can enjoy a similar experience on your PC. All you need is Google’s Chrome browser. And that really is all you need, because it turns out Voice Search is built right in.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Yes, U.S. authorities can spy on EU cloud data. Here’s how – EU citizens and businesses are warned against using the cloud over the risk that U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies can obtain your personal records. Here’s how the U.S. can acquire your data, even if you’re based in the EU.

U.S. Weighs Tougher Action over China Cyberattacks – High-level talks with the Chinese government to address persistent cyberattacks against U.S. companies and government agencies haven’t worked, so officials say the Obama administration is now considering a range of actions.

Note: The irony when contrasting the 2 headlines above, is just too delicious.

Apple (again) washes its hands of the Java mess – Apple’s thrown in the towel on the Java mess and has, for the second time in two weeks, blocked all versions of Java on OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) and later.

Which Apps Are Coming to BlackBerry 10 – And Which Aren’t? – BlackBerry 10 will launch in the U.S. with 100,000 apps. Here are some of the big names coming to the platform.

HP execs debate reality of hacker expertise; lament most businesses don’t understand – Hewlett-Packard execs argue that the problem with the security culture today is that many businesses are still following a “check box” approach without understanding hackers’ resources and capabilities.


Twitter confirms hack compromised 250,000 user accounts – Twitter has reset the passwords and revoked session tokens of some 250,000 Twitter users following a successful breach of a database containing user data. The compromise has been revealed by Twitter in a blog post on Friday, and the company is still investigating the matter. What they do know is that the attack was not the work of amateurs.

Privacy at risk as Path app lets location data slip – Just as the company settles a privacy complaint with the FTC, it faces new criticism over location information contained in photos.

Mainstream Websites Host Majority of Malware – While Android malware continues to grow faster than other malware types, it still accounts for only a minute fraction of all malware on the Web, according to Cisco’s annual security report released this week. Compromised websites hosting malicious Java and iFrame attacks and other malware far and away outpaces all other delivery vectors for malware, Cisco’s report said.

Fake warning leads to tons of malware – A massive spam campaign impersonating the popular online hotel reservations agency is underway, trying to convince recipients to download a document supposedly containing booking details. The message states that the users’ credit card was rejected, and that they should “refresh” the credit card date.

Malicious Chrome extensions promoted via Facebook – Malicious Chrome extensions are lurking on the official Chrome Web Store, warns Kaspersky Lab Expert Fabio Assolini, and the campaign for leading users to them starts on Facebook.

Company News:

Facebook: 76 million accounts were fake last year – Facebook has reported that roughly 76 million of the 1.06 billion user accounts on its social network are bogus in some way or other. The company identifies three types of accounts that don’t represent actual users: duplicate accounts, misclassified accounts and undesirable accounts. Together, they added up to just over 7 percent of its worldwide monthly active users last year.

Microsoft: False alarm. We aren’t backing away from DirectX – Microsoft officials say an email sent to some of its Most Valuable Professionals about the company’s waning commitment to the DirectX multimedia interface was a mistake.

IBM buys Star Analytics for software portfolio – Star Analytics’ portfolio will be lumped into IBM’s Financial Performance Management unit, a part of the company’s analytics group.

HP closes German site, lays off 850 employees – The world’s number one PC maker by shipments is to close a site in Germany, laying off more than 8 percent of the country’s workforce.

Valve sued in Germany over game ownership – The Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV) sued computer game distributor Valve because it prohibits Steam gamers from reselling their games.

Facebook: Teens might be so over us – Facebook has a new, potentially more troubling problem than mobile. The social network can’t seem to keep its youngest users oh-so-totally preoccupied with its apps and services — be they Web or mobile. Facebook’s teen users are switching their attention to other applications, the company warned in the risks section of its 10-K annual report, which was filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Webopedia Daily:

Cognitive Radio (CR) – Cognitive Radio (CR) is an adaptive, intelligent radio and network technology that can automatically detect available channels in a wireless spectrum and change transmission parameters enabling more communications to run concurrently and also improve radio operating behavior. Cognitive radio uses a number of technologies including Adaptive Radio (where the communications system monitors and modifies its own performance) and Software Defined Radio (SDR) where traditional hardware components including mixers, modulators and amplifies have been replaced with intelligent software.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Why We Shouldn’t Fear Personal Drones – Drones, like most robots, are designed for jobs that are “dull, dirty or dangerous.” We know what that means in a military context — everything from endless “loitering” over combat zones to remote-controlled warfare with the pilots safely in a trailer in Nevada — but soon civilian drones will be flying commonly overhead here at home. What will they be doing?

The Best Things to Buy in February – January is the biggest discount month of the year, but a lot of the winter sales carry over into February—not to mention a few new sales thanks to annual trade shows. Here are the best things to buy this month.

Universities Turn to Tumblr to Reach Prospective Students – Emmanuel Quartey, who runs Yale University’s Tumblr and blogs about social media and higher education, says there has been “an explosion” of university Tumblrs over the past year, and admissions-specific blogs have been at the forefront. “As universities have become more familiar with social media, it isn’t as scary to jump into this new thing,” Quartey says. “They’re reaching kids they might otherwise not reach.”

Why an owl can swivel its head (and why you should avoid chiropractors) – If you or I tried to swivel our head round by 270 degrees, we’d cut off the blood supply to our brains and pass out – or worse. But owls manage it: and now scientists have worked out how.

Can you build a moonbase with a 3D printer? – The European Space Agency is carrying out tests to find out if it is possible to build structures on the moon for human habitation with a 3D printer.

100 Years: New York City’s Grand Central Terminal – Great public buildings don’t dwarf people; they enlarge them. And for 100 years–it opened on Feb. 2, 1913–one of the greatest has been Grand Central Terminal in New York City. It was a conceptual bank shot. In a nation of wide-open spaces, it carried the American sense of nature’s vast scale indoors, framed it in a serene Beaux Arts classicism and put both things in the service of a signature of the modern age, the railway. It is, by any measure, one of the most gracious public places in the world.

Today’s Quote:

“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for – in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.”

–     Ellen Goodman

Today’s Free Downloads:

Foto-Mosaik-Edda – With Foto-Mosaik-Edda you can create mosaic-pictures, which are composed of many small pictures (tiles), from your own photos. – Repair Windows Safe Mode 1.9.7 – This repair will apply the reg keys needed for safe mode to boot. Some viruses remove these keys. This repair will not remove or delete any custom keys in the registry for safe mode.

Emsisoft Emergency Kit – The Emsisoft Emergency Kit contains a collection of programs that can be used without a software installation to scan and clean infected computers for malware.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

4 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 2, 2013

  1. My favorites are 76m fb accounts were fake and malicious chrome extensions.. Looks like FB and Chrome needs a lot of watchful eyes in order to get rid of this kind of problem..

    Very informative.

  2. Mal

    Hey Bill,
    Sounds like the US wants to have its cake and eat it too. They (much like our government here) want unlimited access to our records, life, what we do, where we live, where we work, what color underpants we wear blah blah. But don’t they get snotty when someone gives them a dose of their own medicine. Not that I’m saying hacking and cyber attacks are right or good, just that governments don’t have the right to know everything.

    • Hey Mal,

      Well, I draw the line at the underwear thing. Which is why, I now go bare-ass. That’s my futile attempt at striking back. 🙂

      More seriously though – the position taking by the U.S. is, in a broader sense, sheer nonsense. If there’s one thing we know about cybercrime it’s this – IP address spoofing (forging), is rampant.

      And, if there’s one thing we know about politicians it’s this – they are (generally) speaking – as dumb as a box of rocks when it comes to Internet technology.

      So yeah, jump on China – the downside is limited and the upside is virtually unlimited. Who doesn’t like a government that carries a big stick? Even if, as in this case – the big stick is constructed from Balsa wood.

      Have a good weekend mate.