Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 15, 2013

Video: How to secure your home Wi-Fi network (video 1:50) – Unsecure networks allow neighbors or anyone within range to use your Internet connection. That will slow it down, make you more vulnerable to hacking or, even worse, have your connection used for illegal activity. In this IDG News Tech Tip video, we’ll go beyond simply setting a password, and talk about three security options available in most modern base stations—WEP, WPA and WPA2. We’ll also show you how to find out which one of those you’re using as well as how to stop your base station from broadcasting its SSID—the name you see when you scan for a WiFi network.

Facebook unfriends CISPA cybersecurity bill over ‘privacy’ – Authors of cybersecurity bill criticized for privacy invasions used Facebook’s enthusiasm to attract political support in D.C. Now the company’s execs have backed away from CISPA.

8 Google Reader alternatives for your PC – Google Reader will be shut down as of July 1, but never fear. Here are eight desktop and laptop alternatives to keep track of your favorite Web site updates.

Three Lessons from the Death of Google Reader – Google’s decision to shut down Google Reader has left some in the tech world feeling battered and bruised.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Backing up your entire drive: Cloning vs. imaging – Both cloning and imaging create an exact record of your drive or partition. I’m not just talking about the files, but the master boot record, allocation table, and everything else needed to boot and run your operating system. This isn’t necessary for protecting your data–a simple file backup will handle that job just fine. But should your hard drive crash or Windows become hopelessly corrupt, a clone or image backup can quickly get you back to work.

Create a custom recovery image for Windows 8’s Refresh your PC tool – Greg Shultz shows you how to use Recimg in the command line to create a custom recovery image for Windows 8’s Refresh your PC tool.

The S4: Samsung’s unstoppable hit – There’s so much momentum behind the Galaxy S franchise that Samsung could have put out nearly anything and had a hit on its hands.

7 Cool Browser Tricks – Most people think of browser as a flavor-free portal software, one the same as the next. Wrong! Each browser has at least one cool party trick.

Mint Your Money – We keep looking for something better, but Mint is the best personal finance software available. It’s free and ad-supported, but even the ads add value to a fantastic tool for managing your money.

Make your PC kid-friendly with four custom operating systems – For the purposes of this guide, we’re going to run through Qimo, Edubuntu, DoudouLinux, and KIDO’Z. All of these operating systems limit what your PC can access, so it’s easier to keep tabs on what kids are doing. Of course, none of these tools are an adequate substitute for real hands-on parenting with tech-savvy tykes, but they’re far more powerful, user-friendly, and educational than the parental controls baked into Windows.

A New Advertising Model for All – A fuss erupted today over the announcement that Google is removing all the ad-blocking software from Google Play. Given the state of advertising today, Google should instead ask why people need or want this software. The current discussion about ad-blockers is going to forgo the inevitable. In all contexts, advertising has to change.

Facebook Users Trying to Be Private Face ‘Sisyphean’ Feat – While Facebook users have been increasingly discreet, the information they’re sharing has increased “exponentially,” a new report says.

Security:

Seagate’s blog pushes malware on unsuspecting visitors via rogue Apache modules – SophosLabs informed Seagate of the issue back in February, but at the time of writing the site remains infected. Two weeks ago, Fraser Howard reported how rogue Apache modules were pushing iFrame injections with the intention of driving traffic to the notorious Blackhole exploit kit. SophosLabs has seen countless victims of this attack, with Mal/Iframe-AL remaining the most prevalent of the web threats encountered. Seagate is just one of the high profile examples of a site that has been hit.

Bill Gates’s social security number, address, credit report and more published by hackers – Bill Gates is the latest celebrity to have had his personal information published on a website that has exposed the social security numbers, addresses and personal financial information of a number of people in the public eye.

Fake Pope Twitter account proves malicious potential of breaking news – A Twitter account (@JMBergoglio) using his name and photo was promptly discovered, and as many users considered it to be legitimate, it attracted over 100,000 followers in just a day. Luckily for the followers, the individual behind the account wasn’t set on promoting malicious links, but this example shows just how easy it is for scammers to find a way of reaching hundreds of thousands of users by simply taking advantage of the massive interest some global events garner.

Encrypting Trojan targets users, demands $5,000 – Russian anti-virus company Doctor Web is warning users of an active ransomware campaign executed through brute force attack via the RDP protocol on target machines. Then the Trojan presents the victim with a long message, explaining the situation and asking $5,000 for the password that would decrypt the archives

Ex-Tribune staffer accused of conspiring in Anonymous hack – A former Tribune Company employee could face as much as 25 years of jail time over federal charges accusing him of conspiring with members of the hacker group Anonymous to hack into a Tribune website.

NIST National Vulnerability Database down due to malware – U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology’s National Vulnerability Database is unavailable, and has been since they discovered malware on some of its servers last Friday.

Company News:

Digg Building Google Reader RSS Replacement – Digg today confirmed rumors that it will create its own RSS service, announcing in a blog entry that it hopes to complete the project in the 109 days left until Google Reader close..

Spin control: Apple goes on offense against Android – On the eve of Samsung’s big Galaxy S4 launch, Apple’s marketing head decides that it’s time to talk trash. Expect more of the same for 2013.

AMD wins big time with Wells Fargo – While many in the known universe have written off AMD, it seems the fabless chipmaker has been given the thumbs up by the former pony express courier Wells Fargo. Now turned bankers and analysts, Wells Fargo have claimed that there is gold in them thar AMD hills and have claimed the outfit will outperform expectations this year.

Facebook to finally add hashtags, says WSJ – Catching up to Twitter and other rivals, the company will incorporate hashtags into its network, The Wall Street Journal reports.

HTC mounts smartphone attack in Manhattan – Troubled smartphone maker HTC is not giving in yet. It used the Samsung Galaxy S4 launch event to stage a guerrilla marketing event of its own. HTC can’t take on Samsung in a set piece battle or in a war of attrition, but it seems eager to fight on the landing grounds, in the fields and in the streets. The streets of New York that is.

Netflix Offers $100,000 for Cloud Computing Improvements – Netflix is challenging global developers to improve the features, usability, quality, reliability, and security of cloud computing, and will hand over $100,000 to the teams that can do it best.

Webopedia Daily:

SSID – service set identifier – SSID is a case sensitive, 32 alphanumeric character unique identifier attached to the header of packets sent over a wireless local-area network (WLAN) that acts as a password when a mobile device tries to connect to the basic service set (BSS) — a component of the IEEE 802.11 WLAN architecture. The SSID differentiates one WLAN from another, so all access points and all devices attempting to connect to a specific WLAN must use the same SSID to enable effective roaming. As part of the association process, a wireless client must have the same SSID as the one put in the access point or it will not be permitted to join the BSS.

Games and Entertainment:

Redbox Instant Streaming Opens in Public Beta – Verizon today launched the public beta version of its Redbox Instant movie service, throwing its hat into the movie streaming ring to take on rival heavyweights Netflix and Amazon. The service provides four one-night DVD rentals and unlimited video streaming for an $8 monthly subscription fee. A Blu-ray option will be available for $1 extra per month.

Collecting live music in the digital age – On June 19, 1976, the Grateful Dead played the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey, kicking off the first set with a great run of “Help on the Way,” “Slipknot!” “Franklin’s Tower,” and “The Music Never Stopped” before launching into a spirited version of “Brown-Eyed Women.” I know it because I’ve listened to a recording of the show many times. Fans recorded it during its live broadcast on WOUR Utica and WNEW New York, and a soundboard recording is also in circulation. This performance and thousands of other concerts by a multitude of artists are part of my collection of live music, amassed in various formats over the past 20 years—and aided by a changing trading scene that has gone both digital and online.

Vimeo launches pay-to-watch video service – Vimeo on Demand allows video producers to choose how much they will charge viewers for their movie, how long it’s available to watch, and which countries it’s available for viewing. The service has been in the works for a few months, before Vimeo announced at this week’s South by Southwest Interactive + Film Festival in Austin, Texas. It is now available to all Vimeo’s Pro subscribers.

Hands on with Marvel’s new subscription comics app – With Saturday’s release of the new Marvel Unlimited iOS app (an Android app is forthcoming), Marvel’s subscription service has a new name and a home on mobile devices at last. Marvel Senior Vice President and General Manager of Digital, Peter Phillips, admits that his team has been anxious to get the service off of Flash for some time. “We wish we could’ve done it a little bit faster,” Phillips said. “This app offers a much better user experience and provides access to a lot more digital comics.”

Pre-orders for Razer Edge Pro halted due to overwhelming demand – Razer’s Project Fiona gaming tablet went up for pre-order earlier this month. However, pre-orders have now been put on hold due to overwhelming demand.

Off Topic (Sort of):

INFOGRAPHIC: Users weighed down by multiple gadgets – survey reveals the most carried devices – Just how many devices does the average person carry on them? Which country loves their laptops? And who will come out on top – iPhone or Android? See what our survey says about your most favorite gadgets.

A Day in the Life of an Italian Deli in New York City – “We no serve tomatoes, we no serve avocados, no liverwurst, ketchup, mayo …” Walter Momentè says. “This is no regular deli! We try to keep it as Italian as possible.” This short documentary from the New Yorkers series follows Momentè through an average day, sourcing authentic ingredients from local businesses, making stops at two bakeries for various kinds of bread. (suggested by Michael F.)

Doctors used silicone fingers to fool fingerprint scanner – Fingerprint scanners might not work with severed fingers, but artificial ones still manage to fool them, as proved by the recent discovery of a fraudulent scheme set up by doctors working in the Ferraz de Vasconcelos hospital in the Sao Paulo state in Brazil.

Talking, Texting While Driving More Common in U.S. Than Europe – Drivers in the U.S. are more often texting and talking on the phone while behind the wheel than their counterparts in several European countries, according to a new study.

Coming soon: Self-healing chips for smartphones, computers? – A team of researchers at the California Institute of Technology) said they now can envision smartphone and computer chips not only defending themselves but also repairing themselves, recovering from trouble—like total transistor failure—in microseconds. The scientists reported that they destroyed different parts of their self-healing chips, which were running power amplifiers, with a high-power laser and then watched the chips automatically develop a work-around to bypass the damage in less than a second.

Today’s Quote:

“Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There’s a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning.”

–     Bill Gates

Today’s Free Downloads:

Better troubleshooting with SysExporter for Windows – NirSoft has done a fine job with this freeware gem. SysExporter is a must-have for those who wish to inspect window elements at the object level for diagnostic and data harvesting needs. The utility is also portable, thus it can be loaded right onto a thumb drive and launched at will, ready to serve on command. It should also be noted that this tool is incredibly small, 45 kilobytes in size, and is incredibly fast.

Flagfox 4.2.7 – Flagfox is an extension that displays a flag icon indicating the current webserver’s physical location. Knowing where you’re connected to adds an extra layer of awareness to your browsing.

4 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

4 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 15, 2013

  1. delenn13

    Hey Bill,

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  2. Mal

    Hey Bill,
    That Malwarebytes offer is very cheap. Sometimes it’s worth to pay a few bucks for the pro version of a top security app. I have with a couple of them (Mamutu and Spyshelter). Not expensive at all, and peace of mind.
    Cheers

    • Hey Mal,

      Have to agree – the peace of mind is worth every penny in this case. Wouldn’t be without Malwarebytes – it’s long been my primary “secondary” scanner – if you’ll pardon the expression. 🙂

      Best,

      Bill