Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 17, 2013

FBI Files Unlock History Behind Clandestine Cellphone Tracking Tool – FBI documents show how easy it is for them to monitor your movements using cellphones. It was described recently by one rights group as a “secretive new surveillance tool.” But documents just released by the FBI suggest that a clandestine cellphone tracking device known as the “Stingray” has been deployed across the United States for almost two decades—despite questions over its legality.

Teach your old iPod new tricks: Six unauthorized upgrades – Got an old iPod sitting around gathering dust? (In fact, maybe you even have three or four of them.) If so, here are 7 fun things you can do with yesterday’s classic iPods to give them new life.

Quick Tip: Remove shared permissions in SkyDrive – Donovan Colbert shows you a quick way to remove permissions to all files in a single shared SkyDrive folder.

Hitting the Computer Information Technology Motherload With The NEW – If you are not familiar with Bookmarks4Techs, I suggest that you bookmark or blogroll it for future reference. Bookmarks4Techs is one of the largest indexes of tech sites on the internet (over 600 links). If you are looking for information regarding software, apps, android, apple, windows, hardware, gadgets, tech news, tech blogs; then you hit the mother load with …

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Apple refurbs start to hit the street – Consumers want cheaper tablets and even Apple has given in to the trend, with the introduction of the iPad mini last year. Now it is going a step further, by selling refurbished iPads online.

Get started with Twitter for Windows 8 – The new Twitter app for Windows 8 has some familiar features as well as a few new ones that are specific to Windows 8.

Infographic: Is Google a Monopoly? – Or are they just out innovating other search engines?

Airport posts Facebook pic of crash to boast about safety – England’s Luton airport decides a fun way of claiming that it is always prepared for snow is to post an image of a plane crash in which a child died.

Camera phone comparison; HTC One, BlackBerry Z10, iPhone 5, Lumia 920, and Note II – You can’t replace your point and shoot with most camera phones, but they do the job for social media and online sharing. As you can see, most any of these phones have decent cameras.

Mobile computing and social media innovation can mean less user control – The Internet freaked out this week after Google announced the closure of its cloud-based RSS reader, Google Reader. What Google Reader and RSS fans fear is not the loss of a good service and a great format. They fear the loss of control. They fear a future in which decisions about what they see, watch, read and listen to are determined by secret algorithms and the whims of the social media masses. It’s not an unreasonable fear: The taking away of control from the user is the way the whole industry is going.

Connect to your Zoho Docs cloud from your Android tablet – Jack Wallen takes a look at Zoho Docs, a free application that lets you view, upload, share, and tag documents in your Zoho Docs cloud account from your Android tablet.

The first four rules of social media for business – Before launching your company’s social media initiative, read and take to heart these quotes to make sure you start off on a good footing.


Two charged with gift-card hacking scheme – Two California men face charges in Massachusetts of hacking into point-of-sale computers at Subway restaurants and adding more than $40,000 in value to gift cards, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

New Trojan Malware Encrypts All Files, Demands Ransom – According to a Net article, a new ransomware malware called the ArchiveLock Trojan targets PCs to be attacked via the Internet and then proceeds to encrypt all files on the computer, and rigs the computer so that restoring the data to useable form is not possible.

Sophisticated Trojan horses target banks, Symantec says – The financial sector is under threat from increasingly sophisticated malware attacks a Symantec report has claimed, with many security solutions ineffective against modern Trojans. The report claims that criminal groups responsible for the attacks have become more knowledgeable about the financial sector as attacks have become more sophisticated, and are supported by a service industry of widely available malware.

Has HTTPS finally been cracked? Five researchers deal SSL/TLS a biggish blow – Cryptographers have once again put SSL/TLS (that’s the padlock in HTTPS) in their gunsights and opened fire. This time, they’ve done some severe damage.

Cyber crime punishment questioned by Internet advocacy group – The Electronic Frontier Foundation isn’t defending the alleged actions of Matthew Keys, a former Tribune Company employee who could face as much as 25 years of jail time over federal charges accusing him of conspiring with members of Anonymous to hack into a Tribune website. But the San Francisco-based advocacy group says current law means cyber crimes are often prosecuted much more severely than crimes of violence.

North Korea restores Internet access, blames US hackers – Internet connectivity to North Korea was restored Friday after a day-and-a-half-long outage that the country’s official media blamed on international hacking. Connections to the Star, North Korea’s sole Internet service provider, hit problems on Wednesday when websites became inaccessible from outside the country. The sites remained largely offline throughout the incident, although occasionally made brief returns.

Company News:

Facebook shuts off data tap to startup MessageMe app – Facebook slapped a “dislike” on startup MessageMe on Friday when it barred the app from accessing data from the social network. Facebook cut off MessageMe’s access to the social network’s “Find Friends” functionality sometime on Friday, less than a week after the mobile messaging app was launched, according to TechCrunch.

Apple sued over sound tech by George Lucas’ THX – The audio-and-visual tech firm founded by Lucas claims Apple is infringing on a speaker patent in its iPhone, iPad, and iMac products.

What’s Going On with Nintendo’s Wii U? – Last night, as part of its monthly ritual, retail-tracker NPD Group released its estimates of February’s video game hardware and software sales.

Engadget Opens First Ever Expand Tech Show in SF – Sponsored by Microsoft, Lenovo, and Toyota, two-day event to feature the likes of Ouya’s Julie Uhrman, Nest’s Matt Rogers, Microsoft Kinect for Windows director Bob Heddle.

Webopedia Daily:

Ransomware – Ransomware is a form of malware in which rogue software code effectively holds a user’s computer hostage until a “ransom” fee is paid. Ransomware often infiltrates a PC as a computer worm or Trojan horse that takes advantage of open security vulnerabilities. Most ransomware attacks are the result of clicking on an infected e-mail attachment or visiting a hacked website. Upon compromising a computer, ransomware will typically either lock a user’s system or encrypt files on the computer and then demand payment before the system or files will be restored.

Games and Entertainment:

EA Defends SimCity’s Always-On Approach – Electronic Arts today defended its decision to require an “always on” environment for the recently released SimCity, arguing that that the move is key to its vision for the game, boosts performance, and will be instrumental for upcoming, social-based upgrades.

Review: Heart of the Swarm a big step in StarCraft II’s evolution – StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm doesn’t just upgrade and expand the exceptional StarCraft formula—it also hacks, cuts, and refines the core gameplay. The good news: With series antihero Sarah Kerrigan as its star, this expansion pack to 2010’s Wings of Liberty makes the original game better, improves the multiplayer, and progresses the story in new and interesting ways.

How playing video games can help improve visual search – Researchers at the University of Toronto claim that playing shooting or driving videogames, even for a relatively short time, can help improve player ability to search for a target hidden among irrelevant distractions in complex scenes.

Battlefield 4 reveal set for March 26 – According to an official invitation sent to Gamespot, Electronic Arts and DICE plan to “celebrate a new era of Battlefield” at an upcoming Battlefield 4 event in San Francisco on March 26 at 7 p.m. PT. The event occurs during the 2013 Game Developers Conference that takes place from March 25-29.

Jurassic Park 4 finally has a director – A fourth Jurassic Park movie has been in the works for some time now, and it’s a trip to think the groundbreaking first installment is now twenty years old.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Security Engineering – The second edition of Ross Anderson’s fantastic book, “Security Engineering,” is now free online. Required reading for any security engineer.

Danger Lurks in Growing New Internet Nationalism – For technology that was supposed to ignore borders, bring the world closer together, and sidestep the influence of national governments the Internet is fostering an awful lot of nationalism right now. We’ve started to see increased concern about the country of origin of IT products and services; U.S. companies are worried about hardware from China; European companies are worried about cloud services in the U.S; no one is sure whether to trust hardware and software from Israel; Russia and China might each be building their own operating systems out of concern about using foreign ones.

Paradox of Hoaxes: How Errors Persist, Even When Corrected – Knowledge changes around us all the time. Yet we don’t always have the most up-to-date facts. This is true, I’d argue, even in an age of instant and massive information. Despite our unprecedented ability to rapidly learn new things and crowdfix mistakes, Knowledge and its sinister twin Error continue to propagate in complex and intriguing ways. Errors persist among us for far longer than they should and even when there is more accurate knowledge elsewhere. Newer knowledge does not spread as fast as it should and weaves its way unevenly throughout society.

Cracked: The 5 Biggest Badass Popes – It used to be that to become pope, you had to sit pantsless in a horseshoe-shaped chair and let a couple of cardinals see if you had the goods. Back then, the Papacy was reserved for the hardasses, guys you wouldn’t mess with–the gangsters, the demon-summoners, the corpse-digger-uppers. Here are the ones we consider the biggest badasses. And, no, we didn’t make any of this up.

Big data roadblocks will slow adoption of driverless cars, analyst says – Privacy, cybersecurity and safety are the first concerns that come to mind when autonomous cars are discussed. But another problem with just as much of an impact lurks around the corner, and leaves plenty of questions to be answered. “It’s extremely valuable data,” Brennan says. “I can’t argue that point. That data will be worth a lot, and it’s still not clear, again, how the consumer will play out.”

Today’s Quote:

Nobody believes the official spokesman… but everybody trusts an unidentified source.”

–       Ron Nesen

Today’s Free Downloads:

PrivaZer 1.8 – With PrivaZer you can master your security and freedom, free up disk space and keep your PC fit and secure. PrivaZer also shows you exactly what can still be recovered of your past activities on your home or work PC.

MadAppLauncher – MadAppLauncher is a simple application launcher. Group applications, folders, scripts, etc. with ease. It supports drag and drop and manual editing.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

11 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – March 17, 2013

  1. Bill,

    Thank you for the back link to give Bookmarks4Techs a boost… I sincerely appreciate it.


  2. Mal

    Hey Bill,
    Re: “New Trojan Malware Encrypts All Files, Demands Ransom”
    I have just spent the day restoring a friends computer from ransomware. Fortunately, it didn’t encrypt the computer files, but had locked the screen (one of those Police Ransomware infections). Having never encountered this sort of malware before, I found it all quite interesting looking at how it behaved. It locked my friends computer, with the same sort of message about inappropriate activity and actually used his webcam to take a photo of him and place it in the middle of the ransomware message. Needless to say, he was totally freaked out by this.
    Anyway, it took Kaspersky Rescue disc, HitmanPro Kickstart, and Malwarebytes to finally get rid of it. In the end I found about 50 trojans, not all related to the ransomware either. It was an interesting day, to say the least.
    I also told my friend had it been the sort that encrypted files, I’m not sure I could have helped him.
    I learned a lot today.

    • Hi Potential Guest Writer (sorry Mal – just taking a dig 🙂

      That sounds like a fun job – no, really. Especially since you were able to clear it – well done!

      Your experience reinforces a critical point in malware cleanup – the use of multiple tools. Glad you brought that out. BTW, I installed Hitman Pro – quite liking it.

      So, back to the “long promised” article. Seems like this might be the perfect opportunity to walk us through your recovery process. That would be a great learning experience for all of us.

      Feeling the pressure yet? 🙂



      • Mal

        Lol Bill,
        All good, I can take a joke. I do keep meaning to get round to a guest article but always “something” comes up. Good idea though, I will get an article to you in the next few days on how I cleaned out the infection. Share the knowledge and all that. It really was a nasty piece of malware, and I think we are very lucky the files on the computer were not actualy encrypted. If that was the case, I think we might have been up s#@t creek without a paddle.

        • Hey Mal,

          A first hand, up to the elbows account of a tricky malware identification and removal process, has huge potential to educate. Looking forward to your post when you have a chance.



  3. delenn13

    Hey Bill,

    Today is the day…

    “Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware is an easy-to-use, simple, straightforward, and mercilessly effective anti-malware application. Available today at it’s lowest-ever advertised price!”

    Malwarebytes Anti-Malware PRO Lifetime License (PC) 50% Discount Coupon Code

    Some fun for the Monday Maniac…

    If you only watch one…WATCH THIS ONE

    Pepsi MAX & Jeff Gordon Present: “Test Drive” – YouTube

    Funny Commercial – Le Trèfle – Emma – (Toilet Paper) – YouTube

    “One Woman A Cappella Disney Medley” by @heathertraska – YouTube

    • Hey Delenn13,

      You’re right on time. 🙂 For less than the price of a couple of beers one can buy one of the best AV apps EVER. An amazing deal!




  4. Hey Bill, I reviewed a new toy. Just thought you might want to check it out.

    For 63 bucks, this thing is a lot of fun.

    • Hey Writerdood,

      Now that’s what I call a review. You’ve told me how this product fits into my real life.

      I use my HDMI ports constantly (iPod, Tablet, USB drives, etc.) – very much more in fact, than broadcast TV. So, as it turns out – I’m in the market for this type of peripheral. Perfect timing. 🙂 Thanks.

      I’ll feature your review in tomorrow’s TNN.



      • Awesome. Thanks. And I just got the Email update for the Jelly Bean app. Thanks for putting that info up. I was wondering what was going on with that. I’ll have to play with it.