Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 9, 2013

Google Gets Loud Over FBI’s National Security Letters – The reasonable citizen would expect politicians to protect the public from these ravages of the secret police. Wrong! It has only gotten worse in the name of terrorism. Finally someone is taking a stand: Google! Are you kidding me? Only Google has the guts to speak out against these dubious letters? Where is your congressman? Google must receive dozens of these letters and the company is likely tired of being the one-stop shopping mall for spooks, snoops, and lazy law enforcement detectives using dragnet techniques and going on perpetual fishing expeditions.

The 5 biggest online privacy threats of 2013 – As you watch your privacy being kicked around like a football in a scrum, pay close attention to the following five major threats. Your online life may not seem worth tracking as you browse websites, store content in the cloud, and post updates to social networking sites. But the data you generate is a rich trove of information that says more about you than you realize—and it’s a tempting treasure for marketers and law enforcement officials alike.

With Firefox 22, Mozilla escalates the tracking battle – “Do Not Track” capabilities have been controversial ever since they first appeared in Firefox 4 back in 2011, but earlier this year the battle became even more intense when Mozilla announced that it planned to begin blocking third-party cookies by default. Two groups representing the online ad industry spoke out in bitter protest, charging that the move is “really little more than one company imposing its will in order to control its consumers’ online experience,” as the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) put it.

Bitdefender launches Antivirus Free for Android – Bitdefender has launched Antivirus Free for Android, which offers smartphone owners a free, fast and powerful antivirus solution that taps the latest in-the-cloud scanning technology and prevents battery strain.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

63 alleged NYC gangsters busted, thanks to their own Facebook blabbing – The alleged members of three rival drug and gun gangs apparently spoon-fed New York police, serving up allusions to their alleged crimes in slangy, atrociously spelled postings to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Quick Tip: Getting started with Google Talk – Google Talk integrates with Gmail and provides instant messaging, voice, and video communications (a browser voice/video chat plug-in is required for these latter two functions) with fellow Talk users. A standalone Talk application is also available for Windows. You can also use Talk on mobile devices; Androids should have the application preloaded in the OS, and iOS users can access this link from their device browser: http://www.google.com/talk.

ModernMix runs modern UI apps in windows – Windows 8 is transforming into the desktop OS users thought it would be when they first heard about it, but it’s not Microsoft doing the work: It’s Stardock. The company’s Start8 start menu replacement is best-of-breed, and they’ve hit the nail on the head again with ModernMix, a $5 program (with 30-day free trial) that lets you open Windows 8 modern UI apps as windows on the classic desktop.

LinkedIn Adds Facebook-Like ‘Mention’ Feature – The business-focused social network began rolling out a new feature that lets you mention and hyperlink other LinkedIn users and companies in status updates and conversations.

Microsoft Windows XP Support Ends in 365 Days – In one year from today, Microsoft will shut down extended support for the 12-year-old operating system, in favor of newer platforms like Windows 7 and 8.

Microsoft tempts XP laggards with $84 upgrade discount – Microsoft kicked off a new promotion aimed at Windows XP customers, who have just one year to ditch the 12-year-old OS before it’s retired from support. Small- and medium-sized businesses still running Windows XP and Office 2003—the latter also will be retired a year from Monday, on April 8, 2014—can purchase licenses to Windows 8 Pro and Office 2013 Standard at a 15 percent discount, Microsoft said on a promotional website.

How to Dial Back to Windows 7 – Windows 8 got you down? It’s not easy, but you can switch your new PC back to Windows 7. Here’s how.

Security:

Windows 8’s rising security tide raises all antivirus boats – Even without a security suite, Windows 8 is safer than Windows 7. Adding just about any third-party security suite makes it even safer, a new study finds.

Are You a Zombie? How to Check for Open DNS Resolvers – Open DNS resolvers can vastly amplify the effect of a Distributed Denial of Service Attack. Is your DNS resolver a member of the DDoS zombie army?

Malware calling – beware of phone fraud! – Phone fraud has been around for a long time. Nowadays, however, this tactic is also being used to infect your PC with malware. Unknown callers pretend to be employees of an established company and ask for remote access to solve a PC problem. The fraudsters preferably pose as technical support agents for Microsoft, but also for other well-known companies such as Google. This scam works particularly well with inexperienced users. The worst part is that security software is simply disabled via remote access, which is why information and common sense are all that is needed to offer real protection from such scams.

Google Uses Reputation To Detect Malicious Downloads – Researchers use data about websites, IP address, and domains to detect 99 percent of malicious executables downloaded by users — outperforming antivirus and URL-reputation services

German net users targeted by Skype email malware attack – SophosLabs has intercepted a malware attack, hitting many German internet users today, disguised as an email from Skype with the title “Wir haben Ihre Bestellung geliefert”.

Serious Vulnerabilities Found in Popular Home Wireless Routers – Hackers love to attack Java. Why? Well, not only because it is full of holes, but because it’s everywhere, embedded on endpoints, Web browsers, mobile devices and more. The same goes for attacking wireless routers; they’re buggy and they’re everywhere.

WikiLeaks launches library with Kissinger-era intelligence cables – WikiLeaks combined the 250,000 State Department documents it had previously released in 2010 (now called “Cablegate”) with 1.7 million documents from the department’s Henry Kissinger era to launch the Public Library of U.S. Diplomacy (PlusD).

Android AirDroid Flaw Can Lead to XSS, DoS Attacks – Airdroid XSSA cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability exists in the browser version of AirDroid, a cloud management application for Google’s Android phones. According to an alert from the US-Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), at the current time, there is no patch planned and there is no logical workaround.

The cloud: Storms on the horizon (video 50:06) – At its heart, the cloud is really just shorthand for shared resources. The cloud is regularly touted as the answer to all of your IT woes. But, beyond the marketing pitches and the oft-discussed technological concerns, there is a storm brewing.

Company News:

Starbucks mobilizes Pick of the Week, gives away Angry Birds Star Wars – Skip those printed iTunes cards and pick up the Starbucks app instead, as the coffee company is finally serving up app and book downloads in a less old-fashioned way,

Hewlett-Packard: Tough years for a Silicon Valley pioneer – It’s been a turbulent decade at Hewlett-Packard, with board members and CEOs resigning or being ousted for all manner of colorful reasons, including strategic missteps, accusations of spying on journalists and alleged sexual harassment. The latest moves came last week, when two directors resigned and Ray Lane said he would step down as chairman of HP’s board following HP’s ill-fated Autonomy acquisition.

News Corp. Threatens to Yank Fox Broadcast Networks Over Aereo – News Corp. is threatening to take drastic measures if streaming startup Aereo is allowed to continue operating. How drastic? News Corp. president and COO Chase Carey said today that he would consider yanking Fox broadcast networks from the airwaves and switching them to a paid model.

T-Mobile Customers: Switch to Virgin Mobile, Earn $100 – In an effort to steal customers away from T-Mobile, Virgin is running a new campaign that offers a $100 credit and hundreds in savings.

Webopedia Daily:

Database management system – A collection of programs that enables you to store, modify, and extract information from a database. There are many different types of DBMSs, ranging from small systems that run on personal computers to huge systems that run on mainframes. From a technical standpoint, DBMSs can differ widely. The terms relational, network, flat, and hierarchical all refer to the way a DBMS organizes information internally. The internal organization can affect how quickly and flexibly you can extract information.

Games and Entertainment:

8 Ball Pool for iOS lets you rule the pool halls – If you’re antsy to play some billiards, 8 Ball Pool is a fun iOS app that lets you cue up and take on your friends or random opponents online — jukebox music and cheap beer not included.

Want to learn Java? Play this game – Computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego, have developed an immersive, first-person player video game designed to teach students in elementary and high schools how to program in Java.

From Xbox to Ouya: What Gamers Can Look Forward To In 2013 – Rumors about the next-generation game consoles from Microsoft and Sony are in full force. But new controllers, peripherals, and other gaming devices from other firms are also being prepared for launch, making 2013 an exciting time to be interested in gaming.

Marvel Tries Again With Free Downloads of 700 First Issues – Second time’s the charm? After its first attempt to give away free digital copies of first-edition issues went awry, Marvel is trying again.

‘Black Rock Shooter: The Game’ Headed to PSN April 23 – Black Rock Shooter: The Game, based on the uber-popular Japanese franchise Black Rock Shooter, will be making its way to North America on April 23.

Take a Seat to Get in the Game – The Comfort Research Zeus Hero Gaming Chair combines a comfortable design with built-in 2.1 sound, making it a fun addition to your video game arsenal.

Off Topic (sort of):

15 Productivity Tips From Experts – Four executives and developers who make productivity apps share their insights on what makes for better organization and efficiency.

Venn Diagram of Irrational Nonsense: chart of woo – Sometimes, when confronted with woo, it is hard to know exactly what sort of woo you’re dealing with. To simplify this challenge while sparing you the agony of enduring any more explanations of ear-candling or aromatherapy than is strictly necessary, Crispian Jago has compiled a handy Venn Diagram of Irrational Nonsense.

Hacking The User Security Awareness And Training Debate – Bruce Schneier says training end users on security is a waste of time. But security awareness experts argue there’s a whole new generation and approach emerging that better schools users on security behaviors.

Worldwide Domain Names Top 252 Million – More than six million names were added to the Internet in the fourth quarter of 2012, bringing the total number worldwide to a whopping 252 million-plus top-level domains (TLDs).

Today’s Quote:

I catnap now and then, but I think while I nap, so it’s not a waste of time.”

–     Martha Stewart

Today’s Free Downloads:

Classic Shell 3.6.6 – Classic Shell is a collection of features that were available in older versions of Windows but are removed from Vista and Windows 7.

CintaNotes 2.1.1 – A free, lightweight and user-friendly personal notes manager. CintaNotes is your essential assistant in the daily task of organizing information, such as your own thoughts and ideas, article excerpts, blog postings, quotes from famous people, research data, curious facts, Wikipedia entries, you name it.

CrystalDiskInfo 5.5.1 – CrystalDiskInfo is a HDD health monitoring utility. It displays basic HDD information, monitors S.M.A.R.T. values and disk temperature.

4 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

4 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 9, 2013

  1. Classic Shell 3.6.6 which is listed in todays free downloads, is also an excellent choice for those that are using Windows 8 and would like their old Start Menu back.
    The video I made some time back on an earlier version points out how well it integrates and runs on Windows 8 : http://youtu.be/6wqVMPnL1Lc
    Unlike it’s competition, Classic Shell is totally free.

  2. delenn13

    Hi Bill and Bob,

    Ditto on the Classic Shell. We both use it here because of the “Start Menu” and Explorer. However, I don’t use IE so I can’t comment on how that part works.