Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 23, 2013

Companies obscuring breach risks with assurances of secured financial data – “No financial information was accessed.” Another hack, another vendor placating victims with this simple phrase that ignores the fact that hackers are actually stealing the data they want — password hashes and email addresses. The benefits of matching user accounts with re-used passwords can be a long-term fountain of gain as attacks take on many layers and play out over a number of years.

Microsoft to bring the Start button to Win 8, reports say – Microsoft appears ready to concede what virtually every critic, user, and analyst knows about Windows 8: the new OS needs the Start button back, badly. Heeding user feedback, Microsoft will bring back the iconic Start button later in 2013 with the release of Windows Blue, also known as Windows 8.1, The Verge reported Monday. The Verge’s claim adds to similar reports about the return of the Start button from ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley and Windows watcher Paul Thurrott, all of whom cite anonymous sources inside or close to the company.

Home networking explained, part 6: Keep your network secure – If you were concerned after reading CNET’s recent report that most home routers can be easily hacked, I don’t blame you. The study did sound ominous, but the good news is that your network is likely far less susceptible than the report suggests. And more importantly, there are things you can do to make sure it’s secure. This post is part of an ongoing series. For the other parts, check out the related stories section.

One antivirus program is better than two – Running two antivirus programs simultaneously is a bit like mixing a fine, vintage Cabernet with breakfast cereal. Each is good on its own right, but the combination may have unpleasant effects. Before I explain why, let’s get some definitions out of the way.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

F-Secure, McAfee, Symantec Apps Ace Mobile Antivirus Test – F-Secure, McAfee, Symantec, and Trend Micro received 6.0 points for protection, the highest rating, because they literally detected 100 percent. The other seven products didn’t quite detect everything, but did well enough that their scores rounded to 100 percent.

12 ways Windows 8 dominates the competition – Don’t let all the Live Tile bashing fool you. Windows 8 is better than OS X, Linux and Chrome OS in a dozen crucial ways.

The dangers of CISPA – Even though it is expected that the Senate will reject the bill, privacy-minded individuals, organizations and hacker groups continue to raise awareness about the consequences the passing of such a bill would have for Internet users both in the U.S. and the rest of the world. But there is one smaller detail that should also raise the ire of users, and that’s that the last-minute amendment to the bill that would prohibit employers from legally asking their employees to share their social media passwords has been shot down and removed from the final version of the bill.

Wall Street tries to kybosh social networking privacy – Financial securities regulators are leading the charge against initiatives to prevent companies keeping tabs on employees’ social media accounts, stressing that the potential for abuse takes urgency over worker privacy. (Irony: spoken to by an economic sector that knows all about abuse.)

Coming soon to Linux: A lightweight KDE alternative – Choice has always been a hallmark of the desktop Linux world, where users can select not just the distribution they prefer but also the desktop environment, among virtually countless other features. The project, currently codenamed “KLyDE,” for “K Lightweight Desktop Environment,” aims to create a lightweight version of the popular KDE desktop.

Video: AllWinner (ARM) A10 boots Linux in just 1.2 seconds – A developer by the name of “threewater” has posted a video showcasing a device powered by the ARM-based AllWinner A10 booting Linux in just 1.2 seconds. As CNX Software notes, the actual boot is 0.85s, weighing in at 1.2 seconds with a Qt app.

Three quick ways to ease your transition to Windows 8 – For anyone brand new to Windows 8, anyone who’s already familiar with an earlier version of Windows, that tile-based interface can be startling, confusing, and ultimately very frustrating. Can you learn it? Sure. Should you have to? No. With a few simple steps, you can make your new Windows 8 PC much more familiar, both in look and operation.

Security:

XKCD cartoon reminds users to log out for better security – It’s disturbing just how many people seem to leave their computers permanently logged in to online services. Yes, an admin password can prevent a passer-by from installing a keylogger on your computer without your knowledge, but just what have you left your computer logged into from its desktop browser? Sometimes an XKCD cartoon can tell it better than words.

ACLU Asks FTC to Investigate Carriers’ Lack of Android Security Updates – The next shoe has fallen in an effort to force wireless carriers and handset makers to provide regular security updates to Android mobile devices. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint this week with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission accusing four leading carriers of deceptive business practices and knowingly selling defective phones to consumers and businesses.

108,000+ account details of Sims players leaked – NewSeaSims, a website where Sims players can download custom content for their characters, has suffered a breach which resulted in the compromise of registered users’ email addresses, username and passwords, Cyber War News reports. To make matters worse, a list containing the aforementioned details of some 108,000+ users has been leaked online by the hacker known as “Game Over,” who seems to be the person behind the hack which was executed some time last week.

New Malware Targeting the Dutch Through Twitter – Once a user stumbles upon a malicious page, the page injects Javascript (below) into the victim’s Twitter account page, which in turn swipes the user’s Twitter authentication token. With the token, the malware can contact Twitter’s API and post whatever it sees fit – or in this case – a boatload of Dutch spam.

Twitter plays cat-and-mouse with hackers of the Syrian Electronic Army – Twitter’s security team appears to be playing whack-a-mole with a group of hackers who have made a name for themselves hijacking the accounts of high profile media organisations.

Verizon data breach report: State-sponsored attacks surge – Espionage campaigns seek data that furthers national interests, such as military or classified information, economy-boosting plans, insider information or trade secrets, and technical resources such as source code.

World’s largest bitcoin exchange under DDoS attack – Mt.Gox, the world’s largest bitcoin exchange, has been downed earlier today by what appears to be a “strong DDoS attack”. The company has already employed Prolexic in order to minimize the impact of the DDoS attacks to which it is subjected.

Company News:

Microsoft Tackles Privacy With New Site, Commercial – While not offering specific illustrations of privacy holes in our daily online lives, the commercial is nevertheless effective in outlining the dicey new world of inadvertently sharing one’s activities and personal information online, without taking a direct shot at any one company, as it has in the past. Accompanying the commercial is a message from company stating: “The lines between public and private may never be perfect, but at Microsoft we are going to keep on trying, because your privacy is our priority.”

Reddit ‘Wrong’ on Marathon Bomber Crowd Sourcing – Reddit on Monday addressed the controversy surrounding the Internet sleuths who crowd sourced the search for the Boston Marathon bombers, admitting that the effort got out of hand.

Unity invites BlackBerry 10 game design with open beta – Unity’s tools can be used to create games simultaneously for a number of different platforms, including smartphones, PCs and game consoles. The open beta version of Unity’s Blackberry add-on will become available later this Spring, the company said in a blog post.

Report: Facebook Planning World’s ‘Most Advanced’ Data Center in Iowa – The Des Moines Register, citing two unnamed lawmakers familiar with the project, reported over the weekend that city leaders have already approved a 1.4 million-square-foot facility, which is expected to be completed in two $500 million phases. All told, however, the experts predicted the facility will cost Facebook $1.5 billion.

First Firefox OS phones arrive Tuesday for developers – Geeksphone begins selling two phones, the Keon and Peak, starting Tuesday. These lower-budget models are geared for programmers building Web apps for Mozilla’s open-source OS.

Reuters fires social media editor after Anonymous hacking probe – Matthew Keys says he was told his termination was related to his tweet activity during the Boston Marathon bomber manhunt, but that his federal indictment was not mentioned.

Lenovo tipped to buy IBM X86 business – Just as Lenovo started climbing the ladder to become a top PC seller when it picked up IBM’s PC business, it is now rumoured to be in early discussion about buying Big Blue’s x86 server business.

Webopedia Daily:

Curated commerce – In electronic commerce (ecommerce) terminology, curated commerce refers to creating unique product lines that provide customers with a distinct collection not offered by other online retailers in a market. The demand for personalization in online shopping is a driving factor behind curated commerce. Retailers often use marketing tactics such as email marketing to show a selection of curated products to customers based on personal taste and purchase history with the retailer.

Games and Entertainment:

Dead Island: Riptide: Rinse and repeat – Dead Island: Riptide probably should have been downloadable content. Even at its attractive price point ($50 on consoles, $40 on PC), there’s not much evolution from the original’s debut in 2011. After a less than engaging opening scene, you’re washed onto the shore of yet another tropical island. From there, it’s like you’re playing a bizarro carbon-copy of the first Dead Island game, replete with the same gory action that addicted gamers two years ago — but also with the same forehead-slapping bugs and inconsistencies.

Netflix doubling down on exclusive content – “If it’s not exclusive and on cable and other services, it’s pleasant to watch but it’s not reinforcing customers to stay with Netflix,” says CEO Reed Hastings.

BitTorrent partners with Cinedigm for first film promotion – BitTorrent’s evolution into a legitimate content-publishing platform continues, as the company once linked with movie piracy partners with indie film distributor Cinedigm to promote the new release “Arthur Newman.” Cinedigm is using BitTorrent to release the first seven minutes of the movie starring Emily Blunt and Colin Firth, which hits theaters April 26. The studio is also offering film stills and a trailer on the file-sharing protocol.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Dumped! by Google – One recent Thursday morning, I logged into my email and made an alarming discovery. Instead of opening my inbox, Google directed me to a notice: Account has been disabled . . . . In most cases, accounts are disabled if we believe you have violated either the Google Terms of Service, product-specific Terms of Service . . . . or product-specific policies . . . . it might be possible to regain access to your account.  The vagaries left me reeling. I read the terms and policies, but they offered few clues. Suggested by Michael F.)

Before the Web: the Internet in 1991 – Many of you know that the Web will turn 20 this year. I certainly do since, back in the day, I was the first person to write about this new thing called the WEB that would change everything about the Internet.

Happy birthday, Mosaic: 20 years of the graphical web browser – We take the web for granted today. But 20 years ago, the “WEB” was a mystery that only techie geeks knew about. Then along came the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Mosaic, the first popular graphical web browser, and everything changed.

Voice delivered by LED signals to enable underwater conversation – A Japanese company has developed a device enabling divers to “talk” underwater by converting their voices into blinking signals for transmission and back again, allowing them to hear each other.

Coolest Earth Day ride: The Sora electric superbike – Recently certified by the Canadian government, this slick ride can do 0 to 60 mph in four seconds and cruise around for 185 miles.

3D Printing Conference Hits the Big Apple – Organizers bill it as “the first business to business conference and expo to delve into the present and future impact of 3D printing.” It features talks and tutorials by key people in the field, and the latest 3D printers and related products will be demonstrated by exhibitors.

Today’s Quote:

“Wine can be a better teacher than ink, and banter is often better than books”

–    Stephen Fry, The Fry Chronicles

Today’s Free Downloads:

FotoMorph – An easy way to create professional morphing animations and Flash Rotation Banners. Using FotoMorph you can do everything a professional animator does to create photo animations.

MediaHuman Audio Converter – MediaHuman Audio Converter is a freeware application that helps you convert your music absolutely free in WMA, MP3, AAC, WAV, FLAC, OGG, AIFF or Apple Loseless format.

TaskUnifier – TaskUnifier is a task management software based on the well-known GTD (getting things done) methodology. It will help you manage your tasks and therefore your time. TaskUnifier is free and open source.

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10 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

10 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – April 23, 2013

  1. Laurence

    Good morning Bill, my gosh aren’t you an early bird?
    Start button to Windows 8 yay.

    Thank you Bill.

  2. Microsoft appears ready to concede. Windows 8: the new OS needs the Start button back, badly.
    The ironic part is that many of us have known this for a very long time.
    I’ve been using Classic Start Menu ( http://www.classicshell.net/ ) since the early beta days of Windows 8.
    I think it’s about time that the Doctor (Microsoft) listens to it’s patients so that both the Doctor and the Patient can get on with their lives and actually reap the benefits that Windows 8 has to offer.

    • Hi Bob,

      I remember vividly the first time I booted into Win 8. Despite the fact that I knew how the GUI would present, I was still shocked. MS ran into a brick wall of consumer resistance on this that will be used as a case study in “messing with the customer”, for years.

      Looks good on them. 🙂

      Best,

      Bill

  3. Dave B.

    RE: Microsoft to bring the Start button to Win 8; Unless they return the start menu in full this will be a pointless change and will not affect the lack of acceptance of Windows 8. Nothing short of the full start menu will get corporations to even consider switching, or me for that matter. I don’t want a tablet/ touch interface on my computers.