Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 8, 2013

How to Stay Anonymous Online – Worried about sites tracking your activities online and selling that information to advertisers? Check out how you to use your browser and VPN utilities to browse the Web anonymously. It can be done!

Passwords: You’re doing it wrong. Here’s how to make them uncrackable – What’s the fix? It’s easier than you might think. For starters, head to Intel’s Password Grader to see just how easily cracked your current password is. (The site promises not to retain any information, though still recommends that you not use your actual password—so maybe just use somethings similar.)

Backroom Secrets of the Security Tech Support Experts Revealed – Ever wonder what kind of tools that helpful tech support team on the other end of the phone is using to help fix your computer when your security suite isn’t enough? Check out the plethora of cleanup utilities, anti-rootkit tools, and scanning software the experts use when they bring out the big guns.

Updated: The Best Free Antivirus for 2013 – Now that you’ve got an antivirus working to protect your PC (and the rest of us), you can take the time to consider what’s the best free solution for your situation. That’s the nice thing about free antivirus; you’re not locked in by your choice. You won’t be wasting 40 or 50 dollars if you decide to switch. Which is best for you can depend on your situation.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Senators propose law to go after foreign cybercriminals – After a slew of U.S. companies’ Web sites were hacked, a group of bi-partisan senators is looking at getting a new law passed that combats cyber-theft by foreign governments and hackers.

LibreOffice 4–Serious Open Source Office Suite – Libre Office 4 is the only serious choice for a no-cost open-source desktop- or laptop-based office suite. Its interface may be a bit clunky and outdated, but it’s undeniably powerful and full-featured.

Five small footprint productivity tools that pack a powerful punch – From nearly every corner of the business workspace, you can enjoy the small footprint; even within the realm of productivity. No matter the need, there’s probably a tiny tool waiting for you to try out.

Syria disappears off the face of the internet – It’s bad news, of course, for those wanting to see what is happening in the country – and for those inside Syria who wish to communicate with the outside world. To be flippant for a second, this outage might at least shed some light as to whether the Syrian Electronic Army (who have been causing quite a nuisance by hacking media organisations lately) are really based in Syria, or not as some tend to suspect…

Copy – Copy is the easiest way to store, protect and share amazing things. It keeps your computers in sync and your files available from anywhere, even on your mobile devices. With Copy, you can also easily share files with anyone publicly or privately. To celebrate Copy’s launch, earn 5 GB of extra free storage for yourself and whoever you refer each time you introduce someone new to Copy. (suggested by a reader)

Infographic: Awesome data centers – This infographic from offers some statistics on the world’s largest data centers.

Get a handy (code-friendly) text editor for your Android tablet – Find out why Jack Wallen thinks that DroidEdit is a great tool for any developer or admin who needs to troubleshoot code on the go.


Malwarebytes backup service prevents malware uploads – Malwarebytes Secure Backup, released today, is an online backup service that automatically scans files for malware prior to backup, removing the threat of saving or sharing infected files. In addition to protecting files on their PCs, users can also securely back up files on their mobile devices through Malwarebytes Secure Backup for Android and iOS.

Beware of fake AV and ransomware combo – The software – dubbed “Secure Bit” – first tries to convince the victims that the “security level” of their computer is low and instructs them to call for support so that the “threats” it has “found” can be removed. The claim is accompanied with a pop-ups that lists a great number of them. But if the victims don’t do as they are told after a period of time, the fake AV turns nasty (well, nastier), and locks the computer screen. The victims can’t do anything on their machine, and they are again told to contact the given phone number in order to regain control of it

Symantec Rules, Microsoft Improves, in Dynamic AV Tests – Symantec dominated the latest real-world antivirus tests from Dennis Labs, with Norton Internet Security scoring almost-perfect results. Microsoft was still far behind with its Microsoft Security Essentials, but still improved on its disastrous performance in the previous tests.

Attackers breach and encrypt TV station’s email server – The email server of FOX21 News has been hacked over the weekend and the information it contained held ransom. The attackers were asking for $5,000 to decrypt the information they encrypted, but the station’s engineers were fortunately able to restore the email system by Monday.

Symantec Rules, Microsoft Improves, in Dynamic AV Tests – Symantec dominated the latest real-world antivirus tests from Dennis Labs, with Norton Internet Security scoring almost-perfect results. Microsoft was still far behind with its Microsoft Security Essentials, but still improved on its disastrous performance in the previous tests.

U.S. media sites compromised, lead to malware – At least five U.S. media sites and a number of other popular ones have been compromised and are redirecting visitors to malicious URLs, Zscaler warns. The sites have been injected with obfuscated JavaScript that contains an iFrame that redirects users to one of several sites serving the ZeroAccess Trojan and fake AVs.

5 Ways For SMBs To Boost Security But Not Costs – From taking stock of outdated systems and weak passwords to performing due diligence on third-party providers, companies can improve their security without impacting the bottom line. SMB security experts offer five ways to do better without costing more.

Got Malware? Three Signs Revealed In DNS Traffic – Companies focus much of their energy on hardening computer systems against threats and stopping attempts to breach their systems’ security — and rightfully so. However, companies should always assume that the attackers have already successfully compromised systems and look for the telltale signs of such a breach.

Company News:

Microsoft confirms public preview of Windows Blue in late June – Microsoft Windows engineering chief Julie Larson-Green says a public preview of Windows Blue will be out for all Windows 8 users at the end of June.

Seagate unveils complete SSD product line – Seagate took the wraps off its first client SSD and its next-generation enterprise SSDs. Featuring the Seagate 600 SSD, Seagate 600 Pro SSD, and the Seagate 1200 SSD, the new line of drives are engineered to deliver ultra-fast speed and high data integrity.

Asus readies small, sub-$300 Windows slates for release – Would you pay an extra $50 for a pint-sized tablet if it ran Windows 8 instead of Android? Asus thinks you might. The Taiwan-based electronics maker plans to release a smaller Windows 8 tablet later this year, Asus CEO Jerry Shen recently told The Wall Street Journal. Shen also expects the new Windows 8 tablets to hit prices below $300 to better compete with cheaper Android-based tablets such as the Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

ManageEngine Previews OpManager Major Upgrade for Large Enterprises and Service Providers at Interop 2013 – ManageEngine, the real-time IT management company, today announced the preview of the upcoming major upgrade of OpManager, its data center and network monitoring software. The next version of OpManager will feature 360-degree root cause analysis, enterprise-class scalability and a real-time user interface to help large enterprises and service providers ease their private cloud management.

Berlin court: Apple’s privacy policy violates German data protection law – Apple violates German data protection law by asking for users’ broad, overall consent in its privacy policy, the Regional Court of Berlin ruled. Apple’s terms for sharing personal information with the company are too broadly formulated, the court ruled on April 30, according to a verdict published by the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZBV) on Tuesday.

Nest Labs Buys MyEnergy for Better Energy Consumption Tracking – Nest Labs, maker of the Nest learning thermostat, on Tuesday announced it has acquired Boston-based MyEnergy to help customers better understand their energy usage.

Webopedia Daily:

Protocol – An agreed-upon format for transmitting data between two devices. The protocol determines the following: the type of error checking to be used; data compression method, if any; how the sending device will indicate that it has finished sending a message; how the receiving device will indicate that it has received a message. There are a variety of standard protocols from which programmers can choose. Each has particular advantages and disadvantages; for example, some are simpler than others, some are more reliable, and some are faster. From a user’s point of view, the only interesting aspect about protocols is that your computer or device must support the right ones if you want to communicate with other computers. The protocol can be implemented either in hardware or in software.

Games and Entertainment:

Tested! Three graphics cards you can actually afford – Three different cards, at three slightly different price points. Which one is best? To find out, we staged a battle royale of budget graphic cards, since the benchmarks never lie. First let’s look at the contenders, and then we’ll turn to the test results.

Monaco:What’s Yours is Mine – Stealth/caper/heist game Monaco is a PC gaming co-op experience not to be missed—meticulously designed, artistically unique, and delightfully entertaining (gameplay video included in the review). Easy to jump in stealth action with challenging and rewarding stages. Incredibly fun with friends. Old-school heist movie charm. Great play between audio and visuals. Eight entertaining characters.

‘Wolfenstein: The New Order’ Set for Late 2013 Release – The first-person shooter that started it all is back — Wolfenstein: The New Order will hit the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC at the end of the year, Bethesda Softworks announced today.

Sync ‘Angry Birds’ Progress Across Devices With Rovio Accounts – Ever start playing Angry Birds on your phone, but later wish you could pick up where you left off from your tablet? Now you can.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The pixel is all but dead—no thanks to the PC – Bigger is better, unless you’re talking pixels. But before long, we’ll never talk about pixels again. The jagged edges of yesteryear are bleeding away. On-screen images are looking more and more like continuous-tone photographs. The pixel as we know it is all but dead.

Caesars Palace deals Google Glass out of its game – A year before Google’s futuristic-looking, computerized eyeglasses are expected to hit the market, they have been banned—again. A Caesars Palace casino spokesman today told Computerworld that people wearing the Google Glass technology won’t be allowed in the casino.

C. G. P. Grey Looks at Countries Inside Countries & Other Bizarre Borders – In Part 1 of his video series on bizarre borders, C. G. P. Grey looks at countries that are completely surrounded by another country (like Vatican City), and countries that have only one neighbor (like Portugal). (suggested by Michael F.)

FTC sends warning letters to 10 data brokers – More than 20 percent of data brokers checked by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission allegedly violated a U.S. privacy law when sharing personal data with agency workers posing as companies wanting to purchase information. This week, the FTC warned 10 data brokers, most with a significant online presence, that they may be violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Today’s Quote:

The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.”

–      James Branch Cabell

Today’s Free Downloads:

Dr. Web CureIT – Dr.WEB CureIt! is an antivirus and anti-spyware scanning tool that is developed on the Dr.WEB engine which will help you quickly scan and cure, if necessary, a computer without installation of the Dr.WEB Anti-virus.

Norman Malware Cleaner – Norman Malware Cleaner is a Norman program utility that may be used to detect and remove specific malicious software (malware). It should not be used as a substitute for running normal antivirus protection, but rather as a reactive tool to handle systems that are already infected.

RKill – RKill is a program that was developed at that attempts to terminate known malware processes so that your normal security software can then run and clean your computer of infections.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 8, 2013

  1. SlimCleaner’s latest version is working on Windows 8. I downloaded it directly from their website:
    Direct download:
    Their reply to my report of an issue with Windows 8 was extremely fast.
    That’s always a good sign in my eyes. 🙂

    • Hi Bob,

      Not surprised to hear they looked after you well. They’re a good bunch of people (been working with them for a few years) located in Mississippi. Incidentally, they have a bunch of apps that are worth investigating.