Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 9, 2013

Three essential security add-ons for Firefox, Chrome, and IE – The free extensions for Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer thwart trackers, block ads (in Firefox and Chrome), and rate the safety of links before you click them: Ghostery, Adblock Plus, and Web of Trust, respectively.

Senators seek sanctions against countries supporting cyberattacks – Two U.S. senators will push Congress or President Barack Obama’s administration to pursue trade and immigration sanctions against China and other countries that allegedly support cyberattacks on U.S. government agencies and businesses, the lawmakers said Wednesday. (It is to laugh – representing a government which electronically invades more countries than any other; a government which consistently wipes it’s feet on its own Fourth Amendment, these two morons attempt to take the moral high ground. Hypocrisy in neon lights.)

FBI says it doesn’t need a warrant to snoop on private email, social network messages – An FBI guidance manual says the law enforcement agency is able to access U.S. residents’ email, Facebook and Twitter messages, and private documents, without breaching the Fourth Amendment.

Malware’s Worst Nightmare – Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ 10.5 cleaned up malware-infested test PCs with hardly a hitch, and turned in the best malware-blocking score among recent programs we’ve tested. It joins AVG as Editors’ Choice for free antivirus. Smooth, easy installation. Good results in our malware cleanup test, great results in malware blocking test. Correctly refrained from blocking valid programs as “suspicious.” Free! (Nice comeback after years in the dumpster.)

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Where Google Search Is Going – With new interfaces, smarter technology and deeper access to information about its users, Google is about to go places no search engine has ever gone.

Wappwolf – Available for Dropbox, Google Drive and Box, Wappwolf offers on-the-fly file conversion, as well as automatically moving the files to other folders, email notifications, tweets, FTP uploading and more. And once you’ve set the rule, everything gets done behind the scenes.

Get Fit With These 15 Great Apps – Losing weight. Beating your record time. Tracking what you eat. Just plain moving around more. These fitness apps can help.

Five tools to help sync more than one cloud storage service – There are plenty of available tools to help you easily manage those cloud storage services. Jack Wallen lists his favorites.

Quick Tip: Mount ISO files with Virtual CloneDrive – Virtual CloneDrive makes using ISO files in Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7, just as easy as it is in Windows 8.

The complete guide to using Android with a Mac – For some reason it’s a common belief that Android devices and Macs just don’t get along. But there are methods, apps, and services that let you use your Android device with your Mac.

Apple beats Android in the DoD, but Blackberry still rules – I recently contacted the DoD, which confirmed that the department has a total of 8,700 Android phones in test and deployment. When you find out that the Pentagon also has a whopping 41,000 iPhones in trial, you can’t help but get the sense that Android really isn’t that much of a big deal for the government. Then we get to Blackberry and suddenly both Apple and Samsung seem insignificant. Indeed, Blackberry boasts a total 470,000 products in deployment and test. This clearly suggests the DoD prefers this platform at a shocking 10x rate over the iPhone.

Mozilla’s Firefox OS will also appear on high-end phones – The upcoming Firefox OS will appear on higher-end smartphones, and not just entry-level handsets, with Sony expected to release a premium device running the operating system, a Mozilla executive said.

California may outlaw 3-D printed guns – Proposed legislation in California aims to ban guns made using 3-D printing, after an organization Defense Distributed fired a handgun made with the technology, and said it would distribute its drawings online. California state Senator Leland Yee on Tuesday announced his plan to introduce legislation to prohibit the use of the technology used “to create such untraceable and anonymously-produced guns.”

Internet Restored in Syria, Government Blames Severed Cable – Internet access in Syria has returned, according to those monitoring Web traffic in the region, as well as Syrian media reports.

Spotify closes hole that allowed free music downloads – A Chrome extension called Downloadify appeared in the Chrome Web Store this week that took advantage of a hole in Spotify’s web player. With the extension installed, songs played through the web player could be downloaded free, without any digital-rights protection.

The weirdest, most wonderful Windows 8 ads ever – Some ads that are just quite beautiful emerge for Microsoft’s latest operating system.

Security:

Microsoft releases fix-it for Internet Explorer 8 vulnerability – Microsoft has released a temporary fix for a zero-day vulnerability in Internet Explorer 8, which was used by hackers in a prominent attack against the U.S. Department of Labor’s website. The problem is particularly dangerous since it can allow an attacker to install malware merely by visiting a tampered webpage. Microsoft is still working on a patch, wrote Dustin Childs, group manager for the company’s Trustworthy Computing division.

Name.com suffers breach, credit card data accessed, encryption in place (phew!) – Domain registrar and web hosting company Name.com, part of the Demand Media group, has suffered a data breach. Crooks have apparently made off with data up to and including credit card numbers…but it sounds as though everything was encrypted, which is a silver lining.

Phishers target eBay customers via live chat support – U.K.-based ISP Netcraft is warning users about phishers impersonating eBay’s live chat support feature in the hopes of getting their hands on eBay users’ login, personal and financial information. In this particular case, the phishers were using a third-party live chat service provided by Volusion, and the fraudulent chat window was, at first, showing the eBay logo.

Lack of Chip and PIN technology leaves US shoppers and diners at risk from hackers – I’ve been ploughing through Trustwave’s annual security report. Amongst the usual stats on prevalent malware families and spam rates are some juicy morsels from their research into companies which have actually been breached and robbed of their data. Figures show that the bulk of companies they have been called in by are in the retail (45%) and food and drink (24%) industries, with ‘hospitality’ a distant third (9%). Here’s the breakdown from the report.

Backdoor targeting Apache servers spreads to nginx, Lighttpd – Last week’s revelation of the existence of Linux/Cdorked.A, a highly advanced and stealthy Apache backdoor used to drive traffic from legitimate compromised sites to malicious websites carrying Blackhole exploit packs, was only the beginning – Eset’s continuing investigation has now revealed that the backdoor also infects sites running the nginx and Lighttpd webservers. The AV company’s researchers have, so far, detected more than 400 webservers infected with the backdoor, and 50 of them are among the world’s most popular and visited websites.

Anonymous’ OpUSA is under way – Anonymous’ “Operation USA” began yesterday and among its first confirmed victims is the Honolulu Police Department. Softpedia reports that some Anonymous hackers have abstained from attacking and say that OpUSA has been started by Muslim extremists.

Company News:

Eurocrats gang up on US firm – It is starting to look like Google’s tax avoidance days might be coming to a close after France and Germany have joined the UK in demanding that the search engine start paying its share. Politicians in Germany and France have pledged to press for Google to be quizzed on corporate income tax after realising that the company’s line that it sells its products from low-tax Ireland might not be true.

HTC First Price Drops From $99 to 99 Cents – The carrier dropped the phone’s price from $99 to $0.99 with a two-year contract less than a month after it debuted — a real bargain for anyone looking to test out the first phone to come with Facebook Home pre-installed. HTC and AT&T denied that the price cut had anything to do with lackluster sales or tepid response to Facebook Home, arguing that the move was simply a promotional effort.

Consumer service lawsuit looms for Google in Germany – A lawsuit against Google’s customer service practices in Germany is looming after the company declined to sign a document promising German consumer organizations to start answering customer emails individually.

Google’s Privacy Rap Sheet – Compare Google’s privacy record over the last decade here with Google’s public representations below to determine for yourself if they match up.

Time Warner Cable Boosts On-Demand Access on Android – Time Warner Cable on Wednesday announced plans to roll out a major update to its TWC TV app for Android next week.

Google Wallet chief Osama Bedier leaves company – Bedier left eBay’s PayPal in 2011 to take over the mobile payments initiative — a move that lead to allegations of trade-secret theft.

Webopedia Daily:

Wearable technology – Wearable technology (also called wearable gadgets) is a category of technology devices that can be worn by a consumer and often include tracking information related to health and fitness. Other wearable tech gadgets include devices that have small motion sensors to take photos and sync with your mobile devices. Examples of wearable tech include: CommBadge: a wearable Bluetooth personal communicator for iPhone and Android. Google Goggles: a downloadable image recognition application created by Google, used for searches based on images taken by handheld devices.

Games and Entertainment:

Monaco is a fun, frantic game about pulling off the perfect heist – Grab a drink. Cue the Ocean’s 11 theme. Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine is a game about pulling off the perfect heist by sneaking, stealing, failing to sneak and making great escapes across a variety of beautiful time-trial levels laid out like casino blueprints.

World of Warcraft Loses 1.3 Million Subscribers in Q1 – Activision Blizzard’s long-running cash cow has been in a gradual decline for some time but a huge user exodus could mark the beginning of the end for the groundbreaking MMORPG.

Valve’s next trick: Dynamically changing gameplay, depending on your sweatiness – The gaming industry is looking for a new method of immersion, and so far nothing has taken hold. Now, Valve is looking into tracking your sweat with the goal of enhancing your overall gaming experience. Though we can see where Valve’s input ideas are headed,

20 New Grand Theft Auto V Screens Tease Massive Environments, Rowdy Protagonists – Rockstar’s latest batch of Grand Theft Auto V screens highlight vast playgrounds and rambunctious protagonists Franklin, Michael and Trevor.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The Kwikset Kevo lock opens at your touch – Those fancy entry locks with the touch-sensitive numeric keypads are so 2012. Kwikset’s new Kevo deadbolt quizzes your iPhone to verify that you’re authorized to enter, and then unlocks when you physically touch it.

Relive Earth’s wild history of meteor strikes – In the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a meteor! This nifty graph lets you explore confirmed meteor strikes on Earth.

Amanda Berry is dead, psychic tells her mother on Montel Williams’ show (republished) – Desperate for any clue as to Amanda Berry’s whereabouts, and tired of unanswered questions from authorities, Miller turned to a psychic on Montel Williams’ nationally syndicated television show. The psychic said what the FBI, police and Miller hadn’t. “She’s not alive, honey,” Sylvia Browne told her matter-of-factly. “Your daughter’s not the kind who wouldn’t call.” (suggested by Michael F.)

The future of cars is autopilot, not self-driving, according to Elon Musk – Much ado has been made recently about Google’s focus on developing consumer-friendly self-driving cars in the next five years. Now, Elon Musk has confirmed that he is interested in the potential of bringing this same kind of technology to the electric cars made by Tesla Motors. The race is on to see who can bring self-driving cars to market first.

Beer drone? Festival goers may see booze fall from the sky – Called the OppiKoppi beer drone, the device is an 8-propeller helicopter that can be loaded with beer and flown over the festival, arriving at the GPS location of any person who orders a cold brew from a mobile app. Once the drone arrives at its location, it drops its cargo and a single beer attached to a parachute will make its way down to a designated campsite called District 9.

The Five Senses in Space: Taste (video :40) – In space, fluid distribution to the head can cause congestion, dulling the sense of taste. CSA Astronaut Chris Hadfield shows us his favourite food that has a little extra kick to stir the taste buds. (suggested by Michael F.)

Fiery annular solar eclipse to be broadcast live on Internet – Most of Earth’s inhabitants won’t be able to directly watch the moon pass in front of the sun on Thursday — leaving only a golden ring around its edges — but anyone can catch the action online.

Today’s Quote:

Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.”

–       Ernest Hemingway

Today’s Free Downloads:

Ad-Aware Free Antivirus – Leaner, meaner, faster. Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ combines our legendary Anti-spyware with a super fast, free Antivirus. It now features download protection (blocks malicious files before being written to disk), sandboxing (keeps unknown apps running in a virtual environment) and advanced detection – it’s our most powerful free antivirus yet.

Surf Anonymous Free 2.2.9.6 – Surf Anonymous Free is the most advanced and reliable software for Internet users who want to ensure that their sessions and all online activities are secure and private.

Vuze 5.0.0.0 – Azureus, now called Vuze, implements the BitTorrent protocol using java language and comes bundled with many invaluable features for both beginners and advanced users.

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2 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 9, 2013

  1. delenn13

    Hey Bill,
    What a bunch of hypocrites.. It’s fine if THEY ARE DOING THE SPYING/STEALING.

    Not for free but almost..Less than 2 Dollars if you just pay the average..

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    With simple, one-button controls and unique gameplay mechanics, StarDrone is easy to learn but challenging to master.

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    • Hey Delenn13,

      The U.S. government (and, it’s hardly alone in this), is now bordering on a quasi South American dictatorship. An exaggeration? Maybe – but not by much.

      As always, I appreciate the link.

      Best,

      Bill