Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 21, 2013

IRS wants your medical records – As a result of the warrant, the IRS knows details of patients’ treatment plans and therapies of up to one in 25 Americans, UPI said. If the case proves true, then it means that the US government is using bogus search warrants to collect whatever data it can on its citizens under the cover of rows over guns, gay marriage and umbrellas.

How to dummy-proof the PCs of friends and family – You’re the one who gets the call when something goes wrong. These smart tools and settings will help you help them with less hassle.

Think your Skype messages get end-to-end encryption? Think again – If you think the private messages you send over Skype are protected by end-to-end encryption, think again. The Microsoft-owned service regularly scans message contents for signs of fraud, and company managers may log the results indefinitely, Ars has confirmed. And this can only happen if Microsoft can convert the messages into human-readable form at will.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Yahoo overhauls Flickr with one free terabyte for every user – The big news with Flickr was quite literally about size—users of the photo-sharing service will now get one terabyte of storage for free. Flickr’s website also got an overhaul, and there’s a new version of its Android app as well.

Tumblr Users Reportedly Flock to WordPress Over Yahoo Buy – Following news that Yahoo would acquire blogging platform Tumblr, some users have reportedly begun to move over to WordPress.

Two-thirds of BlackBerry converts tempted to return by Q10 – A TechRepublic poll of business professionals run this week during BlackBerry live indicates that the BlackBerry Q10 may win back converts from iPhone and Android.

SoftMaker FreeOffice – FreeOffice is faster than its free competitor LibreOffice but not as powerful overall; on the other hand, it has some Microsoft-Office-like features that LibreOffice can’t match.

How to turn your Galaxy S4 into a universal remote – With the built-in IR blaster, use your Galaxy S4 as a universal remote that controls many components and offers personalized recommendations on what to watch.


Form-grabbing rootkit sold on underground forums – There seemingly no end to the automated tools that aspiring cyber crooks can buy on underground forums. The latest of these discovered by Webroot’s Dancho Danchev is “Private Grabber”, a commercial rootkit that can “grab” any form of communication transmitted over SSL, but is usually mostly aimed at stealing login credentials.

22 million user IDs may be in the hands of hackers, after Yahoo Japan security breach – The call has gone out to Yahoo Japan’s 200 million users to change their passwords, after the company warned that it suspected hackers had managed to access a file containing 22 million user IDs.

Future Firefox takes tougher stance on mixed content – Mozilla might be fine with mixed company, but it’s not fond of mixed content. A new tool to block unsecured content on secure sites makes its debut in the latest update to Firefox Aurora.

Cyber espionage campaign uses professionally-made malware – Trend Micro researchers have discovered a new, massive cyber espionage campaign that has been hitting as many as 71 victims each day, including government ministries, technology companies, academic research institutions, nongovernmental organizations and media outlets.

Chinese hackers resume attacks on U.S. Targets – For the last three months or so, the U.S. government and some of its defense contractors have engaged in a war of shame on China to pressure it to cool its cyber-attacks on U.S. targets. The campaign appeared to be yielding results, but it seems that Chinese hackers were only catching their breath.

U.S. DOD decides iPhones and iPads can connect to its networks – The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) of the U.S. Department of Defense has approved the use of government-issued iOS 6 devices when connecting to its military networks, adding them to the previously approved BlackBerry and Samsung Knox operating systems.

Guantanamo Wi-Fi shuttered after Anonymous hacking threat – In unity with the prison’s inmates, the hacking group pledges to disrupt online activities at Guantanamo — prompting the U.S. military to shut down the base’s Wi-Fi.

Google breach may have led to sensitive data leaks – Chinese hackers were blamed for breaking into Google’s servers in 2010; now, U.S. officials say these cyberattacks may have led to the release of secret government information.

Company News:

Senate report: Apple claims subsidiaries with no taxing jurisdiction – Apple has set up three foreign subsidiaries that the company claims are not resident in any nation for taxing purposes, in an effort to avoid paying tens of billions of dollars in taxes to the U.S. and other countries, according to a new report from a U.S. Senate subcommittee. One of the subsidiaries set up by Apple has paid no corporate income tax to any nation for the past five years, although it reported $30 billion in net income from 2009 to 2012, the report said.

Survey finds widespread global business corruption – A new survey from Ernst & Young provides disturbing insight into business corruption around the world. One of the most concerning results: one in five have actually seen financial manipulation happening in their companies. Board directors and senior managers are hardly oblivious with 42 percent saying they are aware of some type of irregular financial reporting in their company. Not only that, 57 percent of those surveyed believe that corrupt practices are widespread throughout their country.

AT&T to open mobile video chat for all customers – The company says video chat apps will work over its cellular network for all customers by year’s end, regardless of device or data plan.

Indian outsourcer iGate sacks CEO amid sexual harassment claims – CEO Phaneesh Murthy has been fired for not disclosing a relationship with his subordinate. But iGate has not blamed him for sexual harassment, a similar charge he faced at former employer Infosys over a decade ago.

Seagate brings a kind of 4TB hush – Seagate has announced its Video 3.5 HDD, which it boasts is the industry’s first 4TB 3.5 inch HDD with digital video recorders, set top boxes and surveillance systems specifically in mind.

Spot expands lineup with satellite-powered Global Phone – The Spot Global Phone delivers voice and basic data to remote locations for $499.

Webopedia Daily:

Enterprise cloud backup – Enterprise-grade cloud backup solutions typically add essential features such as archiving and disaster recovery to cloud backup solutions. Archiving features help to satisfy an enterprise’s legal requirements for data retention, and as part of a company’s disaster recovery plan, the remote, off-site storage provided by cloud backup helps ensure the data remains safe should the enterprise’s local data be jeopardized by a disaster such as a fire, flood, hacker attack or employee theft.

Games and Entertainment:

Microsoft Flight – Microsoft Flight is the current incarnation of a long and illustrious franchise of games, dating back to 1977. Unlike SimCity, you can start playing Microsoft Flight for free: Simply download the game and embark on a series of missions planned to both teach you the basics of flight, and hook you into buying later missions and additional aircraft. Microsoft Flight is the last of its kind: Microsoft permanently stopped work on the game in July 2012, just a few short months after releasing it.

The 10 Best Free Android Apps  – Why spend money when Google Play is packed full of great apps for the low, low price of nothing?

Towns – Towns is a bit like Dwarf Fortress, a bit like Minecraft, and a bit like a roguelike. You begin with some wandering civilians who enter an untamed wilderness and immediately begin chopping trees, mining stones, and butchering the wildlife. You till the fields, build homes, and set up complex production chains to keep your civilians alive, because they have all the survival instincts of lemmings.

Sony Unveils PS4 Teaser Video Ahead of Xbox Launch – Ahead of today’s Xbox event, Sony unveiled a new teaser trailer for its own next-gen console, the PS4.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Teen invents tech that fully charges phone batteries in less than 30 seconds – It’s become part of the daily ritual: Get home, plug in your phone, wake-up to a full battery, repeat. Our poly-gadget lives depend on our batteries having enough juice for the day, and depending on how we use them, they’re usually good for just about one workday of use. However, a new nanochemical innovation from an 18-year-old California teen may throw this whole ritual on its head.

The most dangerous WiFi device: $22,000 sniper rifle that aims itself – Developed by Tracking Point, the gun can aim up to 1,200 yards away, which is more than half a mile away. The gun comes equipped with a laser range finder, wind speed sensors, ballistics computer, unit to measure inertia, a compass, and a networked tracking engine.

U.S. Navy dolphins find antique torpedo – Dolphins trained by the U.S. military to find objects underwater have uncovered a late 19th century torpedo off the California coast.

Hacked lamp changes color based on your mood, warns others to leave you alone – The system uses the OpenCV programming toolkit for the required image processing and facial-expression recognition, and it will even look for details such as the position of your chin or eyebrows.

6000-mile panorama photo stretches from Russia to South Africa – The 56 shots that collectively make up this strip of land were taken over just a 20-minute span as the newly launched satellite zoomed around the Earth at over 17,000 miles per hour. In fact, the satellite had only been at its operational altitude of 438 miles for a little over a week when these shots were taken.

NASA grant to fund 3D-printed food system prototype – We’ve heard about 3D-printed guns and a 3D-printed implant, but a new project is taking the use of these printing machines to a whole new level: 3D-printed food.

Today’s Quote:

It is not so much our mistakes that cause us grief; it is the length we go to defend them.”

–     Ancient wisdom

Today’s Free Downloads:

BitDefender Free Edition 1.0.15 – BitDefender Free Edition uses the same ICSA Labs certified scanning engines found in other BitDefender products, allowing you to enjoy basic virus protection for no cost at all.

BlueStacks 0.7.12 Beta – BlueStacks runs Android OS and apps on Windows PCs with instant switch between Android and Windows – no reboot is required. End consumers can now enjoy their favorite Android apps on Windows PCs.

Windows Firewall Control – Windows Firewall Control is a small and easy to use application that runs in your system tray and provides quick access to the most frequent options used from Windows Firewall.

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