Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 22, 2013

Free tool repairs critical Windows configuration vulnerabilities – Tripwire announced SecureCheq, a free configuration utility that helps evaluate and repair the most common, critical configuration vulnerabilities in Windows desktops and servers.

Seven great features of OpenOffice and Libre Office that you probably ignore – Free office suite tools like OpenOffice and Libre Office have more advanced features than you might expect. Here are seven that go beyond the common tasks.

Reporters use Google, find breach, get branded as “hackers” – Call it security through absurdity: a pair of telecom firms have branded reporters for Scripps News as “hackers” after they discovered the personal data of over 170,000 customers—including social security numbers and other identifying data that could be used for identity theft—sitting on a publicly accessible server.

How to troubleshoot software-update problems – Computer malware authors exploit weaknesses in software. Developers combat computer crooks by patching their programs to block malware attacks. That’s why we’re encouraged to keep our software up-to-date. Every now and then, a software update fails, leaving our systems a little less secure.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Confusing Always Online with Always On – I think there is some confusion between always online and always on. The latter is nothing more than leaving devices on when they are not being actively used. Which is stupid. I’ve written about this before: turning off the computer saves energy and means it cannot pick up any bad bugs or weird updates without you knowing about it.

Teens: Facebook is just, like, too much drama – In a new Pew Report on teens and their social-networking habits, Twitter appears to be offering a resurgence, while Facebook may be losing impact. Because Facebook is just, well, too much.

Twitter 101: Understanding the Basics – Whether you want to start using Twitter yourself or just want to know what it is, we’ll help untangle the mysteries of this social networking site.

Is Your Teen Sharing Too Much Online? – A recent Pew Internet study reveals that teens are sharing more information about themselves on social media sites than they have in the past.

School teacher faces jail for uploading book – A school teacher who uploaded a history book on his website as a free educational resource for poor students faces two years in jail, forced labour, or a fine. The $4 book was posted by Pāvels Jurs, a teacher in Latvia, who created his site so that children from poor families can still have access to education. His efforts had been praised by the Ministry of Education.

The new Flickr: Goodbye customers, hello ads – On Monday, Yahoo relaunched Flickr at a swanky press event in New York. And while most coverage will be of the site’s new design, the most significant changes are to Flickr’s business model. But my takeaway is that the days of Flickr’s open and honest voice are over.

Wise Registry Cleaner (free) – The latest update to the Windows Registry scrubber optimizes the system icon cache and beefs up Windows 8 support.

How to send money via Gmail – The next time you need to split a tab, or just send a friend some cash, you can send it through Gmail using Google Wallet.

Print your photographs in 3D – A DIY diva who showed us how to make a 3D-printed record has now taught us how to print photographs using a 3D printer.


Researchers find critical vulnerabilities in popular game engines – Security researchers Luigi Auriemma and Donato Ferrante from Malta-based security consultancy firm ReVuln found memory corruption and buffer-overflow issues in “CryEngine 3,” “Unreal Engine 3,” “Hydrogen Engine” and “id Tech 4.” These are game engines that are used in video games like “Quake 4,” “Crysis 2,” “Homefront,” “Brink,” “Monday Night Combat,” “Enemy Territory: Quake Wars”, “Sanctum”, “Breach,” “Nexuiz” and many others. The vulnerabilities found by the two researchers can be used to launch remote code execution or denial-of-service attacks against game clients and servers by sending maliciously crafted data packets to them.

NYPD detective accused of hiring email hackers – Edwin Vargas, a detective with the New York City Police Department, has been arrested on Tuesday for computer hacking crimes. In total, he purchased at least 43 personal e-mail accounts and one cellular phone belonging to at least 30 different individuals, including 21 who are affiliated with the NYPD.

Power utilities claim ‘daily’ and ‘constant’ cyberattacks, says report – U.S. Congressmen Ed Markey and Henry Waxman pen a report outlining the increased hacks on power grid computer systems, saying that one utility receives about 10,000 attempted cyberattacks per month.

Three wireless security myths – busted! (video 4:27) – Last year Sophos looked at Wi-Fi security by sending one chap right across London on a bicycle, and me on foot to tramp the Sydney CBD North to South and East to West… and we found that while things weren’t terrible, they weren’t 100% rosy, either. So, to coincide with the 2013 Cyber Security Awareness Week in New Zealand, we thought it was worth making a short revision video.

Find TrueCrypt and BitLocker encrypted containers and images – Passware announced that Passware Kit Forensic 12.5 can now recognize hard disk images and containers, such as TrueCrypt, BitLocker, PGP, during a computer scan. For a computer forensic professional this means that no evidence is hidden inside a volume. Other key features include password extraction from Windows 8 hibernation files, and improved hardware acceleration of password recovery processes on AMD ATI graphic cards. (So what? Let’s see you break TrueCrypt’s encryption – then we’ll talk.)

Cyber-Espionage Campaign SafeNet Targets Over 100 Countries – An ongoing cyber-espionage operation used spear phishing emails to steal information from various organizations in more than 100 countries, Trend Micro researchers found.

Company News:

AMD Hits Game Console Trifecta With Xbox One – It’s been an open secret, but now it’s official — Advanced Micro Devices is in all three eighth-generation game consoles, including Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox One

IBM launches Watson customer service smart bot – Yoking cognitive computing with customer service, IBM has launched a system that can reference large amounts of unstructured data to help companies better field customer phone calls. The IBM Watson Engagement Advisor uses IBM’s Watson, the artificial intelligence software the company developed to compete on the Jeopardy game show two years ago.

Irish fight back at tax allegations – The Irish government is getting angry that the US and UK are blaming its tax laws for the antics of multinational IT companies. In a report to its Senate, the US is seen as blaming the Irish for “facilitating” Apple and Google’s tax avoidance antics, something which has hotly been denied by Eire.

Webopedia Daily:

Google Fiber – Google Fiber is a new fiber-optic internet and television service from Google offered in select cities that provides up to 1Gbps internet speeds (both upload and download). According to Google, the Gigabit internet speeds are up to 100 times faster than the average broadband speeds in place today. Google Fiber made its public debut in Kansas City in September 2012, and expansion plans are in place for Austin, Texas and Provo, Utah, as well as additional cities in the future. The Google Fiber service is available for $120 per month for the combined internet and television services, or $70 per month for just the internet service. A free Google Fiber internet service option is also available that offers speeds of up to 5Mbps for a one-time “construction fee” of $300.

Games and Entertainment:

FreeSpace 2 – Even great game franchises fall prey to mergers, acquisitions, and the vagaries of the game business. Such was the fate of FreeSpace 2, a space simulator originally released in 1999 to great critical acclaim, as part of the Descent and FreeSpace franchise. Due to business circumstances, it was the last in the series—but it can still be played today for the price of $10. and its source code, released in 2002, has been adopted by an active community of coders and modders.

Call of Duty: Ghosts aims for perfection – PC gamers, get ready for a brand new Call of Duty game on November 5. The developers at Infinity Ward have developed a new game engine to push PC gaming, as well as next-gen consoles, towards more immersive and enthralling games. The latest game in the Call of Duty franchise, Ghosts represents a fresh start for the series with a fresh story and a new squad of soldiers.

Comics Web site Comics Alliance to relaunch? – The massively popular comics Web site was seemingly shut down by AOL late last month, yet a new post on the site hints at a return.

Live-action Halo “TV series” coming to Xbox One – Microsoft and 343 Industries announced plans for a live-action Halo TV series in partnership with Steven Spielberg at the unveiling event for the company’s new console, the Xbox One. The TV series heralds Microsoft’s intent to merge its console as much as possible with live TV, though it also represents the company’s intent to to become a source for content as well as vector, as the series will be exclusive to the Xbox One.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Could 3D Printed Food End Hunger Once and for All? – NASA backs Anjan Contractor’s concept of a 3D food printer which would use powder-filled cartridges to spit out meals for long-distance space missions and even here on Earth.

U.S. DOJ accuses journalist of espionage – Last week’s revelation that the U.S. DOJ has successfully subpoenaed two months’ worth of telephone toll records for phones of AP journalist has created quite an uproar in media circles. However, it was nothing compared to the reaction that has followed a Washington Post article on a well-known U.S. journalist possibly getting jailed for simply doing his job.

Teddy Has An Operation (video 2:49)It is not just about teddy. . . it is about us. . and how we have changed. (recommended by Michael F.)

McCain Asks Apple to Stop Making Him Update His Apps – The Arizona senator gets feisty with CEO Tim Cook during a Senate panel’s grilling of top Apple brass over the company’s offshore tax avoidance practices.

Blogger threatened with $1 billion suit for writing about allegedly predatory publisher – Jeffrey Beall, a US academic librarian who uses his Scholarly Open Access blog to write about scholarly publishers’ dubious practices, is being threatened with a $1 billion lawsuit by an Indian publishing group.

Today’s Quote:

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”

–       F. Scott Fitzgerald

Today’s Free Downloads:

Sumatra PDF 2.3 – Sumatra PDF is a slim, free, open-source PDF viewer for Windows, designed for portable use so you can easily run it from external USB drive.

WinGuard Pro 2013 8.9 – Secure your computer by password protecting your Windows applications, programs and EXE files. Plus, protect your data with encryption for your files, folders and drives – directly from Windows Explorer. Extra features allow you to disable the Task Keys, Software Installation, Internet Explorer, Mozilla FireFox, Downloading Files, Zip and Self Extracting Files and more.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 22, 2013

  1. Mal

    Hey Bill,
    Re: Wise Registry Cleaner (free),
    One of your old favourites, Regseeker, is now available in a new version compatible up to Windows 7, and I have run it on my Windows 8 box with no problems too. It’s good.