Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 31, 2013

When malware strikes: How to clean an infected PC – Against all odds, a clever new Trojan horse slipped through the cracks, and now you’re the unhappy owner of an infected PC. Or perhaps a less-vigilant friend has begged you to clean up a plague-ridden mess. Obviously, you need to scan the computer and remove the malware. Here’s a methodical approach that you can use to determine what the problem is, how to scan, and what to do afterward to protect the PC from future invasions.

New Android Phone? Check Out These 14 Essential Hints and Tips – If you’ve just purchased an Android phone, congratulations. By going Android, you’ve opted for raw functionality over simplicity, for customization over absolute user-friendliness. Android is a powerful platform, but only for those who take full advantage of all its tricks.

Dual-core Sunnycube Android tablet has a $40 price tag – Once upon a time, a $200 price point was thought to be the sweet spot for tablets. But then Hewlett Packard raised the proverbial bar with its $99 WebOS tablet fire sale. Fast forward to June 2013, when Chinese device manufacturer Sunnycube is touting a tablet with yes, a cool $40 price tag (or 249 yuan).

10 Firefox features you should know about – A raft of new features have either been added to Mozilla’s browser or are on the way (showing up in the Beta, Aurora and Nightly builds). Here are the most noteworthy.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Windows 8.1 given first official outing, and yes, the Start button is back – Microsoft has given a first look at Windows 8.1, the free update to Windows 8 that it plans to deliver this autumn. Though it will disappoint some, it should surprise few to learn that Windows 8.1 will not revert all the user interface changes made in Windows 8. Instead, 8.1 will be an incremental update that builds on the Windows 8 interface and its Metro design, but does not replace it.

Hey, Microsoft: It’s the apps, stupid – Microsoft today revealed some of the changes in Windows 8 due to reach customers in a month, but didn’t address what analysts called the biggest barrier to the OS’s success.

Google Search brings nutrition data to more than 1,000 foods – From chow mein to carrots, the Web giant rolls out detailed nutrition information for desktop and mobile search — the feature also works with the new audible question-and-answer interface.

Dropbox goes down for more than an hour – Cloud storage service Dropbox users were hit with a widespread service outage this morning that lasted a little more than an hour. Tweets from outraged users around the world appeared to show the breadth of the service outage.

Consumer cloud services: ‘Security time-bomb’ for enterprises? – As more employees continue to access consumer cloud accounts at work (regardless of IT rules), the enterprise world is about to reach a breaking point, based on a new report. Quite simply, U.K. cloud collaboration company Huddle described the trend as a “security time-bomb.”

Twitter amps up lists feature, lets users create 1,000 lists – Aiming to please those power tweeters, Twitter announced Thursday that it’s expanding its list feature. Now users can make up to 1,000 lists that can each include 5,000 accounts. This is a significant increase. Before today people could only have 20 lists, each with up to 500 accounts.

Harvard dean who authorized secret search of faculty email to step down – The Harvard University dean who approved a secret search of faculty email to track down a media leak about student cheating will step down on July 1, the dean announced on Tuesday.

Woe is Linux. Woe is Me – Ubuntu’s maker says Linux will never achieve the goal of overtaking Windows. This because computers—and users—are dumber than ever.

Security:

Dell on cyber security: You’re screwed – We know that viruses are running around on most PCs which either don’t have or haven’t updated their Anti-Virus software even though Microsoft now provides a basic product for free. Most company security efforts aren’t integrated and the majority of security breaches aren’t reported – so the sheer size of this problem really isn’t known yet. However, what is reported definitely has most security experts scared half to death.

Android malware in pictures – a blow-by-blow account of mobile scareware – Fake anti-virus is mostly for Windows, with OS X a long way back in second place. But other operating systems aren’t exempt from the depredations of cybercriminals. Paul Ducklin shows you round some recently-discovered Android scareware.

Google pressures industry to make software flaws public faster – Google threw the gauntlet down before the software industry to clean up its mistakes faster than has been done in the past. Critical vulnerabilities in software programs being actively exploited by hackers should be made public seven days after a software vendor is made aware of the flaw by whomever discovered it, the company advocated in a blog posted Wednesday by Google security engineers Chris Evans and Drew Hintz.

Mt. Gox adds account verification requirement for non-Bitcoin currencies – Bitcoin is growing in popularity as a way to make financial transactions in a wonderfully anonymous way. The obvious downside to such a reality is the same thing that ultimately took down Liberty Reserve earlier this week – criminal activities. To help cover itself in the face of such activities, Mt. Gox announced earlier today that users who wish to both deposit and withdraw money in a currency that isn’t Bitcoin will need account verification.

Carna botnet analysis renders scary numbers on vulnerable devices – An analysis of the data rendered by the Carna botnet reveals a shocking number of vulnerable devices reachable online with default credentials.

Company News:

Acer $400 ‘PC’ will run Android, pack Intel’s Haswell chip – Acer is about to announce a PC that runs Android, showing that Windows and PC will not necessarily be synonymous in the coming months.

Gartner security survey: McAfee up, Trend Micro down – A Gartner report about the security software market out Thursday shows that No. 2 ranked McAfee enjoyed the most overall growth last year, Trend Micro slipped but stayed No. 3, and Symantec held onto its top spot with 19.6% of the $19.1 billion market. Gartner’s report looked at 12 market segments that included endpoint security products for both the enterprise and consumer markets:

Amazon Joins Authentication Game – As attackers continue to target large databases of passwords and users grow wearier by the day of creating new accounts and login credentials on each site they visit, the larger Web players are positioning themselves as not just social networking or retail hubs, but also as authentication providers. The latest to join this crew is Amazon, which is rolling out a service called Login With Amazon that enables visitors to participating sites to login with their existing Amazon credentials.

HTC reportedly scraps 12″ Windows RT tablet plans (but 7″ still on the way) – HTC has reportedly axed plans to launch a 12-inch tablet running Windows RT, sources claim, after deciding demand for the slate would be insufficient, though a smaller version is still said to be on the roadmap. The unnamed 12-inch tablet was sidelined over fears that it would be too expensive, Bloomberg reports, with the components required adding up to too great a bill-of-materials to allow a competitive street price.

Roku looks outside the box as funds are pushed towards TV integration – Roku is a high-selling little set top box that brings a variety of content platforms, such as Netflix and Vudu, to its users’ televisions, giving them smart TV-like functionality sans actually being a smart TV. On April 10, Roku announced that it had sold 5 million players, and now the company’s CEO has spoken with The Hollywood Reporter, sharing his vision of the company’s future.

Webopedia Daily:

Subscriber identity module – A subscriber identity module (SIM) is a smart card inside of a GSM cellular phone that encrypts voice and data transmissions and stores data about the specific user so that the user can be identified and authenticated to the network supplying the phone service. The SIM also stores data such as personal phone settings specific to the user and phone numbers. A SIM can be moved from one phone to another and/or different SIMs can be inserted into any GSM phone. For example, if a user has one phone but uses it for both personal and business calls, he can change the SIM depending on how he will be using the phone (one card contains his personal identity and data and the second card carries his business identity and data).

Games and Entertainment:

Sony CEO on PlayStation 4: Gamers come first – Unlike Microsoft’s Xbox One pitch as a device for all, Sony’s Kazuo Hirai tells the D11 crowd that the PS4 will be first and foremost a gamers’ console.

Xbox One should accelerate development of learning robots – Ashutosh Saxena bought an Xbox to play computer games at home, but discovered that the Kinect motion-detection technology it includes provides a rich tool for his robotics lab where he’s trying to create robots that learn what humans are up to and try to help out.

EA dumps Online Pass system for used games after player vitriol – EA has begun eliminating its little-loved Online Pass program, the scheme which meant those playing second-hand games would need to pay separately for online access, with no new titles requiring the system and older titles being updated to remove it. The controversial scheme was initially introduced as a way for EA to monetize used games sales, with the Online Pass included in the original box but only being valid for a single account.

‘Arrested Development’ a bust? Netflix says come on! – The mixed critical response to ‘Arrested Development’ trips up Netflix’s ambitions for buzz-worthy original programming, but it certainly isn’t slowing down the company.

PlayStation 4 game Killzone: Shadow Fall play-while-downloading details revealed – It’s no secret that PlayStation 4 games will be playable while they are still downloading, a bit of information Sony had let out not too long ago. Not much was given about the feature in terms of how it would work, and how much content users would have to pull down before they could begin playing. Now details have been revealed about the feature as it applies to the game Killzone: Shadow Fall, giving us a glimpse at how it works.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Ex-Microsoft exec to create the Starbucks of marijuana? – Jamen Shively, a former corporate strategy manager for Redmond, decides he can have a happier life: creating a brand of pot for the good people of Washington state and beyond.

U.S. lifts ban on computer exports to people in Iran – Easing of sanctions will allow U.S. residents to export communications equipment to individuals but not to the Iranian government. The U.S. government is easing sanctions that have for more than two decades prohibited companies from selling electronic devices such as computers, cell phones, and wireless routers to Iran.

The PC’s future has never been brighter—because tablets are PCs too – The rise of tablets and every hybrid in between proves that PCs are evolving, not dying. (A sensible, non-hysterical overview.)

Concept Coke can splits in two for sharing – If sharing fluids strikes you as icky, Coca-Cola’s shareable can may be just the thing. A simple twist and the 330-milliliter can splits in half, one for you and one for a friend. Ideally, you should only do this with one buddy, as the can doesn’t multiply any further.

Feds Release Guidelines for Self-Driving Cars – U.S. transportation officials today released early guidelines for the development of self-driving cars, including recommendations for lawmakers who are writing laws governing the technology.

Today’s Quote:

The truth is not important…what people believe to be true is important”

–       Unknown

Today’s Free Downloads:

Emsisoft Emergency Kit 3.0.0.6 – The Emsisoft Emergency Kit contains a collection of programs that can be used without a software installation to scan and clean infected computers for malware.

Artweaver Free 3.1.5 – Artweaver lets you paint creatively with the help of a huge range of painting tools. You can create sketches from photos or just experiment with colors.

3 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

3 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – May 31, 2013

  1. The best way to clean an infected PC, which the article fails to mention, is to nuke it from orbit. Reinstalling from scratch, or restoring a known clean copy from backup. That’s the only way to be reasonably sure.
    Antivirus apps are pretty good at preventing an infection, and giving an alert when one has occurred, but they should not be relied on to clean it up.

    • Hey redBug,

      I’m onside with that. Couldn’t agree more.

      As for your second point – “Reinstalling the OS or restoring it from backup once or twice a year isn’t a bad idea. My peace of mind offsets the time it takes.” – again, we share a common approach.

      Glad you brought this up. Thanks.

      Best,

      Bill

  2. And another thing, while I’m at it. Since antivirus apps are only pretty good at preventing and alerting, that’s not good enough. Reinstalling the OS or restoring it from backup once or twice a year isn’t a bad idea. My peace of mind offsets the time it takes.