Monthly Archives: June 2013

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – June 28, 2013

New leak shows NSA harvests To, From, and BCC lines of e-mail data – The Guardian has reported on a new leaked document which reveals that from 2001 until 2011 the US government was collecting e-mail metadata en masse. That program shut down two years ago, but there’s also evidence of other ongoing “big data” digging into e-mails.

Surveillance ‘partnership’ between NSA and telcos points to AT&T, Verizon – Newly disclosed classified document suggests firms allowed spy agency to access e-mail and phone call data by tapping into their “fiber-optic cables, gateway switches, and data networks.”

Army admits restricting soldiers’ access to NSA coverage – NETCOM spokesperson tells the Monterey Herald that the Defense Department routinely takes preventative “network hygiene” measures to prevent unauthorized disclosure of classified information. (That’s it – don’t call it banning, or censorship. Yeah, “network hygiene” sounds about right. Good grief!)

Web petition urging Congress to act on NSA hits half-million mark – As one disclosure follows the next, the debate over the limits of government surveillance leads to more pressure on Congress.

DuckDuckGo enables anonymous mobile search with iOS and Android apps – A few weeks ago Gabriel Weinberg, the founder of search engine DuckDuckGo, explained why Google tracks you and his engine doesn’t. It comes down to simple economics–Google uses advertising to make money from services it can’t otherwise monetize. DuckDuckGo on the other hand focuses on search and still manages to make money while protecting your identity.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

New Firefox 22 enables browser-based file-sharing – The default support for WebRTC in new Mozilla Firefox 22 means that users can share files directly using only their browsers. A service called ShareFest lets you do it by dragging and dropping.

Clean up your hard drive with five easy to use tools – If you’re looking for a good clean up tool, where do you start? You could start with a built-in tool and move outward. Of course, once you step outside the platform, you’re looking at tools that are notorious for either not working or installing malware. I’ve gone through a number of such tools and found the ones that are not only safe (scanned by Malwarebytes, SEP, and Calwin), but do a good job of freeing up space. Each tool offers a unique take on the task and, in the end, can save the day.

Windows 8.1 first look: Finally, Windows the way you want it – With Windows 8.1, Microsoft recognizes that a big portion of the world actively dislikes the new “Modern” interface and Start screen and lets people downplay it, bypass it, or make it work the way they like.

6 Cool New Features in Windows 8.1 – It’s way more than just a Win 8 service pack. Check out our favorite improvements to the OS.

Facebook Opens Beta Testing Program for Android App – Facebook today launched a beta testing program for its Android app, which will allow users to opt in and test out pre-release versions of the social network’s app. To get things started, join the Google group, allow beta downloads by clicking “Become a Remote Tester” in the Play Store, download or update your Facebook app, and join the Facebook beta testers group on Facebook to voice your opinion.

Twitter adds charts to help find music you actually want to hear – A new genre-based discovery feature should help Twitter attract more users to its 2-month-old music app.

Watch YouTube videos in Firefox’s sidebar with Side Watch – If you are watching YouTube videos in a second browser window while you work, you are doing it wrong (unless you happen to have a huge display).

Microsoft promises IE11 on Windows 7 – Won’t disclose ship date for new browser bundled with this week’s beta of Windows 8.1

Security:

Fake BlackBerry Messaging App Tricks 100,000 Android Users – A fake, ad-laden app managed to get over 100,000 downloads before Google stepped in.

Facebook leaks are a lot leakier than Facebook is letting on – Remember last week, when Naked Security et al. told you that Facebook leaked email addresses and phone numbers for 6 million users, but that it was really kind of a modest leak, given that it’s a billion-user service? OK, scratch the “modest” part.

Feds target former high-ranking general in Stuxnet leak probe – Retired Marine Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright has been informed he is under investigation as the source of leaks to the media regarding the sophisticated virus, NBC News reports.

Citadel Trojan automatically localizes fraud content – While not the first use of HTML injection in multiple languages, the authors of this Citadel variant have taken the time to customize the HTML injections for multiple brands in multiple languages. The targets of this variant include social networks, banks, and major ecommerce sites, including Amazon.com. The Citadel authors created HTML injection scripts for Italian, Spanish, French and German targets as well as British, Canadian, Australian and American versions of each brand.

Opera Hacked, Stolen Certificate Used to Spread Malware – Opera today revealed that attackers targeted its network last week, but the company said it does not appear that user data was compromised. Instead, an old certificate has been used to distribute malware.

One-click/key attack forces IE and Chrome to execute malicious code – A researcher says he has uncovered a security weakness that can easily trick people into executing malicious code when they use the Microsoft Internet Explorer and Google Chrome browsers to visit booby-trapped websites.

Company News:

Google faces partial ban in Europe if antitrust talks crash – The search giant may face difficult times ahead if it doesn’t solve its European antitrust matters now, such as having parts of its business blocked in the 27 member state bloc.

Google threatens to shut down adult blogs with adult advertisements – Google alerted Blogger users today that the company will update its Content Policy to “strictly prohibit the monetization of adult content on Blogger.” It warned that blogs “which are adult in nature and are displaying advertisements to adult websites” may be shut down when the new terms take effect on June 30.

Kickstarter Expanding to Canada This Summer – Calling all Canadian entrepreneurs: Kickstarter is moving to the Great White North this summer.

Adobe buys Neolane for $600 million, adds to digital marketing arsenal – Adobe acquired Neolane, which offers technology to manage marketing campaigns offline and online, in a move to target more CMOs and chief digital officers.

Microsoft makes Windows Azure services generally available – Microsoft is moving more of its Windows Azure products from preview to general availability. The latest: Azure Mobile Services and Azure Web Sites.

Google suing U.S. IRS for $83.5M tax refund – The search giant is hoping to reclaim about 20 hours worth of revenue in form of a tax refund from the U.S. taxman. But in doing so, it has to throw its weight behind a bunch of lawyers.

Webopedia Daily:

Facebook Download Your Information tool – The Download Your Information (“Downloaded Info”) tool on Facebook is a way to download a copy of your Facebook data including timeline info, posts, messages and photos shared on Facebook. On June 21, 2013 Facebook’s Download Your Information tool became a controversial topic as Facebook reported that a bug may have inadvertently provided a person who used the Download Your Information tool with additional private information for Facebook friends – including email addresses and telephone numbers.

Games and Entertainment:

Angry Birds Trilogy Flying Into Wii, Wii U Aug. 13 – Good news, Wii and Wii U users. The Angry Birds Trilogy is flying into both Nintendo systems on Aug. 13. Trilogy features the three best-selling Angry Birds games — the original Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons, and Angry Birds Rio.

Upcoming Xbox One games we can’t wait to play – A new Xbox doesn’t just mean new hardware, it also means a ton of new games are on the way. Here is a quick look at the upcoming Xbox One games that we’re most looking forward to playing.

Report: Google at work on Android gaming console – Google reportedly is developing a gaming console powered by its Android mobile operating system in an effort to widen the software’s reach beyond smartphones and tablets and stay ahead of its competitors.

Finally: Homer Simpson-designed car ‘the homer’ comes to life – It’s powerful like a gorilla, yet soft and yielding like a Nerf ball. Oh, and it has a “Bort” license plate.

Kinect for Xbox One will be incompatible with PCs – If you’re buying an Xbox One this fall, don’t get any ideas about using the included Kinect motion controller on your PC.

Colin McRae Rally heads to iOS 15 years after initial arrival – The classic rally racing game Colin McRae Rally hit iOS today, which marks the second mobile game released by Codemasters. The game features the original cars and tracks from the 1998 hit, and Codemasters says that the game has been “re-imagined” for mobile, hitting iOS as a full game that compliments the original title that came out over 15 years ago.

Off Topic (Sort of):

GUIs: The computing revolution that turned us into cranky idiots – Since the dawn of personal computing, the cycle of resistance to change has been never ending. To understand the nature of this resistance to change, we have to go back to the very beginning.

Where Else Should the NSA Be Snooping? – I find it extremely odd that the NSA is wasting its time tapping into the servers of PalTalk. Here’s a list of where the agency should be looking.

Can Wi-Fi let you see people through walls? – It isn’t exactly Superman-like X-ray vision, but cheap, low-power Wi-Fi technology is gaining more attention as a remote sensing tool.

Google Removes Clouds From Maps, Earth Satellite Imagery – Google this week unveiled a new batch of satellite imagery for its mapping products, which provides a better look at planet Earth’s landscape. The new imagery of the Earth from space “virtually eliminates clouds” and includes clearer images for regions where high-resolution shots are not yet available, Google Earth Engine tech lead Matt Hancher wrote in a blog post.

When technology fails a news anchor, there are no words – An Australian TV news anchor is suddenly left without an autocue or a script. She has no idea what to say.

35 years later, Voyager nears our solar system’s boundary – One year after Apple’s first computer debuted, Voyager lifted off. Now, scientists eagerly await the big moment when it crosses into interstellar space.

Something to think about:

A newspaper consists of just the same number of words, whether there be any news in it or not.”

–     Henry Fielding

Today’s Free Downloads:

ServiWin – ServiWin utility displays the list of installed drivers and services on your system. For some of them, additional useful information is displayed: file description, version, product name, company that created the driver file, and more. In addition, ServiWin allows you to easily stop, start, restart, pause, and continue service or driver, change the startup type of service or driver (automatic, manual, disabled, boot or system), save the list of services and drivers to file, or view HTML report of installed services/drivers in your default browser.

Speak-A-Message 9.2.0 – Speak-A-Message offers the widest range of features for voice recording and voice email. Audio recording is three times faster than typing, great fun and lets you communicate with a more personal touch! New: Post your voice and photo messages to Facebook!

Intel Solid State Drive (SSD) Toolbox 3.1.5 – Manage and keep your Intel SSD running properly with Intel SSD Toolbox.

Macrium Reflect FREE Edition – With Macrium Reflect Free Edition you’ll be able to easily make an accurate and reliable image of your HDD or individual partitions. Using this image you can restore the entire disk, partition or individual files and folders in the event of a partial or complete system loss.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – June 27, 2013

FTC wants to let Internet users see the data that the NSA can get – In light of the quiet data transfers happening between technology companies and the government, the Federal Trade Commission is proposing an “industrywide initiative” that would give customers access to the information a company has on them, according to a report from the New York Times. The initiative, called “Reclaim Your Name,” would increase the transparency of what data is not only held by companies, but what is shared between them.

Meet PRISM’s little brother: Socmint: A secretive unit is developing tools for blanket surveillance of social media – For the past two years, a tight-lipped and little talked about unit within the Metropolitan Police has been conducting blanket surveillance of British citizens’ public social media conversations. Following an unintentional leak and a detailed investigation, we are finally able to see some of the capabilities of this 17-man team—some of which are truly alarming.

Following Google, Microsoft also challenges DOJ gag order – Software giant argues that U.S. government restrictions on what it can disclose constitute a “content-based restriction on speech.”

5 super-useful Android features you probably don’t know about – Android has become much more user-friendly in recent years, but there are still all manner of cool features lurking under that veneer of usability.

15 free Google Reader alternatives – Don’t get left in the dark when Google Reader shuts its doors on July 1. Check out this list of free alternatives that will let you continue to keep tabs on the news you need.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

How to add USB 3.0 to your desktop PC – If you’ve purchased an external hard drive recently, there’s a good chance it came with a USB 3.0 interface. That’ll work with your old desktop, as most USB 3.0 devices are backward-compatible with USB 2.0 ports. The problem is you’re not enjoying the significant speed benefits afforded by the newer technology. So what’s the solution? Buy a new machine? Nah: just upgrade your current one. Turns out it’s pretty easy to add USB 3.0 ports to a desktop, provided you can meet two simple requirements.

Infographic: The Future Is in the Cloud – A new infographic from Seagate chronicles the cloud’s growing role in content storage.

Google Search for Android gets a new voice command and more – Today’s update to the Google Search app for Android brings music playback via voice command, as well as a few other nifty features.

Android invades the desktop – and why not? – Computer makers are suddenly obsessed with putting a smartphone operating system on PCs. Here’s why it’s not such a crazy idea.

Where are all the Android laptops? – PC OEMs seem obsessed with making complicated, high-cost, Windows 8-baed devices. Why are none of them trying to make cheap Android laptops? – PC OEMs seem obsessed with making complicated, high-cost, Windows 8-baed devices. Why are none of them trying to make cheap Android laptops?

Windows 8.1 download portals appear official (Preview, that is) – If you’re itching to get a piece of what Windows 8.1 has to offer, the time has arrived – for some users, at least. The restrictions placed on this particular release are centered on MSDN subscribers and TechNet subscribers at this very moment. The public download portal, on the other hand, is not quite open at the moment – but feel free to hit refresh until your monitor sees the big push.

Cloudsweeper tells you how much your Gmail is worth to a hacker – The value of your data is the driving force behind much of the malware and malicious behavior on the internet. If an attacker can gain access to a store of information, it can be sold off piece by piece until the evildoer has a pocket full of cash, and you have a massive headache to deal with. A new tool called Cloudsweeper aims to help you figure out how much your Gmail account is worth, and make it less valuable at the same time.

Toxic Facebook Friends: Tolerate, Hide or Defriend – Here’s how to stay sane when you’re surrounded by insane friends.

Free and portable Briss cuts PDFs down to size – Briss is a good program to trim and crop PDF files so they fit better on your e-reader and are easier to read.

Who said that? Social network launched for anonymous users – Want to anonymously post your ideas and opinions on a social network? You can. The Duvamis social network went was launched late last month with a mission of keeping the identity of its posters from other users — and site operators. The company says that anonymity allows its users to express themselves freely, ignoring social or peer pressure.

Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 appears with 5,000 Windows 8.1 APIs – If you had any doubt that Windows 8.1 would be bringing on a large variety of functionality bits to the developer universe, Microsoft’s announcement of Visual Studio 2013 should put all worries to rest. This developer ecosystem allows prospective Windows 8.1 app developers to create new software inside the system itself, bringing on a massive amount of diagnostic tools as well as a 5,000 new APIs for integration with new creations of all sorts.

Security:

Perfect Forward Secrecy can block the NSA from secure web pages, but no one uses it – Every lock has a key and outlook.com has a HUGE MASTER KEY. Anyone in possession of this master key can read the encrypted HTTPS pages. All of them. Every single encrypted web page that has ever been transmitted by outlook.com to millions of former Hotmail users can be decrypted with a single master key. Of course, to read them all, you have to collect them all. This may not be a problem for the NSA. It doesn’t have to be this way. There is a server option called Perfect Forward Secrecy that eliminates the single master decryption key. (Michael Horowitz does a masterful job of breaking down a complex issue into it’s components. If security is your thing – this is a must read.)

HP enterprise storage systems suffer ‘secret’ admin account flaw – The computer and server maker is working hard on a fix to a security flaw in one of its enterprise systems, which could allow unauthorized access to corporate data.

Firefox 22 delivers 14 security updates – Mozilla released Firefox 22, which includes 14 security updates: four are critical, six high, three moderate and one low.

Facebook breach highlights data security’s “weakest link” syndrome – Facebook recently disclosed that a system glitch resulted in the exposure of sensitive personal data from as many as six million users. The impact from this particular breach seems relatively inconsequential, but it’s a sign of a larger problem when it comes to protecting personal data on the Web.

Study Finds Nearly Half of iOS Apps Violate Apple’s Privacy Policy – A recent study by the University of California, San Diego suggests that nearly half of all iOS applications still use UDIDs in violation of Apple’s own privacy policy.

Creepy Facebook apps mine your profile for bikini shots, break-ups – Because the base Facebook experience isn’t creepy enough…

Company News:

Microsoft teases ‘Office Lite’ for Windows’ touch UI – Microsoft today briefly previewed an Office application designed for the Windows “Modern,” née “Metro,” user interface, and said it would launch the touch-enabled suite next year.

Dish drops bid for Clearwire, ending brutal bidding war – Dish Network Wednesday dropped its offer to buy Clearwire, probably clearing the path for a strengthened Sprint Nextel to complete its takeover of the struggling but spectrum-rich mobile operator.

Quark tightening upgrade policy for XPress publishing program – Anticipating an August release date for QuarkXPress 10, Quark will soon tighten its upgrade policy for users of earlier versions of its professional design and layout software. As of June 30, Quark is putting an end to its liberal one-price promotion, which let users of any version of QuarkXPress upgrade to the current version 9, and allowed users of version 9 to upgrade to version 10 for free.

Cloud Security Alliance Announces Keynote Presentations and Sessions for 4th Annual CSA Congress – In addition to offering best practices and practical solutions for remaining secure in the cloud, this year’s CSA Congress will focus on emerging areas of growth and concern in cloud security, including standardization, transparency of controls, mobile computing, Big Data in the cloud and innovation. The conference will also offer a Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) Foundation program providing attendees with a comprehensive one-day review of cloud security fundamentals in preparation for the Cloud Security Alliance CCSK exam.

Kickstarter Project Poppy Turns iPhone Into 3D Video Camera – Two Seattle entrepreneurs today launched a Kickstarter campaign for Poppy, a View-Master-like contraption that turns any iPhone into a 3D camera.

Apple’s ads failing, says firm that called Surface ads effective – Ace Metrix, a company that likes to think it knows how to measure TV ad effectiveness, says Apple’s new ads are not a success with consumers.

Samsung curved OLED TV goes on sale – Samsung has launched its first curved OLED TV on the market, a $13,000 slab of 55-inched flexed entertainment, which the company claims will unlock a new market of premium picture quality chasers. The set also debuts Samsung’s “Flawless TV” promise, which commits to zero bad pixels on each screen.

Webopedia Daily:

Flame (malware) – An extremely sophisticated strain of malware that shares similarities with Stuxnet, although Flame is much more massive in terms of complexity and size, at 30MB or larger when all modules have been installed vs. Stuxnet’s 500KB. Also known as Flamer or Skywiper, Flame was discovered by Kaspersky Lab following a significant increase in infected systems in Iran and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa over the past two years.

Games and Entertainment:

Gamemakers rejoice: Havok releases free Project Anarchy game development engine – Middleware developer Havok has finally released Project Anarchy, a game creation tool that’ll allow you to develop games for iOS, Android, and Tizen mobile platforms—free of charge. For budding game developers, this could be huge: Havok’s pedigree coupled with free tools could serve up some real competition for the mobile development landscape.

Video game tech steers this roach – North Carolina State University researchers are using video game technology to remotely control cockroaches on autopilot, with a computer steering the cockroach through a controlled environment.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Big data: Two truths and five myths – Along with the hype, the concept of big data comes with its own collection of misconceptions and half-truths that one CTO is keen to dispel.

18 Blogs Explain Brain Breaks and Why they are Important – As an adult, you’ve likely experienced a time when you’ve been in a training session or a meeting and felt like you were at a breaking point and couldn’t focus any longer. The same thing happens to kids, but on a daily basis. Kids sit through several hours of instruction every day, and it’s not unusual for them to ‘space out’ throughout the day, taking a mini-break without even meaning to. In these 18 blog entries you’ll find out about what brain breaks are, why they are important and how you can implement them with your kids.

Pure electricity: At the wheel in seven electric cars – Electric cars are a quickly growing segment, and we’ve driven and evaluated the majority of new entrants on the market. Here, we round up our seven most recent electric car reviews.

Worried about accidentally 3D printing a gun? – New software will prevent it. Danish firm selling to printer makers will include firearm detection capability.

3D printing produces new foot for Buttercup the duck – Two fully working feet on a duck are important for both walking around and being able to swim properly. So when Buttercup was born with a backwards left foot, his prospects weren’t great. Not only did his disfigured foot make walking difficult and painful, it also meant cuts and therefore infections were a concern.

Shark-repellant rash guard makes you look unappetizing – A new rash guard shirt takes an unusual approach to warding off sharks by making the wearer look like a venomous sea creature.

Something to think about:

When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.”

–     Ernest Hemingway

Today’s Free Downloads:

BhoScanner 2.1.4 – BhoScanner allows you to discover browser helper objects of your computer including parasites and trojans.

Hotspot Shield 3.09 – Hotspot Shield creates a virtual private network (VPN) between your laptop and the wireless router.

SpyShelter Personal Free 8.5 – Monitors vulnerable and weak spots in your computer system ensuring that keyloggers are shut down even before they can launch.

3 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – June 26, 2013

New privacy bill aimed at reforming FISA and the Patriot Act introduced in the Senate – The bill, the FISA Accountability and Privacy Protection Act of 2013, comes following dramatic revelations about how the National Security Agency collects certain types of data about U.S. residents. One surveillance program of concern is Prism, an NSA data collection program that supposedly accesses the servers at Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and other tech companies to mine people’s personal data like emails and photos. Another is a phone call metadata collection program. (The same corporately controlled whores get another shot at implementing Stasi like controls designed to restrict your freedom in the “land of the free.”)

Pentagon’s failed flash drive ban policy: A lesson for every CIO – If CIOs are looking at government data management and security policies to set an example, they should think again. Despite a series of NSA leaks, the U.S. Dept of Defense allows ‘thousands’ of staff to use portable storage drives.

AnchorFree’s dropping anchors and setting sail with a VPN giveaway – Starting this Tuesday, June 25, the folks over at AnchorFree are giving away 50,000 free codes for their Elite Hotspot Shield VPN services, good for six months. These codes will unlock cross-platforms and will work on PC, Mac, and iOS (Android not supported yet), on up to five different devices.

Keep watch: 5 cloud security cameras – If you want to make sure nobody’s making off with your valuables — or that your dog isn’t chewing up the furniture — try one of these cloud-based cameras.

Keep all of your log-ins secure with PasswordBox – PasswordBox lets you perform one-click log-in to all of your favorite sites from previously stored accounts. Just download the client, which is available as an add-on/extension for IE, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. Create a PasswordBox.com account and Master Password and you’re ready to go.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Razer’s new Surround software turns your stereo headset into a 7.1 home theater – Razer Surround emulates a virtual 7.1 surround-sound setup in any pair of stereo headphones, and it’s free to use—for now. Razer Surround works through Razer’s Synapse 2.0 utility, so you’ll have to register for a Razer account and download the requisite software before getting started. When you finish installing Razer Surround on your PC, the software creates a virtual sound card (called the Razer Surround Audio Controller) that accepts surround-sound data from whatever is running on your PC—games, movies, or music—and emulates it virtually on a pair of stereo headphones.

Five free disaster recovery tools – You hope it never happens – the need to recover from a disaster. The law of averages dictates, however, that disaster will strike you. When it does, you can only hope you have prepared for it. You may need a cloned image of a machine that can be used to bring a server (or even a desktop) back to life quickly. You may only need a solid backup of your data. Either way, you need the right tools to do the job.

Sony SmartWatch 2 pairs with your Android phone – Sony has confirmed that its long-awaited SmartWatch 2 will be hitting the streets in September. The device is designed to pair with Android smartphones, allowing users to access their handsets without taking it out of their pockets or bags.

Firefox 22 brings OdinMonkey for web gaming, WebRTC for chat – With OdinMonkey on board, Firefox users around the globe now have built-in support for web-based apps and games that rival their native counterparts. It’s somewhat similar to Chrome’s Native Client, but OdinMonkey focuses on code compiled using Emscripten. The result is blazing fast performance that makes you forget you’re using a browser. The update also included patches for 17 security vulnerabilities, seven of them marked “critical.”

FTC to search engines: Make it clear which results are ads – The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is repeating its warning from 2002 that it’s not easy to distinguish paid search results from other results.

Snapchat snapshot: App counts 8M adult users in U.S. – Snapchat, fresh off adding $60 million in funding, is the insanely buzzy iOS and Android application for sending your friends photos and videos that vanish after a few seconds. The smartphone service for exchanging fleeting moments is all the rage with today’s youngsters, and it’s developed a reputation as a sanctuary for underage sexting.

Security:

Vast majority of malware attacks spawned from legit sites – Drive-by attacks not just from porn and warez sites, new Google data shows – The data, included for the first time as part of the safe browsing section of Google’s regular transparency report, further challenges the myth that malware attacks happen only on disreputable sites, such as those that peddle porn, illicit software (“warez”), and similar content. For instance, on June 9 only 3,891 of the sites Google blocked as part of its Safe Browsing program were dedicated malware sites, while the remaining 39,247 sites that were filtered offered legitimate services that had been compromised.

Mobile malware grows by 614 percent in last year – The rate of mobile malware is higher than ever and the operating system of choice is Android, which receives 92 percent of all detected threats, a new report by Juniper shows.

Download me—Saying “yes” to the Web’s most dangerous search terms – This was particularly true in the Internet’s early days, but in the past decade, tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo—the three major players in search today—have deployed significant resources to prevent adware and malware from compromising their Web browsers, e-mail services, and websites. It can’t be that bad in 2013, right?

A half-assed additional factor does not equal two-factor security – When is two-factor authentication not? When it’s as bypassable as Yahoo’s.

Source code for Carberp financial malware gets leaked online – Carberp is a Trojan program used primarily to steal online banking credentials and other sensitive financial information from users. The malware originally targeted users from former Soviet Union states, but the cybercriminals behind it expanded their operations to other regions, like Australia.

World of Warcraft mobile auctions closed after rash of account hijacks – World of Warcraft publisher Blizzard has temporarily closed mobile access to its online auction house following reports that hackers were using it to scam users out of large amounts of digital gold.

Company News:

Salesforce.com, Oracle merge clouds in nine-year deal – In a nine-year deal, the Salesforce.com and Oracle clouds — including applications, platform, and infrastructure — will be integrated.

Barnes & Noble to Stop Manufacturing Color Nook Tablets Itself – Barnes & Noble said it will continue to make its more basic, black-and-white e-readers but farm out the tablet manufacturing to a third-party.

Google should be regulated like utilities, say rivals – Companies who have been assessing Google’s planned remedies to anti-competitive practices called on the European Commission on Tuesday to reject them and to consider regulating Internet search.

Dell pushes harder on encryption, anti-malware defenses – Dell today said it’s ready with new anti-malware defense and encryption offerings for businesses using its PCs, laptops, and Android-based mobile devices. The improved security is available via the company’s Protected Workspace program for business computing.

Sony stages human billboard stunt at Wimbledon to push its 4K HDTVs – Sony is at Wimbledon this year pushing the wonders of 4K resolution to the strawberries-and-cream-eating masses at the famous British tennis tournament this week. To prove just how amazing all those extra pixels can be, the electronics maker has turned one Wimbledon player into a running, volleying, back-spinning advertisement.

BitTorrent: We don’t deal in pirated content – In an effort to clear its name association with pirated movies, music, and games, the company BitTorrent works to set the record straight.

Webopedia Daily:

Direct fingerprint reader – Abbreviated as DFR (and also called a fingerprint scanner or fingerprint reader) a direct fingerprint reader is a biometrics device that uses automated methods of recognizing a person based on unique physical characteristics of a person’s fingerprint. A fingerprint is made up of a pattern of ridges and furrows as well as characteristics that occur at minutiae points (ridge bifurcation or a ridge ending). Fingerprint scanning essentially provides an identification of a person based on the acquisition and recognition (or verification) of those unique patterns and ridges in a fingerprint.

Games and Entertainment:

State of Decay barred from sale in Australia over content concerns – Xbox 360 game State of Decay has been refused classification in Australia, with some of the title’s content deemed unsuitable for release in the country. Jeff Strain, executive producer at studio Undead Labs, revealed the bad news in the company’s forum, warning eager gamers that while the studio and Microsoft would do their collective best to secure a release, “it’s going to take a bit” to achieve that. State of Decay first launched on June 5, and sold more than a quarter of a million copies in its first two days.

Saints Row IV denied rating in Australia over objectional content – On March 15, Saints Row IV’s teaser trailer was made public for all to enjoy, confirming that the game would be making its way into gamers’ hands despite initial fears that it would never come to fruition. Much like GTA III, the Saints Row games give players a universe that is wide-open for essentially doing whatever they want wherever they want. Under such a freedom, the games foster various sorts of debauchery, and Australia has taken offense to that.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 launched with Kepler architecture – NVIDIA has officially kicked off its GeForce GTX 760 GPU, which is being offered at the budget-friendly price of $249 and harboring Kepler architecture. In gaming benchmarks, the GTX 760 beats out the previous GTX 660 across the board, in some cases quite substantially. NVIDIA hails it as offering power “dramatically” beyond the gaming consoles slated to hit shelves in the coming months.

Company of Heroes 2 – Company of Heroes 2 is a sequel with a few new tricks that plays almost identically to its predecessor, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Timelapse: Earth’s Most Stunning Transformations – From Japan’s erupting rock to Iraq’s vanishing marshes, here’s a look at some remarkable phenomena users have discovered since Google and TIME unveiled three decades of satellite imagery in May.

Munich to distribute Linux CDs to get people to ditch Windows XP – Next year, the Munich city council plans to distribute two thousand copies of Lubuntu to local residents who still own computers running Windows XP. The goal is to reduce the amount of electronic waste its citizens generate when upgrading their computer systems. Lubuntu is an extremely lightweight Linux distribution. Its system requirements are roughly on par with those of Windows XP.

All-electric Elektro E6 aircraft seats 6 – Besides EADS, another company working in the development space for more sustainable aircraft is PC-Aero. Best known for the Elektra One all-electric aircraft, they have now set their sights on an even more ambitious undertaking: a two-engine, six seat all electric aircraft with solar panels called the Elektro E6.

The story behind the island that wasn’t there – How a 1908 error managed to persist through the satellite era.

13 exciting new open source projects – Browser-based toolkits, add-ons to old favorites, tools programmers will love — here are the most promising projects emerging from the open source community today.

Something to think about:

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.”

–      Soren Kierkegaard

Today’s Free Downloads:

Windows Firewall Control 4.0.0.6 – 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.

Skitch 2.1.2.9 – Skitch is a free, innovative, easy-to-use application that’s changed the way people capture, annotate and share images. You can take screenshots or open photos, add arrows, shapes and text, crop, resize, then share your work with friends, family and coworkers.

CCleaner Portable – CCleaner Portable is the number-one tool for cleaning your Windows PC. This is the portable version, unzip anywhere and run it.

3 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – June 25, 2013

Facebook’s dossiers on everyone: ‘Frightening’ – Facebook’s shadow profile data collection activities came to light Friday when the social network disclosed a bug fix. The security researchers who found the vulnerability, Packet Storm Security, say Facebook is compiling “frightening” dossiers on everyone possible, including people without Facebook accounts.

Australia temporarily halts PRISM-like data collection plans – The plan, according to Reuters, was for the Australian government to strong-arm ISPs and telecom companies into storing call logs and emails for two years. Other reports show the inclusion of Internet and related activities.

Snowden: NSA hacked China telcos, submarine cable network firm – Former NSA contractor reportedly provided documents pointing to the U.S. government hacking of major Chinese telcos, Internet submarine cable giant Pacnet, and Chinese research institute Tsinghua University.

Shielding mesh networks from prying government eyes – Employing a mesh network configuration allows users to form their own networks without a centralized infrastructure – making them inherently resistant to censorship, surveillance and disruption.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Six ways to share your exact location with family (and why) – Keep an eye on your friends and family members’ whereabouts with these helpful Android apps.

Children’s Games Harvesting Data – Dangerous Android apps aren’t always the ones that infect user mobile devices with malware, or the ones that signs you up for rogue services you don’t want. The apps that expose personal data are just as risky, and this week’s list looks at apps that expose user data without explicit consent.

Wi-Fi tweaks for speed freaks: 2013 edition – Things slowing down on your Wi-Fi network? Here are a host of tricks, tips and tweaks to speed up your wireless performance.

eXo Cloud Brings eXo Platform 4 Online: Full Featured, Open Source Enterprise Social Platform – eXo, the Enterprise Social Platform company, today opened access to eXo Cloud. Built on the experience acquired with its previous SaaS offering, Cloud Workspaces, eXo Cloud offers online, instant access to all the features of eXo Platform 4. It integrates social and enterprise collaboration features in a single on-demand offering. This release of eXo Cloud is offered free of charge, and users can sign up for accounts here.

How to Block Numbers on Your Smartphone for Free – Robocalls, telemarketers, clingy exes and more: Here’s how to block calls.

Get more out of Google Earth with these tips for power users – Google Earth users can do more than just fly around a virtual globe. The free mapping application can display real-time weather, help compose photographs and measure distances much more easily than its Maps cousin.

Linux Mint 15 KDE ‘Olivia’ now available – The release candidate for Linux Mint 15 ‘Olivia’ running the KDE desktop is available to download.

South Tyrol shows love for LibreOffice, ditches Microsoft on thousands of PCs – LibreOffice has got a vote of confidence from South Tyrol. Over the course of the next three years, the government plans on replacing Microsoft Office on 7,000 machines with the open source alternative, saving up to €600,000 in licensing costs.

Microsoft to “sanitize” Bing for school use – Students across the country will soon be using a cleaned up version of Microsoft’s search engine ecosystem Bing, devoid (or so they hope) of content they’re not especially fond of sending out to under-age citizens of the USA.

Hands on with AOL Reader, another opportunistic response to Google’s RSS vacancy – While the tech world speculates on what form a rumored Facebook news reader might take, AOL on Monday rolled out a beta version of its Google Reader replacement. AOL Reader joins offerings from Digg and Feedly in the effort to fill the hole left by Google’s soon-to-be-shuttered feed reader, which shuts down for good next Monday.

How to safely remove a USB drive even when Windows says it isn’t safe to do so – If you simply pull an external drive out of a running computer, you’re asking for trouble. You might lose files, crash applications, or even ruin everything on the computer. But removing it safely isn’t always as easy as it should be.

GIMP – The venerable open-source image editor with the goofy name updates to version 2.8.6, fixing an issue with saving to URIs and increasing the max size of brushes and patterns.

Sync two iPhones on one computer – Learn how to share a computer between two iOS devices while keeping your content separate and private.

Windows 8.1 is a winner, but PC sales will plummet, says Gartner – Microsoft is caught in the ultimate good news/bad news syndrome: Windows 8.1 will likely fix Windows 8’s woes, but PC sales will still take a nose dive. So says two recent Gartner reports, and they may well be right.

Security:

Fake Android antivirus app holds phones hostage for $100 – Like its annoying desktop cousins, Android Defender Platinum pretends to scan your device for malware. Inevitably, a slew of infections are found and you’re urged to pay for an activation key.

Cybercrooks target SMBs with new types of attacks – When a large company is attacked it is terrible. When a small company is attacked it is often a death knell.

Phishing attacks impacted 37.3 million users last year – Yahoo!, Google, Facebook and Amazon are top targets of malicious users. Online game services, online payment systems, and the websites of banks and other credit and financial organizations are also common targets, but also email services, social networks, online stores and auction venues, blogs, IT company websites, and telecom operator websites.

Raspberry Pi bot tracks hacker posts to vacuum up passwords and more – Password and credit-card details leak online every day. So no one really knows just how much personally identifiable information is available by clicking on the right link to Pastebin, Pastie, or similar sites. Using a platform that runs on the hobbyist Raspberry Pi platform to drink from this fire hose, a security researcher has cataloged more than 3,000 such posts in less than three months while adding scores more each week.

Company News:

Snapchat grabs $60M after worth valued at $800M – Investors are betting that the 2-year-old company, famous for disposable social-media moments, is here to stay.

BlackBerry launches BES 10 Secure Work Space for Android and iOS – Some companies require workers to use company cell phones reserved for business purposes only, which has pros and cons. Others allow employees to utilize their own device, which also presents its own pluses and minuses, the biggest draw being the mixture of personal and work information and apps. For the latter type of company, BlackBerry has created Secure Work Space, which allows devices on the network to be managed. Today that service has gone live for iOS and Android.

ZDNet introduces India edition, writers – Supported by a dedicated team of writers based in Bangalore and New Delhi, ZDNet adds India edition to its portfolio to provide news and insights for ZDNet readers–both local and global.

Sony and Disney trial online rentals while films are still in theaters – If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard of this magical movie watching experience, it’s because it is only being offered in South Korea. Django Unchained, Wreck-it Ralph, and Brave have been offered for early rental thus far.

Walmart lowers iPhone 4S price to $39, iPhone 5 to $129 – Until last week a 16GB iPhone 4S on contract (with AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon) purchased at Walmart stores cost you $90. That has now been reduced to just $39. If that handset is looking pretty ancient to you then there’s the 16GB iPhone 5 instead. It was $190, but Walmart has slashed the price down to $129 provided you sign up for a contract.

Microsoft invests nearly $700 million in Iowa data center to bolster online services – Microsoft is investing $678 million in the expansion of its data center in West Des Moines, Iowa, to bolster online offerings such as Xbox Live and Office 365.

Microsoft, Oracle join forces to stomp on cloud rivals – “Frenemies” Microsoft and Oracle just cemented a new partnership. Here’s what is really new and worth knowing about the alliance.

Webopedia Daily:

FaceTime – A video telephone / video chat service somewhat similar to Skype and Google Hangouts that makes it possible to conduct one-on-one video calls between newer Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac notebooks and desktops. Apple’s FaceTime service is free to use but does require an Apple ID and a Wi-Fi connection, although future versions of FaceTime may also work over 3G and/or 4G connections, and several apps are currently available that make FaceTime over a 3G connection possible on a jailbroken iPhone.

Games and Entertainment:

Play Pac-Man as a first-person horror game – The hungry ghosts of Pac-Man become a lot more frightening when you experience it like a first-person shooter game.

Age of Empires coming to iOS and Android: first of many Microsoft titles – This week the folks at Microsoft Studios have made their intentions with classic games from the golden age of PC gaming clear: it’s time to go mobile. The first title to be moving to both Apple’s mobile operating system iOS and Google’s Android will be the castle defense game Age of Empires.

What to expect from Battlefield 4′s Frostbite 3 engine – Regardless of your feelings toward shooters or Electronic Arts, Battlefield 4 has looked mighty impressive every time it’s been shown off. The E3 Microsoft Xbox One keynote may have tricked you into thinking BF4 was a first-person boat shooter, but this spotlight trailer for the Frostbite 3 engine shows you that, yes, while there is plenty of FPBS to go around, the game can handle much more than that.

The Silent Age Mysteriously Appears on Android – The Silent Age proceeds at a leisurely pace. If you’ve ever played the classic adventure game Out of this World, The Silent Age has a very similar vibe. Joe has to travel between his present and the future to solve the mystery and save everyone that will ever exist. The gameplay is as good as any point-and-click game on a mobile device.

‘Game of Thrones’ Tops List of Spring’s Most Pirated TV Shows – There were an estimated 5.2 million downloads of Game of Thrones via BitTorrent, but as TorrentFreak noted, that doesn’t cover online streaming and cyberlocker downloads, so actual pirate levels could be much higher. The show had about 5.5 million U.S. TV viewers during the season, which ran from March to June.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Rusty the red panda was lost and found on Twitter – While on the lam, the cute little panda bear sent the Twitter-sphere into a frenzy with trending hashtags and more than 65,000 mentions, which helped lead to his capture

NeverWet: What Kind of Strange, Sick and Wonderful Water-Repelling Voodoo Is This? – If you watch one video today, watch this video. You won’t be sorry.

Supermoon shots from across the globe (pictures) – From the Canary Islands to Finland to China, Crave readers and other luna-tics captured the full moon at perigee over the weekend.

Pink Floyd to Pandora: Shut up, you crazy cubic zirconium – In an open letter to Pandora, three members of the rock band decry the notion that they (or anyone) should accept an 85 percent reduction in royalties.

Medieval book in unknown language contains message – The Voynich Manuscript has eluded every attempt at deciphering. But new computerized statistical analysis suggests it has a genuine message and is not a hoax.

Woman sues doc for revealing her nose job on clinic site – A New York woman believes she is hurt to the degree of $23 million after her “before” and “after” images are used on her doctor’s Web site.

Reminder: You Can Learn Anything on the Internet – When developing countries get their hands on the profound power of having the Internet in their pocket, it will not transform how they work, play, and learn — it will revolutionize it.

Something to think about:

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain – and most fools do.”

–     Dale Carnegie

Today’s Free Downloads:

Free Video Call Recorder for Skype – Free Video Call Recorder for Skype is an absolutely free application for recording Skype calls without any limitations. It has a very simple interface. You just need to specify the mode you like, choose the output folder and press “Start”. If you don’t want to record some moments during the conversation, just click on “Pause”. In order to finish the record select “Stop”.

RarZilla Free Unrar 5.10 – RarZilla Free Unrar is a beautiful decompression tool for RAR-archives that supports spanned archives as well as the extraction of password protected files. Decompression can be started by drag ‘n’ drop, double click or shell integrated context menu. To speed the whole process up, RarZilla has the option to define a default output folder or a default password or both. RarZilla includes instructions in over 50 languages.

1 Comment

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Defeat Internet Browser Exploits With Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit

imageCybercriminals design malware to exploit vulnerable systems without user interaction being required – on the one hand, and craft attacks that take advantage of unaware (untrained) computer users, in which user interaction is required – on the other hand.

The second part, of this two part attack approach, can only be defeated if the computer user is aware of current Internet threats. So, knowledge and experience, are critical ingredients in the never ending and escalating battle against cybercriminals.

In order to defeat attacks which rely on exploiting vulnerable systems, the preferred method to do so is – the implementation of a layered security approach. Employing layered security should (I emphasize should), lead to the swift detection of malware, before any damage occurs on the targeted system.

Let’s talk real world:

Given existing technology, no single security application is capable of providing adequate computer system protection. Gaps exist in protection capabilities in even the most sophisticated security applications.

Layering (or stacking) security applications, offers the best chance of remaining infection free, by closing those gaps. Keep in mind however, that even the best layered protection strategy will not make up for the lack of experience, and intuitiveness, of many computer users.

So, stopping the bad guys from gaining a foothold has to be a primary objective of that layered defense strategy that I mentioned earlier. And, part of that strategy includes, raising barriers at the doorway to the system – the Internet browser.

The Modern Malware Review (March 2013), a statistical analysis performed by Palo Alto Networks which focused on malware that – “industry-leading antivirus products” failed to detect – noted a persistent trend.

From the report:

90% of unknown malware delivered via web-browsing

Given that the samples were captured by the firewall, we were able to identify the application that carried the malware. While web-browsing was found to be the leading source of malware both in terms of total malware as well as undetected malware, the application mix was very different between the two groups.

For example, SMTP accounted for 25% of the total malware, but only 2% of the fully undetected malware. Comparatively, web-browsing dominated both
categories, accounting for 68% of total malware, but over 90% of undetected samples. This clearly shows that unknown malware is disproportionally more likely to be delivered from the web as opposed to email.

Another brick in the wall:

Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit (formerly Zero Vulnerability Labs ExploitShield) – a free “install and forget” Internet browser security application (which I installed several days ago) – is designed to protect users from unknown “zero-day” vulnerability exploits aimed at Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera……..

As well, protection is also included for selected browser components – Java, Adobe Reader, Flash, and Shockwave. Added protection is incorporated for Microsoft Office components – Word, Excel, PowerPoint.

Fast facts:

Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit protects users where traditional security measures fail. It consists of an innovative patent-pending application shielding technology that prevents malicious exploits from compromising computers through software vulnerabilities.

Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit is free for home users and non-profit organizations. It includes all protections needed to prevent drive-by download targeted attacks originating from commercial exploit kits and other web-based exploits.

These type of attacks are used as common infection vectors for financial malware, ransomware, rogue antivirus and other types of nastiest not commonly detected by traditional blacklisting antivirus and security products.

Installation is a breeze and, on application launch, a simple and uncomplicated interface is presented.

image

Clicking on the “Shields” tab will provide you with a list of applications protected by Anti-Exploit – as shown below.

image

As a reminder that Anti-Exploit is up and running, a new Icon – as shown in the following screen shot, will appear in the system tray.

image

System requirements: Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

Download at: MajorGeeks

The good news: Each of us, in our own way, has been changed by the world of wonders that the Internet has brought to us. Twenty years on, and I’m still awestruck. I suspect that many of us will be thunderstruck by applications and projects yet to be released.

The bad news: The Internet has more than it’s fair share of criminals, scam and fraud artists, and worse. These lowlifes occupy a world that reeks of tainted search engine results, malware infected legitimate websites, drive-by downloads and bogus security software.

When travelling in this often dangerous territory, please be guided by the following: Stop – Think – Click. The bad guys – including the corrupted American government – really are out to get you.

The Modern Malware Review is a 20 page PDF file packed with data which provides a real-world perspective on malware and cybercrime. I recommend that you read it.

28 Comments

Filed under Browsers, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Free Anti-malware Software, Freeware, Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – June 24, 2013

British intelligence tapping fiber-optic cables for massive amounts of data – The intercepts have allowed GCHQ to scoop up and filter huge volumes of data, including email content, records of phone calls, Facebook entries and Internet browsing histories. “For the 2 billion users of the world wide web, Tempora represents a window on to their everyday lives, sucking up every form of communication from the fiber-optic cables that ring the world,” the Guardian noted.

Whistle-blower update: Snowden lands in Moscow; WikiLeaker’s Gmail searched – U.S. asks Hong Kong to extradite PRISM leaker Edward Snowden; Snowden departs Hong Kong for Moscow; a WikiLeaks volunteer had his Gmail account searched; and more.

In NSA spying scandal, EU vs US gloves are off – No longer is the EU standing for U.S. lobbying and policy pushing. The EU’s Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding is back in the trenches. The gloves are off, and she’s fighting back.

Anger mounts after Facebook’s ‘shadow profiles’ leak in bug – Facebook says it fixed a bug that exposed contact info for over six million accounts. The admission revealed its ‘shadow profile’ data collection activities, and users are furious.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Stop Paying for Texting with These Free Messaging Apps – Do you pay for text messaging? If you have a smartphone, you don’t have to. There are plenty of mobile messaging app alternatives that you can try at no cost. They work with different types of phones, your computer, and even communicate with your friends’ regular phones. Plus they work over Wi-Fi — great if you’re traveling internationally

7 Alternatives to Adobe Photoshop CC – Mad as hell about Adobe’s new subscription model? Check out these low-cost and free alternatives.

10 Sites You Have to Check Every Day – Just like a shower and a cup of coffee, these sites should be part of your morning ritual.

Photo confirms Windows 8.1 RTM in August, retail launch in October – A leaked photo appears to confirm that Windows 8.1 will reach the RTM milestone this August before hitting retail shelves in October. Yes, it’s just two more months until you can have your beloved Start Button back.

5 Reasons You Should Upgrade to Windows 8 – The verdicts in the tech press on Windows 8 have been mixed at best, but we offer some compelling reasons why you should make the upgrade, whether on a new or existing machine.

Strip away all of YouTube’s clutter with Cleanr – I don’t know about you, but whenever I visit YouTube these days, I want to scold it like a child: “Clean up your room!” Because, seriously, what a mess. Thankfully, there’s Cleanr, a browser extension that strips away all of YouTube’s clutter. Specifically, it cleans the page of everything but a large video window. Now you can focus on what you wanted: the video.

5 Chrome extensions for YouTube addicts – Spending a lot of time watching YouTube videos? Check out these five extensions that will make your viewing experience more pleasant.

Discover Android hardware and system info with CPU-Z – PC users who like to tinker with their Windows systems with things like overclocking use CPU-Z to get useful hardware and system data for their projects. The developers over at CPUID have now brought CPU-Z to the Android community. Whether you’ve rooted your Android device and are looking to overclock it or if you’re just curious about your hardware’s internals, CPU-Z can help.

Google quietly updates local search with an image carousel – It’s hard to keep track of new Google features. They can show up as Google trial balloon and surprise you one day. And then the next day poof they’re gone. But one big addition to Google search—introduced with little fanfare over the past couple days—has been a carousel of images served up when making local search requests.

6 Tools for Collecting Music in 2013 – Sean Adams from Drowned in Sound and DiS readers stepped in and shared a bunch of methods they use to deal with the problem of digital-age music collection. The list includes some great ideas, but we began our own hunt for the most efficient way to collect music. Here are some of the best bets we found so far:

3 apps for mobile language learning (roundup) – Want to make use of your free time by learning a new language? Check out these three apps that help get the job done.

Student sues after school uses Facebook bikini pic in seminar – A Georgia student is shocked that a photo she posted to Facebook is used by a school director of technology as an example of how what you post stays public forever. The student wants $2 million.

Why Americans should get mad about slow sites and apps – A survey suggests that when people encounter a slow Web site or a poorly performing mobile app, only 13 percent actually feel angry about it. This needs to change.

Security:

Device-disabling Fake AV migrates to Android phones, demands ransom – Enter Android Fakedefender, which researchers from antivirus provider Symantec recently discovered in several third-party Android app markets. The malicious app is still buggy and crude to say the least, but it nonetheless has the ability to create major headaches for smartphone users who install it.

Mozilla and Opera team up to build centralized block list for cookies – Mozilla and Opera are teaming up with Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society to build a centralized block and allow lists for browser cookies. It’s being called the Cookie Clearinghouse (CCH), and it could help users better protect their privacy on the Internet one day soon.

Why social networks draw scams (and how to avoid them) – Social media has changed the way we communicate and conduct business. We need to recognize that this change comes with risks; we must understand them and take action to mitigate our exposure to these risks. Here are three reasons why criminals see social media as great place to find victims.

Simple ways to enhance your Internet privacy – Fortify your browser, opt out of location tracking, and use a virtual private network to hide your IP address.

Company News:

Google has 35 days to delete private Street View data, or else – Today the UK government ordered Google to delete that data in short order, although there will not be a fine imposed, according to the BBC. The search company has to delete all the data within 35 days and notify UK regulators immediately if any more is found. The extra discs found last year were due to “procedural failings and a serious lack of management oversight,” the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found.

Apple notifies parents of in-app purchase settlement details – E-mail lets parents know how they can claim compensation for unauthorized use of in-app purchase in games and apps sold through the App Store.

Google Waze grab gets FTC interest: Investigation tipped – Google’s acquisition of Waze, the social-powered mapping app, has prompted US Federal Trade Commission interest in the deal and the possibility of a full investigation, it’s been revealed. The search giant confirmed that it had been contacted by the FTC to Bloomberg, after rumors over the past few days that the reportedly $1.1bn purchase of the Israeli company could prompt more regulatory headaches than Google expected.

iPhone users are brain-dead zombies, says new Nokia ad – In its latest attempt to paint those who have an iPhone as retrograde, Nokia offers that its camera doesn’t need to use flash, while the iZombie camera pales by comparison.

Michael Dell’s rationale behind going private – In a presentation for shareholders, the Dell founder documents why he believes going private is the only way forward.

Webopedia Daily:

Vishing – The telephone equivalent of phishing. Vishing is the act of using the telephone in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. The scammer usually pretends to be a legitimate business, and fools the victim into thinking he or she will profit.

Games and Entertainment:

Four summer blockbuster games that don’t suck – It’s not uncommon for a mobile game based on a big-budget movie to be a complete waste of time. Here are four (on Android and iOS) that might not be.

Solstice Arena brings competitive MOBA gaming to mobile devices – Can the fast-paced MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) genre make the transition to touchscreen devices? Zynga’s Solstice Arena aims to find out. The game was recently released onto iOS devices, and is a free-to-play take on the popular genre.

The $300 question: Is Nvidia’s Shield worth it? – This gaming handheld just got $50 cheaper, but is that enough? We debate the math.

Verizon’s Droid Combat game is great MMO fun – As with previous Droid campaigns, there’s a game to go along with the new Droid countdown. Unlike previous attempts, however, this new game is actually good. At the very least, it’s good enough to give it a try.

Trailer Released for Kutcher’s Steve Jobs Biopic – The first full-length trailer for the Steve Jobs biopic debuted today, providing a longer look at Ashton Kutcher as the enigmatic Apple co-founder.

Off Topic (Sort of):

How to run your own NSA spy program – The ideas behind the NSA’s spy program are built into a wide variety of tools available to everybody. Mike Elgan walks you through the steps for building your very own PRISM-like program. Parallax is empowering a wave of DIY robotics, from flying quadcopters to programmable robots.

Unheard music to be broadcast for 24 hours in remote Scottish forest – At the end of August, an FM transmitter will be set up in the middle of the Galloway Forest to broadcast music from dozens of artists over the course of 24 hours. Those who want to hear it will have to head to the forest. There will be no repeats, and the files will be deleted after they are played.

1,556 Instagram pics create stop-motion animation – Instagram may now have video, but stitched-together photos are far more fun to watch. This zany short is perfect for summer’s start.

Kids are taking over as the family CTO, survey reveals – A study from Optus revealed Australia’s moms and dads now have to wait in line for their children’s cast-offs when it comes to technology like old mobile phones and tablets. Optus surveyed 1256 parents of children aged 12 to 30 years, distributed throughout Australia. By waiting for their children’s “hand-me ups,” parents are fast being knocked off their pedestal as the family tech expert.

Talk to the hand: No, really, it’s a glove phone – A British designer develops a glove that works like a phone. Yes, you talk into the pinkie. Why didn’t Google think of this?

Skunk Works: 70 years of cutting-edge aircraft – In June 1943, Lockheed made a bold pitch to the U.S. Army that it could build a jet fighter, and build it fast. Since then, the Skunk Works has conjured up the U-2, the SR-71, the F-117, and more, and it’s still going strong.

Something to think about:

I hope that while so many people are out smelling the flowers, someone is taking the time to plant some.”

–      Herbert Rappaport

Today’s Free Downloads:

CPU-Z 1.64 – CPU-Z is a freeware that gathers information on some of the main devices of your system.

Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit Beta – Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit is a handy and reliable application designed to scan, detect and clean malicious rootkits that reside on your computer.

4 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – June 21, 2013

Provisions under which NSA can collect, retain data on U.S. residents revealed – Two secret documents describing the procedures the National Security Agency (NSA) is required to follow when spying on foreign terror suspects reveal the provisions that allow the agency to collect, retain and use information on U.S residents without a warrant, The Guardian newspaper reported today.

Best Frenemies Forever: Why the U.S. Government Courts Hackers – Even as officials criticize Snowden, they’re encouraging programmers with similar skill sets

MalwareBytes Anti-Exploit (Beta) – MalwareBytes Anti-Exploit is an anti-malware tool based on the former product ExploitShield from ZeroVulnerability, which was acquired by MalwareBytes. It is designed to protect users from unknown “zero-day” vulnerability exploits, It protects all major browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Opera) and all browser components such as Java, Adobe Reader, Flash, and Shockwave. It blocks standard exploit kits like Blackhole, Sakura, Phoenix, Incognito without requiring signature updates.

Use of Tor and e-mail crypto could increase chances that NSA keeps your data – Using online anonymity services such as Tor or sending encrypted e-mail and instant messages are grounds for US-based communications to be retained by the National Security Agency even when they’re collected inadvertently, according to a secret government document published Thursday.

Warning: Cover Up Your Webcam When Not in Use – The BBC has uncovered an entire industry centering on the buying and selling of access to compromised webcams, especially those owned by women. (Better yet – unplug the camera when not in use.)

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

How to child-proof the Internet – Though we can’t make the Internet itself kid-safe, we can at least make its darker crevices harder to access. Setting up parental controls and content filtering on computers, tablets, smartphones, and other gadgets is easy. More important, these precautions empower your devices to protect kids from digital dangers when you aren’t around to supervise.

Get started with Instagram video – The rumors were true; Instagram Video is now a thing. Here’s how to publish your own 15-second video mashup.

10 great Android apps you should be using, but aren’t – Finding high-quality Android apps in the Google Play Store can be challenging—what with 700,000 or so titles to choose from. Let us help. Here are ten apps that you may not have stumbled across yet, all of which have impressed us in some way. While these gems may not change your life, they just might make your day a little easier or a little more fun.

Adblock Plus finally comes to Internet Explorer – Internet Explorer now has a version of Adblock Plus to call its own, as developer Wladimir Palant has finally made enough progress to share unstable builds with early adopters.

Tweak your browser to show YouTube song lyrics – YouTube makes a great jukebox, whether you use it to stream an entire playlist of songs from your favorite artist or just listen to the occasional modern hit. Ah, but what if you want to sing along? Or just figure out what the heck that line is in a song’s chorus? (Surely it’s not, “Should I give up, or should I just keep chasing penguins”?) YouTube Lyrics by Rob W is a browser add-on that automatically looks up and displays song lyrics. And it works with not only YouTube, but also Grooveshark and Spotify.

Pakistan uses Canadian company Netsweeper to monitor, censor Internet: Study – A Toronto research group has found evidence that a Canadian firm is providing Internet surveillance and censorship technology to Pakistan. The revelation that a Canadian firm is helping Pakistan censor the Internet comes amid growing scrutiny for issues including privacy and censorship on the Internet, following the revelation that the U.S. National Security Agency covertly collects private information from Internet users around the world.

India sets up program for telecoms surveillance – Following the recent report about the NSA’s Prism program, the Indian government has launched a similar surveillance program for its own security agencies in the country.

Security:

Five essential security measures to protect your business—no matter its size – Paranoia—in small doses—is an excellent preventive medicine. If you think your business is too small to be a target for hackers, identity thieves, and similarly unsavory characters, you’re dangerously underestimating the value of your business. IT security might seem to be a daunting prospect for a small business without an expert staff, a large budget, or expensive consultants, but you can take a number of easily implemented measures to lock down the personal computers your business relies on. Here are five simple security tips you should implement today.

Subscription-only Photoshop CC cracked in under 24 hours – Part of Adobe’s thinking behind switching to subscription software is it will cut down on piracy of its products. A server connection is required to verify legal copies on a regular basis, but that’s not a 100% guarantee illegal copies of the software won’t appear. Proof of that comes in the form of a cracked version of Photoshop CC, which appeared less than 24 hours after the subscriptions went live.

LinkedIn outage prompts security concerns – LinkedIn’s domain name was temporarily redirected to a third-party server Thursday, which resulted in a service outage and potentially put user accounts at risk of compromise. From a technical standpoint, the incident could have security implications for LinkedIn users, according to Bogdan Botezatu, a senior e-threat analyst at security vendor Bitdefender.

LinkedIn just one of thousands of sites hit by DNS issue: Cisco – Although LinkedIn bore the brunt of attention over a DNS issue that saw it drop off the web for hours, Cisco believes that almost 5,000 other sites were also affected.

Pirate Bay cofounder gets two years in prison for IT firm hack – As his defense attorney expected, a Swedish court has found Gottfrid “anakata” Svartholm Warg guilty of “invasion of Nordea’s mainframe,” aggravated fraud, and attempted aggravated fraud. He was sentenced (Swedish) to two years in prison.

Botnets now target enterprise apps – Instead of being used as spam during DDoS attacks, botnets are now used to bring down enterprise apps, leaving the more connected countries more vulnerable, according to Barracuda Networks.

Company News:

Google facing privacy probe from Spanish data watchdogs – Authorities in Spain have joined French and Italian counterparts in taking legal action against Google over its data collection practices.

After closing arguments, Apple’s fate in e-book antitrust case goes to judge – “Word games,” an “overreaching narrative” and a “case of inferences” were a few choice phrases used by attorney Orin Snyder Thursday in closing arguments for Apple in the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust, ebooks price fixing case against the tech giant.

Foxconn to hire 3000 to support Firefox OS and software development – Electronics manufacturer Foxconn Technology Group is putting yet more effort behind Mozilla’s Firefox OS, and plans to hire up to 3000 people in Taiwan with expertise in HTML5 and cloud computing.

Yahoo tells security critics to chillax regarding its email recycling program – So much for trying to be nice. Yahoo’s latest bid to lift itself from the tech also-ran swamp with an email recycling initiative has been criticized for potential security threats to dormant users. To try and calm down the pitchfork-wielding crowd, the company has released a statement describing various security measures that will be taken to insure past users’ data and security—but they may not cover all the bases.

Nvidia slashes the price of its Shield gaming handheld to $300 ahead of launch – If you pledged to plunk down $350 for Nvidia’s nifty new Shield when it opened to preorders back in May, the company has a somewhat surprising present for you: A discount. Today, Nvidia announced that it’s slashing the price of its portable gaming handheld to $300.

Webopedia Daily:

Intel Haswell – Haswell is the codename for Intel’s processor microarchitecture that serves as the successor to the Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge architectures. Like Ivy Bridge, Haswell utilizes a 22nm (nanometer) die shrink fabrication process, and it serves as the “tock” in Intel’s alternating tick-tock model of releasing new processor families. The “tick” to Haswell, codenamed Broadwell, will be fabricated on a 14nm die shrink.

Games and Entertainment:

Don’t install PS3 firmware update 4.45, it may brick your console – Sony has just released a new firmware update for the PS3 with version number 4.45. It’s actually a very minor update, with the main functionality change being the ability to turn off trophy notifications when playing a game. The advise right now is not to install the firmware update, though. The reason being it is locking up systems rendering them unusable.

Frozen Synapse Brings Intense Strategy to Android – It can be unforgiving at times, but this game will test your wits with turn-based strategy the likes of which you’ve never seen on a mobile device.

The new Xbox One: What we lost and why it matters – In a spectacular display of spineless retreat, Microsoft pulled their entire digital system for the Xbox One and announced that everything would work exactly like Xbox 360.

Cracked: 5 Things Video Games Do Better Than Any Other Forms of Art – Whoa, whoa — video games are an art form now? Well, here’s the thing: The first rule of art is “art is subjective,” and the second rule of art is “ART IS SUBJECTIVE” (the third rule: “If this is your first day at art club, you have to art”), and thus the tiresome argument that video games aren’t art is rather moot indeed. Oh, and video games are an output of drawings, writing, and music put together by skilled humans in a manner designed to entertain/enliven, so there’s that, too.

Rovio-Backed ‘Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage’ Hits App Store – Angry Birds maker Rovio on Thursday announced that Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage, the first title under its new Rovio Stars third-party publishing initiative, is now available for download on iOS devices in the App Store.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Google Glass could be the next iPhone? – A new Forrester report shows that 12 percent of the U.S. population is willing to wear the augmented reality eyeglasses on an everyday basis.

Crowd-sourced database seeks to catalog every tree in Britain – Treezilla was launched by The Open University and partners on 14 June 2013 as a way to quantify the positive impact trees have on the environment. The goal is to catalog every tree in Britain to assist with studies on tree disease, deforestation, and global warming. The pitch is citizen science, but local governments and groups are also encouraged to upload data en masse.

Cracked: 5 Things Everyone Hates (Science Says You Secretly Enjoy) – Let’s face it: Humans like to whine. And not just about serious stuff, like our faltering Internet connections or our favorite shows being delayed for stupid news bulletins about stupid hurricanes. We’re talking about really petty stuff, like IKEA furniture and office meetings. Even more pathetic? Science has discovered that we’ve been frontin’ the whole time. Some of the very things we love to complain about are things we actually secretly enjoy. Things like …

Interactive Map Visualizes the Smartphone Wars – Custom mapmaker MapBox built a stunning map out of 3 billion geotagged tweets, showcasing the popularity of Apple, Android, and Blackberry phones around the globe

Lawmakers move to block black box recorders in cars, DVR snooping – Privacy issues are bubbling up in Congress, where lawmakers are pushing bills to give car owners control over data collected by black box-style recorders on their vehicles and more control over viewer tracking by DVRs at home.

Aaron’s Law would revamp computer fraud penalties – Two U.S. lawmakers have introduced a bill that would prevent the Department of Justice from prosecuting people for violating terms of service for Web-based products, website notices or employment agreements under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).

Something to think about:

I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

–     Thomas Jefferson

Today’s Free Downloads:

Microsoft Sysinternals Suite June 20, 2013 – The Sysinternals Troubleshooting Utilities have been packaged into a single Suite of tools. This file contains the individual troubleshooting tools and help files. It does not contain non-troubleshooting tools like the BSOD Screen Saver or NotMyFault.

Microsoft Zoom It 4.5 – ZoomIt is screen zoom and annotation tool for technical presentations that include application demonstrations. ZoomIt runs unobtrusively in the tray and activates with customizable hotkeys to zoom in on an area of the screen, move around while zoomed, and draw on the zoomed image. I wrote ZoomIt to fit my specific needs and use it in all my presentations. ZoomIt works on all versions of Windows and you can use pen input for ZoomIt drawing on tablet PCs.

Microsoft Autoruns 11.6.1 – This utility, which has the most comprehensive knowledge of auto-starting locations of any startup monitor, shows you what programs are configured to run during system bootup or login, and shows you the entries in the order Windows processes them. These programs include ones in your startup folder, Run, RunOnce, and other Registry keys.

6 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News