Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – June 10, 2013

How to protect your PC from PRISM surveillance – The PRISM disclosure is worrying and deeply shocking. If the report is accurate, the government may simply listen in on virtually any electronic communication you’ve made, in the interests of national security. Is this something that should be encouraged to fight domestic terrorism, or is this sort of government intrusion something that should be deeply distrusted? For the purposes of this story, we’re going to err on the side of the latter; whether you take advantage of our advice is up to you.

Parsing PRISM denials: How could everyone possibly be telling the truth? – The world still doesn’t know exactly how PRISM works, if the technology companies implicated in the program are issuing earnest denials, or if media outlets originally misinterpreted NSA documents. But piece by piece, relevant information is falling into place.

After PRISM, ‘Boundless Informant’ tool comes to light – Meet the U.S. National Security Agency’s global intelligence tracking tool, Boundless Informant, the latest intelligence secret exposed by leaked information.

Conservative activist files lawsuit over NSA surveillance – Larry Klayman, the founder of watchdog websites Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch and a former DOJ prosecutor, filed the lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, he said in a statement on the Freedom Watch site. Also named as defendants in the lawsuit are U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, NSA Director Keith Alexander, Verizon, and Roger Vinson, the judge who signed the order allowing the surveillance.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Simple Ways to Make Anonymous Phone Calls, Secure Your Data – If the revelation that Verizon (and perhaps other telecoms) is handing over customer call records to the federal government has you scrambling for your tinfoil hat (don’t try this at home; it doesn’t work), there are much more effective ways to make sure those government spies have no idea who you are calling and to keep snoops out of your personal files.

Here, there, everywhere: 3 personal cloud storage systems – If you don’t want to store your important files on Dropbox or Box for security or other reasons, you can create your own cloud storage system.

How the NSA, and your boss, can intercept and break SSL – Most people believe that SSL is the gold-standard of Internet security. It is good, but SSL communications can be intercepted and broken. Here’s how.

Top 10 banned apps on BYOD devices – One restriction that companies can place on you is what you can – and can’t – install on your BYOD smartphone or tablet.

The laughable innocence of Facebook and Google (and us) – Isn’t there something a touch hypocritical about people complaining that Google, Facebook, and other companies complied with government data requests? Isn’t this the very world we, the public, helped create?

Upgrade your laptop’s Wi-Fi card – Memory and storage are frequently upgraded on laptop computers for better performance. Upgrading your Wi-Fi card can have a big impact on performance as well.

Will laws soon stop you from filming your neighbors? – With the topical focus on one human spying on another, authorities in the U.K. believe new laws may be necessary to prevent people from filming their neighbors using their CCTV security systems.

Apps for Making Healthy Food Choices – There are plenty of great free apps that can help you whip your diet into shape and cut out foods you may not even realize are dangerously unhealthy.

A 46-inch multitouch coffee table computer ties your living room together – Certainly able to provide more entertainment than any coffee table book, the Platform 46 coffee table sports 60 touch points, and is free of the constraints of a bezel. Underneath the hood lies a Core i7 3770s processor, clocking in at 3.1GHz, an obvious 8GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive. The table also features Intel’s WiDi technology, which allows you to wirelessly beam the table’s contents to an HDMI-compatible display, though you will need a WiDi receiver.

10 things about Bitcoin every consumer should know – Bitcoin’s trajectory over the past few years is nothing short of impressive. A peer-to-peer alternative currency whose creator remains anonymous five years later, Bitcoin sounds like something out of a science fiction novel. However, Bitcoin has paid off for many of its early adopters, and is moving too quickly to be ignored.


Android security is sadly lacking, researchers reveal – Android smartphones and tablets are under attack, and the most popular tools developed to protect them are easily circumvented, according to new research from Northwestern University and the University of North Carolina.

New Android Trojan app exploits previously unknown flaws – A newly discovered Trojan program exploits previously unknown flaws in Android and borrows techniques from Windows malware in order to evade detection and achieve persistence on infected devices. Security researchers from antivirus firm Kaspersky Lab named the new malicious application Backdoor.AndroidOS.Obad.a and labeled it the most sophisticated Android Trojan program to date.

Shut Down Your PC: Citadel Crooks Are Still At Large – Your computer is being pounded all day and night with Internet-based requests to determine if you have a certain FTP program running or have been infected with any number of old and new malware subsystems. Programs poke at all your ports to see what is going on and what might be open for an attack. This bombardment alone is good reason to shut down your machine at night.

Data breaches caused mostly by negligence and glitches, study finds – Almost two-thirds of data breaches in 2012 could be attributed to negligence or human error (35 percent) and system glitches (29 percent), reported the eighth annual Ponemon Global Cost of a Data Breach study.

Botnets duck detection via P2P services, security firm says – Several of the Internet’s most dangerous malware threats are now routinely using peer-to-peer (P2P) command and control in an effort to evade the detection and shutdown that has affected many conventional botnets, security firm Damballa said.

Company News:

Intel TV said yet to secure content despite offering 75% cable premium – The combination live and on-demand TV service is expected to launch this year, according to Intel, but insiders familiar with the ongoing content owner negotiations tell Reuters that no programming has actually been settled upon at this stage.

Google, Cisco to pay TiVo in patent settlement – Cisco Systems and Google will give digital-video-recorder pioneer TiVo lump-sum payments totaling $490 million as part of a deal that will end the companies’ litigation over patents for set-top technology.

Google appears close to buying Waze for $1B – Google is close to a deal to acquire Waze, maker of the eponymous crowdsourced mapping app, for at least $1 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal and others. The potential deal was first reported by Israeli business site Globes which said it would be worth $1.3 billion, citing sources.

Snapchat Close to Raising $100M in Funding, Possible $1B Valuation – New rumors hitting the airwaves over the past few days suggest that Snapchat is on the cusp of receiving a new $100 million investment from undisclosed investors. The funding boost also allegedly comes with a valuation “in excess of half a billion dollars,” reports Gigaom’s Om Malik.

Webopedia Daily:

Apple iWatch – The Apple iWatch is a rumored smartwatch project that operates as a small “wearable computing” smartphone-type device that’s worn on a user’s wrist. Rumors of the device are still extremely speculative, as Apple has not publicly announced a release date for the iWatch or even plans to develop it. The iWatch is expected to be a wristwatch made of curved glass, possibly Willow Glass from Corning, that pairs, or connects, with another Apple iOS device like the iPhone or iPad to push iWatch-specific content to the device.

Games and Entertainment:

How Important Is Buying Used Games? – Games are expensive. And with an economy that’s still not exactly recovering at the most rapid speed, spending a considerable amount of cash on a title just doesn’t make sense for some folks – especially when it comes time to pay the bills and ensure that the lights are on and food is on the table.

Shock and awe: Faces of people trying Oculus Rift – If you think virtual-reality headsets are a joke, check out just how real the immersive Oculus Rift seems to these people.

Gamepop one-ups Ouya with ability to play iOS games – Both Ouya and GamePop will be able to play hundreds of popular Android games when they launch. GamePop, however, will also be able to play some iOS exclusives — because Bluestacks figured out how to make App Store games run on its console, too.

Raspberry Pi gets Ben Heck’d into portable gaming unit – In case you haven’t heard, Ben Heck makes cool stuff, and he has his own show. His creations span a range of devices, with his works including everything from an Xbox 360 laptop to a custom toilet illuminator. As such, it isn’t surprising that he’s taken to the Raspberry Pi, turning it into a nifty little portable gaming console. What’s better, we get to watch the process from start to finish.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Try The McGurk Effect! Is Seeing Believing? – In the clip, you see (and hear) a guy saying “bah bah bah” over and over. Afterward, he changes his tune to “fah fah fah” … or so your eyes would have you believe. In reality, the audio never changed, only the picture did. That is, the voice is still saying “bah,” but since it’s now dubbed over a picture of the same guy pronouncing “fah,” your brain actually changes what you’re hearing so that it doesn’t conflict with what you’re seeing. If you close your eyes or look away, “fah” automatically goes back to being “bah.”

Brilliant special effect shocks men in bar bathroom – In order to shock people into understanding the consequences of drunk-driving, a fake mirror is installed in a bar bathroom and a mannequin smashes his head into it, in front of stunned hand-washers.

Wireless bionic eye being developed at university – Australia’s Monash University is developing a new bionic eye that uses seminal wireless technology to communicate with a processor that sits inside the brain, allowing blind people to discern shapes through a series of mapping dots when they put on a pair of sunglasses.

Prosecutor poses as accused killer’s ex-girlfriend on Facebook, fired – An Ohio prosecutor believes that he must break two witnesses’ alibis in a murder case. He goes on Facebook, pretends to be the accused’s ex-girlfriend and tries to contact the witnesses. His bosses aren’t impressed.

Code Wars: PHP vs Ruby vs Python – Ah, when programmers collide, or just compare notes, or just hang out. Because they don’t like to fight. Or do war. They don’t look good mud wrestling either so, that’s out. Maybe a really cool infographic will settle things, once and for all.

Today’s Quote:

A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them.”

–      P. J. O’Rourke

Today’s Free Downloads:

VLC media player 2.0.7 – VLC media player is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, …) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It can also be used as a server to stream in unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network. It doesn’t need any external codec or program to work.

Digital Home Server – The Digital Home Server (DHS) is a FREE home automation and multimedia application which is easy to use, and aimed at non-technical users.DHS is actually a graphical framework with a number of applications. Some applications are small and can be dragged around the screen, others are full screen. The purpose of DHS is to be a home server.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

12 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – June 10, 2013

  1. delenn13

    Hi Bill,

    We went on a “trial run” camping trip this past weekend to test the waters for our new tent trailer. Went rather well.

    Got this from BDJ….This is a great deal for Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Pro. I got mine a couple of years ago.

    Malwarebytes Anti-Malware PRO Lifetime License (PC) 40% Discount Coupon Code

    While the free version includes all of the powerful anti-malware heuristics and algorithms, a registered license unlocks several important features, specifically: real-time protection, scheduled scanning, and scheduled updating.

    Here is something I got in my email that could be troubling..Any one else noticed this?

    We’ve recently become aware that Malwarebytes no longer detects at least two of the most ubiquitous malware products (politely known to us as PUPs — Potentially Unwanted Programs), those two being Ask Toolbar and Conduit.

    What’s going on with Malwarebytes?

    • Hey Delenn13,

      Super! Happy camping! 🙂

      Good news on the Malwarebytes front. Great deal!

      Let me call bullshit on “What’s going on with Malwarebytes?



  2. delenn13

    Here is some food for thought…. Want to play a game?

    Xbox One: A Space Odyssey (Parody) – YouTube

  3. Dave B.

    Just to chime in here, I don’t believe Malwarebytes has ever detected or marked the Ask toolbar for removal, and I’ve been using it for years. Also had it detect the conduit bar as early as last week.

    • Hey Dave,

      As you know, unless Malwarebytes is prompted to “show (PUPS)in removal list and check for removal” it ain’t happening since the app is initially set up to “Show in results list and do not check for removal.”

      Glad you chimed in on this. 🙂



      • Dave B.

        Yup, and I believe “show in results” is enabled by default. The ask bar is no more malicious than the google or bing bar AFAIK, it’s just more aggressive at getting itself installed, and I prefer to remove such things via control panel before running any scans anyway.

      • delenn13

        Thanks, Bill and Dave.

        That is why I asked…Knew I would get an answer. 🙂

  4. Prism – PRivacy IS Mute or, there is no privacy. Without privacy, there also is no freedom. We originally went to war because of unfair taxation. Now the IRS denies the rights of certain political beliefs and your right to privacy is taken away in the guise of national security.
    Am I the only person who thinks that Democracy is quickly disappearing for the good of the nation that prides itself in everyone’s right to life liberty and the pursuit of happyness?

    • Hi Bob,

      Nope – there is major concern worldwide regarding the U.S. government hacks. Much more so, I might add, than in the U.S. Make of that, what you will.



  5. delenn13

    Hi Bill and Bob,

    Ditto here. Looks like the White Hats are outnumbered by the Black Hats.