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

3 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – June 26, 2013

  1. Amazing,
    Snowden is being hunted as a traitor yet, without his exposure of all the extensive spying the government was/is doing, the bill currently being introduced (FISA Accountability and Privacy Protection Act of 2013) would never have seen the light of day.
    I’m still trying to figure out who is the real traitor in all of this?

    • Hi Bob,

      How someone who has risked his life (not farfetched), in exposing clear violations of the U.S. Constitution (coupled with a total disregard for the rights of non-Americans), is now saddled with the appellation – Traitor – defines the reality of just how out of touch the U.S. government is. The rest of the world sees this man for what he is – a hero.

      Best,

      Bill