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


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 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.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – June 28, 2013

  1. delenn13

    WTF? “network hygiene” ? Means….wash your hands after or before you upload? Or download…? I am just so confused!

    • Hey Delenn13,

      LOL!! Me too. I’m so confused that this summer, I’ve decided to take Friday through Monday off. Hopefully, I’ll be less confused come Monday mornings – maybe. 🙂