Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 1, 2013

Here’s what an eavesdropper sees when you use an unsecured Wi-Fi hotspot – You’ve probably read at least one story with warnings about using unsecure public Wi-Fi hotspots, so you know that eavesdroppers can capture information traveling over those networks. But nothing gets the point across as effectively as seeing the snooping in action. So I parked myself at my local coffee shop the other day to soak up the airwaves and see what I could see.

New slides reveal greater detail about PRISM program – Slides published by The Washington Post appear to confirm that the NSA and FBI have the ability to perform real-time surveillance of e-mail and stored content.

NSA faces potential German PRISM investigation after EU bugging claims – International tensions over the NSA’s PRISM monitoring program continue to grow, with federal prosecutors in Germany revealing they are ramping up for a potential investigation into whether the US government has broken German law. Meanwhile, at least one criminal complaint has been filed in Germany, in Hesse last week, with the Federal Prosecutors’ Office warning that more were likely.

Five reasons Windows 8.1 is a winner – Windows 8.1 has gone a long way towards fixing some but certainly not all of Windows 8’s woes. Here are five ways Windows 8.1 improves upon Windows 8.

Windows 8.1: How to Upgrade – Windows 8.1 is here, with loads of improvements and new features: Here’s how to get it.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

8 apps to keep your car rolling – Today’s apps have the ability to streamline and simplify much of what we do in our car, from where we get gas and how much we pay for it to which route we take to work every day. There are even apps that can warn you of a potential collision or analyze your car’s computer and help you complete simple fixes on your own. These mobile apps can help you maintain your car, save money on gas, avoid an accident — or help if you have one.

Xbox Music web player launches – Xbox Music has arrived on the web, with Microsoft launching the promised online music player today. Joining the existing Xbox Music apps for Windows Phone, Windows, and Xbox 360, the new web player supports synchronized playlists across each platform, with access for Xbox Music Pass subscribers and, albeit only for a 30 day trial, free listeners.

Netflix just hired Clippy to give you movie and TV suggestions – In what looks, sounds, and is written like a rated-G April Fools’ joke, Netflix has announced Max, a recommendation engine that sits on top of Netflix’s already established recommendation services, except with a “personality.” Essentially, Netflix has brought the infamous Microsoft Office tutorial mascot, Clippy, back from his spreadsheet grave.

Security:

Ransom app locks Android smartphones, Symantec says – It was only a matter of time before it happened and now it has—ransom malware has successfully made the jump from the PC world where it torments millions of Windows users to the mobile world, where it has similar designs on Android. Dubbed “Fakedefender” by security firm Symantec, which documented it in early June, the English language version is a sort of cross between the standard fake antivirus scam with a ransomware sting if the user refuses to pay.

Malware-like program lets your Android phone spy on you – The Security Labs of Kindsight, a part of Alcatel-Lucent, has built a proof-of-concept program capable of tracking the user’s location, intercepting messages, recording conversations, and taking pictures. “Effectively, it turns the Android device into a spy phone,” Kevin McNamee, lab director for Kindsight, said Friday. McNamee plans to present the espionage tool at the Black Hat USA conference next month.

How we sabotage our own privacy for deals and ego – There’s a select few of my friends who are really serious about their privacy. Despite being tech-savvy and computer literate, they are consciously trying to stay out of the world that many of them are creating. And this kind of rather extreme self-protection is understandable: They, better than most, know how easily privacy is lost and how, once lost, it can’t be regained. That said, in the 21st Century, is trying to stay off the radar really possible?

Facebook’s recent leak offers a lesson for users who share – A Facebook bug that accidentally shared information on people’s contact lists with others on the social network highlights the precariousness of privacy in the digital world.

Spammers show they give a fig about Instagram, launch fruit-based attack – The photo-sharing network gets hit by an unusually colorful spam attack, as pictures of fruit flood users’ streams.

CSA’s Newest Working Group Releases First White Paper on Conducting Forensic Investigation in Cloud Environments – This inaugural whitepaper will help researchers, data governance experts, and forensic practitioners define standardized processes for conducting forensic investigations, electronic discovery (eDiscovery), and other critical aspects of security that are inherent in a multi-tenant, highly virtualized environment. The comprehensive white paper covers topics such as Forensic Requirements for CSPs, a detailed analysis of ISO 27037 — an international standard that seeks to create a common baseline for the practice of digital forensics — and explores how this standard should be mapped to the cloud.

Anatomy of a browser trick – you’ve heard of “clickjacking”, now meet “keyjacking” – An Italian security researcher has rediscovered a trick known as “user interface redressing” and used it to detail some potentially risky behaviour in IE 8. Paul Ducklin takes a look to see just how dangerous keyjacking can be..

Company News:

BlackBerry backtracks, won’t release BB10 PlayBook update after all – The Verge also reports that the company won’t be shipping a BlackBerry 10 update for its PlayBook tablet despite having promised to do so back in January at the BlackBerry 10 launch event. This is perhaps unsurprising given that the company shipped only 100,000 of them in the quarter. The hardware is also getting long in the tooth (it’s over two years old at this point). It still doesn’t look great for your company if you can’t keep the promises you make to your customers, though.

Yahoo kills a dozen more products to sharpen its focus – Yahoo is slimming itself down again by axing 12 of its products, part of an ongoing effort to sharpen its focus on services it thinks people need in their daily lives. The list includes AltaVista, the granddaddy of search engines, and Yahoo RSS Alerts. The other products, including Yahoo Axis, Citizen Sports and Yahoo Browser Plus, are less well known.

Nokia buys out Siemens from Nokia Siemens Networks LTE venture – Nokia will buy out Siemens AG from the Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) joint venture, paying €1.7bn ($2.2bn) to take full control of the network infrastructure specialist.

Samsung’s Apple obsession must change as Sony grabs apathetic upgraders – Samsung devices now make up almost half of all smartphones sold in Europe, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech figures, the Telegraph reports, but Sony’s Xperia Z mounted a surprise attack of sorts, with a significant percentage of Samsung Galaxy S II owners opting to upgrade to Sony’s flagship in the UK, rather than the Galaxy S 4.

Webopedia Daily:

Bluetooth 4.0 – A new version of the Bluetooth wireless device-to-device technology that offers significantly lower power consumption than previous versions. Also referred to as Bluetooth Low Energy, Bluetooth 4.0 achieves its reduced power consumption by enabling devices to remain paired, or connected to each other, without requiring a continual stream of data to be transferred between the devices.

Games and Entertainment:

What The Last of Us asks of us – It has been about two weeks since Naughty Dog released The Last of Us for the PS3 to overwhelmingly positive critical reception. The Last of Us asks more from you than a standard video game does, though, and the way you respond will not only determine your view of the game, but possibly your view of the entire medium.

Artist mistakenly added working phone sex numbers to The Last of Us – It has been discovered that The Last of Us contains references to a couple of real-world phone sex numbers. The discovery was made and reported to Kotaku, who did the only thing they could and tried phoning the numbers. Sure enough, they ended up connected to a phone sex line.

The Nexus Sites – The Nexus Sites are a large network of community driven websites that support the free and open sharing of video game mods and downloadable content in a welcoming environment. Our focus is on providing simple yet powerful tools that make sharing game mods a pain-free and enjoyable experience, so our users can get on with doing what they enjoy most; making, browsing and playing mods and their games.

The 25 Best Songs of 2013 (So Far) – Our list includes everything from hip-hop anthems to tear-jerking ballads and synth-pop sing-alongs perfect for driving around with the windows down. There are contributions from seasoned veterans as well as brand-new talent — all stepping up, with toe-tapping, head bobbing results.

Family matters: avenge your ancestors in Rogue Legacy – Rogue Legacy is a bit of a platformer, a bit of an RPG, and the best kind of frustrating. It’s rather generous as far as roguelikes go—developer Cellar Door Games calls it a “rogue-lite”—so death is merely the beginning. As you explore the castle that serves as the first of the game’s five zones, you’ll find treasure, defeat monsters, and die over and over and over again.

Why retail console games have never been cheaper, historically – Or: Why the 16-bit era was the most expensive time to be a console gamer.

Off Topic (Sort of):

How a 30-year-old lawyer exposed NSA mass surveillance of Americans—in 1975 – Project SHAMROCK allowed the NSA to intercept telegrams sent by US citizens.

Weird Science makes friends with atheists to keep them happy – Christians have happy tweets, atheists think too much. Social networking services allow behavioral questions to be examined using a large subject population. This one is no different, involving 16,000 Twitter users. The group was split in two based on simple criteria: do you follow one of a list of famous Christian figures, or do you follow someone from a comparable list of atheists (no word on how many people followed both).

Canadian cop claims he didn’t know cyber-stalking was illegal – A Canadian police officer who pleaded guilty to planting spyware on his wife’s BlackBerry, suspecting that she was having an affair, gets a slap on the wrist after claiming that he didn’t know that planting the cyber bug was a crime.

Sorry, Microsoft, the Experts Have Spoken: Windows 8’s Interface Is Called Metro – Trademark dispute or no trademark dispute, the original name isn’t going away.

Are audiophiles wasting their money on expensive gear? – Audiophiles take great pleasure in their hobby. Is it really any different than wine snobs or guys who collect Corvettes?

Social media pays off for small, midsize businesses, study says – Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that use social media are 56 percent more likely to increase their revenue, according to a recent report by research analysts at several organizations.

Why does Alec Baldwin get a Twitter pass? – Actor Alec Baldwin turns to Twitter to accuse a Daily Mail reporter of a being “a toxic little queen.” He somehow receives precious little opprobrium from anyone, even gay organizations. How can this be?

Judge orders rapper to get Twitter etiquette lessons – Rapper Meek Mill, standing before a judge, is told that he needs to refine his use of social media. So the judge orders him to take classes and suggests he takes them from a local radio personality.

Something to think about:

The major cause of stress is the inability of people to discover their real nature. Discover your gifts, follow them and you will never feel stressed.”

–     Pavel Stoyanov

(Thanks Keith)

Today’s Free Downloads:

NirLauncher – NirLauncher is a package of more than 100 portable freeware utilities for Windows.

IrfanView 4.36 – IrfanView is a very fast, small, compact and innovative FREEWARE (for non-commercial use) graphic viewer for Windows.

IrfanView PlugIns 4.36 – IrfanView PlugIns package offers additional file formats and effects for IrfanView.

3 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

3 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 1, 2013

  1. re: BlackBerry backtracks, won’t release BB10 PlayBook update after all

    Just bought a PlayBook two weeks ago, thinking OS10 would be out for it soon. It’s a nice enough tablet (good build quality), but there’s no way I would’ve bought it if I’d known OS10 was a no-go. Their announcement seemed almost TouchPad reminiscent (they’re still supporting it, but will developers want to develop for it now?).

    re: Canadian cop claims he didn’t know cyber-stalking was illegal

    I opened up the article expecting it to say he got so drunk he thought he was working for the NSA and it would be A-OK. We probably never hear about all the decisions judges get right, so maybe I’m just getting jaded by hearing about all the questionable decisions judges make.

    Haven’t exchanged thoughts with you in a while, Bill. Hope you’re doing well and enjoying Canada day.

    • Hi Aseem,

      I hear ya! It seems to me, that a broken promise of this magnitude could be considered a false inducement to purchase (in your case). Personally, I’m really pissed off at this – I was really looking forward to updating into a “modern” OS. Rats!

      As for the cop thing – just another shining example of how the “justice” system is perverted, mangled and twisted out of shape, to accommodate a member of the “gang in blue.” This type of thing is a significant problem in this country inasmuch as the cops seem able to subvert the law with impunity. It’s no accident that 70+% of Torontonians do not trust the police.

      Best,

      Bill

      P.S.

      My comment here will undoubtedly be added to my “Big Data” data to reinforce my already “disruptive influence” reputation. 🙂