Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 1, 2013

Black Hat 2013: NSA Chief Reveals Details About PRISM as Hecklers Call Him a Liar – Alexander leaned heavily on the counter-terrorism explanation to justify the programs, saying the level of data collection was necessary to stop terrorism. He insisted, however, that there were safeguards built in to protect civil liberties, and that oversight from the courts, Congress, and the White House was in place to prevent any abusive behavior by NSA analysts.

Hackers to NSA chief: Read the Constitution – The head of the NSA faces a tough audience as he appeals to hackers and security professionals at Black Hat 2013 to help the U.S. government build better spying tools.

XKeyscore NSA tool uncovered, collects pretty much the whole internet – Just as we thought we knew everything about the government spying on us, another leak has made its way into the limelight that reveals a new program, besides PRISM, that collects a ton of information about users on the internet, including email, Facebook chats, and web browsing history.

How To: How to Clone a Hard Drive – Want a backup strategy that backs up everything on your PC? Considered cloning—your hard drive, that is. We show you how.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Five free Microsoft Project alternatives – If you’re supporting a small organization with an even smaller budget, consider one of these free software management solutions.

Manage Everything on Your iPhone, iPod & iPad. Do What iTunes can’t! – Lost all the music because of a system reinstall, computer repair, iTunes crash, or unknown reasons? Want to move your playlists to a new computer? Not a problem anymore. Wondershare MobileGo for iOS lets you easily transfer music, video, playlists, Podcast, iTunes U from your iPod, iPhone and iPad back to iTunes and more data, like photos, contacts and SMS, to your computer. And it does even more. (Free only today August 1, 2013)

Text Mode for Chrome – Give your eyes and your browser a break with this Chrome extension that eliminates everything on Web pages except for the text.

Turn an old iPod touch or iPhone into a WiFi security camera – A free iOS app turns any iDevice into a free, wireless security camera that records and streams video via the cloud and allows you watch it remotely in real-time.

Facebook pushes all users onto more secure connection by default – It has been more than two years since Facebook made it possible for users to enable a secure “https” connection for their account, something that had the side-effect of slightly longer loading times and reduced chances of hackery on public networks. Starting today, the social network will be making secure browsing its default following work on speeding it up and increasing compatibility.

Seamlessly sync your data across devices – This unfettered mobility means its more critical than ever that you’re able to access important files across devices, platforms and apps. Follow these tips for keeping all your data in sync, so you can keep doing business wherever your business takes you.

How To: How to Overclock Your CPU – Overclocking is as old as performance testing on the PC. But overclocking your PC comes with its specific brand of difficulties. We navigate you through the quagmire.

FAT32 vs. NTFS: Choose Your Own Format – When you’re (re)formatting a hard drive, Windows will ask you what format to use. FAT32 and NTFS are the most common formats, but what’s the difference?


Chrome, Firefox users targeted with account-hijacking plugins – Trend Micro researchers have recently spotted a new campaign aimed at Facebook who are also users of Chrome and / or Firefox. The lure is a link which apparently points to a video of a young woman committing suicide, and is delivered via Facebook posts. Users that can’t resist this macabre inducement and follow the link are asked to download and install a fake video player update in order to view the video.

Canonical bares breach details as Apple continues security silence – With two operating system developers experiencing attacks on the same weekend, one has opened up, shared exactly what it knows, and returned its services to life, while the other has stayed silent.

Boffins say they’ve fooled apple with malware app: Also raise iOS malware-over-electricity claims – Black Hat 2013 Researchers from Georgia Tech’s Information Security Center (GTISC) claim to have found a way to sneak a malware-ridden app through Apple’s inspection regime, and have also raised concerns about “malicious chargers” for iPhones.

Cyber jihad as Indonesia and Bangladesh blow each other off the web: Hackers bring down hundreds of websites – A group called Bangladesh Grey Hat Hackers claimed to have hacked around 900 Indonesian sites and threatened to expand their assault to include ecommerce and financial sites. The full list also includes pet food sites, foreign embassies, and government websites. At the time of writing, loading up many of the sites resulted in a 404 error.

72k people affected by University of Delaware hack – University of Delaware is the latest of the high-learning institutions in the US to have been hit with a cyber attack that resulted in a data breach. According to a notification posted by the University administration, the names, addresses, Social Security numbers and employee identification numbers (UD IDs) of some 72,000 current and past employees have been compromised.

Syrian Electronic Army no longer just Twitter feed trolls… and that’s bad news – Reports that the SEA managed to take over three personal email accounts of White House employees remain unconfirmed. However, recent worrying attacks on VoIP apps Viber and Tango mean that officials and security researchers need to keep a closer eye on the group, argues anti-malware tools firm FireEye.

Company News:

Microsoft to Rename SkyDrive in Trademark Deal With BskyB – According to the deal, “Microsoft [will] continue using the SkyDrive name for a reasonable period of time to allow for an orderly transition to a new brand.” Neither company provided details on how long that period of time will last.

Zynga Sues ‘Bang With Friends’ for Trademark Infringement – Zynga is going after the developers of “Bang With Friends” for infringing on the trademark for its “With Friends” family of games.

Google to bring 10x faster WiFi to all 7000 US Starbucks locations – The collaboration will see Google deliver up to 10x faster WiFi to not just a few, but all 7,000 Starbucks-operated locations across the US. And better yet, if any of those Starbucks fall within a Google Fiber area, Google is aiming to increase speeds 100x.

Yahoo snaps up e-commerce startup Lexity – The tech giant acquires the “one-stop-shop of e-commerce services” and plans to keep the startup’s products and initiatives up and running.

Games and Entertainment:

Chicks Dig Videogames (Cool) – 45% of all gamers are women, which is quite a big number, and 31% of them are over 18. (The average age of gamers who buy games frequently is 35.) The other stats uncovered is the average age of gamers is 30 years old and has been a gamer for 13 years, which dates back to when gaming had a big comeback. It’s also estimated that 58% of Americans play video games, 51% of American homes have a gaming console, which 36% of gamers play via smartphone, 25% play via a wireless device.

Facebook decides to become a games publisher – Facebook has decided it isn’t happy just being a platform for games, it wants to help publish and promote them, too. Of course, in return it wants a share of the revenue from each game it invests in.

Rise of the Triad is so hard your head will explode – Rise of the Triad is a glorious ode to rocket jumps, circle-strafing, and twitch shooting. It’s a surprisingly faithful adaptation of a 20-year-old game that feels utterly refreshing to play.

Skulls of the Shogun: Bone-A-Fide edition now available on Steam – Skulls of the Shogun is now available for your downloading pleasure… for the rest of us, that is. The game has spent the last few months in a sort of purgatory: its PC release was exclusive to Windows 8, so if you’re among the majority of folks who don’t own Microsoft’s latest operating system, the PC version remained out of reach—until now.

Off Topic (Sort of):

36 percent admit to cursing, punching their computers – A survey reveals that more than a third of Americans assault their computers, in one way or another, because the machines frustrate them.

Capturing global warming… in just 14 seconds – There are climate change deniers, you can’t deny that. They deny that global warming is actually a real thing or that human beings have anything to do with it. So how do you prove it to the deniers that it is real? The Washington Post put together this 14-second video (above) that captures rising temperatures from the 1950s to present day. All the data used is from NASA.

Aaron Swartz’s Father Blasts MIT Report, Says School Was Far from Neutral – In an interview with TIME, Robert Swartz says MIT failed in its “moral obligation” to advocate on Aaron’s behalf.

What Was the Point of Windows RT? – Microsoft recently revealed some sorry Surface tablet numbers. Its latest quarterly filing disclosed earnings of $853 million in revenue from Surface tablets, but it wrote down $900 million because too many were built and the unwanted surplus units are now stuck in a warehouse. More importantly, ASUS is dropping the lousy Surface RT. Why was there a Surface RT in the first place?

Social Media Overload – The problem with social media today is that we spend half our time jumping from one site to the next. We have our Instagram, our Twitter, our Facebook, our Vine, and our Tumblr, and that’s just the start. Instead of actually digesting anything, we give all of them a quick spin and then remember that we have three more sites to check. It’s a surprise that there isn’t a Foursquare badge just for checking into social networks.

Researchers grow teeth from human urine – Scientists at Chinese Academy of Sciences in Guangzhou have been working with stem cells in an attempt to grow teeth, and their most recent experiments have been remarkably successful. The team managed to grow completely new human teeth in a rat kidney, but the source of the stem cells is a bit odd. Researchers harvested the cells from urine. Why urine? Because science, that’s why.

Groups oppose proposed change to Internet content ‘safe harbor’ – A proposed change to U.S. law that would allow state attorneys general to hold websites liable for content posted by users is a “dangerous path,” a group of tech trade groups and legal scholars said Wednesday.

Apple store crazy lady immortalized by Backstreet Boys – You remember the lady who went nuts in an Apple store because she couldn’t just walk in and get the part she needed? Jimmy Kimmel persuades the Backstreet Boys to turn her rant into music.

Super telescope captures sensational image of Andromeda galaxy – If you thought the Milky Way was the bee’s knees, wait till you see this unreal high-definition shot of our nearest spiral galaxy neighbor.

Something to think about:

The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking.”

–       A. A. Milne

Today’s Free Downloads:

YUMI – Create a Multiboot USB Flash Drive containing multiple operating systems, antivirus utilities, disc cloning, diagnostic tools, and more.

Bullzip PDF Printer – Works as a Microsoft Windows printer and allows you to write PDF documents from virtually any Windows application.

Freemake Video Downloader – Download videos from YouTube, Hulu, Facebook and 40+ sites.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

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