Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 19, 2013

Google has 5 minute outage: Internet traffic drops 40% – Between 23:52 and 23:57 BST on 16th August Google went down. The results put the fear of Google into every webmaster’s heart.

Miss Teen USA 2013 says sextortionist hacked webcam to snap bedroom photos – According to the LA Times, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) confirmed on Wednesday that it’s investigating claims by Wolf and other women who say that their webcams were hacked, photos or video were taken surreptitiously, and that the hacker or hackers then demanded money in exchange for keeping the photos out of public disclosure. The BBC reported in June, there’s a thriving black market for access to computers whose webcams have been compromised. Stolen webcam video of females cost $1 per “slave,” as they’re called. Stolen video of male slaves goes for $1/100 slaves.

Britain Detains Partner Of Journalist Who Exposed NSA Spying. Are They Crazy Or Stupid? – The partner of Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who published classified information on U.S. government surveillance, was detained for 9 hours in London’s Heathrow Airport. On Sunday morning, David Miranda was detained for the maximum allowable time under British Law; his property was confiscated and has yet to be returned, according to Greenwald. If authorities were brazen enough to detain someone so closely connected to the leaks, it means they’ve probably extended their legal powers to intimidate others with less fame. Now a bright and unwavering spotlight is on their questionable tactics.

New disclosures heat surveillance law row – Revelations about secret orders requiring “backdoors” into online services fuel protests in New Zealand. Fresh disclosures about new surveillance laws in New Zealand has served to fuel a nationwide round of protests that kicked off in New Zealand over the weekend with a rally outside the home of Prime Minister John Key.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Track classes, assignments, and grades easily – Any student who wants complete control over their schedule, assignments, classes, and even grade point averages, should download this app.

6 Great YouTube Channels for the Latest News – If you’re one of countless cord-cutters who no longer have cable—or even if you aren’t, but you don’t find time to catch a lot of broadcast television—you may miss how the morning or evening news broadcast kept you up to date on the news and issues of the day. However, YouTube is here to help fill your knowledge gap.

Buying your biz a buzz: Hackers sell fake Instagram ‘likes’ – The Zeus virus, originally made to steal credit card data, is now being used to create bogus Instagram accounts that can “like” businesses on the popular service — if those businesses pay for the privilege.

Five free apps that collect PC information – If you’re looking to audit your PCs, you need to have the right tools to handle this task. If you’re in a very small company, with one or two PCs, gathering this information isn’t a challenge to your schedule. If, however, you’re looking at 10 or more machines to be audited, you’ll want to have a hand in the process of collecting this data.

Microsoft restores after partial outage – Microsoft on Saturday apologized for a three-day partial outage of and said the email service was back up and running, only to note hours later that problems still plagued some customers.

Four excellent Dropbox alternatives for your small-business storage needs – Dropbox and other popular cloud-storage providers are adequate for the average consumer, most services don’t meet small-business needs for security, affordability, real-time collaboration, and lots of file storage. Here are some Dropbox alternatives that do. Like Dropbox, each offers an easy-to-use interface, 2GB of free storage, and drag-and-drop syncing, and any are guaranteed to be a boon to your business.

Tweets contribute to charging driver with murder in fatal bike accident – An 18-year-old man from Pleasanton, California has seen charges against him increased from vehicular manslaughter to murder due, in part, to some tweets in which he bragged about his reckless driving. The man, Cody Hall, is being held in an Alameda county jail without bail, waiting for a trial.


LastPass password manager gets security patch against password leakage bug – Q. Why not use a password manager that can generate hard-to-guess passwords for you, and secure them with one super-password? A. But what if the password manager gets breached?

Security Researcher Hacks Mark Zuckerberg’s Wall To Prove His Exploit Works – Earlier this week, security researcher Khalil Shreateh discovered a Facebook bug that allowed a hacker to post on anyone’s wall, even if they weren’t that person’s friend. While he was able to prove to Facebook that his bug was legit (despite a response that it wasn’t a bug at all), Facebook wasn’t too happy with the way he did it: by using the bug to post on Zuck’s otherwise private wall.

Apple Store’s malware problem exposed by researchers – Georgia Tech researchers released an app into the Apple Store that masked malware as generic app functions. The exploit creates concerns about the migration of PC viruses to mobile, Apple’s app vetting procedures, and the general way we protect our phones for attacks.

Android becomes Windows’ equal as a target for hackers – With nearly an 80 percent market share, Android’s mobile dominance parallels Windows in the PC world, making Google’s operating system the “mobile world’s equivalent,” Kaspersky Lab said in its latest Threat Evolution report, released on Thursday. The difference between Windows and Android malware is that the latter is evolving much quicker, as criminals borrow from what they learned in targeting PCs since the 1990s.

Tech shops worry that younger workers brush off security – The generation gap has existed for—well —generations. But the current divide between twentysomethings and their elders in the information technology workforce, at least according to some experts, goes beyond the older cohort simply shaking their heads and muttering, “Kids these days.” There is, they say, a security divide.

Aussie ATM criminals embrace 3D printers for cashpoint crimes – As you can probably imagine, it didn’t take long for controversial uses to emerge for 3D printers, and one of the most newsworthy was the idea of “printing” parts for firearms. Now, crooks in Sydney are printing their own ATM skimming devices…

Beware spammers thriving in Facebook Groups – A couple of weeks ago I was flicking through Facebook on my iPad when I noticed this buffoon in my News Feed. There were in fact multiple postings from the buffoon in my feed that day – something I hadn’t seen before. How in Zuckerberg’s name did they get here? It has to do with how Facebook has designed its Groups feature. The short version: Because Facebook allows any friend to add you to any Group, it leaves the door wide open to spammers and says “come on in!”

Taking down “the largest child pornography conspiracy ever prosecuted” – How the Internet police mounted an international effort against “The Cache.”

Zealous Internet filter blocks Hamlet as ‘violent content’ – The unreliability of internet filters has been demonstrated at the British Library, where its Wi-Fi network blocked an author from reading an online version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, as it was deemed to contain “violent content.”

Company News:

Barnes & Noble Undercuts Amazon, Kobo By Dropping NOOK Simple Touch GlowLight To $99 – The Nook Simple Touch GlowLight is one of the best ereaders on the market. It has a very nice form and a great screen. And now it’s also the cheapest of its kind. B&N just announced a $20 price cut, bringing the GlowLight’s price down to just $99. The ad-supported Kindle Paperwhite is $119 and the Kobo Glo is $129.99.

Facebook eyes mesh networks to connect users and businesses – Under the envisioned system, a wireless device would establish a connection with other wireless devices nearby. The communication wouldn’t run via the Internet but would be based on a direct link between the devices. Each device might be linked to one or many other devices, depending on the density of people in a certain area, and each would be open to sending, receiving and relaying messages as part of the mesh network.

Google-Microsoft feud over YouTube app escalates to ‘death blow’ – After Google blocks Windows Phone app, Microsoft’s top antitrust lawyer says rival is making up excuses

Gmail filters out Google’s competitors – The free email service has begun filtering some emails into a separate “Promotions” folder, which shifts them from the prime position they had in the users’ Inbox folder. Marketers are worried that conversion rates will be hurt by the change as Google rolls out the changes to its 425 million users. They could be right.

Samsung to release a 12-inch tablet, says Korea report – Tablets go large: Samsung is reportedly doing a 12-incher. Apple is also looking into larger tablets. Is this a trend?

Mozilla to ship ‘Metro-ized’ Firefox Dec. 10 – Mozilla will launch Firefox for Microsoft’s Windows 8 “Modern” user interface in mid-December, more than a year after the operating system’s launch, according to the open-source developer’s planning documents. Called the “Preview Release,” the touch-ready browser will be packaged with Firefox 26 for the Windows desktop. Firefox 26 is slated to ship Dec. 10.

Games and Entertainment:

10 Addictive Phone Games – Who needs friends when you’ve got one of these 10 addictive games on your phone?

It’s game over for Games for Windows Live: Microsoft shutters PC marketplace – The Games for Windows Live PC Marketplace will shut down on August 22. Microsoft’s long lambasted Games for Windows Live client will still function, so people can keep playing games they’ve already bought, but without a way to buy new games, Microsoft’s service is effectively in limbo.

Flash-based PlayStation 3 goes on sale in the U.S. For $199 – This version of the game console sports 12GB of flash storage, and is now Sony’s lowest-priced PlayStation 3 in the United States.

Guild Wars 2 Nabs ‘Fastest Selling Western MMO’ Crown, Looks East for More Records – The fastest selling MMO in the history of Western video games? Why World of War–err, wait a second…not World of Warcraft? Doesn’t WoW have a bazillion chart-topping subscribers? Isn’t it still cooking along nine years after it launched back in prehistoric November 2004?

Nintendo 3DS designated best selling game system in US again – The Nintendo 3DS has had a good run in recent months, and this past month is no different. Says the company in a press release sent out on Thursday, the Nintendo 3DS has earned the title of best-selling video game system in the United States for its third month in a row.

Xbox One games are region-free, games play on imported consoles just fine – Region-free games means that if those territories can get their hands on an Xbox One at launch — likely through internet-based avenues — then they will not have an issue playing games in their home country. So, this time around, the shafting these regions will experience will likely be price-gouging and inflated shipping costs. If they put up with those unfortunate occurrences, then they can happily play Xbox One games.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The Internet: We’re Doing It Wrong – This week Facebook’s ban-bot went berserk; Github went down; and all Google services collapsed for a few minutes, taking 40% of the Internet with them. Just another week on the Internet, then. We love our centralized services, until they let us down.

Revisit the amazing Internet the cool kids used in 1997 – Watch this hilariously dated instructional video from an era when Netscape and “cyber” meant something and everything was just waiting to be “surfed.”

Funniest Reviews – Helpful product reviews written by Amazon customers are the heart of, and we treasure the customers who work hard to write them. But occasionally customer creativity goes off the charts in the best possible way. Enjoy this collection of some of the funniest, top-voted reviews written by your fellow customers. Is Like Ikea For Open Source Zealots – Furniture is probably the last thing on the mind of most open source proponents but now it doesn’t have to be. OpenDesk is a free, open source line of furniture that you can make yourself or order unassembled from a maker with a CNC machine. Not only is the furniture cheap – free if you have the wood and hardware – it’s actually cool-looking.

A Personalized Robot Companion for Older People – A highly customisable robot companion designed by EU-funded researchers to offer support to older people is currently being presented across Europe and could find its way into people’s homes within two or three years, potentially greatly enhancing quality of life for older citizens and people with memory or mobility problems.

Woz on ‘Jobs’: No, just no – In a review posted to Gizmodo, Steve Wozniak calls Ashton Kutcher “disingenuous” and believes the new movie is wildly inaccurate.

Church sings to members: Get off Facebook – One church decides it needs to create a song that tells its members to keep their business off of Facebook. This could go viral.

Something to think about:

The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.”

–    Thomas Paine

Today’s Free Downloads:

Magix Photo Designer – Magix Photo Designer bucks the trend of professional-grade photo software that is aimed at users with tons of computer knowledge. It’s incredibly easy to use, but gives enough features to satisfy even the toughest critics. It’s easily one of the most powerful photo-editing downloads you can find.

BhoScanner 2.1.6 – Discover browser helper objects of your computer including parasites and trojans.

Freebie Notes 3.55 – Freebie Notes is a great little program for users who just want sticky notes with an alarm timer.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

What they mean when the government says “We do not have ‘direct’ access to your info” – Summary: Even the best journalists and national security experts have difficulty with technical stories like the recent NSA revelations. Today Marcus Ranum (bio) cuts through the government’s lies, explaining the truth behind the NSA’s tapping vital telephone and email communication systems.

NSA Spying – EFF is leading the fight against the NSA’s illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works and what you can do.

We Should All Have Something To Hide – If the federal government had access to every email you’ve ever written and every phone call you’ve ever made, it’s almost certain that they could find something you’ve done which violates a provision in the 27,000 pages of federal statues or 10,000 administrative regulations. You probably do have something to hide, you just don’t know it yet. Police already abuse the immense power they have, but if everyone’s every action were being monitored, and everyone technically violates some obscure law at some time, then punishment becomes purely selective. Those in power will essentially have what they need to punish anyone they’d like, whenever they choose, as if there were no rules at all.

Bruce Schneier: The Public/Private Surveillance Partnership – The primary business model of the Internet is built on mass surveillance, and our government’s intelligence-gathering agencies have become addicted to that data. Understanding how we got here is critical to understanding how we undo the damage.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – August 19, 2013

  1. Mal

    Hey Bill
    Re:New disclosures heat surveillance law row
    The police state is well and truly near, if not already here. We had a politician back in 2004, who described our relationship with the US somewhat like this: “They (the Australian Government at the time) are a conga line of a** lickers”. I suspect that the rest of the “5 Eyes” countries are too.

    • Hey Mal,

      Yep,the 5 Eyes are ass lickers, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the days of the British empire. Cowards, facists-in-training, techno challenged morons, corrupted shysters, pathological liars – all readily come to mind when referencing the U.S. government’s partners in crime.