Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – September 30, 2013

Ten reasons not to fix computers for free; How your identity gets swiped even if you’re careful; Four tips to speed up your Android tablet; Become a hacker. Coding experience not needed; Google Must Face Wiretapping Charges; Explore 10 incredible open-world games; Bypassing oversight, NSA collects details on American connections.

Spread the Word! October Is Cyber Security Awareness Month – Learn some helpful tips on how to strengthen your password security from Siber Systems’ RoboForm.

How your identity gets swiped even if you’re careful – A site called SSNDOB has been selling names, social security numbers, birthdates, and more culled from these sites via a botnet attack last spring. According to Brian Krebs, you could buy a credit report from the site on anyone for just $15. A background check would run you $12; a drivers license record $4, and assorted other bits of highly personal info costs 50 cents to $1.50 per.

Ten reasons not to fix computers for free – Do you feel like a heel if you don’t want to fix computer problems for friends and family? Hear are some of the reasons you shouldn’t feel guilty.

Gain an extra level of security on your Android phone with Vault-Hide – Jack Wallen takes a look at Vault-Hide, an applications that allows you to hide calls, contacts, SMS, pictures, videos, and more on your Android smartphone.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Four tips to speed up your Android tablet – I’ve seen it before with a number of devices; Android tablets starting to bog down to the point of not being responsive at all. What do you do? Is it time to reset that tablet to factory defaults? Probably not. Instead of scrapping the current state of your tablet, try these four quick tips to regain control of your wayward Android tablet.

Creative apps to keep your kids busy on a rainy day – Rainy days are the worst when you’re a kid. You can’t play outside, everything inside is boring, and adults are all cranky because of the weather. But kids these days are a luckier bunch—there’s no end to the amount of entertainment available at their fingertips. But how about some options to really get their creative juices flowing? Tablet apps can inspire all kinds of creativity, from drawing to cooking to music. Here are nine fantastic choices to try the next time the weather turns terrible.

GOP Threatens Net Neutrality Over ‘Obamacare,’ Debt Concessions – By involving the tech community in the healthcare and debt war, Congress has gone too far. Amidst heated debate over the Affordable Health Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare,” and in exchange for short-term funding to avoid a possible government shutdown, House Republicans have put together a proposal of demands, one of which includes a block on net neutrality.

Infographic: Cloud apps and knowledge workers – This infographic breaks down a recent survey of workers, executives, and IT about the adequacy of their tools for remote access and the role of cloud apps.

Bitcoins for sex: Escort agency becomes first to accept payment in Bitcoin – Booking time with a Passion VIP escort is simple enough. You call the company, make an appointment with the receptionist, and transfer your Bitcoins. Once the payment has been accepted, you’ll receive a call back from Passion VIP, confirming the appointment. Then, the worry of payment will no longer harsh your vibe, and you won’t have to awkwardly tell your escort that “the money’s on a flash drive on the dresser on your way out.”


Known, unpatched flaws draw most attacks, Kaspersky says – Cybercriminals still make extensive use of known vulnerabilities, even as zero-day attacks continue to rise. In joint research carried out by Kaspersky Lab and Outpost24, unpatched loopholes continue to be a popular means of carrying out attacks.

Become a hacker. Coding experience not needed – I recently watched a YouTube video in which Bogdan Botezatu, senior e-threat analyst for BitDefender, demonstrated the ease with which someone can infect an Android app. What made the process a snap was a free tool called AndroRAT, which anyone can find with a simple web search. The version of AndroRAT Botezatu used required no coding. With just a few clicks by the user, the software decompiled the APK of an app downloaded from Google Play, inserted the malicious code and then repackaged everything. The tool also configured the app with the IP address needed to communicate with a C&C server.

Iran accused of hacking into U.S. Navy computers – The U.S. doesn’t believe important data was stolen, but the attacks showed a new level of Iranian hacking power, including the ability to access military data, U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal. Either agents working directly for the Iranian government or an outside group with Iran’s approval allegedly carried out the attacks.

Britain creates counter-attack cyber unit – The U.K. government will follow in the footsteps of the U.S. and create a military unit dedicated to launching counter-attacks against hackers.

Buffering SSL encryption to combat today’s emerging threats – Next-generation firewalls should include intrusion prevention (IPS), the ability to decrypt and inspect SSL sessions in real time, and the ability to visualize and control application traffic as it crosses the network.

Java called favorite target for hack attacks this year – Analysis of attacks shows the top five exploited vulnerabilities accounting for 95 percent of all attacks, with the U.S. the geographic location most targeted. F-Secure estimates 78 out of every 1000 users in the U.S. saw a detection identifying an exploit of a specific vulnerability in the last six months. Germany also saw a fairly high number of attacks with about 60 out of 1000 users hit within the same time frame.

Company News:

Google Must Face Wiretapping Charges – Google lost a request to dismiss a class-action case over Gmail scanning. A California judge this week rejected Google’s request to dismiss a class-action case that accuses the search giant of violating federal and state wiretap laws via a program in Gmail that scans emails to serve up targeted ads.

France Moves to Impose Sanctions Against Google Over Privacy Policy – French officials today moved to impose sanctions against Google for failing to alter its privacy policy. At issue is an update to Google’s privacy policy that went into effect on March 1, 2012. The revamp consolidated 70 or so privacy policies across Google’s products down to one. But with this change, Google also switched to one profile for users across all services rather than separate logins for offerings like YouTube, Search, and Blogger.

Nokia’s cheapest Windows Phone now world’s best-selling Windows product – Microsoft reveals that the world’s best-selling Windows-based product right now isn’t a PC or a tablet, but a Windows Phone: the entry-level Nokia Lumia 520, available from just $79 off-contract.

Apple most valuable brand of 2013, leaves Coca-Cola in the dust – Apple has something new to boast about as it grabs a coveted top spot in the most valuable brands of 2013. Following closely is search giant and Android maker Google at second. The two technology companies have displaced former king Coca-Cola for the first time in the list’s history, possibly signifying a shift in market perception and brand valuation.

New Windows 8.1 TV ad shows the Start button, small and big Live tiles and more – Microsoft’s new TV commercial for Windows 8.1 makes sure that people know there’s a Start button to quickly move from the Start screen to desktop, along with larger and smaller Live tiles.

Apple paying $40 to some iPad 3G owners for legal settlement – Apple and AT&T are finally settling a legal battle over the 3G iPad from 2010 and as part of the agreement, both companies will be offering up money or monetary discounts to certain iPad owners.

Games and Entertainment:

Explore 10 incredible open-world games – In an open-world game, you have almost no restrictions on where you can go within the confines of the game, and very few rules governing what you can do within it. Here are 10 other open-world games that you can explore for weeks and years to come, starting with the dragon-infested fantasy land of Tamriel.

Grand Theft Auto Online in-game payments for cash: Rockstar confirms – As Microsoft gears up for a rockstar-like world tour of its latest flagship gaming product Xbox One, Rockstar North has dropped a bombshell that has its doggedly loyal fan base foaming at the mouth. In a blog post last week, the game development giant confirmed that its highly anticipated blockbuster Grand Theft Auto Online will indeed allow for real micro-payments in exchange for in-game cash.

What Games Are: Steam’s Big Bet – With new consoles and microconsoles starting to pop into existence, this week Valve finally revealed its answer: SteamOS. Steam Machines. Steam Controllers. Boom. Its ambitions are not to launch a console but a whole solution for home gaming entertainment. In a sense it has to.

Kickstarter-funded RPG Shadowrun Returns Arrives on iPad and Android – Shadowrun Returns is a classic turn-based top-down RPG with a deep story, a ton of items, and serious character creation. After a year of waiting, this Kickstarter hit is on iPad and Android.

Shadow Warrior – Shadow Warrior is a surprisingly successful reboot of a problematic ’90s shooter that captures the essence of an over-the-top ’80s action movie.

Off Topic (Sort of):

10 hilarious video game glitch GIFs – Game designers can only do so much to make sure everything works as it is supposed to, so when you have thousands (or millions) of gamers putting in hour after hour with a game, they’re sure to encounter some bugs that made it past testing. A lot of them are pretty funny too. Let’s check out 10 of the best in GIF form.

When Baby Hits The Bottle, So Does Daddy – Drinking with small children in the house isn’t taboo; it’s compulsory. “Happy hour starts at 7 pm. We have taken to the bottle. With a restorative slug of alcohol the world, for a moment, makes sense. We can laugh at our parental inadequacies, our daughters’ smiles. With alcohol, sex becomes a distant possibility. Coffee gets us through the day; alcohol gives us the fortitude to do it again”

Here’s something neat: Being messy has its benefits  – Are you born neat? Perhaps it’s an innate cognitive thing. You think hierarchically, therefore order in your outside environment (as an extension of the one inside your head) is important. Or is it a matter of how you were brought up? Does it emerge based on the demand of one’s role or job? I, for instance, have developed a stress-response tidiness tic. My family always knows I’m anxious when they see me meticulously scrubbing the kitchen counter. (suggested by Aseem S.)

The digital revolution’s lingering literacy problem – If so many of the 2.7 billion people already online still have trouble with basic computer concepts, how will the next 2.5 billion fare?

100 percent effective – You can avoid being tracked on the Internet after all. One man’s creative solution. (recommended by Michael F.)

Dutch police recruit rat detectives to sniff out crime – Derrick, Thomson and Thompson, Magnum, and Poirot are the newest recruits at a Dutch police department. These Rotterdam rats have been trained to keep the streets clean and are expected to save the police both time and money. Detective Derrick and his rat partners cost just £8 each and are capable of being trained to identify an impressive range of odors—including drugs and explosives—within ten to 15 days. In contrast, a police dog costs thousands of pounds and requires a minimum training period of eight months.

Incredible comparison chart lists almost every sci-fi starship in one image – DeviantArt user Dirk Loechel has assembled a very useful chart showing the relative sizes of almost every spacecraft in major science fiction universes through 2013. It’s massive and incredibly cool. The JPEG is 3985 x 4158 pixels, so you’re only going to see a little bit of it at a time as you pan around to check out all the ships (each pixel amounts to 10 meters). Each ship on the chart is labeled with the name, sci-fi franchise it appears in, and total length indicated by available sources.

Forget Venus and Mars, we’re beginning to understand gender behavior on Earth – We may never know every subtle difference, but gender research is coming a long way.

Something to think about:

I am a Conservative to preserve all that is good in our constitution, a Radical to remove all that is bad. I seek to preserve property and to respect order, and I equally decry the appeal to the passions of the many or the prejudices of the few.”

–     Benjamin Disraeli

Today’s Free Downloads:

IObit Unlocker 1.1 – Often when we try to delete a file or folder in Windows, we see annoying messages like “Cannot delete file: Access is denied;” or “Cannot delete folder: It is being used by another person or program” or “There has been a sharing violation;” or “The source or destination file may be in use;” or “The file is in use by another program or user;” or “Make sure the disk is not full or write-protected and that the file is not currently in use;” or “Cannot read from the source file or disk.” This is majorly because the file or folder is being used by another program or user. IObit Unlocker is an ideal tool for such conditions. It releases the file or folder from being occupied by programs and allows you to quickly remove or modify the file or folder.

Wise PC 1stAid – Wise PC 1stAid is an intelligent software which has assembled most common PC problems and helps you fix them automatically through an intelligent process. It’s a rich PC solutions library and intelligent First-Aid help for you to fix PC problems.

Start Menu 8 1.3.0 – StartMenu8 is specially designed for Window 8. It offers a perfect solution for users who work with Windows Start Menu all the time and are not accustomed to the new Metro start screen in Windows 8. This smart tool brings back both the start button and Windows Start Menu, and offers the option to skip Metro start page, allowing users who only work on desktop to boot to Windows 8 desktop directly. It’s the best start menu replacement for Windows8.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

NSA Uses Facebook And GPS Data To Identify Suspects In Networks Of Americans – The National Security Agency has slowly been mapping it’s own massive network of suspects with associations to US citizens. The New York Times obtained documents that reveals how the NSA is utilizing social data to map intelligence connections.

Bypassing oversight, NSA collects details on American connections – New York Times reports that NSA has complex maps of social ties based on metadata.

The NSA Refuses To Deny That It Collected The Location Data Of US Phone Calls – This is a bit worse than you think. The NSA already tracks the time and human participation of U.S. phone calls, so why is location an issue? Because if the NSA tracks the location of U.S. cell phone calls, it has roving GPS units strapped to every citizen that could be used to map where each of us is at any given moment.

Rights groups plan anti-NSA surveillance rally in D.C. – About 100 public advocacy and other groups plan to stage what they hope will be a big rally in Washington D.C. to protest the the controversial National Security Agency surveillance programs disclosed by document-leaker Edward Snowden in June. The “Rally Against Mass Surveillance” is scheduled for the weekend of October 26, the 12th anniversary of the signing U.S Patriot Act by former president George W. Bush.

US government given December deadline to unseal more NSA documents – A federal judge has ruled that the US government must unseal more documents related to the NSA spying program by December 20. The news comes from an Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) press release after the organization found some recent success in its long-running Jewel v. NSA lawsuit. (The EFF initially filed suit in 2008 in response to Bush administration revelations about the existence of NSA spying programs.)


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – September 30, 2013

  1. delenn13

    Hi Bill,
    Hopefully this catches you before you leave…

    Hotspot Shield Elite – 12 months license (Mac PC) 50% Discount Coupon Code Can’t beat that price for a year…Well, free would be nice but…

    If I don’t catch you, maybe it will be held over(It usually is).

    • Hey Delenn13,

      I’m at home waiting for the furnace cleaning guys to show up (what a waste of bloody time). So, ya caught me. 🙂

      I use the free version every day – every day. So, I thank you. Gonna jump on this.