Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 7, 2013

Lockdown: How to secure your PC without going crazy – This is a guide for practical folks. People who want a healthy amount of PC security (perhaps motivated by ongoing revelations about the National Security Agency and its surveillance activities), but with a minimum of hassles such as dealing with key fobs for two-factor authentication, juggling complicated passwords, and setting up email encryption. We can’t promise you a completely pain-free experience, but we will show you how to get up and running with a pretty good security setup that keeps your passwords, email, hard drive and sensitive USB drives as secure as possible without going overboard.

Beware: Your browsing habits expose privacy preferences – I’ve always believed that there are two kinds of people in this world: Those who think there are two kinds of people in this world, and everyone else. It turns out I was wrong. There are actually five kinds of people—at least, five kinds of people on the Internet, according to a new survey commissioned by MasterCard. Mind you, these folks aren’t like your brother in law who thinks the Internet is a fad and still uses a flip phone held together by duct tape. These are habitual Internet users who are online at least once a week and generally much more.

Zoho Writer: A solid tool to create documents on your Android tablet – Every mobile user needs a document tool — it’s part and parcel to business. If you take a look at the offerings on the Google Play Store, you’ll find plenty of options. But if you’re looking for a user-friendly document editor that can sync with your Zoho account, look no further than Zoho Writer.

This Android smartphone charger also acts as an anti-virus scanner – Kaprica Security claims it can beat malware on smartphones with its new charging cable “Skorpion”. While your phone is plugged in, it thoroughly scans your device for malicious rootkits and viruses.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Does your phone need its own phone? – Phablets are great, but it can be hard to get them out of a pocket or purse. Help is on the way in the form of tiny, phone-like devices that use Bluetooth to let you talk on the phone without holding a phablet up to your ear.

Evernote rolls out two-step verification to all users – In May, Evernote began rolling out two-step verification to its Premium users, with a promise that as the system was implemented, it would eventually be made available for standard users as well. Fast forward a couple months, and such a time has come, with the company announcing that all of its users are now covered by the additional security measure.

Five free tools to aid in graphic design – I’ve scrounged up five tools that meet different graphics needs. Alone, none of them will help you create a masterpiece. In conjunction with your favorite editor, however, these tools will go a long way to help extend your abilities and offerings.

Adobe Flash Player replacement “Shumway” lands in Firefox 27 – Mozilla have taken a step to eliminate the need for Adobe’s Flash Player in future versions of Firefox by adding their own HTML5 Flash player called “Shumway”. It has already landed in the nightlies.

A software solution that can make a single, four CPU full core computer act like a 200 CPU computer – The implementation doesn’t require any integration and doesn’t require any dedicated machines, and it is all transparent and done automatically. When other computers are providing CPU cycles, the users of those computers can still use the machines for whatever purposes they need. The product is off-the-shelf and doesn’t have integration requirements.

Hotwiring the future of in-car tech with a smartphone and Raspberry Pi – The “connected car” dream has arrived in small doses on selected vehicles, and it has idiosyncrasies that drive vehicle owners who’ve become used to the power and simplicity of smartphone apps a little bit crazy. Weblink works around bugs in in-car tech by putting smartphone app in charge.

Skype improvements bring better battery life, synchronized chats – The change in how the average consumer utilizes the service — with mobile devices, often smartphones and tablets — has prodded it towards beefing up its P2P connectivity technology, using the cloud to help serve as a buffer of sorts between the device and clients. With this comes new features, some of which are already available, and more that are in the works.

Microsoft recycling Outlook email accounts; not mentioned in service agreement – Microsoft has confirmed it has been recycling Outlook email accounts that have not been used 360 days after the account are shut down, but this fact is not mentioned in Outlook’s service agreement.

Security:

8 Things We Know So Far About Adobe’s Customer-Data Breach – Here’s a quick explainer, along with Adobe’s recommendations.

Keep Yourself Protected: Don’t Become a Victim of Identity Theft – In honor of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, AnchorSecurity released an infographic on the rise of identity theft and how to prevent it.

7 top tactics of hack attacks – Millions of pieces of malware and thousands of malicious hacker gangs roam today’s online world preying on easy dupes. Reusing the same tactics that have worked for years, if not decades, they do nothing new or interesting in exploiting our laziness, lapses in judgment, or plain idiocy. But each year anti-malware researchers come across a few techniques that raise eyebrows. Today’s most ingenious malware and hackers are just as stealthy and conniving. Here are some of the latest techniques of note that have piqued my interest as a security researcher and the lessons learned. Some stand on the shoulders of past malicious innovators, but all are very much in vogue today as ways to rip off even the savviest users.

Beware Android Malware! Threats Reach One Million Mark – According to recent Trend Micro studies, there are more than a million Android malware and high-risk app threats.

Ban on most robocalls and text message spam gets stronger this month – “Prior express written consent” needed for calls and SMS to cell phones. This new restriction applies to text messages as well. The FCC’s order notes that “text messaging is a form of communication used primarily between telephones and is therefore consistent with the definition of a ‘call.'” Thus, the commission said it “concluded that text messages would be subject to the TCPA.” Robocallers cannot relieve themselves of the burden of obtaining written consent by claiming an “established business relationship.”

PureVPN Hit With A Zero Day Exploit, But CEO Says Email Alleging Data Compromise Was Fake – Earlier today, VPN service PureVPN was dealt a double blow by malicious hackers: a zero-day exploit; and the mailing of a subsequent, fake email alleging account closure and a data compromise. The incident highlights how, while VPN tunneling services are often thought to be more secure routes for those worried about data compromises, they are not immune from attacks themselves.

Failure to patch leaves many WordPress sites vulnerable – Poor updating and sometimes no updating is leaving large numbers of WordPress websites open to exploitation in cybercriminal campaigns, according to an analysis by WP WhiteSecurity and EnableSecurity, specialist security consultancies in the U.K. The study of 42,106 WordPress sites listed in Alexa’s top one million in a three-day period earlier this month, found that an astonishing 74 versions of the software in use, only 18.5 percent of which had updated to the latest version, 3.6.1.

Company News:

Google plants a new walled garden with Glassware – Google’s limitations on Glassware mean that all Glass apps will look and work the same, with developer’s left to simply fill in the blanks.

Samsung denies boosting benchmark but fails to address the evidence – Samsung claims it boosts other apps, too, but the source code suggests otherwise.

Microsoft’s new Bing TV ads show its use on Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8 and Xbox One – Two new TV commercials from Microsoft show how Bing is evolving beyond a simple search website into a service that will be used in Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8, and Xbox One.

Google, SAP, Cisco & Samsung Among Potential Tech Buyers For Some Or All Of BlackBerry, Says Reuters – Google, SAP and Cisco are among a number of technology companies interested in buying up portions — or all — of BlackBerry’s business, according to Reuters, which cites several sources close to the matter. BlackBerry has also apparently asked for preliminary expressions from Intel, LG and Samsung, by early next week.

Samsung’s Galaxy Gear TV ad offers up a ton of pop culture clips – Samsung has started running two TV ads for its Galaxy Gear smartwatch, one of which uses tons of clips from movies and TV episodes to show how smart watches have been depicted in the past.

Games and Entertainment:

Gravity Fact Check: What the Season’s Big Movie Gets Wrong – The new cosmic thriller makes a lot of small mistakes and some big ones—though you may not notice them through the gasps

Valve reveals general hardware specs for its prototype Steam Machine – Valve has revealed some general hardware specs that it will be using for the 300 prototype Steam Machines that will be send out later this year to a select group of beta testers.

PlayStation DualShock 4 confirmed compatible with Windows PCs – This week it’s been confirmed that the newest generation of Sony gaming peripherals – namely the DualShock 4 wireless controller – will be working with Windows machines.

Star Wars: Tiny Death Star Will Soon be Arriving in a Galaxy Near You – This free-to-play casual game invites players to construct and manage a skyscraper packed with stores, apartments, and restaurants. The company has just announced its newest project, and it’s a big one. So big you’ll wonder if it’s a small moon. But that’s no moon—it’s a space station. Yes, Tiny Death Star is going to be a thing.

SimCity offline mode possibility being explored, says Maxis – SimCity was plagued with server issues for a fair bit of time, something that eventually also affected Mac users upon the Mac version launch. An offline mode has been requested for many months, and though at one point it seemed that such was not going to be a reality, SimCity developer Maxis has stated that a team has been put in place to explore the possibility.

Guillermo del Toro creates completely insane The Simpsons Halloween couch gag – The “Treehouse of Horror” Simpsons episodes are a time-honored institution. This year, the “Treehouse of Horror XXIV” couch gag is directed by Guillermo del Toro, and is as weird and interesting as that sounds.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Eye contact may not be a social cure-all – “Stand up straight and look people in the eye”—so go the most basic commandments of engaging confidently with your fellow humans. But a new study finds that eye contact is not a blanket solution to persuading your conversation partners. Depending on how someone’s opinions square up to yours, eye contact can have the opposite effect.

Helicopters of the future: A brief history (pictures) – From the near-term Future Vertical Lift program to the seriously futuristic Aviation 2050 Vision, the Army has a lot riding on rotorcraft yet to come.

Meet The New Serfs, Same As The Old Serfs – Once upon a time there were things called jobs, and they were well understood. People went to work for companies, in offices or in factories. There were exceptions — artists, aristocrats, entrepeneurs — but they were rare. Laws, regulations, and statistics were based on this assumption; but, increasingly, what people do today doesn’t fit neatly into that anachronistic 1950s rubric.

Dad sues Sprint, says son found porn on new phone – A Los Angeles man claims what he thought was a new phone in fact contained pornographic pictures and videos of store staff, which was viewed by his young son.

The Tweets That Changed Twitter – Since its birth Twitter has changed the world—and these are some of the tweets that changed Twitter.

Security camera catches USPS worker’s amazingly lazy delivery – It’s bad enough when FedEx or UPS throw your delivery onto your porch. But a home security camera catches a USPS truck driving across a lawn so it can get closer to the front door.

Something to think about:

In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative original thinker unless you can also sell what you create. Management cannot be expected to recognize a good idea unless it is presented to them by a good salesman.”

–     David M. Ogilvy

Today’s Free Downloads:

Balabolka 2.8.0.558 – Balabolka is a Text-To-Speech software application. All computer voices installed on your system are available to Balabolka. The on-screen text can be saved as a WAV or MP3 file. The program can read the clipboard content, view the text from DOC, RTF and HTML files, customize font and background colour, control reading from the system tray or by the global hotkeys.

Privatefirewall 7.0.30.2 – Privatefirewall is an integrated desktop firewall and multi-layer intrusion prevention software delivers signature-less, zero-hour protection from known or new spyware, viruses, hacking techniques and other intrusions on Windows desktops and servers. Privatefirewall is comprised of several distinct protection layers including desktop firewall, port manager, URL filtering, process monitor, and application/system behavior modeling and anomaly detection components. Privatefirewall 5.0 evaluates WinAPI calls and analyzes a comprehensive list of system variables and security-sensitive registry keys and alerts administrators to possible malware, attack, or policy violations.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

The Snowden Files – John Lanchester reads the files, and renders a citizen’s verdict: “We are on the verge of being an entirely new kind of human society, one involving unprecedented penetration by the state into areas which have always been regarded as private. Do we agree to that? If we don’t, this is the last chance to stop it. Our rulers will say what all rulers everywhere have always said: that their intentions are good, and we can trust them”

The Already Abysmal NSA Surveillance Panel Is Now On Hold Due To The Government Shutdown – Under-promise, and then under-under-deliver is the name of this game. The panel to vet the NSA set up by President Barack Obama, and nurtured by current Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, is now on hiatus, its funds being frozen as part of the larger governmental shutdown.

NSA repeatedly tries to unpeel Tor anonymity and spy on users, memos show – The National Security Agency and its UK counterpart have made repeated and determined attempts to identify people using the Tor anonymity service, but the fundamental security remains intact, as top-secret documents published on Friday revealed. Analysts grudgingly hail Tor as “king of high-secure, low-latency” anonymity.

U.S. surveillance erodes its leadership in Internet freedom – Internet freedom has declined in the United States over the past year as a result of its surveillance policies, reflecting a trend that appears to have caught on worldwide, according to a recently released study.

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2 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 7, 2013

  1. Dave B.

    RE: Microsoft recycling Outlook email accounts; Haven’t we been here recently? I guess MS thinks they can do it better than Yahoo…