Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 17, 2013

Malwarebytes Comes to Android (Free);  Your tablet – a guilt-free digital babysitter;  Best email apps for Android;  Prepare your Windows 8 PC for Windows 8.1;  The Best 2013 Security Suites;  Revo Uninstaller 1.95; Spooked by NSA, eBay founder plans hard-hitting news site;  Eight new mental illnesses brought to you by the Internet!

Malwarebytes Comes to Android with a Sane Approach to Security – Malwarebytes anti-malware software has been a top pick on the PC for years, earning several PC Mag Editor’s Choice awards. Now it has arrived on Android. Malwarebytes is free and isn’t packed full of ads or upsells. This is the cleanest way on Android to get a quick malware scan and get on with your day sans nagging.

Bitdrop app beats NSA surveillance with anonymous encrypted file transfers – A small Swiss app developer has invented what it claims is a way to securely and anonymously transfer files between a browser and a mobile device without having to leave any traces of the user’s identity, device ID or location.

Chances are any smartphone will do – Smartphone platforms have evolved to the point where any smartphone will do for most folks. The fact is, smartphone operating systems have evolved to the point where any of them can meet my needs, and probably those of most folks. They handle phone calls and messaging pretty much equally. That includes text messaging, email, and in most cases video chats.

Turn your tablet into a guilt-free digital babysitter – Most tablets aren’t made for kids. They’re delicate electronics, and they provide full Internet access and a wealth of apps and content that are at best incomprehensible to—and at worst totally inappropriate for—young minds. Fortunately, making your tablet safe to hand over to your toddler is, if you’ll pardon the pun, child’s play.

Eight new mental illnesses brought to you by—wait for it—the Internet! – These afflictions, which range from benign to destructive, weren’t recognized by the medical community until very recently, and didn’t even exist before the Clinton administration. Some of these disorders are new versions of old afflictions retooled for the mobile broadband age, while others are wholly new creatures. Don’t be surprised if you’ve felt a tinge of at least one or two of them.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Five best email apps for Android tablets – As you might expect, there are numerous email clients for the Android platform. Some of them are quite good, but others are worthless. I’ve gone through a large number of those applications to find the cream of the crop. Some of these clients are limited to a single account/service, whereas others are able to connect to multiple accounts/services.

To pay off webcam spies, Detroit kid pawns $100k in family jewels for $1,500 – The 17-year old high school student’s computer was infected with a RAT, which the software’s owner used to spy on Hernandez and eventually record an “embarrassing” video of him. The RAT owner then approached Hernandez through his Facebook account and demanded money—$300, then $1,100—or the video would be released to the world.

Five tools to bring the Start menu back to Windows 8.1 – Most are free, and the only one that costs anything is well worth its extremely low price. Whether you make the jump to Windows 8.1 immediately or wait a bit, there’s really no point in waiting to enjoy these enhancements to your Windows experience. The OS upgrade fixes a lot, but the classic pop-up Start menu isn’t one of them.

Scratch Wireless Unveils Free ‘Wi-Fi First’ Mobile Service – When you buy a Scratch smartphone, you’ll never have to pay a penny for service. No contracts. No ads. No catch. Just free service, according to the new wireless company. Sound too good to be true? It is, sort of.

Facebook Starts Letting Teens Post Publicly Despite Risks, As It Aims To Stay Cool – Like a cautious parent, Facebook is giving teen users new freedom despite risks. For the first time, users under 18 can post publicly. The logic is that other sites don’t restrict kids, teens are getting more web savvy, and young celebrities want a voice. This could let minors publicly share things they’ll regret, so they must manually opt into public sharing and confirm they understand the risks.

How to prepare your Windows 8 PC for Windows 8.1 – Taking a few moments to prepare your Windows 8 PC for Windows 8.1 will help ensure that you’ll have a smooth update.

The Best 2013 Security Suites – Many components go into a security suite, and in the best suites all of those components are equally effective. We’ve reviewed three dozen suites to help you make an informed choice.

Official Facebook Windows 8.1 app now in Windows Store – The long awaited official Facebook app for Windows 8.1 is now available to download in the Windows Store today for RTM users, ahead of the official Windows 8.1 launch.

Fastest Mobile Networks Canada – PCMag traveled through 13 metro areas in Canada to test high-speed networks. We found that mobile data is blazing fast, but it could stand to be a little more affordable.

Feedly for Android update brings fixes and improved performance – With the demise of Google Reader, many Android smartphone and tablet users turned to the app Feedly as a replacement. That app had some issues that bothered some users and after a month of no updates, Feedly finally has a new version available. The update brings fixes and some other tweaks to improve the app for users.

Safari more usable than other mobile browsers, says study – Apple’s Safari outscored the stock Android browser, Opera, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer in a study conducted by tech-support Q&A site Fixya.

Security:

Researchers uncover holes that open power stations to hacking – A pair of researchers have uncovered more than two dozen vulnerabilities in products used in critical infrastructure systems that would allow attackers to crash or hijack the servers controlling electric substations and water systems.

Indonesia Tops China as Cyber Attack Capital – Cyber attacks are on the rise, but where are they originating from? If you guessed China, you’re close, but most of the attack traffic during the quarter actually originated in Indonesia, according to a new report from Akamai.

Cost and number of cyber attacks drops in Australia – The average victim now loses $200, down from an average of $300 just 12 months ago, according to the annual Norton cybercrime report from security firm Symantec. The report showed the number of victims also dropped from an estimated 5.4 million in 2011-2012 to 5 million in the past year. Sean Kopelke, Symantec’s head of technology for the Pacific region, said the drop in crime could be the result of better security awareness. (suggested by Mal C.)

New hacks could steer ships into pirates’ grasp – Researchers presenting at the Hack in the Box conference in Kuala Lumpur have presented more ways in which a standard ship communication system can be used for ill—potentially forcing vessels to divert from their course and steer into danger. The findings have been presented to the International Telecommunications Union in an attempt to press for fixes.

Company News:

Zynga co-founder departs for greener pastures – As the company’s revenue continues to slowly sink, co-founder Justin Waldron has decided it is time to jump ship.

IBM’s results hampered by slowing hardware sales – IBM’s third-quarter profit was US$4.0 billion, compared to $3.8 billion in the third quarter of 2012, the company announced Wednesday. Revenue was $23.7 billion, compared to $24.7 billion in the year prior.

Mapbox raises $10M, could give Google Maps a run for the money – The company that focuses on making interactive and customizable maps using open-source data has big development plans.

Intel’s Q3 earnings, revenue flat, but company hopes for growth with new chips – The company Tuesday reported no growth in revenue or profits during the quarter ending Sept. 28. The company reported a profit of $2.95 billion, compared with $2.97 billion in the same quarter last year. Intel reported earnings per share of $0.58. Quarterly revenue came in at $13.48 billion, compared with $13.46 billion in last year’s third quarter. The consensus estimate from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters was for $13.46 billion.

Games and Entertainment:

Pokémon X and Pokémon Y sell 4 million units in 48 hours – Earlier this month we mentioned that Nintendo had a new Pokémon videogame coming for its 3-D portable the Nintendo 3DS on October 12. October 12 was last weekend and Nintendo is offering up some statistics for the videogame for its first two days of availability. Nintendo launched the game simultaneously around the world.

Name your price for six sweet Android games – The new Humble Bundle includes Bard’s Tale, Ticket to Ride, Worms 2, and more, and even includes the desktop versions of each game. Too good to pass up!

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag: How Ubisoft Turned a Stealth Franchise into a Pirate Sim – Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag‘s Caribbean setting is sun-dappled, tropical and thoroughly tattooed, a sultry archipelago of jungle-scapes, cerulean skies and grizzled buccaneers. You play as Edward Kenway, father of Assassin Creed III‘s Haytham, grandfather of Connor and all around pirate neophyte as the game begins.

Fist of Awesome: Ouya Was Made for This Game – Something about punching flannel-wearing bears and hind-legged deer in the face just didn’t feel right on a tiny touchscreen, so last night, I did something unusual: I reconnected my Ouya to play Fist of Awesome.

‘Star Wars’ exhibit offers rare peek at original artifacts (pictures) – The “Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination” exhibit allows fans of the hit films a close-up look at dozens of original models and props.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Where Have All the Techies Gone? – The public’s technology knowledge is deteriorating and I see no way to reverse the trend. In my opinion, 10 years ago people knew more about computers than they do today. iPhones and iPads, which simplify everything, are part of the problem. The other part is the lack of public education. Where are the basics of computers being taught?

Cloud responsible for ‘The revenge of the customer’ era: IBM – Forget all the promises of cloud bringing cost savings — it’s developed a monster generation of consumers that want services yesterday, and tailored specifically for them.

Would Piracy Decline if More Movies Were Online Legally? – Do people pirate movies because they don’t want to pay up or because the films they want to watch are not readily available for purchase? PiracyData.org investigates.

Hevo Power bringing manhole-disguised electric car chargers to NYC – Electric cars are gaining traction among consumers, but the issue of charging while on the go is still one that needs addressed on a larger level. Hevo Power has taken to the topic, looking to add a charging option for EV drivers in New York in the form of circular manhole-disguised units. If all goes as planned, they will be available next year.

OMG! Texting becomes the next big enterprise tool – A nurse, checking on a patient in the hospital with pneumonia, is concerned about the patient’s progress and pulls out her smartphone to text a doctor and a pulmonologist. No, the nurse isn’t breaking HIPAA laws or hospital rules by sharing patient information in an insecure text. She’s actually using what could be the next big thing in enterprise social collaboration – secure enterprise texting.

Court rules nasty comments are a news site’s responsibility – After threatening comments are made on a popular Estonian news site’s article, a European court decides the site has to deal with the consequences.

Microsoft’s Windows throughout the years (pictures) – It’s been almost 30 years since Microsoft launched the first version of Windows. Today we get Windows 8.1, the latest from the software giant.

Something to think about:

If you believe the doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe the military, nothing is safe.”

–     Lord Salisbury

Today’s Free Downloads:

Revo Uninstaller 1.95 – With its advanced and fast algorithm to scan before and after uninstall you can remove unnecessary files, folders and registry keys left in your computer after you have uninstall an application with its build in uninstaller. With its unique “Hunter mode” it offers you some simple, easy to use but effective and powerful approaches to manage (uninstall, stop, delete, disable from autostarting) and to get information about your installed and/or running applications. Revo Uninstaller gives you another 8 handy and powerful tools to clean up your system.

ImageUSB – ImageUSB is a free utility which lets you write an image concurrently to multiple USB Flash Drives. Capable of creating exact bit-level copies of USB Flash Drive (UFDs), ImageUSB is an extremely effective tool for the mass duplication of UFDs. ImageUSB can also be used to install OSFClone to a USB Drive for use with PassMark OSForensics™.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Spooked by NSA, eBay founder plans hard-hitting news site – Billionaire Pierre Omidyar is worried that the free press won’t be so free after mass surveillance and aggressive policies toward whistle-blowers get through with it. He’s decided to take action.

Internet infrastructure groups move away from US gov’t over spying – After recent revelations about the National Security Agency’s widespread surveillance of Internet communications, the coordination of the Internet’s technical infrastructure should move away from U.S. government oversight, said 10 groups involved in the Internet’s technical governance. The groups — including the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the Internet Society, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) — said Internet organizations should accelerate the “globalization” of the Internet domain name functions performed by ICANN and traditionally overseen by the U.S. government.

Secret court argues (again) that it’s not a rubber stamp for surveillance – This week, the chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) defended his court as an adequate bureaucratic check on government surveillance, denying that the court is merely a “rubber stamp,” as critics have argued. The court, after all, famously approves nearly all of the government’s final applications for surveillance.

NSA chief Keith Alexander and top deputy will abdicate in coming months – That void of power would permit President Obama a chance to appoint new leaders to the NSA, which has suffered serious scrutiny in the aftermath of the leaks made by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The leaks have detailed a dragnet approach to surveillance in which metadata of American communications are collected by the NSA en masse. Still, the NSA’s policies have been staunchly defended by Alexander since being made public.

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6 Comments

Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

6 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 17, 2013

  1. John Bent

    Hi Bill,

    Good to see that Malwarebytes is now available on Android. It’s on my Nexus and currently performing a scan. No point wasting time :).

    Thanks for including this.

    Kind regards
    John

    • Hi John,

      For sure – just mentioned to Don that Malwarebytes Anti-malware gets a workout around here every day. Couldn’t be without it.

      Looking for big things with this new freebie.

      Figured you’d jump on this one. 🙂

      Best,

      Bill

  2. Don

    WOW! Finally an Android App for Malwarebytes. Thanks a bunch Bill. I’ve been using their PC version for some time now and often wished it was available for my “hand held” computer. Just installed it and it found my Droid 4 to be very clean. I also use the PRO Version of LOOKOUT which I’ve had on all my phones for about 3 or 4 years. One can’t be too careful these days. Thanks again for posting this article Bill. As always … Peace!
    Don

    • Hi Don,

      “One can’t be too careful these days” – totally agree. Like you, I’m kinda buzzed about MalwareBytes stepping into this poorly served market.

      Around here, every day, every machine gets a taste of MalwareBytes Anti-malware freebie application. Great bunch of guys – great product.

      Good to hear from you.

      Best,

      Bill