Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 24, 2013

How to – Security overhaul on your family network;  Walmart Launches Tablet Trade-in Program;  Microsoft reduces Surface Pro prices;  Chrome lets parents snoop on their kids;  Recover lost form data in your browser;  Plants vs. Zombies 2 arrives for Android;  TestDisk & PhotoRec 7.0;  EU Parliament votes to suspend data sharing deal with US;  A Rally Against Mass Surveillance.

A Rally Against Mass Surveillance – The NSA is spying on everyone’s personal communications. It’s operating without any meaningful oversight. On October 26th, the 12th anniversary of the signing of the USA Patriot Act, we’re holding the largest rally yet against NSA surveillance. A stellar group of whistleblowers, activists, researchers and others from both sides of the political spectrum will be speaking at this historic event. (suggested by Delenn13)

Security begins at home – how to do a “back to basics” security overhaul on your family network – Sophos security expert John Shier explains how he carried out a “back to basics” security overhaul on his family network. He wrote it up as a handy checklist for anyone else acting as in-house IT support.

Walmart Launches Tablet Trade-in Program – Walmart on Wednesday announced it is adding tablets to its store trade-in program. Starting today, customers can trade in their tablets at more than 3,600 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores nationwide. Like its new smartphone trade-in program, customers can receive up to $300 for their current tablet, which will then be applied toward the purchase of a new tablet.

How to get the most money for your old iPad – Lots of services allow you to sell back your old iPad in exchange for cash or store credit—or at least unload it on someone else who will dispose of it or recycle it for you. Here’s what you need to know about four popular gadget-buyback services, and how much they’ll give you for that “ancient” 18-month-old iPad you can’t bear to use anymore.

Chrome lets parents snoop on their kids’ browsing with ‘Supervised Users’ – Want to know what your kids (or less technically-inclined roommates) have been looking at online? The new Chrome Beta has added support for supervised accounts so you can do just that!

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

FBstalker Automates Facebook Graph Search Data Mining – Built as a tool for penetration testers and enterprise IT security teams, FBstalker was released last Thursday. It can quickly, with just a Facebook user name, build a profile of a person’s activity on the social network. Researchers Keith Lee and Jonathan Werrett of SpiderLabs hope that businesses can use it to educate workers and consumers about how much they’re sharing with social networks and how over-sharing could facilitate phishing or lead to more invasive network attacks.

Best Chrome apps for managing data, clients, money, and more – Chrome apps are growing up, moving beyond geeky curiosities to products that people could use to get stuff done in the real world. Look no further: Here are nine incredibly useful Chrome apps for working with data, clients, projects, and more.

PETA Launches Drone Fleet to Monitor Hunters – PETA is selling its remote-contolled “Air Angels” hobby drones for $324.99 to members and other interested parties through its online catalog. The organization recently deployed drone aircraft in Massachusetts to keep an eye on bowhunters, capturing video of a demonstration run that can be viewed on PETA’s website.

How to quickly recover lost form data in your browser – Lazarus automatically (and securely, with a password if you prefer) saves every keystroke you enter into any Web form, blog tool, comment box, or what have you. I can’t count the number of times Lazarus has rescued me from accidental deletions, wayward keystrokes, and the like. If you use any of the supported browsers, this is a must-have extension.

Wunderlist: Serious to-do list management for your Android tablet – Jack Wallen walks through the installation and usage of Wunderlist, a to-do list application that may even rival Evernote.

Apple’s GarageBand Goes Freemium Alongside Free iWork – GarageBand for Mac and iOS are free for all OS X Mavericks and iOS 7 users. Additional instruments and sounds, however, will cost a one-time in-app-purchase price of $4.99 each.

Force YouTube to buffer your entire video – Thanks to a browser add-on called YouTube Center, it’s now possible to disable DASH, thus forcing YouTube to buffer your entire video. The bad news is that it can be a little tricky to install depending on which browser you use. The Firefox crowd has it easy: Just grab the extension via Mozilla’s Add-Ons library (assuming you’re okay with installing a “non-reviewed” extension). As a Chrome user, I had to jump through a few hoops

Facebook finally bans beheading videos – For a time Facebook was fine with videos showing forced decapitation, but try to upload an image of your tit and you’ll find yourself in trouble. Thankfully beheading videos are also no longer welcome.

Recover from a dead RAID0 with Bootsect and DiskPart – Recovering from a dead hard drive in a RAID0 configuration may require a little old-fashioned command line knowledge.


Hack turns Belkin baby monitor into iPhone-controlled bugging device – In August, Ars described how smartphone-controlled lighting systems from Philips could be commandeered by malicious websites to cause persistent blackouts. Now, the same researcher behind that hack has devised a new proof-of-concept attack. It turns a wireless baby monitor made by Belkin into a stealthy bugging device that can be accessed by someone in your front yard… or halfway around the world.

Apple Patches Fix More Than 100 Vulnerabilities – Apple fixed more than 100 security vulnerabilities across eight different products yesterday including updates for the iTunes, Safari, iOS 7, Keynote 6.0, two versions of Apple’s Remote Desktop (3.7, 3.5.4) and OS X Server 3.0.

Warning: The OS X Mavericks phishing scams have already begun – Mac users, are you excited to jump on your free Mavericks upgrade? Be aware that the scammers, spammers, and phishers out there are aware of the mass migration and geared to take advantage. The malicious emails have already begun.

Obamacare exchange contractors had past security lapses – Hackers exposed data on 123,000 people at one, another put personal data of 6 million Medicare beneficiaries at risk.

Arbor Networks, Google draw digital-attack map – Distributed Denial of Service attacks are increasing by leaps and bounds. Arbor Networks and Google make it possible for you to see just how bad it is.

Company News:

YouTube to launch on-demand music service this year, says sources – YouTube is reportedly planning on launching its own on-demand music service, something said to be similar to Spotify but with video tossed into the mix. Furthermore, there won’t be much of a wait for the service if the leak pans out, with the sources saying that the music service will launch sometime towards the end of this year.

Pinterest worth $3.8 billion after massive funding round – The pin-board company has collected $225 million in new financing, and has grown its value by $1.3 billion in the past eight months despite having virtually no revenue.

Microsoft reduces Surface Pro prices by another $100 – Microsoft has dropped prices across its Surface Pro range by another $100 – for the second time in under three months – with the 64GB model now priced at $699, rising to $999 for the 256GB version.

Samsung signs long-term deal with Gorilla Glass maker Corning – The agreement is part of a series of deals between Samsung’s Display unit and Corning. The latter is taking full control of the Samsung Corning Precision Materials joint venture in a deal valued at $1.9 billion. Samsung is also investing another $400 million in Corning.

Google breaks old promise by working on search banner ads – Google is testing banner ads in search results, apparently reneging on a 2005 promise by Marissa Mayer to never run them.

HP to jump aboard 3D printer market next summer – The 3D printing industry has been catching public attention in growing strides lately, and as the technology is refined, more uses for the technology has surfaced. HP has been long-involved in the printing industry as a whole, and as such it only makes sense that the company will be jumping aboard the 3D printing market with its own offering next year.

Games and Entertainment:

Kill hours dead with 8 horribly adorable, totally free Halloween games – There’s a lot to like about the last day in October, from scary movie marathons to haunted amusement parks. In honor of the most haunted holiday, I’ve been spending the witching hour playing some of the best Halloween-themed mobile games out there, and while they’re more adorable than horrible, they’re also a lot of fun.

Plants vs. Zombies 2 arrives for Android via Google Play – While iOS gamers have had their Plants vs. Zombies 2 fix for a little while now, Android users have been left hanging. Last month, sources surfaced saying that the wait would end some time this month, and though the powers that be hadn’t confirmed the rumor, the reality has come to fruition with the game’s launch in the Google Play Store, where it is free to download.

Dead Trigger 2 Launches on Android and iOS – Mobile developer Madfinger Games is known for the top shooter titles Shadowgun and Dead Trigger. Continuing that tradition, Madfinger is today releasing Dead Trigger 2 on iOS and Android as a free-to-play title with more zombie shooting than you can shake a shotgun at.

X-Com: Enemy Within impressions: Expanded alien eradication – After the X-Com series of strategy games wound down in the late ’90s, players had to wait well over a decade for the excellent 2012 reboot, X-Com: Enemy Unknown. Now, players have barely had to wait a year for more alien-attacking content from 2K Games in the form of the upcoming expansion X-Com: Enemy Within.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The free-OS revolution: What Apple’s Mavericks move means for Windows – While the low, low cost of $0 for Mavericks is certainly a welcome change from the (entirely reasonable) cost of past OS X upgrades, it’s not quite as revolutionary as Apple claims. Mobile operating systems have been free for years, and long before Apple’s Tuesday announcement, Microsoft made Windows 8.1 a free upgrade for Windows 8 users.

Apple’s free OS is no threat to Linux at all, says its creator – Apple’s move to offer its latest desktop operating system, OS X Mavericks, for free isn’t going to affect the Linux operating system at all, its creator Linus Torvalds said.

ICANN unveils first ever generic top-level domains in non-Latin characters – New generic top-level domains have been announced today by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, more commonly called ICANN, with a world’s first-ever: non-Latin character options. While none of them are yet available, a total of four additional options in three languages have been added, building upon the current, .com, .org, .net, and more offerings.

Balloon ride to the edge of space will cost $75,000 – The leisurely trip upward will take about two hours, reaching a maximum altitude of 18 miles (30km). That’s high enough to see the pitch black of space and the curvature of the Earth. Passengers on the World View Enterprises also won’t earn their semi-official astronaut wings — space is generally accepted to begin at an altitude of 62 miles.

Mac Pro “how it’s made” video details Apple factory process – Apple has released a two-minute video showing a picturesque overview of how it manufactures the Mac Pro 2013. The video takes viewers from the shell stamping through the circuit board printing to the final product.

Don’t trust a company on its word, trust it on its tech – Should we trust that LinkedIn won’t do anything bad when we give it our email account credentials? The better question is: Why on Earth are we even doing that in the first place?!

Something to think about:

And remember, where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that. All power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

–     Lord Acton

Today’s Free Downloads:

SyMenu – SyMenu allows you to manage portable applications resident on a removable drive. SyMenu can be installed in pen drives, external USB disks, memory cards and even CDs and DVDs. Moreover SyMenu can automatically link any application residing on host pc. Any linked item (SyItem) can be organized in a hierarchical structure with colorful folders and found with the internal search tool.

CryptoPrevent 2.2 – A tiny utility to lock down any Windows OS to prevent infection by the Cryptolocker malware or ‘ransomware’, which encrypts personal files and then offers decryption for a paid ransom.

TestDisk & PhotoRec 7.0 – TestDisk is a powerful free data recovery software. It was primarily designed to help recover lost partitions and/or make non-booting disks bootable again when these symptoms are caused by faulty software, certain types of viruses or human error (such as accidentally deleting your Partition Table). PhotoRec is file data recovery software designed to recover lost files including video, documents and archives from Hard Disks and CDRom and lost pictures (thus, its ‘Photo Recovery’ name) from digital camera memory.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

EU Parliament votes to suspend data sharing deal with US – The European Parliament voted on Wednesday to suspend a major data sharing agreement with the U.S. following the ongoing scandal over alleged surveillance from the U.S. National Security Agency. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) narrowly adopted a resolution to suspend the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) with 280 votes in favor and 254 against.

Germany accuses US of spying on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone: White House: US “is not monitoring and will not monitor” her communications – The German magazine Der Spiegel reported Wednesday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel strongly suspects her mobile phone has been under American surveillance “for years.” The magazine’s story, which did not provide any details, lists well-known American security researcher Jacob Appelbaum as the lead author. (Appelbaum currently lives in Berlin.)

Obama denies that US spied on German chancellor — or does he? – It’s an ever-growing pastime: reading between the lines of US statements about its surveillance programs. The latest episode has to do with the chancellor’s concerns that her cell phone was tapped.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper calls the French newspaper’s allegations “inaccurate and misleading” – The Director of National Intelligence has rebutted claims from a French newspaper that the NSA gathered more than 70 million recordings of phone calls from French citizens. The story prompted complaints from several French officials. French President Francois Hollande reportedly chastized US President Barack Obama about the revelations in a phone call late Monday. The White House did acknowledge that the reports do raise legitimate questions, especially in how the United States treats its friends and allies. But Clapper doesn’t quite see it the same way, at least based on his statement.

NSA spied on 125bn phone calls in one month – The US National Security Agency monitored nearly 125 billion phone calls from around the world in just one month, including around 3 billion calls from US soil, according to documents released by whistleblower Edward J. Snowden.

NSA lies? Agency lacks evidence it thwarted 54 terrorist attacks – Is the United States government’s use of broad surveillance authorities as effective of a counterterrorism tool as its advocates make it out to be? A new report suggests remarks made by high power figures to defend the spy powers are largely exaggerated.


Filed under downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Tech Net News

2 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 24, 2013

  1. delenn13

    Hi Bill,
    I am trying out that CryptoPrevent 2.2 because I do find myself on some “hinky”(as Abby would say on NCIS) sites.