Monthly Archives: November 2013

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 29, 2013

Black Friday survival guide;  Narrate online slideshows;  Lockdown: How to secure your PC without going crazy;  How to buy the right sound bar;  Firefox add-on graphs the trackers;  Turn your Chrome browser into a fantasy portal;  Steam Autumn Sale kicks off;  Upgrade PS4’s hard drive;  Men do more holiday spending;  PDF Shaper – free PDF converter;  Free video Gif creator from Microsoft Research Lab.

Black Friday survival guide: 11 tips and useful apps – There’s no way to make Black Friday a completely pleasant experience, but our survival guide can help make the deal-hunting more palatable with apps to download and tips for weeding out the good deals from the bad. Let’s start with some great free Black Friday apps. I recommend that you download the ones that interest you before Thanksgiving to get familiar with them before you’re pinned by a mad crush of shoppers.

Hobbits, trolls and elves invade Google Chrome – Turn your Chrome browser into a fantasy portal complete with dwarves worthy of Bilbo Baggins. Journey through Middle-earth is an interactive Chrome browser experience inspired by the new movie “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” and developed by North Kingdom. Explore Hobbit locales such as Trollshaw Forest, Rivendell, and Dol Guldur. Other locations, such as Thranduil’s Hall, Lake-Town, and Erebor, will be unlocked as the movie’s December premiere gets closer.

Automated video looping with progressive dynamism – Extract a 5 second looping Gif from any video automatically with this Gif creator from Microsoft Research Lab. Also a viewer application to enable both interactive control over the level of dynamism of the output video, as well as manual editing of which regions animate or are static.

Here’s what Windows 9 could look like, in pictures – With Windows 8.1 just out the door, Windows 9 is slated for a late 2014 release. With little to go on except sheer creativity and a bevy of ideas, designers and enthusiasts have published what they think the next-generation desktop, notebook, and tablet software should look like.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Make money via online rebate sites while shopping for Black Friday deals – Online rebate sites like Ebates and Swagbucks will give you a small percentage of your online purchases back in cash or gift cards, but you must jump through some hoops first.

Free Firefox add-on graphs the trackers – Mozilla’s Lightbeam creates a visual map of the tracking cookies deposited on your PC by the sites you visit.

How to buy the right sound bar to go with your TV – Your HDTV has crappy speakers. Don’t feel bad, they all do. There’s only so much they can do in that thin enclosure with a tiny bezel around the screen. It’s easy to get great sound in your living room, though. All you have to do is buy a receiver, a center channel speaker, a subwoofer, front and surround speakers. Then you take a bunch of speaker wire, and run it from your receiver… Hey wait come back! I was only kidding about all the speakers and wires.

Getting Down: Go from friends to friends with benefits with the stroke of a finger – In early November, the popular Facebook game relaunched as the Down (iOS, Android) app. After testing the iOS beta version, I am already convinced that it’s a major improvement on its predecessor in every way.

Kiddology: A platform for reading books to your kids from far away – Whether you’re using FaceTime, Hangouts, or something else, video chat can be a powerful tool as a parent. While it’s a nice starting point, this interaction could certainly be better. If you’re really brave, or have a really great connection, you might even try a bed time story during this brief video experience. Kiddology wants to try and improve on this particular experience with a video chat platform that brings bedtime reading into the mix. lets you narrate online slideshows in the moment – A Ukrainian startup launches an online service that lets people converse as they peruse a photo gallery together.

Microsoft releases fix for failed Exchange Server 2013 backups – Microsoft is urging admins running Exchange 2013 to deploy an update for the email platform which fixes a bug that caused backups to fail.

Cyber Monday 2013: The best deals (so far) – The Monday after Thanksgiving is the biggest online shopping day of the year — and the time to clean up on some amazing deals. Here are the best ones we’ve found so far.

US Government to pay $50 million for using pirated software – The US Government has been sued by software maker Apptricity for running unlicensed copies of their military software, for which the Government has agreed to pay $50 million as damages for settlement.

New Creative Commons license gives users more flexibility – Authors and artists seeking to release works under a Creative Commons license now have more flexibility and choice when they want to share their works, Creative Commons said Thursday.


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 with a minimum of hassle. I 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 set-up that keeps your passwords, email, hard drive and sensitive USB drives as secure as possible without going overboard.

Latest Microsoft Zero-Day Targets XP, Unpatched Adobe Reader – Originally reported by researchers at FireEye, the the issue is an elevation of privilege flaw which allows an attacker to run arbitrary code in kernel mode. Microsoft also said the attackers must first log in with valid account credentials to launch the exploit, and the vulnerability cannot be triggered remotely or by anonymous users.

Only 24% of Europeans use different passwords for different websites – According to a large-scale survey which questioned over 27,000 people across the European Union on their internet use, security attitudes and experiences, many are put off using online services by the potential dangers, but few are taking all the necessary steps to carry out their online business in safety.

Hackers trot off with customer records – Aaaaaaaaand they’re OFF! Encrypted (unsalted? unhashed?!) passwords are out of the gate, heading into the first turn toward potential decryption by cybercrooks. Anybody care to place bets on how many of those passwords are reused on other sites?

Yahoo helps scammers phish by ignoring open redirect vulnerability – Instead of closing one of the top 10 most common web vulnerabilities on its site, Yahoo has said that an open direct flaw is ‘working as designed’.

87% of SMBs suffered a cyberattack last year, only 44% see security as a priority – The risk of cyberattacks on SMBs has been examined in detail in a recent Sophos-sponsored report by the Ponemon Institute. The report – The Risk of an Uncertain Security Strategy – surveyed over 2,000 IT security managers within organisations employing up to 5,000 people.

Forensics Method Quickly Identifies CryptoLocker Encrypted Files – A researcher may have found the quickest route to learning which files are encrypted in CryptoLocker ransomware infections.

Company News:

Apple iPhone-tracking lawsuit dismissed – A lawsuit against Apple over iOS location tracking and infringed privacy has been dropped after two years, with the same judge that recently awarded the Cupertino firm $290m in damages from Samsung ruling that outraged iPhone users hadn’t demonstrated any legitimate violations.

Launch of Google Partners to help SMBs in India – Google on Thursday announced the global launch of Google Partners, a program designed to help agencies and web professionals succeed online making it easier to access Google resources, training, and support all in one place.

Dutch Authorities Find Google Violates Its Private Data Protection Act – Google’s decision to share user data across Google services, revealed in an update to its policy back in March 2012, isn’t strictly kosher with Dutch privacy law, the Dutch Data Protection Authority said Thursday. Google doesn’t “properly inform users which personal data the company collects and combines, and for what purposes,” according to a statement by the DPA issued via press release.

Google Hangouts infringes trademark, says US company Hanginout – Google’s video-chat service Hangouts wilfully infringes on the still pending trademark of Hanginout, the company said in a lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California on Tuesday.

Firefox OS phones arrive in Serbia, Hungary, Montenegro – Norwegian operator Telenor is launching its Firefox OS phones, hoping to catch Christmas buyers in three new countries.

Games and Entertainment:

Sony: Euro PlayStation 4 to miss PSN features at launch – Sony will disable several PlayStation Network features for the European launch of the PS4 on Friday, the company has confirmed, temporarily blocking access to the functionality in the hope of avoiding a crash as gamers rush to use their new consoles.

Steam Autumn Sale kicks off with massive discounts on great PC games – The Steam Autumn Sale is here, and as usual, there are some great games on sale for a fistful of pennies.

Blackbar review: Simple, witty, and politically engaged word-based puzzle game for iPhone – A self-confessed ‘artsy’ game with plenty to say about censorship, Blackbar is nevertheless a legitimately fun puzzler that will get you scratching your head for a few hours.

How to upgrade or replace your PS4’s hard drive – Want a bigger hard drive in the PlayStation 4? How about a faster one? Not a problem, it’s relatively simple to swap out drives in Sony’s latest console. Here’s how to do it.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Presto! iBalance magic trick makes smartphones float in midair – Spectators won’t believe their eyes when you make your phone — or theirs — defy the laws of physics.

Violent video games may stop crime by keeping criminals busy playing violent video games – Economist Steve Levitt posits a fascinating theory on why the crime rate has plummeted over the past two decades.

UK man throws away hard drive containing over $7.5 million in Bitcoins – A UK man claims to have thrown away an old hard drive that he later realized contains a digital wallet with over 7,500 Bitcoins, which are currently worth over $7.5 million.

To live under the sea for 31 days – Next spring, Fabien Cousteau, grandson of the legendary Jacques, will lead a monthlong mission below the Florida Keys. And you’re invited to come along.

Tongue-driven wheelchair uses high-tech power piercing – Tongue piercings may be associated with rebellion, but one researcher is aiming for revolution instead, creating a Tongue Drive System that allows paralyzed wheelchair users to more easily navigate than traditional hands-free control options. The handiwork of a team at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, the system uses a magnetic tongue stud which is wirelessly tracked by a headpiece, with up to six instructions differentiated by tongue position.

It’s men who do more holiday spending, survey says – An ESPN survey suggests that while women do more shopping and browsing, it’s the men who outspend the women during the holiday season.

Something to think about:

The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances.”

–     Martha Washington

Today’s Free Downloads:

HostsMan 4.3.98 – Freeware application that lets you manage your Hosts file with ease. Features include online update of hosts file, enable/disable usage of hosts file, open Hosts file with one click, merge two hosts files, built-in hosts editor and more.

PDF Shaper 2.1 – PDF Shaper is a free PDF converter and extractor with easy-to-use user interface and many useful features such as multipage and batch PDF conversion, tab formatting, extraction of specified elements.

Samsung Smart Switch – Samsung Smart Switch is an intuitive and effective program that transfers content located on your smart phone to a Samsung device. Available for PC and Android.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Privacy, Human Rights Groups Form New Anti-Surveillance Coalition – A large group of privacy and digital rights organizations has put together a new effort to urge politicians to curtail the mass surveillance operations that have been exposed in the last few months.

Justice Department urged to make public secret surveillance documents – Federal appeals judges in Washington will soon decide whether the public has the right to see secret Justice Department documents setting out the legality of surveillance practices – which powerful senators say amount to a body of secret law.

WikiLeaks’s Julian Assange unlikely to face charges – US officials certainly don’t like that he published top-secret documents, but they say that legally, he hasn’t committed a crime – at least, not that they’ve determined so far. They’ve refrained from formally closing the grand jury investigation, though, so maybe they’re holding out hope.

Malaysia: We can protect classified data – Top government official says the country has the necessary system in place to protect classified information and communications, following reports Singapore had helped the U.S. spy on Malaysia, among others in the region.

Skype in China reportedly tweaked to remove censorship – Microsoft appears to have tweaked its Skype application in China to make it tougher to monitor communications delivered over the Internet phone service, according to analysis from

European Commission Urges U.S to Reform Surveillance Methods – The European Commission is urging the United States government to make some changes to the way it handles surveillance to help restore the trust in the relationship between the EU and the U.S. The commission is asking for the U.S. to promote privacy rights internationally, adopt the EU’s data protection reforms and respond to the commission’s problems with the U.S.’s surveillance reform process.


Filed under Free Software Downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Latest Tech News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 28, 2013

Remotely install apps on your smartphone;  FlightGear – free open-source flight simulator;  Keep The NSA Out Of Your Porn;  How to find free Wi-Fi;  WTF is the Internet of Things;  Security alert for Windows XP;  Worm targets Linux PCs;  How to Fly Through Airport Security;  Use a cloud camera to secure your home;  OCZ filing for bankruptcy; Blizzard’s Black Friday sale.

Don’t let scammers turn Black Friday and Cyber Monday into Regretful Tuesday – Black Friday & Cyber Monday are two of the biggest online shopping days of the year. Scammers are out in force and shoppers using their smartphone might be the most vulnerable.

Infographic: Who’s Shopping on Black Friday, Cyber Monday? – The annual shopping extravaganza has become a cultural institution for Americans, but Americans of different cultural backgrounds approach it somewhat differently.

How to remotely install apps on your smartphone – You can download and install apps to your iPhone and Android phone without being anywhere near it. That sorcery is this? It isn’t sorcery. It’s the internet. And it takes almost no effort to set up.

How to use a cloud camera to secure your home during holiday travel – According to the FBI, some 400,000 burglaries will hit American homes between now and the new year. So if you’re planning to travel, you might want to beef up your home security before you go. This year, a variety of cloud-based recording services are making it easier than ever to monitor your domicile from afar. With almost any kind of webcam, you can stream live images of your home over your wireless network, and monitor them from your laptop, phone, or tablet.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Keep The NSA Out Of Your Porn – According to the reports, the NSA was looking into the possibility of shaming individuals believed to be recruiting and “radicalizing” others by revealing their porn-watching habits, among other things. But this revelation shows that the NSA is not just gathering intelligence, but considering using it to publicly shame. Those Americans who shrugged at the NSA revelations because they had “nothing to hide” may feel differently.

How to find free Wi-Fi during your holiday travels – A public Wi-Fi access point is like a public restroom. All kinds of businesses along travel routes offer restrooms to bring in customers. They offer free Wi-Fi for the same reason. The fact is, finding Wi-Fi on the road has become a lot easier over the past ten years. You just have to know where to look for it.

TeamViewer 9 review: Remote control software adds several very handy new features – The latest version of TeamViewer’s remote control software implements sessions in tabs, transfers all kinds of data via the clipboard, has two-factor mobile authentication, and wakes-on-LAN.

BlackBerry increases Android app support – Some Android apps will run directly on BlackBerry phones starting next year.

WTF is the Internet of Things and how insurers will use it against you – What is “the internet of things” and why should we care? Put simply, the internet of things is a catch-all term for ultra-low-power embedded devices that mostly consist of sensors and control systems. This market segment is expanding rapidly; devices falling into this category will soon outnumber all other types of computers on the planet, if they don’t already. The internet of things also signals new threats to personal privacy.

Staples Connect launches to tame the smart home – The $99 Staples Connect hub – which works with Honeywell, Philips hue, Lutron, Yale, GE, First Alert, and other brands of home automation kit – will be sold alone as well as in themed kits, such as for those wanting to take remote control over lighting or security monitoring, with a single iOS and Android app to manage them.

Now Google Maps Can Help You Find The Airport Check-In Desk – Google Maps shows you the all-too-often maddening world of airplane and train terminals.


Microsoft issues security alert for new Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 exploit – Microsoft has issued a new security alert for owners of PCs that have Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 installed, due to a newly discovered local elevation of privilege exploit.

Worm targets Linux PCs and embedded devices – A new worm is targeting x86 computers running Linux and PHP, and variants may also pose a threat to devices such as home routers and set-top boxes based on other chip architectures.

GCHQ was called in to crack password in Watkins child abuse case – It was operatives at British intelligence agency GCHQ who cracked the password on the laptop of “determined paedophile” Ian Watkins, a court heard on Tuesday. The evidence heard in court related to child abuse images held in cloud storage, whose password the GCHQ unit had to “crack” to gain access to them.

Company News:

Once-great SSD manufacturer OCZ filing for bankruptcy – Consumer SSD pioneer OCZ Technologies has officially started the process of filing for bankruptcy. In a statement published this afternoon on Marketwatch, the company announced that this past Monday, November 25, its depository accounts were turned over to the control of Hercules Technology Growth Capital due to OCZ’s failure to comply with the conditions of a loan from Hercules. Per the loan agreement’s terms, OCZ has begun the bankruptcy process—with the goal of dissolution, not restructuring.

Nokia Controls 90% Of The Windows Phone Market, As Its Lumia 520 Continues To Impress – Ahead of the formal transfer of Nokia’s hardware business to Microsoft in exchange for a few dollars, a new report out today details how dominant the Finnish handset company is in the Windows Phone market. According to AdDuplex, Nokia now controls 90 percent of the Windows Phone market. That’s to say that 9 out of 10 Windows Phone handsets in the market today were made by Nokia. As that number continues to rise on a monthly basis, its current sales share is higher than 90 percent. Or, put another way, Windows Phone is Nokia as much as the reverse is true.

Wikimedia Foundation ruled liable for Wikipedia content via German court – A German court has ruled that the Wikimedia Foundation is responsible for content contained in Wikipedia articles, which any third-party can alter. Though the Higher Regional Court of Stuttgart has held the foundation liable in its ruling, it does not require Wikimedia to fact-check articles before they are made live, which would have resulted in a substantial burden given the vast size of Wikipedia and relatively small size of the Foundation.

Symantec to shut down Backup – Symantec plans to close down its Backup service, saying it lacks mobile and content-sharing features and wouldn’t be the right platform for delivering them. Backup is a pure cloud-based offering designed to make it easy for small businesses and remote branch offices to back up their data. It was announced in February 2012.

Games and Entertainment:

‘Gears of War,’ ‘Shoot Many Robots’ are December’s free Xbox Live Gold games – Microsoft has announced that “Gears of War” and “Shoot Many Robots” will be the free games offered to Xbox 360 owners who are signed up for Xbox Live Gold during the month of December.

Blizzard’s Black Friday sale: World of Warcraft for $5, StarCraft II for $20 – Blizzard has decided to hold its very own Black Friday sale this week, and if you’re one of the few gamers yet to play World of Warcraft or StarCraft II, then keep reading. Blizzard offers digital copies of its games directly through with pricing usually matching that of the physical, retail versions. But right now the developer is offering up to a 75 percent discount on certain titles and expansions.

Call of Duty: Ghosts software update brings PS4, PS3 performance boost – The first-person shooter game currently ripping up the charts, Call of Duty: Ghosts, has just received a variety of patches to improve gameplay for PS3 as well as PS4. Although the game is already getting top-spot reviews by the gamer community, there were a few remaining issues relating to spam, stability, screen views, and the dog. The fixes are available as of today.

Off Topic (Sort of):

How to Fly Through Airport Security – Fighting the crowds to fly this holiday? These five tips will get you and your gadgets through airport security quick.

Drone crew caught attempting to deliver smokes to prison inmates – The Customs and Border Protection agency flies drones, in part, to catch smugglers bringing contraband into the US, so it was just a matter of time before smugglers tried using drones themselves. Unfortunately for smugglers in Georgia, their drone got spotted and they landed in jail instead.

Microsoft changes online Xbox One form letter after getting sexism complaints – Microsoft has now changed the wording of an online form letter made to help men convince their wife or girlfriend to let them buy an Xbox One after the company received sexism complaints.

10 rudest behaviors in the workplace – Most of us aim not to be rude in the workplace, but sometimes the line is thin between adorable quirkiness and just plain annoying. Here are some behaviors to avoid.

Baby dinosaur skeleton is so intact scientists can tell how it died – There are lots of dinosaur fossils discovered around the world and often they are only small remnants like a single bone or a tooth. A group of paleontologist working on Alberta, Canada discovered an incredibly complete fossil of a baby dinosaur that is described as being similar to a tiny rino.

Chinese prof brands gamers no better than drug dealers – Guangdong-based Communist Party mouthpiece the Southern Daily spoke to a “distinguished” university professor Tao Hongkai for the rent-a-quote outburst, in a piece of reporting obviously designed to warn people off playing online games for money. He claimed that some online gamers end up either extremely fat or emaciated, highlighting the terrible truth that such pursuits can erode the bodies and lives of players.

Something to think about:

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

–     Thomas A. Edison

Today’s Free Downloads:

FlightGear 2.12.1 – FlightGear is an open-source flight simulator. It supports a variety of popular platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.) and is developed by skilled volunteers from around the world. Source code for the entire project is available and licensed under the GNU General Public License.

Windows Firewall Control – Windows Firewall Control is a nifty little application which extends the functionality of the Windows Firewall and provides quick access to the most frequent options of Windows Firewall. It runs in the system tray and allows user to control the native firewall easily without having to waste time by navigating to the specific part of the firewall. This is the best tool to manage the native firewall from Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.

Artweaver Free 4.0.4 – Artweaver lets you paint creatively with the help of a huge range of painting tools. You can create sketches from photos or just experiment with colors.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Report: NSA Considered Revealing Porn Habits To Discredit Radicals – I feel like when people freak out about the unknown threat of mass government surveillance, they’re secretly worried a clandestine agent will reveal their naughty web-surfing habits to friends and family. Today, that fear was revealed. At least for suspected terrorists. The Huffington Post reports on new top-secret documents showing that the National Security Agency considered blackmailing suspected Muslim radicals by revealing their Internet porn history.

Microsoft to encrypt network traffic amid NSA datacenter link tapping claims – Microsoft is looking to follow its global cloud partners, Google and Yahoo, in encrypting the traffic flowing between its worldwide datacenter locations, fearing the U.S. government’s ability to tap into customer data. Suspicions at the software turned devices and services giant heightened in October when former U.S. government contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the National Security Agency was “tapping” into the private fiber cables connecting the two Internet giant’s datacenters.

Canada knew U.S. spying on G20: CBC report – Citing secret documents released by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, CBC reported Wednesday evening that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government allowed the National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct a six-day operation, turning the American embassy in Ottawa into a security command post to spy as dozens of delegates flocked to Canada during the global summits in June 2010.

EU will not suspend safe harbor data privacy agreement with the US – The European Commission said Wednesday it will not suspend the safe harbor data privacy agreement with the U.S. despite calls from the European Parliament. However, following revelations of large-scale U.S. intelligence collection programs, the Commission has put forward a range of proposals to strengthen the agreement.

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Filed under Free Software Downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Latest Tech News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 27, 2013

Black Friday: The truth about its dubious deals;  The 100 Best Android Apps of 2013;  VIOLENT video games make KIDS SMARTER;  Android apps for holiday cooking and baking;  Get a grip on TOR with Vidalia;  Social engineering red flags and tips;  Android apps for holiday cooking and baking; 4 Signs You Love Your Tech Too Much;  Toolwiz Time Freeze.

Black Friday: The truth about its dubious deals – A closer look at the deals around Black Friday show how the date has become a buzzword to trick people into pulling the trigger on shoddy deals. Retailers are manipulating prices and the products themselves just to get you into the store. Once you’re in the store, they’ve already won. So before you camp out in line, read on to learn the real deal about Black Friday.

Understanding Snowden’s impact on IT… in 2 minutes – When Edward Snowden leaked 200,000 classified documents that uncovered the NSA’s digital surveillance programs, it rocked the IT world. We break down the three biggest impacts.

Get a grip on TOR with Vidalia – For most people, Vidalia is only a type of sweet onion. However, there’s another Vidalia that all web surfers should know, regardless of their culinary preferences — and that’s the graphical control panel of the Tor Browser Bundle.

Google Makes Talking To Your Computer Slightly Less Crazy With Speech Search Chrome Extension – Google has a new Chrome extension released today that brings a recent mobile feature to the desktop. The feature is automatic voice search, which is triggered whenever you utter the phrase “Okay, Google.” The company announced the new feature on Google+ today, (via 9to5Google), and it’s live now and available for users in U.S. English.

Learn the secrets of Google Now voice commands (infographic) – This handy chart lists more than 60 commands for interacting with Google’s voice assistant, including some fun Easter eggs. They work with the iOS version, too.

The 100 Best Android Apps of 2013 – Navigate the galaxy of apps in Google Play with this handy, curated list of the 100 best Android apps.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Must-have Android apps for holiday cooking and baking – With Thanksgiving planning upon us, Hanukkah starting tomorrow, and the rest of the holidays right around the corner, there’s a lot of pressure to cook, bake, and show up to events bearing food and drinks. Luckily, all the recipes and drink suggestions you could ever need can fit on your Android phone, thanks to a plethora of cooking apps in the Play Store.

IDrive Facebook Backup saves your pics and video to the cloud – When it comes to taking pictures of family and friends, a huge number of people rely on snapping the pics with their smartphone or tablet and uploading them to Facebook. While Facebook is online and makes for a relatively safe place to store your photos, you should still back up the photos since they often can’t be replaced.

How to reset the Wi-Fi password at your parents’ house on your holiday travels – Nothing spoils holiday travel quite like getting locked out of the house Wi-Fi. Here’s how to help your folks set their networks aright.

YouTube hilariously impotent against ASCII comment pornographers – There are now new and worse ways to propagate spam and immaterial content below videos, which has created an avalanche of complaints and outcries from both viewers and content creators. It seems as if Google can’t move fast enough to give its users tools to manage the triumphantly abusive and off-topic trolls of YouTube.

Five free Android apps for easy SMB connection – Each of these tools is free and makes the task of connecting to your shares a snap. Once connected, you’ll be copying and/or moving files back and forth with ease. All of these applications work well with either Android tablets or smartphones and do not require root access or the most up-to-date version of Android. Let’s dig in and see which of these is best suited for you.

VIOLENT video games make KIDS SMARTER says new study. Moral panic, meet some facts – The research, published in the latest issue of American Psychologist, found that modern video games are much more socially orientated, thanks to the growth on massive online gaming environments, and that certain types of game can help kids learn problem-solving skills and creativity.

10+ things you should know before buying Office 365 – Office 365 can be a good fit in certain circumstances. If you’re thinking about it, here are the basic facts you need to know before you buy in.

How to get Windows Media Center working with Xbox One – A member of Neowin’s forum community has posted up a way to get a Windows Media Center-based PC to display inside the user interface of Microsoft’s new Xbox One console.

A guide to new storage technologies for legacy hardware – With these novel storage solutions from various Asian manufacturers, you can break your reliance on years-old hard drives and floppy disks deployed with legacy terminals.

Tablets to Make Up Half the PC Market in 2014 – Research firm Canalys on Tuesday predicted that tablets will nearly out ship all other PC form factors combined next year, accounting for almost 50 percent of the PC market, which also includes desktops and notebooks. Tablets accounted for 40 percent of PC shipments in the third quarter of 2013, less than half a million units behind global notebook shipments. The overall worldwide PC market grew 18 percent in Q3, even as desktop and notebook shipments continued their downward slide

Headphone buying guide – In-ear vs. on-ear, circumaural vs. supraaural, open vs. closed back — shopping for the right pair of headphones can be tough, but CNET’s on the job with a buying guide to help you narrow down your choices.


Social engineering red flags and tips for training users – Social engineering leads to dangerous security lapses and is notoriously difficult to prevent. Make sure your organization’s users can spot the most obvious red flags.

Study Says Rich, White Parents Are Less Concerned About Online Safety – How concerned are you about your kids’ safety when it comes to the Internet? According to a collaborative study between Northwestern University and Microsoft Research, the answer to that question may very well depend on your politics, your yearly income and other demographic factors.

QuizUp App Glitch Leaks Private User Data – In less than three weeks, mobile trivia app QuizUp has topped the iTunes charts, but the popular social app is in the headlines today for alleged security concerns. Software developer Kyle Richter on Monday wrote a lengthy blog post that detailed a privacy issues that allows the app to share private information between users without consent.

‘Neverquest’ trojan threatens online banking users – Attackers could start to aggressively distribute this malware in the near future, Kaspersky Lab researchers warn

Bitcoin’s skyrocketing value ushers in era of $1 million hacker heists – A company billing itself as one of Europe’s biggest Bitcoin exchanges said it suffered a coordinated attack that succeeded in stealing almost $1 million worth of the digital currency, marking the latest in a string of high-stakes heists hitting companies that hold large sums online.

Malware: War without end – After decades of fighting off viruses, worms, Trojans and other malware and cyberattacks, total victory remains beyond reach.

PlayStation Network passwords resetting now as precautionary measure – As early as last week on the 20th of November, users of the PlayStation Network (aka PSN) have seen their passwords reset without prompt. According to Sony support forum admins, this reset was done “purely as a precautionary measure” without specific evidence of any accounts being compromised. Users who find their passwords not working are being told to do a simple reset using the normal “Forgotten Password” button tap.

Company News:

Google hit with privacy complaints in 14 E.U. Countries – IDG News Service – Google was hit by privacy complaints in 14 E.U. countries Tuesday over its new terms of service that allow user photos and comments in advertising. Those changes to Google’s terms of service violate European data protection law, according to privacy advocate Simon Davies, who lodged the complaints.

Microsoft Enlists Pawn Stars To Mock Google’s Chromebooks – Microsoft’s anti-Google Scroogled campaign is showing no signs of slowing down. Its latest target is Google’s Chromebook. Microsoft has enlisted the stars of the successful reality TV series Pawn Stars to lampoon what it wants you to perceive as the Chromebook’s limitations (“It’s not a real laptop!”).

BlackBerry pushes BBM with Android preloads – The agreement – which will affect select Android phones offered in Africa, India, Indonesia, Latin America, and the Middle East – won’t force new owners to register for a BBM account, but it will put the app right in front of them, as BlackBerry tries to push its cross-platform service out from under the shadow of BlackBerry 10.

Target (Yes, That Target) Wants To Launch An Accelerator In India – Target has long looked to India to fuel its software applications and back-office projects. Now, the Minneapolis-based retailer is doubling down on the country’s tech potential.

Sony files patent for ‘SmartWig’ sensor hairpiece – Potential uses of the headwear include in road navigation, checking blood pressure or flipping through of slides in a presentation. Besides wireless communication, it will also include tactile feedback.

Games and Entertainment:

10 Great Windows Phone Games for Xbox One Fans – The XBox One is here, and Windows Phone is the only mobile platform that plugs directly into the XBox infrastructure. These 10 games will keep you in an XBox One state of mind.

GTA: San Andreas coming to Windows Phone and other platforms in December – Rockstar Games has announced that in December, it will be bringing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas to mobile devices, including Windows Phone, iOS, Amazon Kindle and a selection of Androids.

Sony to offer 18 entertainment apps for PS4 in Europe and other regions on Friday – Sony has announced that Europe and other regions that will have the PlayStation 4 console launch on Friday will be able to download and use a number of streaming entertainment apps.

LEGO The Hobbit video game to launch in 2014 – Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment, TT Games, and LEGO have announced a new video game is coming to the popular LEGO game franchise next year. The game will be called LEGO The Hobbit and will put players into the big feet of Bilbo Baggins and his friends. The exact launch date for the game in 2014 is unannounced at this time.

Microsoft begins Xbox 360 downloadable Black Friday game sales today – Microsoft has begun its Black Friday 2013 downloadable game sales for the Xbox 360 a few days ahead of the day itself, with additional sales to be added on Friday and Monday, December 2nd.

The past returns in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds – A Link Between Worlds is now the best reason to own a 3DS and likely the best bang for your buck you’ll get this holiday season. If you own a 3DS, there’s really no excuse not to play. If you don’t own one, there’s never been a better time.

Off Topic (Sort of):

US download speeds sluggish compared with other countries – Does your Internet download speed seem painfully sloth-like? This could be a result of the country you live in. The US ranks a lowly 31st in the world’s consumer download speeds.

Bonkless Brits fondling slabs, not each other – Brits are doing it less often than they did twenty years ago, according to researchers from University College, London – and one reason could be the fragmentation of home life. The depressing datum, especially if it were replicated around the world, is that from a mean of 6.2 encounters per month for men and 6.3 for women in 2001, the most recent National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles finds the numbers are now 4.9 times per month for men and 4.8 for women.

4 Signs You Love Your Tech Too Much – We all love tech here – we did make a website devoted to it, after all. But there’s a fine line between loving your tech and loving your tech too much.

“Internet Minute” snapshots show how the Web has grown in a year – The Internet grows in leaps and bounds, something various statistics have shown in a variety of ways. Percentages are one way to show this, as very large numbers can be hard to digest, but something being called an “Internet Minute” has provided an interesting perspective on the growth, comparing numbers taken from a single minute last year from six big Internet companies with numbers taken from the same companies this year.

Senators Want Tech Companies To Serve As Alternative – Eight Democratic senators are finally asking the Obama Administration to let startups act as an alternative to the malfunctioning healthcare website, “There are long-term advantages to providing Americans multiple ways to find and sign up for the health coverage that best meets their needs,” reads the letter to the Department of Health And Human Services.

Online Georgia Jury Survey Lists ‘Slave’ as Occupation – An online questionnaire for jurors in Georgia’s DeKalb County gave potential jurors the option to list “slave” as their occupation before officials removed the term shortly after being alerted to it, local television news station WXIA reported Tuesday.

No books here: New Texas library is all digital – San Antonio’s BiblioTech, believed to be the first public bookless library in the US, offers computers, Internet access, e-readers, and technology classes.

Something to think about:

Most of the change we think we see in life is due to truths being in and out of favor.”

–     Robert Frost

Today’s Free Downloads:

Toolwiz Time Freeze – With a simple click, it puts your actual system under virtual protection on the fly and creates a virtual environment as a copy of the real system, on which you can evaluate applications, watch movies, and perform online activities. It provides higher-level security to computer protection, and greatly improves the efficiency of virtual system.

Combofix – ComboFix is a program, created by sUBs, that scans your computer for known malware, and when found, attempts to clean these infections automatically. In addition to being able to remove a large amount of the most common and current malware, ComboFix also displays a report that can be used by trained helpers to remove malware that is not automatically removed by the program. You should not run ComboFix unless you are specifically asked to by a helper.

Hardwipe 3.1.1 – Hardwipe can be used to permanently erase, or to “hard wipe”, data on disk and portable storage media to prevent personal and sensitive business information from ever being recovered. It can wipe entire drives, wipe files individually, and sanitize unused drive space. It supports right-click context menus within Windows file explorer, or can just be used as a standalone application.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Verizon, BT, Vodafone, Level 3 ‘let NSA hook into Google, Yahoo! Fiber’ – Out of the telcos accused of opening up their connectivity links, network service provider Level 3 Communications is said to have been a particularly willing participant in the practice, the New York Times alleged. Level 3 did not respond to requests for comment on the matter. Communications providers Verizon Communications, BT Group and Vodafone – also named in the same NYT article – have previously maintained they are required to follow the law when government agents come knocking. In November, the trio were accused of handing Blighty’s GCHQ access to vital undersea cabling carrying the public internet.

Microsoft reportedly boosting security efforts in light of suspected NSA spying – Earlier today, sources spoke to The New York Times about a suspected tapping of fiber optic cables as the means by which the NSA managed to gather vast amounts of Internet data. Following this, sources — which may or may not be related to the NYT’s sources — told the Washington Post that Microsoft is rapidly boosting its encryption plans in light of concern that the NSA could be intercepting its traffic.

Eurocrats recommend right to sue American companies over snooping – The European Commission is calling for better protection of its citizens’ data, against intrusion by American agencies like the NSA. According to Reuters, the commission wants European citizens to have the right to sue in America over misuse of their data – something the US has promised but not yet implemented. The report quotes EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding as saying “I have … made clear that Europe expects to see the necessary legislative change in the U.S. sooner rather than later, and in any case before summer 2014”.

EFF wants the FBI to release surveillance rationale – The U.S Federal Bureau of Investigation should make public a legal opinion it used to justify a past telephone records surveillance program because other agencies may still be relying on the document for surveillance justifications, the Electronic Frontier Foundation argued in court Tuesday.

US puts Assange charge in too-hard basket – report – US authorities have decided not to prosecute Wikileaker-in-chief Julian Assange, because to do so would mean also mean prosecutions of US-based media, according to The Washington Post. The Post says it has had some off-the-record chats with Justice Department officials who have said it’s proving hard to build a case against Assange. Figuring out how to sue the news outlets that published his leaks is easier but is a path few governments like to tread as it is a colossally bad look to do anything that even looks like it might in the right light resemble a clampdown on the free press.

Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 27, 2013

Filed under Free Software Downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Latest Tech News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 26, 2013

Great, Cheap Prepaid Phone Plans;  12 Cool Win 8.1 Apps;  Simple guide to backing up your PC;  Moborobo – Manage Android from a PC;  Unlimited free holiday music;  10 Must-Have Walmart Black Friday Tech Deals;  How to keep your mobile devices safe;  Ditch your iPhone for Android – Schmidt;  Top Tech Turkeys of 2013;  Snowden stashed “doomsday” cache;  Tablets dwarf other holiday tech gifts.

‘Why Care About the N.S.A.?’ – – NY Times – This Op-Doc video explains why ordinary Americans should be concerned about online surveillance.

The absurdly simple guide to backing up your PC – You know there’s a need. We’ll walk you through the deed.

Facebook reveals friends list even when it’s set to private – Don’t want the entire Facebook-using and -abusing population to see your friends list? You could set your friend list to private, but fat lot of good that will do, given a researcher’s discovery that Facebook sucks out and displays our friends in “People You May Know” feeds, in spite of the setting.

Moborobo – Moborobo lets you send messages; manage data, images, media files, and themes, and even install apps to your smartphone or tablet from any computer. It can be a pain to set up if you don’t know what you’re doing, but it works like a charm once you have it up and running. If you’d rather send texts with your full keyboard or just don’t want to get up to grab your phone, this is a nice download to have. (CNET installer Enabled.)

Great, Cheap Prepaid Phone Plans – All of the major carriers offer prepaid cell phone plans, but so do some of the little guys. You can find some serious bargains if you know where to look.

The Best Day to Shop This Thanksgiving – Are you better off shopping on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday? We do the math.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

10 Must-Have Walmart Black Friday Tech Deals – This year, Walmart will host expanded “one-hour guarantee” events, which ensures consumers can snag certain items in-store during a one-hour period. The company last year offered the guarantee on three products, but this year it’s expanding the promotion to 21 items, including a $688 60-inch Smart LED 1080p HDTV from Vizio and the non-Retina iPad mini.

Congratulations! You just won Black Friday with these 11 awesome tips – Don’t venture into the jungle of holiday shopping unarmed. Boost your chances of success with these essential Black Friday apps and shopping tips.

Retailers’ in-store mobile pitches may backfire, survey – According to ISACA, 67 percent of U.S. consumers think personalized pitches are invasive when shopping in a brick-and-mortar store.

Tablets dwarf other holiday tech gifts in CNET survey – A whopping 40 percent of tech shoppers will buy tablets this holiday season according to CNET’s survey of 1,182 readers. That’s nearly twice as many tablets as any other device, with 23 percent shopping for phones, 20 percent for computers, and 17 percent for headphones. Even more readers — 42 percent — want to receive a tablet.

How to change your email address without losing your friends – Think of all the places where your old email address resides, outside of your immediate control, waiting to give people plenty of false information. There are other people’s address books, old messages in people’s inboxes, Web sites that use your address as your logon name, and your business cards. Changing your email address can be quite a chore.

openSuSE 13.1 hands on: Some more thoughts – A few more days, a bit more experience, A lot more details – and a btrfs filesystem installation!

Awesome Chemistry Videos to Your iDevice – The periodic table of elements–surely nothing is as stuffy an uninteresting, right? Goodness, no. You don’t even have to be a chemistry buff to enjoy the new Elements in Action app from Touch Press. This app contains an HD video demonstration of what makes each element on the periodic table notable. It’s also incredibly smooth and fun to play with.

12 Cool Win 8.1 Apps – Among the 120,000 apps in the Windows Store are some clever and impressive Windows 8.1 apps. Here are some of our favorites.

Google Gives Business Owners A Single Place Online To See All Their Customers’ Reviews – Verified business owners who are already using the recently updated Places for Business user interface can now go to their profiles, where they’ll find a new “Reviews” section. There, they will find all of their customers’ online reviews and be able to respond to them. The service also offers some basic review analytics so businesses can track how their reputation changes over time.

WD Black2 pairs SSD and HDD for Fusion Drive style flexibility – Western Digital has outed its latest drive, the WD Black2, pairing a sizable chunk of solid-state storage with a more capacious traditional HDD for the best of both worlds. The 2.5-inch drive has 120GB of SSD capacity and 1TB of HDD space, and gives the option of greater control over which data is stored where, unlike existing caching drives or, indeed, Apple’s proprietary Fusion Drive system.

LoJack system will allow parents, auto makers and insurance companies to track vehicles – LoJack, whose technology has for years allowed law enforcement to track down stolen vehicles, plans to release a device for parents and others to track family vehicles. The devices will not only collect data about vehicle locations, but also about how well someone is driving. It would also be able to restrict talking or texting on a smartphone while a vehicle is in operation.

How to get unlimited free holiday music on your phone or tablet – With the exception of iTunes Radio, which is available only for iOS devices, most of the services listed below are available for most mobile platforms.

Thai man reportedly ‘electrocuted’ by charging iPhone – The man was found dead with severe burns on his chest and also on his hand which held the phone, so badly that his skin was sticking to it. Police suspect electrocution via the phone charger, which appears to be fake.


LG decides its TVs *don’t* steal personal information – “viewing info” isn’t personal – The story of LG’s “data stealing” TVs continues to twist and turn, with LG now on its third version of what happened, and why. LG is sorry for the confusion caused by reports of problems, but not for the problems themselves – in fact, it doesn’t seem to think they’re a problem at all…

How to keep your mobile devices safe this holiday season – Many thousands of smartphones and tablets will be lost this year. These tips, tricks, and apps will help your gadgets make it safely into the new year.

Fake tech support scam is trouble for legitimate remote help company – Fraudsters who use remote desktop support programs while scamming their victims have made it difficult for at least one legitimate IT company to convince users that it’s not trying to steal their money.

Red October crypto app adopts “two-man rule” used to launch nukes – Engineers at content delivery network CloudFlare have released open source encryption software that’s designed to prevent rogue employees from accessing sensitive information by decrypting data only when two or more people provide keys.

Symantec: ‘Blackshades’ malware still being sold – The security vendor has seen an uptick in infections as well as command-and-control servers.

Company News:

Couric Hire Is Key To Yahoo’s Mobile Strategy – A technology company hiring a media personality might not make sense at first, but if you dig through the company’s recent past, it begins to make more sense. In a widely leaked move, Yahoo has hired Katie Couric to be its Global Anchor. The role, kicking off in 2014, will frame Couric as the face and leading voice of Yahoo’s growing news and content arm.

Amazon counters undercover BBC report showing harsh working conditions – Amazon has been the target of an undercover report that looked into working conditions for employees at its warehouse near Swansea, something that will air this evening on the BBC’s Panorama. The undercover report shows unfavorable conditions that could prove unhealthy to workers, but Amazon has spoken out against such claims, saying that it has taken steps to make sure its work shifts “comply with all relevant legal requirements.”

BlackBerry shakeup claims operating, marketing and finance chiefs – Struggling mobile vendor’s COO, CFO and CMO to leave after arrival of new CEO Chen; no replacements named.

Microsoft may put Windows RT out of its misery soon – Betting pools on when Windows RT will officially be killed off are now open, tech fans. Microsoft’s ready to acknowledge that three consumer operating systems is at least one too many.

Ditch your iPhone for Android, says Google’s TOTALLY UNBIASED Eric Schmidt – His overall intention, however, is crystal clear as the guide makes no attempt at balance: Schmidt assumes you’re going Google from end-to-end and offers instructions accordingly. He even suggests iPhone owners could consider doing without a final backup for their photos and instead “… send them to Gmail and download into the Android phone.”

Qualcomm Taking Pre-Orders for Black Toq Smartwatch – The chip maker is now taking pre-orders for its first smartwatch, which syncs with Android smartphones via Bluetooth to deliver alerts, messages, and updates to your wrist.

Intel seeks $500 million for OnCue Internet TV service – The tech giant is asking potential suitors for $500 million to purchase OnCue, and hopes to finalize a deal before the end of the year.

Games and Entertainment:

Watching TV in Europe inside Xbox One suffers from 50Hz limitations – European users of the Xbox One report that watching TV from within the console causes the signal to pause or judder thanks to the 50Hz setup on European TVs versus the 60Hz output on the console.

Killzone: Shadow Fall Review – As one of the first PlayStation 4 exclusive launch-titles, and the only first-person shooter on that short list, Killzone: Shadow Fall had some high expectations to live up to. What we saw in previous installments of this series was a gritty bit of darkness, all-out war and killing with only the lights of the enemy’s eyes to steer the player. Here we’ve dropped in on the planet Vekta, a lush, gorgeous environment where the two factions of humanoids, the Vektans and the Helghast, have continued what’s effectively become a civil war.

Microsoft giving free game download codes to owners of faulty Xbox One units – Microsoft is sending emails to owners of faulty Xbox One units offering them a free game download code as compensation for their issues with its latest console hardware.

Assassin’s Creed: Pirates to hit smartphones and tablets Dec. 5 – Hot on the heels of the Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag release for PCs and consoles, a new Assassin’s Creed title is coming to handhelds, Ubisoft has announced. The new game will be available on iOS and Android devices beginning Dec. 5. The price of the game is a drop-in-the-bucket $4.99.

Shooter Game Space Qube Lets You Order 3D Prints Of Your Voxel Creations – Space Qube is a fun new addition for fans of voxel games with cool twist–you can bring the characters you build out of virtual reality and into real-life by ordering 3D prints of them. The retro-style space shooter for iOS gained traction after scoring the Best In Play award at this year’s GDC, as well as placing as a Sense of Wonder Night’s finalist at the Tokyo Game Show.

Microsoft Confirms That “Excessive Profanity” In Xbox Upload Studio Videos Can Cost You Account Privileges – Reports have surfaced over the past 24 hours that Xbox users are losing their Xbox Live account privileges after uploading profanity-laced videos. Xbox One customers complained that they were losing the ability to use Skype and other applications on their consoles. Microsoft today released a statement regarding the account bans, quashing the side rumor that swearing in private Skype calls could result in account suspensions.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Have you heard of the Happy Hour virus? – Created by an advertising agency in Boulder, Colorado, the web-borne Happy Hour Virus lets you deliberately simulate a security problem in order to leave work early.

Top Tech Turkeys of 2013 – Thanksgiving is a time to convene family and friends to feast on delicious meals. And, here at Network World, it’s also the time to look back on the people and companies in the tech world that goofed up and did crazy, annoying and/or stupid stuff. So, grab some turkey and enjoy our list of Top Tech Turkeys for 2013.

Petition to turn Winamp into open source software has over 12,000 signatures – An online petition asking AOL to turn over its Winamp software to the open source community, rather than shut down its development, has generated over 12,000 online signatures so far.

If Inaccuracy Were Illegal, The Feds Would Have To Regulate Most Health Gadgets – The accuracy of consumer health gadgets varies widely across the spectrum, yet this hasn’t stopped the FDA from suspending popular genetic testing company 23andMe over concerns about the quality of their diagnostics. 23andMe may be at fault, but so is a large part of the entire health tech industry.

23andMe defies FDA order to halt testing – 23andMe continues to sell its genetic sequencing tests despite a government order to stop.

India’s Nuclear Scientists Keep Dying Mysteriously – Indian nuclear scientists haven’t had an easy time of it over the past decade. Not only has the scientific community been plagued by “suicides,” unexplained deaths, and sabotage, but those incidents have gone mostly underreported in the country—diluting public interest and leaving the cases quickly cast off by police. (suggested by Aseem S.)

Marble WiFi router lets you grow a small plant on its surface – As technology ever-encroaches into our daily lives, it can be harder to stop and smell the flowers, both literally and figuratively. The Consortium for Slower Internet is aware of such an issue, and wants to make you aware of it, too, via its marble and wood router. With this router, which to the naked eye appears to be an organic brick with a couple antennas coming out the rear, you can grow a small plant that serves as a reminder to unplug every so often and enjoy nature.

Geeks for Monarchy: The Rise of the Neoreactionaries – Many of us yearn for a return to one golden age or another. But there’s a community of bloggers taking the idea to an extreme: they want to turn the dial way back to the days before the French Revolution. Neoreactionaries believe that while technology and capitalism have advanced humanity over the past couple centuries, democracy has actually done more harm than good. They propose a return to old-fashioned gender roles, social order and monarchy.

RAF P-40 missing for 70 years found largely intact in Sahara desert – WWII has been over for nearly 70 years now, but some aircraft and soldiers are still missing. One of the mysteries of WWII has been solved with a largely intact RAF fighter plane recently being discovered deep in the Sahara desert. The aircraft is said to be largely intact.

Something to think about:

How do you tell a communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.”

–     Ronald Reagan

Today’s Free Downloads:

BlitzBank 1.0 – A tool for experienced users. It deletes files, registry entries and drivers before Windows and all other programs are loaded.

Cain and Abel 4.9.47 – Cain & Abel is a password recovery tool for Microsoft Operating Systems. It allows easy recovery of various kind of passwords by sniffing the network, cracking encrypted passwords using Dictionary, Brute-Force and Cryptanalysis attacks, recording VoIP conversations, decoding scrambled passwords, recovering wireless network keys, revealing password boxes, uncovering cached passwords and analyzing routing protocols.

Sandboxie Beta 4.07.04 – Sandboxie runs programs in an isolated space which prevents them from making permanent changes to other programs and data in your computer. Sandboxie stable also available.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Busting Eight Common Excuses for NSA Mass Surveillance – We’ve heard from lots of folks who are passionately concerned about the NSA’s mass spying, but are struggling to get their friends and family to understand the problem and join the over a half-million people who have demanded change through and elsewhere. You need to be prepared to respond to the common refrains of folks confused, nonplussed, or simply exhausted from the headlines. So here’s a cheat sheet to help you talk about the NSA spying when you’re with family and friends.

NSA-busting secure, open, router seeks cash and code from crowd – Australian embedded systems designer Redfish is hoping to attract funding from the crowd to market a secure routing platform that open-sources both the hardware and software to protect users from unwanted snooping. Speaking to The Register ahead of the launch, Redfish managing director Justin Clacherty said the project is designed to get security in front of ordinary users – those who don’t have the skills or confidence to set up complex crypto schemes or dive into the world of TOR.

The real diplomatic scandal? Australia helped the US with its dirty work – We deserve the embarrassment and awkwardness resulting from the ongoing spying row with Indonesia – a public debate over the excessive scope of state surveillance is badly needed.

Reuters: Snowden stashed “doomsday” cache as insurance policy against harm – US and British intelligence officials are concerned former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has stored an online “doomsday” cache of extraordinarily sensitive classified information that will be unpacked in the event he is arrested or physically harmed, according to a report published Monday.

Thales, Microsoft serve secure crypto in the cloud – Microsoft and Thales e-Security have deployed an architecture for encrypted cloud storage where you, the customer, control the keys and the provider has none.

Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 26, 2013

Filed under Free Software Downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Latest Tech News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 25, 2013

Parental controls on the Xbox One;  4 best gadgets to bring Internet video to your TV;  Top Android Tablets;  Microsoft updates remote apps;  NSA Has 50,000 ‘Digital Sleeper Agents’ Via Computer Malware;  Hearing aids iPhone support;  Next big thing is already here;  HP Black Friday special sub-$100 Android tablet;  Mobile broadband,  Free Wi-Fi, tablets killing TV;  Infographic: 50 Years of Doctor Who;  HDD Raw Copy Tool (free).

The 4 best gadgets to bring Internet video to your TV – Ready to cut the cord to your cable company? As the holiday season approaches, here are the best Internet to TV device choices – for yourself or your gifting pleasure.

Six things every new iPad (or iPhone) owner should do immediately – Just get a new iPad (or iPhone)? Here are a few critical things that you should do right now to keep your new gadget safe and your privacy protected.

How to set up parental controls on the Xbox One – Microsoft gives parents complete control over the content and features their kids can access on the Xbox One. Here’s how to get started.

Aacorn app anticipates what kids want to say – A new app out of Australia enables kids with speech impairments or developmental delays to convey their thoughts more quickly and easily.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Smartwatches aren’t the next big thing. The next big thing is already here – One chart shows why it’s going to be an uphill battle for smartwatch makers to convince buyers to hand over their cash. History is repeating itself, while the real gadget innovation is coming from another direction.

Top Android Tablets – No love for Apple’s iPad? Not to worry: We’ve tested some great Android alternatives, and these are the best of the bunch.

DDR4 memory won’t show up in PCs, tablets until 2015 – Another memory vendor expects to ship DDR4 this year, but Intel and AMD don’t expect to support the new memory boards with their processors until late 2014 or early 2015.

Taking pay for links means you may be gambling with Google – Ever gotten an email offering to pay you to publish links on your blog? This black hat SEO trick could get you in hot water with search engines.

See the very first (surprisingly handsome) selfie… from 1839 – A Philadelphia photographer was believed to be the first person to turn the camera on himself, unwittingly launching a revolution that would stay dormant until the smartphone age more than 170 years later.

Microsoft updates remote desktop apps – Microsoft adds new features and fixes for its popular Remote Desktop apps for iOS, Android and Mac OS X.

Hearing aids to gain iPhone support – iWhat? According to reports, Apple has partnered with hearing aid device companies to provide wireless iPhone connections.

Could Mozilla become a branch of Google? – Mozilla, the open-source Web browser group behind Firefox, doesn’t appear to have much to do with Google until you look at the bottom line. There, you’ll find that 90 percent of Mozilla’s revenue comes from Google.


NSA mass surveillance leaks: Timeline of events to date – The U.S. government mass surveillance scandal may be the biggest ongoing story of the year. In this updating timeline, you can explore the full scope of the Edward Snowden leaks, which have implicated the world’s most powerful nations in the worldwide spying operation.

Twitter Enables Perfect Forward Secrecy Across Sites To Protect User Data Against Future – Twitter has enabled Perfect Forward Secrecy across its mobile site, website and API feeds in order to protect against future cracking of the service’s encryption. The PFS method ensures that, if the encryption key Twitter uses is cracked in the future, all of the past data transported through the network does not become an open book right away.

Security experts praise Google’s tougher encryption – Google’s faster-than-expected upgrade of all its SSL certificates to an RSA key length of 2048 bits will make cracking connections to the company’s services more difficult without affecting performance, experts say.

Android, Bitcoin top malware targets, McAfee reports – Security vendor McAfee’s research arm, McAfee Labs, has identified growth across four threat trends, including Android-based malware, signed malware, spam, and virtual currencies.

We’re making TOO MUCH CASH, say CryptoLocker scum in ransom price cut – The soaring price of BitCoin has prompted the cybercrooks behind the infamous CryptoLocker malware to reduce the levy they impose on victims from 2 BTC to 0.5 BTC. The reduced price scam was spotted in variants of the malware, which encrypts personal files on infected Windows PCs, spotted earlier this week by security firm F-Secure.

CryptoLocker gang teams with botnet-builders on ransomware – The cyber-gang running the CryptoLocker extortion racket is splitting its ransomware take with criminal botnet owners, says Symantec, which is monitoring this underworld activity online.

Company News:

HP eyes Black Friday special with sub-$100 Android tablet – Intel has got the scoop on some tablet deals for Black Friday, including an Android tablet that’s very light on the wallet. That 7-inch HP tablet, branded the Mesquite, packs an Intel processor and will sell for $89 at Walmart. Don’t expect any barn-burning specs, though. You’ll likely get what you pay for. And Intel has the skinny on a few more deals too.

Apple confirms purchase of original Kinect sensor creator PrimeSense – Apple has now confirmed previous rumors that it has acquired the Israel-based PrimeSense, which developed the technology behind Microsoft’s original Kinect sensor.

Foxconn invests $40M in Pennsylvania to tap research, talent – Foxconn, best known as the maker of Apple’s iPhone and iPad, plans to spend $30 million over the next two years to expand its existing office in Harrisburg, Penn. The investment will involve hiring 500 employees, the company said in an email.

Free talk time minutes on Tata Telecom for watching mobile ads – Over the past few months, Tata has been pushing their TataSky Mobile aggressively in India. Now, in a bid to lure even more customers, they’re offering free talk time minutes by simply watching mobile ads.

Facebook Still ‘Useful’ to Teens, Says COO Sheryl Sandberg – Is Facebook losing its teens? Depends who you ask at the 1.19-billion-user social network. Surely, a not-so-insignificant chunk of the service’s 728 million daily active users falls between 13 and 19, right? Facebook CFO David Ebersman said during the company’s third-quarter earnings call that teen activity is down slightly on the social network.

Games and Entertainment:

PS4 and Xbox One game install, load, and boot times compared – Now that Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One are out in the wild, you’ve probably seen or heard — numerous times — that the PS4 is the more powerful, more games-focused of the two, while the Xbox One is the more media-focused. We’ve been testing the two consoles side-by-side, and wanted to compare either’s install time, as well as the time it takes from inserting the disc to being able to play the game.

PlayStation 3, Vita, Nintendo 3DS to get new “Persona” games – Fans of the long-running Persona series of role-playing games and animes are in for a triple helping of new material. Atlus, the maker of the games, announced the upcoming titles one at a time over the course of this weekend’s Persona event. Their Japan releases will be staggered over the coming 12 months.

Blizzard Designer Apologizes for Comments on Sexy Characters – A game director at Blizzard Entertainment is taking to a company blog to apologize for comments made during a recent interview, though some fans still maintain that Dustin Browder had nothing to apologize for and it was the journalist’s questions that were in the wrong.

Clap along to Happy, Pharrell Williams’ 24-hour long interactive music video – The video lets you skip around Los Angeles through various dance venues, floating down city streets, around boxing gyms and through what looks like an elementary school, to name a few identifiable locales.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Mobile broadband, free Wi-Fi, tablets killing TV, statistics show – While this in itself may not be news to our readers, the nitty gritty details and the statistics to back it all up should confirm what you might already suspect. TV watchers, movie buffs and sports fans are no longer anchored to a physical home.

FCC, Please Don’t Allow Phone Calls On Planes – The Federal Communications Commission is currently considering lifting the ban on making phone calls on planes, which would be an incredibly bad idea. Fortunately, Delta Airlines has already come out against this, but any airline even faintly considering it should stop right now. Right now.

Restaurant offers 50 percent discount for turning off phone – A restaurant owner in Israel has had enough of cell phone chatter and mute couples staring into their phones during dinner. So he’s offering an incentive.

5 Recent Trends That Make It Hard to Trust the Police – If there’s one thing I think we can all agree on, it’s that, much like clowns, everybody loves a cop. And for good reason! After all, in the unfortunate event that one of us should fall victim to a crime, who are we going to call first? No matter what my N.W.A-based childhood understanding of law enforcement taught me, the answer, of course, is the police. There are some among us, though, who’ve developed a slightly less positive opinion of law enforcement. That likely explains why, out of all the fascinating stats in this article about things that are more deadly than terrorism, this was the one that blew up on Twitter: You are 8 times more likely to be killed by the police than a terrorist.

Tech issues block people from N.J. Internet gambling test – If all goes well, Internet gambling will be available to gamblers in New Jersey starting Tuesday. The only other states with online gambling are Nevada and Delaware. It wasn’t going well for Joseph Brennen. The unemployed bartender from Ventnor was excitedly trying to log on to any gambling site that would take him. Sitting in a McDonald’s, with the Atlantic City Boardwalk casinos glittering in the distance, he kept getting security messages saying complex technology designed to ensure all players are within New Jersey’s borders didn’t believe he was in the state and were shutting him out. (suggested by Michael F.)

16 products that Microsoft has killed off – Every product has its end. It is either replaced, upgraded or merged in with something else. Even Microsoft, a company that is notoriously generous and patient with letting a product gain momentum, is willing to pull the plug when necessary. Here are some of the most notable Microsoft products that have met their demise.

Store owner installs surveillance cameras to spy on police – A Miami convenience store owner is fed up with his employees and customers being allegedly harassed by police. So he installs surveillance video to get evidence against the local cops.

Infographic: 50 Years of Doctor Who – The Doctor Who 50th anniversary special is upon us. But it’s been a long five decades, so compiled an refresher infographic on The Doctor, his numerous incarnations, his precious TARDIS, and the various tools that have helped him save the world over and over and over again.

Something to think about:

I’m not sure I want popular opinion on my side — I’ve noticed those with the most opinions often have the fewest facts.”

–      Bethania McKenstry

Today’s Free Downloads:

HDD Raw Copy Tool 1.10 – HDD Raw Copy Tool is a utility for low-level, sector-by-sector hard disk duplication and image creation. The tool creates a sector-by-sector copy of all areas of the hard drive (MBR, boot records, all partitions as well as space in between). HDD Raw Copy does not care about the operating system on the drive – it could be Windows, Linux, Mac, or any other OS with any number of partitions (including hidden ones). Bad sectors are skipped by the tool.

Everything Home 1.0.959 – Love your phone again with Everything Home. With over a million downloads in the first three months, Everything Home changes the way people feel about their phones. Your smartphone can now be as exciting and dynamic as your life, constantly adapting to your needs and interests at any given moment. Whatever is on your mind at any given moment – games, food, movies, pets, shopping – Everything Home has you covered on just about everything.

Chasys Draw IES – Chasys Draw IES is a suite of applications including a layer-based image editor with animation, vista-style icon support and super-resolution via image stacking (Chasys Draw IES Artist), a multi-threaded image file converter (Chasys Draw IES Converter) and a fast image viewer (Chasys Draw IES Viewer).

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

NSA Has 50,000 ‘Digital Sleeper Agents’ Via Computer Malware, Says Latest Snowden Leak – Sleeper agents are among the most sinister spy assets: they lie in wait, wolves in sheep’s clothing, and then deliver a critical blow when activated. The NSA has 50,000 of those waiting for the literal push of a button, according to the latest batch of leaked Snowden documents, as seen by Dutch daily evening newspaper NRC. But these aren’t people, like Keri Russel and Matthew Rhys in The Americans – these are computers, infected with malware and untroubled by conscience or the risk of going native.

Meet the Spies Doing the NSA’s Dirty Work – With every fresh leak, the world learns more about the U.S. National Security Agency’s massive and controversial surveillance apparatus. Lost in the commotion has been the story of the NSA’s indispensable partner in its global spying operations: an obscure, clandestine unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that, even for a surveillance agency, keeps a low profile. (recommended by Aseem S.)

NSA “SIGINT Strategy” paper targeted “anyone, anytime, anywhere” – The NSA just can’t get a break these days. The latest Snowden paper revelation shows the spy agency speaking plainly last year about pursuing unlimited vision of the digital world. The top secret paper, entitled “SIGINT Strategy” (SIGINT being Spy for “signals intelligence”) was distributed internally Feb. 23, 2012.

Privacy International begins tracking surveillance industry – Activist group Privacy International has launched an ambitious project to track the spread of commercial surveillance, spying, and tracking technology and the often secretive firms selling into the booming sector.

Singapore, Seoul key players in ‘Five Eyes’ spy ring – Leaked NSA map confirms Singapore and South Korea as key “third players” supporting the United States government’s “Five Eyes” surveillance network.

New NSA leak reveals invasion of the management consultants – Crack teams of Microsoft marketing droids, sleeper cells of incognito TEDx speakers and the greatest sociologists ever to torture a syntax into confessing to crimes of postmodernism have all been recruited to take the battle back to the spooks by befuddling them with the worst excesses of corporate language-mangling. The strategy appears simple: by making it impossible for anyone in the NSA to understand what they were being told, the agency wouldn’t be able to wreak too much havoc on the IT sector.

Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 25, 2013

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 22, 2013

Google – Encrypt everything;  LG smart TV spies on home networks;  AVG Antivirus Free/Smartphones & Tablets;  6 awesome new Android apps;  How to find free Wi-Fi;  ESPN Releases All-New SportsCenter App;  Five apps for screen capture;  Black Friday Amazon deals starting Sunday;  Does Facebook need a cemetery?  Free Wise Folder Hider;  50 Best Free iPhone Apps.

How to find free Wi-Fi during your holiday travels – A public Wi-Fi access point is like a public restroom. All kinds of businesses along travel routes offer restrooms to bring in customers. They offer free Wi-Fi for the same reason. The fact is, finding Wi-Fi on the road has become a lot easier over the past ten years. You just have to know where to look for it.

6 awesome new Android apps you should check out – Google Play is no longer a wasteland of mediocre apps and games. In fact there’s plenty of awesome stuff coming out all the time — here are our top picks.

The 50 Best Free iPhone Apps – This list highlights 50 apps, across a number of genres, that we at PCMag think have shown outstanding performance, have been well received by a variety of technology users, and are truly “free.” No gimmicks, no “membership required” or in-app purchase necessary. Free. Period.

Browser extension creates ‘disposable’ data for privacy – The new features are being added to “DoNotTrackMe,” an extension for Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Safari that blocks tracking technologies used by advertising and social networks and data collectors. The latest capabilities, which were already in Abine’s MaskMe password management tool, allow users to give out a one-time use credit card number to e-commerce vendors, along with a disposable email address and phone number.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Black Friday Amazon deals to run every 10 minutes starting Sunday – We are fast approaching Thanksgiving, and as well as a holiday, retailers across the US take the opportunity to kick off some crazy sales in a bid to get us all spending lots of money come Black Friday. However, Black Friday is just the finale, with many sales now starting in the days before Thanksgiving. In the case of Amazon, their deals are set to start this Sunday, November 24, and will run as frequently as every 10 minutes in the lead up to the holiday.

Here’s how Walmart will fight off Amazon on Black Friday – The retailing giant is pulling out all stops, from free shipping to price match guarantees. And for Walmart, Cyber Monday starts on Saturday.

Microsoft Bringing Message Encryption To Office 365 In Early 2014 – Microsoft is bringing message encryption to Office 365. The system will allow email to be automatically encrypted, even when sent to non-Office 365 users. So, you can use the protection with anyone, on any other email service. In the age of pervasive data abduction by government agency, keeping your private stuff private is an increasingly important issue.

Five more apps for screen capture in Windows – Last month, I shared with my take on five effective tools for capturing your screen in Windows, and it has attracted quite a few comments with suggestions for different utilities to check out. You can never have too many options for something as seemingly pedestrian as taking pictures of your desktop and windows. For this next round up, here are my five picks sourced straight from the TechRepublic community.

Kiss goodbye to quiet skies: Now FCC ready to OK in-flight cellphone use – The move comes less than a month after the Federal Aviation Authority announced it was relaxing the rules on the use of electronics on flights to allow them to be used throughout a flight so long as the plane is flying at over 10,000 feet. The decision was welcomes by the airlines and Delta and Jet Blue have already relaxed their policies.

How to find everything in Windows 8.1 – The new Windows is a culture shock, and it can be a challenge to figure out how to find common features and applications unless you know this one tip.

Pro tip: Track down the Create a System Image tool in Windows 8.1 – Learn where to find and launch the Create a System Image tool in Microsoft Windows 8.1, because it is not where it used to be.

Vine Focuses On Global Expansion With 19 New Languages – Twitter’s six-second video sharing app, Vine, today launches in a number of new languages. 19, to be exact. New languages include Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Thai and Turkish on both the iOS and Android apps, as well as Filipino and Polish on the Android app.

ESPN Releases All-New SportsCenter App – Keeping up with your favorite sports teams is about to get a little easier. ESPN on Thursday launched an all-new SportsCenter app for iPhone and Android handsets, designed to “provide sports fans a comprehensive, personalized mix of the ESPN content they want, anytime, anywhere.” Users will receive the new SportsCenter app as an update to ESPN’s ScoreCenter, which is the most popular free sports app of all time with more than 43 million downloads.

SkyDrive now auto-uploads photos from iOS devices – Although iOS users may want to store their photos within Apple’s iCloud, Microsoft now gives them the option of autouploading them to SkyDrive.

Bing now pulls in TripAdvisor results for travel searches – Microsoft’s search engine is integrating TripAdvisor data into its search results, stepping up the search competition with Google.

Take scheduled mini-exercise breaks with FitBolt – Sitting at a desk all day, day after day, is not good for your well-being. FitBolt reminds you to stretch and exercise throughout the workday, helping you to improve your health.

Saying Goodbye to Winamp with One Last Spin – Perhaps you heard the news, shed a tear of nostalgia, made an off-hand llama-whipping joke and moved on. Winamp deserves more than that. This is a legendary piece of software whose responsibility for the digital music revolution goes hand-in-hand with Napster. Illegal file sharing services merely provided the tunes. Winamp let us play them. As AOL has been gracious enough to give us a month’s notice before yanking Winamp from its servers, it’s only appropriate to give the 16 year-old MP3 software another listen.


LG smart TV snooping extends to home networks, second blogger says – In addition to transmitting a list of shows being watched and the names of files contained on USB drives, the Internet-connected TV also sent the names of files shared on home or office networks. He (a second blogger) made the discovery after plugging the Wireshark packet-sniffing program into his home network and noticing that an LG TV—model number 42ls570, purchased in April—was transmitting file names that sounded vaguely familiar even though there was no USB drive plugged in.

Encrypt everything: Google’s answer to government surveillance is catching on – And the Giants of the Web seems to agree in the wake of recent NSA spying revelations. Lock it all down!

Pogoplug Safeplug shifts home web use to Tor for internet secrecy – Pogoplug has launched a new privacy adapter, Safeplug, which the company says can add internet anonymity within seconds by re-routing all internet traffic through Tor. The compact box, priced at $49, pushes web use through Tor’s randomized path of interconnected computers, which are commonly used by journalists, activists, and others wanting to avoid being observed or located in their internet use.

Carriers say smartphone ‘kill switch’ would be a juicy target for hackers – Mobile carriers are opposed to the plan for a smartphone ‘kill switch’ that would render smartphones inoperable after they are stolen, claiming that it could be misused by hackers to block critical services.

Company News:

Mozilla banked $274M in ’12 from Google-Firefox search deal – Mozilla today said that income from search partners jumped 88% last year, with the portion attributed to its 2011 deal with browser rival Google increasing by even more. The Mozilla Foundation’s 2012 revenue was $311 million, up 90% from the year before and more than triple what it recorded in 2009, according to the financial statement released Thursday.

Samsung to pay Apple another $290 million for patent infringement – The verdict is in! Apple wanted $380 million, Samsung wanted to pay only $52 million, but now the jury has decided Samsung owes $290 million in damages for patent infringement.

New Acer CEO abruptly resigns as founder takes helm – Acer’s newly-named CEO has abruptly resigned from the troubled PC maker, in a surprise move that will result in founder Stan Shih temporarily taking over leadership. Two weeks after Acer named Jim Wong to be its next CEO, the PC maker on Thursday announced he was stepping down “in light of the company’s recent performance.”

Microsoft tipped for Winamp and Shoutcast acquisitions from AOL – Just when you think you have the rug pulled from under you, Microsoft seems to want to put it back again just as suddenly. That’s what’s appearing to happen this week when not one day after the music player app Winamp was announced as shuttering its doors, Microsoft has been tipped to buy it.

Games and Entertainment:

Playing video games makes opponents think and feel alike – New research out of Sweden suggests that empathy may actually provide a competitive advantage to help anticipate an opponent’s next move.

Classic Fighting Game SoulCaliber Arrives on Android – SoulCalibur was one of the most advanced fighting games of its day when it hit the Dreamcast back in 1999. While it really shook up the 3D fighter genre, it wasn’t enough to save the Dreamcast from an early death. However, the game has remained in the hearts and minds of gamers all these years, and has shown up on a few other platforms as an HD remake. Today it has reached Android with all 19 characters and multiple game modes.

Microsoft offers up a Xbox One “Doctor’s Note” to get out of work – Microsoft has posted a funny “Doctor’s Note” that people who have just bought their Xbox One could use to get out of work to play their new next generation console at home.

Latest South Park episode continues PS4/XB1 war storyline with Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates – The latest episode of South Park, which continues their Xbox One-PS4 storyline, features Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and chairman Bill Gates playing major roles.

Ride the rails with Pocket Trains – iOS and Android device owners can become a railroad tycoon with this fun empire-building causal game.

Off Topic (Sort of):

One out of seven people use social networks, study shows – About one in seven people around the globe use a social networking site at least once a month, and that number is expected to see grow significantly over the next several years. About 1.61 billion people will use a social networking site, such as Facebook, Google+, Instagram or Twitter, this month, according to eMarketer, a market research company. That’s a 14.2% increase from 2012, and double-digit growth is expected to continue through next year. By 2017, 2.33 billion people will use social networks, the company said.

100 years of rock ‘n roll storage – Today’s young people can enjoy listening to 60s groups like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. But back in the 60s no one listened to 50-year-old pop. Why?

Does Facebook need a cemetery? – The creators of the Sanctri app believe there needs to be a separate place on Facebook to mourn the dead and honor them.

The enigmatic wisdom of Deepak Chopra – It has been said by some that the thoughts and tweets of Deepak Chopra are indistinguishable from a set of profound sounding words put together in a random order, particularly the tweets tagged with “#cosmisconciousness”. This site aims to test that claim! Each “quote” is generated from a list of words that can be found in Deepak Chopra’s Twitter stream randomly stuck together in a sentence. (suggested by Michael F.)

India’s tribal regions using Facebook, WhatsApp to fight corruption – Ahead of federal elections next year, politicians have been embracing social media to their advantage. Now, that same space could be used against them when tribal groups attempt to expose some of their unethical practices.

Bitcoin becomes an official payment option at its first university – Bitcoin has been around for a handful of years, but has only recently seen widespread attention and a skyrocketing value all the while. ATMs that work with the currency cropped up earlier this year, and soon retailers and different services started announcing acceptance of the digital monies. That red carpet has expanded, with the first-ever university revealing that students can now pay tuition in bitcoins.

Something to think about:

Most people have seen worse things in private than they pretend to be shocked at in public.”

–     Edgar Watson Howe

Today’s Free Downloads:

AVG Antivirus Free for Smartphones & Tablets – AVG Antivirus for Smartphones & Tablets automatically detects harmful Apps & SMS. AVG Mobilation is a free security solution that protects your phone from viruses, malware, spyware & online exploitation in real-time.

Wise Folder Hider – User can use it to hide files and folders on local partitions or removable devices. The data can’t be accessed by other programs or on other operating systems such as DOS. The only way to access or unhide these data is to enter the valid password. However, this application is designed for home use only but not recommended for commercial settings which require stricter confidentiality.

ContaCam 4.9.0 – This Free Video Surveillance and Live Webcam software for Windows is extremely easy on system resources, and does not contain unnecessary bloat. It is fast, light, and versatile enough to meet all your security needs while still being very user friendly and able to run on even the most moderate systems.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Report: NSA also had the green light to spy on UK residents – The Guardian first reported the 2007 agreement between the two allies on Wednesday, citing documents from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The newspaper reported that the agreement between the American and British signals intelligence agencies show that the NSA is now allowed to analyze and keep British mobile phone numbers, fax numbers, and other “selectors” as a way to conduct “contact chaining” analysis. Previously, the NSA had only been able to collect UK landline numbers.

Inside America’s Plan to Kill Online Privacy Rights Everywhere – The United States and its key intelligence allies are quietly working behind the scenes to kneecap a mounting movement in the United Nations to promote a universal human right to online privacy, according to diplomatic sources and an internal American government document obtained by The Cable. The diplomatic battle is playing out in an obscure U.N. General Assembly committee that is considering a proposal by Brazil and Germany to place constraints on unchecked internet surveillance by the National Security Agency and other foreign intelligence services. American representatives have made it clear that they won’t tolerate such checks on their global surveillance network.  (suggested by Aseem S.)

Congress Draws Battle Lines Over NSA Phone Snooping Program – In the wake of revelations about the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance programs over American phone records and Internet activities, Congressional leaders are demanding reform to rein in the agency’s broad powers. “The constant stream of disclosures about U.S. surveillance since June has surprised and appalled me as much as it has the American public and our international allies,” Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis), the original author of the Patriot Act, said recently. Sensenbrenner has argued that the Patriot Act was never supposed to give NSA the powers it has claimed to collect domestic telephone records. The question remains, however: exactly how far will these reforms go?

Five takeaways from the NSA and Internet surveillance disclosures – The ripples from Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing on NSA surveillance tactics continue to be felt. What are the biggest takeaways for those in the technology field?

Comments Off on Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 22, 2013

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Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 21, 2013

Securing your phone – essential steps;  iPhones in 14 percent of all NYC crime; Real-time translated conversation – Google Translate;  OpenSUSE 13.1 – new version;  Ultrabook Buying Guide 2013;  Cryptolocker: The evolution of extortion;  Download CryptoPrevent;  Winamp killed;  Xbox One: 15 things you need to know;  4 Price Trackers That Can Save You a Fortune;  Google Launches Newsstand For Android.

Essential steps for securing your phone – As smartphone theft grows, handset owners need to do all they can to secure their devices. Read the steps you can take and find just what else the industry is, and is not, doing.

iPhones now involved in 14 percent of all NYC crime – The NYPD says Apple product resale values are so high that organized crime rings can’t get enough of them. The force is asking pawnshops to keep electronic records of all iPhones they purchase.

Carriers slammed for rejecting smartphone ‘kill switch’ – Law enforcement officials trying to rein in violent smartphone theft have criticized cellular operators who they say rejected a solution that would help address the problem. The officials have been pushing for a “kill switch” that could render smartphones inoperable after they’re stolen, reducing the incentive for crime. But news reports this week suggested carriers have rejected the idea.

Google Translate for Android gets conversational – Google announced an update on Wednesday for its Translate app for Android that promises faster speech translation, support for more languages, and an updated user interface. Perhaps the most attractive portion of the update is the ability for people who speak different languages to have a real-time translated conversation. The translation process involves touching the app’s microphone and rotating the screen to switch between the languages. (See Today’s Free Downloads, below.)

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

How to live large on every battery charge – While it’s easier to find outlets for charging your mobile device in vehicles and public places these days, there will always be the occasion when you need to nurse the battery in your laptop, smartphone, or tablet because you can’t charge it. Whether you forgot bring your charger, are stuck in the woods, or you simply want to revel in the un-tethered-ness of it all, here are some tricks for achieving longer run time.

4 Price Trackers That Can Save You a Fortune – Here are four great price tracking apps, websites and services that can help you figure out the best times to buy.

Google Launches Newsstand For Android, Combines Google Play Magazines And Currents Into A Single App – Google today launched Google Play Newsstand for Android, an app that brings together the current Google Play Magazines app available in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Australia, as well as Google Currents, the company’s answer to apps like Flipboard. The Play Newsstand will feature about 1,900 free and paid publications.

Majority of Snapchat users are women – About 70 percent of the photo and video messaging app’s users are women, according to a Wall Street Journal account of the CEO’s talk at a closed-door conference.

OpenSUSE 13.1: Major community Linux has a new version – Red Hat has Fedora and SUSE has openSUSE. Both are community-based Linux distributions that point the way to their business distributions: Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) for Red Hat and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) for SUSE. Today, it’s SUSE’s turn to look into the future of enterprise Linux with the release of openSUSE 13.1.

Ultrabook Buying Guide 2013: How to find the right Ultrabook – Don’t know what specs a laptop has to sport to bear Intel’s Ultrabook seal of approval? Don’t worry: We’ll tell you everything you need to know about this ultra-portable line of laptops.

Techie ways to celebrate Hanukkah – Update your family traditions this Hanukkah with the help of technology. And no, we’re not talking about dreidel and menorah apps, but those are out there too! In this Tech Minute, CNET’s Kara Tsuboi brings us some festive tech ideas for celebrating the holiday.

Winamp killed after 15 years of media playing – Much-loved media player Winamp will shutter on December 20, 2013.  The news, quietly announced alongside version 5.66 of the software, ends fifteen years of the app being offered, with the Winamp team warning that anybody wanting a copy before it’s pulled should download soon. (See Today’s Free Downloads, below.)

YouTube arrives on the Xbox One – A revamped YouTube experience has arrived just in time for the Xbox One launch this Friday, paving the way for unfettered access to awkward advertisements and whatever this mouse is doing from the comfort of your couch.

Google’s Schmidt predicts end to global censorship in a DECADE – The Chocolate Factory supremo was speaking at Johns Hopkins University on Wednesday. “First they try to block you; second, they try to infiltrate you; and third, you win. I really think that’s how it works. Because the power is shifted,” he said, according to Reuters. “I believe there’s a real chance that we can eliminate censorship and the possibility of censorship in a decade.” (ROFL!)


90% of workers in Britain cannot resist clicking on a web link – 90% of UK workers surveyed have clicked on a web link embedded in an email with two-thirds (66%) admitting they very rarely first check to ensure the link is genuine, according to Sourcefire.  The study identified three types of clicking behavior…….

Even police departments are paying the Cryptolocker ransom – Generally, law enforcement officials don’t recommend caving in to extortionists. Apparently that rule doesn’t necessarily apply when a police department gets hit with the Cryptolocker malware. The Swansea, Massachusetts PD recently decided that they weren’tt in a position to ignore Crtyptolocker’s demands. Instead they paid around $750 to retrieve the decryption key and get their files back.

Cryptolocker: The evolution of extortion – The Cryptolocker Trojan is an evolution of “ransomware,” not a revolutionary change from past criminal attempts to extort money from PC owners, a security expert said today. And the recent media blitz about the ransomware has elements of exaggeration about it. “There is a bit of hype,” said John Shier, a senior security advisor for U.K.-based Sophos, in an interview today. “Actually, it’s only the latest incarnation of ransomware.”

Download CryptoPrevent – CryptoPrevent is 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. CryptoPrevent artificially implants group policy objects into the registry in order to block certain executables in certain locations from running. Note that because the group policy objects are artificially created, they will not display in the Group Policy Editor on a Professional version of Windows — but rest assured they are still there!

Glut In Stolen Identities Forces Price Cut In Cyberunderground – For $300 or less, you can acquire credentials for a bank account with a balance of $70,000 to $150,000, and $400 is all it takes to get a rival or targeted business knocked offline with a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS)-for-hire attack. Meanwhile, ID theft and bank account credentials are getting cheaper because there is just so much inventory (a.k.a. stolen personal information) out there.

New backdoor worm found attacking websites running Apache Tomcat – In a blog post published Wednesday, Takashi Katsuki, a researcher at security firm Symantec, said Java.Tomdep appears to be designed to harness the huge amounts of bandwidth and computing power available to Web servers for use in denial-of-service attacks against other machines. Unlike Darkleech and other malware targeting Web servers, there’s no indication that it’s used to attack end users visiting websites. Katsuki explained.

GitHub Resets Users’ Passwords Following Brute Force Attack – The web hosting development site GitHub reset a number of users’ passwords and revoked a slew of user security authorizations this week following a wave of brute-force attacks. According to a blog entry by GitHub’s Security Manager Shawn Davenport yesterday, the incident involved login attempts from almost 40,000 distinct IP addresses and was a slow, concerted effort to break into user accounts using multiple passwords.

Repeated attacks hijack huge chunks of Internet traffic, researchers warn – Huge chunks of Internet traffic belonging to financial institutions, government agencies, and network service providers have repeatedly been diverted to distant locations under unexplained circumstances that are stoking suspicions the traffic may be surreptitiously monitored or modified before being passed along to its final destination.

Company News:

Microsoft Now Sells T-Shirts That Claim Google’s Chrome Steals Your Data – Microsoft has started to sell t-shirts, hats, mugs, and sweatshirts that bear slogans from its Scroogled campaign that needles Google as bad on privacy. I confirmed with the company that the clothing line was released today. It’s more than cheeky.

Google Wallet Pre-Paid Debit Card Released – The long-rumored Google Wallet Card is now a reality. The search giant today launched its first physical payment card, with early support from MasterCard. The piece of plastic serves as a prepaid debit card that allows access to the user’s Wallet Balance at ATMs, banks, and anywhere MasterCard is accepted.

Qualcomm Intros New Line of Processors for the Connected Home – Qualcomm on Wednesday introduced a new embedded processor line through its Atheros subsidiary to “transform networking devices like home gateways, routers, and media servers into ‘Smarthome’ platforms,” the company said at its annual analyst meeting in New York.

Mozilla chalks up thousands of Firefox OS apps – Mozilla claims it has got thousands of apps in its Firefox OS marketplace, and has opened a Stack Overflow page to help answer developer questions.

Yahoo increases share buyback by $5 billion, puts $1 billion in debt on the table – In order to raise the price and value of remaining shares, Yahoo has added $5bn to its stock buyback program.

Games and Entertainment:

Tesco Extra stores in UK to get additional Xbox One consoles for launch – UK residents who didn’t pre-order the Xbox One will be able to get in line at over 100 Tesco Extra locations as they will have some additional units for sale in time for the launch at midnight Friday.

ORIGIN PC releases custom gaming keyboard, mouse, mouse mat – The custom PC gaming company ORIGIN PC has released three new PC gaming peripherals designed to look as sleek as they perform. The BlackWidow Ultimate keyboard ($140) and Taipan mouse ($80) are solid pieces of gaming hardware with some handy gaming features built-in, and the Goliathus mouse mat ($20) gives you smooth, reliable control in any gaming style. All three are now available at the ORIGIN PC Gear Shop.

How to Play Missile Command Inside YouTube – Now you’re wasting time efficiently.

Xbox One: 15 things you need to know – Microsoft’s new console may seem daunting, but here are some key points about the new do-nearly-everything gaming machine.

Check out the full list of Xbox One’s Kinect U.S. voice commands – The full list of voice commands that are recognized by the Kinect sensor in Microsoft’s Xbox One sold in the U.S. has been released as a quick way to learn which phrases the console understands.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The coming tech-lash – Hitherto the tech elite have been exempted from the backlash against the plutocracy. Occupy Wall Street’s protesters made an exception when it came to the people who provided them with their iPhones and iPads. But one of the big developments of 2014 will be the growing peasants’ revolt against the sovereigns of cyberspace. The Silicon elite will cease to be regarded as geeks who happen to be filthy rich and become filthy rich people who happen to be geeks.

Golf to technology: Shove it – In a landmark ruling for humanity, the powers behind golf decide they’ve had enough of viewers calling in to say a ball was moving when it appeared stationary to the naked eye.

Leonardo Da Vinci’s wacky piano is heard for the first time, after 500 years – A bizarre instrument combining a piano and cello has finally been played to an audience more than 500 years after it was dreamt up Leonardo da Vinci. Da Vinci, the Italian Renaissance genius who painted the Mona Lisa, invented the ‘‘viola organista’’ – which looks like a baby grand piano – but never built it, experts say. The viola organista has now come to life, thanks to a Polish concert pianist with a flair for instrument-making and the patience and passion to interpret da Vinci’s plans. (recommended by Michael F.) Thanks Michael. Smile

Ancient Siberian’s skeleton yields links to Europe and Native Americans – All the evidence indicates that the Americas were populated by people who migrated across the Bering Sea at a time when the ice age lowered ocean levels enough to do it. Well, almost all the evidence. Some of the oldest skeletons found in the new world have features that look somewhat European, a link supported by a few pieces of DNA found in some Native American populations. Now, a 20,000-year-old skeleton from Siberia may help clear up the confusion.

Google Takes You Through Middle-Earth, Providing Both An Eagle- And A Hobbit’s-Eye ViewGoogle has launched an ambitious Chrome experiment today, in partnership with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. It’s an interactive updated version of those great handdrawn maps Tolkien included in his print edition of the works upon which these movies are based, that provides a guided tour of Middle-earth and the people, elves, trolls, wizards and other beasts that populate it.

Windows 1.0: The flop that made an empire – Two years later than planned, Microsoft’s new graphical operating system went on sale November 20, 1985. It wasn’t worth the wait. But a bigger story was soon to unfold.

Something to think about:

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”

–    Sir Winston Churchill

Today’s Free Downloads:

Traffic Travis – Traffic Travis provides a simple set of tools for monitoring the popularity and potential viewings for a particular Web site. With great instructions and an easy layout, this is a fantastic Internet research tool. Traffic Travis is freeware, but it requires a free online registration. It comes as a compressed file. By providing some exciting Web data in an easy-to-use environment, this program succeeds admirably, and we highly recommend it. (CNET Installer Enabled.)

Winamp 5 Full – Developed to be more than just a player, from MP3s to streaming video. It’s your window to the multimedia world. Winamp is to be discontinued December 20th, 2013.

Google Translate for Android – Translate words and phrases between more than 60 languages using Google Translate for Android. For most languages, you can speak your phrases and hear the corresponding translations.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

NSA’s BFFs not necessarily immune to spying eyes – report – The UK’s Guardian newspaper says the NSA drafted a directive about spying on its closest, “Five Eyes” intelligence allies, and that it swept up metadata on UK citizens.

Institutional investors in AT&T, Verizon demand answers about spying – In an unusual move on Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California partnered with major investment firms that have stakes in AT&T and Verizon, hoping to use those firms’ influence to encourage transparency reports from those major telecommunications companies.

Berlin court rules Google privacy policy violates data protection law – Google’s privacy policy and terms of service violate German data protection law, the Regional Court of Berlin ruled Tuesday. The clauses are too vaguely formulated and can restrict the rights of consumers, said the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV), which brought the case. The VZBV complained about 13 privacy policy clauses and 12 terms of service clauses, all of which were ruled invalid, VZBV’s policy officer for legal enforcement, Bianca Skutnik, said on Wednesday. The decision could have far-reaching implications for Google, although it can still appeal the ruling.

Indonesia Halts Military Cooperation over Australian Spying – PM Tony Abbott and Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono are embroiled in a diplomatic row over Australia’s spying activities revealed by Edward Snowden. Indonesia has suspended military and intelligence cooperation with Australia in an escalating diplomatic row sparked by reports that Canberra spied on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Yudhoyono ordered Indonesian security forces to halt joint military exercises, intelligence exchange and anti-people-smuggling operations with Australia until Canberra provided an official response to allegations that his phone, that of his wife and those of other senior government officials were tapped.

Three senators challenge NSA claim that dragnet surveillance is required – The brief argues that after extensive review of the surveillance, the senators have seen no evidence that the bulk collection has provided any “intelligence of value” that could not have been arrived at through less intrusive methods. Mark Udall, a Democrat from Colorado, Ron Wyden, Democrat senator from Oregon and Martin Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat, all members of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said Tuesday they filed an amici curiae (friends-of-the-court) brief in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco division.

Swedish police, service providers on collision course over direct access to user data – Saving the data is mandatory for service providers, but automating the process to hand over data is voluntary. Large service providers aren’t on board with the proposal.

China like Internet filters; so does British PM – British Prime Minster David Cameron has found support for his internet crackdown from the People’s Republic of China. Cameron has been attempting to get some support for his “filter the internet to save society as we know it” campaign and it seems that he has received backing from the Chinese.


Filed under Free Software Downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Latest Tech News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 20, 2013

Override 4GB memory barrier (Win 8.1);  Files Reveal NSA Ignored Courts;  13 Android apps that play nice with your PC;  Five free task killers;  Declutter your PC;  10 Ways to Boost Your WiFi;  India leads social networking growth;  LG TV phones home user’s viewing habits;  Targeted Internet misdirection on the rise; Assassin’s Creed 4 Review;  2013 Holiday Gaming Guide.

Declassified Files Reveal NSA Routinely Ignored Courts – Newly declassified documents reveal that the National Security Agency has a long history of ignoring or avoiding court protections of the 4th Amendment. The heavily redacted 1,000+ page data dump reads like a diary of federal judges scolding intelligence agencies for overreaching their authority.

Override the 4GB memory barrier on 32-bit Windows 8.1 systems – Turn on Physical Address Extension mode and unleash the full potential of your 32-bit RAM memory. Activating proper PAE mode on Windows 8.1 is a fairly easy process.

Essential steps for securing your phone, and what else can be done to foil thieves – As smartphone theft grows, handset owners need to do all they can to secure their devices. Read the steps you can take and find just what else the industry is, and is not, doing.

13 Android apps that play nice with your PC – Getting things done on disparate devices doesn’t mean you have to abandon a cohesive workflow. These 13 Android apps sync, link, connect, or just plain play nice with your computer in ways that make it easier to stay productive no matter where you are—and with minimal hassle. Check ’em out.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Smart TV from LG phones home with user’s viewing habits, USB file names – A blogger has offered evidence that his Internet-connected television has been transmitting detailed information about his family’s viewing habits, including the times and channels they watch and even the names of computer video files stored on connected USB drives. Even more remarkable, he said, the smart TV sent the data even after he waded through the system preferences and set the “Collection of watching info” setting to “off” (it was on by default). But the logging didn’t stop there.

10 Ways to Boost Your Wireless Signal – It doesn’t matter how hot your hardware is—if your network is slow, you’re dead in the water. Our ten tips and video can help.

How to delete and pause your YouTube watch history – Google tracks the videos you watch to provide a handy list so you can return to videos you enjoyed previously. Learn how to delete your history and prevent it from continuing to track your viewing habits.

Five free task killers that are ready to end stubborn processes – There are stubborn cases when Task Manager simply won’t kill a process, that is when you call in specialized apps that won’t take no for an answer.

Tencent bringing free 10TB cloud storage lockers to the U.S. – I was pretty excited when Microsoft announced that early SkyDrive adopters would be getting a bonus bump up to 25GB of storage. But 10TB of free space to store your files in the cloud? Surely that’s got to be a mistake, right? Nope. Chinese Internet giant Tencent has been offering its domestic users cavernous cloud caches since August of this year. Now they’re turning their attention on the West.

Declutter your PC for better security and more storage – Just as you regularly remove expired jars of mayonnaise and uneaten leftovers from your refrigerator (right?), any time is a good time to rid your PC of useless and unwanted programs. It never hurts to clear out old data files you’ll never need again, too. Here are some tips to help you purge all that dreck from your PC.

Samsung suspends Android 4.3 update for the Galaxy S3 – The Galaxy S3 finally started receiving the Android 4.3 update two weeks ago in the UK. Since then, users have reported numerous issues affecting stability, prompting Samsung to suspend updates.

Is Streaming Worth the Malware? – In order to use Netflix on your PC, you have to install Microsoft Silverlight 5. However, Malwarebytes Corporation revealed in a recent blog post that a vulnerability in Microsoft Silverlight 5 is being used on malicious websites to infect PCs with malware. Silverlight, similar to Adobe Flash, is an application framework created by Microsoft that is designed for writing and running rich Internet applications.

How to stretch your savings when shopping on tech deal websites – No matter if you’re looking to get a gift for someone else or just yourself, everyone likes to save money when shopping for the holidays. And deal sites provide a way for savvy tech shoppers to make their spending money stretch long into December. But how to get a jump on those bargains? We talked to the deal collectors themselves for tips on the best ways to use online deal websites.

Five ways Surface RT beats Android tablets – Donovan Colbert highlights five reasons why he’s increasingly been using Microsoft’s Surface RT more than any of his Android devices.

Selfie Named Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year – Oxford Dictionaries today announced that “Selfie” is 2013’s Word of the Year, beating out bitcoin and binge-watch, among other contenders.


Hack of Cupid Media dating website exposes 42 million plaintext passwords – The compromise of 42 million passwords makes the episode one of the bigger passcode breaches on record. Adding to the magnitude is the revelation the data was in plaintext, instead of a cryptographically hashed format that requires an investment of time, skill, and computing power to crack.

Cryptolocker: How to avoid getting infected and what to do if you are – There’s a big threat wiling around on the Internet right now: A particularly nasty piece of ransomware called Cryptolocker. Many, many organizations are being infected with this malware, but fortunately, there are surefire ways to avoid it and also ways to mitigate the damage without letting the lowlifes win.

Bogus PS4 and Xbox One giveaways popping up – Trend Micro researchers have unearthed a number of survey scams, on and off Facebook, that are promising a prize consisting of the latest game console if users participate and solve one or more of the offered surveys, and “like” and “share” the “contest” with their friends.

Google strengthens its SSL configuration against possible attacks – The company completed its planned switch to SSL certificates with 2048-bit keys ahead of schedule

1.2% of apps on Google Play are repackaged to deliver ads, collect info – Not a month goes by without security researchers finding new malicious apps on Google Play. According to BitDefender, more than one percent of 420,000+ analyzed apps offered on Google’s official Android store are repackaged versions of legitimate apps. In the long run, their existence hurts the users, the legitimate developers, and Google’s reputation in general.

Warning! Targeted Internet misdirection on the rise – Unknown attackers have successfully hijacked and redirected Internet traffic belonging to financial services companies, VoIP providers and governments many times over the past year. A total of about 1,500 individual IP blocks from 150 cities around the world have been intercepted, inspected and possibly compromised in incidents lasting from a few minutes to several days.

AFP admits to accessing MPs’ call records – The Australian Federal Police has admitted to accessing the call records of up to 5 members of the Australian parliament.

Hackers could control Brisbane traffic controls: Report – Security measures designed to prevent hackers from taking over Brisbane’s traffic management systems are woefully inadequate or missing.

Company News:

Nokia Shareholders Approve $7.2BN Deal For Sale Of Devices Business To Microsoft – Nokia’s shareholders have approved the sale of its devices & services unit to Microsoft at an EGM held today in Helsinki, the FT reports. The transaction is still expected to close in the first quarter of next year, with Nokia in a caretaker role of its own mobile making division until early 2014.

Microsoft opens up its own eBay storefront – Microsoft has announced it has launched its own storefront on eBay, allowing visitors to the site to buy new and refurbished hardware products from the company.

Snapchat Sees More Daily Photos Than Facebook – Snapchat now shares 400 million snaps each day, according to an unnamed source who spoke with Business Insider. In September, Evan Spiegel announced on the Disrupt stage that the disappearing photo-sharing service was seeing 350 million snaps sent per day, up from 200 million in June. Clearly, growth on the hot new service is staggering.

Russia’s Mail.Ru Arrives in U.S. With iOS, Android Apps – Russian Internet giant Mail.Ru today announced its first foray into the American market with startup The new initiative provides U.S. consumers with communication and entertainment apps aimed at managing email, keeping in touch with people, and discovering new games.

Nintendo reportedly working on Android tablet – Nintendo appears to be making a tablet—and I don’t mean the one that comes with the Wii U. The Japanese game company is reportedly working on an Android-powered tab that will run educational games for kids.

Games and Entertainment:

Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag for PC Review – Ubisoft has created a masterpiece of the modern age of relatively-open sandbox gameplay tied closely with the next-level graphics finesse afforded them by NVIDIA – every bit as spectacular as we saw in demo form earlier this year up in Montreal.

Review: Super Mario 3D World – The game taps into every single Wii U resource to show off what is possible if other developers were to reach in and do the same, and it’s fantastic.

2013 Holiday Gaming Guide – Games hit the sweet spot when it comes to fun holiday gifts—but only if you buy the right one. Which games are you going to buy for that special gamer on your list (or for yourself)? Our list can help you decide.

Gaming company slapped with fine over secret bitcoin mining – E-Sports Entertainment Association, otherwise known as the ESEA, was fined a total of $1 million due to secret bitcoin mining software that resulted in gamers’ unknowing harvesting the digital currency. The work was said to be the result of a single employee who went rogue and was later fired, but that didn’t stop legal actions from being initiated.

The PS4 costs $381 to manufacture– Research firm IHS has put together a costing based on the components identified as used in the PS4. Their total comes to $381 for manufacturing the machine, which is just $18 less than the console’s retail price. That translates into a loss when you factor in packaging, shipping, the retailer’s profit margin, advertising, and the research and development costs Sony incurred, but this is still good news for Sony.

Best Buy to Host Nationwide Madden NFL 25 Tourney on PS4 – Gamers, start your consoles–Best Buy is organizing a nationwide Madden NFL 25 tournament to celebrate the arrival of Sony’s PlayStation 4 in stores around the country

Off Topic (Sort of):

Interactive Dylan video takes surreal roll through TV land – Cutting-edge new video for the 1965 Bob Dylan song “Like a Rolling Stone” lets you flip through TV channels as a host of recognizable characters lip-synch their way through the iconic song.

UK stuck with ageing IT workforce as offshoring squeezes out starter jobs – The proportion of under-24-year-olds working in the UK IT industry has halved over the 10 years, with part of the blame for the shortfall placed on the offshoring industry of entry-level jobs.

India leads social networking growth globally in 2013 – The country saw user numbers jump by 37.4 percent, ahead of Indonesia and Mexico, and is set to overtake U.S. as largest Facebook population by 2016, says eMarketer study.

Never Forget That Wireless Carriers Are Evil – In today’s edition of “U.S. wireless carriers are dicks”, we’re going to look at the latest in how carriers and the CTIA are protecting valuable revenue streams by blocking features that would curb smartphone theft.

Google India’s viral tear-jerker vid said to mirror student short – A Google India ad that has gone viral and racked up more than million hits has also racked up accusations it’s plot was largely borrowed from a Pakistani film , the director of said film has claimed. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll question the cruel legacy of colonialism

People who don’t forget can still be tricked with false memories – “Time is the thief of memory,” wrote Stephen King in one of his many books. For some people, however, that’s not true. These people are gifted with what scientists call “highly superior autobiographical memory” (HSAM), which means that they can remember in vivid detail nearly every day of their life going back to childhood. But new research shows that even these special people are susceptible to forming false memories, sometimes even more so than normal people.

In role reversal, Ballmer stays composed, Gates chokes up, in shareholder meeting – At his final shareholder meeting appearance, Microsoft’s outgoing CEO says he’s certain the company is well positioned to succeed in the decade ahead.

The 18 most cringe-adorable TV commercials from technology’s awkward years – You once had an awkward stage. You dressed horribly, your hair was an embarrassing approximation of something you saw on TV, and you showed poor judgment in just about everything you did. Just as our awkward stages remain enshrined in high school yearbooks and family videos, technology’s weird years—as documented in the television ads of the time—have been YouTube-preserved forever. Observe.

Something to think about:

Your car is Japanese. Your beer is German. Your wine is Spanish. Your democracy is Greek. Your coffee is Colombian. Your tea is Chinese. Your watch is Swiss. Your fashion is French. Your shirt is Indian. Your shoes are Thai. Your radio is Korean. Your vodka is Russian. And then you complain that your neighbor is an immigrant?”

–      Unknown

Today’s Free Downloads:

The Weather Channel 4.2.4 – Animated radar & more! Download the power of The Weather Channel to your phone. The Weather Channel provides the most accurate and relevant weather information whenever weather matters to you. With 200+ meteorologists and, our ultra-local forecasting technology, we provide you with the weather tools you need to plan your day, week, or even the next hour.

Supremo Remote Desktop – Supremo provides many useful features for remote assistance and remote support to customers. You can transfer files and folders (upload and download) with an FTP client-like interface, and so very easy to use. You can send files and folders to the client’s PC with a simple drag&drop over the remote desktop window, or you can download a file or a folder from the remote computer to your local computer.

Glary Utilities – Glary Utilities is a smart and reliable application that offers numerous powerful and easy-to-use system tools and utilities to fix, speed up, maintain and protect your PC. It allows you to clean common system junk files, as well as invalid registry entries and Internet traces. You can manage and delete browser add-ons, analyze disk space usage and find duplicate files. You can also view and manage installed shell extensions, encrypt your files from unauthorized access and use, split large files into smaller manageable files and then rejoin them.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

US senators say there’s “no evidence” bulk metadata surveillance is useful – The First Unitarian Church and its fellow plaintiffs have new allies in three United States senators who have been at the forefront of surveillance policy reform. In a new amicus brief filed on Tuesday, Senators Mark Udall (D-CO), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) say that they “have seen no evidence that the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records has provided any intelligence of value that could not have been gathered through less intrusive means.”

Curbing data use is key to reining in NSA – Any effort to rein in the National Security Agency (NSA) after its widespread spy activities were revealed last summer in leaked documents must focus on more than simply limiting what personal data can be collected. The key to maintaining some semblance of privacy for ordinary citizens is to limit how any data about them collected by the spy agency is used.

EU Parliament could block data sharing with the US – The European Parliament is demanding that E.U. citizens have legal recourse when their personal data is transferred to the U.S. before it OKs any data-sharing deal with the United States.

Court order allowing NSA data collection program revealed – A trove of documents released by the Obama administration appears to contain a 2004 opinion authorizing the agency’s massive data collection program.

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Filed under Free Software Downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Latest Tech News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 19, 2013

Best Buy, Sprint Offer Students Free Year of Service;  25 tips and tools for Google Drive;  Free SoftPerfect WiFi Guard;  Google Play Music is finally on iOS;  Netflix users in malware danger;  Yahoo to encrypt all user data;  F-Secure Offers Lifetime Security;  NFL, MLB Threaten To Ditch Broadcast;  Free SpywareBlaster;  Mozilla streamlines Firefox’s look;  Five takeaways from the NSA and Internet surveillance.

Best Buy, Sprint Offer Students Free Year of Service – The carrier has teamed up with Best Buy to offer students 12 months of free talk, text, and data. The promotion, which offers a savings of up to $70 per month for smartphones and $50 a month for basic phones, is available exclusively at Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile stores nationwide staring today through Jan. 4.

Free SoftPerfect WiFi Guard – SoftPerfect’s WiFi Guard helps protect your small Wi-Fi network by scanning regularly for new and unrecognized devices, pinging to verify devices, detecting firewalls, and reporting anything suspicious so you can take action, if necessary. You don’t need to know a lot about Wi-Fi networks to use Wi-Fi Guard. (CNET installer enabled.)

6 great tools for capturing, annotating, and sharing screenshots – Screenshots are invaluable in daily office life, whether they’re for shiny product pages or just to better explain a technical issue you’ve stumbled on. Here are six excellent (and mostly free) screenshot tools.

25 tips and tools to make Google Drive more powerful and productive – With the right combination of tools, settings and know-how, you can turn Drive into a lean, mean, productivity machine — one that’s jam-packed with time-saving functionality and fine-tuned to work for you. Here are 25 ways to crank up the power and send Google Drive into overdrive.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Keep your laptop safe and secure while you travel – Unlike an arm or leg, though, your laptop isn’t physically attached to your body. And there are all too many ways that it can come to harm—or even disappear with someone who covets it as much as you do. Follow these tips for laptop security, and you won’t have to ask Santa to bring you a new one.

Google Play Music is finally on iOS and it’s worth checking out – Though it’s been a long time coming, since the company announced Google Music for Android, the iPhone version is still a great option among a crowded field of music streaming apps.

Twitter Alerts launch brings ‘life-saving’ emergency tweets to U.K. & Ireland – Twitter Alerts has launched in the U.K. and Ireland, with 57 organisations, including police forces and government agencies, signing up to share critical information quickly when it is needed most.

YouTube down for 30 minutes without explanation – YouTube went down today for about 30 minutes, a rare occurrence for Google’s flagship streaming video service. Between about 5:20PM and 5:50PM Eastern Time, the site could not be reached. This included embedded videos in websites. Anyone attempting to visit the YouTube website saw a 500 internal server error message. This indicated that the servers were down, but YouTube hasn’t yet said why.

Yahoo to encrypt all internal and user data by early next year – Marissa Mayer, by way of the official Yahoo Tumblr, has announced the plans to begin encrypting more data. This follows the recent news about encrypting Yahoo Mail. The mail encryption is coming by January 8, 2014 and promises https (SSL – Secure Sockets Layer) encryption with a 2048-bit key. This next phase of encryption is set to go into effect during Q1 2014.

Enter Australis: Mozilla streamlines Firefox’s look – The new user interface is designed to be faster, easier to use, and suited for a future with Firefox running on phones and tablets, too. As always, though, change means pain.

How Munich rejected Steve Ballmer and kicked Microsoft out of the city – Breaking up with Microsoft is hard to do. Just ask Peter Hofmann, the man leading the City of Munich’s project to ditch Windows and Office in favour of open source alternatives. Munich says the move to open source has saved it more than €10m, a claim contested by Microsoft, yet Hofmann says the point of making the switch was never about money, but about freedom.


Netflix users in danger of unknowingly picking up malware – Users of Silverlight, Microsoft’s answer to Adobe Flash, are in danger of having malware installed on their computers and being none the wiser, as an exploit for a critical vulnerability in the app framework has been added to the Angler exploit kit.

Battlefield 4 PC DDoS attacks lead to PS4 woes – Battlefield 4 gamers have had a rough time over the last few days, with a string of DDoS attacks having taken place over the weekend. The PC game took a hit, and the problem rolled over into various crashes and issues affecting PlayStation 4 gamers. The attackers are yet unknown, but they went after EA’s Origin servers, which initiated the round of problems.

Ransomware email attachment demands Bitcoin payments – A new form of ransomware threatens to scam users into sending Bitcoin payments to cyber criminals. Once activated, the malicious file threatens to encrypt the user’s files unless a ransom is paid.

Some password managers are safer than others – Susan Taylor worries that password managers may not be sufficiently secure. “What if the password manager company is hacked?”

Six more arrested in breathtaking $45 million ATM theft – Six more alleged participants were arrested Monday in a $45 million global ATM fraud, including one man who was photographed stuffing $800,000 into a suitcase, federal prosecutors in New York said. The defendants are alleged to be part of a New York cell that used bogus payment cards to withdraw millions of dollars from more than 100 ATMs in a matter of hours, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.

Company News:

Google Pays $17 Million Settlement Over ‘No Harm’ Browser Privacy Violations – Google has agreed to pay $17 million to 37 states for circumventing privacy settings in Apple’s Safari Browser in 2011. Safari blocked tracking cookies by default, but Google overrode the settings. Stanford researchers discovered the problem, leading to a nationwide investigation. New York’s Attorney General wrote an overjoyed press release, announcing “nearly $900K from Google to prevent future violations of consumer privacy”. Google has also paid $22.5M to the FTC over the same issue.

F-Secure Offers Lifetime Security – Rather than cover all your devices for one year, the F-Secure Internet Security PC Lifetime License covers one PC for its entire lifetime, which F-Secure defines as seven years. Users will get the exact same protection offered by F-Secure Internet Security 2014, updating to all new versions that appear during the seven-year subscription. It’s definitely a novel approach.

Decision day for Nokia as shareholders set to vote on Microsoft deal – After announcing the planned sale of its devices business to Microsoft, Nokia’s shareholders will vote today on whether to accept the $7.35bn deal, which is expected to be completed in early 2014.

Google Books legal epic moves to appeals court – Google’s defense has been that its search results only display “snippets” of text from books that it copied without permission, but the Authors Guild argues that the company violated copyright law.

Apple buys Israeli chip maker PrimeSense : Report – Reports suggest that Apple has acquired PrimeSense, potentially in order to innovate in the field of 3D sensor technology.

Games and Entertainment:

Xbox One Machinima app to offer Wingman video help for four games at launch – Microsoft has announced that the Machinima app for Xbox One will offer Wingman video help for four games made for the console at launch, along with new video achievements.

PlayStation 4 Blue Light of DEATH BLAMED on power cords, TV sets, butterflies in China – According to Sony, the error condition can be triggered by anything from TV compatibility issues (which can be fixed by updating the set’s firmware) to issues with the PS4’s power supply (a potentially dangerous fix not recommended for the untrained.) Other possible causes for the blue light fault alert include broken or loose hard drive connections or software and formatting issues.

10 Games That Might Make the PS4 Great – There’s no doubt that the PS4’s launch titles were weak. But there’s hope on the horizon with these 10 titles.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Two million tiny Raspberry Pi computers have now been sold – The Raspberry Pi Foundation has revealed that it has now sold over two million of its tiny, ultra-affordable computers, reaching this latest sales milestone several months earlier than expected.

NFL, MLB Threaten To Ditch Broadcast If Aereo Wins In Court – In the never-ending court battle between Aereo and major network broadcasters who’d have Aereo shut down, the NFL and MLB are chiming in on the matter. The MLB and NFL are asking the supreme court to rule against Aereo, threatening to move their programming from free broadcast channels to paid cable networks like ESPN. This isn’t the first time that Aereo opponents have made threats.

Decade-long study shows video games not linked to negative social behavior – A study has been released this month by a group working with the University of Glasgow which shows the effects of television and video game use in children starting at age 5 spanning through age 7.

iSheep, Fandroids, and why we care so damn much about our smartphones – CNET’s no stranger to the vitriol being hurled around by passionate handset users. (Skim through the comments section of any major phone review and you’ll see.) But we just had to ask: Why all the hate?

Philips LED carpet turns floors into incredibly helpful dynamic signage – Philips doesn’t just make light bulbs, the company has done lots of cool things with LEDs (like those awesome Hue bulbs). Now they’re teaming up with the carpet wizards at Desso to create some of the coolest fuzzy flooring you’ll ever find beneath your feet. It’s called light transmissive carpet, and Philips says it’s going to change the way people interact with with their indoor environments.

Man buys clay iPad, gets put in jail for wanting refund – A UK man buys an iPad from a reputable retailer. Inside the box, he says he found merely clay. Soon after he goes to complain, he finds himself being carted to jail and accused of fraud.

Something to think about:

Your car is Japanese. Your beer is German. Your wine is Spanish. Your democracy is Greek. Your coffee is Colombian. Your tea is Chinese. Your watch is Swiss. Your fashion is French. Your shirt is Indian. Your shoes are Thai. Your radio is Korean. Your vodka is Russian. And then you complain that your neighbor is an immigrant?”

–     Unknown

Today’s Free Downloads: – Windows Repair Portable – – Windows Repair is an all-in-one repair tool to help fix a large majority of known Windows problems including registry errors and file permissions.

Simple Port Forwarding – Whether you don’t understand how to forward ports, or your simply looking for an easier way to forward ports then this program is for you. Simple Port Forwarding works with webpages and not directly with your router making it a safe program to use.

SpywareBlaster – Spywareblaster protects you from known unwanted websites including Active-x installs, hijackers, cookies and more. Over 13 million downloads for good reason.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Supreme Court Rejects NSA Case Without Explanation – The Supreme Court has rejected a call to challenge the National Security Agency’s secret telephone record surveillance program. Without explanation, the high court refused to entertain a suit from the Electronic Privacy Information Center, seeking to stop the intelligence organization’s bulk data collection program.

NSA spy program ignored rules designed to protect privacy – One US spy program had been approved, but only with careful considerations to privacy, but once the NSA began using it, they ignored the rules designed to protect the innocent.

Five takeaways from the NSA and Internet surveillance disclosures – The ripples from Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing on NSA surveillance tactics continue to be felt. What are the biggest takeaways for those in the technology field?

NSA Spying Prompts Yahoo to Encrypt All Products – The move comes about a month after Yahoo said that email encryption with a 2048-bit key – or HTTPS – will be on be default by Jan. 8. A single day of data collection last year resulted in 444,743 email address books from Yahoo. That’s significantly higher than the 105,068 from Hotmail, 82,857 from Facebook, and 33,697 from Gmail, which the paper suggested was because Yahoo messages are not encrypted by default.

British spies monitor hotel bookings of diplomats around the world – The U.K.’s intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has reportedly built an automated system to track the hotel bookings of foreign diplomats when travelling abroad for international summits or work meetings.

Court order allowing NSA data collection revealed – Trove of documents released by the Obama administration appears to contain 2004 opinion authorizing the agency’s massive data collection program.

Surveillance Infrastructure Showing Signs of Decay – Buried underneath the ever-growing pile of information about the mass surveillance methods of the NSA is a small but significant undercurrent of change that’s being driven by the anger and resentment of the large tech companies that the agency has used as tools in its collection programs.

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Filed under Free Software Downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Latest Tech News

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 18, 2013

13 Affordable iPad Mini Alternatives;  Smartphone buying guide;  Facebook posts can be used for ads;  Apple to start following you around its stores;  Adobe hacks affected multiple US agencies;  Microsoft Releases 3D Builder;  Bitcoin is legitimate;  ‘I’m BIG, I’m BALD and I’m LOUD!’ – Ballmer;  Arms dealers supply malware;  PS4: 10 Things You Need to Know;  WiFi Password Decryptor;  Budget-friendly Android tablets; Windows License Key Dump 1.0 – recover the product/serial Keys of Windows and other popular software.

Chomsky: Fight back against NSA spying or be ‘complicit’ – Now that the extent of the U.S. National Security Agency’s surveillance programs has been exposed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, it’s beholden on the public to fight back or else find themselves “complicit” in the activities, according to Massachusetts Institute of Technology linguistics professor and philosopher Noam Chomsky.

A cloud safe from the NSA’s prying eyes: Europe begins work on its EU-wide system – A new project seeks to lay down some ground rules for what could become a cloud for the continent.

Apple to start following you around its stores, report says – Apple stores are reportedly about to be equipped with iBeacon transmitters that connect to iPhones. These are intended to enhance your shopping experience.

Smartphone buying guide 2013: Find the phone that’s right for you – When considering a new smartphone, whether it’s the newest iPhone, an Android superphone, or a business-friendly Windows Phone, it pays do a bit of research before you hit the stores so that you’ll know exactly what to look for. You’re going to use it every day for the next few years. Choose wisely!

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Mozilla Firefox ‘Australis’ to bring UI enhancements to the browser – Mozilla is testing a new UI for Firefox known as “Australis” which might replace the current interface in the future. The nightly builds with the new UI will be available to testers starting Monday.

Facebook says yes, your posts can be used for ads – Facebook on Friday moved ahead with proposed changes to its privacy policies to clarify that users’ posts on the site can be used in advertisements, but that users have controls to limit their appearance.

Microsoft Releases ’3D Builder,’ A 3D Printing App For Windows 8.1 – Out today from Microsoft is a 3D-printing application called 3D Builder that will help the amateur set dig into 3D printing, provided that they 1) have a Windows 8.1 machine, and 2) have a Windows 8.1-ready 3D printer. So, it’s a small group. But that’s just fine. Every technology has an incubation phase apart from the mainstream, and 3D printing is only now enjoying public awareness, let alone mass adoption.

Budget-friendly Android tablets – James Sanders takes a look at a few of the more powerful, budget-friendly, full-size Android tablets that are being produced in Asia.

13 Affordable iPad Mini Alternatives – The Retina iPad mini has arrived. But what if iOS is not your thing? Here are some small-screen tablets to consider instead.

Laptop buying guide 2013: How to find the right notebook for you – It’s been a good year for laptops. We can help you find the best one for your needs.

Google and Microsoft team up to fight child pornography – Google’s Eric Schmidt announced today in the British press that Google and Microsoft have started blocking over 100.000 searches related to child abuse imagery. The changes will soon roll-out globally.

Ray-Ban Shama Shades with solar panels would charge your iPhone – We’ve seen plenty of wearables with solar panels built into them, but how about the most obvious wearable: sunglasses? That’s exactly what these Ray-Ban “Shama” concept sunglasses are. The temples (arms) of the sunglasses capture sunlight throughout the day, and you plug them into your iPhone when the sun goes down.

Four ways to combat YouTube’s new comment system – YouTube’s new comment system forces you to create a Google+ account, and introduces some problematic features. If you want to hide or change YouTube comments, here are a few options.


Adobe hacks affected multiple US agencies, FBI says – The US Army, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, and other US government agencies were infiltrated by the Adobe software breaches that came to light last month, the FBI said in a memo this week.

Mobile malware reported riding on Google messaging service – Mobile botnets are on the rise and cybercriminals are using the Google Cloud Messaging service to distribute malware, a new report says. The latest weapon in criminals’ arsenal is GCM, which enables them to send short messages in the JSON format to instruct malware on Android devices.

Ten-Thousand CryptoLocked-Out – Just when you thought all your troubles were gone, CryptoLocker snuck back into the scene. Some of you may recall this malware menace from last month that was used in a ransomware campaign. In a blog post, security company Bitdefender revealed that CryptoLocker claimed over 10,000 victims in one week.

Anonymous Hacktivist Jeremy Hammond Gets Maximum 10-Year Prison Sentence – Anonymous hacktivist, Jeremy Hammond, who leaked millions of emails from security firm Stratfor, has been slapped with the maximum prison sentence of 10 years. Hammond claimed the harsh ruling was a “vengeful, spiteful act” designed to send a message.

Anonymous Indonesia claims attacks by Anonymous Australia – Entities using the name and iconography of Anonymous (EUTNAIOA) and claiming to be the Indonesian branch of the movement have accused entities using the name and iconography of Anonymous and claiming to be the Australian branch of the movement of attacks on Indonesia’s national airline Garuda and other hostile actions.

‘Arms dealers’ supply malware for cyberattacks, research says – Companies battling tireless cyberespionage campaigns may be up against well-organized attackers that are fed a steady stream of malware from a talented developer of cyber-arms.

Company News:

DoJ, SEC, the Fed to Senate Homeland Security: Bitcoin is legitimate – As Bitcoin settles in for another spasmodic leap in the ticker graphs, key agencies in the United States government are telling elected officials that Bitcoin is a legitimate financial instrument. Officials from the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Reserve and other experts released letters ahead of a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing to say Bitcoin “has great potential benefits” as well as risks, just as with any other financial instrument. This signals a widening public acceptance of the digital currency.

Foxconn intern claims PS4 was sabotaged during manufacturing – As shipments continue to go out for the PS4, many of the consoles are DOA with the “pulsating blue light” being the most common. Now a Foxconn intern claims the consoles were deliberately sabotaged.

Report: Apple buys the company that helped Microsoft create Kinect – A report claims that PrimeSense, which developed the motion-tracking tech in Microsoft’s original Kinect sensor, has been purchased by Apple for $345m, following rumours of takeover talks in July.

Google will build another six solar power plants in the U.S. – Google has announced plans to continue its rollout of solar energy plants in the U.S. with one of its larger investments to date: $80 million for six new facilities. So far, Google has committed over $1 billion to wind and solar power plants that create clean energy and generate “attractive financial returns,” it said in a blog post.

Twitter Expands Its Alerts Service To The UK And Ireland To Push Out Critical Info From The Met Police And 56 Others – Twitter Alerts — a service that Twitter launched in September for emergency, relief and charity organizations from the U.S., Japan and Korea to send out critical messages to opted-in users — is getting more international. Today, the newly public company is turning on Twitter Alerts in the UK and Ireland.

‘I’m BIG, I’m BALD and I’m LOUD!’ Blubbering Ballmer admits HE was Microsoft’s problem – A tearful Steve Ballmer has admitted he was a big part of the problem at Microsoft – and that the company needs to rethink its management structure to succeed in the future. “At the end of the day, we need to break a pattern. Face it: I’m a pattern,” company CEO Ballmer told The Wall Street Journal with apparent tears in his eyes.

Games and Entertainment:

10 great PC games with really steep learning curves – Some games just aren’t designed for the pick-up-and-play crowd. With this type of game, just getting through the tutorial requires an advanced degree. Stick with it, though—even if the amount of information on the screen intimidates you and the game concepts seem beyond comprehension. Because the more effort it takes to master the game, the more satisfying the victory.

Sony: PS4 sells over 1 million units in North America in first 24 hours – Sony has announced it has sold over 1 million units of its PlayStation 4 console in the U.S. and Canada in the first 24 hours since its official launch on Friday.

Bricked PS4 reports are very real, no replacements available for months – Regardless of why any PS4 is experiencing issues, Sony is currently telling customers that new units won’t be available until February. If you purchased your console through retail locations like Best Buy and GameStop, and you purchased one of the added warranties sold by those locations, you stand a better chance of getting a replacement console earlier. Amazon is currently telling customers that replacement consoles could be available in January, which is only slightly better.

Setting up parental controls on the PlayStation 4 – Games like Killzone Shadow Fall, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Battlefield 4, and many others, will ensure that you’re entertained for hours. Some of these games, however, may not be appropriate for young kids. To make things easier for parents, Sony has included numerous parental controls that can prevent kids from accessing certain content, features, and games.

PS4: 10 Things You Need to Know – Whether you’re upgrading from a PS3 or are new to the platform, here’s what you should know before you make the leap.

Candy Crush Saga Turns One With 500M Downloads – Addictive online and mobile game Candy Crush Saga today celebrates one year of distracting daily commuters and occupying waiting room patients. Candy Crush has been installed more than 500 million times across Facebook and various mobile devices since its launch in 2012, rocketing to the front of the class as one of the most successful games of all time.

Off Topic (Sort of):

5 Ways U.S. Democracy Is More Rigged Than You Think – None of you are naive or think government works exactly the way you learned it in elementary school. We all know there are backroom deals and bribes and blackmail and probably, like, orgies and shit behind the scenes. But what many people don’t realize is that the most unfair and outright broken parts of the system we have in the USA aren’t a result of people breaking the law. No, the craziest, most overtly bullshit practices are perfectly legal.

Scientist: Quantum physics can prove there’s an afterlife – Professor Robert Lanza is sure there’s something beyond this mortal coil. He believes the science is there to prove it.

South Africa Cemeteries to Microchip Tombstones – Amid a rash of tombstone thefts from cemeteries in Johannesburg, a company will be offering relatives of the deceased a high-tech solution: microchips that can be inserted into the memorial that will sound an alarm and send a text message to their cell phones if it is disturbed.

Amazon’s Alpha House Reveals The Silly Everyday Life Of A U.S. Senator – Political life is more like an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm than The West Wing. The deviously calculating minds of Aaron Sorkin political thrillers belie that sheer absurdity of elected life. Amazon’s first foray into original programming, Alpha House, reveals the silly everyday happenings of Senators as they struggle with their DC apartment housemates, obligatory partisan stunts, and social media gaffes (yes, many congressmen have shared housing).

Police turn to nose telescope to sniff out marijuana – Every cop can’t be assigned a drug-sniffing police canine, and our noses aren’t nearly as advanced at sniffing out nefarious odors as our adorable-but-hardworking companions’ noses. A new gadget, straight out of Futurama, can amplify a human’s sense of smell, and target specific odors to, for example, detect illicit substances.

Infographic: The Tech Behind NASA’s MAVEN Mars Mission – NASA’s next jointly-run Mars mission, MAVEN, has been greenlighted for launch on Monday. But before liftoff can take happen, everything from the weather at Cape Canaveral, Fla. to the smooth running of the spacecraft’s systems must be just so.

NSA foe Greenwald whips new media venture into shape – With the help of eBay founder and billionaire Pierre Omidyar, Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who broke the NSA story this summer, is putting together what he hopes is a newsgathering dream team.

Rolls-Royce weighs 3D printers to make jet engine parts – Rolls-Royce is evaluating using 3D printing technology to create lighter components for its jet engines, the company’s head of technology strategy said.

Something to think about:

If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. The free mind is not a barking dog, to be tethered on a ten-foot chain.”

–    Adlai E. Stevenson Jr.

Today’s Free Downloads:

CurrPorts 2.10 – CurrPorts displays the list of all currently opened TCP/IP and UDP ports on your local computer. For each port in the list, information about the process that opened the port is also displayed, including the process name, full path of the process, version information of the process (product name, file description, and so on), the time that the process was created, and the user that created it. In addition, CurrPorts allows you to close unwanted TCP connections, kill the process that opened the ports, and save the TCP/UDP ports information to HTML file , XML file, or to tab-delimited text file. CurrPorts also automatically mark with pink color suspicious TCP/UDP ports owned by unidentified applications.

WiFi Password Decryptor 2.5 – WiFi Password Decryptor is the FREE software to instantly recover Wireless account passwords stored on your system. It automatically recovers all type of Wireless Keys/Passwords (WEP/WPA/WPA2 etc) stored by Windows Wireless Configuration Manager.

Windows License Key Dump 1.0 – Windows License Key Dump is the free command-line tool to recover the product/serial Keys of Windows and other popular software. It automatically detects and decrypts the license/serial keys of over 200+ popular software programs including Office, SQL Server, Adobe, Nero and many more. Being a command-line tool makes it useful for penetration testers and forensic investigators.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Our Government Has Weaponized the Internet. Here’s How They Did It – The internet backbone — the infrastructure of networks upon which internet traffic travels — went from being a passive infrastructure for communication to an active weapon for attacks. If the NSA can hack Petrobras, the Russians can justify attacking Exxon/Mobil. If GCHQ can hack Belgacom to enable covert wiretaps, France can do the same to AT&T. If the Canadians target the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy, the Chinese can target the U.S. Department of the Interior. We now live in a world where, if we are lucky, our attackers may be every country our traffic passes through except our own. Which means the rest of us — and especially any company or individual whose operations are economically or politically significant — are now targets. All cleartext traffic is not just information being sent from sender to receiver, but is a possible attack vector. (suggested by Aseem S.)

Lavabit-DOJ dispute zeroes in on encryption key ownership – The government’s insistence, in its dispute with Lavabit, that cloud service providers hand over their encryption keys when asked, has refocused attention of key ownership and management in the cloud. Security experts agree that the best way for companies to ensure that their data is safe from snooping eyes in the cloud is to encrypt all their data and to maintain total ownership of the encryption keys. However, pulling off that feat is not always easy, practical or cheap.

Schneier on Security: Air Gaps – Since I started working with Snowden’s documents, I have been using a number of tools to try to stay secure from the NSA. The advice I shared included using Tor, preferring certain cryptography over others, and using public-domain encryption wherever possible. I also recommended using an air gap, which physically isolates a computer or local network of computers from the Internet. (The name comes from the literal gap of air between the computer and the Internet; the word predates wireless networks.). But this is more complicated than it sounds, and requires explanation.

NSA spying challenges U.S. cloud providers, analyst says – With the U.S. Congress unlikely to take action on NSA surveillance programs, U.S. cloud service providers could take a hit. Most businesses we have spoken with have a negative view of the PRISM and phone records programs, viewing them with suspicion and distrust. The programs can undermine retail customers’ trust in U.S. businesses, and that trust is an asset that U.S. businesses value. The programs can put U.S. businesses at a competitive disadvantage when competing against non-U.S. businesses.

Asian firms should trust no one but the tech – Concerns over U.S. surveillance are apparently leading to a “de-Americanization” of IT environments in Asia-Pacific, specifically China, as governments ban the use of U.S. technology. Is the paranoia necessary?

Snowden documents reveal Australia tapped Indonesian president’s Nokia: Report – Indonesian president, his wife, vice president, and other senior members of the Indonesian government were the target of phone surveillance, documents show.

Privacy groups ask FTC to check tech firms’ link to NSA – Several advocacy groups are calling for an investigation into Internet companies Yahoo and Google whose networks were secretly accessed by the National Security Agency.


Filed under Free Software Downloads, Internet Security Alerts, Latest Tech News