Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 13, 2013

Facebook Pushes Password Resets;   Microsoft Patch Tuesday;  How to boost Windows 8 performance;  Google Drive Gets Baked Into The Inbox; Private information Facebook now makes public;  Extend Your Wi-Fi Signal;  British bank account data is under threat;  Comodo Personal Firewall Free;  Europe, SAVE US! Patriot Act author begs.

Facebook Pushes Password Resets After Adobe Hack – More than a month after Adobe suffered a massive security breach, Facebook is pushing users to update their password and security settings. Though Facebook was not directly involved in the Adobe hack, the social network is taking precautions for those members who used the same email and passcode sequence for Facebook and Adobe.

It’s Microsoft Patch Tuesday: November 2013 – Tony Bradley gathers the information you need to make the right deploy decision when applying Microsoft’s November 2013 patches in your organization.

Who is to blame for hacker-phobia? – With phone hacking and NSA leaks making the front pages, cyber security is getting more attention from the mass media than ever before. But is the public becoming more informed – or misinformed?

How to boost Windows 8 performance – There’s an unassailable rule of computing: No matter how fast your computer is, and no matter how well it runs, you want it to run better. If you’re looking to improve Windows 8, help is on the way. I’ve rounded up my favorite tips for doing system analysis, troubleshooting and fixing any problems you find, and in general speeding things up. No extra software is required; everything you need is built right into Windows 8.

The private information Facebook now makes public – The social network’s most recent privacy recalculation prevents excluding your profile picture, cover photo, and other formerly hide-able information from search results.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Aussies’ lack of confidence in online privacy leads them to lie – A report commissioned by the ACMA has found that almost half of all Australians lack the confidence to provide accurate information online.

How to Customize Your Facebook Page – Over a billion people actively use Facebook, but we’re all stuck with the same interface. Check out these tricks to customize the look and feel of your Facebook experience.

Bing’s music video search gets visual with hover-over previews and more contextual results – As usual, you’ll see a selection of videos related to your search at the top of your results page, followed by a series of links. Hovering your mouse cursor over those results, however, causes a pop-up preview box to appear and start playing the video.

Chromebooks: Sometimes less is more – When it comes to mobile tech, it’s not always best to go big if a lesser option makes more sense.

Gmail Users No Longer Need To Download Attachments, As Google Drive Gets Baked Into The Inbox – Google is releasing yet another update to Gmail today, which sees deeper Google Drive integration coming to the company’s email platform. Now users will be able to skip the whole process involved with downloading email attachments, and instead view and save their files directly to Google Drive – without leaving their inbox.

Firefox OS Review – Firefox OS is a newcomer on the mobile scene going head to head with big competitors. Can the red-haired fox do for mobile what it did for browsers many years ago? Read our two-part review to find out.

How to Extend Your Wi-Fi Signal – You bought a wireless extender to boost your Wi-Fi signal. Our resident expert tells you how to determine the best location for its placement.

7 apps for ordering photo prints from your phone – Order old-school paper prints directly from the most advanced camera you’ve ever owned — your smartphone.

Android in FOUR out of 5 new smartphones. How d’ya like dem Apples? – Of the 211.6 million smartmobes sold in the quarter, Android took 81 per cent of the market, ahead of Apple at 12.1 per cent. Windows Phone handsets saw sales grow 156 per cent, although that still only leaves it with 3.6 per cent of the market.

CyanogenMod Installer leaves beta and enters the Google Play Store – This one-click installer is a huge step forward in making custom variants of Android available to users who aren’t quite brave enough to go flashing ROMs on their own, which dramatically opens the potential userbase up for groups like CyanogenMod.

Five apps to turn your data into big data – Reports and dashboards are just the beginning with big data – requirements now include predictive analyses and other more advanced tools. For this edition of Five Apps, we take a look at five tools to help you analyze your big data.

Twitter embeds itself in breaking news with Custom Timelines – Now you can customize the global town square, making tweets indispensable to news outlets.

Shots of Me launches to Bieber fans and doubters alike – Shots of Me, the Justin Bieber-backed selfie app for iOS, launched today. Despite Bieber doubters’ derision, the app could actually serve a variety of useful and fun purposes–and not just in terms of marketability to high schoolers. The app’s intentional lack of commenting functions, the frosty-screened button bars, the emphasis on human interest rather than inanimate objects, and other features could potentially make for an engaging social photo experience.

Security:

British bank account data is under threat – Bitdefender warns that 0.5 per cent of all spam sent worldwide is targeting customers of some of the most popular British financial institutions and services, including PayPal, Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC Holdings and Barclays Bank. The e-mails are designed to steal critical bank-related data by tricking people into typing in sensitive identification information including banking username and password, credit card number, expiration date, name, and country.

UK banks use ‘Waking Shark II’ war games to test cybersecurity – In London, banks have participated in a series of war games to test their defenses against cyberattacks.

Banking malware infections rise to highest level since 2002 – Malicious software aimed at stealing online banking credentials surged in the third quarter of this year to a level not seen since 2002, according to a new report from Trend Micro. The security vendor said it counted more than 200,000 new infections from July through September, the highest number it has recorded in a three-month period in 11 years. Between April and June, Trend counted 146,000 infections.

On the first day of Christmas, my hacker gave to me .. a GTA app that I thought was free – So what are the main scams you should be aware of this holiday season — and how can you prevent your bank account from being compromised? According to McAfee, the top scams employed in 2013 over the festive period, based on popular consumer habits, are…….

Hack of MacRumors forums exposes password data for 860,000 users – MacRumors user forums have been breached by hackers who may have acquired cryptographically protected passwords belonging to all 860,000 users, one of the top editors of the news website said Tuesday evening.

Scam emails pleading for donations for Phillipines doing rounds – In a move that should surprise no-one, cyber scammers have started taking advantage of the disastrous situation in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.

Pentagon ponders “Plan B” for a world without BlackBerry – The US Department of Defense is now pondering a future without BlackBerry as uncertainty grows about the company’s future in the wake of its aborted effort to go private. That promises to be a major pain for the Pentagon, given its dependence on the Canadian company’s secure e-mail capabilities.

Don’t expect data on P2P networks to be private, judge rules – Defendants claimed that searching for files on their computers violated Fourth Amendment rights.

NYPD detective pleads guilty to hacking fellow police officers’ email and phone – Edwin Vargas was charged with using PayPal to hire someone to hack login details for at least 43 personal email accounts, including those of 20 current or former NYPD officers.

Company News:

Microsoft expands Office 365 to 17 new markets, adds four new languages – Microsoft has announced it has expanded access for its Office 365 service to 17 all new markets, bringing the total to 141 markets, along with an additional four new languages.

Google in trouble for StreetView all over again, this time in Brazil – Every time we’ve written about the Google Wi-Spy saga, we’ve said, “Betcha this won’t be the last of it.” Still isn’t…Brazil is the latest country to put the hard word on Google.

Netflix rolls out overhauled interface on Roku 3, Xbox 360, Smart TVs and more – Netflix has revealed a new overhauled interface design that is intended for those who watch the service on a television. With these changes comes a more pronounced focus on shows, with large images next to show descriptions, ratings, and other particulars. The new design will be rolling out to multiple devices at the same time, marking a first for the video streaming service.

Verizon admits network faces traffic pressure in big cities – The wireless carrier is pouring money into the problem, and a top executive says the issues will dissipate by the end of the year.

Tizen: Samsung Makes Quiet Push for New Mobile Operating System – Most mobile phone users have never heard of Tizen. Neither have car owners or anyone with a fridge. Samsung Electronics Co. wants to change that.

Tizen adds 36 new partners including Nokia, eBay, as it looks beyond the smartphone – The Tizen Association, the group led by Samsung and Intel that’s developing an Android-rival smartphone OS, has added 36 new partners, including eBay and Nokia’s Here mapping business. Development of the Tizen operating system is gathering pace, with the association aiming to bring the OS not just to smartphones and tablets, but also TVs, appliances and in-vehicle infotainment systems.

Apple and Samsung will duel again over patents in front of a jury – Opening statements are scheduled to begin tomorrow. The only issue in the case is how much money Samsung should pay for a set of patents that were already found to be infringed. Judge Koh found the 2012 jury didn’t calculate damages properly, and she slashed about $450 million from the verdict, which originally stood at $1.05 billion.

MakerBot aims to put a 3D printer in every US K-12 school – The future of 3D printing has been the subject of much speculation, and to ensure that students have the opportunity to be on the forefront of whatever will arise from the industry, MakerBot has announced a new initiative to get a 3D printer into every public school in the United States. The mission is called MakerBot Academy, and it has been launched in conjunction with American Makes.

Microsoft chucks controversial staff-ranking system – A 2012 cover story by Vanity Fair famously bashed Microsoft and CEO Steve Ballmer for the stack ranking process. Now that system has been thrown out.

Games and Entertainment:

How big are Xbox One games? List reveals install sizes up to 43GB – The Xbox One has 500GB of storage, but how quickly will that fill up? Details are emerging of just how large the console’s launch titles are – ranging from a manageable 246MB up to a massive 43GB.

‘The Lord of the Rings’ meets Lego (pictures) – The Lego re-creations of characters and locations from the movie trilogy makes for a fun setting for puzzle-solving gameplay.

XCOM: Enemy Within should be taken with a heavy dose of original XCOM – Enemy Within is a great excuse to play XCOM again—or to play for the first time. If you, like me, thought XCOM was one of the best games of 2012 despite being a little too repetitive to start entirely new campaigns, that’s marvelous news. But this is still essentially the same game as it was—just with a host of tweaks and improvements.

AMD bundling Battlefield 4 with video cards based on its Radeon R9-series GPUs – AMD has announced that effective November 13, consumers who buy a video card based on one of its Radeon R9-series GPUs at a participating retailer will get a free copy of the hit game Battlefield 4. The company also announced that gamers who buy a card based on its less-expensive R7 260X GPU can choose two free games from the Silver tier of its “Never Settle Forever” program.

Microsoft launches Xbox One gamerpic contest – Microsoft is giving people in the U.S. a chance to submit their art for use as gamerpics for the Xbox One, with 100 winners picked to have their submissions included in the console’s gamerpic gallery.

The 10 Most Pirated Movies – This week’s most pirated movie list—which highlights the most pirated films in the week ending on November 10th—comprises a mix of raunchy comedies, family-friendly films, comic book heroics, drama, and action.

Off Topic (Sort of):

25,000-drive study shines a light on how long hard drives actually last – After tracking 25,000 hard drives for 4 years, BackBlaze has some answers about the lifespan of hard drives—answers that involve bathtubs.

Gloomy times for cable TV, and you may suffer for it – Pay TV companies can’t raise subscription prices fast enough to keep up with spiking content costs. And subscribers are bailing faster than ever.

Facebook post of photo showing hand on breast gets school coach fired – A US school basketball coach who posted a photo onto Facebook that showed her fiancé’s hand on her breast has been fired, but her varsity football coach fiancé was let off the hook with only a reprimand.

Wi-Fi Powered Phones Could Make Chargers Obsolete – Engineering students have designed a device capable of picking up wi-fi signals and converting them to usable electrical current. Who needs a power cable when power-filled waves are all around you?

Welcome your new smartphone overlords: Why you’ll soon trust your phone to run your entire life – The combination of sensors, apps, and cloud computing will mean your smartphone could run you life for you within the next four years — if you trust it enough. Smartphones will soon be able to predict a consumer’s next move, forecast an upcoming purchase or interpret actions based on what devices know about their owners’ behaviour, according to analyst Gartner.

BitTorrent traffic on the downswing in the US for the first time – For the first time, BitTorrent traffic has declined in the United States, a trend that is said to be caused by more available legal alternatives, such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Prime, and similar streaming and digital-download services.

Something to think about:

Just a word of advice. Whenever you’re furious with your parents or you think they’re terrible, just remember, you vomited on them and they kept you.”

–      John Green

Today’s Free Downloads:

SoftPerfect Network Scanner 5.5.2 – SoftPerfect Network Scanner is a free multi-threaded IP, NetBIOS and SNMP scanner with a modern interface and several advanced features. It is intended for both system administrators and general users who are interested in computer security. The program pings computers, scans for listening TCP ports and displays which types of resources are shared on the network (including system and hidden). In addition, it allows you to mount shared folders as network drives, browse them using Windows Explorer, filter the results list and more. SoftPerfect Network Scanner can also check for a user-defined port and report back if one is open. It can also resolve host names and auto-detect your local and external IP range. It supports remote shutdown and Wake-On-LAN.

Comodo Personal Firewall Free – With a user-friendly single click interface you can allow or block access to the Internet offering complete immunity to attacks and total protection of your personal information. Real time traffic monitoring enables you to react instantly to threats and identify bandwidth bottlenecks. Silent Security Technology means no needless alerts with out-of-the-box protection against hackers, Trojans and other unknown threats. Comodo Personal Firewall is the powerful and effective, easy to manage barrier that keeps hackers out and personal information in. Comodo Personal Firewall helps you connect in a secure way to the internet and global networks.

5 free compression tools zip your files just dandy – Sending and receiving large files: It’s something we all need to do. Even cloud storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive can’t replace the convenience of a quick email. But email poses problems, starting with the strict limits that many ISPs impose on the size of file sent or received. To get the file size down without losing important data, you zip it with compression software.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Europe, SAVE US! Patriot Act author begs for help to curb NSA spying – US House Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, the lead author of controversial anti-terror law the Patriot Act, has asked the European Parliament for help in taming the NSA. He also called for Europe to put pressure on the US to change its legislation and bring a halt to the spy agency’s planet-wide communications data-slurping activities.

ACLU to law enforcement: Tell us how you get users’ search history, data – Specifically, the FOIA request applies to a number of federal agencies, including the United States Department of Justice, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Office of Legal Counsel, and the executive offices of a number of United States Attorneys, including those in California, Massachusetts, Texas, and other places.

Facebook Flooded With Data Requests From European Governments – During a European Parliament civil liberties committee hearing in Brussels on Monday, legislators convened to learn more about ongoing U.S. digital dragnet operations, but were instead treated to news of their own governments’ snooping habits.

Quantum of pwnness: How NSA and GCHQ hacked OPEC and others – The attack, called a “Quantum insert,” is just part of an arsenal of network monitoring and attack tools that the NSA and GCHQ have created that have essentially turned the global Internet into a weapons system that can scan for, identify, target, and attack nearly anyone of interest who connects to Internet services across borders. Here’s how the NSA and GCHQ go after an organization like OPEC step by step, based on an analysis of the NSA and GCHQ documents exposed by Snowden.

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3 Comments

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

3 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 13, 2013

  1. Fred

    Hi Bill,
    “The private information Facebook now makes public”
    Zuckerberg is a very dangerous man.

    I did note your touching tribute to the veterans Monday, and I thought, these men and women who, in some cases, made the ultimate sacrifice, believed they were fighting for our freedoms, Canadian and American, and yet when the curtain is pulled back, lo and behold…
    There are human beings, such as you and I, and then there are the powerful, and just when I think I am too cynical, Bill, do you know what I find? That I wasn’t cynical ENOUGH.
    Thanks for all you do,
    Fred

    • Hi Fred,

      We know that there’s a real issue with the lack of compliance with EULAs. Despite the fact that developers (in the main), require users to signify that they have read the EULA by clicking on a “yeah, I get it” button – nobody reads the bloody things. Which is why, when a EULA is explained to a typical user – shock and horror is the usual response. 🙂

      Terms of Service (which site users must agree to), are a mirror image of EULAs in one sense – nobody reads the bloody things.

      Cutting to the chase here – companies/sites, generally reserve the right to change terms and conditions (really, any damn thing they like). It pays to pay attention. 🙂

      Nevertheless, I do agree – “Zuckerberg is a very dangerous man.” He represents a new breed – those who push the implementation of a technology at any cost. The push against societal norms seems to hold a strong attraction for Zuckerberg. But hell – does it pay! 🙂

      We often have bull sessions around here on how the majority of WW 2 vets (the great mass long since deceased), might view the freedoms they so mightily fought to protect, continue to wither on the vine. The general consensus – time after time (around here)? Disgust.

      Best,

      Bill

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