Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 31, 2014

Security software showdown;  See when recipients open your Gmail attachments;  The top 5 security threats to watch for in 2014;  Part-time love? There’s a dating site for that;  GoDaddy admits it released private info;  NASA shows 60 years of climate change in 15 seconds;  AppLock will keep prying eyes out of your Android applications;  More card-stealing malware found;  NOOOO!! Beer-delivering drone grounded by FAA.

Security software showdown: We test 10 suites against viruses, malware and more – Our security showdown evaluates the 2014 versions of 10 major suites. Most of these programs include social-network protection—scanning spammy-looking links before you click them—and Trend Micro even provides a tool for limiting access to your Facebook, Google+, and Twitter accounts. The new mobile security components in some suites can help you scan downloaded apps for security holes; locate your lost smartphone; and remotely lock, wipe, or ring it.

The top 5 security threats to watch for in 2014 – The year’s barely started, and we’ve already had enough data breaches at major retailers to make a barter economy seem like a good idea. Unfortunately there are yet more security threats to look forward to in 2014. Here are the biggest ones we anticipate.

See when recipients open your Gmail attachments with docTrackr – This Chrome extension lets you encrypt and track Gmail attachments, set permissions for them, and remotely destroy them like an evil villain.

NASA shows 60 years of climate change in 15 seconds – When you put all the data together, it becomes pretty hard to deny that global temperatures are slowly but surely rising. A new video released by NASA shows just over six decades of global temperatures, making it pretty clear that the world is getting warmer. In fact, according to NASA data, 9 of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since the year 2000 (the other was 1998), with the hottest years being 2010 and 2005.

Tips and Apps for Broadcasting Your Life Online – We can’t help you get fans, make compelling content, or get rich. We can’t even suggest a gimmick that helps, like blending electronics. But we can point you to the tools that will make your quest for stardom (or a way to get something off your chest) as simple as possible.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Move your libraries to an external drive without messing things up – It’s easy to understand why people would want to do this. With today’s mobile PCs and the proliferation of SSDs, internal storage capacity is shrinking for the first time since the invention of personal computers. People simply can’t keep all of their music, photos, and videos inside their PCs anymore.

AppLock will keep prying eyes out of your Android applications – The one issue at the top of most mobile users’ minds should be security. We carry around so much precious data, and when it’s lost, trouble often ensues. To that end, Android developers are always searching for new and improved methods to help give your ever-growing mobile world even more ways to secure that data. With AppLock, you can create a specific PIN (or an app-specific PIN) that can then be used to lock down whatever applications you wish to secure. It’s incredibly simple to use.

How do you make a PSA go viral? You blow up some kids – An extraordinary Australian PSA, intended to encourage kids to stay in school, uses shock tactics perhaps never seen before.

Facebook Unveils ‘Paper’ News Reader App – Facebook today introduced Paper—a hybrid mobile reader that combines updates from family and friends with worldwide news. The app will roll out to the iPhone on Feb. 3, offering news junkies a more personal approach than rival newsreaders like Flipboard or Feedly, Facebook said. You can make Paper your own with stories and themed sections based on your interests—not what an algorithm thinks you’ll like.

Straight to the dome: 5 in-ear headphones – We test popular ‘buds from Beats, Bose, Bowers & Wilkins, Harman Kardon and Shure.

Windows 8.1 update may default to desktop on startup – The latest build for the Windows 8.1 update indicates that devices will boot to the desktop UI by default, according to, which has been leaking screenshots over the past several weeks. This would go beyond the option to bypass the tiled start screen — what used to be referred to as the “Metro” screen. That feature was introduced in Windows 8.1 last year.

Forgotify makes it easy to give never-played Spotify songs a little love – In December, Spotify launched an #undiscovered hashtag campaign to draw attention to the songs in its library that have never been played. With it came a massive discombobulated playlist with lonely audio bits ranging from book readings to comedy snippets, making it a bit overwhelming and underwhelming at the same time. Forgotify aims to improve that, making it easy to give these undiscovered songs some love.

SocialRadar: A personal data aggregator in your pocket – SocialRadar, a mobile app launched today for the iPhone, finds people in your social networks who are nearby and then tells you everything you want to know about them — their location, profile data and recent posts from multiple social networks. “There are 1 billion smartphones in the world that are location beacons and there are profiles in the cloud. No one has combined those,” says Michael Chasen, CEO and founder.

Google Glassholes, GET OFF our ROADS, thunder lawmakers in seven US states – Seven US states are looking into banning wearable computers like Google Glass while driving, shortly after a high-profile court case in California where a Glasshole got off scot-free.

Part-time love? There’s a dating site for that – The site, though, insists it caters to “singles looking for regular partners with mutual attraction, genuine friendship, respect and a magical spark but whom have no expectations of moving in after three months and value their free time and independence.” But just in case you think this base, sleazy, or easy, Part Time Love hisses: “We are not a no-strings website.” It’s more of a hanging-by-a-string Web site.

NOOOO!! WHY? Beer-delivering drone grounded by FAA – A Minnesota brewery gets slapped by the Federal Aviation Administration after delivering beer to ice fishermen via a method that’s currently illegal.

Now see this: Linksys adds to video surveillance line – The new cameras are complemented by a network video recorder that can store up to 8 terabytes of video and record up to eight feeds simultaneously.


Beware of bogus Google “Suspicious sign-in prevented” emails – A very convincing phishing attempt aimed at harvesting users’ Google account credentials has been spotted by a security researcher

The email takes the form of a notice from Google, saying that a suspicious sign-in attempt has been prevented, and urging users to check the account activity. The email is equipped with the Google logo, and comes from a spoofed email address that can trick undiscerning users into believing that it was actually sent by the company.

Yahoo Detects Mass Hack Attempt On Yahoo Mail, Resets All Affected Passwords – The details are a bit sparse right now, but Yahoo has just disclosed by way of their Tumblr that they’ve detected what they’re calling a “coordinated effort to gain unauthorized access to Yahoo Mail accounts”.

Smart Chip Credit Cards Wouldn’t Have Saved Target – The recent Target and Neiman Marcus breaches have left people scrambling for answers to better security solutions. Some tout EMV technology (also called chip-and-pin) as the answer to security woe and even claim that this technology could have prevented these retail breaches from happening. However, security vendor Easy Solutions begs to differ.

More card-stealing malware found – RSA researchers found an operational Tor-based network collecting card data from point of sale (POS) systems in 11 countries including the US.

GoDaddy admits it released private info in @N twitter account hacking case, PayPal denies any fault – Yesterday the case of Naoki Hiroshima and the hack that resulted in his @N twitter account being extorted out of his control by a hacker came to light. Hiroshima outlines the entire case and offered details that the hacker gave him on how he was able to gain control of the GoDaddy account used to extort control of the twitter account from the rightful owner.

Company News:

Report: Satya Nadella to be named Microsoft CEO; Gates out, too – Microsoft’s board is “preparing to name” Nadella chief executive, Bloomberg reported Thursday afternoon. Nadella, whose official title is executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group, had been one of the front-runners in the race to replace current chief executive Steve Ballmer, who said last August that he planned to step down within a year.

Google has another privacy snafu, is fined in South Korea – Google has been bumping into pockets of privacy violations across the globe recently, the latest of which has taken place in South Korea. This follows a recent issue in Canada, which arose from issues with advertisements and was resolved with an agreement, and a bigger issue in France that surfaced last year and culminated in a big (except for Google) fine.

Amazon Sheds 10% In After-Hours Trading, Erasing $19B In Market Cap – After reporting both a top and bottom miss, Amazon fell 10.32 percent in after-hours trading. The company had ended the day at $403.01 and is now trading at $361.41. As a company, Amazon is valued by investors on the strength or weakness of its revenue growth. Amazon’s current share count is 457.73 million. At a per-share loss of $41.60 so far today, Amazon has lost around $19 billion…

Report: Samsung Agrees to Pull Back on Android Customization – In an effort to reconcile their visions for Android, Samsung and Google have reportedly been hammering out a deal whereby Samsung would more prominently feature Google’s suite of apps on its mobile devices.

Lenovo’s U.S. tech buys to get strict security review – Beijing-based Lenovo Group’s plan to buy Google’s Motorola Mobility unit and an IBM server division for a combined $5.2 billion will likely face strict and lengthy security scrutiny by the U.S. government.

5 Reasons Why Google Sold Motorola, and 5 Reasons Why Lenovo Bought It – Google sold the remnant of Motorola’s mobile phone operations to Lenovo yesterday, getting the world’s dominant mobile OS company out of the business of making mobile phones. This is a good move for Google and a good move for Lenovo, although it may not be a good move for consumers. Here’s why Google and Lenovo are both walking away from the deal happy.

Games and Entertainment:

Snow is for suckers: Play these winter sports games on Android – It is really cold out there. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take part in seasonal pastimes from the heated comfort of your living room. Below we present some of the best mobile winter sports games available for your Android phone or tablet. Now you can enjoy the winter without all that winter getting in the way!

Dark Souls II preview: I died 8 times in an hour and loved it – Dark Souls plays like an action game, but it’s essentially a gigantic puzzle box where the solutions happen to be swords, arrows, and spears instead of Sudoku boxes.

Microsoft Stores offer $100 Xbox One discount if you trade in a PS3 – From now until March 2, Microsoft Stores will offer you $100 of store credit if you trade in a PS3, Xbox 360 S, or Xbox 360 E. Of course, there’s a number of terms and conditions in order to get that $100. The console must be in fully working order and have its original accessories including the power supply. You will also only be guaranteed to get $100 for your old machine if you agree to purchase an Xbox One at the same time.

Halo 5 release tipped for November 2015, “beta” this winter – One massive amount of insider knowledge on the Xbox One – and Halo specifically – has been dropped over the past several hours, some of it involving hardware, some of it coming in on the software side of things. What we’re going to do here is break it all down as simple as possible, and what you’re going to need to do is take it all with a grain of salt. The source does appear legitimate, but there’s always the chance of a break in the chain of trust.

Nintendo considering customer rewards program with game discounts – Nintendo has not divulged many details regarding this strategy — as the company is only mulling the idea over at the moment. However, the strategy won’t turn the sales of the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS around, and it won’t draw in new customers — it’ll only keep a portion of Nintendo’s already loyal fan base happy. This, of course, isn’t a bad move, as those loyal customers are the only ones keeping Nintendo afloat, and the company would be in even more dire straits if it couldn’t rely on that loyalty.

Sony PS Vita Slim Headed for the U.K. Feb. 7 – Sporting Wi-Fi capabilities and a 1GB internal memory card, the thinner and lighter model is already available in Japan in multiple colors; only the black model will be available in the U.K. The handheld features a 5-inch LCD screen, meant to boost battery life, in place of the original Vita’s OLED screen.

Bye-Zynga: online games maker laying off 314 staff – Mobile game specialist Zynga has announced that it will be laying off some 15 per cent of its staff as part of a cost-cutting measure. The company said that the cuts would make 314 people at the company redundant. The lowered payroll costs would be part of a plan by the company to same some $33-35m over the course of the 2014 calendar year. Zynga said that it expects to rack up some $15-17m in restructuring charges from the move.

Off Topic (Sort of):

10 years from now it’s Google’s world: we’ll just be living in it – I don’t have a crystal ball, so it’s hard for me to see into the future like some. But the writing appears to be on the wall in the technology industry: Google, the company that made a name for itself in search, will go on to become the most influential and important company in the world within the next decade. Moreover, the company’s efforts will turn us all into citizens of a world we’ll call Google.

YouTube has spoken: Horse-loving puppy wins Super Bowl – Many, many people have stared teary-eyed at a puppy who loves a Clydesdale. At least that’s what 19 million YouTube views suggest.

(Credit: Budweiser/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

11 high school students expelled for keylogging teachers’ computers – A hacking scandal involving keyloggers and electronic grade-changing at a high school in Newport Beach, a well-to-do area of Southern California, has resulted in the expulsion of 11 students. The Orange County Register reported Wednesday that six of those students had already left the district, but five had been transferred to another local school.

Blogging deemed beneath the hallowed halls of academia – After the International Studies Association proposes a ban on blogging for editors of its journals, faculty groups raise their swords.

Big, street-legal Little Tikes car is your childhood on steroids – The classic Cozy Coupe kiddie car gets reborn as a working, full-size car, complete with no windshield.

A Skype exorcism: The modern way to rid yourself of demons – Reverend Bob Larson, an Arizona priest, believes in using technology to get rid of unwanted evil.

(Credit: CNN/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

Kids Weigh In On Five Obsolete Technologies – What do kids make of the actual storage media and communication devices of yore?

Something to think about:

An education isn’t how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It’s being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don’t.”

–        Anatole France


It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

–         Mark Twain

Today’s Free Downloads:

PhoneClean 3.2.1 – PhoneClean is uniquely designed to reclaim more free space on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and make all iOS devices run faster. Working on both PC and Mac, this free-yet-magic tool will safely remove all kinds of useless files on iOS system in order to clean up and speed up your iDevices.

ColorConsole 2.24MajorGeek Says: ColorConsole quite simply does exactly what it says; allows you to use cmd.exe (DOS prompt) with colors and adds additional features. Great for someone with issues reading the screen but also adds a lot of features that are more difficult with cmd.exe, for example copy, paste and cut, tabs and easy export. Application is portable so you can simply extract it anywhere, like your desktop and use it when you want as a DOS prompt replacement.

WiFi Password Decryptor 3.0 – It automatically recovers all type of Wireless Keys/Passwords (WEP/WPA/WPA2 etc) stored by Windows Wireless Configuration Manager. For each recovered WiFi account, it displays following information – WiFi Name (SSID) – Security Settings (WEP-64/WEP-128/WPA2/AES/TKIP) – Password Type – Password in clear text.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Cameron: UK public is fine with domestic spying – Speaking to Parliament on the government’s National Security Strategy, the Prime Minister said that while the media has made a stink about Edward Snowden’s disclosures on domestic spying and data mining programs, the general public is largely in favor of the government. “My sense is that the pub reaction, as opposed to some of the media reaction is ‘look, we have intelligence and security because it is a dangerous world and there are bad people that want to do terrible things to us, and we should support these intelligence services and the work they do,” Cameron told Parliament.

Snowden: Canadian spooks used free airport WiFi to track travellers – Another day, another item of news about unwarranted state surveillance from the desk of one E. Snowden, late of Moscow. This time the allegation is that Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) slurped information about the owners of wireless devices from the free WiFi service in one of the nation’s airports. With that data in hand, the agency is said to have then tracked travellers for “days” after they left the airport. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has the story and says it comes from “A top secret document retrieved by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden and obtained by CBC News”. Snowden’s documents apparently say anyone that passed through an airport could be tracked, although it is not clear if login to the free WiFi service was required. Logging in wouldn’t necessarily be required to track someone: a device set to detect the presence of WiFi networks is likely to reveal its MAC address. If spooks sniffed WiFi routers for MAC addresses of connecting devices, then looked for that MAC address popping up elsewhere, they could easily plot a device’s movement.

How to stop the NSA? Start with new bills at each statehouse, activists say – State lawmakers nationwide have decided that they’re not going to wait for Congress to rein in the powers of the National Security Agency and the American surveillance state. Instead, they’ve proposed bills that would limit cooperation by state officials or slow the distribution of state resources—like turning off the NSA’s access to local Utah water. But even legal experts who might want some of these changes admit that states’ abilities to make an end-run around federal law is merely symbolic at best. At worst, it’s perhaps illegal.

US government names new head of NSA and US Cyber Command – The Secretary of Defense has appointed new leadership for the NSA, the Central Security Service, and the US Cyber Command, with Vice Admiral Michael Rogers as the new boss and Richard Ledgett as his civilian deputy. Vice Admiral Rogers is currently head of the US Navy’s 10th Fleet, which in the Second World War handled anti-submarine operations before being shut down. It was reactivated in 2010 to deal with the Navy’s cryptography and cyber warfare operations. Rogers, a Chicago native, joined the Navy in 1981. Five years later he was seconded to cryptographic operations and has worked in communications and online warfare ever since, in some cases carrying out “direct support missions” from ships and submarines in the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean.

NSA Sees “Grave Damage” to National Security If Draft Talking Points on Surveillance Released – The National Security Agency appears to have spent a lot of time trying to agree on a set of talking points agency officials could use to respond to revelations that originated with Edward Snowden about the lawfulness of the agency’s classified surveillance programs. (suggested by Aseem S.)


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

4 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – January 31, 2014

  1. John Bent

    Hi Bill,

    So David Cameron thinks the UK public is fine with domestic spying based on a “sense” he has. Putting aside the question of how much sense is at play here, the link below gives a clue to the thought process involved:

    Now that’s what I call taking the subject seriously – not.

    As our Prime Minister is taking television programs so seriously, one wonders if he is also a fan of Mythbusters, Big Brother and The Muppets.

    Kind regards,

    • Hi John,

      Of course, the “sense” Cameron seems to be relying on, might better be reclassified as “non-sense.” What a maroon!

      GREAT link! Thanks for that.

      I’ll post this story and link into tomorrow’s TNN.