Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 26, 2014

RSA: You’re Not Nearly Angry Enough About Security, Otherwise You’d Fight Back;  7 hidden dangers of wearable computers;  We’re building undersea cable to thwart US spying, say Brazil and Europe;  Practice safe Androiding;  Five add-ons to make Google Apps play nice in the enterprise;  5 password managers that protect your personal data too;  Use Google Chrome’s secret guest profile feature;  New free online software security training courses;  The 50 Geekiest Movies Streaming on Netflix;  Google Glass blamed for melee in SF bar;  Google lobbying against Glass driving bans;  House passes bill that would allow cell phone unlocking;  NSA snooping tactics will be copied by criminals in 3 to 5 years.

RSA: You’re Not Nearly Angry Enough About Security, Otherwise You’d Fight Back – At his RSAC 2014 keynote presentation, it was clear that Juniper Systems’s Security Business unit Senior Vice President and General Manager Nawaf Bitar was mad as hell. But to be more to the point, he was mad as hell that more people weren’t enraged by what he characterized as an assault on individuals’ personal information. “You in this room have to do better,” said Bitar. “We’re complicit—standing by and watching a crime.” (I’m not complicit – I yell and scream as loud as I can, everyday, in print, and in my personal life, about this NSA insanity. What about you – what are you doing?)

We’re building undersea cable to thwart US spying, say Brazil and Europe – The cable, which will stretch from Portugal to Brazil, was discussed on Monday by the president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, and the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, at the seventh EU-Brazil Summit in Brussels.

Five add-ons to make Google Apps play nice in the enterprise – For Google Apps administrators and users, the move away from legacy systems can be challenging. Google Apps have seen some success in schools and businesses, but concerns over security and management have kept some organizations away. Here are five add-ons to help you manage and take control of Google Apps.

Microsoft rallies Windows for price war with Android – Dirt-cheap Windows PCs and tablets are coming, and it’s all thanks to Google’s growing low-price threat. Microsoft made two moves this weekend to counter the small but growing rebellion. First came news of the company reportedly cutting the cost of Windows 8 licenses to a mere $15 for devices sold under $250. Then on Sunday, Microsoft confirmed the long-rumored Windows 8.1 update, which essentially halved the system requirements for Windows devices. Yes, folks, Microsoft’s sick of losing customers to Google—and a price war is brewing.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

5 password managers that protect your personal data too – Credit cards, social security numbers, logins—each of us passes enough personal information through our PCs and mobile devices to complete a dossier. All that data isn’t just tough to remember, it’s also difficult to keep secure. Writing everything down on a piece of paper or in a text file or PDF is risky, but do you really want to encrypt your hard drive for a few lousy passwords and account numbers?

Flap off, data thieves! Practice safe Androiding – Android’s increasing popularity comes with a price — malware. Jack Wallen offers up his best practices to help you keep your Android free from malicious software.

Opternative Is The First Online Eye Exam That Writes You A Prescription – “Do I need glasses?” is a question you have to get an in-person eye test to answer. But today, online eye exam provider Opternative is coming out of stealth to get you a doctor’s perscription for glasses straight from your computer or phone. Opternative’s test takes five to ten minutes and costs around $35 — 75% less than in-person exams. With $1 million in funding it plans to launch this summer.

Apple’s culture of secrecy delays security response – again – Apple finally delivers a cure for the “goto fail” plague, but this isn’t the first time that sluggish Apple response times have put its users at risk.

7 hidden dangers of wearable computers – Wearable technologies enable capture and collection of amazingly detailed information about an individual’s life, including their lifestyle choices, personal health, location, movement and daily routines. Without the right privacy controls, such data could end up being used in ways never imagined or intended. And without the right security controls, data gathered by such devices could enable identity theft, stalking, fraud and other crimes.

House passes bill that would allow cell phone unlocking – Legislation would repeal a Library of Congress decision not to issue a DMCA exemption against phone unlocking but prohibit bulk device unlocking.

Office 2013 service pack one released – Microsoft has released the first service pack for Office 2013 and the update comes in both x86 and x64 flavors. We have posted the download links after the jump but know that the files are quite large.

How to use Google Chrome’s secret guest profile feature – Guest profiles are a must for anyone who occasionally hands over their PC to others. With guest profiles, you won’t have to worry about your friends signing you out of Facebook and Gmail, futzing with your bookmarks, or spying some personal browsing habits you’d rather keep private. The addition of guest profiles is yet another feature that is slowly migrating from Chrome OS to Chrome for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

20 technology certifications that are paying off – Certifications ranging from software lifecycle management to cloud and database architecture to project management are hot skill areas for the year ahead.

Disney Movies Anywhere App Comes to iPhone and iPad with Excellent iTunes Integration – Disney has just released a new app for iPad and iPhone that makes it easier to find new movies, and make use of the ones you already own. The Disney Movies Anywhere app provides a place for you to preview and buy copies of Disney and Marvel movies, but also can be used to redeem the digital copy codes found on Disney DVDs and Blu-rays. it even includes deep iTunes integration.

Hands-on with Linux Mint Debian Edition 201403 release candidate – This release is available with either the Cinnamon or MATE desktop, in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. There is good news for those who are concerned about compatibility with non-PAE CPUs: the 32-bit version of this release comes with a 486-compatible kernel by default. However, this has a negative impact for those who want to use 32-bit multi-core CPUs. The situation is described in detail in the Known Problems document.


Create a Ken Burns-style photo project on your iPhone with PhotoMotion – PhotoMotion gives you a simple set of tools to create a cool-looking project out of your photos, but a lack of extras will leave you wanting more.

Mastercard tests credit cards that won’t work unless you’re nearby – Mastercard and roaming infrastructure company Syniverse have come up with a way to protect credit card transactions abroad with help from a phone’s location. The two companies are piloting a service that will enable card transactions for users only when they have their mobile device switched on in a specific geolocation abroad. The aim is to reduce fraud and decrease the number of real transactions that are declined.


Apple Issues Patch For OS X SSL Security Vulnerability – Apple faced a considerable security threat with its SSL flaw, present in both iOS and OS X devices over the past few days. The iOS bug was plugged late Friday via the iOS 7.0.6 update made available to iPhones, iPads and iPod touches, but Macs with 10.9 went unpatched until now. The fix is out, however, so grab it and get your Macs updated to v10.9.2 as soon as possible.

But wait……. there’s more.

Apple issues many security updates for OS X, including Lion and Mountain Lion – In addition to fixing a high-priority bug in SSL/TLS and shipping numerous feature tweaks and fixes, Apple released a large number of security fixes today to OS X, Safari and QuickTime for Windows. There were 33 vulnerabilities patched in OS X, four in Safari and 10 in QuickTime for Windows.

Ethical hacking organisation site hacked, defaced with Snowden’s passport – The attacker says it’s just the tip of the iceberg, claiming that s/he’s “sitting on thousands of passports” belonging to law enforcement and military personnel.

Android Botnets Hop on the TOR Train – Today, an article posted by Roman Unuchek of Kaspersky described the discovery of the first “TOR Trojan for Android” and how cyber criminals have taken the source code for Orbot, a TOR network client for Android, and modified it with malicious functionality, such as that a Bot would have.

South Korea concocting Stuxnet-like virus to infect enemies – Let’s hope that somebody in South Korea remembers that malware doesn’t respect borders. Stuxnet escaped from its original cage to bite a whole bunch of countries not originally on the hit list, plus it spawned its nasty son, Duqu.

Fake PayPal “Survey Program” Email Wants Card Details – Be wary of emails bearing gifts – in this case, claiming to reward those who would fill in a so-called PayPal survey to obtain a “£25 reward”. This one is flagged as spam in Gmail, but depending on your mail provider it may creep into the Inbox instead of the Spam folder:

Company News:

Apple, Symantec, other tech heavies challenge anti-gay legislation – Apple, Symantec, and other have put their weight behind efforts to defeat a law in Arizona which would allow discrimination based on sexual orientation. The companies are among a growing list of businesses that have publicly called on Governor Jan Brewer to veto SB1062, a bill that would expand an existing religious-freedom law to allow businesses to refuse service to customers based on sexual orientation. Proponents of the bill have argued that it aims to allow business owners to express their religious beliefs. Opponents say that the bill would legalize discrimination against the LGBT community and violate civil rights laws.

BBM sale a possibility BlackBerry CEO admits – BlackBerry’s CEO has responded to the sudden interest in BBM, its secure messaging service, after Facebook’s $19bn buy of WhatsApp, admitting that he’d be open to selling it off if the price was right. Valuations of just how much each BBM user might be worth surged in the aftermath of news that Facebook would pay around $42 per user for WhatsApp, as investors considered the idea that they may have been underestimating how important data-based messaging services could be.

Microsoft could take on Google’s YouTube with proposed Dailymotion partnership – Orange CEO Stéphane Richard claimed today in a TV interview that his company was in partnership talks with Microsoft concerning Orange’s video streaming website Dailymotion.

King goes sour on candy trademark, abandons application – As if the sheer existence of Candy Crush Saga was not already enough to earn the scorn of the internet, the game maker filed for a trademark on the word “candy” last year. When the patent application at the US Trademark Office was noticed, it set off a bit of a firestorm with King. Apparently, King couldn’t take the heat because the company has just withdrawn its trademark application. Score one for internet vigilantism.

Google lobbying against Glass driving bans – Google is fighting back against threats that Glass could be banned from use by drivers, lobbying US state officials in the hope of more nuanced guidelines than an all-out block on in-car wearable tech. The safety of head-mounted displays like Glass made headlines last year, after one “Glass Explorer” early-adopter was ticketed for distracted driving after being pulled over for speeding and found to be wearing Google’s experimental gadget.

Games and Entertainment:

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare throws players into the weeds – Sadly, with this week’s Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, the potted plant has been dropped. A giant, online-only battle between zombies and plants isn’t entirely illogical for the series, and Popcap and EA have teamed up to make a highly polished, kinda-budget-priced shooting game. But Garden Warfare’s makers have done away with all the best parts of the license, instead leaving fans with a wholly obtuse battle that lacks the grace and humor of its namesake.


The 50 Geekiest Movies Streaming on Netflix – Everyone loves streaming movies, but no one more than hardcore nerds. Here are the 50 films currently streaming on Netflix that no member of the fandom should miss.

Microsoft to add gameplay broadcasting to Xbox One for Titanfall launch – Microsoft will finally add a way for Xbox One gamers to live stream matches from the console via the app sometime in March, around the time that Titanfall is released.

Be the Monty Python foot in ‘Holy Grail’ stomping game – Make a splat by playing the role of the famous animated Monty Python foot in the Holy Stomping online game.


Superior Tactics for Android Lives Up to its Name – Superior Tactics is a new real-time strategy game on Android, and despite its stripped down appearance, it’s an excellent example of the genre. In this game you are presented with 200 missions of increasing difficulty. Along the way you’ll build up a massive battlefleet armed to the teeth with lasers and missiles, all trained on the enemy.


World of Warcraft’s $60 level-boosts reflect important economic reality – In games, as in life, the only truly nonrenewable resource is time. Thus, anything that saves a player time in getting something they want will have some important real-world value. World of Warcraft seems to finally be acknowledging this basic economic fact of life, letting players pay $60 to instantly level any character all the way up to level 90 in its upcoming expansion.


Off Topic (Sort of):

Google Glass blamed for melee in SF bar – Questions of privacy arise after a woman says she was “verbally and physically assaulted” for wearing the device in a San Francisco bar.

The Unlikely Tale of How ARM Came to Rule the World – This is a story about ARM Holdings (ARMH), the mobile technology company. But before it gets going, here are a few things you need to know.

New free online software security training courses – Security Engineering Training by SAFECode is an online community resource offering free security training courses delivered via on-demand webcasts. Covering issues from preventing SQL injection to avoiding cross site request forgery, the courses are designed to be used as building blocks for those looking to create an in-house training program for their product development teams, as well as individuals interested in enhancing their skills.

The Huffington Post: Here’s An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose – With recreational pot now for sale in Colorado and widespread confusion over a recent satirical story that jokingly claimed 37 people had already died of a marijuana overdose, we figured it might be about time to update our weed death count. So, here’s a GIF that still accurately shows all of the people who have died after overdosing on pot:

Yeah, not a single person has ever died from a weed overdose. We don’t have numbers on pandas, but we’re guessing it’s about the same. According to one frequently cited study, a marijuana smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times the amount of THC in a joint in order to be at risk of dying.

Watch a virus-like particle try to enter a cell — in 3D – Princeton researchers say their two-camera approach offers the most detailed footage of a nano-sized particle to date, which could ultimately shed light on how viruses and cells interact.

Try The World Brings Paris, Rio, And Tokyo To You In $45 Subscription Boxes – I can show you the world, shining, shimmering splendid. All it will take is $45 every two months, and Try The World will send you a gourmet box full of locally sourced goods from countries around the world.

Something to think about:

Human Dignity has gleamed only now and then and here and there, in lonely splendor, throughout the ages, a hope of the better men, never an achievement of the majority.”

–     James Thurber

Today’s Free Downloads:

SpringPublisher – SpringPublisher can create and print high-quality documents, cards, and more using templates or your own settings. You can add images, text, barcodes, QR codes, maps, and more. It’s free for non-commercial use in Windows 2000 to 8. A Pro upgrade, supporting high-resolution printing, microperforated paper, and other features is available. Desktop publishing programs aren’t the dominant force in software they were when every PC had a dot-matrix printer. But these days, when you do print something, it needs to look good, too, and that’s where SpringPublisher shines.


Sketch Drawer for PC – Today Only 100% Off – Sketch Drawer lets you transform digital photos into cool color and black and white pencil sketches with just a few clicks.


In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Make cyberwar a no-no equal to nukes, bio, and chemical attacks, says RSA headman. And while you’re at it, Art Coviello suggests, break up the NSA – Coviello said that RSA, along with almost every other computer security firm, worked with the NSA in defending the US. But he defended the company’s support for the pre-weakened Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator (Dual EC DRBG) standard endorsed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, saying that RSA worked with standards bodies and had changed its software once the flaw had been found in the encryption technique. However, Coviello said that the NSA had overstepped the mark and that the agency needs to be broken up to ensure that its role is solely defensive in nature and to keep its operations under rein. But he also called on governments and the security industry to adopt four key principles to avoid the destruction of trust and privacy online.

Schneier: NSA snooping tactics will be copied by criminals in 3 to 5 years – If you thought NSA snooping was bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet: online criminals have also been watching and should soon be able to copy the agency’s invasive surveillance tactics, according to security guru Bruce Schneier. The mass surveillance carried out by the NSA was made possible not just thanks to the agency’s huge budget and matching motivation, he said, but also because the fundamental model of the internet and the companies that operate on it allowed it. Entire business plans for Facebook, Google and others are predicated on collecting personal data and using it (with some psychological techniques) to convince us to buy stuff. All that data is swirling around and it’s going to be a top target for savvy crooks, he said. The very business model of many online firms has created hugely valuable data flows that the NSA, other countries’ intelligence agencies, and ultimately the criminal community, wish to feast upon.

EU mulling investment in South America-Europe undersea cable – The European Union is considering helping to fund a $185-million project to lay an undersea cable from Brazil to Europe. The project, which is already under way, is being carried out by Brazilian telecoms provider Telebras and Spain’s IslaLink Submarine Cables. The project is of strategic importance to “guarantee the neutrality” of the Internet, said Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff following a Brazil-E.U. summit in Brussels on Monday. Brazil currently relies on U.S. undersea cables to carry almost all of its communications to Europe via Miami as the existing cable between Europe and Brazil is outdated and can only be used for voice. Although the issue was not formally on the summit agenda, both Rousseff and E.U. leaders are worried about U.S. National Security Agency surveillance. Rousseff postponed a state visit to Washington last year in protest at spying on her phone, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose mobile phone was also tapped, last week called for a E.U.-only cloud. Rousseff said Brazil and the European Union have “similar concerns” about U.S. dominance of fibre-optic cables.

Juniper Networks exec: ‘First-world outrage’ will not help cyber security – Cyber attacks post a greater threat than terrorism, suggests one Juniper Networks exec. But public apathy seems to be overshadowing the severity of the situation.


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

10 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 26, 2014

  1. Fred

    Hi Bill,
    “RSA: You’re Not Nearly Angry Enough About Security, Otherwise You’d Fight Back”
    Well you are clearly a rare one but thank goodness you DO speak up, publicly.
    In my own way, not like you but still trying, I make comments on new stories, where permitted, and I talk to people. The problem, as I see it Bill, is that the average American, JUST DOES NOT CARE. It has been reported that over 70% of Americans are on some sort of mind altering prescription drug, seriously, and sort of like Huxley and his BRAVE NEW WORLD, they don’t seem to care about ANYTHING, at all. Just add Orwell’s 1984 on steroids and you have the the current scenario of the USA, and I’d bet most of the rest of the Western world.
    Just keep doing what you are doing as you’ve got a LOT of readers and you are a respected man.
    Wishing you the best,

    • Hi Fred,

      Took a few days to replace a malfunctioning modem – which put me into instant “Internet withdrawal.” Painful major bummer. :0)

      You’re right – the “I don’t care” disease is worldwide. I suppose stupidity knows no national boundaries.

      As for drugged out Americans, seemingly, they’re in good company. The number of people I know personally who consume a “mind altering prescription drug” astonishes me. Of course, usage is camouflaged since these drugs come in all sorts of flavors – sleeping pills, muscle relaxers……………. so, they can’t be harmful. Right? Yeah, sure. :0)

      Have a great week.



  2. Mal

    Hey Bill,

    Re:RSA: You’re Not Nearly Angry Enough About Security, Otherwise You’d Fight Back

    I fight back on a daily basis, although after reading this story, maybe I can do more. Personally, unless it is banking or email, I use the web using VPN (even for just reading the news). I have nothing to hide, except my privacy. NOBODY has the right to monitor what I do on the internet, unless of course it is criminal activity. But we know that not just criminals are targeted, we all are. I have top notch security on my PC, I regularly analyze my security logs, to see it anything is phoning home (amazingly mostly legitimate programs) and take steps to stop that.

    I have talked to people about the mass surveillance we now have to endure, and usually they don’t give a crap. They say “I have nothing to hide, so I’ll be right, mate”. They sometimes look at me like I am a paranoid freak, overreacting to the issue. Well, when it comes to my personal info and browsing habits being hoovered up by all and sundry, I AM paranoid. They can keep their snotty noses out of my business.


    • Hey Mal,

      Been off the Web for a few days with a malfunctioning modem – twice now since November. Very frustrating.

      Totally agree with your sentiment – stay the hell out of my stuff!



  3. delenn13

    Hey Bill,

    Modem huh? Here I thought you had ducked southward for a rush of warm air. I was envious of you.

    Horrors of horrors…PAYING pirates. Interesting article. When are the “TPTB gonna figure it out? Stupid suits…Give the people what they want and they will get paid.

    VPN Users ‘Pirating’ Netflix Scare TV Networks | TorrentFreak

    “Officially unavailable Down Under, Netflix reportedly has up to 200,000 Aussie subscribers who evade geo-blocking mechanisms to happily pay for the service…………Netflix is blocked in Australia, partly because the big US studios have an exclusive deal with media giant News Corp to show content. On the Internet, however, news travels fast. Googling “netflix australia” turns up dozens of articles explaining how to circumvent the Netflix geo-blocking mechanism to (shock, horror) actually PAY to watch Netflix in Australia using VPN services and proxies”

    • Hey Delenn13,

      First – good to hear from you. 🙂

      For sure – “Stupid suits…Give the people what they want and they will get paid.”

      This is a great story – missed it for today’s TNN – already set up for tomorrow.

      A quick story – I don’t have cable TV – so, when I went to watch the Superbowl online at CTV – no go since I didn’t have a cable subscription (how in the hell did they know that!!!???) Bizarre. What a bunch of hosers.

      In any event, just loaded a VPN and watched better interactive coverage on CBS. So yeah, who (besides me) won here.

      Stay WARM.



      • Mal

        Hey Bill,

        VPN’s are the go, aren’t they. I’m a fan of the Walking Dead TV show. I watch it here on cable, and then head over to the website to check out sneak peeks, interviews etc. If I don’t run with a VPN connected through an American server, I can’t watch anything on their site.

        VPN’s are good security too. Everyone should be using one.


        • Hey Mal,

          Absolutely, definitely, positively – a VPN is a must have. Especially, as you point out – “VPN’s are good security too.”



  4. Mal

    Hey Bill,

    I was wondering where you had got to. I agree with your comment to Fred about internet withdrawal. Personally if my modem stuffed up, I would curl into a foetal position and suck my thumb until it was fixed lol.

    Good to see you back.