Staying safe on public Wi-Fi; Vine Finally Lets You Import Video From Your Camera Roll; Kid-friendly apps that bring internet safety to Android; App for beating jet lag takes off; Coming soon: No-name tablets priced under $35; Feds Release Vehicle Recall Search Tool; 30-Second Tech Trick: How to Avoid iPhone Data Overage Charges; 16 tips for Mac users who must use Windows; Parallels Desktop 10 – better Windows-Mac integration; Researchers find it’s terrifyingly easy to hack traffic lights; NFL Now officially lands on Apple TV; The best-sounding music of 2014, so far (pictures); Steve Ballmer’s 5 greatest YouTube hits; Meet John Tye: the kinder, gentler, and by-the-book whistleblower; Auslogics Browser Care (free).
Staying safe on public Wi-Fi – Stuck without a data connection on the road? Free public Wi-Fi is one of those little luxuries that can make travelling easier, but you do need to exercise caution in how you use it. Here are some tips on what to look out for when using public Wi-Fi, whether you use a laptop, smartphone or tablet.
Vine Finally Lets You Import Video From Your Camera Roll – With more than 100 million people watching Vines across the web each month, and over 1 billion loops played every day, Vine has just released an update to the app that finally lets users import video from their camera. Twitter’s video sharing app has always required users to film new content directly within the app, using Vine’s once-unique hold-to-record feature. Now, Vine users can import video that they shot on their phone, or video they downloaded from friends or Dropbox, etc.
Kid-friendly apps that bring internet safety to Android – Whether you are the kind of parent who hands over your smartphone in the grocery store so your kid can watch Netflix while you shop or you’ve already given Junior his first tablet, chances are good you have at least considered some kind of software to act as a barrier between the raw, unfiltered internet and your child. How much control you decide to wield over your child usually depends on age and your own computer literacy, and thankfully there’s no shortage of apps out there for you to install.
Coming soon: No-name tablets priced under $35 – Tablets with low-resolution screens are already selling for $45 on Amazon, many of which have single- or dual-core processors from a Chinese chip company called Allwinner. But the prices could fall under $35 when Allwinner ships its “fully formed” quad-core A33 chip for only $4, said analyst firm Linley Group in a newsletter this week. The chip’s quad-core processors will deliver better performance than older chips, and be capable of supporting 1280 x 800 displays, the analyst group said. The chip is based on ARM’s Cortex-A7 design and has a Mali-400MP2 GPU, which is capable of rendering high-definition video.
App for beating jet lag takes off – As the summer winds down and you squeeze in that last international vacation, let tech help you bounce back to school or work. In this Tech Minute, CNET’s Kara Tsuboi reports on a simple app that can help you overcome exhaustion and get back on schedule.
Sync files wirelessly between your PC and Android with MyPhoneExplorer – USB file transfers between devices are a thing of the past. Find out how you can synchronize files wirelessly instead.
30-Second Tech Trick: How to Avoid iPhone Data Overage Charges – There’s nothing quite like the feeling of blowing through your data plan.
The best educational software for students – We give you 10 great productivity programs that are perfect for students. They’ll help you improve your schoolwork, study more efficiently, and manage your hectic schedule.
How to record phone calls – With all the recent kerfuffle over Comcast’s horrendous customer service (and the recorded calls that let the world share in the unpleasantness), it stands to reason you might wonder how to record a phone call of your own. After all, if you’re on the receiving end of such disastrously bad service, you might want audio proof. Of course, there are other, more innocuous, reasons for recording calls, like if you’re interviewing someone for a story. Whatever your plans, there are plenty of tools available. Before you use any of them, however, make sure you’re legally allowed to do so.
Twitter Is Suspending Accounts For Sharing Beheading Images And Videos – The word comes from Twitter CEO Dick Costolo who announced the company’s actions in a tweet on Wednesday morning, several hours after the shocking video appeared on YouTube and suddenly went viral. This action comes as Twitter users called for a solution to the graphic images suddenly appearing in feeds. Twitter and YouTube users have also called for a media blackout of the beheading video and images, attempting to not give the group behind the horrific act the attention they crave.
Listen to YouTube right now with these 4 apps – You want a solution to listen to music via YouTube right now. Luckily, there are apps available right now that can provide at least some of the functionality Music Key is said to deliver. The following apps can all play the audio from YouTube videos in the background, which is really what you want to do, right? They range from full-fledged YouTube app replacements to simplified solutions that do a lot less.
Feds Release Vehicle Recall Search Tool – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today unveiled a free online search tool that helps consumers determine if a vehicle is impacted by a recall. Whether you’re simply concerned about your own car, or are in the market for a new ride, visit http://www.safecar.gov/vinlookup, where all major light vehicle and motorcycle brands are catalogued.
16 tips for Mac users who must use Windows – I was forced to use a Windows PC the other day. It was a shock, particularly because search engines generally generate tips for switching from Windows to Mac when queried on this. It made me suspect Mac users may sometimes need a little help when they use Windows because they can’t get to a Mac. I assembled these short tips to help such temporary migrants.
Parallels Desktop 10 brings Yosemite support, better Windows-Mac integration – Parallels has spent a lot of time fine-tuning performance in this newest version, yielding improvements like 30-percent more battery life for MacBook users, 60-percent faster loading of snapshots, 50-percent faster performance from Office 2014 apps, and 48-percent speedier opening of Windows files. The virtualization software will also make better use of both your disk space and memory, using only what it needs of the former (and, thanks to real-time optimization, cleaning up as it goes), and reducing use of the latter by up to 10-percent less.
Kuddle, An Instagram With Training Wheels, Introduces Social Media To Kids – A new mobile application called Kuddle is introducing a safer way for kids to get introduced to social media, while still under a parent’s watchful eye. The photo-sharing app, which is like a more restricted version of Instagram, allows children to post and share photos with friends in a protected environment, safe from cyberbullying or unwanted connections from strangers.
Google’s 360-Degree Photo Sphere App Lands on iOS – The app lets users contribute their own 360-degree photos to Google Maps: Just stand in one place, point the viewfinder at a dot on the screen, then move and tilt your phone until each orange circle has been captured. Then watch as an animated Street View character helps to stitch together your shots for a full-circle picture. You can publish the image publicly in the Google Maps Views section, or post your diorama to social networks like Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.
Bing now sports over 100 cities with Streetside and 3D imagery views – Microsoft’s mapping service, while not as well known as Google Maps, is quite impressive. The platform has imagery from all over the world and Bing is letting the world know that its maps now have Streetside view and 3D imagery for over 100 cities. The content is now live and along with these updates, there is more high resolution imagery that covers 150 countries on every continent of the world. Speaking of high resolution imagery, the maps will likely get even more detailed in the future when the WorldView 3 satellite starts snapping photos.
The Pac-12 Networks Are Going Live On YouTube Internationally – The Pac-12 conference is launching a live YouTube channel for international fans, featuring 24×7 coverage of the conference’s sports teams. Fans in 27 countries will be able to watch live games, studio shows, and re-broadcasts of games on the Pac-12 Network on YouTube starting on August 26.
Report: Researchers Spoof TSA Airport Scanners – Security scanners used until recently by TSA personnel at U.S. airports reveal plenty of naughty bits, just not the naughty bits they were supposed to be detecting to keep the airways safe. At least that’s the conclusion reached by researchers from several universities who spent months testing Rapiscan Secure 1000 full-body X-ray scanners used until last year by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at airport security checkpoints. The research team found that the scanners were great at outlining people’s private parts, but not nearly as effective at detecting weapons and bomb-making materials artfully hidden on their bodies.
New ZeroLocker crypto-ransomware offers discount for paying up quickly – or $1,000 in Bitcoin – Researchers this week identified yet another piece of crypto-ransomware for Windows machines called ZeroLocker. Like its predecessors, such as CryptoLocker, the malware encrypts files on infected machines with a strong encryption algorithm. The attackers then demand the victim pay a sum of money in order to buy the decryption key. ZeroLocker has borrowed a few techniques from CryptoLocker to coerce victims to cough up payments early, according to Russian security vendor Kaspersky Lab.
7 Scary Things Employees Can Do With Their Mobile Devices – Let’s say you’re in charge of making IT decisions for a large company. You’ve got lots of employees, many of whom like the idea of being able to access work materials on their mobile devices. Some even want to use their own personal phones and tablets as part of a Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) scheme. What’s the worst that could happen? Check out these worst-case scenarios and arm yourself with the right tools for mobile device management (MDM).
Researchers find it’s terrifyingly easy to hack traffic lights – Taking over a city’s intersections and making all the lights green to cause chaos is a pretty bog-standard Evil Techno Bad Guy tactic on TV and in movies, but according to a research team at the University of Michigan, doing it in real life is within the realm of anyone with a laptop and the right kind of radio. In a paper published this month, the researchers describe how they very simply and very quickly seized control of an entire system of almost 100 intersections in an unnamed Michigan city from a single ingress point.
A typical intersection configuration.
New attacks secretly use smartphone cameras, speakers and microphones – Do you regard your smartphone cameras and speakers as a security threat? You might after checking out presentations from the 8th USENIX Workshop on Offensive Technologies (WOOT). If you were a target, you would neither see, nor hear the stealthy smartphone hacks happening.
Slapdash SSL code puts tons of top Android Play Store apps in hack peril – Sloppy programming, poor patching, and unreliable trust engines are rife within Android apps, according to a new study. In short, millions smartphone users are potentially wide open to man-in-the-middle attacks, it’s claimed. Researchers at security firm FireEye went through the 1,000 most popular Android applications from the Google Play store and found that a large majority of them were open to at least man-in-the-middle attacks, thanks to faulty SSL error and certificate handling. For the top 10,000 apps that figure was 60 per cent.
UK police want mandatory passwords for all new phones – London’s Metropolitan Police has been lobbying the government and tech companies – including Apple and Samsung – to introduce mandatory passwords on all phones sold in the UK, to help reduce theft.
Inside the sneaky, surprisingly large world of rogue Chrome extensions – An analysis by security researchers of 48,000 extensions for Google’s Chrome browser uncovered many that are used for fraud and data theft, actions that are mostly undetectable to regular users. The study, due to be presented Thursday at the Usenix Security Symposium in San Diego, forecasts growing security problems around extensions as cybercriminals tap into the rich data contained in Web browsers for profit. They found 130 outright malicious extensions and 4,712 suspicious ones, engaged in a variety of affiliate fraud, credential theft, advertising fraud and social network abuse.
Netflix now pays Time Warner Cable for faster video delivery – Following a deal with Time Warner Cable, Netflix is now paying all four major Internet service providers for reduced congestion and faster video streams. Netflix had already signed interconnection deals with Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T. Time Warner confirmed to GigaOM that it made the deal with Netflix in June, and is currently rolling out the direct connections that allow for smoother streaming. The idea of Netflix paying ISPs for better performance sounds bad on its face, but whether it’s actually a net neutrality issue is up for debate, with plenty of posturing from all sides.
HP still pushing Windows 7 laptops well into Windows 8’s second year – It has been two years since the release of Windows 8 and HP is still pushing Windows 7 machines to the consumer as Microsoft faces the harsh reality that Windows 8 will never replace Windows 7.
Barnes & Noble will stick with Nook strategy — for now – Mahesh Veerina, president of the bookseller’s Nook consumer business, says its strategy for selling Nook devices remains intact, even as the company plans to split in 2015.
Symantec pumps $12m into Sydney security centre – Symantec is aggressively pushing its managed security business, and will do so through its newest security operations centre in Sydney.
Samsung to pay $2.3m over claims it got Chinese gear into US government – Samsung’s US distribution arm will pay $2.3m to settle claims it “knowingly providing inaccurate information” about the origin of some its equipment, resulting in the US government buying unauthorised Chinese-made electronics. The settlement, announced on Tuesday by the Department of Justice, puts to rest allegations that Samsung breached federal contracting laws by telling its resellers that some of its products complied with the US trade agreements act when they did not.
Games and Entertainment:
NFL Now officially lands on Apple TV – Just in time for football season, Apple TV is getting NFL Now. We’d previously been aware of a few rumors surrounding the inclusion of NFL Now for Apple’s TV offering, but now it’s official. For those of us who just can’t get enough football during the winter, this is going to be special.
For Microsoft, getting Diablo 3 to run at 1080P was a necessity to compete with PS4 – The console wars are running full steam ahead and the PS4 is the frontrunner – and not only in sales, as it also seems that the PS4 has more power under the hood which is not making Microsoft happy.
The best-sounding music of 2014, so far (pictures) – Bad sound can’t be blamed on digital, analog, vinyl, CD, or even MP3. Those are release formats; it’s the recording’s quality that matters most, and that’s what I’m talking about in these capsule reviews. Puss N Boots is Norah Jones, Sasha Dobson, and Catherine Popper, and their vocal harmonies will light up your speakers or headphones on this collection of studio and live cuts. “No Fools, No Fun” is easily one of the best albums of 2014.
A Lego ‘Ghostbusters’ short full of geeky cameos – This year marks the 30-year anniversary for “Ghostbusters,” the hilarious supernatural comedy starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis and Sigourney Weaver. To mark the occasion, Marc-André Caron, who makes Lego shorts for his YouTube channel MonsieurCaron, released a 4-minute short where the trusty ghost-busting crew fight their biggest, most hungry ghost yet.
Off Topic (Sort of):
Study shows reading on Kindle is less effective than paperback – Ereaders and the growing number of textbooks available in digital form have transformed the way students study, and with them come many perks: digital books are often cheaper than their physical counterparts, and an entire semester’s materials can be toted around on a single light tablet. The perks may end there, however, according to a recent study.
Models challenge temperature reconstruction of last 12,000 years – Climate records, like tree rings or ice cores, are invaluable archives of past climate, but they each reflect their local conditions. If you really want a global average for some time period, you’re going to have to combine many reliable records from around the world and do your math very carefully. The Holocene temperature reconstruction showed a peak about 7,000 years ago, after which the planet slowly cooled off by a little over 0.5 degrees Celsius until that trend abruptly reversed over the last 150 years. That behavior mirrored the change in Northern Hemisphere summer sunlight driven by cycles in Earth’s orbit.
DARPA will redesign tanks to look like Halo’s Warthog because armor is outdated – Tanks have had the same basic design since they were first used to crash through the barbed wire barriers in Europe at the end of World War I, but DARPA is working on a new design that’s smaller, faster, and more efficient. This could be the beginning of the end for the big, hulking battle tank. The prototype design is called the Ground X-Vehicle Technology (GXV-T), but you might notice a striking resemblance to the Warthog light recon vehicle from Halo.
Hacking mother nature: scientists are turning moths into drones – Scientists are working on a method for controlling moths electronically. Yeah — moths. By attaching electrodes to the back of a moth, scientists hope to control its flight. Though the immediate use-case that comes to mind might be “trolling cats”, it seems there is much more sound reasoning for wanting an army of moth drones.
Steve Ballmer’s 5 greatest YouTube hits – With Steve Ballmer leaving the Microsoft board, it’s time to bid him a fond farewell — and the best way to do it is with five of his greatest YouTube hits.
Sea plankton found on the outer surface of the ISS – Astronauts collecting samples on the International Space Station have found traces of sea plankton, and are baffled as to how it got there.
Something to think about:
“Nuke Islamic State fighters, gas them, infect them, fry them, burn them, shoot them, drown them – every single one of them, and their supporters, must be eradicated. Every moral code that guides us must be set aside, if necessary, in order to destroy this virulent plague.”
– News Comment thread
Today’s Free Downloads:
Auslogics Browser Care – This unique tool lets you take back full control of all browsers installed on your PC. Clean up, speed up and keep your web browsers well-maintained for top performance!
Remove unwanted toolbars or plugins
Change hijacked home page to the page you want
Set your preferred search engine as default
Clear cache to unclutter your drive and speed up your browser
Manage all installed browsers from one place
Predator – PREDATOR locks your PC when you are away, even if your Windows session is still opened.
It uses a regular USB flash drive as an access control device, and works as follows:
you insert the USB drive
you run PREDATOR (autostart with Windows is possible)
you do your work…
when you’re away from your PC, you simply remove the USB drive:
– once it is removed, the keyboard and mouse are disabled and the screen darkens
when you return back to your PC, you put the USB flash drive in place:
– keyboard and mouse are immediately released, and the display is restored.
In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:
Meet John Tye: the kinder, gentler, and by-the-book whistleblower – The way John Tye tells it, we’ve all been missing the forest for the trees.
Over the course of two phone calls, the former State Department official told Ars that anyone who has been following the government surveillance discussion since the Snowden disclosures has been too concerned with things like metadata collection. Since last summer, journalists, politicians, and the public have been inundated with largely-unknown terminology, like “Section 215” and “Section 702.”
(For a recap: The first disclosure to come from the documents provided by Snowden described the bulk metadata programs, whose legal authority derives from Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is the legal authority which the NSA uses as the basis for PRISM and other surveillance and data collection programs.)
But according to Tye, what we should be really worried about is Executive Order 12333 (EO 12333)—or “twelve triple three” in government parlance. It’s a Reagan-era order that spells out the NSA’s authority to conduct signals intelligence among other things. EO 12333 was amended three times under President George W. Bush and, famously, the NSA expanded its domestic surveillance operation after the September 11 attacks without a direct order from the president, who later provided cover under EO 12333.
In July 2014, Tye wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post outlining his concerns. It drew a direct response from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Tuesday. According to Tye, the massive amounts of content sucked up by the American spy apparatus “incidental” to targeted collecting is voluminous, unnecessary, and unconstitutional. And no one in the government has ever tried to challenge this legal authorization.
U.S. Military Bans The Intercept – The U.S. military is banning and blocking employees from visiting The Intercept in an apparent effort to censor news reports that contain leaked government secrets.
According to multiple military sources, a notice has been circulated to units within the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps warning staff that they are prohibited from reading stories published by The Intercept on the grounds that they may contain classified information. The ban appears to apply to all employees—including those with top-secret security clearance—and is aimed at preventing classified information from being viewed on unclassified computer networks, even if it is freely available on the internet. Similar military-wide bans have been directed against news outlets in the past after leaks of classified information.
A directive issued to military staff at one location last week, obtained by The Intercept, threatens that any employees caught viewing classified material in the public domain will face “long term security issues.” It suggests that the call to prohibit employees from viewing the website was made by senior officials over concerns about a “potential new leaker” of secret documents.
The directive states:
We have received information from our higher headquarters regarding a potential new leaker of classified information. Although no formal validation has occurred, we thought it prudent to warn all employees and subordinate commands. Please do not go to any website entitled “The Intercept” for it may very well contain classified material.
As a reminder to all personnel who have ever signed a non-disclosure agreement, we have an ongoing responsibility to protect classified material in all of its various forms. Viewing potentially classified material (even material already wrongfully released in the public domain) from unclassified equipment will cause you long term security issues. This is considered a security violation.
A military insider subject to the ban said that several employees expressed concerns after being told by commanders that it was “illegal and a violation of national security” to read publicly available news reports on The Intercept.
In wake of Ferguson shooting, calls escalate for cops to wear body cams – The City of Ferguson, Missouri, in turmoil following last week’s shooting death of an unarmed African-American teen by a white police officer, is “exploring” whether to outfit its police force with pager-sized surveillance cams in patrol cars and on officers’ vests that record everything the officer is seeing.
The city announced the idea Tuesday, days after rioting, looting, and mass protests commenced following the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was killed on August 9. There are various accounts of what led to the teen’s death. Surveillance cameras could have helped the authorities figure out what prompted a police officer to fire on Brown as many as six times.
“We are exploring a range of actions that are intended for the community to feel more connected to and demonstrate the transparency of our city departments,” the city said the day before Attorney General Eric Holder arrived Wednesday to flesh out the situation for himself.
But Ferguson is not alone in calling for its officers to be outfitted with body cams. The mayor of Hawthorne, a Los Angeles suburb, has also called for police to wear body cameras in the wake of Brown’s shooting.
Axon Flex, from Taser International, is used by the Rialto Police Department in California.
Yale profs propose openness, crypto for disciplined surveillance – Two computer science professors at Yale University think cryptography and an open system of checks and balances could combine to preserve national security while preventing innocent by-standers from being snared in the nets of zealous lawmen in an age of big data collection and technology-savvy surveillance.
The plan would alter the current data collection model of intelligence agencies and law-enforcement, but still allow relevant information collection and investigations while safeguarding privacy.
The Edward Snowden revelations have rocked governments, global businesses, and the technology world. Here is our perspective on the still-unfolding implications along with IT security and risk management best practices that technology leaders can put to good use.
The professors, spurred on by the Edward Snowden controversy, have built a framework that includes data owners, repository stewards, and government agencies. They have developed what they call the Lawful Set-Intersection Protocol, built on top of two “communicative” encryption schemes: ElGamal and Pohlig-Hellman. To align with developers, they have posted on GitHub an implementation of the Java-based Lawful Set-Intersection Protocol.
The framework, protocol, and prototype implementations were presented Monday at the 4th USENIX Workshop on Free and Open Communications on the Internet by Bryan Ford, associate professor of computer science at Yale University and the head of the Decentralized/Distributed Systems research group, and Joan Feigenbaum, a Grace Murray Hopper professor and chair of Yale’s computer science department. Aaron Segal, a PhD candidate in Yale’s computer science department, also collaborated on the research entitled “Catching Bandits and Only Bandits.”
“What walks like a duck and squawks like a duck is usually a duck, and since the NSA has been squawking like a law-enforcement agency, it should be subject to open processes like a law-enforcement agency,” Ford and Feigenbaum wrote Monday in an MIT Technology Review article outlining their ideas and presentation.
Brazil Court Issues Injunction Against Secret And Calls For App To Be Remotely Wiped – A court in Brazil has ruled (via UOL) that Apple and Google must remove Secret, the anonymous social networking app, from their mobile software stores – and also from user devices where it’s already installed. The court has issued a preliminary injunction in the case, pending the results of a final ruling, as a result of a complaints by users harmed by rumors spread via the app, who said that the app was used to share an “intimate photo” of him, which included personal identifying information including his full name and telephone number.