Fraud shop OVERSTOCKED with stolen credit cards; The best way to completely wipe your Android device; A Windows 8.1 mini-tablet for $81; Back up your iPhone photos: Eight affordable (or free) cloud options; Here’s How Much Access Facebook Employees Have to Your Account; 5 tips for Google Voice in Hangouts on Android; Post-it Notes Get Digitized In A Clever New App From 3M; Are you ready for 64-bit Android? Free Windows 9 Upgrades for Windows 8 Users? How to change notification sounds on your Android phone; Here are October’s free Games with Gold; Yet another case of malvertising on The Pirate Bay; U.S. Tops Yahoo’s List of Government Data Requests; Display Driver Uninstaller (free); BlackBerry’s Passport smartphone selling out; Intel investing $1.5 billion in two Chinese chip firms; Will that game play on your PC? Can You Run It tells you.
Fraud shop OVERSTOCKED with stolen credit cards – Infamous carding store Rescator.cc is so chock-full of stolen credit cards from recent high-profile breaches that it’s gutting its prices due to overstocking. The fire sale makes a mockery of the security in place at some of the world’s biggest retailers, many of which have in recent months been invaded by hackers who have made off with many millions of customer credit cards.
The best way to completely wipe your Android device – A study from security software vendor Avast has suggested that the factory reset option built into the Android operating system isn’t effective in eradicating your personal data from old devices. The firm purchased 20 used Android smartphones on eBay and was able to recover more than 40,000 photos, 750 emails and text messages, and 250 contacts, along with the identities of four of the previous device owners, and even a completed loan application. To make matters worse, Avast employees were using readily available data recovery software to get the job done.
Back up your iPhone photos: Eight affordable (or free) cloud options – Even new handsets can break or go missing. Safeguard your precious photos with easy-to-use cloud services that deliver massive amounts of storage for low or no cost.
5 tips for Google Voice in Hangouts on Android – Now that Google has finally rolled Voice into the existing Hangouts app, there are a few settings you may want to adjust for a better calling and texting experience.
Want to Bend Your New iPhone? Apply 70–90 Pounds – Consumer Reports recently put the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and a handful of other competing smartphones to the test—a will-it-blend bit of destruction, if you replace a crazy-powerful blender with a big device that’s designed to test just how much pressure these smartphones can take before they give out.
Microsoft rolls out Groups feature to Office 365 users, but only on the web – If you’ve been trying to figure out out how to better work collaboratively with coworkers, Microsoft has a new tool for Office 365: Groups. But right now, it’s only for those using Microsoft’s Office 365 web apps.
The 64-bit Android question – Are you ready for 64-bit Android? Jack Wallen shares the information that’s important to those interested in jumping on the newest bandwagon to hit the Android trail.
Forget ‘airplane mode,’ devices are OK’d for inflight use in Europe – Airline passengers traveling on European airline flights will be able to leave their mobile phones and other gadgets on throughout the entire flight, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said Friday. European airlines can allow any kind of electronic devices such as tablets, laptops and smartphones to remain switched on for the entire trip without having to use the airplane mode. Switching to airplane mode was mandatory until now.
PiPO unveils the W4: a Windows 8.1 mini-tablet for $81 – Microsoft has been working with its hardware partners around the world to bring Windows devices to the very lowest price points, and in recent weeks, many examples of its efforts have been unveiled. But prices still haven’t reached rock-bottom yet, as Chinese manufacturer PiPO has shown with the unveiling of its latest Windows 8.1 tablet, the W4. The new device is officially a “concept” for now, but the company says it has been working with Intel on making it a production reality, and claims that at 499 CNY ($81 USD / £50 GBP), it will be the “most affordable Win8 tablet” so far.
Vine update adds needed features for Android – Unlike Hyperlapse, Vine is giving Android some attention. An update rolling in today brings some iOS features with it, like the ability to choose videos from your device, and edit multiple videos down to a six-second clip. All in all, the update should make you want to use Vine much more.
Post-it Notes Get Digitized In A Clever New App From 3M – 3M should be applauded for doing more than throwing out some lame alternative to using your phone’s camera to snap photos of Post-it’s, slapping the brand name on it and calling it a day. Instead, the Post-it Plus app, as it’s called, is surprisingly clever. You can use the app to capture a photo of up to 50 square Post-it Notes at one time. These are then identified with little checkmarks on top of each note. Before creating your digital board, you can uncheck the notes you don’t want to save. After the image is captured, you have a viral Post-it board where you can arrange, refine and re-organize the notes just by tapping and dragging them around with your finger.
Meet Ello, an ad-free social network that’s proudly pro-privacy (but with caveats) – A new social network is generating buzz for its hard stance against paid advertising and data collection. But how the site really works, when it comes to privacy, is a little more nuanced. Ello is open on an invite-only basis, so you’ll need to know someone who’s already in the club to get in straight away. Tens of thousands of people are on the waiting list, according to the site, and only small batches of people are being let in at a time.
Kano Ships Its First 18,000 Learn-To-Code Computer Kits, Fueled By $1.5M Kickstarter – Kano Computing, a startup that plays in the learn to code space by adding a step-by-step hand-holding layer atop the Raspberry Pi single-board microcomputer to make hacking around with code and learning about computational thinking child’s play, has shipped all the hardware kits in its first batch of crowdfunded orders and pre-orders.
Free Windows 9 Upgrades for Windows 8 Users? – Microsoft is widely expected to introduce its Windows 9 operating system at an event in San Francisco next Tuesday and rumors have been flying about what we can expect from the successor to Windows 8. The source behind the latest rumor? As spotted by BGR on Saturday, Indonesian tech site Detik earlier this week quoted Microsoft Indonesia president Andreas Diantoro as saying that “the Windows 9 upgrade will be available free of charge to all existing Windows 8 users once it’s released.”
How to change notification sounds on your Android phone – How often have you been in a public place and heard a phone notification ding nearby, and reached for your own pocket, only to find out that it wasn’t from your phone? Spare yourself the unnecessary confusion and change your default ringtone and notification tone to something different.
Safe from Shellshock: How to protect your home computer from the Bash shell bug – Yeah, it sounds bad. But really, the impact on you at home should be minimal, especially if you take some basic precautions. Windows systems aren’t vulnerable whatsoever—though your router may very well be—unless you’re running a program like Cygwin.
Credit card breach that hit Jimmy John’s is larger than originally thought – Signature Systems says the breach of its point-of-sales system that hit 216 Jimmy John’s sandwich shops is actually 50 percent larger than originally thought. The company said Friday that an additional 108 restaurants that use its payment terminals were also hit. The additional locations are independent restaurants not part of the Jimmy John’s chain.
Here’s How Much Access Facebook Employees Have to Your Account (Answer by Joe Sullivan, Chief Security Officer at Facebook, on Quora) – I’m Facebook’s Chief Security Officer and I oversee data security at the company. Thanks for the question. We take our role as stewards of people’s information very seriously and have invested heavily in protecting the data trusted to us.
Yet another case of malvertising on The Pirate Bay – The Pirate Bay is famous for its tumultuous relationship with copyright advocates and law enforcement. And yet, despite police raids and numerous trials, the torrent site is still going strong with a new infrastructure, as detailed in a recent article published by Torrent Freak. From a security standpoint, The Pirate Bay has been involved in notorious malvertising attacks, most likely resulting in a large number of infections given the site’s high traffic.
Ex-con Kevin Mitnick now selling zero-day exploits, starting at $100K – He says his firm will carefully screen potential clients and that he’d never sell to an entity such as the Syrian regime or a criminal gang. Then again, he’s not asking what clients intend to do with the high-end exploits.
Report: Google taking tighter control of Android – Android is open source software, but if you want to run Google’s version of it, there are rules. Now it sounds as if those rules are getting a bit more stringent, as Google aims to tighten their grip on the platform just a bit. A new report details just how much more Google your Android handset might be.
Softbank in talks to buy Dreamworks Animation – Japan’s Softbank is in talks to acquire Dreamworks Animation, The Hollywood Reporter said late Saturday citing a source. The Wall Street Journal later reported the same news citing “people familiar with the matter.” Following a $32 per share offer from Softbank, the Dreamworks Animation board held an emergency meeting on Thursday, said The Hollywood Reporter. It said Nikesh Arora, a former Google executive and now head of the recently formed Softbank Internet and Media, met with Dreamworks on the offer.
Microsoft to open its “first flagship store” on New York’s Fifth Avenue – As The Wall Street Journal reports, Microsoft has been working on the launch of its NYC store for the last five years. David Porter, corporate vice president for Microsoft’s retail stores, told the Journal: “As our first flagship store, it will serve as the centerpiece of our Microsoft Stores experience. This is a goal we’ve had since day one – we were only waiting for the right location. And now we have it.” Microsoft intends for the new location to be “much more than just a Microsoft Store”, including an “experiential space” that will allow customers to do more than simply browse products on shelves.
Comcast seeks to fix awful customer service, admits “it may take a few years” – After months of getting bashed for treating customers poorly, Comcast today said it’s going to make improving customer service its “number one priority.” But the company admitted that “it may take a few years before we can honestly say that a great customer experience is something we’re known for.”
This past week I bumped up my broadband connection from 20 Mbps to 55 Mbps with my Internet service provider – Cogeco – which, it was agreed, would be implemented within 24 hours of ordering the change. The reality was somewhat different. After a necessary 3 follow up phone calls over 3 days = mission accomplished.
No big deal right? Except, this transaction followed the exact pattern of my previous speed bump up requests. In other words, in an 8 year period, 3 speed bump up requests had to be followed by persistent calls to insure compliance.
To sooth the savage beast in me, an offer of “first month free” was made and accepted. Still…
One mistake = it happens.
Two additional identical mistakes = a systemic problem.
Even so, with 10 years, or more, of outstanding customer service from these folks (minus these 3 anomalies) – Cogeco is still tops.
BlackBerry’s oddball Passport smartphone is actually selling out – BlackBerry never intended for the Passport to be a phone that everyone would want to buy, but it’s clearly got a lot of people excited. It’s already sold out at two online stores and has taken the number one spot in Amazon’s unlocked phones listing. Maybe it really is that weird square screen. Reviewers have been saying how good desktop websites look on it and how awesome the extra space is for productivity apps. BlackBerry was aiming the Passport at hard-working business types, and so far it looks like the hit the mark.
Intel investing $1.5 billion in two Chinese chip firms – Intel is investing 9 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion) in two Chinese chip companies with an eye to boosting its presence in the country’s booming mobile phone market. The two fabless semiconductor companies develop mobile chipset platforms for smartphones, feature phones and other consumer electronics products, which support 2G, 3G and 4G wireless communications standards, Intel said Friday.
Games and Entertainment:
Here are October’s free Games with Gold – First up, if you’re an Xbox One user you’ll be getting free access to Chariot, a new indie platformer game, with some very cute graphics. The game is part of ID@Xbox, the indie segment in the Xbox Store, and give you 25 levels of co-op “physics based gameplay”. Chariot has an ERP of $15, but if you’re a Gold subscriber you’ll get if for free.
Will that game play on your PC? Can You Run It tells you – PC gaming rocks—but figuring out whether the latest game will even run on your system can be a pain. You already know the answer to the question if you have a dedicated gaming rig, but for anyone looking for gaming thrills on their standard issue laptop, things aren’t quite so simple. Finding the answer can be easy, though. Rather than digging through spec lists to try and figure out whether you’ve got a suitably beefy graphics card or processor, get some quick automated advice from the long-running website Can You Run It.
Review of CastleStorm: Definitive Edition for Xbox One – Zen Studios has released CastleStorm, an RTS/Action/Strategy mashup, for the Xbox One and the Playstation 4, so we take a look at whether you should storm the castle or walk on by to something else.
Ryse: Son of Rome on PC adds 4K resolution, removes microtransactions – Crytek is treating Ryse: Son of Rome on PC like a Game of the Year edition that builds on the Xbox One release. That means as well as the base game Crytek has also included all four DLC packs that were released for the console version. So you get 12 new multiplayer maps, a new Survival Mode, and five skins for your character.
Off Topic (Sort of):
A Wearable Drone That Launches Off Your Wrist To Take Your Selfie – “Oh man, this would make a great picture. I wish there was someone else here to take our picture for us so we didn’t have to take a selfie!” Has this ever happened to you? Of course it has. You’re a human being in the 21st century who reads tech blogs. The Nixie aims to solve that. It’s, as crazy as it feels to type this, a wearable selfie drone. A flying wristband, with a camera built in. When you’re ready for your close-up, it launches off your wrist, reorients to frame you in the shot, and then hovers back over for you to catch it. The bad news? It’s… still pretty conceptual. They have a long way to go (this thing looks about as fragile as can be right now) — but even as a concept, it’s damned cool.
Classical musicians honor ‘Batman’ history with an incredible music video journey – The Piano Guys are probably having more fun than anyone else in the classical music business. The group — composed of a pianist, cellist, a videographer, and a music producer — has just released a music video that celebrates nearly 50 years of Batman. The video perfectly matches the group’s new “Batman Evolution” composition, which travels through the classic ‘60s TV show, Tim Burton’s 1989 take on the Dark Knight, and Christopher Nolan’s most recent trilogy. The result is not just some impressive piano and cello work (the two instruments alone were used to make every sound in the composition), but a music video that displays some incredible attention to detail.
Using new Corvette’s valet-recording tech could be a felony in some states – Over the past few months, General Motors and its Chevrolet dealerships have been selling the 2015 Corvette with an interesting feature called Valet Mode. Valet Mode records audio, video, and driving statistics of the person in the driver’s seat when the driver isn’t around, thus keeping low-life valets from being too loose with their filthy mitts while inside a Corvette owner’s fancy car. Trouble is that in a handful of states, using Valet Mode might be considered a felony.
Device allows completely paralysed rats to walk again – By electrically stimulating the severed part of the spinal cord, scientists are able to precisely control in real-time the limbs of a paralysed rat — and human trials are on the way.
As much as half the water on Earth is older than the sun – Earth is a very wet planet — the abundance of water is what sets our planet apart and makes life possible, but where did it all come from? A new study makes the claim that 30% to 50% of the water we’re drinking is older than the Sun itself. It kind of boggles the mind, but the models are consistent with what we know of the early solar system and how stars form.
See Which Parts of the Country Have the Most iPhone Users – Ever wonder if you live in iPhone country or Android country? Wonder no more: The blue areas of this map shows you the parts of the country where people are most likely to own an iPhone, whereas red areas denote Android fandoms. iPhone strongholds bracket the east and west coasts and grow patchy towards the nation’s interior. States like Texas, Oklahoma and New Orleans leaning heavily Android outside major cities, whereas California, New York and New Jersey have heavy iPhone-using populations.
Something to think about:
“Competence, like truth, beauty and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder.”
– Laurence J. Peter
Today’s Free Downloads:
Display Driver Uninstaller – Display Driver Uninstaller is a graphics driver removal tool that helps remove all remnats of AMD, NVIDIA and Intel graphics card drivers including old registry keys, files, folders and driver stores.
Intel, AMD and Nivdia drivers can normally be uninstalled with the Windows Uninstall Programs window. However, often the standard uninstall fails or does not completely delete the old video card drivers. This can cause issues installing new / updated drivers.
After running Display Driver Uninstaller the program will make it as if you are about to install a new video driver on a fresh, clean install of Windows.
Display Driver Uninstaller makes many system changes and the author has wisely built in a function to help you remember to create a new system restore point before running the cleaner so you can revert your system if have problems. However, make sure you familiarize yourself with how to use system restore prior.
So if you having issues installing a new driver or uninstalling an old one, Display Driver Uninstaller may do the trick for you.
CCEnhancer – CCEnhancer is a small tool which adds support for over 1,000 new programs into the popular program CCleaner. The tool uses the winapp2.ini system built into CCleaner to easily add new rules and definitions for programs. The rules were sourced mainly from the Piriform Support Forum, with several sourced from other places around the internet.
The actual file containing the definitions is not included with the program, but is instead downloaded by the program. Simply press ‘Download Latest’ and the tool will automatically download the most recent version of the definitions. If CCEnhancer cannot locate the CCleaner.exe file you can open a dialog box and select the page yourself.
The actual file containing the definitions is not included with the program. Simply press “Download Latest” and the tool will automatically download the most recent version of the definitions. If CCEnhancer cannot locate the CCleaner.exe file you can open a dialog box and select the page yourself.
In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:
Microsoft Discloses New Data On Government Requests For User Information – Microsoft today disclosed data concerning global government request for its users’ data, and information about their accounts in the first half of 2014. The total number of requests, and the number of accounts impacted were similar to the six month period that concluded 2013.
In total, between January and June of this year, 34,494 requests were sent to Microsoft, impacting 58,562 accounts. In the preceding six months, 35,083 requests dealt with 58,676 accounts. The United States, Germany, France, and Turkey were the leading request sources.
Microsoft is granting data less often:
Of law enforcement requests received, less than 3 percent resulted in disclosure of customer content data, while approximately 75 percent of requests resulted in disclosure of “non-content” data. Meanwhile, 22 percent were either rejected on legal grounds or no data was found, compared to 18 percent for the preceding six-month period.
The company also reported that the number of FISA orders that it received in the period landed between zero and 999. Between 18,000 and 18,999 accounts were potentially impacted.
The above data, of course, is only part of what governments around the world manage to extract about us without having to ask permission. Over the past year and a half, we, the global public, have learned extensively about governmental overreach into our data. Those disclosures, led by the leaks sourced to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, have caused calls reform to sound out not only from the public, but also from some organs of government.
That technology companies can report the above has been struggle enough. It is not enough.
U.S. Tops Yahoo’s List of Government Data Requests – Yahoo today issued its latest transparency report, covering National Security Letters (NSLs), criminal data government data requests, and government removal requests it received in the first six months of 2014.
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests are subject to a six-month delay so the available FISA data covers July 1 – Dec. 31, 2013. Data from the first half of 2014 will be revealed in the next report.
“At Yahoo, our users always come first,” general counsel Ron Bell wrote in a blog post, citing the company’s recent effort to secure from the government 1,500 pages of once-secret documents detailing Yahoo’s challenge to the expansion of surveillance laws.
“We are still pushing for the FISC to release additional materials from this case,” Bell said.
In the meantime, the bulk of the Web company’s data requests between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2014 came from the U.S., which made 6,791 government requests for user data covering 12,533 accounts. Of those disclosures, 1,396 involved user content, while 4,240 did not. Yahoo rejected 382 requests, while no data was found regarding 773 requests.
Anatomy of a Non-Denial Denial – The non-denial denial is an art that takes many forms in official Washington.
The basic idea is that when you or your organization are accused of doing something that you did in fact do, you respond with what sounds like a denial, but really isn’t.
You issue a very narrowly-crafted denial involving a lot of hairsplitting, while avoiding the central claim. Or you dismiss the accusation as unworthy of response. Or you deny something else: You raise a straw man accusation and deny that; or – possibly best yet — you take advantage of a poorly worded question.
The press typically interprets it as a denial, and since you are a credible figure, it moves on.
And if the accusation against you is ever irrefutably proven, then you point out that you never really denied it. Since you didn’t technically lie, the press, again, moves on.
But the non-denial denial is fundamentally an act of deception.
So when and if the accused has to admit what they did publicly – i.e. by saying something to the effect of “I wasn’t lying because I carefully didn’t answer the real question” – they are de facto admitting that they were intentionally being deceitful. If they are public officials, that means they are admitting they betrayed their public trust.
CIA Director John Brennan had one of those moments last week.
Canada: Spy watchdog’s past oil ties spark concerns in civil liberties complaint case – A civil liberties group is objecting to Canada’s spy watchdog assigning Yves Fortier to investigate alleged spying on environmental activists, citing a conflict due to his former petroleum industry ties.
The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association’s lawyer has written to the Security Intelligence Review Committee asking that Fortier “recuse himself from any participation” in the matter since he once sat on the board of TransCanada Pipelines — the company behind the Keystone XL project.
Fortier, one of three review committee members, was recently appointed to lead an investigation into the association’s complaint that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service gathered and shared information about activists opposed to Canada’s energy policies.
The association filed the complaint with the review committee in February after media reports suggested that CSIS and other government agencies consider protests and opposition to the petroleum industry as possible threats to national security.
The complaint also cited reports that CSIS had worked with and shared information with the National Energy Board about so-called “radicalized environmentalist” groups seeking to participate in the board’s hearings on Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project, which would see Alberta crude flow to westward to Kitimat, B.C.
The groups included Leadnow, ForestEthics Advocacy Association, the Council of Canadians, the Dogwood Initiative, EcoSociety, the Sierra Club of British Columbia and Idle No More, the indigenous rights movement.
“None of these groups are criminal organizations, nor do they have any history of advocating, encouraging, or participating in criminal activity,” says the Feb. 6 complaint.
The CSIS Act is clear that “lawful advocacy, protest or dissent” cannot be regarded as threats to national security, the complaint adds.
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights – The UK needs a digital bill of rights to protect citizens against the government’s “indiscriminate online surveillance”, world wide web inventor Tim Berners-Lee said on Saturday.
The Greatest Living Briton™ was speaking at the Web We Want Festival in London. He lobbied politicos in Blighty to take action in the run up to next May’s General Election.
“A trusted Web is crucial to the UK’s future – our tech sector has led the way out of recession, creating more jobs than any other industry in recent years,” Berners-Lee said.
“A Britain in which people no longer trust the Web as a safe and private place will be a Britain that is less free, less creative and ultimately less prosperous.
China blocks Instagram to stop spread of pro-democracy protest images – The nation of China is no stranger to internet censorship; in addition to the infamous Great Firewall of China, which has claimed numerous victims over the years — most recently the privacy-oriented search engine DuckDuckGo — the country has also repeatedly cracked down on the free dissemination of information at opportune times.
This time around, photo sharing site Instagram has reportedly been blocked across the mainland in another opportune strike likely intended to prevent the spread of images from Hong Kong’s recent wave of pro-democracy protests.
The block was first reported by Greatfire.org, an independent anti-censorship blog, at 3:00 AM China Standard Time on September 28. All of Instagram’s IP addresses are currently down, and anyone attempting to access the site in China receives an error page.
The block on Instagram comes during the largest day for protests, with nearly 60,000 citizens from Hong Kong taking to the streets and protesting in favor of what they call “full democracy,” a concept which likely doesn’t include the censorship of internet sites.
Russia wants Facebook, Google, Twitter to comply with censorship laws – The great historical bastion of freedom that is Russia is once again going back in time. The country is now requiring Internet giants such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google to store all Russian data locally, and to comply with censorship laws.
Comrade President Putin signed a law back in July that obliged all web services that are collecting data on Russian citizens to store said data in local datacenters. Of course this is not exactly good news for the likes of Twitter and Google who are storing data in much more open and democratic countries across Europe.
But this isn’t so bad. In light of recent revelations about the conduct of the NSA, GCHQ and others, many countries including the EU want their data to be stored locally and kept safe.
The grim part of the law is the part that follows: These Internet companies will have to, if they want to continue doing business in Russia, comply with the local censorship laws that require “bloggers” and other popular internet users to register with the government. They’d then be closely monitored to ensure that they don’t post “extremist calls”, hate speech, slander and obscene language – like criticizing Putin or calling for equal rights for the LGBT community.
There’s no confusion here: This is full-on state censorship and with the limitations imposed on foreign companies, it will be a lot easier to finally create a “Russian internet,” similar to what China has done to “protect” its citizens.
The Article 29 Working Party, a collection of data protection agencies across the EU, released a six-page “list of possible compliance measures” this week that cover transparency, user controls, and data retention policies, including suggestions for making management tools more accessible.
Meanwhile, “Google must provide users with more elaborate tools to manage their personal data and to control the usage of their personal data between all Google services,” the EU said. “This could be done by making the current dashboard more accessible (e.g. putting a link in the Google Profile popup) and to include all of Google services.”
Finally, Google must “define [its] retention policies” and keep EU data protection offices abreast of what’s going on.