Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 14, 2014

Massive list of Dropbox credentials leaked, change your password immediately;  Thousands of Fake Apps Impersonate Facebook, Twitter;  This is why people use phones to film police;  anonabox: Tor in a box for maximum anonymity and freedom;  What to consider when choosing a password manager;  The Alleged Snapchat Leak Looks Real, But It’s Mostly Not Porn;  Five apps to help you organize your personal finances;  When to buy a flash drive, an external hard drive, or an external SSD;  $65 Windows tablets show up in Hong Kong;  How to get instant scores and sports updates with Google Now;  Popcorn Time Finds A New Home;  Oracle’s 155 bug fixes add to mega Patch Tuesday;  Borderlands: The Pre-sequel review;  Xbox preorder bonuses coming to Microsoft Stores for the holidays;  Google reveals our embarrassing voice search habits.

anonabox: Tor in a box for maximum anonymity and freedom – Some lawmakers and parties have likened the Internet to the Wild Wild West in order to justify putting a clamp on it. For many users, however, that freedom is part and parcel of the Internet’s nature and is necessary for it to survive. To help stem off attempts to curtail the freedom of speech on the Internet, not to mention growing number of spying on users, a group of friends have designed anonabox, a discrete and easy to use networking device that could give the NSA nightmares.

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The Alleged Snapchat Leak Looks Real, But It’s Mostly Not Porn – Everything we’ve seen so far, however, suggests what we’ve known for a while now—people generally aren’t using Snapchat to send each other nude photos anymore. The vast majority of the files, wherever they came from, show students in class, dogs running around, and people watching TV. There’s snaps of newborn babies, one of a girl chugging a pot of nacho cheese, lots of selfies, and, yes, there are some vaginas in there—but there’s very little here that people who get off on this shit would want to see.

Google reveals our embarrassing voice search habits – Google recently commissioned a study to show how cool voice search can be, but the findings don’t always show the best side of either teens or adults.

What to consider when choosing a password manager – Many security experts think passwords are no longer sufficient to keep online accounts safe from hackers. But we’re still a long way from widespread adoption of biometrics and alternatives.

8 cutting-edge technologies aimed at eliminating passwords – From electronic pills to digital tattoos, these eight innovations aim to secure systems and identities without us having to remember a password ever again.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

When to buy a flash drive, an external hard drive, or an external SSD – What kind of external storage do you need? This guide will help you decide how best to spend your money.

Flickr Wall Art: a new integrated printing service – We’ve all had that moment: you snap a picture that turns out so beautiful you want to showcase it on a physical wall. Printing services are ready to make this happen, but they can be a bit of hassle for those who don’t often use them. Some photography hosting websites integrate printing services for this reason, and now Flickr is counted among them. Today the company introduced its new Flickr Wall Art option, which allows users to request a print directly from the photo page.

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Five apps to help you organize your personal finances – Manage income and expenses, pay bills, estimate your taxes, and crunch your mortgage costs, all with the help of these handy apps.

$65 Windows tablets show up in Hong Kong, may be coming to a store near you – There are cheap Windows tablets and then there are cheap Windows tablets and thanks to the HKTDC show in Hong Kong, we are now seeing devices that cost as little as $65. So what does this low cost actually get you? You will get a 7 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel display, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage and an Intel Z3735G quad-core Bay Trail processor. The device is called the EM-i8170, and it is manufactured by Emdoor, which unveiled another low-cost Windows 8.1 device earlier this year – the $99 8-inch EM-i8080, which includes integrated 3G connectivity.

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1 million people are helping Microsoft test Windows 10 – Microsoft released its first Windows 10 Technical Preview at the beginning of October, and the company is now revealing that 1 million people are helping test the upcoming operating system through the Windows Insider Program. “That equates to a lot of people using the Windows 10 Technical Preview and sending us feedback,” says Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore. The software maker has received more than 200,000 pieces of feedback on the early version of Windows 10, with top requests that include options to remove the new search and task view buttons, as well as requests for a Start Menu animation or transition.

How to install the Windows 10 Technical Preview on a Mac – It may seem like mixing oil and water, but as it turns out, installing Windows on your Mac isn’t a violation of natural law—your Retina display won’t melt or anything! In fact, doing so is actually a relatively pain-free process. To give the Windows 10 Technical Preview—a very early pre-release version of Windows 10—a whirl, you don’t even have to pay for a Windows license or already have Windows on your Mac. The Technical Preview is free to test. Intrigued? Let’s dig in.

How to partition your drive before installing Windows 10 – There are a few different options for getting Windows 10 on your device. You can simply install it on a secondary PC over your existing Windows operating system, you can use a virtual PC emulator to test it out or you can partition your hard drive and install it on your primary PC. This guide will show you how to do the last of the three.

Popcorn Time Finds A New Home After The EURid Pulled Its Domain – When your product streams pirated content, it’s safe to expect some complications along the way. The Time4Popcorn fork of the popular Popcorn Time project recently had to find a new domain following the sudden removal of time4popcorn.eu. But the developers tell me this latest kerfuffle won’t stop the development of the program and they have already found a new domain.

Bing gets political, builds a hub and makes a few predictions – The team behind Bing has built a new political hub for the upcoming election that aims to help you keep abreast of the election cycle – and it will also put its prediction engine to work too.

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How to get instant scores and sports updates with Google Now – Forget fumbling through ten different sports apps and use the power of Google instead so you don’t miss a play.

Security:

Massive list of Dropbox credentials leaked, change your password immediately – Dropbox, the popular online storage site, has been compromised and a massive list of users and their passwords have been posted to the web; it is recommended that you change your password immediately.

Dropbox password scam shows up our sloppy infosec – The supposed Dropbox hack that’s really a five-cent scam tells us something important: Information security shouldn’t be here, and it’s mostly the cloud providers’ fault.

Thousands of Fake Apps Impersonate Facebook, Twitter, and More – From my non-scientific observations, it seems pretty clear that browsing and posting to social networks is the most popular use of smartphones. But not all of these social apps are what they seem. According to Cheetah Mobile Threat Lab, attackers are churning out thousands of fake social networking apps, tricking users into giving away their personal information. Cheetah reports that it has detected 15,000 fake social networking apps in less than a year.

Snapsaved Takes Responsibility For Latest Snapchat Leak – Last week, news spread that some 200,000 Snapchat photos had leaked after a third-party app (used to save people’s snaps) was hacked. It was referred to as the Snappening. Snapchat was quick to respond to the situation by saying that the photos had been stolen from a third-party application, but that Snapchat’s servers were never compromised. Turns out, Snapsaved.com is stepping forward and taking responsibility for the leak. In an update posted to the company’s Facebook page, Snapsaved claims full responsibility and also gives a bit more clarity about what was hacked and what information was made available.

Whitelisting has its place in your company’s antimalware arsenal – First opinions give deep impressions. However, it might be time to give application whitelisting another try since not much else is defeating malware and digital exploits.

Oracle’s 155 bug fixes add to mega Patch Tuesday – Oracle has a large number of fixes lined up for Tuesday, including 25 for Java SE, while Microsoft and Adobe have patches due then too.

Company News:

Sapphire supplier wants to expose details of its deal with Apple – GT Advanced Technologies was to supply Apple with scratch-resistant sapphire glass, but announced Oct. 6 it’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Apple’s confidentiality agreements go too far, put other creditors at a disadvantage, GT Advanced Technologies argues

French Twitter users to be offered Twitter payment service – French Twitter users will be able to send money to one another with a tweet from later this week—but the payment service isn’t run by Twitter. S-Money, a subsidiary of France’s second largest banking group, BPCE, plans to extend its existing mobile payment service to French Twitter users with a payment card, regardless of who they bank with.

Dropbox fixing file-deletion bug, offers year of free service – The online storage site is trying help those who lost files through a technical bug by restoring the files it can and offering free service for a year.

Google’s Schmidt cites Amazon as biggest competitor: Reality or deflection? – Eric Schmidt’s take that Amazon is Google’s biggest search rival grabbed the headlines, but it’s worth parsing his entire speech to see what he’s really after.

Games and Entertainment:

Xbox preorder bonuses coming to Microsoft Stores for the holidays – Microsoft Store is using new pre-order bonuses via Xbox Live Rewards and exclusive game content to draw Xbox shoppers to its own retail stores this holiday season.

Borderlands: The Pre-sequel review: Bang, zoom, to the moon – The combination of the new verticality and the new attack option makes the Pre-Sequel feel like an entirely distinct experience. It’s hard to describe how satisfying it is to double jump over an enemy, use a butt slam to send out a wave of icy cold that freezes him in place, and then shatter his frozen body with a shotgun blast to the face. This situation, or something like it, happens all the time in Borderlands: The Pre-sequel. It’s enough to make the staid, stop-and-pop, cover-based action of other first-person shooters seem a bit boring in comparison.

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Crowdsourced version of Star Wars Empire Strikes Back complete – While Disney continues work on the latest Star Wars movie, legions of fans have been working hard on producing their own version of Empire Strikes Back, perhaps the best movie of either trilogy. The concept of the project, Empire Strikes Back Uncut, was to allow fans to submit custom 15-second clips that re-imagine scenes from the movie. At the end of it all, the submissions would be stitched together to re-create the classic movie. The project received over 1,500 submissions, and nearly 1/3 of them were selected to create the movie, available for free on YouTube. The film clocks in at over two hours, but the quality of the overall work is top notch, even if some of the submissions were a little weak.

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The Best iPad Digital Comic Book Readers – The five iPad digital comic book apps in this roundup include the industry powerhouse, an all-you-can-eat subscription service, as well as lesser-known, but quality offerings. Below is just a taste of what the apps can do; click through to the full reviews for in-depth looks into each digital comic book app’s functionality. If there’s an iPad digital comic book app that you feel we’ve overlooked, drop a line in the comments section. We’re always eager to test new comic book readers.

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Comixology (free)

Joe Dirt 2 heads to Crackle: Adam Sandler wins again – It’s high time Adam Sandler received some credit for this massive efforts in creating as many comedy movies as possible over the past several years – Crackle and Netflix know the score. The most recent win for this founder of Happy Madison productions is a long-awaited sequel to the film Joe Dirt. This film will star David Spade in his magnum opus role, returning with the wig he suggests he’s been “sleeping in for years.” He’s “beyond stoked that Joe Dirt will finally hit the screens again on Crackle.”

Off Topic (Sort of):

This is why people use phones to film police – A routine traffic stop in Iowa turns into a police officer trying to trick the driver into admitting he has pot. His reasoning? The driver must have pot because he’s into frisbee golf.

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Why a PC belongs in every living room – Today, a generic computer with an HDMI port is the easiest all-in-one media machine to have in your living room. A computer can play console-quality video games. A computer can record television. A computer can do almost anything apps can do, and it can probably do it better and through a web browser. When someone innovates how we consume our entertainment, whether that’s Spotify, Twitch, or a new streaming service, it happens first on a computer.

Federal lawsuit alleges highway guardrails can kill people – The guardrails that line US highways are meant to protect drivers in the event of a crash, but many that have been installed over the past decade may also present a danger. The manufacturer of those guardrails, Trinity Highway Products, is heading to court this week facing allegations that it changed its guardrail design without informing the Federal Highway Administration and has been improperly accepting federal money ever since, according to The New York Times. Separate lawsuits reportedly allege that those changes have led to five deaths and many other injuries in at least 14 accidents across the US.

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This Video Shows An Arizona Police Officer Telling An Immigrant He’ll Kill Him If He Moves – “Keep your hands where I can see them, don’t move. You hear me? You have a license? Show me your license now. If you do something, I’ll kill you here. You understand?” Teodulo Sanchez tells BuzzFeed News the officer put a gun in his face during the tense stop, which police dispute.

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Breakthrough batteries last 20 years, charge 70 percent in two minutes – If the breakthrough battery tech hits mainstream it could revolutionize electric cars—and end the forced obsolescence of smartphones.

NFL players thumb nose at Beats headphones ban – Ignoring the NFL’s deal with Bose, some NFL players displayed their Beats proudly before games yesterday, despite the threat of fines. Where will this end?

Something to think about:

“I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.”

–     Dwight D. Eisenhower

Today’s Free Downloads:

SlimComputer – If you’ve ever gotten a new PC and it came loaded with promotional programs, toolbars, links to advertising or trial offers, then you know how frustrating these things can be. Community-powered feedback is the key to SlimComputer’s state-of-the-art cleaning. In real time, SlimComputer assesses your new PC to identify programs, toolbars, and startup entries that users vote “optional”. You can then use this data to decide what you want to keep on your computer.

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Firefox Environment Backup Extension (FEBE) 8.1 Beta / 8.0.5 Final – FEBE allows you to quickly and easily backup your Firefox extensions. In fact, it goes beyond just backing up — It will actually rebuild your extensions individually into installable .xpi files. Now you can easily synchronize your office and home browsers.

FEBE backs up and restores your extensions, themes, and (optionally) your bookmarks, preferences, cookies. and much more.

Backup as little or as much of your Firefox environment as you wish. Perform backups on demand or schedule daily, weekly, or monthly unattended runs. Sequential backups can be stored in timestamped directories so you can restore back as far as you like.

You may specify “User-defined” items to have FEBE backup Thunderbird, Greasemonkey scripts, or virtually any data on your computer – Firefox related or not.

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Windows 10 Transformation Pack 1.0 – Experience Windows 10 without having to install the preview.

Features:

Seamless installation and uninstallation giving users safe transformation

Easily configurable in single click with intelligence Metro UI design

Designed for all editions of Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1 including Server Editions

Genuine Windows 10 system resources with Metro touches

Smart system files updating with auto-repair and Windows Update friendly

UxStyle memory patching

Windows 10 themes, wallpaper and logon screen

Virtual Desktop from Microsoft

Revived start menu with Metro support

Metro UI desktop emulation with pre-configured gadgets

Aero’s auto-colorization feature

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In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

America’s biggest police departments are getting spy gear through private charities – Many Americans have recently expressed concerns with the increasing use of military gear by police departments in this country, especially in the wake of the police response to protests in Ferguson, Missouri (protests that were themselves sparked by a lethal police shooting).

While it is very easy to focus on militarization after seeing jarring pictures of police pointing automatic rifles at demonstrators, a separate but no less questionable practice has been quietly taking root at some of America’s biggest police departments in the past decade.

As ProPublica reports, the police departments of New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Oakland have all turned to private police foundations in recent years to acquire new crime fighting and law enforcement gear — everything from horses for mounted police units to spy software developed by intelligence contractor Palantir (a grateful LAPD appeared in the following 2013 advertisement for Palantir’s crime investigation platform, which knits together data from a variety of sources, from police reports to license plate readers).

Privacy Group Targets British Spyware Company over Bahrain Surveillance – The rights group Privacy International asked the British government this morning to investigate a surveillance company for enabling spying on Bahraini activists in the U.K.

The company in question, Gamma Group, is a U.K.-based firm that provides surveillance software and other “lawful intercept” technology to governments around the world. Among their products was FinFisher software, which lets spies remotely monitor a computer they’ve infected — accessing files, web traffic, Skype calls and more. Privacy International asked the U.K.’s National Crime Agency to investigate the company.

“Companies like Gamma have been enabling repressive states’ unlawful conduct, but then seeking to suggest that they bear no responsibility for the products that they supply,” said Adriana Edmeades, Privacy International’s legal officer.

Australia: Spies can access my metadata, so why can’t I? My 15-month legal battle with Telstra – The RSPCA, councils and other law-enforcement agencies can obtain reporter Ben Grubb’s internet and phone metadata but Telstra won’t release it to him. Here he details his 15-month fight for access. (recommended by Mal C.)

Suspected Russian “Sandworm” cyber spies targeted NATO, Ukraine – A group of cyber spies targeted the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Ukrainian and Polish government agencies, and a variety of sensitive European industries over the last year, in some cases using a previously unknown flaw in Windows systems to infiltrate targets, according to a research report released on Tuesday.

Dubbed “Sandworm” by iSIGHT Partners, the security consultancy that discovered the zero-day attack, the campaign is suspected to be Russian in origin based on technical details, the malware tools used, and the chosen targets, which also included government agencies in Europe and academics in the United States. If confirmed, the attack is an uncommon look into Russia’s cyber-espionage capabilities.

The Sandworm Team, named because its members include references from Frank Herbert’s Dune series in their code, also used a previously unknown software flaw, or 0day vulnerability, to compromise some targets. Using the security hole, the Sandworm group could execute their attacks on systems running up-to-date versions of Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows RT. Microsoft plans to release a patch for the flaw during its regular updates on Tuesday.

Daum Kakao boss says privacy comes before the law – In an emergency press conference held in Seoul, Daum Kakao co-CEO Lee Sir-goo said that going forward, the company will refuse all warrants from prosecutors for access mobile text messages saved on the firm’s mobile messenger service Kakao Talk, saying that “privacy comes before the law”.

“We have decided to never discuss even the possibility of giving prosecutors access to the users’ data that we store with related authorities,” said Lee. “It is because privacy is more important than any law.

“When there is no social consensus between law and privacy, we will in all circumstances implement a policy that puts privacy first,” said the co-CEO in a stern tone.

Lee said that if his stance is considered illegal, he himself and the company will take full legal responsibility.

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4 Comments

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

4 responses to “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 14, 2014

  1. delenn13

    Hi Bill,

    WordPress changed my password per the Gmail screw up and then it wouldn’t let me in. They finally got it straightened out.

    Re: FEBE…Excellent program, I have probably used for about 4 or 5 yrs. has saved my bacon several hundred times. I have 2 profiles setup on my PC and on the middle one(our backup) I have 3 profiles. 2 for me and one for him. So we always have a current version of Firefox on any PC we use. Backing them up once a day is the only way I can keep track of them.

    • Hey Delenn13,

      I’m with you on this. I’ve been using MozBackup for years and I’m pretty happy with that. After all these years though, I definitely need to clean out a ton of old links that I no longer use – or, that no longer operate. I’ve got 100s of the blasted things. 🙂

      Wondered where you’ve been – good to see ya!

      Best,

      Bill