Top 100 Websites of 2014; Anonymous hits the first target of ‘Operation Charlie Hebdo’; Free antivirus scanners for Windows PCs; How to send audio clips via SMS in Android; Setting up a home router; Remote access software tools: Be at your desktop when you are away; Twitter’s new video service is coming; Intel’s “Compute Stick” is a PC in an HDMI dongle; iPhone Separation Anxiety Makes You Dumber; Outlook.com saves files directly to OneDrive; Microsoft abruptly dumps public Patch Tuesday alerts; Macs vulnerable to virtually undetectable virus that “can’t be removed”; Apple changing App Store prices; The 10 Best Classic PC Games You Can Play Right Now; SpyShelter Personal Free.
Top 100 Websites of 2014 – We’ll be honest. It’s harder and harder to find cool new websites—the real game-changers, the amazing destinations online that appeal to a broad audience because they’re just so cool. That’s because we’re in a mobile era—it’s hard to compete with apps. Uber doesn’t exactly work as well on your desktop as it does the phone, obviously. But nevertheless, we’ve braved the waters of the World Wide Web once again to find you a collection of 100 sites, new and old, that you should be bookmarking and visiting on a regular basis. As we said, the list is meant to appeal to a broad audience, across all ages and groups and demographics—as long as you’re online regularly, we feel these sites will be useful.
Today’s computers face more attacks than ever – Getting computer infections more often? You’re not alone. Infections from malicious software — harmful code that’s also known as malware and that includes things like computer viruses and worms — are keeping repair specialists like Jaljaa busy, thanks in part to an exponential rise in the types of malware hitting PCs. Malware detections by AV-Test, a company that tests the effectiveness of antivirus software, spiked in 2014 to more than 143 million, up 72 percent from last year, according to a report released Thursday. To put that in perspective: there was more malware found over the last 2 years than in the previous 10 years combined.
Free antivirus scanners for Windows PCs – No one wants malware on their PCs, so antivirus and antimalware scanners are a must, but a quality scanner need not cost the earth. In fact, there are a number of free solutions out there that will help keep your digital empire safe. Here are six top-quality scanners that will help you clean up systems and keep them safe in the future. There are tools here for systems ranging from Windows XP to Windows 8.1.
Windows 7 hits mid-life, but no crisis — yet – Windows 7 will reach the midpoint of its support lifetime this week when it shifts from what Microsoft calls “mainstream” to “extended” support. The world’s most popular personal computer operating system exits mainstream support on Tuesday, Jan. 13. After that, although Microsoft will continue to issue security updates to all users for another five years, it will not add new features to Windows 7, and any non-security fixes — such as reliability and stability updates — will be issued only to organizations that have signed support contracts.
‘Anonymous’ Member Calls For Revenge On Terrorists For Charlie Hebdo Massacre – Anonymous from around the world have decided to declare war against you, terrorists” a purported member of the hacktivist group said in a video uploaded to YouTube, referring to the killers responsible for the attack on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Speaking in French on Anonymous’s Belgian channel, the cybervigilante warned terrorists, “We will track all your online activity, we will close your accounts on every social network.”
Anonymous hits the first target of ‘Operation Charlie Hebdo’ – After the recent terrorist attack on France-based satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which globally besmirched the name of Islam, hacking group Anonymous has launched an offensive against Islamic websites promoting extremism in any way. The initiative code-named ‘#OpCharlieHebdo’ seeks to shut down extremist websites through rather unsophisticated but effective DDoS attacks; the same method used by Lizard squad to render Xbox Live and PlayStation Network offline last month. The group carried out its first attack on the afternoon of 10 January on ansar-alhaqq.net; the website was reportedly classified by French newspapers as a ‘Jihadist website’ in 2013.
How to send audio clips via SMS in Android – Have you found yourself in a spot where you need to say more than a text but less than a call? If so, Jack Wallen shows you how to attach a voice recording to an Android Messaging text.
Remote access software tools: How to be at your desktop when you are away from your desk – Want access to your desktop PC when away from your desk? Fear not, here are a handful of apps to help keep you work like you’re in the office when you’re actually away somewhere else.
How your out-of-date, unsexy smartphone can save you money – Wireless providers like AT&T and Verizon are finally offering subscribers an incentive not to upgrade to the latest, greatest phones. Here’s how to take advantage of the change.
iPhone Separation Anxiety Makes You Dumber, Study Finds – Ever feel anxious when you’re not around your iPhone at school or at work? That separation anxiety might be impacting your cognitive abilities, a recent study found. Researchers discovered that iPhone users solving a series of puzzles performed better when they had their iPhones with them, according to a Thursday statement by the University of Missouri. When deprived of their iPhones, the study’s participants experienced significant physical changes — elevated heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety — alongside poorer cognitive performance.
Intel’s “Compute Stick” is a full Windows or Linux PC in an HDMI dongle – The micro USB port used for power, the small power button, and a full-size USB port for use with peripherals or hubs are lined up on the left side of the stick, while a microSD card slot for expansion is on the right side. It will come in two different flavors: a Windows 8.1 version with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage for $149, and a Linux version with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage for around $89. Intel says that Ubuntu will probably be the distribution of choice for the Linux version, though installing an alternate distribution should be just as easy as it is on a regular PC. Both sticks come with a quad-core Bay Trail Atom Z3735F, Bluetooth 4.0, and 2.4GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi. They should be available in March.
Google reportedly preparing real-time voice translation for its Android app – Following a similar release from Microsoft named Skype Translator, Google is reportedly preparing the release of its own real-time voice translation and transcription service.
Outlook.com now allows you to save files directly to OneDrive – If you have an Outlook.com email address, Microsoft is rolling out a new feature that allows you to save attachments directly to OneDrive; not everyone has it yet but hopefully should soon.
Fasetto’s Link wearable solid state drive puts a terabyte on your wrist – The Link carries up to 1TB of storage and serves your files to nearby devices over Wi-Fi. Users will have access to their files through a Web-based client or through native apps for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux. Fasetto promises read-write speeds of 530 Mbps and 470 Mbps, respectively. Oh, and the Link also includes fitness-tracking features—because why not?—and is waterproof up to 15 meters in case want to take your precious files for a dip. I asked to try on the Link myself during CES, but the company wouldn’t let me, citing previous thefts by other attendees.
Setting up a home router – It might seem like a daunting task to set up a new home router. But it doesn’t have to be if you understand the most common way routers are managed: through the Web interface. The hardest part of using the Web interface is getting to it. Once you have gotten there, the rest, at least most of it, is self-explanatory.
WattUp router can beam wireless power to 12 devices 15 feet away – Your future home might have color-changing E Ink walls, and it may also be totally devoid of wall warts. A new wireless power “router” being shown at CES can charge multiple devices in a 15-foot radius. The two-tone rectangular box you see mounted on the wall up above is a WattUp transmitter from the wireless power people at Energous. WattUp is capable of delivering .25W to 12 devices or 4W to up to four devices (up to five feet away, dropping to 1W at 15 feet) at the same time, and it’s smart about how it does it.
Twitter’s new video service is coming in the next few weeks – Twitter’s upcoming video service, a potential competitor to industry giant YouTube, is only a few short weeks away – and once launched, will allow users to edit and post lengthy videos.
Microsoft abruptly dumps public Patch Tuesday alerts – For the first time in a decade, Microsoft today did not give all customers advance warning of next week’s upcoming Patch Tuesday slate. Instead, the company suddenly announced it is dropping the public service and limiting the alerts and information to customers who pay for premium support. The change also applies to the occasional alerts that Microsoft issued when it gave customers a heads-up about an impending emergency patch. ANS will no longer provide public alerts for those “out-of-band” updates. Security professionals torched Microsoft over the change.
Macs vulnerable to virtually undetectable virus that “can’t be removed” – A security researcher has discovered a way to infect Macs with malware virtually undetectable, that ‘can’t be removed,’ and which can be installed using a modified Apple gigabit Ethernet Thunderbolt adapter.
‘Silk Road Reloaded’ Just Launched on a Network More Secret than Tor – A new anonymous online drug market has emerged, but instead of using the now infamous Tor network, it uses the little known “I2P” alternative. “Silk Road Reloaded” launched today, and is only accessible by downloading the special I2P software, or by configuring your computer in a certain way to connect to I2P web pages, called ‘eepsites’, and which end in the suffix .i2p.
Avoid Aviator browser if you care about security and privacy, Google warns – On Thursday, WhiteHat Security released its privacy-centric Aviator browser to the open-source community. Available for both Windows and Mac users, the browser is billed as “the Web’s most secure and private browser,” as the “big browsers” are not doing enough to protect user’s sensitive information. However, within hours of the release, Google security engineers publicly revealed a number of dangerous vulnerabilities which contests WhiteHat Security’s claims. The spin-off browser, which is built based on Chromium code, was found to have a severe remote code execution vulnerability as well as a number of other bugs.
Dynamics Inc. aims to improve security on credit cards with e-ink displays – Dynamics Inc. intends to update the credit card by introducing dynamically changing security codes. They will also utilize e-ink displays for the front and back to provide better security.
Quantum storage breakthrough key to ‘unbreakable’ encryption – A new quantum hard drive jointly developed by researchers in Australia and New Zealand could lead the way to an ‘unbreakable’ worldwide data encryption network.
Inside CryptoWall 2.0: Ransomware, professional edition – In a blog post this week, researchers Andrea Allievi and Earl Carter of Cisco‘s Talos Group presented a full code dissection of CryptoWall 2.0 and found a few surprises, aside from using a number of different, sophisticated features to attack systems and evade detection before it can strike. And while the malware is 32-bit Windows code to ensure the widest reach possible, it can detect when a 64-bit Windows environment is available and switch some of its functionality to run in full 64-bit native mode—ensuring it can do maximum damage on the most recent Windows client and server platforms.
Microsoft slams Google for spilling the beans on Windows 8.1 security flaw – Microsoft has heavily criticized Google and the company’s security disclosure policy after the firm publicly revealed a Windows 8.1 security flaw just days before Microsoft planned to issue a patch to kill the bug. In a lengthy blog post, senior director of the Microsoft Security Response Center Chris Betz said that the threat landscape is becoming increasingly complex, and it is time for companies to stand together in response — rather than stand divided when it comes to cybersecurity strategies, such as in vulnerability and threat disclosure, as well as the release of security patches and fixes.
Alibaba to join Microsoft’s fight against pirate software in China – Microsoft and Chinese online commerce giant Alibaba have signed a memorandum of understanding that will see the Chinese firm take measures to help protect Microsoft’s intellectual property in its online stores. Microsoft has long struggled with software piracy in China, with then-CEO Steve Ballmer saying in 2011 that the company was missing something like 95 percent of potential revenue due to lax protection of intellectual property rights.
Twitter looks to expand advertising efforts beyond its own site – The Journal says Twitter plans to “sell ads within streams of tweets on other publishers’ apps and websites.” The idea, according to The Journal, is to “make money from the millions of people who see tweets all over the Web but don’t actually use Twitter.” Twitter, which announced its plans during a presentation this past week at CES, would share a portion of the revenue generated from the ads with the participating sites, according to the report.
Apple changing App Store prices in EU, Canada, Russia and other countries – Apple has announced that prices will soon be changing in the EU, Canada, Russia and other countries App Stores, with the EU, Canada and Norway seeing increases.
Games and Entertainment:
Online-Only Shows You Need to Watch Now – Let’s say it straight out: House of Cards and Orange is the New Black are both fantastic pieces of television. And they have the Golden Globe nominations to prove it. The bottom line? You don’t need a TV to watch quality scripted television. Here are PCMag’s picks for the best Internet “TV” shows currently available.
Microsoft announces Call of Duty tournament, top prize is $1,000,000 – Microsoft and Major League Gaming are teaming up to host and broadcast the largest Call of Duty Championship event in history. The finals, which are scheduled to take place in March, will be hosted in Los Angeles, CA and carries a grand prize of $1,000,000 to the winning team. The prize money is a huge step up from last years $400,000 grand prize and will be competed for using Sledgehammer’s newest Call of Duty Advanced Warfare game.
The 10 Best Classic PC Games You Can Play Right Now – Earlier this week, the Internet Archive tanked the world’s productivity by re-releasing almost 2,400 classic PC titles, all playable within a web browser. With that many games, you can bet there’s a lot of bad ones, and sadly, some of the best titles don’t work. But these ten favorites not only function, they’re still fun.
Evolve’s questionable bargain: Pre-purchase to avoid the unlock grind – The team behind Evolve announced today that Xbox One players who pre-purchase the game will have instant access to an entire tier of hunters—Parnell, Abe, Caira, and Cabot—as well as the third revealed monster, the Wraith. If you don’t pre-purchase the game, you can unlock all of these characters by gaining experience points through normal play. This instant access will apply to both the Xbox One exclusive open beta next week and to the full release of the game next month.
Microsoft Studios: Users can now monetize their gameplay footage on YouTube and Twitch – Microsoft has noticed the increase in popularity of videos created using gameplay footage, screenshots, music, and other game content from the company’s titles, so they have announced a new formal policy that will allow people to make and profit from their derivative creative work, although with some caveats. Enthusiasts will be pleased to know that Microsoft will grant them “a personal, non-exclusive, non-sublicenseable, non-transferable, revocable, limited license for you to use and display Game Content and to create derivative works based upon Game Content”.
Off Topic (Sort of):
Why Business Must Take The Lead In Protecting The Global Internet – Two very specific threats might well derail the global Internet. One is geopolitics. The other is network vulnerability. It’s time for business to get serious about addressing them both. Business leaders who would never dream of leaving it to others to maintain the key infrastructure of their enterprise are letting others define the Internet of tomorrow. It is a sad and shocking fact that most tech companies are simply free-riders. They benefit from the hard work and investment of a few star players like Facebook. It’s time for more of them to step up to the plate.
Modern forensics solves 700-year-old murder mystery – The contents of the bowels of an Italian medieval warlord have revealed his nefarious cause of death nearly 700 years later.
Men Who Share Selfies Online Show More Signs of Psychopathy, Study Says – Men who post lots of selfies on social media networks are more likely to show signs of psychopathy, a personality disorder characterized by anti-social behavior, a new study says. The research, which surveyed 800 men ages 18 to 40, also confirmed a common belief that men who share selfies online are more likely to be narcissistic, according to the study, published recently in Personality and Individual Differences. Narcissism and self-objectification were also linked to men who edit their selfies before posting them online.
This is what it might look like if Reading Rainbow hacked a road sign – If the 2007 Boston bomb scare is on the scary end of the public signage troll spectrum, this LA road sign manipulation is on the other. As LA Weekly reported, a Los Angeles transportation spokesperson said a curious message that appeared on one of its LED boards — “Read a fucking book” — was likely the result of an unauthorized intrusion. While I can’t take issue with the message, typical road sign messages include traffic and hazard advisories, not aggressive attempts at building public erudition.
Couldn’t agree more!
Education plus ideology exaggerates rejection of reality – The researchers looked at two sets of questions about the Iraq War. The first involved the justifications for the war (weapons of mass destruction and links to Al Qaeda), as well as the perception of the war outside the US. The second focused on the role of the troop surge in reducing violence within Iraq. At the time the polls were taken, there was a clear reality: no evidence of an active weapons program or links to Al Qaeda; the war was frowned upon overseas; and the surge had successfully reduced violence in the country. On the three issues that were most embarrassing to the Bush administration, Democrats were more likely to get things right, and their accuracy increased as their level of education rose. In contrast, the most and least educated Republicans were equally likely to have things wrong. When it came to the surge, the converse was true. Education increased the chances that Republicans would recognize reality, while the Democratic acceptance of the facts stayed flat even as education levels rose. In fact, among Democrats, the base level of recognition that the surge was a success was so low that it’s not even clear it would have been possible to detect a downward trend.
Something to think about:
“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
– George Orwell
Today’s Free Downloads:
Hardwipe – Hardwipe can be used to permanently erase, or to “hard wipe”, data on disk and portable storage media to prevent personal and sensitive business information from ever being recovered. It can wipe entire drives, wipe files individually, and sanitize unused drive space. It supports right-click context menus within Windows file explorer, or can just be used as a standalone application.
Easily wipe entire drives and portable devices.
Wipe individual files or clean empty drive space of remanent data.
Right-click within Windows Explorer for Hardwipe commands.
Clear the computer swap-file*.
Wipe the contents of the Recycle Bin*.
Efficient — Hardwipe is fast in comparison other data wiping software.
Intelligent use of disk cache allows your computer to remain responsive during lengthy disk operations.
Automatic computer shutdown when wiping is complete.
Supports all major data wiping schemes, including: GOST R 50739-95, DOD 5220.22-M, Schneier & Gutmann.
Limitations: As of version 4.0.1, 32-bit is no longer supported. Version 3.1.1 is available for 32-bit users. The Portable Edition requires the Professional Upgrade before use.
SpyShelter Personal Free – You Need the SpyShelter! The Internet is now a vital part of our personal and business lives. With increasing use of online systems, cybercrime also has grown exponentially. Information-stealing software are produced regularly and are used by thieves to steal personal and business information.
One of the most effective ways of stealing information is through a program that can easily be made to capture keystrokes. SpyShelter captures everything that a user is doing- keystrokes, mouseclicks, files opened and closed, sites visited. More sophisticated programs can capture everything a user sees on his screen when performing a screen capture: just the mere opening of a file can allow an information thief to steal your data.
These sophisticated and dangerous programs are called Keylogging programs (e.g. keyloggers, key recorder, keytrappers, key capture programs, etc.) and they are developed continuously all over the world. SpyShelter anti keylogger can protect you against attacks that happen even when you do ordinary computer tasks like: typing into your computer, getting screenshots, opening files, and visiting sites.
The SpyShelter monitors vulnerable and weak spots in your computer system to ensure that even the most advanced keyloggers are shut down even before these can launch a single dangerous attack against your computer. SpyShelter antikeylogger system is fast, efficient, and easy-to-use.
Webcam Logger protection:
SpyShelter defends you against hackers who would like to seize control of your webcam, even when it is switched off!
Key Logger protection (kernel mode also):
SpyShelter Stop-logger ensures that whatever your type into your computer is protected against dangerous people who steal your data! Whatever you enter into your computer will not leak to malicious parties.
SpyShelter guards your registry, your physical memory (RAM), and other sensitive computer parts and processes so that malicious code cannot be injected to seize control of your PC.
SpyShelter AntiNetworkSpy protactive module prevents dangerous trojans from stealing your private information while important SSL internet transactions. It also blocks HTTP/HTTPS trojans on user level as well as POP,SMTP,FTP, loggers.
Clipboard Logger protection:
SpyShelter shields sensitive data that can be found on you Windows clipboard as a result of copying, cutting, and pasting. This software ensures that these information will not be under malicious monitoring by other people.
Screen Logger protection:
When you take screen-captures, SpyShelter spots suspicious activity that might reveal sensitive data you enter into your computer such as bank account and credit card information.
Anti Sound logger:
SpyShelter unique security module that protects your system against VOIP sound trojan loggers. Can be useful when you use instant messangers for voice calls. This module also protect you against voice logger from your webcam or built-in microphone.
Limitations: 32 bit only. 64 bit requires the premium version.
In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:
Europe’s answer to France terror ‘attack on free speech’ is greater Internet censorship – About half of Europe’s member states are pushing for greater online censorship powers in the wake of the terror attacks in France earlier this month.
In a joint statement, interior ministers from 11 European member states — including Germany, Poland, Spain, and the U.K. — expressed condemnation of the attacks, while stressing further cooperation between their law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
Members of the European Union, along with a delegation from the U.S. government — including outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder — adopted, among other sentiments, a resolution to create a partnership of major Internet providers to report and remove material associated with extremism.
Australia: Brandis takes the data-retention debate beyond logic – You’ve got to hand it to him. Australia’s favourite Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis QC, is certainly one for efficiency. Last year, he wasted so much time on complicated spin and used car grade salesmanship in his push for mandatory telecommunication data-retention laws. But now, well, just read the words he poured into The Australian on Monday morning.
Brandis has squeezed back his propaganda strategy to the bare essentials, giving it an almost elegant minimalism. A scare story. A reminder that the government is our protector. A repeat of the metadata lie. A reminder that the spooks really, really want that metadata. And a final reassurance about freedom.
“After the Martin Place siege and the atrocities in France, no rational person can dispute that the world — and the free and democratic West in particular — faces a profound threat that is likely to be with us for a long time,” Brandis begins.
Congress revives CISPA, and it may get the White House’s support this time – A prominent congressman has revived a controversial cybersecurity bill that would allow US technology companies and businesses to share private user data with the government.
The bill, formally known as the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), was re-introduced to the US House of Representatives late Thursday with very few changes from its original text when it was introduced two years ago.
The bill aims to “help businesses proactively prevent attacks by creating a system of voluntary information sharing between the public and private sectors.”
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) cited the recent Sony hack — which authorities claim was carried out by North Korea — as a reason to introduce the legislation, just days after the new congress began. “We must stop dealing with cyber attacks after the fact,” he said in a statement.
Ruppersberger is the only name on the bill so far, after he lost his 2014 co-sponsor of the bill, former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), who earlier this year retired from Congress.
New Documents Show Thousands of Unreported Wiretaps by Canadian Cops – Very few law enforcement and government agencies in Canada openly detail the number of times they are legally authorized to eavesdrop on the communications of Canadians, making the true extent of electronic surveillance in Canada incredibly hard to gauge.
But according to documents obtained exclusively by Motherboard, we now know this: at least 6,000 wiretaps and intercepts were authorized per year across all levels of government in Canada as of 2011. The slide deck, obtained via an Access to Information and Privacy Act request, also shows that approximately 12,000 requests for call detail records (CDRs)—a log of numbers dialled—were authorized per year.
It is not clear whether those averages remain consistent today, but it is possible they may be even higher now given the increasing reliance on electronic surveillance in law enforcement investigations.
American Conservatives Are Using the Paris Terror Attacks to Call for More War on Terror – Even as the terrorism drama continues to unfold in Paris, many right-wingers are treating the events of the past few days as confirmation that their warnings about radical Islam were right all along. While Europe deals with its own racial tensions and immigration issues, America’s conservatives have seized on the attacks as an opportunity to reassert their hawkish national security policies and double down on the anti-terror strategies neocons have been pushing since 9/11.
Just days into the new legislative session, Republicans in Congress used the year’s first terror crisis to pillory Obama’s foreign policy, indicating they would try to force his hand on national security issues. “We must use this horrific attack as an opportunity to reevaluate our own national security posture,” South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, a leading neocon, said in a lengthy statement on the attacks. “I fear our intelligence capabilities, those designed to prevent such an attack from taking place on our shores, are quickly eroding,”