Tech Thoughts Net News – Friday Edition – July 3, 2015

6 Secret Tricks For Photographing Fireworks With Your Phone;  Netflix vs. Hulu Plus: Who best fits your video streaming needs?  21 Spotify Tricks That Will Make You a Streaming Samurai;  Chicago adds ‘amusement tax’ to services like Netflix and Hulu;   Hacktivist group possibly compromised hundreds of websites;   Here’s How India Is Getting Serious About Wi-Fi;  Best mobile games of June 2015 (pictures);   Snapchat update gives your finger a rest;  Swappa Price helps you determine how much a device is worth;   6 Must-Know Tricks for Mastering Apple Music ;  7 common iOS problems and how to fix them (pictures);  Which version of Windows 10 is for you? Microsoft’s feature chart will help you decide;  How Ads Follow You from Phone to Desktop to Tablet;  This Chrome Bug Makes It Hard to Tell If You’re on the Real Facebook;  Sources say WB knew Arkham Knight PC was horribly broken;  Fix the Cloud, or Give Up;  AVG LinkScanner (free).

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

6 Secret Tricks For Photographing Fireworks With Your Phone – Firework photography is like the fish that got away. Every summer (or New Year’s Eve), you think you’ve finally mastered your smartphone camera chops to snap a magnificent cascade of falling sparks, only to be left with a camera roll full of blurs. But this year, with just a little advance planning, maybe you’ll finally reel in the big one, whether it’s a golden horsetail, a fiery chrysanthemum, or a sparkling peony. (Those are all firework effects, not fish names.) Here’s how to take great fireworks photos with just your smartphone:

Snapchat update gives your finger a rest – A tweak to the popular messaging app lets you view snaps without having to hold down your finger. It also includes an extra layer of security and new ways to add friends.

6 Must-Know Tricks for Mastering Apple Music – The $9.99-per-month service is trying to beat competitors like Spotify and Google Play Music by cramming in as many features as possible: access to 30 million songs on demand, playlists curated by music experts, algorithmically powered radio stations and a live radio station like the ones you hear on the classic FM dial. All those features add up to make Apple Music an incredibly powerful app, but also one that can be pretty challenging to navigate. Here are five quick tips to make the experience a bit more seamless:

CyanogenMod team shows off Gello, a customizable browser based on Chromium – The newest Android browser project has a lot of security settings, making it ideal for the privacy conscious. Based off open-source Chromium, it’s still a work in progress. And Cyanogen hasn’t shared whether it will only work on devices powered by its operating system variant or if it will end up in the Play Store. The video gives you a pretty good idea, however, of how it will look and perform.


Not everyone will get Windows 10 on its July 29th release date – It sounds as though Windows Insiders — who are already testing Windows 10 — will be able to receive the update on July 29th. After that, people who have gone through the Windows 10 reservation process will begin to receive the ability to update to the new OS. When the rollout hits them, Windows 10 will download to their computers before they’re presented with the option to update. It actually seems like a smooth and sensible update process, even if it may disappoint some who were hoping to jump in right on day one. Microsoft doesn’t state how long it expects the rollout to take.

Which version of Windows 10 is for you? Microsoft’s feature chart will help you decide – Later this month, Microsoft will be releasing Windows 10 and for consumers who want to know the differences between Home and Pro SKUs, the company has released a new chart that will make the decision a bit easier. Posted below is the chart that details the differences between Windows 10 Home, Pro, Enterprise, and Education. For the enterprise, there is only one option and the same goes for education, so this chart is most beneficial to the consumer to see if they need the Home or Pro SKU.


Microsoft releases Windows 10 build 10162 ISOs ahead of release to Slow Ring – Microsoft released build 10162 to the fast ring just yesterday marking the 3rd build in just four days. With the weekend approaching, they have decided to make the ISOs available ahead of the Slow Ring release, which we are expecting to drop next week. If you have been waiting on the ISO’s to perform a clean install, you can download those now.

Swappa Price helps you determine how much a device is worth – A new app from Swappa, a website for buying and selling used smartphones, wants to take the pain out of determining the value of your old smartphones.


21 Spotify Tricks That Will Make You a Streaming Samurai – Spotify’s a magical, minimalist piece of software that beams all the world’s recorded music (well, nearly all the world’s recorded music) directly to his computer. For free! Of course, users have the option of upgrading to Spotify Premium, which ditches the ads and allows for offline and restriction-free smartphone and tablet listening. Or they can just do what most users do (including a certain baby boomer I know) and rent out their earholes to Spotify’s advertisers for complimentary access. But regardless of how you listen, you may not be taking full advantage of what Spotify has to offer.

7 common iOS problems and how to fix them (pictures) – Let’s face it, our phones aren’t perfect. They can be slow, have trouble powering on, and suffer from terrible battery life. These are some quick fixes for some of the most common problems iPhone and iPad owners face.

GarageBand can now upload songs straight to Apple Music Connect – Apple is trying to make it easier for artists to go from creating a song to getting it in front of fans. It updated GarageBand this week to allow for tracks to be published from the app into Apple Music’s Connect section, a social area that allows artists to post news, photos, and songs.


Apple Music Is Cheaper Depending on Where You Live – Apple Music may cost about $10 per month in the United States, but that’s not the case everywhere. The music streaming service, which rolls out in more than 100 countries this week, is considerably cheaper in parts of Asia and South America. In India, a subscription will cost about $2 per month, according to Quartz. In Brazil, Indonesia and Thailand, the cost is about $5. These countries also have the group membership subscription, which costs $15 in the U.S., offered at a similar discount.

Skype for Business preview gets meeting broadcasts and more – Microsoft has announced a new Skype for Business technical preview available for Office 365 enterprise users. The preview ushers in a trio of new features, two of which are limited to customers located in the United States. The new Skype Meeting Broadcast is perhaps the most notable change for enterprise users, allowing customers worldwide to broadcast a meeting taking place over Skype for Business to up to 10,000 users across multiple devices.

Microsoft updates Health, support for Golf now rolling out – Microsoft has updated its Health app for Windows Phone users and has added Golf support to the app; the update is rolling out now and should be arriving on your device shortly.


How to use PPAs to install bleeding-edge software in Ubuntu and Linux Mint – PPAs are a great way for Linux users to install software that’s unavailable in central repositories, but carry some risks you need to be aware of.

There’s even an app for dogs and cats scared of fireworks – Fireworks and other loud noises account for nearly 20% of missing pets, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). The ASPCA Pet Safety app shows pet owners ways to search for a lost animal that are tailored to the pet’s personality and where the pet went missing. It also helps an owner create a digital lost pet flyer to share quickly over a user’s social networks. Tips for ensuring a pet’s safety are included, as well as a place to store medical information and other vital stats about a pet. There’s even a field to store a pet’s specific embedded identity chip number for quick reference in an emergency.

Turn multi-page web articles into a single, scrolling page with this extension – Autopagerize is an add-on for Chrome and Firefox that automatically loads the next page as you scroll.

Reddit Moderators Are Locking Up The Site’s Most Popular Pages In Protest – The moderators behind a number of the most popular subreddits on the site — which is known as the front page of internet — have made their communities private, thus shutting them off from the internet, in protest of the departure of a key Reddit staffer and ongoing poor communications.


How Ads Follow You from Phone to Desktop to Tablet – Advertisers are increasingly using technology that targets users across multiple devices, and it’s working. For advertisers, the process is divine in its own right. Over the past year, companies have substantially and successfully stepped up repeat ad targeting to the same user across home and work computers, smart phones and tablets. With little fanfare, the strategy is fast becoming the new norm.

Media Server Company Plex Hacked – Forum Servers Affected, But Payment Info Safe – Plex, a popular application that lets users organize and stream their media collections across devices, has been hacked. However, the attackers were only able to compromise the servers hosting the company’s forums and blog – not account information or users’ financial data, the latter which Plex says is not stored on its own servers at all. That being said, many Plex users had forum accounts which are linked to their account, which means that both accounts have been compromised as a result of the attack. As a precaution, Plex is blocking those users from accessing their accounts until they complete a password reset.

This Chrome Bug Makes It Hard to Tell If You’re on the Real Facebook – Is the website you’re looking at on your screen really the website you wanted to visit? Thanks to a newly-discovered bug in Google’s Chrome browser, the answer to that question might sometimes be “no.” Security researchers have found a bug in Chrome that allows a website to spoof its address, essentially pretending to be a different web page. Mustafa Al-Bassam, a computer science student at King’s College London and former member of the Anonymous hacking offshoot LulzSec, created a demo to showcase how the bug can be exploited, making a webpage that pretends to be, but isn’t.

LG won’t fix malware slinging bloatware update hole – The the Budapest University of Technology and Economics’ Security Evaluation and Research Laboratory (SEARCH-LAB) says “malicious attackers controlling the network are able to install arbitrary applications” on LG’s Android phones, thanks to a flaw in their software update mechanism. The Lab says the flaw impacts “all Android based LG Smart Phones”, thanks to the “Update Centre” LG installs on its hardware to handle upgrades to the non-standard apps it uses to pollute handsets with bloatware add value in a crowded market. SEARCH-LAB says it informed LG of the flaw in November 2014. LG users can defend themselves by disabling the automatic update feature and only installing updates over trusted WiFi connections.

Harvard Reveals It Had An IT Breach In June Impacting 8 Colleges And Administrations – A seventeenth-century university has become the victim of a twenty-first-century crime. Harvard University on Wednesday announced that on June 19, it discovered a breach in the IT systems of its Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Central Administration, currently impacting eight different schools and administrative organizations at the university. A copy of the memo from Anne Margulies, VP and Harvard’s CIO, announcing the intrusion to one of the groups affected, students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, is copied at the end of this post. It was quietly sent out in the evening on July 1 — not “burying the news on a Friday afternoon” time but also not at a peak time, either.

Coordinated attack cuts high-capacity fiber optic internet lines for 11th time this year – The FBI is looking into the latest act of vandalism on fiber optic internet lines in California, which took place earlier this week. For the 11th time this year, vandals gained access to high-capacity fiber optic cables and cut them, causing widespread service outages in the San Francisco area. The FBI is calling this a coordinated attack in which three different cables were severed around the same time. The cables damaged in this attack belonged to Level 3 Communications and Zayo, both of which are Tier 1 network operators. That means they transport large amounts of data across the internet backbone so it can filter down to ISPs and customers. That means the outage affected many other companies and individuals, which is probably exactly what the attackers wanted.

Hacktivist group possibly compromised hundreds of websites – So far the group has published the names of over 450 websites, but claims that it has hacked many more. The alleged victims range from companies to education institutions and government organizations from different countries. Based on its Twitter messages so far, the group’s goal is to demonstrate “how truly deplorable cybersecurity has become” and that Internet security has not improved despite a flood of security technologies and products in recent years. The group published only partial information from the databases that it claims to have compromised, because it wants “to prove that they have indeed been infiltrated and to raise awareness.”

Company News:

PayPal Agrees to Buy Xoom for $890 Million – Xoom, a San Francisco-based online money transfer technology and services company that went public in 2013, is being acquired by PayPal for $25 per share in cash or $890 million. The price represents a 32 percent premium over Xoom’s three-month volume-weighted average price. As stated in a PayPal-issued release about the tie-up, “Acquiring Xoom allows PayPal to offer a broader range of services to our global customer base, increase customer engagement and enter an important and growing adjacent marketplace. Xoom’s presence in 37 countries – in particular, Mexico, India, the Philippines, China and Brazil – will help us accelerate our expansion in these important markets.”

HP officially files to spin off enterprise division – Hewlett-Packard has filed paperwork to register HP Enterprise as an independent company, an official step on the path to splitting itself in two. The paperwork, called a Form 10, was filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday and provides a look at how the divisions that will make up HP Enterprise performed financially over the past few years. It shows a business that made a profit of $1.6 billion last year on revenue of $55.1 billion, down from a profit of $2.1 billion on revenue of $57.4 billion in 2013.

Sprint teams up with leading UK retail group Dixons Carphone to open 500 new stores in US – Dixons Carphone is one of the UK’s largest retail groups, as well as being one of Europe’s top retailers of mobile hardware and services, with operations in 11 countries. The group has enjoyed considerable success in the UK with its Carphone Warehouse and Currys PC World retail brands, and it’s now going to be applying some of its knowledge and experience in the hotly-contested US market. Dixons Carphone announced today that it has agreed a partnership with US carrier Sprint, with plans to open hundreds of retail stores.

Facebook starts sharing video ad revenue, but there’s a catch – For the first time ever, Facebook has decided that it will share as much as 55 percent of ad revenue to video creators whose content will have some video ads attached to it. While this seems like a move to encourage more video makers to upload to the social networking site instead of, say, YouTube, the arrangement isn’t as clear cut as it seems. In particular, Facebook’s revenue sharing setup might actually be less favorable to the advertisers that will be the source of that monetary incentive.

Microsoft buries hatchet with Kyocera, ending litigation – Microsoft and Kyocera have put an end to a patent spat that began earlier this year by expanding a patent cross-licensing deal between them. In a tersely worded, four-sentence press release Thursday, the companies said the licensing deal would enable them to use “a broader range of each other’s technologies in their respective products.” Beyond that, the terms were not disclosed.

Games and Entertainment:

Best mobile games of June 2015 (pictures) – Looking for a new game to play on your mobile device? Here’s our pick of the best released in June 2015.


The second game by Bastion’s developer Supergiant is filled with beautiful pathos.

Pre-ordering Fallout 4 on Xbox One gets users Fallout 3 too – Back in during all the madness of E3 last month, when developer Bethesda first announced Fallout 4, they also mentioned that those who buy the Xbox One version of the game would get a free downloadable copy of 2008’s Fallout 3. Other details were slim at that time, such as if the deal required the purchase of the limited edition of Fallout 4, or for how long the offer would be available. Bethesda has now cleared the air on things, with a blog post detailing how Xbox One gamers can score the series’ previous entry.

July PlayStation Plus Free Games Lineup Revealed – “Prepare yourselves for a free games lineup the likes of which you’ve (probably) never seen!” Sony’s Ryan Clements wrote in a blog post Wednesday. “We’ve got rocket-powered cars, stealthy goblins, science cats, and even a little dab of arthouse wonder for good measure.” On PlayStation 4, you’ll get four titles, including the multiplayer arcade game Rocket League, fantasy stealth game Styx: Master of Shadows, and puzzler Mousecraft. If that’s not enough, you can also “embark upon an adventure that spans nine lifetimes” with Entwined.

Netflix vs. Hulu Plus: Who best fits your video streaming needs? – Both companies offer ways to watch TV shows free of their original networks, and both have advantages and disadvantages. Obviously you don’t have to choose just one, unless you’re in some kind of weird Saw-style deathtrap and a homicidal maniac is making you, but we thought it would be valuable to put these two streaming media titans up against each other and see who comes out on top. Place your bets and let’s see who wins the hotly contested battle of Netflix vs. Hulu.


Bing Pong is Microsoft’s own search engine game – At some point Google thought it would be fun to turn its logo into a game, and since then we’ve seen different browser-based games that can be played directly on the search engine’s website. Microsoft has decided to do something similar with its own search engine, but it is starting small: with Pong, which involves just two paddles and a square ball bouncing between them. It is the same as the classic game, and can be found simply by searching for it.

Pluto TV, An Online Video Service Targeting Cord Cutters, Will Stream Hulu – Up-and-coming video streaming service aimed at cord cutters, Pluto.TV, will now be distributing Hulu’s free content, thanks to a new distribution agreement between the two companies. For Pluto TV, the addition means its service will now be able to offer a wider variety of mainstream fare, including popular shows from networks like ABC, NBC, and Fox. The deal was first reported by Variety, which noted that the content will include a variety of current and older shows, like “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “Saturday Night Live”; as well as “Seinfeld,” “Star Trek,” “Cheers,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Happy Days,” for example.

After 55 Million Downloads, Dots Gets A Major Upgrade – Dots, the incredibly basic but addicting mobile game created by gaming studio Playdots, is getting its first major upgrade in over a year. Dots now features three new themes: Space, Mod Synth, and Desert. There’s also a custom “Designer” option if users prefer to select their own dot and background color palate. The goal of the game is simple — connect same-colored dots, vertically and horizontally, to rack up as many points as possible while a timer counts down 60 seconds.

Sources say WB knew Arkham Knight PC was horribly broken – The launch of Batman: Arkham Knight was a disaster, at least for PC owners. Now it might be even more of a PR disaster for publisher Warner Bros. Although the company issued an apology to owners and fans after pulling the game out of sales, it seems it might just be a well-worded cover up. Numerous sources, including the games’ testers, are now saying that Warner Bros. was fully aware of the issues that the PC version faced, but decided to ship it at the same time anyway.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Facebook to beam the Internet from the sky using lasers – When your core business is essentially dependent on the Internet, it makes sense that you’d want everyone to have access to the Internet as well. Google has its Project Loon and Facebook has Of course, those are lofty goals, but the question is always “how”. Unlike Google’s balloons, Facebook will be using satellites, drones, and lasers. Yes, lasers. Mark Zuckerberg has just posted online, on his Facebook account no less, a teaser of what’s to come, with lasers being shot from the sky to deliver the Internet, and Facebook, to everyone.

Here’s How India Is Getting Serious About Wi-Fi – India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to make sure his country’s population can get fast Internet as soon as possible. In fact, he’s pumping $18 billion into a campaign called “digital week,” which plans to do just that. The move comes after Wi-Fi became available at the iconic Taj Mahal palace for the first time. The plan’s goal is to create over 100 million jobs for Indian citizens.

Chicago adds ‘amusement tax’ to services like Netflix and Hulu – Chicago is about to become a little less welcoming to cord cutters, with the city authorizing an ‘amusement tax’ on online streaming services like Netflix and Pandora. Under this, subscribers are going to be paying a 9-percent tax on their various cloud-based streaming entertainment services, as well as for the ‘privilege’ of playing games online. This is the expansion of the existing amusement tax which was previously applied to things like buying concert tickets, and it will apply to businesses as well.

Firefighters use drone to help rescue stranded rafters – Firefighters in the town of Mechanic Falls, Maine, have successfully used a drone in a river rescue operation. Earlier this week, two young men aged 12 and 18 became stranded on a rock in the middle of some fast-moving rapids, says the local fire department, but only the younger of the pair was equipped with a life jacket. While rescuers began setting up an inflatable dinghy to retrieve the young men, Fire Chief Frank Roma used his DJI Phantom 3 to fly a haul line out to them. The unnamed 18-year-old then used this to pull in a life jacket before the tricky rescue operation began.


Vinyl records are still riding that big comeback wave, sales up 38% in a year – Who’s leading the charge on all that vinyl? None other than the music industry’s favorite singer-songwriter Taylor Swift with her album 1989, which sold 33,500 LPs. Following behind Swift on the vinyl chart is Sufjan Stevens’ Carrie & Lowell, The Arctic Monkeys’ AM (released in 2013), Alabama Shakes’ Sound & Color, and in fifth place, none other than Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, which sold 23,200 copies in 2015. Also interesting is that Nielsen found that digital album sales were flat compared to last year, and digital track sales were down 10.4 percent. Unsurprisingly, CD sales were down 10 percent.

Jimmy Kimmel mocks Apple fanboys’ need to give company money – Technically Incorrect: The talk show host claims to reveal Apple’s latest product. It costs $20 a month. But it’s basically just a donation to Apple.


18 Striking Photos Taken With an iPhone – In the slideshow, take a gander at the grandeur of what can be captured by a talented photog using the same kind of camera you probably have in your pocket. These are the first place winners in each of the IPPAWARDS’ categories. Get inspired. Take some shots. You might be the next winner.


Chevrolet adds “Active Phone Cooling” to next-gen vehicles – Chevrolet is the first automotive company to bring “Active Phone Cooling” to vehicles. This is a sort of air conditioner for your phone, made to keep your device cool when you’re using it for high-power-requirement tasks like turn-by-turn directions with online maps, and music streaming. “Innovation doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel,” said Impala engineer Dan Lascu, “Sometimes simplicity offers the most elegant solution to a problem.” The solution in this case is giving the smartphone its own little handy-dandy super-cool compartment where it can rest easy.


Fix the Cloud, or Give Up – I’ve long had mixed feelings about online subscription services and the cloud in general, especially when its usefulness pales in comparison to workstation-centric computing. OpinionsIf I can buy 5TB of portable hard disk storage for $150, why should I be spending $10 a month for sub-terabyte cloud storage for my backups? Offsite storage safety? Well, I can keep the backup drive in a safe deposit box at the bank, the trunk of the car, at a friend’s house, or in a fireproof safe at home.

Something to think about:

“You can ignore reality, but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality”

–       Ayn Rand

Today’s Free Downloads:

AVG LinkScanner – Nowadays, there are far more threats out there than plain viruses. You have probably come across the term spyware as well, however, authors of malicious codes and dangerous websites are very innovative, and new kinds of threats emerge quite often, the vast majority of which are on the Internet. Here are some of the most common:

Exploit is a malicious code that takes advantage of a flaw or vulnerability in an operating system, Internet browser, or other essential program.

Social engineering is a common term for various techniques used to trick people into giving away their personal information (passwords, bank account details, credit card numbers etc.). A typical example of social engineering is phishing – an attempt to acquire sensitive personal data by shamming a trustworthy and well-known organization. Usually, the potential victims are contacted by a bulk e-mail asking them to e.g. update their bank account details. In order to do that, they are invited to follow the link provided which then leads to a fake website of the bank.

Scam can be also considered a kind of social engineering; it includes false job offers, or ones that will abuse the workers for illegal activities, summons to withdraw a large sum of money, fraudulent lotteries and the like.

Hoax is a bulk e-mail containing dangerous, alarming or just bothering and useless information. Many of the above threats use hoax e-mail messages to spread.

Finally, malicious websites are ones that deliberately install malicious software on your computer, and hacked sites do just the same, only these are legitimate websites that have been compromised into infecting visitors.

AVG LinkScanner is here to protect you from all these online threats.

AVG LinkScanner is up and running immediately from the moment of installation. All basic settings have been pre-set by the manufacturer, so most of the time you will not have to worry about anything – just let AVG work in the background and protect you without any effort on your part. However, there might be situations where you need to adjust the program settings, or decide what to do with a virus infected file; this help system is here to provide detailed information and assist you with any task.

Get AVG LinkScanner and enhance your online protection!

NetGear Genie – NetGear Genie is a dashboard to manage, monitor and repair your network.

With it you can remotely control all media in your home from your smartphone/tablet with MyMedia, print on any printer from your iPad or iPhone with AirPrint, view all the devices on your network and more.

Easy dashboard to manage, monitor and repair your network

My Media—Find and play music and video files anywhere in your network from your smartphone/tablet

Makes any printer AirPrint® compatible so you can print from an iPad® or iPhone®

Now with EZ Mobile Connect securely connect smartphones and tablets to your home wireless network with the scan of a QR code.


In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

GCHQ did spy on Amnesty International, secret tribunal admits – The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), which provides oversight for UK intelligence services, admitted yesterday that its judgement made on 22 June wrongly failed to declare that Amnesty International had been subject to unlawful surveillance by GCHQ. The IPT revealed this in an e-mail sent to the ten NGO claimants involved in the earlier legal challenge to UK government surveillance. As Amnesty International explained: “Today’s communication makes clear that it was actually Amnesty International Ltd, and not the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) that was spied on in addition to the Legal Resources Centre in South Africa.”

The Intercept has obtained a copy of the e-mail sent to the NGOs, which shows that the IPT made the finding that “there had been a breach by virtue of the exceeding of time limits for retention”—the communication files were kept too long. That is, as far as the IPT was concerned, spying on one of the world’s most respected NGOs was not in itself problematic.

Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s secretary general, commented: “The revelation that the UK government has been spying on Amnesty International highlights the gross inadequacies in the UK’s surveillance legislation. If they hadn’t stored our communications for longer than they were allowed to by internal guidelines, we would never even have known.” If the records had been destroyed according to the rules, the IPT would have made “no determination” as to whether surveillance had taken place—its standard way of neither confirming nor denying allegations that spying has occurred.

NSA’s spying on UN and others detailed in newly published documents – Imagine you’re a world leader walking into a meeting with the president of the United States. But he already knows everything you’re going to say because his spies hacked into your communications and read your notes before you got there.

That’s not a plot for the latest James Bond flick. It’s straight from the latest published report drawn from documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Snowden’s revelations have led to snowballing accusations that the National Security Agency is accessing and reading communications from world leaders. Wednesday’s revelations come on the heels of revelations that the NSA spied on French political leaders, and countries that have been caught up in the agency’s snooping on dignitaries include Mexico, Germany and Colombia.

In a story published Wednesday, The Intercept went into great detail on how far one of the NSA’s spying programs, called X-Keyscore, can reach into the web and find any kind of communication, be it chats, emails or documents.

Kenya to require users of public Wi-Fi to register with government – The head of Kenya’s Communications Authority, Francis Wangusi, announced a new set of regulations on Tuesday aimed at combatting cybercrime in the country. The new rules would require all users of devices with wireless networking capability to register their devices with the Kenya Network Information Centre (KENIC)—much in the same way that some US states require registration of assault rifles and sex offenders.

Wi-Fi proxy could thwart cops, spies from finding you – The almost ridiculous extents which government agencies go through to get otherwise private data is sometimes being matched by equally almost ridiculous extents to protect it. Since Tor and VPNs no longer seem to be enough to protect user privacy, for good or for ill, some have taken seemingly drastic countermeasures. Like this Proxyham for example, which combines a Wi-Fi proxy with the concept of a HAM radio. Not only does it let users anonymously connect to Wi-Fi using almost unidentifiable low frequency radio channels, it also lets them connect from about 2.5 miles away.

Proxyham offers privacy protection in both distance and signal frequency. While Proxyham itself connects to a Wi-Fi source in a public spot, the user could be connected half way across town. Spies and law enforcers might be able to locate Proxyham, but that doesn’t mean they will be able to immediately locate the connected user. That last part is even made more difficult by the frequency that Proxyham uses. In particular, it transmits over 900 MHz, which affords not just distance but also masking, as that spectrum is also used by things like two-way radios and cordless phones.


WikiLeaks: New intelligence briefs show US spied on German leader – On Wednesday, WikiLeaks published two new top-secret National Security Agency briefs that detail American and British espionage conducted against German leaders as they were discussing responses to the Greek economic crisis in 2011.

The organization also published a redacted list of 69 German government telephone numbers that were targeted for snooping. That list includes Oskar Lafontaine, who served as German finance minister from 1998 to 1999, when the German government was still based in Bonn—suggesting that this kind of spying has been going on for over 15 years at least.

As with the recent documents concerning NSA spying against France, WikiLeaks did not explain how it obtained the documents. However, it did share them with Greek, French, and German-language media, which all published them simultaneously on Wednesday evening, Europe time.


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