Tech Thoughts Net News – Monday – July 11, 2016

How to secure your router and home network;  Facebook clarifies live video policy, will allow graphic video streams in some cases;  Here’s how fake telephone tech support scams work;  Facebook brings end-to-end encryption to Messenger;  Free Ransomware Decrypter Tools;  10 mobile security myths that need debunking – and much more news you need to know.

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How to secure your router and home network – Many users don’t realize it, but their internet router is the most important electronic device in their home and is an attractive target for attackers.

Here’s how fake telephone tech support scams work – Interested in finding out how fake telephone tech support scams work? Well, grab a cup or glass of your favorite beverage, and prepare to be educated, entertained, and horrified.

Facebook clarifies live video policy, will allow graphic video streams in some cases – Facebook will allow violent or graphic video streams that document live, newsworthy events, the company announced Friday

‘Pokémon Go’ Led 11 Teens Right into an Armed Robbery – 11 people in Missouri have been victims of armed robberies carried out using Pokémon Go since Friday.

How to find out everything Google knows about you in the new My Activity dashboard – Google has consolidated the data it has on you into an easy-to-use interface to find, browse through, or delete your digital history.

5 handy mobile Dropbox features you need to try – Scan receipts directly from Dropbox, create and edit Office files, trade comments with collaborators, and more.Dropbox app with a passcode.

How to use Phone Companion to set up Windows 10 apps on your mobile device – Phone Companion takes the hassle out of setting up Windows 10 apps on smartphones and tablets. This illustrated walk-through explains how it works.

Walmart Pay vs. Apple Pay: Hardware age dictates all – Walmart has announced that its trial of Walmart Pay would go national. This is good news for Walmart shoppers who want to pay with a mobile device, but the news would have been very different had Walmart instead embraced NFC payments.

Amazon’s latest Prime Day tease: Budget Fire tablets for under $35 – As part of the online retailer’s Prime Day sale this upcoming Tuesday, the company is cutting the price on its $50 Fire tablet to under $35, an Amazon representative told CNET on Friday. In all, there will be more than 100,000 deals worldwide, making it the biggest Amazon sale yet. Deals will be available for new and existing Prime members, who pay $99 annually to join, in the US, UK, Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, Belgium and Austria.

12 Things to Know About Amazon Prime – Ahead of this year’s Prime Day, here’s what you need to know about Amazon’s service.

Facebook brings end-to-end encryption to Messenger with ‘secret conversations’ – Facebook Messenger now has an encrypted messaging tool, but it doesn’t come close to covering all your conversations on the messaging platform.

Twitter Busts Tweet-Archiving Website PostGhost – You can make a case that politicians, being public figures, deserve to have their Twitter accounts scanned (and deleted messages archived). All verified users? Not so much.

How to run a DOS program in Windows 10 – There are some old DOS applications that you just can’t afford to lose (or games you still like), and Windows 10 lets you keep them. Here’s how.

10 reasons to reject Microsoft’s free Windows 10 upgrade – The end of Microsoft’s free Windows 10 upgrade offer is right around the corner. But while Windows 10 is great, there are valid reasons to reject it.

iOS 10: Will it be the rebirth or the death of the iPad? – iOS 10 is set to make a lot of iPads obsolete. Will this be the catalyst for a wave of upgrades, or will it be the beginning of the end for the iPad?

The 25 Weirdest Gadgets of All Time – From flying cars to wrist-mounted computers, these devices never got past the awkward stage. For every technology that became ubiquitous, however, there are dozens of examples of devices that never made it past the awkward stage. Here is TIME’s list of the 25 outright-weirdest gadgets of all time, from flying cars to wrist-mounted computers. This list was assembled, ranked and debated (at length) by TIME’s business and technology team. What did we miss?

The best Tech inventions of all time 5: Awesome machines – In this series we take a look at everything, large and small, that has changed the way we do things and enhanced our lives in some way. In part three we take a look at advancements in machinery that have helped us to be more productive in everything we do.


A Jim Hillier article: Free Ransomware Decrypter Tools – Security software companies have already developed a number of free tools to help users decrypt files which have been encrypted by Ransomware, however, these tools are generally fairly limited in their scope. A large part of the problem is that there are so many different Ransomware variations – currently more than 50 known Ransomware families and growing – and how quickly they are mutating. This makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for decryption tools to support every single type of Ransomware. So, the developers of these tools tend to concentrate only on a relatively small number of the most common strains. Here is a list of Ransomware decryption tools available for download from MajorGeeks: Ransomware Removal.

Cyber spies are still using these old Windows flaws to target their victims – ‘Dropping Elephant’ cyber-epionage group is using old and long-patched flaws as part of its campaign, but appears to be still finding some success.

10 mobile security myths that need debunking – Mobile devices have introduced plenty of legitimate concerns, but there are some misconceptions floating around that may lead companies to focus on the wrong issues–or to ignore the real risks.

The truth about bug finders: They’re essentially useless – Today’s popular bug finders catch only about two percent of the vulnerabilities lurking in software code, researchers have found, despite the millions of dollars companies spend on them each year.

Twitter’s Jack Dorsey is latest tech CEO to get account hacked – The last few weeks have seen a number of social networking accounts belonging to high-profile tech company CEOs getting hacked and making posts. First there was Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, with his accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest getting breached. Then the same thing happened to Google CEO Sundar Pichai and his Quora profile. The latest to join the club is Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, who saw his account on his own platform briefly compromised this weekend.

How to hack mobile devices using YouTube videos – A team from the University of California, Berkeley, and Georgetown University have developed the means to compromise a mobile device using hidden voice commands embedded within a YouTube video. In order for the device to be attacked, the intended victim needs to do nothing more than watch the YouTube content. The researchers say on their project page that the hidden voice commands used by the attack are “unintelligible to human listeners but which are interpreted as commands by devices.”

Company News:

Nintendo’s stock surges after Pokemon Go rocks iOS and Android devices – Shares in Nintendo were up 10 percent Friday on the Tokyo stock exchange, putting the company at its highest valuation ($23 billion) in more than two months, according to Reuters. While Pokemon Go is off to a good start it’s the promised arrival of future Nintendo games on mobile platforms that has investors excited. The company says it will release four more smartphone games in the financial year to end-March and that mobile gaming could lift its operating profit by a third to 45 billion yen or $450 million. A new Nintendo gaming console is due to arrive in March 2017.

Huawei sues T-Mobile, saying carrier violated wireless patents – Huawei has filed a lawsuit against T-Mobile US for what the Chinese telecom giant says are patent violations of its 4G wireless network services. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news of the suit. In the complaint Huawei said T-Mobile has been using Huawei’s patented network technology without paying for it, and that Huawei had offered to license its patents to the US wireless network but the two entities couldn’t come to a licensing agreement. T-Mobile isn’t the only company Huawei has filed suit against recently: Two months ago Huawei, which has swelled to become the world’s third largest smartphone maker, sued Samsung over its use of 11 standard-essential patents.

Snapchat sued over ‘sexually offensive’ content in its Discover channels – Snapchat is being sued for exposing minors to sexually offensive content on the Discover section it offers in tandem with media partners.

Games and Entertainment:

It took just one day for Pokemon Go to outstrip Tinder – The day after Pokemon Go launched in North America, the game was installed on more Android phones in the US than Tinder, and now it’s close to surpassing Twitter.

This week in games: Free PC games, free PC games, and more free PC games – Plus: Pokemon Go, new Overwatch characters, Halo Wars 2, and more. This is your games news for July 4 through 8.

The Best PC Games of 2016 – Whether you’re a longtime PC gamer or you recently migrated from consoles, this collection of top-notch titles in 14 categories will keep you entertained indefinitely.

These are the best-selling Nintendo consoles and games of all time – For many of us, the name Nintendo is synonymous with video gaming. And it’s little surprise why — the company has sold hundreds of millions of gaming consoles over the last 31 years, more than any other company. Here are our favorite pieces of Nintendo hardware and software, ranked in terms of total worldwide sales.

PC Gaming Is Still Way Too Hard – Here’s Motherboard’s super simple guide to building your first gaming PC:

Step 1: Have an unreasonable amount of disposable income.

Step 2: Have an unreasonable amount of time to research, shop around, and assemble parts for your computer.

Step 3: Get used to the idea that this is something you’re going to have to keep investing time and money in as long as you want to stay at the cutting edge or recommended specifications range for new PC games.

The details, of course, are much more complicated, but that’s the gist of what it takes to enter the holy kingdom of PC gaming. If it sounds like a bad deal, I agree, which is why the majority of people are better off with an Xbox One or PlayStation 4, despite why the awfully self-titled “PC Master Race” might tell you.

Do You Really Need a Dedicated Graphics Card to Play Your Favorite Games? – I played today’s popular PC games with no dedicated video card, and I kinda liked it.

Off Topic (Sort of):

In matters of life and death, how should Facebook decide what you see? – Live streams of shootings in Minnesota and Dallas raise questions about the social network’s responsibilities.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki asks YouTube stars to speak out against racism and violence – After a week in which numerous killings across the country led to even more riots around race and gun violence in America, Wojcicki is calling on Google’s stable of YouTube-created celebrities to speak up and say something positive. It’s a pretty smart strategy. These YouTube stars (and Vine stars and Snapchat stars and Instagram stars) have more reach and influence — especially among young people — than almost any group or person in the world not named Justin Bieber. Wojcicki could raise her voice on these issues, but the message will likely mean a lot more coming from PewDiePie than a Silicon Valley tech executive. Wojcicki was careful not to tell YouTube creators what they should say, but the underlying message was one about unity.

The Legal and Ethical Ramifications of Letting Police Kill Suspects With Robots – Dallas police used a bomb robot to kill a suspect in what was “essentially a jury-rigged version of a drone strike”—where do we go from here?

Time management tips: How to create meetings that work – Meetings are a plague on modern business: bored staff can waste months of their lives nodding along when they could be doing something more productive. Research suggests the average employee attends a total of 60 meetings per month, and that 30 per cent of workplace time is wasted in the process. So what are the best time management tips for executives? ZDNet speaks to four experts who give their view on keeping meetings tight and workers productive.

Still a virtual reality skeptic? Here’s why you shouldn’t be – As VR becomes a force in the gaming world (and other sectors), I can’t help but draw the evident parallels between the emergence of 3D-console gaming and quasi-nascent VR. Though some remain skeptical about VR, it will become a widely adopted technology that can drive adoption of other technologies, just like 3D-gaming technology did.

Whatever happened to 3D printing? – Sam Cervantes is a quiet-seeming guy who speaks earnestly about his line of work. When I visited his Brooklyn 3D printer factory in 2013, workers in an assembly line were busy putting together Solidoodle printers. An army of assembled printers whirred as they lay down layers of melted plastic to make parts for the next set of machines.

Something to think about:

“The freedom of all is essential to my freedom.”

–   Mikhail Bakunin

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Europe OKs ‘Privacy Shield’ for Data Transfers to US – Europe today moved a step closer to implementing a “privacy shield” intended to protect data traveling between the US and the European Union.

EU member states ratified a privacy agreement that will require companies and governments to treat transatlantic data with the same privacy protections afforded to data within the US or Europe.

The moves comes after Europe’s high court in October ruled that an international agreement for the transfer of digital data between the European Union and the United States was invalid. At the time, the so-called Safe Harbor deal ensured that 4,000-plus European and American tech and non-tech businesses would treat data moving between countries with the same privacy protections as inside the region.

Since then, both sides have been trying to hammer out a replacement deal. They announced a plan in February, which was accepted by the EU today. According to The Guardian, it goes into effect on Tuesday.

New ‘Anti-Terrorism’ Law Will Feed Russia’s Mass-Surveillance Machine – A sweeping anti-terrorism law signed by Russian president Vladimir Putin on Thursday will greatly expand the Kremlin’s ability to monitor and control digital communications, sparking an outcry from privacy and human rights advocates—including the country’s outspoken resident fugitive, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The so-called Yarovaya Law, named after the hawkish Russian lawmaker who championed it, “violates not only human rights, but common sense,” signaling a “Dark day for #Russia,” said Snowden.

Key among the new measures are provisions requiring Russian telecommunications providers to retain customers’ phone records for 12 months, and store the contents of calls and messages for six months. The retained data will most certainly be channeled into SORM, a nationwide mass-interception system that gives the Russian FSB and other police authorities real-time, warrantless access to data transiting the country.

In addition to human rights concerns, the data storage requirements are causing consternation among Russian telecom companies, who say that building out the capacity to retain data for that long will cost them upwards of $33 billion in investment. The law also forces companies to assist Russian law enforcement in decrypting customers’ encrypted communications, and penalizes those who refuse to do so.

UK Crime Agency Seeks Whatever Intel It Can Get From Internet Service Providers – The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) is seeking a wide range of intelligence from internet service providers to combat cybercrime, but exactly what they want to collect has been left largely open-ended.

“They don’t know what they want, but they want more data,” James Blessing, chair of the UK Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA), told Motherboard in a phone call. “At the minute, they want more data, and they’re asking nicely.”

On Thursday at the ISPA Cyber Security Summit, Ben Russell, strategy manager at the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, laid out different ways internet service providers could help the agency. These included sharing information on vulnerabilities and so-called “upstream intelligence.” A spokesperson from the NCA told Motherboard this could include subscriber information, IP addresses, and internet usage data, and could also encompass any other information “that would help law enforcement identify and disrupt the criminals responsible.”

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