Tech Thoughts Net News – Friday – July 8, 2016

Five reasons to upgrade to Windows 10;  Five reasons not to upgrade to Windows 10;  iOS 10 launches in public beta today;  What’s the best and worst browser for Windows 10?  What I learned playing prey to Windows scammers;  Five apps that suit all kinds of calendaring needs – and much more news you need to know.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

What I learned playing prey to Windows scammers – Three months of phone calls prove Windows scammers are more skilled at social engineering than you think.

Five reasons to upgrade to Windows 10 – With time running out for Windows 7 and 8 users to upgrade to Windows 10 for free, here are five arguments for making the jump.

Five reasons not to upgrade to Windows 10 – From privacy to compatibility and control, these are the reasons why you might want to give the upgrade to Windows 10 a miss.

Video: How to remove your Windows 10 password – Windows 10 wants you to enter your password all the time. You can remove your password, or reduce how often you have to enter one, but there are security risks to doing so.

What’s the best and worst browser for Windows 10? – Top browsers Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Internet Explorer are pitted against each other to find out which is the best and worst browser for Windows 10.

Opera’s 4 standout features that make it competitive with Chrome, Edge, and Firefox – Small, scrappy Opera has always been a great browser, but with recent additions of ad-blocking, battery saving and more, it’s bidding for big-time market share.

Best media-streaming stick: Our favorite tools for transforming the boob tube into a full-fledged smart TV – Our in-depth buyers guide and hands-on reviews will help you choose between the current offerings from Roku, Amazon, and Google.


Five apps that suit all kinds of calendaring needs – From spare and simple to feature-rich, one of these calendar apps may offer the perfect level of convenience to help you stay organized.

iOS 10 launches in public beta today – If you’re eager to check out the next version of iOS 10, you’ll have a chance to do just that starting today. Apple is opening up its beta of iOS 10 to the public, letting anyone with an iPhone check it out (that likely means Apple Watch owners will be able to try out the beta of watchOS 3 as well). As always, this is beta software and may be buggy. So you may want to consider installing this on an older phone or a secondary device like an iPad, rather than the main phone you carry with you each and every day.

I won’t install the iOS 10 public beta: This is why – I know how temptation feels; most of us feel it too. The latest, must-have beta arrives – in this case, Apple’s iOS 10, several months before its full release this fall – and before you know it you’re hitting the download button and eagerly installing it onto your precious device. Before you get too carried away, though, stop: there is danger ahead.

Five security settings in iOS 10 you should immediately change – Apple’s latest operating system, iOS 10, is out — albeit in a limited, public preview. Anyone can download the software for iPhone and iPad to see what’s new. The software, officially due later this year, comes with some privacy improvements. Before you do anything like customizing your phone, loading new apps, or syncing your data for the first time, you should take a few steps to lock down your device and protect your privacy. Here are the important tweaks to get you started.

Five good resume apps for job seekers – Whether you’re a job search veteran or new to the game, the apps on this list will simplify the process of creating a resume that gets results.

BlackBerry promises it won’t ditch the physical keyboard – Those who still love BlackBerry tend to love it for one reason only: the physical keyboard. Kim Kardashian has a stockpile of them because of the keyboard. Companies have braved lawsuits to bring the keyboard to other phones. And yet, Blackberry struggles. The company recently announced the discontinuation of its BlackBerry Classic device, and with that announcement came fears that BlackBerry’s physical keyboard days are over.

Samsung’s new UFS memory cards store up to 256GB at crazy fast transfer speeds – Along with the storage bump (though, for the record, the company also showed off a 256GB microSD card back in May), the cards boast some crazy fast read and write times. Read speeds peak out around 530 megabytes per second, which put it at around five times the speed of high-end microSDs. According the company’s numbers, it can read a 5GB movie in 10 seconds, versus 50 seconds on the older format. Write speeds get a bump as well, doubling the top microSDs at around 170 MB/s.

Mozilla aims to combat the closed web by baking smart, open discovery into Firefox – Mozilla’s Context Graph wants to help you find content on the web based on previous user experiences and how one page on the web relates to the other.


Gmail password compromised? Here are 5 steps to help you secure your account and find the leaks – If your Gmail account credentials ever become public, here are five steps you can take to secure your account and make sure only the right people have access to your account.

Google fixes over 100 flaws in Android, many in chipset drivers – Google released a new batch of Android patches on Wednesday, fixing more than 100 flaws in Android’s own components and in chipset-specific drivers from different manufacturers. Android’s media server component, which handles the processing of video and audio streams and has been a source of many vulnerabilities in the past, is at the forefront of this security update. It accounts for 16 Android vulnerabilities, including seven critical flaws that can allow an attacker to execute code with higher privileges.

Wendy’s hack was bigger than thought and exposed credit card data – A data breach that hit Wendy’s fast food restaurants was more than three times bigger than originally disclosed and exposed customer credit card data. The company said Thursday that malware installed in point-of-sale systems was discovered at over 1,000 of its franchised U.S. restaurants — a big jump from the “fewer than 300 stores” it said in May had been affected. Hackers gained access to the machines using remote access credentials of a third-party service provider, Wendy’s said. The breach began in fall 2015 and wasn’t discovered until early this year. As part of its investigation, the company discovered a second malware variant had infected its systems.

Qualcomm says it issued patch for Android encryption flaw over a year ago – Cracking encryption is a topic of perpetual fascination. Congress has made several efforts to legislate it. The FBI tried to force Apple to do it. New messaging apps constantly debut with claims about strong encryption, and controversy bubbles when they neglect it. So when a researcher discovered a flaw in Android’s full disk encryption scheme last week that allowed for decryption of the device, it seemed at first like a revolutionary security discovery. But chipmaker Qualcomm now claims it told Google about the vulnerabilities in November 2014 and February 2015. Google issued patches in January and May of this year — meaning that the company may have known about the problem for over a year before rolling out fixes.

After hiatus, in-the-wild Mac backdoors are suddenly back – After taking a hiatus, Mac malware is suddenly back, with three newly discovered strains that have access to Web cameras, password keychains, and pretty much every other resource on an infected machine. The first one, dubbed Eleanor by researchers at antivirus provider Bitdefender, is hidden inside EasyDoc Converter, a malicious app that is, or at least was, available on a software download site called MacUpdate. When double clicked, EasyDoc silently installs a backdoor that provides remote access to a Mac’s file system and webcam, making it possible for attackers to download files, install new apps, and watch users who are in front of an infected machine. Eleanor communicates with control servers over the Tor anonymity service to prevent them from being taken down or being used to identify the attackers.

Code reuse exposes over 120 D-Link device models to hacking – A recently discovered vulnerability in a D-Link network camera that allows attackers to remotely take over the device also exists in more than 120 other D-Link products. The vulnerability was initially discovered a month ago by researchers from security start-up firm Senrio in D-Link DCS-930L, a Wi-Fi-enabled camera that can be controlled remotely through a smartphone app. The flaw, a stack overflow, is located in a firmware service called dcp, which listens to commands on port 5978. Attackers can trigger the overflow by sending specifically crafted commands and then can execute rogue code on the system.

Oops! Wearables can leak your PINs and passwords – The security nightmare posed by the Internet of Things isn’t just related to the lack of expertise in the types of companies adding connectivity to gizmos and gadgets. It’s the sensitivity of the connected sensors, strewn hither and thither, opening up potential attack vectors for determined hackers. Hence the need for really robust security thinking to lock down the risks. Collaborative research conducted by a team from the department of electrical and computing engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology and Binghamton University in New York State, has demonstrated how a wearable device such as a smartwatch could end up compromising a user’s PIN number thanks to the motion sensing data it generates.

Google is working to safeguard Chrome from quantum computers – Google is working on safeguarding Chrome against the potential threat of quantum computers, the company announced today. It’s doing so by implementing post-quantum cryptography in an experimental version of the browser. While there exist hardware defenses against the vastly superior computing power of quantum machines, Google is using a new so-called post-quantum key-exchange algorithm. This software, called the New Hope algorithm, is enabled in Chrome Canary, a kind of testing ground for new browser technology, on only a small number of connections between the browser and Google servers. Although quantum computers of this variety are only small and experimental at this stage, Google is taking precautions for the worst case scenario.

Here’s how secret voice commands could hijack your smartphone – Kitten videos are harmless, right? Except when they take over your phone. Researchers have found something new to worry about on the internet. It turns out that a muffled voice hidden in an innocuous YouTube video could issue commands to a nearby smartphone without you even knowing it. The researchers describe the threat in a research paper to be presented next month at the USENIX Security Symposium in Austin, Texas.

Company News:

Avast acquires antivirus maker AVG for $1.3BN to gain scale and dive into IoT security – Security giant Avast has announced it intends to acquire fellow Czech-based antivirus software maker AVG for a purchase price of $25.00 per share in cash — resulting in a transaction that will total around $1.3 billion. Avast intends to finance the transaction using cash balances it holds, along with committed debt financing from third party lenders. The deal is aimed at gaining scale and geographical breadth, Avast said today. It also wants to build out its security offerings with an eye on emerging growth opportunities such as in the Internet of Things, as well as on serve existing customers with “more advanced” products.

IRS is investigating Facebook over its assets in Ireland – Facebook is being investigated by US tax authorities over whether the company has possibly undervalued its asset transfers to its Irish subsidiary by billions of dollars. first reported the news of the investigation. The investigation is part of an examination of Facebook’s federal income tax liability in 2010. According to, the IRS says that Facebook’s outside accountants valued the company’s various intangibles (such as its user base and online platform) as standalone assets during the transfer to Facebook’s Irish subsidiary, while Facebook employees value these as “interdependent.”

Walmart Pay rolling out in all stores nationwide – Well, that didn’t take long: just a few days after we hear that Walmart was increasing the number of its stores offering Walmart Pay by about 600, we get news from the massive retailer that Walmart Pay is now available across every one of its stores in the US. If you’re wondering, that means Walmart has increased this launch to include a grand total of around 4,600 stores.

Snapchat hit with class-action lawsuit over sexual content in Discover – Snapchat is facing a new lawsuit over claims that Snapchat Discover routinely serves sexually explicit content to minors without warning them or their parents. The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, was filed by a 14-year-old boy and his mother in US district court this week in the central district of California. The plaintiffs filed their lawsuit after being offended by sexually explicit content in Snapchat Discover channels earlier this month, including a BuzzFeed feature named “23 Pictures That Are Too Real If You’ve Ever had Sex With A Penis.” (NSFW!)

Mozilla Could Cash Out If It Doesn’t Like Yahoo’s New Owner – If Mozilla doesn’t like the company that buys Yahoo, it can walk away from its search contract with Yahoo.

Games and Entertainment:

Battlefield 1’s alpha shows that 4K is within reach for high-end gaming – EA recently ran a closed alpha test of Battlefield 1, and allowed certain outlets access to the game in its unfinished form. So far, the response has been positive, and if you have access to a high-end gaming PC, this might just deliver the smooth 4K gaming experience you’ve been waiting for.


Resident Evil 4 for PS4 and Xbox One will release August 30 – In late February, Capcom announced that it would be releasing Resident Evil 4, 5, and 6 this year for the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4. All has been quiet since, up until today. The current-gen launch date for Resident Evil 4 has been announced: August 30. When that day roles around, fans will be able to get the title for their newest Xbox or PS4, though it won’t be remastered for the latest hardware. It will, however, include all of the game’s bonus content.


In an effort to find more players, Evolve is now free – After struggling for over a year to make Evolve work as a traditional, paid title, the developers at Turtle Rock are making a radical shift to a free-to-play model with Evolve: Stage 2. The game is entering beta today on the PC and possibly coming to consoles in the future. So far, Turtle Rock hasn’t announced how it plans to make money off the new, free version of Evolve. According to an extensive Turtle Rock interview with Game Informer, everything in the game will be unlockable via “silver keys” earned during play. As of now, those keys cannot be purchased for actual money.


Sling TV channel guide: All the programming, and all the restrictions, all in one chart – The streaming service has become more complicated post launch. Here’s how each of Sling TV’s new packages work.

Nvidia announces $249 GTX 1060 to take on AMD’s new mid-range king – AMD concluded the month of June by releasing the Radeon RX480 graphics card, which quickly shot up to the top of reviewers’ recommendation lists for GPUs around the vital $200 to $250 bracket. Seemingly ahead of schedule, Nvidia is rushing out word of its anticipated response, the GeForce GTX 1060, which trickles down some of that excellent GTX 1080 and 1070 performance to the more affordable tier.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Fatal shooting of police officers at Texas rally streamed live on Facebook – A shooting that left at least four police officers dead and seven others wounded Thursday night in downtown Dallas was live-streamed on Facebook, the latest use of the video-sharing feature amid increased violence involving law enforcement. The video, streamed by Michael Kevin Bautista, shows police officers crouched behind department cruisers as shots rang out at a demonstration in response to recent deadly police shootings across the country. The video, which has been viewed more than 1 million times, shows officers lying on the street beside their vehicles as shots continue to be fired.

Investigating Hillary Clinton: More than extreme carelessness, a willful and systemic disregard for required security practice – In light of the FBI’s pronouncement on Hillary Clinton’s email use, presidential email expert David Gewirtz examines recently released government documents that reveal Clinton’s pattern of negligence.

FBI chief says Guccifer lied about hacking into Clinton’s email server – A Romanian hacker’s claim that he broke into Hillary Clinton’s private email server back in 2013 is a lie, according to the FBI.

Get inside London’s Westminster Abbey on Google Street View – If you fancy a stroll through Westminster Abbey, but can’t afford a ticket to London, now you can open Google Street View instead. The centuries-old Gothic church, which has played host to royal wedding and funerals and the coronation of monarchs, was recently added to Google Street View, giving viewers a full tour of the rich interior and the history inside.


If you’re waiting for a self-driving car revolution, keep waiting – Not a week goes by, it seems, without some sort of development in the world regarding self-driving cars. Whether it’s Google going on a hiring spree as it attempts to accelerate its efforts or General Motors acquiring Cruise, a driverless-car startup, the subject consistently finds a place in any given news cycle. But if you‘re waiting for a self-driving car revolution, you better keep waiting. Sure, the technology is there, but there are plenty of legal and regulatory battles that will have to take place before consumers are being zipped around in autonomous cars.

Tackling systemic racism – Discussions around diversity and inclusion in the tech industry are not going away. Not on my watch. Earlier today, I sat down with Erica Baker, an engineer at Slack, and Ellen Pao, formerly of Reddit, to talk about their nonprofit organization for diversity, Project Include, as well as the systemic racism that exists in the United States. In the last couple of days, two black men have been murdered by police in the U.S., Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Systemic racism, as outlined by these recent killings, are at the foundation of diversity and inclusion. So we can’t talk about diversity and inclusion in tech without talking about what’s going on with race in our society at large.

Feds asked to investigate live-streamed death of motorist killed by cop – Gov. Mark Dayton of Minnesota on Thursday asked the Department of Justice to investigate the killing of a black motorist shot by a white police officer. Philando Castile’s dying moments were live-streamed on Facebook, and the incident prompted a comment from President Barack Obama. Dayton said he wanted an “immediate independent federal investigation into this matter.” The governor suggested that racism was to blame for the killing of Castile, a 32-year-old school cafeteria manager, who was shot at least four times by a police officer after being pulled over for a broken taillight in Falcon Heights.

Something to think about:

“3 Dallas Cops killed. 7 wounded. This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you.”

–   Former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh took to Twitter to apparently threaten the president.

“The images we’ve seen this week are graphic and heartbreaking, and they shine a light on the fear that millions of members of our community live with every day,”

–   Mark Zuckerberg

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Facebook ‘glitch’ that deleted the Philando Castile shooting vid: It was the police – sources – The deadly shooting of 32-year-old Philando Castile by a cop during a routine traffic stop in Minnesota on Wednesday just got murkier.

Multiple sources have told The Register that police removed video footage of Castile’s death from Facebook, potentially tampering with evidence.

Castile, his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds, and her four-year-old daughter were pulled over by police in the Falcon Heights suburb of Minneapolis for a broken tail light. Using her cellphone and Facebook Live, Reynolds web-streamed footage of her dying boyfriend after he was shot by a police officer as he reached for his ID in his wallet. The video was mysteriously removed from her Facebook profile as it went viral across the internet.

On Thursday, Facebook said a “technical glitch” caused the recording to be pulled from its social network. However, Reynolds claimed officers seized her phone and took over her Facebook account to delete the evidence.

Multiple sources with knowledge of the event have tonight confirmed to The Register that someone – highly suspected to be the city’s police – used her phone to remove her recording from public view shortly after the shooting.

That move prevented anyone from sharing and watching the vid, until the material was restored about an hour later with a graphic content warning. In the meantime, copies of the footage spread across Twitter and YouTube.

“They took my phone. They took over my Facebook. They took everything I had at the time,” said Reynolds in an emotional press conference after she was arrested by police.

“Everyone who shared my video, they don’t want you guys to be a part of this. They don’t want us to support each other. They’re going to tamper with evidence. This is not right, this is not acceptable. A police officer should not to be able to gun a man down for no reason.”

A spokesperson for the Falcon Heights police department was not available for comment.

Password Sharing Is a Federal Crime, Appeals Court Rules – One of the nation’s most powerful appeals courts ruled Wednesday that sharing passwords can be a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a catch-all “hacking” law that has been widely used to prosecute behavior that bears no resemblance to hacking.

In this particular instance, the conviction of David Nosal, a former employee of Korn/Ferry International research firm, was upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, who said that Nosal’s use of a former coworker’s password to access one of the firm’s databases was an “unauthorized” use of a computer system under the CFAA.

The decision is a nightmare scenario for civil liberties groups, who say that such a broad interpretation of the CFAA means that millions of Americans are unwittingly violating federal law by sharing accounts on things like Netflix, HBO, Spotify, and Facebook. Stephen Reinhardt, the dissenting judge in the case, noted that the decision “threatens to criminalize all sorts of innocuous conduct engaged in daily by ordinary citizens.”


Filed under Latest Tech News

Breaches, Hacks, and Lessons to be Learned

This guest post is contributed by my Aussie mate, Jim Hillier. Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at Dave’s Computer Tips. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele… as well as writing for DCT, of course.


Seems every new day brings news of yet another database breach or two. There was a time when I followed news of these hacks and breaches with interest but they are now so frequent that, unless one is personally involved, it has all become rather mundane.

However, the whole situation begs a couple of important questions and, at the same time, re-enforces the critical nature of how we choose and manage our passwords.

Important Questions

1) Why are companies/site owners not treating users’ data with the utmost care?

I don’t know about you but I am fed up with the lax way in which companies and site owners treat sensitive data which is entrusted to their care.

In today’s internet world, database breaches are a matter of fact yet site owners continue protecting sensitive data using outdated and weak security protocols. Only just recently a new breach came to light involving 40 million passwords extracted from over 1000 sites associated with a Canadian company called VerticalScope. What security protocol did the sites employ to hash and encode users’ passwords… MD5… a known weak and insufficient algorithm.

2) When will governments legislate to ensure that companies/site owners are accountable?

Surely it is incumbent upon these companies/site owners to protect their patrons’ data with the best and most effective security protocols available. However, as many (if not most) seem apathetic to this most basic of duties, then perhaps it’s time for legislators to consider introducing serious punitive measures for  those who fail to do so.

By the way: in response to news of the breach mentioned earlier, VerticalScope’s vice president of corporate development Jerry Orban was quoted as saying:

“We are reviewing our security policies and practices and implementing security changes related to our forum password strength and password expiration policies across certain forum communities.”

How many times have we heard that pathetic  response – I believe it’s commonly referred to as shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. Message to site owners: perhaps these steps might be better implemented before a breach rather than after.  Duh!

Lessons to be Learned


How many times have you read the following advice regarding passwords:

· Choose strong passwords and use a different password for each log-in/account.

· Change passwords for critical accounts, such as banking,  PayPal, etc., frequently.

· If two-factor authentication is available, use it!

If there’s one lesson to be learned from all these breaches and hacks it is the absolute need to follow these basic principles. Remember, if you use weak passwords and/or the same password across multiple accounts, if one account is hacked all the rest are at serious risk.

Too many people just glide along ignoring the dangers until it actually happens to them, however, this is surely a lesson better learned from other people’s mistakes rather than from our own.


Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Internet Safety, Password Control, Safe Surfing

Tech Thoughts Net News – Wednesday – July 6, 2016

How to Try Out Windows 10 for Free for 90 Days;  Five free alternatives to Evernote;  Microsoft releases a free version of Skype for small businesses;  Essential Chrome extensions for cleaning up browser clutter;  Chrome now comes with casting functionality baked in;  A newcomer’s guide to the Raspberry Pi – and much more news you need to know.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

How to Try Out Windows 10 for Free for 90 Days – Not sure whether you want to upgrade to Windows 10? Well, if you do upgrade from Windows 7 or 8.1, you can always roll back to the previous version if you decide Windows 10 isn’t for you. But there’s another way to try out Windows 10, and you don’t have to wipe out your current version of Windows to do so. Microsoft offers a free Windows 10 Enterprise evaluation edition that you can run for 90 days. No strings attached.

Tab tamers: Essential Chrome extensions for cleaning up browser clutter – Working with too many tabs can slow down you and your PC. Manage your multitasking with these add-ons.

Best home security camera: Our favorite tools for keeping an eye on the home front – A boom in wireless security cameras is inspiring a movement in DIY home surveillance. Follow our buying guide and read our reviews to find the best option for you.

Google Chrome now comes with casting functionality baked in –  The latest build of Google Chrome, version 51, now includes a built-in Cast option, meaning users will no longer be required to download a browser extension if they want to beam media from their devices to their TV. While you’ll still need to physically plug a Chromecast device into your telly’s receiver, it’s now simply a matter of right-clicking a tab and selecting the “Cast” option to send it over. What’s more, Google has streamlined the delivery, allowing Chrome to control the parameters automatically, so users are no longer asked to tweak settings for the resolution, bitrate, or quality of the cast.

Microsoft releases a free version of Skype for small businesses – Today, Microsoft announced a free browser version of Skype aimed at small businesses. The service is called Skype Meetings, and it’s the company’s first web-based product after the beta release of Skype for Web last year. Skype Meetings will let you video chat with up to 10 people at a time for the first 60 days of use, and then meeting capacity is limited to three people. It also includes some of the more powerful collaboration tools included with Skype for Business, such as screen sharing and PowerPoint integration.

You can now send files with Skype when the recipient is offline – Microsoft stepped up its battle with the armada of mobile messaging apps on Tuesday, announcing that Skype users can now send files to each other without the recipient needing to be online.

Five free alternatives to Evernote – Evernote’s latest rejigging of pricing and features has got a lot of users down. But fear not, because there are a number of alternatives out there – and for the most part they are totally free.

7 things I learned once I built my first PC – There I was, a first-time PC builder sitting in my office with all the components I’d ordered: a CPU here, a PSU there, plus my trusty anti-static wristband and a screwdriver. I had everything I needed to build my first PC. But I was afraid to open that first box. Why was I paralyzed? Lots of reasons. With no single manual to cover all my PC parts, where was I supposed to begin? What if I couldn’t cram all those cables into my PC case? Had I already blown it by not getting an optical drive? Worst of all, what if I put everything together and my PC refuses to turn on?

Quick intro: A newcomer’s guide to the Raspberry Pi – The potential of this fully functional, ridiculously inexpensive little computer is limited only by your imagination. It’s not too late to join the Raspberry Pi bandwagon.

11 iOS 10 tips you’ll use – Apple’s latest mobile OS, iOS 10, is packed with new additions and new ways to get things done, but what follows are eleven tips you’ll almost certainly use once the public beta ships later this summer or when the final OS reaches out in Fall.

Ten cool searches to try with Google’s Now on Tap – If you’re a Now on Tap newbie and would like to know more about what can be discovered, here’s a breakdown of some of the most interesting discoveries. As with most Google searches, the more you experiment and and try it out in new settings, the better your experience will be.

These Maps Show What the Dark Web Looks Like – What does the dark web actually look like? Well, new research maps out the relationships between a load of Tor hidden services, and shows that many dark web sites, rather than being isolated entities, are perhaps more intimately intertwined than commonly thought.

Rejoice! iPhone 7 tipped to have at least 32GB of storage – Apple is set to double the storage of its entry-level iPhone, with the iPhone 7 expected to kick off at 32GB rather than the much-criticized 16GB of the current model. The increase will address increasingly vocal complaints that 16GB is simply too small in an age of 4K video recording: after all, you can only fit around half an hour of 4K resolution footage on a 16GB iPhone 6s before the device is full, and that’s assuming you don’t download any other apps, games, or media.

Microsoft confirms App-V will be bundled with with Windows 10 Anniversary Update – Microsoft plans to bundle App-V and UE-V, two of its virtualization tools, with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update for Enterprise and Education users only.


The Worst Guide to Digital Security on the Internet Today – It’s no wonder that today more than ever, people are starting to pay attention and getting a bit paranoid when it comes to using computers and the internet. In response to the endless hacks and security scares, some websites have tried—with mixed results—to provide confused consumers with tips and advice on how not to get hacked. The Observer, The Guardian’s sister Sunday newspaper, is the latest to try to help with a guide titled “Extreme online security measures to protect your digital privacy,” which was published last weekend. Unfortunately, despite its best intentions and some good advice, the article contains some pretty awful, confusing, and misguided tips as well. Twitter’s favorite security expert, Swift On Security, went as far as to ask The Observer to delete the article. Here’s what’s wrong with it.

Hackers are coming for your healthcare records — here’s why – Because patient information can be so lucrative, healthcare organizations and insurance companies are being targeted by hackers and should expect to eventually suffer a security breach.

Nasty Lenovo UEFI exploit also affects products from other vendors – A critical vulnerability that was recently found in the low-level firmware of Lenovo ThinkPad systems also reportedly exists in products from other vendors including HP and Gigabyte Technology.

This Android malware has infected 85 million devices and makes its creators $300,000 a month – Gang behind malware make money from fraudulent apps — but if they choose to use their reach for theft, corporations could be put at risk.

HummingBad malware puts 10 million Android devices at risk – There are some malware that are just plain horrifying, like the past Stagefright exploit. Some, like weak ransomware, are a nuisance at best. HummingBad, reported by security outfit Check Point, sits precariously in the middle. Right now, all it does is to compromise an Android device in order to trick people into clicking on ads in order to generate revenue for its creators and its partners. It has, however, the potential to do even more destructive, and profitable, things should the people behind it decide to go beyond mere money-making into a full-on war against security.

How to tell if your Android phone has spyware – Some apps keep tabs on you for legitimate reasons, but some don’t.

Company News:

Blackberry drops Blackberry Classic from its lineup – BlackBerry has tried a lot of things to stay relevant as mobile technology evolves faster than ever before. BlackBerry has dabbled in tablets, it tried running Android apps on BlackBerry OS, and it even dropped the name RIM for the more recognizable “BlackBerry.” When the company decided to move forward with Android as its main mobile platform, fans of the old BlackBerry at least had the BlackBerry Classic handset to keep them happy. That’s no longer the case today. BlackBerry has announced this device will no longer be manufactured, and there isn’t a replacement planned.

Yahoo sales process to reach final steps this month – The final selection process is expected by July 18, as Verizon, Quicken Loans’ founder and private equity firm TPG are currently making bids, according to a report.

The FTC is investigating Ashley Madison – Nearly one year after a security breach resulted in the leak of a massive amount of customer data, Ashley Madison is now being investigated by the US Federal Trade Commission. The company’s new top executives — replacing those who exited after the tumultuous hack — confirmed the inquiry in an interview with Reuters. CEO Rob Segal isn’t exactly sure what the FTC is focusing its probe on, but the leading theory is that it’s tied to the website’s use of “fembots” to artificially balance the male/female ratio. “That’s a part of the ongoing process that we’re going through,” he told Reuters. “It’s with the FTC right now.”

Apple sued in China for streaming 1994 propaganda film – Is the honeymoon between Apple and China really over? After what seemed like the start of a beautiful, not to mention profitable, relationship, Apple has been hit with setback after setback in the notoriously impenetrable Chinese market. For this latest round, it is being sued by Movie Satellite Channel Program Production Center, a subsidiary of the country’s media regulator, for allegedly streaming a “propaganda” film hailing from 1994. The odd part is that Apple isn’t the one streaming the said film but simply one of the apps available from its iTunes App Store.

Google asks court to sanction Oracle for revealing details of Apple deal – The court motion claims both Google and Apple were harmed when Oracle’s attorney revealed their business dealings.

Netflix and Comcast announce new partnership after years of fighting – If you’ve been following the tense relationship between Netflix and Comcast over the past few years, then this may come as something of a shock to you: the two companies have just announced a new partnership that will bring Netflix to Comcast’s X1 set-top box. We never thought we’d see the day, but it would appear that Comcast has decided to stop fighting Netflix and instead work alongside it, finally seeing the benefits that could potentially come from working together.

Games and Entertainment:

PlayStation Plus free games of July 2016 for PS4, PS3, PS Vita available today – The games — there are six up for grabs across PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita — will be available to download when the PlayStation Store updates in the coming hours. As announced previously, July 2016’s lineup includes Furi and Saints Row: Gat out of Hell on PS4, while Fat Princess and Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood will be free on PS3. PlayStation Vita owners, meanwhile, can pick up Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines and Prince of Persia: Revelation free during the month. As an extra bonus, the Paragon Starter Pack is going to be free all month long.

Xbox’s Ultimate Game Sale goes live across Xbox One, 360 – Not content to let PC gamers have all the fun this summer, Microsoft has rolled out its Ultimate Game Sale for both Xbox One and Xbox 360. This is one of the largest sales of the year for the Xbox brand, with more than 250 titles getting discounts across both platforms. Xbox’s Ultimate Game Sale comes on the heels of Steam’s annual Summer Sale, which wrapped yesterday after offering up thousands of discounts on games across its store.

The 10 Most Pirated Movies – Films starring Emilia Clarke, Jeff Goldblum, and Kevin Hart appear in this week’s list of the most pirated movies on the Internet.

Pokémon Go is now rolling out for iOS and Android – Pokémon Go, the augmented reality mobile game from Nintendo and developer Niantic Labs, is out now for both iOS and Android in select countries. The app’s Play Store listing is available here and the App Store link here. However, it appears to be unavailable for some US users at this time, while Australia and New Zealand users are reporting the app is indeed available for both Android and iOS. According to The Wall Street Journal, The Pokémon Company is recommending US and Japan users “please wait for a while” for the app’s official launch in those markets. For those who haven’t been following the title’s development, the game uses your smartphone’s camera and sensors, as well as location-based algorithms, to place pokémon in the real world.

Blizzard brings lawsuit against Overwatch cheat maker – Rather unsurprisingly, Overwatch has become one of the biggest games of 2016 in just a few short weeks. Unfortunately, the game’s popularity comes with a number of drawbacks. Chief among this list of drawbacks is the problem of cheaters, who have been flocking to the new game to assert their dominance through hacks and cheating programs. Blizzard has determined that enough is enough and, not content with just banning the offenders from the game, has gone after the creator of Overwatch cheating software in a new lawsuit.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Android is imploding, and there’s nothing that can be done to stop it – There are more OEMs scrambling over one another for attention than there are customers to go around.

Survey: Wearable inaccuracy is top complaint, and here’s what else users want to track – According to a new Valencell survey, users want better accuracy and more usable insights from their wearable devices. Also, less than half want to wear them all day and night.

The worth of your professional profile, network and personal data – Tim Berners-Lee created the web in 1989. Twenty-seven years later, he’s asking for a reinvention. The web has made life easier, but it has also introduced challenges and ethical questions pertaining to personal data, access to information and privacy. Berners-Lee laments that the web has morphed into a surveillance network filled with corporate hackers and government spooks with the tools to troll your every keystroke and mine your personal data.

Life after death? It may depend on how much you tweet, blog, post, or email – If you find it creepy when a deceased person’s Facebook page continues to morph and expand even after they have passed away, life is about to get a whole lot creepier. Enter augmented eternity – a movement that has as its goal using artificial intelligence to convert a person’s digital footprint into a chatbot-like personality capable of answering questions, engaging in discourse, and otherwise impersonating the conversational style of an individual. Dr. Hossein Rahnama, of MIT Media Lab, is on a crusade to make this vision of the future a reality.

The FBI recommends not to indict Hillary Clinton for email misconduct – The Federal Bureau of Investigation has completed its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server and is recommending that the Department of Justice not indict Clinton, FBI Director James Comey said in a press conference today. The recommendation is not binding, and the ultimate decision will be made by the Department of Justice. Still, the recommendation will likely clear longstanding questions that have dogged Clinton’s presidential campaign for over a year.

Reminder: Public Officials Using Private Email Servers Is Indefensible – Tuesday morning, FBI Director James Comey announced that the agency would recommend the United States not pursue criminal charges against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server during her time as Secretary of State. The people who have spent the last year harping on Hillary’s emails have been cast as being conspiracy theorists, Donald Trump shills, bogged down in minutia, and out of touch with reality; even Bernie Sanders famously said people are “sick and tired of hearing about [her] damn emails.” But the truth is that Clinton’s decision to use private email as Secretary of State was colossally negligent at best and is utterly indefensible.

Paul Ryan tells Trump: Clean up your tweeting act – Technically Incorrect: Saying there’s no place for anti-Semitic images, the Speaker of the House says the Republican Party’s presumptive candidate needs to change his Twitter habits.

Fearing surveillance, man allegedly shot at Google and set self-driving car ablaze – A man who told police he feared being watched by Google has been arrested and charged with arson after one of the company’s self-driving cars was destroyed in an attack in June.

Something to think about:

“Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time.”

–    Rabbinical Saying

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Tech industry gangs up on European Commission, calls for cookie law to be scrapped – A massive coalition of tech and telco companies have called for the EU’s so-called cookie law to be repealed.

Ars reported yesterday that the European Commission was working to overhaul the current ePrivacy Directive, and had held a public consultation soliciting feedback. But a group of 12 trade bodies has now called for it to be scrapped altogether. The coalition includes the European Telecommunications and Network Operators association (ETNO), the European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA), the GSMA representing mobile operators, the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), IAB, the interactive advertising bureau, and DigitalEurope.

“We believe that simplifying and streamlining regulation will benefit consumers by ensuring they are provided with a simple, consistent, and meaningful set of rules designed to protect their personal data,” said the group. “At the same time, it will encourage innovation across the digital value chain and drive new growth and social opportunities. This is critical at a time when digital companies are striving to launch new innovative services and working to build a 5G Europe.”

The coalition brings together telco operators (including BT, Telefonica, Orange, T-Mobile, TalkTalk, Vodafone, and Three), online service providers (such as Netflix, Fastnet, eBay, Facebook, Foursquare, Google, Linkedin, Dropbox, Amazon, and Paypal), hardware manufacturers (amongst them, Microsoft, Apple, Blackberry, and Huawei), and online publishers.

Europol’s online censorship unit is haphazard and unaccountable says NGO – Europol’s Internet Referral Unit (IRU) celebrated its first birthday at the weekend, but civil liberties organisations are worried that it goes too far in its efforts to keep the Web free from extremist propaganda.

The IRU has been up and running since July 2015 as part of the European Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC) in the Hague. The unit is charged with monitoring the Internet for extremist propaganda and referring “relevant online content towards concerned Internet service providers” in particular social media. Much was made of how the IRU could “contact social network service provider Facebook directly to ask it to delete a Web page run by ISIS or request details of other pages that might be run by the same user.”

Rules give legal certainty to unit tackling online terrorist propaganda, extremism.

Although companies are not required to take down the content, European Commission figures from April 2016 show that the IRU had an effective removal rate of 91 percent. At that time it had assessed more than 4,700 posts across 45 platforms and sent over 3,200 referrals for Internet companies to remove content. The totals now are closer to 8,000 and 7,000, and Europol told Ars it will publish full details in the coming days.

US appeals court: Anti-hacking law applies to password sharing case – A US appeals court on Tuesday ruled that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a broad anti-hacking law passed in 2005, applies to a case in which a former executive gained access to his former employer’s confidential client data through a password that was voluntarily shared with him.

In a two-to-one ruling, a three-judge panel on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of David Nosal, who used the information from his former employer — Korn/Ferry International — to start a new firm. He gained access to the data after his former secretary shared her password with him.

The ruling expands the already-sweeping scope of the CFAA, which imposes criminal penalties on anyone who “knowingly and with intent to defraud, accesses a protected computer without authorization, or exceeds authorized access, and bymeans of such conduct furthers the intended fraud and obtains anything of value.”

UK Police Accessed Civilian Data for Fun and Profit, New Report Says – More than 800 UK police staff inappropriately accessed personal information between June 2011 and December 2015, according to a report from activist group Big Brother Watch.

The report says some police staff used their access to a growing trove of police data, which includes personal information on civilians, for entertainment and personal and financial gain.

The report, which is based on Freedom of Information requests sent to all UK police forces, raises questions about the police’s ability to protect civilian data. Specifically, privacy advocates are concerned about access to Internet Connection Records, which is the new type of data that would be collected under the UK’s Investigatory Powers Bill.

In several notable incidents, one Metropolitan Police officer found the name of a victim so funny that he attempted to take a photo of the driving license and send it to his friend over Snapchat. A Greater Manchester Police officer tipped someone off that they would be arrested, and one from North Yorkshire Police conducted a check on a vehicle on his phone whilst off-duty.


Filed under Latest Tech News

Tech Thoughts Net News – Monday – July 4, 2016

How to Get Google to Quit Tracking You;  8 mobile apps designed to help veterans;  Geek Uninstaller now Removes Windows Apps;  20 Things You Should Throw Away for Better Health;   Apps for planning your vacation;  Invoxia’s Voice Bridge puts your landline in your pocket – and much more news you need to know.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

How to Get Google to Quit Tracking You – On Google Maps, the search giant is with you every step of the way. But you can do something about it.

Microsoft’s Windows 10 nagware goes FULL SCREEN in final push – As the Windows 10 free upgrade period draws to a close, Microsoft is stepping up its operating system’s nagware to full-screen takeovers. The Redmond software giant confirmed today it will start showing dark blue screens urging people to install the latest version of Windows. The full-screen ads will pop up on Windows 7 and 8.1 desktops from now until July 30, when the free upgrade period ends. “This notification is a reminder that the Window 10 free upgrade offer ends on July 29, 2016. Microsoft recommends that you upgrade to Windows 10 before the offer expires,” Microsoft said.


A Jim Hillier article – Geek Uninstaller now Removes Windows Apps – The latest version of Geek Uninstaller, a popular third-party program for removing installed software, now also supports removing Windows Store apps. Geek Uninstaller is a portable program which not only uninstalls software but also scans for and removes leftover traces, in much the same way as Revo Uninstaller. The latest update to Geek Uninstaller introduces support for the removal of Windows Store apps in addition to desktop programs. Thankfully, Geek Uninstaller has not merged Windows apps with the list of desktop programs and maintains both lists separately, making it much easier for users to identify which is which.

Apps for planning your vacation – It’s 4th of July weekend, and if you’re not off traveling somewhere, hopefully you’re taking a summer trip soon. From Kayak to Tripadvisor, there are plenty of apps that want to help you maximize your vacation planning. We’ve found some others that are worth a mention, too. TechCrunch tested out dozens of travel apps and these are our favorites right now.

8 mobile apps designed to help veterans – As a US Army veteran I’m proud of the time I served. I count myself among the lucky veterans that left service without any serious physical or mental harm. For those that weren’t so fortunate taking advantage of the services offered to veterans can be difficult. That’s why I put together this list of apps that are great for veterans. Whether you need emergency help, need to determine what level of service connected disability payment you’re eligible for, or simply want to network with vets there are some great apps available.

Facebook looks to break language barriers with new translation tool – Facebook is taking a major step in helping users around the world connect with more people by helping them share their posts and comments in multiple languages. The world’s largest social network announced today that its own developers have built a multilingual composer. A user test of the service will begin today. The tool enables users to compose a single post that will appear in multiple languages. Other users will see that post in their preferred language.

Google extends free trial for Google Play Music and YouTube Red to 4 months – Google has offered pretty generous trials for its Google Play Music / YouTube Red services in the past, including up to 90 days for just $1, but this 4th of July weekend the deal became even sweeter. First spotted by 9to5Google, the free trial for the $9.99 a month unlimited music streaming service and ad-free YouTube experience has expanded to four months for new subscribers. Getting unlimited streaming music and no ads on YouTube for a third of a year without having to pay anything is really one of the best deals in streaming.

End of an era: Linux distributions will soon stop supporting 32-bit PCs – Linux 32-bit support is going away. According to developers, it’s too much hassle to support, for a decreasing numbers of users. “I know some people passionately enjoy their old 32-bit hardware, but I think now’s the time to consider letting it go,” said OpenSUSe’s Richard Brown.

Free SEO analysis from SearchBloom – Search engine optimization is something you should take very seriously when you’re running an online business. If your site’s content isn’t easily found through Google, your entire operation could be severely impacted. So take a few minutes, have your site analyzed for free on SearchBloom, and find out what changes you should make going forward.

Invoxia’s Voice Bridge puts your landline in your pocket – If you’ve ever wished you could roll out a five-mile extension cable for your home phone so you can get your calls when you’re out and about, Invoxia’s new Voice Bridge may be the solution to your globetrotting woes. It’s a virtual phone that connects your landline to your Wi-Fi, making it available via an app.


Google Chrome gets built-in Cast integration – One of the most handy features of Google’s Cast television dongle is how easy it is to broadcast your Chrome browser tab onto a bigger screen. That is, as long as you have the browser extension installed. Well, that will soon no longer be the case, as Google has revealed that version 51 of Chrome for the desktop (rolling out now) will have the Cast option built right in. As is the case with software updates rolling out gradually, not everyone may have access to the setting just yet, so be patient if it’s not there. If you do have it, “Cast” can be found under the 3-dot tools button, on the right-hand side of the browser. Alternatively you can just right-click on any tab.

Amazon Echo now lets you order products from Amazon – Although there are a few limitations, you can now purchase a wide variety of products from Amazon by merely talking to Amazon’s virtual assistant.

Obnoxious iOS Apps That Will Drive Your Friends Crazy – Do you want fewer pals and associates? This collection of iOS apps might be the way to get there.

Dating sites for Trekkies, vampire lovers and just about anyone else – There’s a dating site for just about everyone, even if your idea of a perfect mate is a bit…unusual.


The first big Internet of Things security breach is just around the corner – A huge security breach traced back to an unsecured IoT device will happen within the next two years, warn security experts.

Satana ransomware encrypts user files and master boot record – Attackers are developing an aggressive new ransomware program for Windows machines that encrypts user files as well as the computer’s master boot record (MBR), leaving devices unable to load the OS. The program is dubbed Satana — meaning “Satan” in Italian and Romanian — and, according to researchers from security firm Malwarebytes, it is functional but still under development. Satana is the second ransomware threat affecting the MBR and seems inspired by another program, Petya, that appeared in March.

Lenovo scrambling to get a fix for BIOS vuln – Lenovo, and possibly other PC vendors, is exposed to a UEFI bug that can be exploited to disable firmware write-protection. If the claims made by Dmytro Oleksiuk at Github are correct, an attacker can “disable flash write protection and infect platform firmware, disable Secure Boot, [and] bypass Virtual Secure Mode (Credential Guard, etc.) on Windows 10 Enterprise.” The reason Oleksiuk believes other vendors are also vulnerable is that the buggy code is inherited from Intel.

Company News:

Walmart Pay rolls out to hundreds of stores across the U.S. – Walmart Pay, following a limited launch earlier this year, has gone live in about 600 stores across 14 states, including Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Oregon, and more. With Walmart Pay, customers at supported stores can use their phone and the Walmart app to pay for their goods at the register in the same way one would use Samsung Pay or Android Pay. The system is exclusive to Walmart, though, which had notably turned its nose up at other options in favor of its own platform.

Apple returns fire on Spotify, calling out ‘rumors and half-truths’ over App Store rejection – The dispute between Apple and Spotify over subscription revenues continues today with a letter from the former accusing the latter of using “rumors and half-truths” to advance “unfair and unreasonable” demands.

Google age-discrimination lawsuit may become a monster – There’s a motion to turn an existing lawsuit into a class action. People who interviewed in person for certain types of engineering jobs, were over the age of 40 at the time and were rejected could be eligible to join.

Senate ditches BlackBerry, offers iPhone SE and Galaxy S6 instead – Blackberry, despite its best efforts to stay alive, has failed to keep up with its iOS and Android competition, and its days as a ubiquitous brand in the political world has largely reached its end. According to a notice sent out to Senate staffers, including the system administrators, administrative managers, and chief clerks, BlackBerry phones and support will be available for as long as the Senate’s existing phone stock lasts; staffers who want to ditch the phones altogether, though, are being given the option of an iPhone SE or a Galaxy S6.

BlackBerry is reportedly building three new Android phones – BlackBerry is going all-in on Android, and perhaps with more devices than we thought. BlackBerry is currently working on three new Android phones, according to Evan Blass, a journalist with an excellent track record for phone leaks. The three new phones are codenamed Neon, Argon and Mercury, according to Blass’ source, and we will reportedly see one of the phones each quarter.

Independence Day: How developer and customer revolt will de-throne Apple – Perhaps it’s time for a new 3rd-party, truly independent app store — one not tied to an existing player — so that developers and end-users can determine their own fates?

SoftBank reportedly under investigation – The Securities and Exchange Commission is probing the internet and telecom giant over Nikesh Arora’s activities before he resigned as president, according to reports.

Microsoft Won, But Who Else Wanted LinkedIn? – New documents reveal some of the other companies that were allegedly interested in purchasing LinkedIn.

Games and Entertainment:

Xbox Play Anywhere launches on September 13th – Microsoft revealed its Xbox Play Anywhere initiative back at E3 last month. It lets you buy participating cross-platform games once and play them on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs. Microsoft is planning to bring all of its future first-party games to Windows 10 and Xbox One as part of the Xbox Play Anywhere initiative. Microsoft is now planning to launch Xbox Play Anywhere on September 13th. The new option will require the Windows 10 Anniversary Update on the PC side, and the summer Xbox One update for the console. Games listed in the Xbox Store will include a Play Anywhere logo to indicate they work with the scheme, and Microsoft has a number of titles arriving later this year that will support Play Anywhere. Here’s the full list of supported titles so far:

There Are Almost 200 VR Games on Steam, and That’s Not Necessarily Good for VR – The launch of the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift this year began the virtual reality era. The fledgling VR ecosystem exploded since, with companies announcing new VR hardware or crowdfunding campaigns constantly. There are already 189 games organized under “VR” on Steam. A lot of games should be a boon for a new platform like VR. In the console gaming world, the quickest way to sink a new hardware release is to launch with no games (I’m looking at you, Nintendo GameCube). The trouble is, a big chunk of these new VR games are terrible. At best, they’re experimental prototypes put forth in good faith by inexperienced developers exploring new technology. At worst, they’re shovelware, low-quality shit plopped onto Steam’s doorstep and set on fire.

13 Patriotic Movies – Fire up these patriotic flicks on Netflix, Amazon, or HBO; you’ll be chanting USA! in no time.

AMD promises fix for Radeon RX 480’s controversial, spec-exceeding power consumption – AMD’s $200 Radeon RX 480 draws much more power than it should through your motherboard, which could damage low-end systems.

5 Video Games You’ll Want to Buy in July – July marks the beginning of the second half of the year, as well as the beginning of the video game lull. There are fewer games to be had over the next month, but we’ve put together a list of five hot titles to keep you busy as you wait for the fall gaming surge.

Off Topic (Sort of):

20 Things You Should Throw Away for Better Health – When we talk about the steps you need to take to get healthier, they often involve buying new things: workout clothes, fitness equipment, ingredients for healthy recipes, and the list goes on. But becoming the healthiest version of yourself also means throwing away the stuff that’s holding you back—and we don’t only mean junk food. Get your recycling or garbage can ready!

Trump deletes Star of David tweet after angry response – The Twitter feed of the presumptive Republican nominee for president drew criticism Saturday after it featured a collage showing Hillary Clinton, a pile of money and the Jewish symbol.

Why the Internet of Things May Change How We View Privacy – Mark Zuckerberg famously claimed that privacy was no longer “a social norm,” but the new social norm may not long survive the coming of the Internet of Things.

Top 10 emerging technologies from the World Economic Forum – The World Economic Forum has put together a list of the top 10 emerging technologies that will change our lives. The list includes nanosensors that will circulate through the human body, a battery that will be able to power an entire town and socially aware artificial intelligence that will track our finances and health. These are not far-flung visions, according to the forum. They are technologies that are on the cusp of having a meaningful impact.

Cop who drew gun on man filming him says man deserved it – In May, we told you of a lawsuit involving a Rohnert Park, California, cop who looked ready to fire his handgun at a man who was filming him. Last year’s standoff happened right outside the resident’s house. Claiming civil rights violations, the alleged victim sued (PDF) the officer and police department that is located about an hour north of San Francisco. The police department and officer, David Rodriguez, have now responded to the lawsuit. They essentially say it was resident Don McComas’ fault from the get go and that McComas’ own actions outside his house prompted the officer to draw his weapon on the Rohnert Park man.

Plants Can Assess Risk Similar to Animals – Risk assessment has previously been documented in dozens of animals, including humans, primates, birds, and insects. Recently, a team from Oxford and Israel’s Tel-Hai College demonstrated for the first time that plants are also sensitive to the variability of resources in their environment, and are thus making risk assessments despite lacking a central nervous system.

Israel calls Facebook a ‘monster’ for not helping to curb violence – Israel has accused Facebook of not doing enough to curb online content that incites violence against the state, with Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan describing the social network as a “monster” during a television interview on Saturday. Facebook defended its moderation policy in a statement to Reuters on Sunday, saying that it works closely with Israel to remove hateful or abusive content. The company did not directly address Erdan’s comments.

5 Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Someone: Backed By Research – Here are the things you can tell just by looking at someone.

Something to think about:

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.”

–     John Adams

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

UN condemns internet access disruption as a human rights violation – The United Nations Human Rights Council has passed a non-binding resolution condemning countries that intentionally disrupt citizens’ internet access. The resolution builds on the UN’s previous statements on digital rights, reaffirming the organization’s stance that “the same rights people have offline must also be protected online,” in particular the freedom of expression covered under article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The resolution was passed by consensus last Friday, but was opposed by a minority of authoritarian regimes including Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia, as well as democracies like South Africa and India.

Has technology made us more independent? – As the British celebrate their independence from the French and Germans, and we celebrate our independence from the British, I wonder about technology.

Has it made us more independent?

Has the rise of Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and friends made us all wake up in the morning and ululate with freedom at the choices placed in front of us?

Those who proclaim their independence feel they have thrown off their shackles in order to lower their hackles.

They are now truly themselves, masters of their own journeys, free to be whoever they want to be.

Yet we now seem angrier than we have for some time.

Tech companies, insisting they’ve made the world a better place, tell us they’re letting us be free. Which is nice of them.

It is, though, a curious independence.

SECURITY TIPS EVERY SIGNAL USER SHOULD KNOW – THERE ARE DOZENS of messaging apps for iPhone and Android, but one in particular continues to stand out in the crowd. Signal is easy to use, works on both iOS and Android, and encrypts communications so that only the sender and recipient can decipher them.

It also has open source code, meaning it can be inspected to verify security. You can download Signal from the Android Play Store and the iPhone App Store.

Although Signal is well-designed, there are extra steps you must take if you want to maximize the security for your most sensitive conversations — the ones that could be misinterpreted by an employer, client, or airport security screener; might be of interest to a snooping government, whether at home or abroad; or could allow a thief or hacker to blackmail you or steal your identity.

I discuss these steps at length below, in order of importance. If you wish to jump ahead to a specific section, you can click the appropriate link:


Filed under Latest Tech News

Tech Thoughts Net News – Friday – July 1, 2016

Why antivirus programs have become the problem, not the solution;  Free Wi-Fi connections put business travellers at risk;  Stop or roll back a Windows 10 upgrade;  Here’s a big list of all the “Ok, Google” commands;  The Case for Buying an Unlocked Phone;  Cracking Android’s full-disk encryption is easy on millions of phones – and much more news you need to know.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Judge says IP address alone can’t prove copyright infringement – Faced with the hordes on the Internet downloading their content without paying, some copyright holders have adopted a very aggressive tactic. Armed with teams of lawyers, film studios have taken to filing lawsuits against alleged infringers. One judge in Oregon seems to have gotten fed up with the practice. These infringement cases usually proceed in the same basic way. A copyright holder files suit against a batch of IP addresses without names attached. They get a subpoena forcing the ISPs that assigned those addresses to reveal the subscriber details. Once they have that, copyright holders can try to extract cash with vague threats and good old-fashioned lawsuits. One of the arguments against this practice is that an IP address isn’t a person, it just describes an endpoint of the ISP’s network. This appears to be the perspective of Magistrate Beckerman.

Why antivirus programs have become the problem, not the solution – This week, Tavis Ormandy of Google’s Project Zero security research team disclosed a major vulnerability in security products by Symantec (and their consumer-targeted Norton brand) which arguably make users of these products less secure than they would be without an antivirus program at all. This vulnerability is particularly bad—exploiting the vulnerability requires no user interaction. The vulnerability exists in a default configuration, and code execution occurs at the highest privilege level, if not the kernel itself. According to Ormandy, open source libraries used in the products such as libmspack and unrarsrc had not been updated “in at least 7 years.”

Free Wi-Fi connections put business travellers at risk – Kaspersky – A Kaspersky Lab survey of almost 12,000 international business travellers reveals that four out of five use free Wi-Fi services, and that senior managers assume their work devices are secure. If they fall victim to cybercrimes, it’s the IT department’s fault.

Director of National Intelligence tells US travelers to use a burner phone overseas – Watch the news on any given day in 2016 and there will be a segment about unrest in other countries, terrorist attacks, and specific areas being on high alert because intelligence service believe an attack is imminent. With that in mind, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has weighed in to ensure any US traveler going abroad is suitably paranoid and prepared. Recommending the use of a burner phone and throwaway email account, though? That’s the next level of travel and personal security. It is sound advice, and it is advice your typical business traveler probably doesn’t even understand (unless they watch a lot of spy movies) let alone consider doing.

Google wants to show you all the data it’s collected about your online habits – The web giant’s new tool lets you review the sites you visit, the searches you make and the videos you watch, among other things.

How to Stop Animated GIFs From Auto-Playing in Your Browser – Hate visiting a Web page and being inundated with animations you didn’t want to play? Here’s how to stop the GIFs!

Stop or roll back a Windows 10 upgrade – Windows 10 has been installing itself on PCs with Windows 7 or 8.1. If you want to stick with a previous version of Windows, you can in a few easy steps.

The top 5 Android Nougat features I’m excited about – Today has been a big day for Android, with Google finally announcing the name of Android 7.0 as Android Nougat. With just the name alone, I already feel like we’re closing in on release (though realistically Android Nougat likely won’t be out for another couple of months), so I thought I’d put together a list of the Nougat features I’m most excited about. Keep in mind that isn’t going to be a comprehensive list of all the new features coming in Android Nougat, just the ones I’m looking forward to the most.

Android Nougat? Really? Here are at least eight better names – The Googleplex has christened the next version of Android to be nougat, after a sweet treat not all people understand. Surely we could do better?

The Case for Buying an Unlocked Phone – Unlocked phones are still only a small part of the US market, but they’re growing. Here are five good reasons to jump on board.

Here’s a big list of all the “Ok, Google” commands you’ve probably forgotten – It’s the challenge that invisible voice interfaces like Android’s “Ok, Google” and Apple’s Siri face — how do you show users what they can ask without throwing a massive, not-so-magical text list of commands at them? When the interface learns new commands, how are users supposed to know that? Alas, this can mean that most people (me!) end up remembering three or four commands that they use regularly — and everything else gathers dust. Does that sound like you? Bookmark this one:

Google Keep gets improved search, Docs gains comment notifications in round of updates – Keep will automatically sort your notes, while Docs gets better notifications on both Android and the web.

Beloved VLC media player releases a robust universal Windows 10 app – Two years ago, VLC-maker VideoLan rolled out a version of its popular open source media player for the Windows Store. Now the group is back with a new beta version of VLC for the Windows Store built on the universal Windows platform (UWP) for Windows 10. Even better, the app actually takes advantage of the UWP to bring VLC to multiple Windows 10 device types, including PCs, tablets, Windows 10 Mobile, and even the HoloLens augmented reality headset.

Facebook simplifies confusing chatbots with buttons, not text commands – “What do I type?” is the big question making chatbots hard to use. So today Facebook Messenger is giving chatbot developers new “Quick Reply” buttons and persistent menu options to make their bots easier to navigate. Messenger bots can also now send videos, audio, GIFs, and files so they can encompass wider range of use cases.

Facebook throws out the news Paper – Facebook has pulled the Paper app from the app store and will discontinue support for existing downloads of it on July 29th, according to a message show to all user. Despite it’s eye-catching, progressive design, the experience proved unnecessary for most and too unfamiliar for those that tried it. Part of the app will live on, though, as design elements and features in Facebook’s Instant Articles. For example, Facebook pioneered the tilt-to-pan method of exploring wide landscape images in Paper when it was launched in 2014.

Sengled Pulse Solo review: You can put a JBL speaker in your lamp. Question is, should you? – In 2016, the idea of controlling a light bulb from your smartphone is old hat. Controlling said bulb and streaming music to its built-in speakers is, apparently, all the rage. The $59 Sengled Pulse Solo ($43 from Amazon as of this story’s writing) is one such product. Using Sengled’s companion Android or iOS app, you can control the LED bulb’s brightness and adjust volume as needed. So, is a Bluetooth-connected, 550-lumen (50-watt equivalent), dimmable, warm white (2700K) LED bulb with an integrated speaker you can stream your favorite tunes to all it’s cracked up to be? Kind of.



Norton, Symantec security software riddled with critical vulnerabilities – Google’s latest Project Zero report found multiple devastating bugs in Symantec and Norton products. You’ll want to update immediately if you use them in enterprise or consumer flavors.

1.2 million infected: Android malware ‘Hummer’ could be biggest trojan ever – Security researchers recently issued warnings against a trojan family known as Hummer, which affects more than a million phones by installing malware and unwanted apps.

This mobile Trojan from China fills your phone with porn apps – Malware that secretly installs porn apps on your phone is infecting devices by the millions, becoming the world’s largest mobile Trojan.

Skyrocketing Android ransomware has quadrupled over past year, says new report – A Kaspersky Lab reports Android ransomware is booming, quadrupling over the past year alone, shedding light on the growing problem of non-PC ransomware.

Cracking Android’s full-disk encryption is easy on millions of phones – with a little patience – Android’s full-disk encryption on millions of devices can be cracked by brute-force much more easily than expected – and there’s working code to prove it. Essentially, if someone seizes your Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered phone, they can potentially decrypt its file system’s contents with a friendly Python script without knowing your password or PIN.

Blocking JavaScript can stop some Windows malware – Email attachments are probably the most common mechanism for infecting a Windows computer. As potential victims get wise to the tried and true infection schemes, bad guys have a relatively new wrinkle — the attached malicious file is JavaScript. JavaScript, or more correctly in this case, JScript files, are plain text files that end in “.js.” JavaScript files are normally found in web pages where your web browser interprets the instructions and executes them. By and large, JavaScript inside a web page is safe as the browser limits the fish bowl where it lives to a single web page. But, JavaScript let loose on a Windows machine is an entirely different matter.

Over 100 DDoS botnets built using Linux malware for embedded devices – LizardStresser, the DDoS malware for Linux systems written by the infamous Lizard Squad attacker group, was used over the past year to create over 100 botnets, some built almost exclusively from compromised internet-of-things devices.

Company News:

Google’s offices in Spain raided by tax authorities – The raid on Google’s Madrid headquarters and its Google Campus workspace are related to VAT payments and non-residence tax, according to Spanish press. The company is suspected of not declaring part of its business activity performed in Spanish territory and therefore of failing its local tax obligations. A Google spokesperson declined to answer specific questions about the raid, but did provide the following statement: “We comply with the tax law in Spain, as in every other country in which we operate. We are cooperating fully with the authorities in Madrid to answer their questions, as always.”

Oracle owes HP $3 billion in damages for breach of contract, jury says – Oracle must pay HP $3 billion in damages, a California jury has ordered, for breaching a contract relating to HP’s servers. HP says Oracle broke an agreement to keep developing software for servers based on Intel’s Itanium chips, while Oracle had argued that Intel made it clear in 2011 that the chip type was on its way to obsolesce, and that it didn’t have a contract to keep developing the software forever. The jury’s order comes four years after judge James Kleinberg originally ruled that the two companies did indeed have a contract in place.

Seagate to cut 1,600 jobs amid weak demand – Seagate said it will cut about 1,600 jobs — or 3 percent of its workforce — as part of a restructuring plan that should be complete by the end of September. The company added in a regulatory filing that it expects to take a charge of $62 million in its fiscal fourth quarter. Charges will cover employee termination costs. However, Seagate also said it will save about $100 million a year. The storage company has been struggling with weak growth, and in April, cut its outlook. For its fiscal third quarter, Seagate reported a net loss of $21 million, or 7 cents a share, on revenue of $2.6 billion. On a non-GAAP basis, Seagate reported earnings of $66 million, or 22 cents a share, for the third quarter.

Spotify cries foul again over Apple’s anti-competitive ploy – Apple has been known to exercise an iron hand when it comes to apps in its iTunes Store, sometimes rejecting updates or even entire apps based on what some claim to be whimsical or downright anti-competitive rules. That is the picture that Spotify is painting in a letter addressed to Apple’s general counsel over Apple’s recent rejection of an update to Spotify’s iOS app. According to the music streaming giant, Apple cites “business model rules” as the reason for the rejection. Which is just another way of saying that it wants Spotify to reinstate in-app billing via iTunes, which would require Spotify to fork over 30% of subscription fees to Apple.

Dell gets out of the Android business, and everything old is new again – There’s a lot of competition and not a lot of profit in the Android ecosystem, so it’s not exactly surprising to hear that Dell plans to exit the Android business in order to focus on its Windows PCs and convertibles. According to The Verge, the company will continue to honor warranties and service contracts for Venue Android tablets, but it will no longer sell or develop new hardware and will stop releasing software updates for current devices. This means no more updates for relatively recent releases like the odd but relatively well-reviewed Venue 8 7000.

IBM and Cisco team up on enterprise collaboration to stave off rivals like Slack and Microsoft – IBM and Cisco said they will now work together in a wide-ranging partnership, in which they will build apps that integrate Watson and other IBM services with Cisco apps, such as collaboration platform Spark (aka Cisco’s competitor to Slack and Yammer) and conferencing service WebEx (aka Cisco’s rival to, Skype, and others).

Walmart puts pressure on Amazon with ShippingPass expansion – Walmart has thrown down the gauntlet in its battle with Amazon, announcing today that ShippingPass – Walmart’s version of Amazon Prime, which offers free two-day shipping for online orders – is now available to all customers in the US. Previously, ShippingPass was available to a select number of customers, but Walmart has determined that there’s enough benefit to rolling out the program on a nationwide scale.

Games and Entertainment:

Best movies for celebrating the Fourth of July – The Fourth of July, Independence Day, celebrates our country’s rebellion from tyrannical rule, and our establishment of a system of government by the people, for the people, and of the people. Though we often take it for granted, our country—for all its flaws—bestows more rights and freedoms on its citizens than anywhere else in the world. Here are 12 movies that remind us what we’re celebrating. Each of these patriotic films demonstrates the ideals and the spirit that made this country great, from the impulse to chip in and help out, to our legal systems, inventions, and freedom of the press. We have the power to think, fight, dream, and laugh without the urge to look over our shoulder too see who might be watching. These movies remind us that we can look up in the sky, breathe the summer air, maybe see some fireworks, and think, “It’s good to be free.”

NBC will offer 85 hours of VR Olympics programming, courtesy of Samsung – The plan revolves around Gear VR — exclusively, in fact. Owners of Samsung’s headset (and compatible Galaxy phones, naturally) will get access to 85 hours of VR content, accessible through the NBC Sports app. The list includes the opening and closing ceremonies and a decent cross-section of sports, including men’s basketball, track and field, gymnastics, boxing, beach volleyball, fencing and diving. All the content will be available on a delay of a day or so, throughout the games.

BioShock: The Collection remaster confirmed for Xbox One, PS4, PC – 2K Games is hoping you’ve not grown tired of what feels like an endless sea of remasters, because today the company announced quite the whopper. It will be remastering the BioShock franchise for release on Xbox One, PS4, and PC, bringing the long and storied franchise into the current generation. Officially dubbed BioShock: The Collection, the remaster will span the original BioShock (which is about to turn nine years old if you can believe it) to BioShock Infinite, a game that took the world by storm a few years back.


AMD RX 480 review: The best budget graphics card—but for how long? – Brave? Foolhardy? Desperate? Whatever you might think about AMD’s decision to cede the top end of the graphics card market (at least for now) to Nvidia and launch the mainstream-focused RX 480 instead, the fact remains that for £180/$200 it’s the best graphics card you can buy. It’s faster than Nvidia’s GTX 970 and (mostly) faster than an R9 390, making it more than powerful enough to meet the minimum spec for virtual reality—and it’ll blitz through demanding 1080p games at a smooth 60FPS, too. It even does a decent job at 1440p, so long as you’re fine with dialling down a few settings.

Pokemon GO is the best game EVER: here’s why – Today is the first day I’m able to speak in public about my experience with Pokemon GO. It’s been about a week and a half since I first started playing in the Field Test – very similar to the Beta most people were playing (likely identical) – and it’s time to let loose. This game is fantastic. Not in the same way a visually spectacular game like Fallout 4 or DOOM are fantastic, but in a new way. A way that’s not like any game I’ve played before. Pokemon GO is a real game-changer.

Sling TV now offers internet viewers more than 100 channels – In the best deal available today for cord-cutters, Sling TV now offers customers their choice of more than 100 channels.

Off Topic (Sort of):

The day the theory of evolution levelled up – A great debate between biologist Thomas Henry Huxley and Bishop Samuel Wilberforce played a huge part in the theory of evolution’s spreading through history.


Vanity Fair caricatures of Samuel Wilberforce (left, July 1869) and Thomas Huxley (right, January 1871). Vanity Fair

A brief history of the QWERTY keyboard – On July 1, 1874, the Remington typewriter hit the market, with the earliest version of what would become the keyboard layout we still use today.

Tesla’s own Autopilot warnings outlined deadly crash scenario – Today’s news that a Tesla driver was killed in early May while driving his Model S with Autopilot engaged will inevitably trigger a series of tough questions — many of which have already been posed — about whether semi-autonomous driving features are ready for prime time, and whether automakers should be putting safety-critical “beta” software into real customers’ hands. For that matter, what does “beta” even mean in this context? Will a self-driving car ever be completely incapable of crashing? (Not likely, but if it is, it’s still decades away, and may require that human drivers stop driving.) But many will be quick to remind that Tesla’s Autopilot is not a fully self-driving system anyway — it’s generally considered Level 2 on NHTSA’s 0-4 scale of autonomy.

Google’s ‘FASTER’ undersea cable goes online with 60 Tbps of bandwidth – You probably have a wireless network at home, but for some applications a wired connection is still more reliable. It’s the same in internet backbone communications — satellites help keep the world in sync, but the best connections across the globe rely upon undersea fiber optic cables. A new undersea cable constructed with Google’s backing has just gone online linking the US west coast with Japan. The cable, which has the fitting name “FASTER,” can transmit 60 terabytes of data per second, more than any other active undersea cable. It’s about 10 million times faster than your home broadband connection on a good day.

Eagle-mounted 360 camera offers stunning bird’s-eye view of Scottish highlands – If you’ve ever wanted a bird’s eye view of the Scottish highlands, wish no more.


The world’s decision to fix the ozone hole is paying off 30 years later – The ozone hole over the Antarctic has begun to heal, according to a new study, more than 30 years after its discovery. The findings suggest that global efforts to phase out ozone-depleting chemicals have been effective, though scientists still aren’t entirely sure about what’s driving the ozone hole’s recovery. The study, published in the journal Science, combines data gathered from balloons and satellites to measure the area of the ozone layer over Antarctica from 2000 to 2015.

Something to think about:

“Nothing is as far away as one minute ago.”

–     Jim Bishop

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

US courts didn’t reject a single wiretap request in 2015, says report – The number of wiretaps authorized by the courts in 2015 rocketed compared to the year before, says a new report.

According to the annual wiretap report released on Thursday, which outlines how many real-time intercept requests were submitted by state and federal law enforcement agencies, the courts allowed 4,148 wiretaps during the last calendar year, up by 17 percent on the year-ago period.

Most were issued by state courts. The majority of wiretaps were authorized in California, which accounted for 41 percent of all applications.

New York came in second with 17 percent of wiretaps for the year.

But not a single wiretap request was rejected during 2015, the report showed.

ACLU challenges federal hacking law hampering research into online discrimination – The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Attorney General alleging that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is unconstitutional, and as a consequence is preventing critical research into discrimination online.

In particular, it’s the provision of the CFAA that prohibits any action that “exceeds authorized access” to a system — effectively criminalizing violations of a website or app’s terms of service. The ACLU doesn’t want to make abuses of such services legal, but it does say that many actions that should be constitutionally protected would be prosecuted according to current interpretation of the law.

Christian Sandvig and Karrie Karahalios are researchers at the University of Michigan and University of Illinois respectively. The two want to study whether real estate sites are, consciously or unconsciously, discriminating against their users — promoting more expensive properties to a certain gender or race, for instance.

To find out, they must essentially break the terms of service of the website, which were not designed to accommodate well-meaning researchers. But to do so leaves them open to prosecution — as others, like Aaron Swartz, found out the hard way.

Facebook wins privacy case, can track any Belgian it wants – In a somewhat unexpected twist, Facebook has won a legal battle against Belgium’s data protection authority, which had sought to prevent Facebook from tracking non-Facebook (or not-logged-into-Facebook) users, both on the Facebook website itself but also via the company’s Like and Share buttons that can be found in even the darkest depths of the known universe.

The Brussels appeals court dismissed the case on Wednesday, saying that the Belgian CPP (Commission for the Protection of Privacy) had no jurisdiction over Facebook, which has its European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland.

“We are pleased with the court’s decision and look forward to bringing all our services back online for people in Belgium,” a Facebook spokesperson said.

“Today’s decision simply and purely means that the Belgian citizen cannot obtain the protection of his private life through the courts and tribunals when it concerns foreign actors,” the CPP said in a statement. The CPP also said that it may launch an appeal to the Belgian Court of Cassation—the court of last resort—which in the past had overruled cases that involved foreign company jurisdiction.

Back in November 2015, a lower court ruled in favour of the CPP and ordered Facebook to quit tracking people who don’t have a Facebook account or who aren’t currently logged into the service. If Facebook didn’t comply, it faced fines of up to €250,000 per day. Suffice it to say, the company complied: in December, Facebook said that it had stopped tracking Belgian visitors who were not logged in.

Inside the global terror watchlist that secretly shadows millions – There is a private intelligence database, packed full of personal details of millions of “heightened-risk” individuals, which is secretly having a devastating effect on those who are on it. Most have no idea they’re under the watchful gaze of some of the world’s largest and most powerful organizations, governments, and intelligence agencies.

But for its worth and value, it wasn’t nearly kept secure enough.

A copy of the database, dating back to mid-2014, was found on an unsecured server hosted by a London-based compliance company, which specializes in “know your customer” profiling and anti-money laundering services.

Chris Vickery, a security researcher at MacKeeper, who found the database, told me that it was stored on a server configured for public access.

Time is short to stop expansion of FBI hacking, senator says – The U.S. Congress has a small window of time to stop proposed changes in federal court rules that will expand the FBI’s authority to hack into computers during criminal investigations, a senator said Thursday.

The rule changes allowing expanded FBI searches of computers, approved by the Supreme Court in April, go into effect in December unless Congress votes against them, and getting Congress to move in a contentious election year will be difficult, said Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat and a critic of the changes.

“Inaction is easy,” said Wyden, sponsor of a bill to roll back the proposed changes. “Inaction is what Congress does best.”

The proposed changes to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure would allow the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies to obtain warrants to hack into computers even when they don’t know where those computers are located. The changes would, therefore, allow federal judges for the first time to issue search warrants outside their jurisdictions.

So when law enforcement doesn’t know the location of a device, “whether it’s in this country or abroad, it will be allowed to hack into that device,” Wyden said during a speech at the New American Foundation’s Open Technology Institute.

In addition, the proposed changes, in an effort to better investigate and shut down botnets, would allow the FBI to get warrants to access computers the agency suspects have been compromised by hackers.

Those proposed changes could have major consequences, Wyden said.

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Filed under Latest Tech News

Tech Thoughts Net News – Wednesday – June 29, 2016

Google Chrome security tips for the paranoid at heart;  How a Hacker Got Facebook to Let Him Take Over Someone Else’s Account;  How to set up 9to5Google for easier two-factor authentication;  One of the nastiest types of ransomware has just come back to life;  More Steam Summer Sale gems: 15 great games under $5;  How to turn off this creepy Facebook feature –  and much more news you need to know.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

Microsoft backs off click-the-X trick in Windows 10 upgrade pitch – Microsoft today said it will revamp the notification of a pending Windows 10 upgrade so that clicking the red “X” — an action that for decades has been used to dismiss or ignore a dialog box — will no longer be interpreted as authorizing the process. With just a month to go before it stops offering a free upgrade to consumers and many businesses running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, Microsoft said it would modify the notice that appears when the company pitches the Windows 10 upgrade.

You have a deadline: Windows 10’s free upgrade ends July 29 – Windows 10’s free upgrade ends July 29. Are you ready? Here’s what to expect and how to get ready for it.

How (and why) to customize the Windows 10 Start menu – The Windows 10 Start menu is a blend of navigation from Windows Phone and Windows 7, and it’s highly customizable. We’ll walk you through it.

Windows 10 reinstallation tip: How to reset your PC and keep your files – Sometimes Windows needs a fresh start—maybe a program’s gone awry or a file’s been corrupted. Luckily, Windows 10 has an option where you can reinstall Windows and wipe your programs, but it keeps your files intact.

Woman successfully sued Microsoft over sneaky tactics used for Windows 10 update – The tactics used by Microsoft to get PC users to install its latest Windows operating system has angered countless customers and one woman has even sued the company for a $13,000 payout over the update. (recommended by Mal C.)

Google’s new pervasive ad tracking is thankfully opt-in – Google isn’t exactly popular for its privacy practices, despite official protestations that it is, in fact, pro-privacy. So when the company initiates changes to its ad tracking that includes more of your Internet life, that’s not exactly out of the ordinary. What is extraordinary, however, is that Google has made the changes opt-in, which means it is disabled by default and needs an informed and conscientious decision by the user to join in. And even when they do, they’re being given fine-grained control on which things they will allow Google to track.

How to start using Google Now on Tap in Android Marshmallow – With Android Marshmallow, Google Now has morphed into something completely different called Google Now on Tap. See how easy it is to use.

Android phones can now read books, signs, business cards via Google’s Mobile Vision – Developers can make their apps read aloud in real time any text that’s in the camera’s field of vision.

Evernote raises prices of its paid plans, limits device sharing on free tier – Evernote today announced a new suite of pricing for its paid plans and new limitations for its free service. The new plans, which are still labeled Basic, Plus, and Premium, will have the new prices and limits starting today. The biggest change, which will affect the most users, is coming to the Basic plan. Evernote Basic remains a free-to-use service, but it is now limited to two devices per account.

Five tips to help you get the most out of Google Play Music – Google has built a top-notch music service, though you have to know how everything works to get the best experience.

Android root – the lowdown and pitfalls of the super user – In the past, rooting was not only something for power users to play with but somewhat even recommended for more adventurous ones to squeeze out the best functionality from their smartphones. But does rooting still have that sway today? What do we gain and what do we lose when we set our smartphones free? Read on the find out.

All 156 Amazon Dash Buttons, Ranked – Amazon just announced more than 50 plastic dongles that’ll let you order all sorts of things with the press of a button—but which are worth getting?


Amazon Inspire crowdsources resources for educators – In this Internet age, a lot of information flows freely on the Web, but not all of them are reliable or even factually correct. A whole market, led by the likes of Coursera and Udacity, have sprung up to give a bit of formality to “online education.” Now Amazon is jumping in with its new Amazon Inspire platform, but with a very different twist. Instead of catering to students looking online instruction, Inspire practically crowdsources educational materials and resources that other teachers and educators can use and customize for their particular use cases.

Facebook releases Chrome extensions for sharing and saving articles – The Share to Facebook extension puts a Facebook icon in your browser next to the address bar. Click it when you want to share the page that is open in the browser, and the extension will open a new window pre-populated with the link. Add a message and congratulations — you have shared content to Facebook. (If you’re looking for an alternative to this method that does not involve installing a dedicated piece of software inside an app that is already murdering your laptop battery, consider selecting the URL, hitting CMD-C, and then pasting it into a new Facebook post directly.)

How to turn off this creepy Facebook feature – Ever wondered how Facebook comes up with some of your random friend suggestions? Turns out, it uses your phone’s location along with other data.

Twitter targets smaller businesses with launch of Dashboard – Twitter — hot on the heels of the launch of its app for influencers, Twitter Engage — has today released yet another standalone application: Twitter Dashboard. The new service, available on both web and mobile, is aimed at businesses that want to use Twitter to connect with their customers. The app offers a suite of tools, including customized feeds of tweets, tools for scheduling posts, access to tips on what to tweet, analytics and more.


Finding Song Lyrics on Google Just Got Easier – Google is bringing more lyrics right to its search results with the help of LyricFind.

Google is testing an internet speed tool built right into search results – Searching Google using the phrase “speed test” has become a common practice for internet users looking to double check their Mbps rate, typically by surfacing a link for the free web product provided by analytics firm Ookla. To take advantage of the common behavior, Google appears to be building its own internet speed test function right into search. That way, when someone types “check internet speed” into the search box, Google can do it for them. The feature may be in response to Netflix’s new website, which lets you check your internet speed by just typing in the URL and waiting a moment.

Google Maps gets sharper thanks to satellite upgrade – Satellite images on Google Maps and Earth are now higher res thanks to a new, more powerful satellite launched by the search giant.


This malware pretends to be WhatsApp, Uber and Google Play – Hackers are stealing credit card information in Europe with malware that can spoof the user interfaces of Uber, WhatsApp and Google Play.

Google Chrome security tips for the paranoid at heart – If you’re a Google Chrome user who loses sleep about online privacy risks, check out these tricks to making your browsing experience more secure.

How a Hacker Got Facebook to Let Him Take Over Someone Else’s Account – Aaron Thompson lost control of his Facebook account after an attacker used social engineering and a fake passport.

One of the nastiest types of ransomware has just come back to life – Just when you thought it was safe to go back onto internet… instances of Locky malware, one of the most prolific forms of malicious software, have bounced back following what had been a huge decline in activity. Then if that wasn’t bad enough, a new, more highly evolved and more effective version of the CryptXXX family of ransomware has been discovered — and cybersecurity researchers say it’s only going to become and more dangerous.

How greed could destroy the ransomware racket – Ransomware attackers have a good thing going: Lock or encrypt your PC remotely, then demand money to release it. Unfortunately, greed is driving them to do the one thing they shouldn’t do if they want the cash to keep flowing.

Used hard drives on eBay, Craigslist are often still ripe with leftover data – Before you throw away that old hard drive, make sure you purge the memory clean. A new study has found that most users are accidentally giving up photos, social security numbers and financial data, by failing to properly delete the files on their recycled hard drives.

How to set up 9to5Google for easier two-factor authentication – Google has made it even easier to use two-factor authentication. With 9to5Google, there are no more excuses for not adding an extra layer of security. Jack Wallen shows you how to make use of this new feature.

Report: New security threats costing businesses $1 million an incident, flash performance suffers – A new report from EMC shows that businesses are tackling traditional cybersecurity issues better, but they are failing to address emerging threats.

Company News:

Cisco to acquire API-based app security startup CloudLock for $293M – Today, Cisco announced it plans to pay $293 million in a mix of cash and equity to acquire CloudLock, a cloud-based security provider that uses APIs to let enterprises apply and monitor security on documents and other content that they share and store in cloud-based applications. CloudLock works with Office365, Google Drive, and Salesforce applications, among thousands of other apps and software. Its focus is on offering security and enforcing policies to protect documents, regardless of device used to access it, and allowing for specific controls based on location.

Red Hat goes all in on OpenShift and containers at Red Hat Summit 2016 – At the annual Red Hat Summit in San Francisco, the company announced a host of updates that it hopes will spur container adoption in the enterprise.

IBM to set up cyber centre in Canberra – Led by a former federal police assistant commissioner, the new centre is intended to bring together business and government to tackle security issues.

Dell invests millions to support global startups and women entrepreneurs – Dell continues to invest in helping the United Nations drive global entrepreneurship, which it believes will bring more job growth, and in women-led businesses.

Games and Entertainment:

More Steam Summer Sale gems: 15 great games under $5 – Valve’s Steam Summer Sales are a great time to pick up top-notch PC games for rock-bottom prices. Case in point: We’ve already sifted through the 13,000-plus games being sold at a discount during the Steam Summer Picnic Sale to highlight 10 delightful games under $10 and 10 great game bundles that save you even more money. We spent hours sifting through the Summer Sale’s stock to create this hand-picked list of 15 great games that cost less than a fiver. These may not cost much, but they each kick a lot of ass.

Watch Galaxy S7 gaming get WAY better with Vulcan API – Earlier this year we spoke with Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney about why Vulkan API was important to the Galaxy S7. It was a trailblazer, he said, saying that the graphics prowess this device was about to have would be mind-blowing. Today we get to see more about what it means to have the connection Sweeney speaks of. Moving from OpenGL, developed back in the 1980s, to Vulkan API. It’s radical.


Sony is killing Ustream support for the PS4 from August 1st – Sony has announced it’s ending support for game-streaming service Ustream on the PlayStation 4. Gamers will be unable to stream their games or view others’ broadcasts on Ustream from August 1st onwards. This includes watching Ustream via the PlayStation Vita, on the PlayStation App, or using Live from PlayStation on the PS4 itself. It’s not the biggest blow to PS4 owners though. Although Sony did not say why it was cutting support for Ustream, the service simply wasn’t as popular as its competitors. PS4 owners will still be able to create and watch broadcasts on YouTube, Twitch, and Dailymotion — which is more than enough options for most streamers and fans.

Batman: Return to Arkham hit with delay just one month before release – If you were looking forward to the release of Batman: Return to Arkham, we’ve unfortunately got some sour news for you. As it turns out, Warner Bros. has decided to delay the title in an effort to give developer Virtuos Games more time to create a better experience for players. The announcement comes just a month before the game was originally intended to launch, which is bound to sting fans who were preparing to take another romp through Arkham Asylum and Arkham City.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Stephen Hawking: We’re not getting any less greedy or stupid – Technically Incorrect: Speaking with Larry King, the renowned physicist despairs about the state of humanity and suggests rogue AI will be hard to stop.

YouTube live mobile video changes everything – Google finally embraces mobile live video streaming. Here’s why the world will never be the same.

UK has fastest mobile internet while US lags behind, says report – In a bad week for Britain in the news, the UK can at least take solace in its average mobile connection speeds, which — according to a new report from content delivery network Akamai — are the best in the world. The company’s latest State of the Internet report claims that British mobile users were able to get average speeds of 27.9 Mbps when connecting to Akamai’s HTTP/S platform in Q1 2016, beating most countries in Europe by an average of more than 10 Mbps, and the United States’ average speed by more than 20 Mbps.

Traffic tickets got you down? This robo-lawyer has already saved users $4 million – Robots are already no strangers to the legal profession thanks to tools like LawGeex, but recently one has emerged that appears to be a sort of “Robin Hood” of the modern world.

Mosquitoes Have Developed Resistance to Every One of Our Malaria-Fighting Tools – Though not widespread yet, this developing resistance threatens to render each of our most effective malaria-stopping technologies useless.

Australian outlaw Ned Kelly, the original Iron Man – Of all the figures in Australian history, Ned Kelly, born in December 1854, is the most legendary. The petty criminal catapulted into full-blown outlaw status after murdering three policemen and went on a two-year rampage of armed bank robberies, before his final capture by police at the Siege of Glenrowan, Victoria on June 28, 1880 — 136 years ago today. Yet the most iconic aspect of the bushranger was something he wore only once: his suit of iron armour.


Four things to know about the FAA’s rules about commercial drone usage – The rules for commercial drone usage released last week by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) left some unanswered questions on the table. We discussed some of these with Thomas Gemmell, a former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot and the co-leader of the drone team at the law firm Husch Blackwell in Chicago. The rules, which concern unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds and flying no more than 400 feet above ground, require that drones remain within the visual line of sight of the pilot. Remote pilots are also required to hold a remote pilot airman certificate.

Google+ turns 5 and is somehow still alive – People who love Google+ sure love Google+. That hasn’t changed since Google first launched what at the time seemed like a credible Facebook competitor back in June 2011. If you’re a Google+ fan, today is a day to celebrate: Against all odds, your favorite social network turned five today. For everybody else, the fact that Google+ is still online may come as a surprise.

Something to think about:

“Give light and people will find the way.”

–      Ella Baker

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

FBI expansion of surveillance powers meets obstacle – A move in the Senate to provide enhanced surveillance powers to the FBI through the use of National Security Letters met a hurdle Monday after Senator Ron Wyden placed a hold on the 2017 Intelligence Authorization bill over the controversial provisions.

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Tech Thoughts Net News – Monday – June 27, 2016

3 Must Do Things After Upgrading to Windows 10;  How to reinstall Windows like a pro;  Making your phone battery last all day (without using a power bank);  You can now livestream right from the YouTube app;  Chrome Bug Makes it Easy to Pirate Streaming Content; Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs) – What you need to know;  Seven tips on keeping your phone safe while traveling;  How to delete your OK Google Now audio search history – and much more news you need to know.

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A Jim Hillier article – 3 Must Do Things After Upgrading to Windows 10 – Because it’s a hybrid operating system, catering for both desktop and mobile users alike, Windows 10 is a very different animal to Windows 7 and even more mobile-centric than Windows 8.1. You will no doubt have heard complaints regarding increased telemetry (data collection) in Windows 10 and this is largely related to the mobile side of things. In my humble opinion, the so-called “privacy” issues in Windows 10 have been widely overstated. The increased level of telemetry in Windows 10 bears a direct correlation to mobile, so disabling mobile related apps and features will exponentially decrease the level of data collection. If you’ve upgraded a desktop Windows 7 or 8.1 operating system to Windows 10, these are three steps you will need to take in order to not only achieve the lowest level of data collection but also help with the system’s speed and overall responsiveness.

Microsoft tweaks activation rules for the Windows 10 Anniversary Update – With the Windows 10 Anniversary Update nearly ready, Microsoft this week announced a seemingly minor change to its activation process. Under the new rules, it should be easier to reactivate Windows on a PC after major hardware changes. But is there more to the story?

How to reinstall Windows like a pro – It’s super-easy to reinstall Windows 10 or 8, and not much more difficult to reinstall Windows 7. Use these tips to get the most out of a reinstall.

You can now livestream right from the YouTube app – YouTube is finally ready to take on Periscope, Facebook Live, and other livestreaming mobile services, as the company is building live mobile video broadcasting right into the core YouTube app. Firing up a livestream seems pretty simple, according to the introductory blog post. “You won’t need to open anything else, just hit the big red capture button right there in the corner, take or select a photo to use as a thumbnail, and you can broadcast live to your fans and chat in near real time,” YouTube says.


How to delete your OK Google Now audio search history – If you’re a Google Now power user, you might want to know that Google saves all of your audio searches. You might also want to know how to delete those searches from your account. Jack Wallen shows you how.

The Very Best Android Phnes – Apple’s iPhone not up your alley? Here’s how to find the right Google-powered alternative, along with our top-rated Android phones.

Making your phone battery last all day (without using a power bank) – Our phones are always with us, and they’re our only tool for doing most things anymore: getting in touch with someone, finding an address or phone number, navigating somewhere, taking a picture, and all that fun stuff. As such, a low or dead phone battery is harrowing. We’ll keep the phone on a charger when possible, but getting through a day without having to charge is ideal…and, fortunately, entirely possible.

Which browser is best for battery life: We test Edge vs. Chrome vs. Opera vs. Firefox – It’s a power struggle for the age of the web, as we test major browsers in a carefully controlled battery-rundown test. Which one will kill your laptop first? The answer’s not as simple as you’d think.

Toddler-Proof Your iPhone With This Quick Trick – The big danger of putting smartphones and tablets in tiny, unpredictable hands is that they’re likely to hit the home button, closing the episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood that was the one thing standing between a civilized meal and a toddler meltdown. (Or worse, accidentally sending potentially embarrassing messages.) But there is a way to put your Apple device on lockdown while still letting an open app operate as usual. A setting called Guided Access keeps an iPhone or iPad locked in an app, even if someone hits the home button.

Five tips for taking professional looking photos with your smartphone – Want to take better photographs with your iPhone or Android smartphone? Here are my top tips.

What’s inside a $4 smartphone? – Indian company Ringing Bells is ready to start shipping a $4 smartphone – but how much smartphone can you buy for $4?

Chrome Bug Makes it Easy to Pirate Streaming Content – Will Google fix the Chrome vulnerability? Can it even truly be fixed? Free Netflix movies, then! According to Wired, two security researchers have found a vulnerability in Google’s Chrome browser related to how the browser treats media streaming. Specifically, the issue centers around how Chrome’s Wildvine—its digital rights management system—handles the exchange between the browser and streaming services’ content protection systems. The bug, allegedly a simple one to execute, allows a person to obtain a copy of a stream right after it’s decrypted but before it starts streaming in your browser. Hello, free content.


Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs) – What you need to know – Malware, Trojans, Bugs – these very words strike fear in the heart of all of us, evoking images of lines of falling code, skulls and crossbones. These malicious programs are the filth of the Internet, the proof that with every useful technology there is an equal and opposite piece of garbage that at times could have adverse effects on your system. A potentially unwanted program (PUP) is exactly what it sounds like; software that you may or may not want clogging up your system. PUPs are similar to malware in that they cause problems when downloaded and installed, but what makes a PUP different is that when you download one, you are doing it with your consent.


Adware loads annoying toolbars into your web browser

Seven tips on keeping your phone safe while traveling – In this edition of Ask Maggie, CNET’s Marguerite Reardon offers advice on how to make sure your vacation isn’t ruined by becoming a victim of mobile cybercrime.

Researchers steal data from a PC by controllng the noise from the fans – Even the noise from your PC’s fans could be used to steal the data inside. Researchers in Israel have found a way to do just by hijacking the fans inside and manipulating the sounds they create.

7 Ways the Cops Will Bust You on the Dark Web – Because users are protected by a veil of technological anonymity, the dark web is often portrayed as a space beyond the reach of law enforcement, where criminals can run amok without fear of prosecution. That couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, police all over the world have deployed a wide array of different techniques to identify and ultimately convict dark web drug dealers, weapon buyers, child pornographers, and more in the past several years. If anything, law enforcement agencies have become more accustomed to working in this space, and are likely to develop even more ways to bust technologically savvy criminals.

Google CEO’s Quora account briefly hijacked by Mark Zuckerberg hackers – Google CEO Sundar Pichai had his Quora account hacked last night, becoming the latest in a list of major tech figures to have their social media presences hijacked by a group calling itself “OurMine.” The breach comes less than a month after both Mark Zuckerberg and Spotify boss Daniel Ek suffered a similar fate. The breach of Pichai’s account became apparent when tweets linking to Pichai’s Quora posts — referencing the OurMine group — appeared on his official Twitter account late Sunday night. Unlike the case of Daniel Ek, however, the hackers hadn’t gained access to Pichai’s Twitter account proper, instead relying on Quora’s auto-tweet functionality to notify his half-a-million followers about the breach.

New exploits target hospital devices, places patients at risk – It is not just the enterprise, banks and individuals that are targeted by cybercriminals looking to cash in on data and rinse bank accounts. Things have taken a more sinister turn with the introduction — and evolution — of attacks specifically designed to compromise medical devices, which places both patient health and information at serious risk. A new report released by security firm TrapX on Monday highlights how this trend is becoming more and more serious, and healthcare organizations must sit up and take note of these emerging threats before it is too late.

How the ‘insecurity of things’ creates the next wave of security opportunities – More than 5 billion IoT devices were installed in 2015. Gartner estimates this will grow to 20 billion by 2020. Unfortunately, experts agree that security is not only an afterthought, but often is actively resisted and circumvented.

Company News:

Microsoft to end production on the Surface 3 by late 2016 – Microsoft plans to stop manufacturing its entry-level Surface 3 tablet by year’s end, the company announced today. The Surface 3 first launched back in May of 2015 as a more affordable 2-in-1 designed to attract students and those who might have gravitated more toward an iPad instead of a full-blown laptop. Quite a few sites dedicated to Microsoft and Windows news noticed of late that stock for the device has been running low, and ZDNet confirmed the company would be winding down production over the next six months.

Sony settles with PS3 owners over Linux lawsuit – A long-running class-action lawsuit from PlayStation 3 owners angry over losing the ability to run Linux on the console may finally be over. When the PS3 launched in 2006, it featured support for “OtherOS,” which let owners install Linux on the console’s hard drive. Only a few short years later, Sony disabled the feature in a software update, claiming it was necessary to fight piracy. After years of court battles, Sony has now agreed to a settlement worth millions of dollars.

Apple celebrates Pride with rainbow Watch straps – Apple joined with revellers across the world this weekend to celebrate LGBT rights, with the company’s employees and Chief Executive Tim Cook participating in the San Francisco Pride parade. The company distributed rainbow-patterned wristbands for the Apple Watch to employees who joined the celebrations, according to Reddit user Sakusuhon. Posting a picture of the band, Sakusuhon said they were “distributed as gifts for registration” and that he didn’t know whether they would be made available to the public.

Expanding in Africa, eBay partners with – American eBay sellers will soon gain access to Africa’s biggest consumer markets. This comes via a new partnership between the U.S. e-commerce giant and online shopping startup, set to go live July 2016.

Games and Entertainment:

‘Civilization V’ Is Set to Conquer American High School Classrooms Next Year – It’s a sign of how far video games have come in the last few years that some of the biggest titles are working their way into the classrooms. The modern incarnation of the old classroom favorite SimCity has been doing well, as has Minecraft in its educational edition, but now players more suited to the “maps and chaps” aspect of learning are in for a treat. Through a partnership with publisher Take-Two Interactive, developer Firaxis Games, and an educational game company called GlassLab, the grand strategy game Sid Meier’s Civilization V will start appearing in American high school classrooms by autumn of next year.

You Can Play ‘Halo 5’ For Free Next Week – It will be playable from June 29 until July 5 as part of the Xbox Live Free Play Days program. Halo 5’s new Warzone Firefight mode is set to launch on June 29 as a free downloadable update. Newcomers will have an entire week to try out the game so long as they hold a valid Xbox Live gold membership. You can check out the new content to be included in Warzone Firefight below:

Most anticipated games of 2016: July to December – E3 is over, and now we have hard dates for nearly all of the big games for the rest of 2016. Here are ones we’re most looking forward to.

New Quake episode released in honor of 20th anniversary – 2016 appears to be the year to honor the influential FPS games from developer Id Software. First we got a brand new Doom that actually lives up to the legacy of the originals, and this last week saw the 20th anniversary of the first Quake. In an unexpected surprise celebrating the latter, a brand new episode for Quake was released — for free — by MachineGames, the developer behind the recent Wolfenstein titles The New Order and The Old Blood.

10 great Steam Summer Sale game bundles that will save you even more money – The legendary Steam Summer Sale may have lost a tinge of its excitement when Valve shifted away from Daily Deals and Flash Sales, but it’s still the place to go when you want to pick up great PC games for rock-bottom prices. This year’s Steam Summer Picnic Sale is no different. The glorious, brand new Doom for 40 percent off! Half-Life 2 for just $2! It’s ridiculous—ridiculously great. But if you want to save even more cash, bundles are the way to go.

Destiny developer Bungie gives more details on leaving PS3, Xbox 360 behind – When Destiny’s upcoming expansion, Rise of Iron, was officially revealed during a livestream just a few days before E3, developer Bungie clearly stated that the content would not be coming to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, now referred to as “legacy consoles.” In other words, all future development and releases would be exclusive to the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game. Now Bungie has revealed more concrete details about how Destiny will work on those older consoles, and how players can migrate their progress to the current platforms.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Brexit: Answers to 8 crucial questions for business and technology professionals – The UK recently voted to leave the EU, which will likely have major implications for business and IT. Here are answers to the most important questions raised by the exit.

Teachers out at prep school after nasty Slack messages about students are revealed – Several teachers privately called the kids “idiots” and worse; then screenshots of their chats were circulated, say reports.

The heart of smart devices: These sensors make the Internet of Things aware – Sensors are at the heart of the Internet of Things, collecting the data that powers wearables and smart cities alike. We took a look at some of these components.

Facebook and Google may be using copyright scanners to suppress ‘extremist’ speech – The systems that automatically enforce copyright laws on the internet may be expanding to block unfavorable speech. Reuters reports that Facebook, Google, and other companies are exploring automated removal of extremist content, and could be repurposing copyright takedown methods to identify and suppress it. It’s unclear where the lines have been drawn, but the systems are likely targeted at radical messages on social networks from enemies of European powers and the United States. Leaders in the US and Europe have increasingly decried radical extremism on the internet and have attempted to enlist internet companies in a fight to suppress it. Many of those companies have been receptive to the idea and already have procedures to block violent and hateful content. Neither Facebook and Google would confirm automation of these efforts to Reuters, which relied on two anonymous sources who are “familiar with the process.”

A quick look at the state of hardware technologies in China and beyond – Recent developments in the hardware world show just how far China’s star has risen and how dominant the country has become in the world of technology hardware manufacturing, development, and innovation. And the physical impact of these products is only just beginning to shape the direction the tech industry will take in years to come.

Mr Zuckerberg, tear down this wall – Today we need to cut the crap. This nonsense has gone too far. I’m speaking of the Echo Chamber. The search engine optimization, and the filtering of the content I see on the internet. Not only me, but my family and my friends, as well. This point was driven home to me this morning by a fellow by the name of Tom Steinberg who, earlier today, attempted to find any people on Facebook who were expressing happiness with the results of the “Brexit” vote for which results have come in overnight. He couldn’t find any. That’s not real. At least it’s not realistic. At most, it’s extremely dangerous.

Something to think about:

“To find a fault is easy; to do better may be difficult.”

–    Plutarch (46 AD – 120 AD)

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

US Customs wants to collect social media account names at the border – Your Twitter handle may soon be part of the US visa process. Yesterday, US Customs and Border Protection entered a new proposal into the federal register, suggesting a new field in which persons entering the country can declare their various social media accounts and screen names. The information wouldn’t be mandatory, but the proposed field would still provide customs officials with an unprecedented window into the online life of travelers. The process already includes fingerprinting, an in-person interview, and numerous database checks.

The proposal focuses on arrival / departure forms commonly collected from non-citizens at the US border, as well as the electronic form used for anyone entering the country under a visa waiver. Under the proposed changes, those forms would include a new optional data field prompting visitors to “please enter information associated with your online presence,” followed by open fields for specific platforms and screen names.

It’s unclear from the proposal how thoroughly officials will examine the social profiles, although it’s clear they will be used for investigative purposes. “Collecting social media data will enhance the existing investigative process and provide DHS greater clarity and visibility to possible nefarious activity and connections,” the announcement reads.

The public has 60 days to comment on the new proposal before it will be formally considered. Comments can be mailed to Customs and Border Protection at its Washington office.

Russia moves toward alarming new counter-terrorism law – The lower house of Russia’s parliament has passed so-called anti-terrorism legislation that would allow steep prison sentences for dissent, and require ISPs and phone companies to store huge amounts of communications for long periods of time, The Guardian reports. The “Yarovaya law” would also make it a crime not to report information about terrorist attacks and other crimes, require telecoms to assist the government to break into encrypted messages, and increase the strongest penalty for “extremism” from four to eight years of imprisonment, according to The Guardian. Even this bill, which was passed on Friday, is softer than a previous version which would have allowed the government to strip Russians of citizenship.

The bill was reportedly crafted as a response to the bombing of a Russian passenger plane last October, and The Guardian speculates that it will likely be passed by the rest of parliament and eventually signed by President Vladimir Putin. Critics of the law liken it to Soviet-era measures; Tanya Lokshina, a program director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement that the bill “will severely curb people’s right to exercise free expression and other fundamental freedoms in Russia.” The bill could be used to intimidate dissenters and expand punishments against those critical of the Kremlin; the Russian government has already punished citizens harshly for attending anti-war rallies in recent years through mass arrests and prison sentences for protesters.

FBI’s use of Tor exploit is like peering through “broken blinds” – Law enforcement does not need a warrant to hack someone’s computer, according to a just-unsealed court order written by a federal judge in Virginia.

This case, United States v. Matish, is one of at least 135 cases currently being prosecuted nationwide stemming from the FBI’s investigation of the Tor-hidden child pornography site called “Playpen.”

US District Judge Henry Coke Morgan, Jr. further explained in the order on Thursday that warrantless government-sanctioned hacking “resembles” law enforcement looking through broken blinds. In this case, however, a warrant was sought and obtained. Judge Morgan found that even if the warrant did not exist—or was found to be invalid—the search would have been valid.


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