Tag Archives: Google Play Store

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 3, 2014

The Best Antivirus for 2014;  How to recycle your electronics and gadgets;  20 Awesome Tech Gifts for $20 or Less;  How to recycle your electronics and gadgets;  Seven outstanding gifts for the Android fan;  11 Yahoo Mail Tips for Easier Emailing;  How to download audio from any streaming video;  Firefox for Android adds Chromecast support;  Which e-retailers have good user security?  Eight social networks worth a closer look;  Google Chromecast overtakes Apple TV;  That privacy notice you’re posting to Facebook? It won’t work;  Sprint halves rate plans for AT&T and Verizon defectors;  How to limit your PC’s data usage while tethering;  Tweaking.com – Simple System Tweaker (free).

The Best Antivirus for 2014 – Which of this year’s premium antivirus tools is the best to protect your PC? We test them all to help you pick the right one.

20 Awesome Tech Gifts for $20 or Less – Whether you’re a bit short on cash, or you don’t want to make it look like you care too much (one-month relationships, this means you), there are plenty of low-cost gift options. Tiny treasures for $20 and under can totally save someone’s day, and will make most welcome gifts this holiday season.

Seven outstanding gifts for the Android fan in all of us – The holidays are upon up and time to give gifts. For those that are tech-inclined, you could always dole out for a new server (if you’ve got the money), or a sweet gaming laptop (again, if you’ve got the money). Of, if that someone you love, respect, or just want to suck up to is an Android fan or user, you could get them a mobile-centric gift they can add to their Android arsenal. Fear not, intrepid reader, I have collected a handy gift guide for you. Scroll through this list of possible items to see if there isn’t something your Android lover can use.

How to limit your PC’s data usage while tethering – When you absolutely have to have an Internet connection, tethering your laptop to your phone is sometimes your only option. It happened to me the other day after a big thunderstorm knocked out my broadband for a few hours. But even with my multi-gigabyte carrier plan, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of having my PC suck down too much of my monthly mobile data allotment. If you find yourself in a similar situation here are a few tips to reduce your data usage while tethering.

How to recycle your electronics and gadgets – From TVs to computers, it’s important to recycle electronics rather than tossing them in the trash. Here’s a handy list of where and how you can get rid of unwanted gadgets.

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11 Yahoo Mail Tips for Easier Emailing – Reportedly over 100 million people use Yahoo Mail every single day—that’s second only to Google’s Gmail. That means it’s time to take a closer look at Yahoo Mail and see what tweaks and tricks are under the surface, waiting to be used. Hit the slideshow for our quick collection of the 11 best Yahoo Mail tips.

How to download audio from any streaming video – Streaming video is great, but sometimes it’s more than you need—or more than you can run, if you’re away from an Internet connection. In this article, we’ll show you how easy it is to download just the audio file from any streaming video and save it to your hard drive for offline listening.

Twitter Releases New Suite Of Anti-Harassment Tools, Promises Faster Response Times For Dealing With Abuse – Twitter this morning has released a new set of anti-harassment tools that make it easier for users to flag abuse on the network, as well as describe more specifically why they’re blocking or reporting a Twitter account. Twitter had made it fairly simple to report spam, but the new tools allow users to report a variety of troubles, including impersonations, harassment, and even self-harm or suicide. In addition, users can report the harassment on behalf of other users, even if they’re not the target themselves, which is a big change.

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That privacy notice you’re posting to Facebook? It won’t work – A new wave of Facebook users is posting a new privacy notice to their Facebook walls, hoping to protect their posts and photos from being used without their permission. Chalk up another hoax notice that doesn’t actually do anything. Users have been posting the hoax privacy post, in one form or another, since 2012 according to the Snopes.com website, which debunks urban myths.

Vimeo re-works mobile site hoping you’ll start using it – Vimeo may not be the video service you go to, but changes introduced today may change that. The streaming media service today is rolling out changes to their mobile website, aimed at getting people watching and sharing more than they ever did via Vimeo. According to Vimeo, the mobile site now does a few things well, but no longer attempts to recreate the desktop experience on your phone or tablet. They’ve even rolled in the ability to save videos for viewing later, should you not have an account or forget to sign in.

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Status Automatically Tells Your Friends What You’re Up To And If Your Phone Is Dead – Your phone is dead. Or you’re driving. Or you’re in a meeting. Your girlfriend/boyfriend/lover-person is trying to call you. You didn’t pick up, so now they’re assuming you’re either a) ignoring them or b) dead. Meet Status, an iOS/Android app built to end that.

Pizza Hut ‘Subconscious Menu’ Reads Your Mind – Can’t decide which toppings to get on your pizza? No worries. Pizza Hut wants to make it easy. The pizza chain has partnered with eye-tracking firm Tobii Technology to develop what it calls the “world’s first subconscious menu,” designed to recognize what you want, even when you don’t know yourself. In development for six months, the menu is completely controlled by your retina. In other words, you can now order pizza with your eyes.

Firefox for Android adds Chromecast support, newly polished theme – Firefox for Android can now mirror your browser to the TV thanks to new support for Google’s Chromecast. This is one of several goodies tucked away inside version 34, which is rolling out in the Google Play Store.

Eight social networks worth a closer look – If you are fed up with Facebook and tired of Twitter you might want a change of social scene. Try these up and coming social networks that are well worth a look for users and brands.

Security:

Which e-retailers have good user security? – Password management company LastPass has compared ten web retail companies based on several user security rules. LastPass comes up with a list of “naughty” and “nice” based on total scores in the comparison (see their infographic below for the cute version of the summary) but the detailed results clarify some of the distinctions. Here are the detailed results. The full LastPass table includes explanations for the individual scores, each of which is out of a possible ten.

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Critical networks in US, 15 other nations, completely owned, possibly by Iran – For more than two years, pro-Iranian hackers have penetrated some of the world’s most sensitive computer networks, including those operated by a US-based airline, auto maker, natural gas producer, defense contractor, and military installation, security researchers said. Compromised systems in the ongoing attacks include Active Directory domain controllers that store employee login credentials, servers running Microsoft Windows and Linux, routers, switches, and virtual private networks. With more than 50 victims that include airports, hospitals, telecommunications providers, chemical companies, and governments, the Iranian-backed hackers are reported to have extraordinary control over much of the world’s critical infrastructure.

Pointing up   So, where is the vaunted NSA (and the rest of the alphabet soup of lying, thieving government agencies), in all of this? Too bloody busy formulating invasive techniques designed to intimidate and control you, it seems. Government security theatre shown once more to be the BIG LIE that it is.

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Geographic distribution of victims, as determined by the global headquarters of the parent company or organization breached.

Making a hash of passwords – After so many high-profile data breaches, it’s time developers learned that storing passwords is a really bad idea. And there is a perfectly workable alternative.

Australians visiting more malicious sites: Trend Micro – Trend Micro’s third-quarter security report for 2014 has found that Australia now ranks fifth in the world for countries with the highest number of visits to malicious sites.

California will send a man to jail for posting nude pictures of his ex online – California just sent its first serious message to people who post “revenge porn” online. The state convicted a man today after he posted topless pictures of his ex-partner on her employer’s Facebook page. He will spend a year in jail and three years in probation. He will also have to stay away from his ex. \California enacted its “revenge porn” law in 2013. The law makes it illegal for anyone to post sexually explicit videos or nude pictures online without first obtaining the consent of the person included in the pictures. Originally the law only covered pictures and videos taken by someone other than the person portrayed in them, but California’s law was expanded in August to include selfies as well.

Company News:

Despite losses, Amazon CEO plans more risk-taking – Jeff Bezos says his company will continue to experiment and tells people to “stay tuned” for more about Amazon’s unpopular Fire Phone.

Google Chromecast overtakes Apple TV to become the second most-used US streaming device – Google’s Chromecast has overtaken the Apple TV to become the second most used streaming device in US households. The search giant’s streaming device now holds 20% of the market, while the Apple TV holds 17%. Despite this, the Apple TV remains in front of Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV stick, which both took up 10% of the market, combined.

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Sonos Scores $130M To Put Smart Speakers In Every Home – Suddenly, music is a business again. After years of wallowing in the post-Napster/iTunes era, streaming is beginning to take hold and everyone’s phone is now an iPod. So while Sonos has been in the smart home audio business since 2002, now’s the time to push for mainstream adoption. That’s why it makes sense that Sonos just raised $130 million, according to an SEC filing.

Google donates 1 million dollars to New York libraries for free WiFi hotspot rentals – The sizable donation will result in approximately 10,000 portable Sprint WiFi hotspots being made available for rental at Queens Library, the New York Public Library and the Brooklyn Public Library. The donation Google has made will be in addition to the 500,000 dollars already raised from “other” nonprofitable causes. It is hoped that people all over the American city will benefit as a result of the rollout.

Sprint halves rate plans for AT&T and Verizon defectors – The carrier gets aggressive with an offer to slash monthly data prices for new customers switching from Sprint’s biggest rivals.

Games and Entertainment:

The Best iPhone Games You Can Play One-Handed – Far too many iPhone games take two hands to play, rendering them useless if you’re strap-hanging on a subway or bus. For those rush-hour commuters out there, here are the best iPhone games you can download and play with only a single free paw.

Steam takes on Twitch with new broadcasting feature – Valve is moving into video game streaming with a new broadcasting feature for Steam. Launching in beta today, the feature will let Steam users watch other people play games without leaving the service. It sounds like it’s primarily designed so you can watch your friends — Valve advertises it as a way to “watch friends play, with the click of a button” — but there’s also a public option that lets anyone view a game stream, which puts the service in direct competition with Twitch. You can also use it not only from the Steam client, but also from either Chrome or Safari.

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Kickstarter: Play Game Boy classic games directly on your TV in full HD – An exciting Kickstarter project is currently seeking $65,000 as its funding goal. What does it do? It will allow you to play original Game Boy Classic games directly on your TV in full HD.

Assassin’s Creed: Victory – 2015’s AC heads to London – Victorian Era London has been leaked as the next big location for Ubisoft’s yearly Assassin’s Creed release. This game will be sent out to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One and is currently code-named – or perhaps named in the end – Assassin’s Creed Victory. Assassin’s Creed Unity was originally code-named Unity, so we could very well see the same sort of situation take hold here. Screenshots of this game have leaked alongside the name and location, showing how far along this game is in development – or at least in presentation.

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Off Topic (Sort of):

Windows 10 could prompt upgrades of 600M aging PCs – Millions of PCs are aging, and those who have resisted Windows 8 will likely upgrade to computers with Windows 10. The initial reception to a test version of Windows 10 has been positive, as it resolves many usability issues affecting Windows 8. There are about 600 million PCs that are four years or older, and those systems are ripe for upgrades, said Renee James, president at Intel, at the Credit Suisse Technology Conference on Tuesday.

Data caps, limited competition a recipe for trouble in home Internet service – The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) warns in a new report that Internet service providers could use data caps to impose higher prices on consumers, especially in markets where ISPs face little competition. But the GAO’s recommendations to the Federal Communications Commission are already meeting resistance. ISPs have argued that consumers could benefit from caps or “usage-based pricing,” because consumers who use small amounts of data would pay less than customers who use a lot more, similar to how the cellular market works. But there isn’t enough competition in all cities or towns to prevent ISPs from abusing data caps, the GAO wrote.

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Modern family.

MULTI elevator travels up, down, and sideways with no cables – All around the world elevators are a very common way of moving people up and down in taller buildings. Elevators are a convenience for many of us and a requirement for the handicapped to move around buildings. A German firm called ThyssenKrupp has an idea for a new elevator that can not only travel up and down, but horizontally as well.

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The Long History of Severed Heads – As far as objects go, nothing beats the decapitated human head. It has amazing nooks and crannies where sensory information is collected. The insides are full of mysterious functions we’re still not quite sure what to make of. Frances Larson’s fascinating new book, Severed, tries to reconcile these conflicting attributes by detailing the long history of the decapitated head as object. Larson takes us through the famed shrunken heads of the Amazon, the ghastly trophies of World War II, all things guillotine, the phrenology craze, and even Ted Williams’s frozen noggin. To find out more, I gave her a call and we talked about all sorts of heady things.

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Something to think about:

“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.”

–      Eddie Cantor (1892 – 1964)

Today’s Free Downloads:

Tweaking.com – Simple System Tweaker – Tweaking.com – Simple System Tweaker is designed to bring only the safest tweaks to your system to increase speed and stability.

Windows is setup in a default configuration. By fine tuning your Windows configuration you can increase the speed and snappiness of the operating system. These tweaks are the ones that are safe and shown to cause no side effects with any programs. Each tweak only gives a small performance boost. But they all add up, so the more tweaks you do the more performance you get.

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Detekt 1.8 – Detekt is a free tool that scans your Windows computer for traces of FinFisher and Hacking Team RCS, commercial surveillance spyware that has been identified to be also used to target and monitor human rights defenders and journalists around the world.

It isn’t just for professionals – if you suspect you are a target of unlawful surveillance, Detekt will provide a simple means to easily test your computers for known spyware.

When the execution is completed, the tool will present the outcome of the scan and will clearly indicate whether an infection was found.

The tool also generates a log file with additional details that can be useful for technical experts to further investigate.

Limitations: It is important to underline that if Detekt does not find trace of spyware on a computer, it does not necessarily mean that none is present. Some spyware will likely be updated in response to the release of Detekt in order to avoid detection.

Windows 8.1 64-bit is not supported.

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 2, 2014

Google Says These Are 2014’s Best Android Apps;  I Asked a Privacy Lawyer What Facebook’s New Terms and Conditions Will Mean for You;  When to image a hard drive, and when to clone it;  The best Internet TV gadgets of 2014;  There’s an App for the Next Time Your Car Breaks Down;  Autodesk Software Now Free For Schools And Students Everywhere;  Setting up Linux Mint 17.1 for the first time;  How to turn a Chromebox into a video-streaming workhorse;  5 Must-Have Tech Gadgets for New Parents;  Apple faces trial in decade-old iTunes DRM lawsuit;  Xbox Live Down, Hackers Take Credit;  Get ‘Titanfall’ on Xbox One and all its DLC for $12;  FBI warns of ‘destructive’ malware following Sony hack;  New Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit 1.05 (free).

Google Says These Are 2014’s Best Android Apps – With more than 1 million apps available, parsing through the Google Play Store can be a challenge. Google has provided some help by offering a list of the best Android apps of 2014. Whether you’re looking to stream a movie, learn a new language or manage your business calendar, chances are there’s an app that will fit the bill. Here’s a look at what Google has highlighted as the best of the best.

I Asked a Privacy Lawyer What Facebook’s New Terms and Conditions Will Mean for You – Over the years, Facebook has slowly expanded its terms and conditions, and last month the company announced that come January 1, 2015 all users will have to agree to new Terms of Service (TOS) or be locked out of the site. Since the social network has roughly 1.32 billion users, that is a BIG deal. But just what is in these new TOS? And should you be worried about them? I spoke with Maninder Gill, a partner at London’s Simons Muirhead & Burton and an expert in intellectual property and privacy law to find out just how far Facebook’s new terms go and how it will affect your online life.

SSLPersonas, making the padlock obvious – This blog post will showcase a Firefox Add-on that illustrates the SSL status of a web page in a more visually striking manner than the traditional method.

When to image a hard drive, and when to clone it – Imaging and cloning will both copy the contents of your drive, but the best way depends on whether you’re upgrading or backing up. Here’s when you should use each one.

Combat holiday stress with Buddhify 2 for Android, iOS – Holiday stress got you down? How about job stress? Travel stress? Facing-another-dreary-day stress? Whatever’s ailing your brain, mindfulness meditation can help. A lot. And a great place to start is with Buddhify 2, an app for Android and iOS that costs $2.99, £1.99 or AU$3.79.

Pro tip: Troubleshooting 10 known OS X Yosemite issues – Jesus Vigo reviews 10 documented issues affecting OS X Yosemite and offers troubleshooting tips to work through them.

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Voice control comes to the forefront of the smart home – Forget about your phone or tablet — these voice-control products let you control your home via verbal command.

Six Clicks: The best Internet TV gadgets of 2014 – Today, “cord cutting” — switching off from cable or satellite TV to over-the-air (OTA) and the Internet for your television — still isn’t common. But it’s getting there. There is no single best device, but here’s the best of the best.

How to customize your Gmail signature on Android – Customizing your Gmail signature on Android will allow you to let people know you’re mobile, or help pretend you’re at work.

Compulab’s Utilite2 PC is so small it will fit in a Christmas stocking – The Utilite2 is the next generation in the Utilite range, and comes in at 30% smaller than the previous model. It’s a similar size to a typical desktop mouse, with the aluminum case measuring just 85 x 85 x 27mm. Inside you’ll find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor running at 1.7GHz combined with an Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB DDR3-1066 RAM. Storage comes in the form of 4GB on-board flash memory, but also an mSATA slot for up to a 512GB SSD and a microSD port for up to 128GB cards. Ports wise there’s 1x HDMI 1.4a and 4x USB 2.0 slots. WiFi (802.11/b/g/n) and Bluetooth 4.0 are also built in as standard.

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There’s an App for the Next Time Your Car Breaks Down – New companies are taking aim at an industry long-dominated by AAA

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Autodesk Software Now Free For Schools And Students Everywhere – The move means that Autodesk software, including AutoCAD, Sketchbook, 3D Max, Maya and more, will be available to around 680 million students and teachers across 800,000 secondary and post-secondary schools, according to the company, without any paid license required. The catch is that some cloud services and support require additional paid subscriptions, but that’s pretty much par for the course when it comes to enterprise software sales model these days.

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SnapBox expands its high-quality, low-cost photo-printing options – From peel-and-stick posters for less than a dollar to framed canvas prints, the service lets you quickly turn your smartphone pictures (or camera shots, of course) into artwork and the results are fantastic.

Firefox 34 Launches With Yahoo As Its Default Search Engine – Mozilla today rolled out Firefox 34. While most browser updates these days aren’t all that exciting, this one includes a couple of interesting new features. What most users in North America will notice right off the bat, however, is that this is the first version of Firefox with Yahoo as its default search experience. It’s easy enough to change the default search engine in Firefox, and I would guess that most current users will quickly switch back to Google.

How to prevent Firefox from automatically switching you to Yahoo search – Dreading the notion of Yahoo becoming your default search engine in Firefox later this month? Here’s how to stop that from happening.

Setting up Linux Mint 17.1 for the first time – Linux Mint 17.1 with the Cinnamon 2.4 interface may well be the best Linux desktop to date — and I speak as someone who has been using Linux on PCs for over 20 years now. Mint will run on almost any PC from the last decade. It requires only any x86 processor and 512MB of RAM, although 1GB is recommended. You’ll also need 9GB of disk space, though 20GB is recommended, any graphics card capable of 800×600 resolution, an Internet connection, and a DVD drive or USB port. That’s it. To try it for yourself, just do the following steps.

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How to turn a Chromebox into a video-streaming workhorse – Chromeboxes practically beg to have their HDMI ports connected to televisions, so I asked Asus to loan me one for testing. (The company sent a much pricier Intel Core i3 model, but the cheaper Celeron-based Chromeboxes should suffice for basic media streaming.) The Chromebox quickly became a powerful tool in my media-streaming arsenal, going places that other set-top boxes can’t. But it took some work to whip it into TV-friendly shape. Here’s what I did.

5 Must-Have Tech Gadgets for New Parents – Any American who has ever procreated knows what a racket the baby industry is. So, instead of buying a high-tech bottle-warmer (you know a bowl of hot water does the trick too, right?) get mom and dad something they’ll be able to use for years, not months. (Unless you buy them diapers; you can’t go wrong with diapers.) For fresh ideas, try these five unexpected, must-have gadgets for new parents.

Microsoft and NORAD launch 2014 Santa Tracker – Following closely after Google, NORAD’s 2014 Santa Tracker website is up and running in partnership with Microsoft. As with past years, kids can keep track of Santa’s progress as Christmas nears, and while waiting they can play new games, watch some videos, and more. Microsoft says the latest NORAD Santa Tracker features improved performance over last year, as well as some other particulars we have detailed for you after the jump.

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You’ll be able to buy your next box of Girl Scout cookies online – Buying Girl Scout cookies is about to become much easier. For the first time ever, the Girl Scouts of the USA will accept online orders of Thin Mints, Tagalongs, Savannah Smiles, and other cookies during the upcoming selling season. After nearly 100 years of requiring purchases to be made in person, the Scouts are now giving girls the option of setting up a website where friends and family can order boxes from anywhere in the US.

Google Chromebooks trump Apple iPads in schools, says IDC – While some might contend Google’s dominance in certain markets, like smartphones and tablets, there is one sector where Apple’s products usually reign supreme: education. Initially a source of controversy because of price, iPads have become the gadget of choice for schools upgrading to current technology. But apparently, not anymore. According to IDC’s latest figures, Google’s Chromebooks have surpassed the iPad in shipping numbers as far as schools are concerned, revealing a shifting preference and mindset in the education sector and probably a new source of worry for Apple.

Security:

New ATM Skimmers Connect To The Card Reader Via A Nearly Invisible Hole – A new advance in credit card theft technology has hit the streets and it’s pretty clever. The ATM hackers are now drilling a small hole near the card reader and inserting a bit of electronics that connects to the ATM’s innards. The hole is then covered by a decal and the skimmer fished out once the thieves are ready to take in their haul. Discovered by the European ATM Security Team, the new skimmers are not physically attached to the outside of the machine and instead are hidden inside, out of sight. Thieves still have to use hidden cameras to steal user PIN codes, a fact that is key in preventing credit card theft. Hiding the PIN pad with your free hand is imperative no matter where you are.

New evidence points to North Korean involvement in Sony Pictures hack – As Sony Pictures employees still struggle to get back online, new evidence is emerging that suggests North Korea may be behind the hack. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that researchers investigating the hack have found the malicious code to be almost exactly the same as the code used in a March 2013 attack on a series of South Korean banks and broadcasters, an attack widely believed to have been conducted by North Korea. Re/code had previously reported that Sony was investigating a North Korean connection, but this new analysis is the most definitive evidence unearthed so far.

FBI warns of ‘destructive’ malware following Sony hack – The US agency has warned US businesses to stay alert due to the discovery of some particularly nasty malware in the wild — while North Korea refuses to deny involvement.

Uber reportedly gave a job applicant full access to customer travel records – Citing an anonymous source, The Washington Post reports that an Uber job applicant was given unfettered access to the company’s customer ride database after interviewing at its Washington DC offices last year, allowing him to see the travel records of anyone — including family members of politicians. The experience was time-limited, though The Post says that it lasted for “several hours” after the interview concluded.

Phishing scam that penetrated Wall Street just might work against you, too – Researchers have uncovered a group of Wall Street-savvy hackers that has penetrated the e-mail accounts of more than 100 companies, a feat that has allowed them to obtain highly valuable plans concerning corporate acquisitions and other insider information. FIN4, as the group is known, relies on a set of extremely simple tactics that in many cases has allowed them to remain undetected since at least the middle of 2013, according to a report published Monday from security firm FireEye

Officials seize 292 domain names to protect consumers during holiday season – The holiday season is rife with online rip-offs. In a move to protect consumers, law enforcement officials have seized 292 domain names for sites that allegedly were selling counterfeit goods. The sites were being used to illegally sell counterfeit merchandise including luxury goods, sportswear, electronics, pharmaceuticals and pirated goods like movies and music, Europol said Monday.

Company News:

Apple faces trial in decade-old iTunes DRM lawsuit – The past is coming back to haunt Apple, as a nearly 10-year-old class-action antitrust lawsuit accusing the company of trying to monopolize online music distribution is headed to trial. The Apple iPod iTunes antitrust litigation accuses Apple of violating U.S. and California antitrust law by restricting music purchased on iTunes from being played on devices other than iPods and by not allowing iPods to play music purchased on other digital music services. Plaintiffs are seeking about US$350 million in the case.

Microsoft acquires email app Acompli – After accidentally announcing it a little early, Microsoft is officially confirming it has acquired email startup Acompli. The surprise acquisition means Microsoft is picking up a powerful email client for iPhone and Android in another move that further cements CEO Satya Nadella’s focus on cross-platform technologies.

PayPal Reports Record-Breaking Number Of Black Friday Shoppers And Sales On Mobile – The move to offer online shoppers earlier access to Black Friday deals – beginning as early as Thanksgiving Day this year – resulted in record-breaking numbers of consumers shopping on mobile, reports PayPal. Based on its online commerce data, the company reports having seen a 47% increase in PayPal global mobile payment volume on Thanksgiving compared with Thanksgiving 2013, and a 62% increase for Black Friday 2014 over last year. Meanwhile, the company also saw a 43% increase in the number of customers shopping through PayPal mobile this Thanksgiving, and a 51% increase across the same metric on Black Friday.

Zenefits Faces Shutdown In Utah For Giving Its Cloud-Based HR Software Away For Free – Zenefits has become the latest startup to face regulatory scrutiny in a market it serves, as it is now faces opposition from the Insurance Commission of Utah. The Commission is taking the company to task essentially for giving its cloud-based HR software away for free, which the regulator says violates local laws and is unfair to traditional insurance brokers.

Games and Entertainment:

Xbox Live Down, Hackers Take Credit – Hackers belonging to the “Lizard Squad” claimed to have taken down Xbox Live on Monday evening, apparently by means of a DDOS attack. The hacking group, which Attack of the Fanboy noted has been targeting gaming servers for several months, tweeted a short message at 8:37 p.m. Eastern celebrating their latest exploit: “Xbox Live #offline.”

Dragon Age: Inquisition Review – I seldom spend 100 hours on anything these days, let alone a video game, but I spent at least that much time with Dragon Age: Inquisition, the latest sprawling epic RPG from BioWare, studio that brought us Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and the Mass Effect series. Dragon Age: Inquisition is the third game in its high fantasy franchise, and it’s easily the most ambitious. It’s also one of the most engrossing games I’ve ever played, and for a fan of this kind of conversation clicker, that’s saying something.

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Great deal: Get ‘Titanfall’ on Xbox One and all its DLC for $12 – “Titanfall,” one of the best-reviewed original multiplayer shooter in years, can now be purchased with all its downloadable content for $12 with an Xbox Live Gold account.

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Kicking it old-school: How EverQuest, RuneScape, and Quake stood the test of time – These PC games have been around far longer than most. Developers behind Quake, EverQuest, and RuneScape explain how they keep gamers coming back after all these years.

Off Topic (Sort of):

Europe has good reasons to fear Google – What the European Parliament is proposing sounds like Ayn Rand’s worst nightmare. Let’s take Google, one of the best and most cohesive set of web services we have, and fragment it into smaller businesses. Let’s introduce friction and bureaucracy between the various parts so that lesser companies with worse products can have a chance to compete. It feels like a classic case of over-regulation — penalizing a successful company for the crime of being better than everyone else — however its fundamental premise is not wrong: Google is too powerful.

The first true color image of Comet 67P looks like Mars – Though the Philae lander did (most of) its job and has gone into hibernation, Comet 67P is no further from the collective consciousness of armchair astronomers across the world. A few images of the comet have been around the block since Rosetta first reached space rock, but they’ve all been in a drab greyscale. Rosetta’s not yet done with 67P, though, and has taken the first true color image of the rock, replacing the grainy, grey image that has been burned into our brains with something more vibrant.

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Coming soon: Murder by Internet – Security experts now believe that the Internet of Things will — eventually — be used for murderous purposes. You can dismiss these concerns as hype or exaggeration, but many security community predictions about earlier Internet-related risks have become true. As businesses raced to develop Web platforms, security experts imagined massive breaches and thefts of personal and financial data in every way possible. There’s no question they were right.

Net neutrality: Five myths, and the real facts – Regardless of where you stand on the net neutrality debate, one thing doesn’t help: misleading or confusing statements. Unfortunately there are plenty of them. We’ve teased out the facts behind five net neutrality myths. It won’t resolve the debate, but it’ll help you understand what’s really going on.

Nature bends to scientists by making archives free – Research studies published in respected scientific journal Nature are now free to read online, publisher Macmillan announced today. The studies are free to read using a software platform Nature describes as “similar to Apple’s iTunes,” but only accessible if you have a direct link provided by a subscriber, and kept in a format that prohibits copying, printing, or downloading. Nature says the shift comes as those who offer scientific funding are demanding that research is made free to read.

Obama Proposes $263M Fund for Police Body Cameras – President Obama on Monday proposed spending $263 million to help equip the nation’s law enforcement officials with body cameras. The move comes amidst unrest in Ferguson, Missouri following the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. There have been conflicting reports about what actually happened that day in August, and many have suggested (including our own Sascha Segan) that requiring police to wear body cameras would reduce the likelihood of police misconduct or provide officers with proof of their actions if there is a dispute.

Two-phone standoff after cop stops man for ‘walking with hands in pockets’ – In Michigan, a police officer stops a man who apparently was doing nothing wrong. They both pull out their mobile phones and film each other. Uploaded originally to the Facebook page of Brandon McKean on Thanksgiving Day, it’s yet another bracing reminder of what sometimes goes on between authority figures and those they deem suspicious. African-American men, for example.

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Lumia 1030 leaks: bigger body, 50-megapixel camera – There’s nothing like a Lumia to get your brain excited about massive smartphone-based camera technology. This morning we’re getting a look at the successor to the Lumia 1020. Nokia’s first Windows Phone with a massive camera at its back, the Nokia Lumia 1020 was originally released with a 41-megapixel sensor. This new Lumia 1030 is said to run with a 50-megapixel sensor, taking the biggest photos any smartphone will have taken yet. By a large margin. And only really beating Nokia’s previous release – now made by the same crew, but owned by Microsoft instead.

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Something to think about:

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

–      Mark Twain

Today’s Free Downloads:

Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit – While we’re still riding high on Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit winning the V3 Security Innovation of the year award, we are also happy to announce the general availability of the new Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit 1.05.1.1014.

While with 0.10 beta we did a complete re-write of the underlying service architecture, this build is a complete re-write or refactor of the protection DLL. This refactoring greatly improves the overall stability and reduces most known conflicts with third-party applications as detailed in the Known Issues list.

In addition we’ve added a whole new protection layer. The new Layer0 called “Application Hardening” now includes protections such as DEP Enforcement, Anti-HeapSpraying and BottomUp ASLR Enforcement. The other protection layers have also been improved by including ROP protection and StackPivoting 64bit mitigations in Layer1, 64bit caller mitigations for Layer2 and new application behavior mitigations for Layer3. As an example of Layer3, we’ve added a mitigation for the much talked-about recent PowerPoint zero-day vulnerabilities CVE-2014-4114 and CVE-2014-6352. After some testing we saw that the mitigation suggested by Microsoft for EMET could cause system instabilities and conflicts with third-party applications. We have therefore designed a much more stable mitigation for these type of vulnerabilities.

This 1.05 version also introduces a 14-day trial mode. There are some other UI improvements that can be seen immediately, such as a re-designed shielded applications counter which counts unique instances of applications rather than total number of processes, traybar balloon messages when protection is stopped, or different UI designs depending on the build (Free vs Premium vs Corporate), among others.

TeamViewer – Desktop sharing has never been easier: With TeamViewer you will be able to connect to the desktop of a partner anywhere on the Internet. This is the complete TeamViewer with install and uninstall support.

TeamViewer also works in the other direction: Show your own desktop to a partner over the Internet and illustrate your own developed software, presentations or solutions.

Remote Control without Installation – With TeamViewer you can remotely control any PC anywhere on the Internet. No installation is required, just run the application on both sides and connect – even through tight firewalls.

Remote Presentation of Products, Solutions and Services – The second TeamViewer mode allows you to present your desktop to a partner. Show your demos, products and presentations over the Internet within seconds – live from your screen.

NOTE: Free for non-commercial use only.

Features:

Remote Control without Installation:

With TeamViewer you can remotely control any PC anywhere on the Internet. No installation is required, just run the application on both sides and connect – even through tight firewalls.

Remote Presentation of Products, Solutions and Services:

The second TeamViewer mode allows you to present your desktop to a partner. Show your demos, products and presentations over the Internet within seconds – live from your screen.

File Transfer:

TeamViewer comes with integrated file transfer that allows you to copy files and folders from and to a remote partner – which also works behind firewalls

Works behind Firewalls:

The major difficulties in using remote control software are firewalls and blocked ports, as well as NAT routing for local IP addresses.

If you use TeamViewer you don’t have to worry about firewalls: TeamViewer will find a route to your partner.

Highest Security Standard:

TeamViewer is a very secure solution. The commercial TeamViewer versions feature completely secure data channels with key exchange and RC4 session encoding, the same security standard used by https/SSL.

No Installation Required:

To install TeamViewer no admin rights are required. Just run the software and off you go…

High Performance:

Optimized for connections over LANs AND the Internet, TeamViewer features automatic bandwidth-based quality selection for optimized use on any connection.

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Feds dig up law from 1789 to demand Apple, Google decrypt smartphones, slabs – The FBI has made it no secret that it hates Apple and Google’s efforts to encrypt files in your smartphones and tablets.

Now court documents have emerged showing just how far the Feds are willing to go to decrypt citizens’ data.

The paperwork has shown two cases where federal prosecutors have cited the All Writs Act – which was enacted in 1789 as part of the Judiciary Act – to force companies to decrypt information on gadgets.

The Act, which was signed into law by none other than George Washington and later revised in the 20th century, gives the courts the right to…

“issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law.”

That’s a pretty broad remit, but the Feds think it’s just the thing to force Apple and others to break down privacy protections.

Device fingerprinting tech: It’s not a cookie, but ‘cookie’ rules apply – Website operators that turn to new “device fingerprinting” technologies to track internet users’ behaviour in place of “cookies” have to obtain users’ consent in accordance with the same EU legal standards that apply to the use of cookies, an EU privacy watchdog has said.

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