Tag Archives: Internet Explorer

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – February 17, 2015

20 free PC apps to ease daily tasks;  How to protect your wireless router from malware;  17 obscure Windows tools and tricks;  These 5 Apps Will Help You Survive a Long Distance Relationship;  6 Tips to Save Your Laptop’s Battery From Dying;  AT&T CEO: ‘There Will Be Litigation’ on Net Neutrality;  10 good iPad apps for productivity;  Gamers Spent How Much on Candy Crush Saga?  The 25 Best Fitness Apps;  Xbox One Upload Studio major update;  6 Tips to Save Your Laptop’s Battery From Dying.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

17 obscure Windows tools and tricks too powerful to overlook – The beauty of Windows lies in its flexibility and depth. In fact, Windows is so deep and flexible that many of us never touch its more powerful tools, whether from unawareness or sheer forgetfulness. But beneath Internet Explorer and the Start button hides a universe of tools and tricks that are positively brimming with potential. With that in mind, let’s brush the cobwebs off some classic Windows power tips that you’re likely to have forgotten about.

20 free PC apps to ease daily tasks – Some of the best things in a PC lover’s life are indeed free, but they’re not always obvious. Beyond the free security tools and other must-have programs to install on a new PC lies a whole universe of lesser known, yet no less stellar software that’s just begging for a spot on your hard drive. Need proof? Check out the following 20 supremely handy-dandy programs. None are household names, but all will rock your world.

Slow Wi-Fi speeds? How to improve your wireless network – Suffering from a slow or sluggish home internet connection? Here are eight ways to help improve your network speeds.

How to protect your wireless router from malware – As I pointed out last year, your router’s IP address is anything but a secret. Every website you visit gets a look at that number. And from that IP address, they can discover your ISP and your general location (your neighborhood, but not your address). But can they infect your router with malware? It’s not likely, but the danger is significant enough to take precautions.

The 25 Best Fitness Apps – Exercise more, build muscle, lose weight, or simply cut back on the cookies. Be the best version of you with these apps guiding the way.

10 good iPad apps for productivity – The iPad is a capable tool for work but requires good apps to provide the needed functionality. These 10 apps will go a long way to meeting the needs of most iPad users. You can’t work all the time so we threw in a hot new game for down time.

CogniToys packs IBM’s Watson into a smart-talking toy – IBM’s Watson supercomputer may not be the first pseudo-teacher you’d think to leave with your child, but startup Elemental Path thinks wrapping the cognitive computer in a cute dinosaur casing might change that. CogniToys – currently a cute green dino, but with other shapes and species expected to follow – pair Watson’s ability to learn, remember, and adapt with a speech recognition engine, so that – so the theory goes – as kids play the dinosaur can quietly broaden their learning while personalizing it to keep them engaged.

Photos: Five OSes you can run on your Raspberry Pi 2 – From the OSMC media centre to the latest version of Fedora these are the OSes that will run on the Pi 2 and how to install them.

These 5 Apps Will Help You Survive a Long Distance Relationship – Distance got you down? Stay connected with your loved one no matter how far apart you are on Valentine’s Day. While you’ll have to wait to send someone your heartbeat via the Apple Watch, these five apps should hold you over until April.

Short for iOS brings articles you can read in under 10 minutes – Throughout your day, you probably find yourself with time to spare. Not a lot of time, but enough to make standing there doing nothing slightly awkward. A new app, Short, might just change that for you. Rather than waste time with a game or social media, Short finds content you might like to read, which can be filtered to suit the time you have available. Though it’s iOS-only, Short is free to download and use, offers no in-app purchases, and has both an iPhone and iPad version available.

6 Tips to Save Your Laptop’s Battery From Dying – We’ve all been there: Typing away furiously on our laptop, only to find our battery is quickly approaching zero and there’s not an outlet in sight. In order to resolve an immediate crisis of rapid battery drainage, there are a few things you can do to buy yourself some time before you need to reach for a charger:

Security:

Beyond Stuxnet and Flame: Equation ‘most advanced’ cybercriminal gang recorded – Kaspersky Labs has discovered the “ancestor” of Stuxnet and Flame, a threat actor which surpasses everything else in complexity and technique sophistication. On Monday at the Kaspersky Labs Security Analyst Summit, the firm unveiled research concerning the existence of a cyberattack team dubbed The Equation Group. The group, which Kaspersky Lab Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) members dub the “ancestor” of Stuxnet and Flame operators, has been in operation dating back to 2001 and possibly as early as 1996.

Microsoft makes biometrics focal point for Windows 10 security – With Windows 10, you’ll have more options for password protection. In a recent blog post, Microsoft announced they’ll support new Fast Identity Online Alliance (FIDO) standards, which they also helped contribute to. With FIDO 2.0, you’ll have wider availability to use biometrics, which means your next-generation PC might have some biometric scanners built right in. In fact, it could make that Synaptics touchpad, which also supports new FIDO guidelines, a must-have accompaniment for Windows 10, if you’re of the mind that fingerprints are better than passwords.

How to lock down an insecure wireless network router – Your home router is vulnerable to attacks as soon as you take it out of the box. Here are a number of ways you can secure your home wireless network.

Exploitation By Consent – Many startups and consumers don’t take even the most basic steps to stop their digital assets, and even themselves, from being exploited. They should. Exploits can wreak havoc on consumers and startups, such as stealing bank account passwords and credit-card numbers, encrypting all the files on a computer and demanding a hefty ransom to get them back, and even accessing documents that have recently been copied on your copy machine, such as passports and tax forms. But there are things every startup and user can do to stop exploits.

Company News:

AT&T CEO: ‘There Will Be Litigation’ on Net Neutrality – AT&T chief Randall Stephenson is pushing back on the FCC’s net neutrality plan, telling CNBC that lawsuits are likely in the cards. If the FCC is committed to its current path, “there will be litigation,” Stephenson said during a Friday CNBC interview. He stopped short of saying that AT&T will file that suit; it “may take the form of industry movement,” he speculated. But however it happens, “it’s quite certain” that a lawsuit is on the horizon. Stephenson didn’t elaborate on the grounds for such a lawsuit, though he did say that the industry will likely ask for a delay in the implementation of whatever rules the FCC votes on later this month.

LG president indicted for allegedly damaging Samsung washing machines – On Sunday, LG confirmed that it had been indicted in South Korea after its Home Appliance Division President Jo Seong-jin allegedly damaged the doors of several Samsung washing machines in the days leading up to a trade show in Germany. On Monday, LG took the news to the general public, releasing edited CCTV footage that it says shows that Jo did not intentionally damage the doors. The indictment comes with charges of vandalizing Samsung’s new “Crystal Blue” front-loading washing machines, as well as charges of defamation and obstruction of business. LG has called the claims “excessive” and has filed a countersuit.

AT&T finally gives BlackBerry’s Passport and Classic some shelf-space – The BlackBerry Passport and Classic are wildly popular, the Canadian company has continually insisted, and would be more so if carriers would only get onboard; now, they’ll have a chance to prove it, courtesy of AT&T. After no small delay, both the Passport and its more regularly-shaped Classic sibling are headed to AT&T stores on February 20th, the operator has confirmed, not only offering a subsidized way of buying both phones in the US, but more importantly giving BlackBerry the opportunity to put its sales where its hype has been.

wps445E.tmp

Indian phone makers grow wings, swoop into foreign territories – Summary:It was only a matter of time before the new kings of the domestic smartphone scene in India ventured onto other shores to pad their coffers. Yet, it may have been more than just global ambition that got them there.

wps449D.tmp

Spice’s Android One version for Indonesia

IBM to invest $1 billion in software defined storage chase – IBM on Tuesday said it will invest $1 billion in its storage software portfolio over the next five years. The company launched Spectrum Storage, a set of applications designed to manage storage and make an enterprise’s data assets more efficient. The move highlights a reality for traditional enterprise storage giants—data centers are becoming software defined. That move to software defined storage, which trails servers and networking, is going to mean more licenses and less hardware sold. In a big data era, storage is becoming a huge line item and companies need to squeeze efficiencies out of how they manage information.

Games and Entertainment:

Gamers Spent How Much on Candy Crush Saga? – According to The Guardian, Candy Crush Saga players spent approximately $1.33 billion on in-app purchases over the entirety of 2014. Just let that sink in for a minute: $1.33 billion on little additions to a mobile game. While King hasn’t supplied a figure for the game’s lifetime spending, The Guardian estimates that players have likely spent more than $3 billion on purchases at this point. In the last 18 months, the game’s players have spent about $2.37 billion.

‘The Order: 1886’ Stands to Dramatically Divide the PlayStation Audience – One of the PlayStation 4’s two big exclusives in the first quarter of 2015, beside the upcoming Dark Souls successor Bloodborne, The Order: 1886 needs to comprise a cornerstone release for the system, bringing newcomers to Sony’s core console and rewarding earlier adopters who’ve hardly been treated to platform-specific essentials so far. Exactly how it fares with reviewers remains to be seen: an embargo restricts that kind of coverage from running until the 19th of February, the day before the game’s release. Adopting cinematic convention, where movies with no press screenings are usually best left unseen, this could imply that The Order: 1886 is going to blow – and holding reviews back until the last minute prevents a rush of pre-order cancellations. Its chances aren’t helped, either, by lukewarm preview coverage in the gaming press.

wps44CD.tmp

This racing simulator puts you in the car, no virtual reality necessary – With the availability of Oculus Rift (hopefully this year) a number of simulation games are going to be greatly enhanced. One of those is racing simulation, but it turns out you really don’t need virtual reality to get that “in the car” feel. As you can see in the image above, his racing rig looks high end, but also pretty standard. It’s a frame, a big TV, racing seat, wheel, pedals, and gear stick. However, once you’re sat in it and the cockpit view is selected in your game of choice, the experience becomes very real from the perspective of the driver. This video captures perfectly just how good this setup looks when racing:

wps450C.tmp

Xbox One Upload Studio major update adds effects, templates – Gone are the days when gaming consoles were just that, dedicated computers made for consuming games. Now they have become content creation devices as well that have even turned some gamers into Internet superstars. In the Xbox One world, this is made possible with the Upload Studio app. Today, Microsoft is pushing out a major update to the software that gives users a lot more control and even more options to let their creative juices flow and put together their next big Internet show.

wps454C.tmp

Sling TV takes a swing at HBO with Epix video-on-demand – Today Dish announced that its live TV streaming service will soon include access to four new channels—Epix, Epix2, Epix3, and Epix Drive-In—as well as 2,000 movies and TV shows from the Epix network’s subscription video-on-demand service. Sling TV launched earlier this year in an attempt to capture the growing market of cord cutters—people who’ve stopped paying for cable or never paid for cable in the first place because they consider it too costly and don’t want to pay for lots of channels they don’t watch.

Off Topic (Sort of):

These Are the Songs People Have Sex To, According to Spotify – According to streaming music service Spotify, indie rockers The XX rule the bedroom. The band’s song “Intro,” the first on their debut album, is the most likely track to appear on user-made “sex” playlists on the service. The Guardian reports there are some 2.5 million such playlists on Spotify. On average, men are more likely to have created sex playlists than women—56% to 44%. Top artists include Chet Faker, Zella Day and LP. The full collection of top songs are available here:

IO Hawk, the Segway-like mover you might actually want, is now available – Tired of walking around everywhere? The team behind the Segway thought you might be, but their design was awkward at best. the big handlebar rising up from the pedestal made you wonder if you were on some sort of odd scooter, which is counterintuitive when you’re essentially standing still. The IO Hawk, fist unveiled at CES this year, is like a Segway, but ditches the weird handlebar, leaving you free to move about and balance a bit more naturally. For $1,800, it can be yours, too.

wps45AA.tmp

Toyota is using Oculus Rift to educate drivers about distracted driving – In an effort to make drivers more aware of the dangers of not paying attention while driving, Toyota has launched a virtual reality distracted driving simulator as part of its TeenDrive365 campaign.

wps45EA.tmp

Five things you need to know about the FAA’s new rules for flying drones – The Federal Aviation Agency just introduced its long awaited proposal for new drone regulations. Nothing will become official until after a period of public comment, but the industry is hailing the FAA’s approach as a sensible update that would allow the industry to finally move forward with everyday use of drones. Here are the five big takeaways from yesterday’s news.

Facebook posts land inmate 35 years in the hole – Being punished for accessing Facebook is nothing new — it’s just typically grounded pre-teens who face the wrath of their parents, not an inmate at a state correctional facility. In South Carolina, one inmate just received 37 years — years — in solitary confinement for posting how much he missed his family. In addition to the alone time, the inmate in question, Tyheem Henry, also lost double that time (74 years) of canteen (inside marketplace for snacks and such), phone, and visitation privileges.

Pointing up    I was under the impression that the U.S. Constitution forbid “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Well, I suppose that only applies to the regular cruel and unusual punishments – drawing and quartering, burning at the stake, waterboarding – you know, that sort of thing. Regular, day in and day out stuff. But not, it seems, 37 freaking years in solitary confinement!

But hey, not to worry – America’s politicized judicial system (elected judges and the like), will be bound to treat you (or a member of your family) fairly, when you appear before the bench. Right? Right?

That time may be sooner than you think.

Wall Street Journal – Over the past 20 years, authorities have made more than a quarter of a billion arrests, the Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates. As a result, the FBI currently has 77.7 million individuals on file in its master criminal database—or nearly one out of every three American adults.

Penguins can’t taste ice cream, so says science – All penguins – of all types – have been discovered to have no taste for sweet, bitter, and umami flavors of edible matter. Of course they can’t taste anything sweet, even if it happens to be a sweet-tasting rock – but this finding is linked inextricably to eating. As it turns out, its likely penguins lost their taste for several types of food over the course of their migration to cold climates and evolution to the creatures they are today – friendly, tasteless waddlers though they are.

Something to think about:

“It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”

–       Voltaire

Today’s Free Downloads:

WinToUSB 2.1 Beta / 1.6 – WinToUSB is a free software that allows you to install and run Windows operating system on a USB hard drive or USB flash drive, using an ISO image or CD/DVD drive as the source of installation.

If you have a Windows installation source (a DVD disc, an image file) and a valid Windows product key, you can use WinToUSB to install Windows on your USB drive.

WinToUSB’s key features include:

Easy-to-use wizard interface that provides step-by-step instructions for installing Windows on a USB hard drive or USB flash drive.

Install Windows from an ISO image or CD/DVD drive.

Use any edition of Windows 8(.1) to create Windows To Go USB drive.

Support for MBR and GPT disk layouts.

Don’t need install WAIK (Windows Automated Installation Kit) or WADK (Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit).

wps4639.tmp

BrowsingHistoryView – BrowsingHistoryView is a handy and reliable application designed to view your browsing history from multiple browsers at once.

The software includes in the report details such as: visit time, visit count, user profile and the web browser that was used to access that webpage. BrowsingHistoryView features support for the following web browsers: IE, Firefox, Safari and Chrome.

wps4688.tmp

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Find Out If U.K. Spied On You Illegally Via NSA’s Prism, Upstream – Following a landmark legal ruling earlier this month that, prior to December 2014, the U.K.’s spy agency GCHQ acted illegally by receiving data from the NSA’s surveillance dragnets, privacy advocacy organization Privacy International has set up an online form where people can submit a request to be informed whether they were spied on in the past.

This only applies to retrospective snooping by the British — which is what the court in question, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), deemed GCHQ to have improperly engaged in. So no, you can’t use this campaign to ask whether the U.K. intelligence agencies are spying on you now.

And it also only applies specifically to the NSA’s Prism surveillance program, where it collects data direct from U.S. Internet companies, and to Upstream, where it taps directly into Internet cables to gather data — and where the data from those programs was passed on to the British. So any GCHQ-initiated snooping also isn’t covered here.

But you don’t have to be British or live in the U.K. to file a request. Anyone can ask whether their data was improperly accessed.

wps46A8.tmp

NSA compromised hard disk firmware to spread spookware: Kaspersky – America’s National Security Agency (NSA) has infected hard disk firmware with spyware in a campaign valued as highly as Stuxnet and dating back at least 14 years, and possibly up to two decades, according to an analysis by Kaspersky labs and subsequent reports.

The campaign infected possibly tens of thousands of computers in telecommunications providers, governments, militaries, utilities, and mass media organisations among others in more than 30 countries.

The agency is said to have compromised hard drive firmware for more than a dozen top brands, including Seagate, Western Digital, IBM, Toshiba, Samsung and Maxtor, Kaspersky researchers revealed.

Reuters reports sources formerly working with the NSA confirmed the agency was responsible for the attacks, which Kaspersky doesn’t lay at the feet of the agency.

Kaspersky’s analysis says the NSA made a breakthrough by infecting hard disk firmware with malware known only as nls_933w.dll capable of persisting across machine wipes to re-infect targeted systems.

wps4735.tmp

Dutch DPA says government’s data retention plans still illegal – The Netherlands’ Data Protection Authority has criticised that government’s proposed data retention legislation.

The government put forward amendments to its data retention regime in response to the April 2014 European Court of Justice decision that invalidated the EU’s Data Retention Directive (along the way causing trouble for countries that had based their laws on the DRD).

A court case was launched in November 2014 in The Netherlands to overturn the legislation.

In this statement, the DPA says the current legislation should not be presented to parliament, because “the need to retain all telephony and internet data in the Netherlands is insufficiently substantiated”.

Obama Acknowledges U.S. ‘Plays Offense’ on Foreign Hacking – President Obama acknowledged that the United States “plays offense” against other countries online, arguing that the lines between defensive and aggressive actions are blurred in the world of cybersecurity.

In an interview with the tech news website Re/Code during a visit to Silicon Valley, Obama compared online security to basketball, describing a fluid situation where America routinely switches between offensive and defensive actions.

“This is more like basketball than football in the sense that there’s no clear line between offense and defense,” he said. “Things are going back and forth all the time.”

Obama called for a set of international protocols that would set “clear limits and guidelines” on cyberwarfare.

4 Comments

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – November 12, 2014

Automatically delete your cookies every time you close your browser;  11 Instagram Tips for the Photo Obsessed;  Looking for a Travel Deal? Try Groupon’s New App;  Explore space with these 14 apps;  Inbox vs. Gmail 5.0: Which one is right for you?  The Best Smartphone Apps You Can’t Miss This Week;  How to set up Google Wallet;  Lenovo H500 dual-core mini tower desktop with DVD burner for $175;  Ocho app released: a tiny video social network;  10 Apps for People Who Want to Fall in Love;  Internet sales tax bill dead in Congress;  Most convincing PHISHING pages hoodwink nearly half of you;  Why are there more browser vulnerabilities these days?  Video game industry grew 4 times faster than US economy;  Warning! Assassin’s Creed: Unity for PC is riddled with performance issues;  Nvidia Takes Aim at the Apollo Moon Landing Cranks;  Liberkey – Liberkey is a collection of 302 portable apps (free).

How to automatically delete your cookies every time you close your browser – Firefox’s new Forget button is great for infrequent cookie flushing, but if you want to erase cookies on a more frequent basis here’s how to do it in Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.

Comcast Just Trolled Us All on Net Neutrality – Comcast says it agrees with President Obama on net neutrality. It doesn’t. It’s an attention-grabbing headline from Comcast, a company that net neutrality advocates are making out to be among the most nefarious of the bad guys in the ongoing open Internet debate. Right off the bat, it looks like Comcast is agreeing with President Obama, who on Monday unexpectedly came out in favor of reclassifying broadband Internet as a utility. That’s a move big telecoms like Comcast should hate, because it would give the Federal government more authority to regulate their business. So what’s the deal? It turns out Comcast’s post is just clickbait.

Looking for a Travel Deal? Try Groupon’s New App – The daily deals service just launched a new travel discovery app offering easy access to more than 25,000 deals in destinations around the world. Dubbed Groupon Getaways, the app lets you browse deals by theme (beach getaways, outdoor adventures, ski destinations, air included) or search for specific locations by zooming in and out on a map.

The Best Smartphone Apps You Can’t Miss This Week – It seems like hundreds of new smartphone apps pop up every day, but which ones should you bother trying? Here, TIME offers a look at five apps for iPhone, iPad and Android that stand out and are worth a shot.

Explore space with these 14 apps – The universe is pretty amazing, and your smartphone or tablet is a great tool to see it from Earth. Here are 14 apps that will teach you about space.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

11 Instagram Tips for the Photo Obsessed – Are you snap happy? Then you probably have Instagram on your phone. The supersocial photo-sharing app has 200 million monthly active users, but there’s a lot more to the service than just selecting a filter. Whether you’ve just started gramming or are far along, PCMag has rounded up a few tips that could make your photos stand out and garner you acclaim—well, at least a like or two more than you might have gotten before.

Here comes the new Office: Microsoft melds applications to present data in flexible, shareable ways – Delve, Sway, Revolve: For those who don’t follow Microsoft’s products closely, the words might sound like instructions for a nerdy line dance. But like the mashup generation they’re written for, the three new apps take elements of Microsoft’s productivity generation and blend them together. A look ahead at what Microsoft is now beginning to ship, versus what it has brought into the market over the past year, shows you how the Office suite is evolving into something very, very different.

Chromecast Aims To Be The Focal Point Of Family Games Night With New Apps – The new Chromecast apps announced today use your smartphone as a controller for the software running on the dongle attached to your TV, and include classics like Wheel of Fortune, as well as twists on old favourites like Monopoly Dash, Scrabble Blitz, Connect Four Quads, and Simon Swipe. The apps are all available for both iOS and Android, and work on both tablets and smartphones so that virtually anyone who happens to drop by can get in on the action.

Inbox vs. Gmail 5.0: Which one is right for you? – Google’s approach to email depends on your needs, so find out whether Inbox or Gmail will suit you best.

Microsoft’s Lync becomes ‘Skype for Business’ – As of next year, however, Lync will become known as “Skype for Business”. The Lync server will become “Skype for Business Server”. Microsoft says the big change is that Lync’s client will get Skype’s look and feel. None of Lync’s features will go, but some of Skype’s will appear including a user’s Skype contacts being available to Lync.

Build a budget (sub-$300) PC – Back due to popular demand — a listing of the parts you need to build a budget sub-$300 PC. This parts list is useful to anyone looking to put together a cheap PC for the home or small office, but wants to know what he or she is getting for their money. This is a cheap build, but it’s not ultra cheap. What I mean by that is that I’m not cutting corners when it comes to quality. Want a good, solid PC but don’t want to spend much or trust an OEM with the job? Read on.

wpsBA2F.tmp

Geek deals: Lenovo H500 dual-core mini tower desktop with DVD burner for $175 – That’s a 50% discount and one of the lowest prices for a new desktop we’ve seen. This H500 config features a dual-core Celeron J1800 processor, along with 4GB RAM and a 500GB hard drive. These basic specs are plenty for everyday light usage like internet browsing and office tasks. There’s also integrated 802.11bgn WiFi, five USB ports (one USB 3.0), VGA, a multi-card reader, and a DVDRW, giving you numerous connectivity options for your peripherals. Some ports, including a pair of USB ports, are located on the front for easy access.

wpsBA40.tmp

Drastic price cuts may damage PC industry, jeopardize Microsoft’s hopes for Windows 10 – Windows PC makers slashed prices to historically low levels in the U.S. during the last three weeks of October, damaging the consumer business just as Microsoft tries to push Windows 10 as its salvation, a retail analyst said last week.

Microsoft announces ‘Clutter’ for Office 365, a smarter Inbox – Microsoft has announced a new feature this morning for Office 365 users called ‘Clutter’ that makes it easier to manage your inbox by reducing the noise and increasing the signal.

Ocho app released: a tiny video social network – There’s a brand new warrior app out today released to do battle with the likes of Vine, Instagram, and maybe even Twitter itself. This is Ocho, a social networking app that allows you to record and share 8-second videos with your friends. This app is free for iOS users – that’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus included – and it has backing from some of the most powerful funders in the industry – Mark Cuban and Matthew Brimer included. This app was made for iPhone first and foremost – 16:9 aspect ratio recording made to fill up your whole screen.

wpsBA70.tmp

Open-source Gizmo 2 PC packs an AMD CPU, Radeon graphics – Open-source computers have so far lacked good graphics, but Gizmosphere’s new Gizmo 2 is an exception. The Gizmo 2 is an uncased single-board computer that will sell for $199. The computer can be used to build robots, electronics with large screens, or interactive computer systems that can recognize gestures or images.

wpsBAAF.tmp

How to edit captions on Instagram – A recent update to Instagram makes it possible to easily correct mistakes in your photo or video captions.

Internet sales tax bill dead in Congress – Legislation in the U.S. Congress that would allow states to collect sales tax on Internet sales will not pass before the end of the year because of opposition from Speaker of the House John Boehner. Boehner’s opposition to the Main Street Fairness Act means the bill, which would allow states and local governments to collect sales taxes on Internet sales by businesses located outside their borders, will not pass during this session of Congress.

How to set up Google Wallet for easy, secure payments – Google Wallet is an easy, secure way to pay at over 300,000 locations. Jack Wallen walks you through the process of setting up Tap and pay to make your purchasing life easier.

10 Apps for People Who Want to Fall in Love – Winter is coming — fend off the cold by warming your heart. Tip the dating game odds in your favor by using one of these apps to meet your match.

Security:

Microsoft patches Windows, IE; holds back two updates – The most serious vulnerability could allow an attacker to gain control of a Windows Server just by sending packets. For undisclosed reasons, Microsoft withheld two updates scheduled for release.

There’s no opting out of Verizon’s PrecisionID – Verizon’s PrecisionID allows Verizon and advertisers to profile those who use Verizon data networks, and there’s no opting out. But here’s how to block it.

Most convincing PHISHING pages hoodwink nearly half of you – Nearly half (45 per cent) of those who visit the most convincing phishing pages are tricked into handing over personal information, according to Google. This effectiveness drops to just three per cent in the case of the most obviously scummy phishing sites, while the online giant reports that the account hijackers work quickly, with one in five compromised accounts getting accessed within 30 minutes.

Why are there more browser vulnerabilities these days? – Summary: I ran the numbers and vulnerabilities in browsers are up this year, as is their severity. We know more about this for Internet Explorer because Microsoft provides the most data.

Rights groups, NGOs struggle against malware attacks – A multi-year study of cyberattacks against 10 activist and human rights groups shows they’re hit with the same types of intrusions as large organizations but have far fewer resources to defend themselves. That disadvantage could mean a gradual erosion of the “core institutions” that mark a “vibrant democratic society,” wrote analysts with The Citizen Lab, a Canadian think tank that is part of the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs. Over a four-year period, Citizen Lab looked at more than 800 suspicious emails, and 2,800 malicious payloads and malware families used to target the organizations, along with an analysis of network traffic.

Microsoft bolsters EMET security tool with hardened exploit mitigations – Microsoft’s Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET), a security program popular with companies, was updated Monday to harden the exploit mitigations that it adds to other programs and to address compatibility issues with some of them. The compatibility issues affected popular applications including Internet Explorer, Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash, and Mozilla Firefox when EMET mitigations like Export Address Table Filtering Plus (EAF+) were applied to them.

Company News:

Android User Takes Apple To Federal Court Over Undelivered Text Messages – Apple will soon face a federal lawsuit brought on by a woman named Adrienne Moore, who, like many former iPhone users who have switched to Android, is upset that she did not receive text messages after switching from iPhone to Android. She is seeking unspecified damages, and to make the lawsuit a class action suit.

Video game industry grew 4 times faster than US economy in 2012, study says – The video game market is alive and thriving, and you can thank smartphones for its growth. Mobile gaming, through titles like Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans, has turned all device owners into potential players. And US consumers have responded with the gift that keeps on giving: money. The US video game industry grew 9.6 percent from 2009 to 2012, to add $6.2 billion to the US economy. That’s four times faster than the entire US economy, according to a new report from industry trade group, the Entertainment Software Association.

Yahoo buys BrightRoll, has largest video ad network – Yahoo is continuing their shopping spree, this time acquiring a video advertising network. Marissa Mayer and company have announced they’ve purchased BrightRoll for $640 million in cash. It’s an investment in video, one of Yahoo’s four “strategic pillars” as well as a “growth business” for the search-centric company. In announcing the acquisition, Yahoo is also attempting to re-brand what video is, calling is “display 2.0”, and something that can replace banner ads. BrightRoll makes Yahoo the largest video ad platform provider in the US.

Google signs 60-year lease on NASA airfield and hangars – Google has sealed a deal to lease NASA’s Moffett Airfield for the next 60 years after beginning negotiations for the land back in February. Under terms of the agreement, Google will pay NASA an estimated $1.16 billion in rent over the life of the agreement, with addition funds going toward the restoration of a more than 80-year-old hangar, known as Hangar One, that sits on the property. Google may use Hangar One, as well as two sequentially named hangars on the airfield, as a space for research, development, assembly, and testing of technology related to robotics, aviation, space exploration, and other new fields once it moves in.

wpsBAFE.tmp

Tor-based Anonabox router revises troubled history as it resurfaces on Indiegogo – After a suspended Kickstarter campaign, the anonymizing router returns with promises of a fresh design and better security. But the new story doesn’t quite add up.

wpsBB2E.tmp

Groupon backs down from GNOME over trademark, will change product name – Groupon has decided to use a name other than “Gnome” for its tablet platform for merchants. “After additional conversations with the open source community and the Gnome Foundation, we have decided to abandon our pending trademark applications for ‘Gnome,'” the company said. “We will choose a new name for our product going forward.”

Google Music bucks the trend with growing downloads – Streaming music services like Spotify have caused a big ripple in the industry, influencing everything from legit music downloads to piracy rates. Despite this, Google Music has seen growth among its download sales alongside an uptick in its streaming service’s user base. The growth runs counter to the industry’s overall faltering, with such sales earlier in 2014 seeing a year-on-year drop of 13-percent.

Spotify CEO responds to Taylor Swift, calls her out on earnings – In pulling her entire catalog from Spotify, Taylor Swift took a jab at streaming music. According to Swift, streaming services like Spotify don’t pay artists enough. That’s something we’ve touched on before, and she’s right — they typically don’t. Artists get paid by volume of played tracks, so for the house DJ in Prague looking to be discovered, streaming isn’t so lucrative. Taylor Swift, however, is Taylor Swift. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek took exception to Swift’s commentary, and has issued a response.

Google AdSense to news site: Change your content, or else – Google’s AdSense has told San Francisco news outlet The SF Appeal that it has three days to remove editorial content that violates its advertising policy.

Games and Entertainment:

This Is How Insanely Beautiful the New Halo on Xbox One Is – Released Nov. 11, Halo: The Master Chief Collection combines more than a decade of Halo history into one high-gloss package. The Xbox One exclusive is not only a celebration of the video game franchise’s past, but a major preview of its future—a.k.a. the upcoming Halo 5: Guardians. The collection combines Halo 1 through 4 and reimagines their looks with more current graphics. The results are impressive. Here, take a closer look:

The 15 Best-Looking Video Games of 2014 – Exclusive images from the most breathtakingly beautiful games of the year.

wpsBB5E.tmp

This pulled back shot of fictional Himalayan region Kyrat is in-game, believe it or not, rendered with an overhauled version of the engine Ubisoft used to design Far Cry 3.

Warning! Assassin’s Creed: Unity for PC is riddled with performance issues – If you’re excited to play the new Assassin’s Creed, maybe hold off and see whether Ubisoft fixes any of the issues. It’s hard to know how many of these issues are permanent and how many will be worked on in the coming weeks, and Nvidia and AMD each released new drivers for the game today, but for now just be aware that the rumors are true—Unity is suffering from all sorts of performance issues. Buyer beware.

Assassin’s Creed Unity Brings More Of The Same Sneaky Mayhem – Assassin’s Creed Unity is the first title in the series built specifically for the more advanced hardware of this generation’s consoles rather than upgraded a bit from the version released on the PS3 and Xbox 360. As happens with console transitions, this game drops some of the fun diversions from last year’s game in favor of focusing on the franchise’s core gameplay mechanics, providing plenty of satisfying stealth and action sequences in a lively rendition of Paris during the French Revolution.

wpsBB9D.tmp

Nvidia vs. AMD Best Graphics Cards at Every Price Point – With no more GPU releases from Nvidia or AMD for the remainder of the year the battle is now on pricing. We break down each price bracket to determine which company offers the best value product.

wpsBBCD.tmp

Creative Sound Blaster Roar SR20 Review – The team at Creative have made something special in the Sound Blaster Roar SR20. This isn’t just a Bluetooth speaker. It’s not just an alarm clock. It’s not just a collection of wireless and wired sound-centric features in a single package. It’s part of the future – one in which multiple abilities doesn’t mean lower quality in any one of those abilities. The Creative team have made a masterpiece of personal, portable sound. Multiple connections, multiple uses – a real do-everything-well machine.

wpsBBFD.tmp

This Is Why Male Video Game Characters Suddenly Got All Soft – The old tentpole action heroes of the 1990s—Duke Nukem, BJ Blazkowicz, DOOM’s battering ram of a space marine—were creatures of unproblematic bravado, secure behind their sunshades and grenade belts. They whole-heartedly embraced the centuries-old cliché that masculinity boils down to your ability to destroy or impose your will by force. The new breed are no less capable killers, but they’re softer, more approachable—a product of the criticism of hyper-masculine slaughter machines, and of a greater demand for narratives that move us like the best films and TV shows.

wpsBC3C.tmp

Joel from ‘The Last of Us’, in a rare moment of not murdering something.

Dragon Age: Inquisition review: Big, bold, and full of fetch quests – Dragon Age: Inquisition has some utterly amazing moments, but they’re padded out by a fair amount of ho-hum filler.

wpsBC6C.tmp

Off Topic (Sort of):

Nvidia Takes Aim at the Apollo Moon Landing Cranks – Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin really did land on the moon 45 years ago and Nvidia can prove it. The purpose of Nvidia’s project—aside from showing off Maxwell—was to debunk a popular conspiracy theory which holds that NASA never actually sent humans to Earth’s satellite, a view supposedly bolstered by claims that the light conditions in Armstrong’s photo and other images taken by Apollo astronauts appear to be off, as if the pictures were taken on a studio set.

wpsBCAB.tmp

How automation could take your skills — and your job – Nicholas Carr’s new book, The Glass Cage, examines the idea that businesses are moving too fast to automate white collar jobs, sophisticated tasks and mental work, effectively dumbing down workers.

Pointing up   Toffler predicted this, and more, in 1970, in Future Shock.

Back to the Future DeLorean replica is a flying drone – If you want a drone to zip around but none quite meet your style needs, you can take a page out of YouTuber’s Native118’s book and make your own…in the style of a Back to the Future DeLorean. The drone was made piece by piece out of lightweight materials — including bright glowing LEDs — to form the most retro-chic quad-copter out there, and it’s able to fly around without any hassles. The man behind the drone upload his construction process, lending a helping hand to any DIYers who want to make their own.

wpsBCDB.tmp

Elon Musk confirms army of micro-satellites in the works – One can say a lot of things about Elon Musk, but no one can deny that the man has vision and imagination. Confirming in public, at least to the Internet, a rumor that has been floating around since Saturday, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO revealed that his space-faring company is indeed working on small-sized satellites. Unlike the more ambitious goal of propelling humans into space, this endeavor has a more philanthropic bent, aiming to bring Internet to more people. Kind of like Google’s Project Loon, but with satellites.

wpsBD0B.tmp

You Don’t Know Shit – Part 1 – Every morning between 8 AM and 9 AM, the waste output of Manhattan’s West Side  swells from 70 million to 150 million gallons per day. This is known as “the big flush.” The sewage will eventually end up on a NYC Department of Environmental Protection Sewage boat, which will take the sludge to a dewatering plant on Ward’s Island, where the sludge will become “biosolids”—reused to create golf courses, cemeteries, and fertilizer for the human food chain. Biosolids have become a financial asset worth hundreds of billions of dollars, but it’s still possible that we’ll go back to dumping our waste in the ocean. In this new documentary, VICE traces the trail of waste from butt to big-money biosolid and beyond.

Pointing up    Part 2 is also available.

Bill Gates sells $925M in Microsoft stock, still owns $13.6B worth – Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates sold 20 million company shares in late October, but thanks to market gains in the past three months, his portfolio was worth more than when he last sold stock, regulatory filings showed. In the five days from Oct. 27 to Oct. 31, Gates sold the shares at prices ranging from $45.92 to $46.76 for a total of $925 million, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

China, US agree on technology tariff cut – The WTO’s Information Technology Agreement is back on course after the United States and China agreed to the slashing of tariffs on electronic goods.

Something to think about:

“There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.”

–      Freya Madeline Stark

Today’s Free Downloads:

Dropbox – Dropbox is a useful tool that will enable you to instantly store your files online and share them.

It can also synchronize the files from your offline directories and online storage.

Features:

Synchronization:

Once installed, any file you drop into your Dropbox folder will synchronize and be available on any other computer you’ve installed Dropbox on, as well as from the web. Also, any changes you make to files in your Dropbox will sync to your other computers, instantly.

Backup:

Let’s say you accidentally delete that 8 page report that you were supposed to have for a meeting tomorrow. A handy Dropbox feature is the ability to undelete files or pull up any previous versions of it.

Sharing:

You can also share files and folders with whomever you choose, whether it be music with buddies, docs with colleagues or photos with grandma, even if they’re not Dropbox users.

Speed:

We obsess over speed, and it shows. Dropbox is very smart about the way it handles files. For example, if you make a change to a huge file, dropbox will only update the piece of the file that changed.

Security:

All files are transported over SSL and encrypted using AES-256 (banks use this too)

Liberkey – Liberkey is a collection of portable apps in a variety of categories that can be run on your local PC or from any portable media. Take these important apps with you and use on any computer.

LiberKey is a complete application platform for local or portable use. It allows you to manage your applications quickly and without skill.

Installation of an application from LiberKey catalog is done with 2 clicks but you can easily add any other application.

After LiberKey installation, the user has the choice to install Ultimate, Standard or Basic suites (so always updated) or to define its own suite with the online catalog.

Features:

Smart applications closure

A menu with advanced features which allows you to organize and manage your applications. (categories creation, shortcuts, tabs/menus, smart search, drag-n-drop, and more).

floating menus for quick access from your desktop

Portable files associations : You can open files and protocols (http, ftp, mailto, etc) with the application of your choice

Portable desktop shorcuts : shortcuts to your applications are placed on the desktop and removed when your exit LiberKey

Automatic online updates (LiberKey platform and applications of the catalog) which allows you to be always and easily up to date

Synchronization with the online catalog and much more…

LiberKey Ultimate includes 302 free programs in the following categories:

Audio

CD/DVD

File Management

Graphics

Internet

Network

Office

Security

System Utils

Video

wpsBD4A.tmp

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

Did the government hack a CBS journalist? Maybe – Sharyl Attkisson was hacked. The computers used by the former CBS News investigative reporter were found to have been remotely accessed and tampered with, according to both a CBS-hired forensics expert and a reputable information security firm that did an analysis commissioned by Attkisson herself. Those are the facts as we know them.

Currently, that’s where the facts end and the allegations begin. Attkisson, whose book Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation and Harassment in Obama’s Washington was released this week, claims to have evidence that she was hacked by someone working for the government. She says the digital intrusion was part of a campaign to get her to stop pursuing stories critical of the Obama administration. [Attkisson, in a follow-up e-mail, clarifies: “I theorize the digital intrusion was an attempt to surreptitiously monitor my work to see who was talking to me and how much I knew on various stories.”]

Attkisson is confident in her story, but others aren’t so sure.

Exhibit overwhelms viewers with the scale of governments’ secret spy programs – At an art gallery in New York, Citizenfour cinematographer Trevor Paglen is showing a video installation that features more than 4,000 surveillance program code names from both the National Security Agency (NSA) and Government Communications Headquarters. Entitled Code Names of the Surveillance State, the exhibition consists of endlessly scrolling columns projected on the four walls of Metro Pictures’ Chelsea gallery, and will run until December 20th.

The code names displayed are described as “deliberately nonsensical” and without any ostensible connection to the programs they represent.

wpsBD8A.tmp

Are fingerprints PINs or physical artifacts? – A judge’s ruling that a person can be forced to open his phone with his fingerprint ignores the fact that the fingerprint scan is just a substitute PIN, which can’t be required by law enforcement.

You’ve got the director of the FBI railing against smartphone encryption, claiming that it puts us all at greater risk from terrorists. And a circuit court judge in Virginia has ruled that although police cannot force suspects to reveal their passwords/PINs, they can be forced to apply their fingers to their iPhones and open them, against their will. There is a lot of legal history — a.k.a. precedent — for this, but an absolute absence of logic or rationale. When a fingerprint becomes a password/PIN, it must be treated as such.

Part of this history involves the traditions of the police, who have long been able to forcibly require suspects to dig their fingerprints into a police station inkpad. To them, the fingerprint reader on an iPhone feels the same. But in the IT world, the fingerprint used to unlock an iPhone is not a fingerprint so much as it is merely data reflecting a biometric scan — just another way of authenticating. In other words, it’s a password that’s neither spoken nor typed.

1 Comment

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – October 2, 2014

US top cop decries encryption, demands backdoors;  Encryption IS for the children; it’s the gift of electronic privacy rights;  It’s now legal to make backups of movies, music, and e-books in the UK;  How to recover deleted photos from a memory card;  4 Apps That Will Supercharge Your Productivity;  TiVo’s Android app now lets you stream recorded TV shows;  How to Take Free Courses from Top Universities;  Windows 10 beta now available to download;  No Web Design Experience? Try Microsoft Office Sway;  How to extend your camera’s battery life;  PlexiDrone is modular, customizable, and cool;  How to prevent phishing attacks on Android;  FCC pressure stops Verizon’s data throttling plan;  Here’s a look at 30 years of Windows;  ARM builds an OS for the Internet of Things;  Free Video Call Recorder for Skype.

US top cop decries encryption, demands backdoors – Attorney General Eric Holder, the US top law enforcement official, said it is “worrisome” that tech companies are providing default encryption on consumer electronics. Locking the authorities out of being able to physically access the contents of devices puts children at risk, he said.

Encryption IS for the children; it’s the gift of electronic privacy rights – Top U.S. government officials are freaking out over Apple and Android smartphone encryption plans, using “think of the children” arguments, but why can’t the encryption argument be made “for the children” and for the sake of their future privacy rights?

wps8413.tmp

ComputerCOP: the dubious “Internet Safety Software” given to US families – The way ComputerCOP works is neither safe nor secure. It isn’t particularly effective either, except for generating positive PR for the law enforcement agencies distributing it. As security software goes, we observed a product with a keystroke-capturing function, also called a “keylogger,” that could place a family’s personal information at extreme risk by transmitting those keystoke logs over the Internet to third-party servers without encryption. That means many versions of ComputerCOP leave children (and their parents, guests, friends, and anyone using the affected computer) exposed to the same predators, identity thieves, and bullies that police claim the software protects against.

It’s now legal to make backups of movies, music, and e-books in the UK – Back in June, the United Kingdom outlined new copyright rules that would allow citizens to make backups of their music, movies, and e-books. Previously, making copies of media was illegal. Today, those laws officially go into effect. It is, however, still illegal to share those backups with friends or family, and making copies of rented media, or media that a person pays a subscription for (like Rdio or Netflix) likewise remains illegal.

4 Apps That Will Supercharge Your Productivity – Not enough hours in the day? These tools can help you get it all done.

How to recover deleted photos from a memory card – Just deleted an important batch of images from your memory card? Never fear, here’s how to undelete them for Mac and PC users.

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

TiVo’s Android app now lets you stream recorded TV shows – TiVo’s Android app now streams programming saved on your DVR. It also has added capabilities to serve as a hub for all your TiVo services, including controlling the TiVo box as well as showing cast information and other details about the show you’re watching.

How to change settings for emergency alerts on your Android phone – The emergency alerts feature on modern smartphones is legitimately useful: It can warn you about dangerous weather conditions, natural disasters, AMBER alerts, or other important tidbits of information. But perhaps you already keep up on the news. Or maybe you don’t feel the need to be alerted about everything. If any of this sounds like you, you’ll be pleased to know that Android has a healthy array of options for managing emergency alerts.

How to Take Free Courses from Top Universities – You can continue your education with some amazing and free online resources available from top universities. These institutions offer many of their courses in the form of video lectures, audio transcripts and online quizzes. And some universities give you access to the professor and let you interact with other students taking the class. Want to give these free online courses a try? Here are the online education offerings from the top U.S. universities that we think are worth checking out.

No Web Design Experience? Try Microsoft Office Sway – The software giant on Wednesday introduced Sway, a new app in the Office portfolio that lets you pull together, format, and showcase your ideas online without any design experience. Users can search for content from sources like OneDrive, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or a phone or tablet’s camera roll without leaving the app, then drag and drop photos and videos directly into Sway. From there, simply add words, select a layout and style, or just let Sway do the formatting for you. It will display suggested combinations to consider, but allows for design tweaks or layout changes, at any time.

wps8452.tmp

Facebook Apologizes To LGBT Community And Promises Changes To Real Name Policy – Facebook’s VP of Product Chris Cox made a statement today on Facebook apologizing (on behalf of the company, it seems) for any pain caused, and explaining how this situation came to be. The statement also included promises to improve the current real name policy to include all different types of people without risking the safety of other users.

Windows 8 drops in market share, Windows 7 continues dominance – It’s unexpected, but Microsoft’s latest operating system saw a slump in market share for August; Windows 8 and 8.1 both lost points for the month, while Windows 7 and XP continued to dominate.

Windows 10 beta now available to download—time to test the new Start menu – Microsoft released a technical preview of Windows 10 this morning, and it’s available for download here. System requirements are a 1GHz or faster processor, 1GB of RAM for 32-bit systems or 2GB for 64-bit systems, 16GB of free hard disk space, and a Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with a WDDM driver. In other words, anything that’s capable of running Windows 8.1 can be moved to Windows 10. You can upgrade to the Windows 10 preview from either Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1.

Pointing up   Downloaded a copy this morning for installation on an old Core 2 Duo Processor 2.60 GHz. We’ll see how that goes.

wps8482.tmp

How to extend your camera’s battery life – Here are some tips to help squeeze out every last bit of juice from your camera’s battery pack.

PlexiDrone is modular, customizable, and cool – Aerial photography is one of those things that makes drones cool. If you were in awe of the drone video from inside a fireworks show, a new drone might let you do the very same thing. What sets this one apart is modularity, and that you can use your own camera to film the action.

wps84C1.tmp

Internet Explorer still the most popular browser, IE8 dominates – Looking at the data, we see Internet Explorer is still the leading browser around the world, by a wide margin. But this is isn’t exactly in Microsoft’s favor as the newest version is still struggling.

wps84E1.tmp

Hacked celebrities ‘dumb’, says proposed EU digital commissioner – Günther Oettinger, the European Union’s proposed Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, gave a disappointing performance at his confirmation hearing, dodging questions and calling the victims of a recent data breach “dumb.” Critics said Oettinger’s remarks about the celebrities whose iCloud accounts were compromised, allowing hackers to release nude photos of them, showed he was unfit for the job of shoring up public confidence in the Internet.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Don’t Need the Internet to Chat With One Another – Smartphones should make it easier to organize protests, but they’re as good as bricks when cell towers get overloaded with traffic or when governments decide to flip the switch. In the face of these hang-ups, Hong Kong’s demonstrators have turned to FireChat, a smartphone app that allows users to communicate even when they can’t get online or send texts. Unlike chat programs that work over the Internet, FireChat connects directly to other nearby users within up to about 250 ft. More people in range can then join the chat, extending the network even further. Pretty soon you can get up to a few thousand people chatting away, all without anybody connected to the Internet. FireChat is based on mesh networking, in which every device on a network works as a node for expanding that network.

Security:

How to prevent phishing attacks on Android – Sometimes, it’s not easy to know if the URL you are about to tap on is trustworthy or not. Considering that there are over 26,000 active phishing sites, that can be rather daunting. Fortunately, there are apps like Phishing Detective available to help you out. Phishing Detective is a simple solution that helps you know if a URL is safe to view. What this app does not do (although it says it can) is automatically check after you’ve tapped it (and prevent its opening should it be a phishing site). Instead, you have to use it as a manual URL checker. Yes, this is a bit of a hassle, but an ounce of prevention…

Jimmy Kimmel tops McAfee’s list of ‘most dangerous celebrities’ – No, I’m not suggesting Kimmel is an embezzler — even of jokes. Rather he’s found himself at the top of McAfee’s most dangerous celebrity list. It seems that those with an eye to planting malware on your digital soul and viruses in your digital pores are choosing most to use Kimmel’s name as bait. McAfee warns: “When you search for videos and downloads of Jimmy Kimmel, you’ve got a 1 in 5 chance to click on a page that tests positive for viruses and other malware.”

You can send this SSD a text message to make it self-destruct – Maybe simply encrypting your hard drive isn’t enough — you want the maximum level of data security possible. If that’s the case and money is no object, the Autothysis128t could be the SSD of your dreams. This 128GB SSD has full hardware encryption support along with unique security and data destruction protocols. You can even shoot a text message to your drive and destroy all the data before your numerous enemies get their hands on it.

wps8502.tmp

Google Triples Chrome Bug Bounties – Going bug hunting? If so, you might want to turn your attention and expertise to Google’s Chrome browser. The company has now tripled the maximum reward that you could earn for successfully finding an exploit and notifying Google about the issue. And that maximum is a suggestion, not a hard cap. If you find an especially compelling bug, and you could earn even more. Meanwhile, if you submitted and were rewarded for bug reports at any point since July 1, 2013, Google will retroactively pay you the higher reward.

Report: LulzSec leader directed cyberattacks while working for FBI – Hector Xavier Monsegur directed attacks against targets in the UK, Australia, Brazil and other countries, The Daily Dot is reporting.

Company News:

Microsoft: Free Windows licensing brought 50 new phone and tablet partners – Talking about the new licensing model Microsoft has implemented, Terry Myerson explained that it has been a success with 50 new partners signing up to build tablets and Windows Phone devices.

wps8522.tmp

Germany Warns Google Over User Profiling Privacy Violations – The Hamburg Data Protection Authority warned Google yesterday that its user profiling activities are violating Germany’s Telemedia Act & Federal Data Protection Act, owing to the lack of explicit user consent to how the data is processed. The watchdog said significant changes are necessary to bring Google into legal compliance in Germany — specifying that it must gain user consent for the profiling, and allow users to control what their data is used for.

Google bows to pressure, removes news snippets from German search results – In a move to minimize legal risks, Google has stopped showing news snippets and thumbnails for some well-known German news sites in search results. Google will just show a link to a story along with the headline for news sites such as bild.de, bunte.de or hoerzu.de, said Google Germany’s country manager Philipp Justus Wednesday. The decision is the result of ongoing legal action started by several German news publishers that are members of the collecting society VG Media. After Google refused to compensate the publishers, they sued in June to get a cut of the ad revenue the company makes when it republishes parts of their news articles.

LinkedIn stocks up on education tools to get new users even before college – LinkedIn is stocking up on new tools designed to attract younger internet users to the platform as these students make the steps on their professional journey, starting with college.

wps8561.tmp

FCC pressure stops Verizon’s data throttling plan – Verizon was set to start throttling those users on unlimited data who had heavy data usage, but have reversed course. In response to heavy criticism from the public and FCC, Verizon is changing course, and will let those data hogs consume at their will.

Google shakes up cloud services market with another price cut – Google has fired back at Microsoft with cheaper cloud services, signaling another round of price cutting in an increasingly competitive market. Citing enhanced efficiency in its data centers as well as falling hardware costs, Google on Wednesday said it was cutting prices of its Google Compute Engine by about 10 percent for all instance types in every region.

ARM builds an OS for the Internet of Things – Called mbed OS, the operating system aims to provide a common software layer for securing and connecting the mass of devices expected to be hooked up to networks in the coming years, ranging from streetlights and gas meters to home appliances and pacemakers. Along with the OS, ARM plans to sell a piece of back-end software, called the mbed Device Server, that companies will use to collect data from IoT devices and make the data available for use by other services, such as analytics programs.

Games and Entertainment:

Watch this: The new Interstellar trailer is amazing – The concept of having or even wanting to leave Earth for good has long haunted humanity. Are we really destroying our planet, forcing decay acre by acre, or will the terra rebound and take its revenge? Interstellar is Christopher Nolan’s attempt to answer the former without the latter, and the latest trailer for his film looks spectacular.

wps8591.tmp

Skylanders Trap Team Review: Good Storytelling And Simple RPG Mechanics Succeed – The ‘Toys to Life’ category has been a much-needed savior for the gaming and toy industry alike, bolstering sluggish sales for both by anticipating a huge demand for real-life action figures that can be ‘brought to life’ for use in digital games. Activision’s Skylanders series pioneered the concept, and the originator is back with Trap Team, a new installment with the unique game mechanic of allowing players to ‘trap’ key villains in special physical play pieces, which makes them playable in-game as characters.

wps85E0.tmp

Borderlands: The Pre-sequel to launch on SteamOS alongside Windows – Despite Valve’s longstanding push to increase the profile of Linux gaming (and the Linux-based SteamOS that is still hanging out in beta), the growing list of Linux games on Steam remains dominated by smaller, independent titles and a few ports of big-name classics. So it’s worth paying attention to the fact that 2K Games has announced that Borderlands: The Pre-sequel will have full Linux/SteamOS support on the same day it launches on Windows machines and consoles, October 14. The announcement comes alongside news that 2K has also released a port of Borderlands 2 for SteamOS, and it’s offering the older game at a 75 percent discount to celebrate.

wps861F.tmp

Movie theaters plan to block the first Netflix theatrical release – This is far from the first time theaters have responded like this to a simultaneous theatrical and digital release, but it is the first time Netflix has been put in this situation. Initially, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos had hoped this initiative would encourage other studios to break out of the traditional model and explore simultaneous released, but if this block can’t be overcome somehow, you can bet that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

Off Topic (Sort of):

So long Lotus 1-2-3: IBM ceases support after over 30 years of code – IBM Lotus 123 Millennium Edition, IBM Lotus SmartSuite 9.x, and Organizer have now officially all passed their end of life support date and, according to IBM’s website, “No service extensions will be offered” – not that anyone is seriously using the spreadsheet any more. It’s a sadly muted end for what was, at one time, the world’s premier spreadsheet. Lotus 1-2-3 was one of the first applications that made IBM’s original PC a serious business tool, but it fell by the wayside due to poor coding decisions, failure to adapt, and the crushing tactics of Microsoft.

The Sound So Loud That It Circled the Earth Four Times – On 27 August 1883, the Earth let out a noise louder than any it has made since. It was 10:02 AM local time when the sound emerged from the island of Krakatoa, which sits between Java and Sumatra in Indonesia. It was heard 1,300 miles away in the Andaman and Nicobar islands (“extraordinary sounds were heard, as of guns firing”); 2,000 miles away in New Guinea and Western Australia (“a series of loud reports, resembling those of artillery in a north-westerly direction”); and even 3,000 miles away in the Indian Ocean island of Rodrigues, near Mauritius* (“coming from the eastward, like the distant roar of heavy guns.”1) In all, it was heard by people in over 50 different geographical locations, together spanning an area covering a thirteenth of the globe.

wps866E.tmp

The eruption of Krakatoa, and subsequent phenomena, 1888; Parker & Coward; via Wikipedia.

What Earth would be if humans were eradicated – We hear stories all the time about the effects humans have on our planet, such as the recent news that half of Earth’s wildlife has dwindled in the past handful of decades. What would happen if all humans disappeared from our planet, however? Earth Unplugged takes a look.

wps86AE.tmp

Why Your Geography Does Not Control Your Destiny – Now more than ever, geography no longer controls your destiny in the tech world. While fashion centers around cities like Paris and New York, oil and gas around Calgary and Houston, and cars in Detroit and Tokyo, good software and hardware companies are sprouting up everywhere. The trend is so rampant that “how I built my startup outside Silicon Valley” is no longer the most relevant story.

TechSpot: History of the Personal Computer, Part 3: IBM PC Model 5150 – This is the third installment in a five part series, where we look at the history of the microprocessor and personal computing, from the transistor to modern day chips on our connected devices.

wps86DE.tmp

Windows 10 arriving — here’s a look at 30 years of Windows – In 1980, IBM approached Microsoft about creating an operating system for its personal computers. Never having written an OS before, Microsoft simply bought an operating system called QDOS — or “Quick and Dirty Operating System” — and changed the name to MS Disk Operating System before licensing it to IBM. MS-DOS required you to type in arcane commands, so Microsoft set to work on making a new OS with a more accessible user interface. Codenamed ‘Interface Manager’, the OS used a mouse and onscreen drop-down menus, scroll bars and icons in boxes to control your computing. These “windows” gave a name to the software. Microsoft Windows was announced in 1983 and version 1.0 launched two years later on 20 November 1985.

wps871D.tmp

Conservatives say that net neutrality equates to government takeover of the Internet – More than 2.4 million people have signed letters calling on the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to stop its proposed “takeover” of the Internet in an effort by conservative activist group American Commitment to reframe the debate about the agency’s proposed net neutrality rules. The group said that it delivered the 2.4 million letters, urging Congress to stop the FCC’s net neutrality proceeding, to lawmakers this week.

Something to think about:

“The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy – I mean that if you are happy you will be good.”

–      Bertrand Russell

Today’s Free Downloads:

Free Video Call Recorder for Skype – Free Video Call Recorder for Skype is an absolutely free application for recording Skype calls without any limitations. It has a very simple interface.

You don’t need to download or install any extra libraries to be able to use the program.

You just need to specify the mode you like, choose the output folder and press “Start”. If you don’t want to record some moments during the conversation, just click on “Pause”. In order to finish the record select “Stop”.

With its help one may record calls in the following modes:

Picture-in-picture (the program records audio and video of all sides of the conversation)

Only video of other sides

Only audio (all sides)

All video records are saved in mp4 format that is easy to playback on a player.

For audio calls the program creates an mp3 file that is supported by most modern players.

wps873D.tmp

Risen3D – Risen3D is an advanced Doom port by Graham Jackson based on Jaakko Keranen’s Doomsday port.

Features:

Advanced algorithms provide more accurate rendering in OpenGL.

Full Boom and MBF compatibility.

Super fast rendering of OpenGL graphics.

Slopes and 3D floors.

Md2 models, particle effects and high resolution texture options.

Skybox support.

Translucent water and underwater effects.

Outside fog support for maps that require it.

Model activation capability using the R3D scripting method.

Mobj spawning using the R3D scripting method

Detailed texture support.

Dedicated smart Launcher for easy launching and pwad management.

Uncapped frame rate for smoother game play.

Definition and dehacked editing capabilities.

Basic Doom mode option

Water splashes, ambient sounds, scrolling skies and stealth monsters.

In game texture alignment using the R3D Edit mode.

wps876D.tmp

Yawcam – Yawcam is a shortening for Yet Another WebCAM software, and that’s exactly what it is 😉 More precise Yawcam is a webcam software for windows written in java. The main ideas for Yawcam are to keep it simple and easy to use but to include all the usual features.

Features:

Video streaming

Image snapshots

Built-in webserver

Motion detection

Ftp-upload

Text and image overlays

Password protection

Online announcements for communities

Scheduler for online time

Time lapse movies

Run as a Windows service

Multi languages

Yawcam is freeware. However, if you enjoy using Yawcam and would like to help support its development, please consider making a donation.

Limitations: Requires Sun Java Runtime Environment installed.

wps87BC.tmp

In Pursuit of Freedom – The Pushback Continues:

US top cop decries encryption, demands backdoors – Attorney General Eric Holder, the US top law enforcement official, said it is “worrisome” that tech companies are providing default encryption on consumer electronics. Locking the authorities out of being able to physically access the contents of devices puts children at risk, he said.

“It is fully possible to permit law enforcement to do its job while still adequately protecting personal privacy,” Holder said during a Tuesday speech before the Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online conference. “When a child is in danger, law enforcement needs to be able to take every legally available step to quickly find and protect the child and to stop those that abuse children. It is worrisome to see companies thwarting our ability to do so.”

Holder’s remarks, while he did not mention any particular company by name, come two weeks after Apple announced its new iPhone 6 models would be equipped with data encryption that prevents authorities from accessing the contents of the phone. At the same time, Google said its upcoming Android operating system will also have default encryption.

The encryption decision by two of the world’s biggest names in tech is a bid to gain the trust of customers in the wake of the Edward Snowden surveillance revelations.

Holder said he wants a backdoor to defeat encryption. He urged the tech sector “to work with us to ensure that law enforcement retains the ability, with court-authorization, to lawfully obtain information in the course of an investigation, such as catching kidnappers and sexual predators.”

California bill limits the surveillance of student social media posts – Social media is an established part of life at this point, but how society deals with it is still be worked out. For a long while, it wasn’t uncommon for employers to demand access to accounts, and many have been fired over what they choose to share. Schools often monitor students’ social media accounts, and a new California bill has specifically targeted that.

Majority Say Brennan Violated Checks and Balances, and Must Go – According to a new poll, a sizeable majority of American voters believe CIA officials violated the constitutional system of checks and balances when they hacked into computers being used by Senate staffers investigating torture.

And by a two-to-one margin (54 percent to 25 percent, with 22 percent not sure) they believe that CIA Director John Brennan should resign on account of the misleading statements he made about the incident.

The Public Policy robo-poll of 898 registered voters was commissioned by the Constitution Project, a highly-respected non-partisan group that has been active in calling attention to the lack of accountability for the torture of detainees during the last administration.

The poll found overwhelming public support for release of a long-completed report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The report is said to disclose abuse that was more brutal, systematic and widespread than generally recognized, and to expose a pattern of deceit in the Bush administration’s descriptions of the program to Congress and the public.

But despite having been completed in December 2012, the report remains inaccessible to the public. Most recently, the White House and the CIA have proposed redactions that Senate intelligence committee chair Dianne Feinstein said effectively undermine its key findings.

Fully 69 percent of those polled said they support releasing a declassified version of the report “to establish the historical record and to find out more about what happened”; compared to 22 percent who chose the option of not making the report public “because the findings might be damaging or embarrassing”.

Perhaps most strikingly, those numbers were nearly identical across party lines — Democratic, Republican and independent.

4 Comments

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

DoNotTrackPlus Gives The Boot To Nosy Internet Trackers

imageSeveral weeks back, I received an invitation from CNET to join a dating website designed especially for those that are 50 years old – or more. OK, it wasn’t exactly an invitation  – it was, in fact, an ad inserted into one of my subscribed  CNET newsletters.

image_thumb1

So what – no big deal you may be thinking. But from my perspective, it is a big deal – here’s why.

In the years that I’ve been Internet connected – 18 years or more – I’ve never referred to, or listed, my actual age (other than to make the point, from time to time, that I’ve been at the computing game for a very long time). Nor, have I ever referred to my marital status (other than in a humorous way in re-commenting on a reader’s initial comment – perhaps).

As it turns out – I am over 50, and I am a bachelor. So, in reality, CNET targeted me precisely. The question is – how did CNET know to target me so effectively and efficiently?

A partial answer is – CNET spies. The fact that CNET spies on site visitors is hardly news. Nor is it news, that the majority of commercial websites engage in spying on site visitors.

SPYING – such a loaded word. Instead of “spying”, let me use a series of descriptors handily thrown around by those engaged in spying on my privacy.

Predictive analytics, customer profiling, customer segmentation, predictive modeling, lifestyle clustering……. all done for my own benefit, of course (according to the intruders). There, now I feel better about being profiled, segmented, and clustered. Not!

I’m certainly not a Luddite and, I understand the cost/benefit associated with using the Internet. But, the rules (such as they were) have changed dramatically in the last year or two. The Data Miner is now on the scene, and gobbling up personal information at a prodigious rate.

Webopedia definition – The two most common forms of data miners are data mining programs that an organization uses to analyze its own data to look for significant patterns, and spyware programs that are uploaded to a user’s computer to monitor the user’s activity and send the data back to the organization, typically so that the organization can send the user targeted advertising.

In a real sense then, it isn’t so much that CNET is aware that I’m 50 plus, or that I’m single that is at issue – since CNET could not/did not develop the specific information I referred to earlier. Instead, this information was undoubtedly culled by any one, or more, of the data miners that have infected the Internet and, using “predictive modeling” rolled out a “best guess” that I’m in my fifties and single.

And that makes me feel not only “profiled, segmented, and clustered” but, as if I’ve been “diced and sliced”. I have, in essence, become a product. A product, I’m afraid, that’s closing in on its “best before date”.    Smile

A product that LiveIntent, working on behalf of CNET, targeted based on (according to the company’s site), gender, age, geo, browser, and time of day. I should point out, that according to LiveIntent’s promotional material, the foregoing “is just the tip of the iceberg”. Of that, I have no doubt.

The other side of the coin is – and there is another side of the coin – Internet users (by and large), have been trained to accept a tradeoff in order to get access to “free” information and services. In return – they buy into the condition that each commercial site they visit has the right to spy and build a profile on their browsing habits – the type of sites they visit and revisit, time spent on sites, their shopping and spending habits, their political views, their marital status (it appears), and much more. Some tradeoff!

In the long term, the personal information gathered will be sold, bartered and traded (to bypass the disclaimer – “we will not sell your information”), so that it can be used in multiple ways that generate profit. And, that’s the upside. If there’s one thing the Internet has taught us, it’s – if information can be abused – it will be abused.

If you’re like me, and you staunchly oppose the collection of your personal information, then you’re likely aware of any number of Browser tools which claim to shutout nosy data miners. In fact, I’ve reviewed many of these tools here.

One free tool which I haven’t reviewed until now (although, I wish I had earlier) is DoNotTrackPlus – a free Browser add-on from Abine (the online privacy company).

In the several weeks I’ve been running with DoNotTrackPlus, I’ve found that this add-on lives up to it’s reputation for excellence.

The following screen captures emphasize just how pervasive online tracking has become. And, more importantly, how DoNotTrackPlus puts the boots to these invasive parasitic data miners.

A selected result, from earlier today, while reading my local newspaper online.

image

Cumulative results since installing this add-on. You’ll note, the rather staggering tracking company total.

image

Abine’s Internet privacy view:

There is a huge difference between sharing personal information and having it taken. That’s why we’ve created Internet tools and services for those who want a say in how and when their information is used. And since we think exercising your right to online privacy should be easy, our solutions allow regular people just like you to regain and maintain control over their personal information – while continuing to enjoy all the wonderful things the web has to offer.

If you find yourself agreeing with this concept – and, you want a say in how and when your privileged information is used – take DoNotTrackPlus for a test drive. I suspect that you’ll be reluctant, in future, to surf the Internet without DoNotTrackPlus in place.

Fast facts:

Free tool that puts you back in control of your information.

Stops more than 600 trackers.

When you visit a website DoNotTrackPlus blocks tracking technologies from:

· Seeing and collecting your web activity such as what sites you visit and what you view.

· Putting cookies on your machine that would continue to store information about your Internet browsing.

· Displaying ads with tracking capability, including the annoying ads that seem to follow you everywhere you go.

Compatible with Mac or PC for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer.

Automatically updates to catch new trackers.

Download at the developer’s site: Abine

Click on the graphic below to view a video of DoNotTrackPlus in action.

image

Additional information is available on the company’s FAQ site.

17 Comments

Filed under Browser add-ons, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Online Privacy, Safari

SpywareBlaster 4.6 Released – An Important Building Block In Your Wall Against Malware

spywareblaster_largeIf there’s a lesson that an average Internet user needs to be reminded of until it becomes second nature it’s this – “prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

Just as in real life, where the public health practice of systematic inoculation has proven to prevent a wide range of serious diseases (prevention is worth a pound of cure at its best) – giving a computer a “shot” (which SpywareBlaster is designed to do), as part of a layered defense strategy, has proven benefits.

Relying on a malware removal tool, following a serious malware infection, is often a fool’s errant since there is simply no way that an average user can be absolutely sure that the infection has been contained – never mind removed. It’s no accident that a huge number of specialty malware removal tools have been developed to address this very issue. Applications which, unfortunately, are often outside the capabilities of an average user.

So, stopping the bad guys from gaining a foothold has to be a primary objective of that layered defense strategy that I mentioned earlier. And, part of that strategy includes raising barriers at the doorway to the system – the Internet browser.

SpywareBlaster, the granddaddy (in a sense), of Internet browser security applications –  which has just been updated to version 4.6 – is a free application which is well suited to helping raise those barriers.

SpywareBlaster, once installed, doesn’t use any services, or drivers, and does not use memory or processing time. You just open SpywareBlaster, set your protection, close it – you’re protected. SpywareBlaster continues to provide protection without the need for user interaction.

SpywareBlaster doesn’t scan for or clean spyware, since it’s designed to prevent installation only – so, it must be used in combination with your existing antimalware applications.

A quick walkthrough:

First – a little house cleaning. Enable all protection.

image

SpywareBlaster continues to provide protection without the need for user interaction.

image

A secondary, but equally important function offered by SpywareBlaster is its ability to block spyware/tracking cookies and restrict the actions of spyware/adware/tracking sites in Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Netscape, Seamonkey, Flock and other browsers.

image

A bonus feature included with SpywareBlaster is – System Snapshot. You can take a snapshot of your computer in its clean state, and later revert to this state, undoing any changes made by spyware and browser hijackers that have infected your system despite the security in place.

I recommend that you take advantage of this important feature – just in case.

image

For a more hands on approach – open the Tools menu and fiddle to your hearts content.

image

Fast facts:

Prevent the installation of ActiveX-based spyware and other potentially unwanted programs.

Block spying / tracking via cookies.

Restrict the actions of potentially unwanted or dangerous web sites.

Unlike other programs, SpywareBlaster does not have to remain running in the background. It works alongside the programs you have to help secure your system.

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7 (32 bit and 64 bit).

Browser compatibility:

Internet Explorer

Mozilla Firefox

Netscape

Seamonkey

Pale Moon

K-Meleon

and browsers that use the IE engine, including:

AOL web browser

Avant Browser

Slim Browser

Maxthon (formerly MyIE2)

Crazy Browser

GreenBrowser

Download at: Javacool Software

Need answers? Visit the SpywareBlaster Forum

SpywareBlaster is definitely low maintenance and the only thing you need to remember is – update the database which contains information on known spyware Active-X controls – regularly.

Additional free applications available from Javacool Software:

Doc Scrubber – Microsoft Word files can contain more than just text you see while editing them. Depending on the settings or features you use, they may contain all kinds of additional information that you may not want shared outside your home or company. Doc Scrubber lets you see that information, and scrub it from files before sending them to others.

EULAlyzer – Discover if the software you’re about to install displays pop-up ads, transmits personally identifiable information, uses unique identifiers to track you, or much much more. EULAlyzer can analyze license agreements in seconds, and provide a detailed listing of potentially interesting words and phrases.

10 Comments

Filed under 64 Bit Software, Browsers, downloads, Freeware, Malware Protection, New Computer User Software Tools, Software

Free G Data CloudSecurity – Blocks Known Malware And Phishing Websites

As we reported several days ago in Search Engine Results – More Malware Surprises Than Ever!, poisoned search engine results have proven to be a gold mine for the bad guys who, naturally, continue to be unrelenting in their chase to infect web searches.

Since drive-by downloads, which don’t require user action to create an infection, are resident on many of these compromised sites, this is unhappy news for the unwary Internet user.

To reduce the chances that you will be victimized by malicious search engine results, you should consider installing an appropriate Browser add-on, or if necessary, add-ons, to increase your safety margin. A list of recommended add-ons follows later in this article. But first, take a look at a new Firefox/Internet Explorer add-on, G Data CloudSecurity – passed on by regular reader Charlie L.

According to G Data, the plugin “effectively blocks access to known malware distribution and phishing websites – in real time. The plugin can be used alongside any other installed security suite and is ready for action after installing; no additional configuring required.”

Taking advantage of this service couldn’t be easier. Simply download the setup application, and execute. Following installation, you’ll notice a new icon in your browser which indicates  G Data CloudSecurity is up and running.

image

Clicking on the icon opens a dropdown menu which provides access to a number of functions.

image

The screen capture below shows G Data CloudSecurity in action – blocking a suspicious, or dangerous Web site.

image

Fast facts:

Compatible with all other security products

Prevents access to malware and phishing websites

Install once – no updates required

PC performance remains unaffected

Download at: Developer’s site. (G Data)

Additional Internet Browser Protection:

It’s not prudent to rely on only one form of protection, it seems to me, so take a look at the following browser security add-ons that are noted for their effectiveness.

It’s important to recognize that cyber-criminals are crafty, and there are no perfect solutions.

Web of Trust (WOT) WOT is a free Internet Browser add-on (my personal favorite), that has established an impressive and well deserved reputation. WOT tests web sites you are visiting for spyware, spam, viruses, browser exploits, unreliable online shops, phishing, and online scams, helping you avoid unsafe web sites. (installed on my computer)

Search Engine Security – Search Engine Security turns the table on the bad guys by using using a technique familiar to most hackers – appearing to be something you’re not. Or, more properly, appearing to come from a location you’re not really at. (installed on my computer)

Basically, the add-on changes the HTTP referrer (selectable by you), in the search string so that when you click on a returned link it appears to the link site that you have not arrived from Bing, Google, or Yahoo.

McAfee SiteAdvisor A free browser add-on that adds small site rating icons to your search results as well as a browser button and optional search box. Together, these alert you to potentially risky sites and help you find safer alternatives. These site ratings are based on tests conducted by McAfee using an army of computers that look for all kinds of threats.

ThreatExpert Browser Defender – The Browser Defender toolbar allows you to surf safely by displaying site ratings as you browse the Internet. When you visit a site its address will be checked by our servers and a rating shown in the toolbar based on any malicious behavior or threats we have found associated with the site. The toolbar also integrates with the search results provided by popular search engines such as Google and Yahoo! so you can see if, in our view, it is safe to continue before you visit a site.

AVG Security Toolbar Free Edition AVG’s unique Search-Shield, available with the AVG Security Toolbar Free Edition, marks all web pages which are infected by zero day exploits and drive-by downloads. This powerful LinkScanner based technology works in real-time to provide comprehensive protection. Other programs rely on static databases and cannot protect you at the only time that matters – the time you click on a link.

TrendProtect – TrendProtect is a free browser plug-in that helps you avoid Web pages with unwanted content and hidden threats. TrendProtect rates the current page and pages listed in Google, MSN, and Yahoo search results. You can use the rating to decide if you want to visit or avoid a given Web page. To rate Web pages, TrendProtect refers to an extensive database that covers billions of Web pages.

Bottom line:

While G Data CloudSecurity does what it says it will do, my personal preference is unchanged. WOT (Web of Trust), backed up by Search Engine Security, is a more appropriates solution.

I’ve reviewed and recommended a bag full of Browser security add-ons in the past few months, or so. No disrespect intended to those developers who have the public’s interest at heart when they develop Browser security add-ons, but…..

Am I the only one who thinks that building protection into my Brower in this potluck fashion, has reached the height of ridiculousness?

Isn’t it long past the time, when a Browsers should be built with the most appropriate form of protection already on board?

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

7 Comments

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Browser add-ons, Browser Plug-ins, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Internet Explorer Add-ons, Malware Protection, Search Engines, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

Test Your Browser’s Security With Free Qualys BrowserCheck

imageData released this week, by Qualys, a security industry leader in vulnerability assessment and management, at the RSA Conference in San Francisco, continues to indicate that Browser plug-ins are frequently outdated and easily attackable.

Analysis of scanned data captured from 200,000+ Qualys BrowserCheck users’ worldwide, indicates that approximately 70% had a least one plug-in vulnerability.

No great surprise that Sun Java, and Adobe Flash and Reader, led the pack.

This research suggests, that you can load up your Internet Browser with every security add-on you like, but if there’s even one security hole – you’re still at risk.

Regular readers will remember that we’ve previously reviewed and recommended Qualys BrowserCheck, which will check your Web Browser for selected security holes in both the browser, and browser plug-ins.

BrowserCheck is itself a plug-ins, and like most plug-ins, it’s very easy to install. Simply visit the Qualys site; install the plug-in, revisit the Qualys site (if necessary) – and you’re all set to launch the test.

My first test run was on Internet Explorer 8, as the following screen captures show.

image

As the scan results indicate – my Internet Explorer 8 is in terrible shape. I should point out however, that I never use any version of Internet Explorer.

image

With Firefox running, the results looked like this.

image

It seems I’ve been bad, and not kept my java Runtime updated – the very plug which is most likely to be hacked! The only defense I have (and it’s a poor one at that), is – this is a test machine which is rarely connected to the Internet. As well, my PDF reader has an update available.

image

Continuing with the test, I clicked on the  “Fix it” button which immediately took me to the Java update site so that I could download the latest version of Java Runtime.

image

Following the installation of the Java update, I reran the test to ensure the vulnerable condition had been closed.

image

Fast facts: The following items are detected:

Windows OS support expiration

Browser version (IE 6.0+, Firefox 3.0+, Chrome 4.0+)

Adobe Flash Player

Adobe Reader 5.x and above

Adobe Shockwave Player

Apple Quicktime

BEA JRockit

Microsoft Silverlight

Microsoft Windows Media Player

Real Player

Sun Java

Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) plug-in for Mozilla browsers

Additionally, you can test your currently installed Browser for security holes, by taking the free Browser Security test offered by Scanit, a technology company which provides services ranging from high-tech penetration testing over application source code review, risk assessments and management-level security audits, to security courses.

The test is fairly comprehensive and supports Internet Explorer, Mozilla Browsers (Firefox), and Opera. Additional components check for vulnerabilities in selected plug-ins, including Flash and QuickTime.

To test your Browser go to Browser Security test, and follow the simple instructions.

Note: This morning, I had some difficulty loading the Scanit site. Hopefully, this is not permanent.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

1 Comment

Filed under Application Vulnerabilities, Browser Plug-ins, Browsers, cybercrime, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety Tools, Malware Protection, Online Safety, Safe Surfing, Software, Windows Tips and Tools