Tag Archives: social networks

Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – December 3, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tech Thoughts Daily Tech News 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Security:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Company News:

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

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

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

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

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

Games and Entertainment:

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

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

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

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

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Off Topic (Sort of):

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

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

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Modern family.

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

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

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Something to think about:

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

–      Eddie Cantor (1892 – 1964)

Today’s Free Downloads:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Windows 8.1 64-bit is not supported.

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

Paul Lubic Jr. – A Man on a Cybersecurity Mission

imageStaying malware free on the Internet – managing privacy issues –  reducing exposure to predators and scam artists (a seemingly inexhaustible list of threats) – takes effort. Increasingly – a major effort.

That effort must include a serious, conscientious, and effective commitment to becoming educated in both the technical, and sociological issues, that  impact your relationship with the Internet. Oh yes – you have a relationship with the Internet. Who knew?   Smile

How successful you are likely to be, will depend to a large extent on the source material you reference. Unfortunately, the nature of the Internet is such, that not all resources will be equally as effective in helping you reach your goal.

Citizen Journalism is a good thing – but, in the real world of Internet and system security – expert opinion, coupled with the ability to convert technical information into human readable form (not so easy) – is critical. If you can’t understand what’s being said………

One expert that I’ve come to rely on (and, you can as well), is my good friend and fellow blogger, Paul Lubic Jr. (Paul’s Internet Security Blog).

Paul, a cyber-security expert whose professional background includes cyber-terror prevention and preparedness (Homeland Security), is committed to his mission to cultivate a new level of cyber security awareness in his readers.

In a major effort to help educate that readership base, Paul has just completed a four part series that should be on all Internet users’ “must read” list. I’ve taken the intros (as posted below), from Paul’s site, so that you can easily judge your interest level in any one of those articles. Simply click on – “Continue reading” – to uh, continue reading.   Smile

Target: Social Networking Sites

Plastic Social Media ButtonSocial Networks is the first in a series of “Target” articles, discussing the various areas the cybercrime organizations are attacking. Unfortunately for computer users, our Internet environment is, as the military would say, “a target rich environment”. By social networking sites we refer to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

As we’ve mentioned in the past, global cybercrime is organized and the organizations resemble a hybrid of a mafia and a large corporation. Continue reading →

Target: Mobile Devices

SmartphoneTarget: Mobile Devices is the second installment of the series of “Target” articles, discussing the various areas the cybercrime organizations are attacking. Unfortunately for computer users, our Internet environment is, as the military would say, “a target rich environment”. See Target: Social Networking Sites, the first article, to get some background on the tactics and strategies of cyber crime organizations.

Mobile devices include smartphones, tablets, PDAs, or any small, handheld computing device that can access the Internet. Continue reading →

Target: Cloud Storage Databases

Security Binary DataCloud storage databases are large server (computer) farms, accessible over the Internet, and owned by a service company for storing customer data for a fee. See The Cloud: A Definition. Companies rent storage space in the cloud to lower their local storage requirements, or as a backup of their data, thus saving them money. Cyber criminal organizations target these very large databases to steal information Continue reading →

Target: eBay, Amazon, & Credit Card Processors

Blue Dollar SignThe last (for now) installment of our Target series of articles addresses the large repositories of credit card information such as eBay, Amazon, and of course credit card processors for MasterCard and Visa. They’re huge, they use computers and the Internet to conduct their business, and there’s a market for credit card account information; and…you guessed it: personally identifiable information (PII).

Yes, we’re talking about extremely well-known, successful companies who undoubtedly have the best computer and Internet security money can buy. However, those attributes also make them more of a target in terms of Continue reading →

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Filed under Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Internet Safety

PC Tools Predicts New Breeds of Social Media Cyber Scams

imagePC Tools, the company which brings you PC Tools Firewall Plus (free), ThreatFire (free), and of course a complete line of award-winning commercial grade security offerings, is issuing this consumer alert advising the rollout of new social media sites and features, are leading to a fresh crop of online scams and threats.

PC Tools Top Three Social Network Threat Predictions

Email alerts for “tagged” photos where YOU might appear online.

Social networks are developing increased intelligence for facial recognition to assist with tagging photos. When you’re tagged in a photo or at a location in your photo album, you can often expect an email or notification letting you know where to view it online. Watch out!

Cybercriminals may be using this as a tactic to get you to click on malicious links asking for information – possibly even prompting you to click on a link leading to a fake login and password entry form posing as your social network.

Online robots or “bots” on social networking sites will be more sophisticated

We believe within the next few months that social media “bots” will become more advanced, effectively creating human-looking profiles and personalities. Cybercriminals rely on bots because they are the fastest and most cost-effective way to spread malware, spyware and scams through social network sites.

Through these bots, criminals can auto-create bogus personalities on social networks, which can in turn link to fake companies that sell phony products – all to trick users into buying merchandise that isn’t real or spreading news that doesn’t actually exist.

An increase in fake invites to join “new” or “exclusive” social networks or social groups

New social networks are popping up every day, some of which are “invite only” making them more appealing. Cybercriminals could use this appeal as a method to lure users into clicking on fake invites for exclusive networks. Upon clicking on these invites, users could be asked to provide personal details such as name, login, password or birthdates which should not be released.

“If you’re looking to join the hottest new social network, be careful where you click – your personal life may be at risk,” said Mike Chen, Product Marketing Manager at PC Tools. “Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the buzz surrounding these new social networks and features by tricking unsuspecting users to divulge personal information or download malware.”

Chen added that today’s malware looks legitimate, but what may seem like a harmless email or link can actually result in a person’s stolen identity or credit card data theft. And according to Pew Research, 46% of internet users agree that “most people can be trusted” – a prime reason why cybercriminals are so successful at duping consumers.

About PC Tools:

With offices located in Australia, Ireland, United States, United Kingdom and the Ukraine. PC Tools is a fast-growing brand with dedicated Research and Development teams that ensure PC Tools maintains a competitive edge. With registered customers in over 180 countries and millions of downloads to date, PC Tools’ products continue to win awards and gain recommendations from respected reviewers and independent testing labs around the world.

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Filed under Cyber Crime, Cyber Criminals, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Freeware, Internet Security Alerts, PC Tools, Safe Surfing, social networking, Windows Tips and Tools

5 Million New Threats in Three Months – PandaLabs’ Quarterly Report

Courtesy of Panda Security.

PandaLabs’ Quarterly Report – Record-breaking quarter for hackers.

pandasecurity_logo PandaLabs has released its quarterly report detailing cyber-threat activity from July to September. The full report can be downloaded from Panda.

The major story this quarter is that hackers have broken all records when it comes to creating new threats: Over the last three months, PandaLabs has recorded five million new strains of malware. Most of these were banker Trojans, although adware and spyware have also increased.

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We are currently receiving some 50,000 new examples of malware everyday, this compares to 37,000 just a few months ago. There is no reason to believe that the situation will improve in the coming months,” explains Luis Corrons, Technical Director of PandaLabs.

In terms of the number of computers infected, there has been a 15% rise compared to the previous quarter. In more than 37% of cases, the culprits were Trojans, while adware was responsible for 18.68% of all infections. This category in particular has been expanding largely due to the major proliferation of fake antivirus programs, or rogueware.

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This report also notes the trends analyzed over the last quarter. PandaLabs has detected a major growth in the distribution of malware through spam, social networks and search engine optimization techniques, which draw users to spoof Web pages from which malware is downloaded.

These methods for propagating malware often use social engineering, exploiting a range of current issues such as swine flu, Independence Day, forest fires or speeches of Barack Obama.

More information about these and other malicious codes is available in the Panda Security Encyclopedia. You can also follow Panda Security’s online activity on its Twitter and PandaLabs blog.

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Filed under Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Interconnectivity, Malware Advisories, Malware Reports, Panda Security, PandaLabs, System Security, trojans, Viruses, Windows Tips and Tools, worms

PandaLabs Says The U.S. Is Not #1 – in PC Infections

pandasecurity_logo The U.S. likes to be number one in everything – it’s just the American way. But, according to PandaLabs, the U.S. is going to have to settle for 9th place overall when it comes to malware infected computers. This is one area however, where not being number one is definitely better.

But that’s no reason to be complacent. PandaLabs, Panda Security’s malware analysis and detection laboratory, just revealed that it has detected a 15 percent increase in the total number of malware-infected computers in September, in comparison to the previous month of August.

According to data gathered from users that scanned and disinfected their computers with the free Panda ActiveScan online antivirus, the average infection ratio rose to 59 percent, the highest rate this year.

In comparison to the infection rates of 29 countries, the U.S. ranks ninth with an infection ratio of 58.25 percent, just below the worldwide average. Taiwan has the most infected PCs, with a 69.10 percent corruption, followed by Russia and China at 67.99 percent and 61.97 percent, respectively. The country with the least infections is Norway at 39.60 percent.

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According to Luis Corrons, Technical Director of PandaLabs, “There is a false sense of security, as users perceive there to be no real danger at the moment. When their computers get infected, they rarely notice any symptoms.”

Panda’s study revealed that U.S. computers are infected by the most dangerous malware strains: Trojans, followed by adware, worms and viruses.

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“This is a clear sign that hackers are becoming more and more sophisticated,” explains Corrons. “Cybercriminals have found news ways to spread their creations, frequently exploiting the latest news stories to launch attacks through social networks, videos, and email. The huge amount of Trojans in circulation is due to the spectacular increase in the number of banker Trojans aimed at stealing user data.”

More information is available in the Panda Security Encyclopedia. You can also follow Panda Security’s online activity on its Twitter and PandaLabs blog.

If you enjoyed this article, 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.

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Filed under Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Interconnectivity, Internet Security Alerts, Malware Reports, Online Safety, Panda Security, PandaLabs, Safe Surfing, Tech Net News, Windows Tips and Tools