Cyber Security is Everyone’s Problem

Did you miss the demo/presentation that Dr. Sivadon Chaisiri (Boom) of the Cyber Security Lab, Dept of Computer Science,  University of Waikato gave us on November 13th? His picture of what is happening when we go on the internet  helped us understand the risks we expose ourselves to and how we should deal with them.

It is not the same as being there, but Boom has kindly given us a link to his October presentation so you won’t miss out completely.

It is certainly scary out there. Do you have any ideas to add on what makes us vulnerable and how to keep ourselves safe?

Roderick Aldridge

Creative Commons Licensing – a Quiet Revolution

How Creative Commons licences are being used to open up New Zealand’s educational resources, research, data, culture and heritage for sharing, adaptation and reuse

Matt McGregor, the Public Lead of Creative Commons, Aotearoa New Zealand introduced the six Creative Commons licences. He explained

  • How to get a Creative Commons licence
  • How to find free Creative Commons licensed works
  • Some of Aotearoa’s world leading open projects
  • How you can join in and help open up more of New Zealand’s publicly funded copyright works.

For all about creative licenses see Creative Commons Licenses Explained

Roderick Aldridge

Security and privacy

Security and privacy issues continue to make the news. Here are some that I found interesting, significant or helpful, including:

  • Various ideas and resources for managing passwords
  • Alternatives to passwordsSecurity news
  • Mobile security and resources

Privacy

  • What Google, governments, businesses and others know about you
  • Some resources and measures to protect your privacy
  • Privacy and social networking

Passwords and alternatives

Strong Password Generator – Secure, Random & Online Password Generator

http://www.strongpasswordgenerator.org/

Intel’s Password Grader

https://www-ssl.intel.com/content/www/us/en/forms/passwordwin.html

KeePass Password Safe – The Ultimate Encrypted Password System [Windows, Portable]

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/keepass-password-safe-encrypted-password-system/

How To Send Sensitive, Secure Emails, Passwords, And Files Without Fear

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-send-secure-emails-without-fear/

How to remember passwords (and which ones you should) PC World Magazine New Zealand

http://pcworld.co.nz/pcworld/pcw.nsf/how-to/how-to-remember-passwords-and-which-ones-you-should

How to Devise Passwords That Drive Hackers Away – NYTimes.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/08/technology/personaltech/how-to-devise-passwords-that-drive-hackers-away.html

PasswordCard – another way to generate secure passwords

http://www.passwordcard.org/en

How To Enable 2-Factor Verification On Gmail (And Avoid Getting Hacked)

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/how-to-enable-2-factor-verification-on-gmail-and-avoid-getting-hacked.php

The secret to online safety: Lies, random characters, and a password manager

Or, how to go from “123456” to “XBapfSDS3EJz4r42vDUt.”

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/06/the-secret-to-online-safety-lies-random-

characters-and-a-password-manager/

Intel’s newest solution to passwords: wave your hands – Neowin

http://www.neowin.net/news/intels-newest-solution-to-passwords-wave-your-hands

Replacing Your Password with a Finger Swipe – Technology Review

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/429037/replacing-your-password-with-a-finger-swipe/

Researchers turn voiceprints into passwords to avoid storing your actual speech anywhere.

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/428970/securing-your-voice/

By David Talbot on August 27, 2012

 

 Security – various

Is DRM A Threat To Computer Security?

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/drm-threat-computer-security/

Chris Hoffman On 12th June, 2014

DRM is harmful to our security. At best, it’s a necessary evil — and it’s arguably not necessary and isn’t worth the trade-off. Here’s how DRM and the laws that protect it make our computers less secure and criminalize telling us about the problems.

DRM Can Open Security Holes

Digital Rights Management (DRM) itself can be insecure. DRM is implemented with software, and this software needs deep permissions into the operating system so it can stop normal operating system functions.

Revisiting the WS Security Baseline: Part 1

http://windowssecrets.com/top-story/revisiting-the-ws-security-baseline-part-1/

By Susan Bradley on July 3, 2014 in Top Story

Here are tips for safe computing in the year 2014. Pass them along.

The Growing Threat Of Network-Based Steganography | MIT Technology Review

http://www.technologyreview.com/view/529071/the-growing-threat-of-network-based-steganography/

Emerging Technology From the arXiv July 18, 2014

The Growing Threat Of Network-Based Steganography

Hiding covert messages in plain sight is becoming an increasingly popular form of cyber attack. And security researchers are struggling to catch up.

The future

New “unbreakable” encryption based on human biology

A new method of encrypting confidential information has been patented by scientists at Lancaster University, UK

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/530034/new-unbreakable-encryption-based-on-human-biology/

This method offers an infinite number of encryption keys and allows for several encrypted streams to be transmitted at the same time.

In short: this means the new method is virtually impossible to crack. Let’s just hope the research turns into a real-world application.

Mobile security

Smartphone Viruses Are Real: How To Stay Protected

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/smartphone-viruses-real-stay-protected/

Joel Lee On 14th July, 2014

The last thing you want is a latent Trojan that sits in the background and steals all of your sensitive data. Think you’re safe from a smartphone infection? I wouldn’t be too sure. Viruses are most prevalent on PC platforms, yes, but these past few years have proven that smartphone viruses are real. Are you safe?

What You Really Need To Know About Smartphone Security

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/what-you-really-need-to-know-about-smartphone-security/

Matt Smith On 16th June, 2014

Since a smartphone is like a computer, it is vulnerable to similar security threats. Malware can be used to monitor data transferred on a phone, hijack specific data (like credit card numbers) or simply corrupt apps and generally make your life difficult. There are millions of potential threats in existence, and while most are unlikely to cross your path, the risk is higher than you might have guessed.

Since a smartphone is like a computer, it is vulnerable to similar security threats. Malware can be used to monitor data transferred on a phone, hijack specific data (like credit card numbers) or simply corrupt apps and generally make your life difficult. There are millions of potential threats in existence, and while most are unlikely to cross your path, the risk is higher than you might have guessed.

Mobile security: Apps to protect Android devices

http://windowssecrets.com/top-story/mobile-security-apps-to-protect-android-devices/

By Fred Langa on July 10, 2014 in Top Story

There are hundreds of free and paid security apps for Android phones and tablets. But many of those offerings are of uncertain quality.

Here’s a sampling of some of the best software for keeping Android devices free of malware, managing passwords, locking up your data, and more.

Android no longer reveals app permission changes in automatic updates

http://arstechnica.com/security/2014/06/android-no-longer-reveals-app-permission-changes-in-automatic-updates/

Android no longer reveals app permission changes in automatic updates

Change could heighten security risks for users.

by Dan Goodin – Jun 11, 2014 3:11 pm UTC

Automatically updating Android apps could get riskier thanks to a change Google developers have made to the way the OS discloses new app permissions, such as the ability to send potentially costly text messages or track a user’s precise geographic location.

Previously, automatically updated apps displayed explicit details when a new version gained additional privileges. For example, an app that previously tracked only coarse GPS coordinates would warn users if an update would begin receiving fine coordinates. Similarly, a newly assigned ability to send SMS messages would also be disclosed. Under changes implemented through the latest Play store app, neither new privilege is displayed if a user has previously accepted any other permission in the same category as the new permission. In other words, by accepting one permission from a category, users agree that every other permission in that category can be added without notification in future updates.

Privacy

How Much Does Google Really Know About You?

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-much-google-know-about-you/

Matt Smith On 17th June, 2014

Google’s most obvious and transparent tracking can be found in Google Web History, which tracks your past searches on all devices where you’re registered with your Google account. Web History is supposedly beneficial to users because it allows Google to tailor future search results to your preference based on your past history, but a log of your searches is also quite useful to marketers. And, if anyone manages to snoop on your account, it could become a privacy issue.

Less transparent, but equally common, is Google’s history of the pages you visit, which occurs whether you’re logged in to a Google account or not. This is accomplished through the use of tracking cookies as well as information derived from AdSense and Analytics. Google can learn what sites you frequent, in what order you visit them, how long you spend on them, and much more.

[………..]

Your Google Digital Shadow Is Complete

Taken as a whole, the information Google collects about users is shockingly complete. The company can mine your emails and Drive documents, track your browsing history, track the videos you watch on YouTube, obtain your WiFi passwords and much more.

None of this is meant to be insidious, of course. Google’s interest is serving ads, and in this sense an accurate profile might be perceived as a boon; if you’re going to see ads, they might as well be ones that interest you. The reveal of the NSA’s PRISM program, however, has proven that data collection is always a privacy issue because there are organizations that can compel data from those who hold it, either through legal finagling or by force.

What did you find out when you visited Google Dashboard, and what do you think of the company’s profile on you? Let us know in the comments.

John Edwards, Privacy Commissioner; and Executive Director Netsafe, Martin Cocker.

“Deleted” and “private” information that companies keep on you

http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/ntn/ntn-20140725-0909-deleted_and_private_information_that_companies_keep_on_you-048.mp3

Listen particularly to Netsafe’s Martin Cocker at 11.35minutes. Spies can collect metadata and find significant information without having to to tap conversations or see documents.

Lessons Learned From Don’t Spy On Us: Your Guide To Internet Privacy

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/lessons-learned-dont-spy-us-guide-internet-privacy/

Dann Albright On 29th June, 2014

With 500 attendees and some big names from the data privacy and human rights fields, the Don’t Spy on Us Day of Action was a fascinating afternoon of discussion, debate, and practical advice on how to keep our personal data private from snooping governments. I learned a lot, and I’ve condensed the most important parts of what I’ve learned into five main points.

I’ve also included five things you can do right now to make a difference, both for yourself and for other internet users.

Slowly, More E-Mail Is Getting Encrypted | MIT Technology Review

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/527916/a-simple-plan-to-impede-the-nsa-is-taking-hold/

More e-mail providers are using encryption, meaning messages can’t be intercepted and read by the NSA or hackers.

By David Talbot on June 6, 2014

A year after revelations first emerged from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden about mass Internet surveillance, more e-mail providers are adopting encryption, a simple change that could make it harder for spy agencies to vacuum up huge numbers of communications in transit.

PGP Me: Pretty Good Privacy Explained

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/pgp-me-pretty-good-privacy-explained/

Dann Albright On 1st July, 2014

If you’re concerned about online and electronic privacy, encryption is the best thing to set your mind at ease. By using strong encryption protocols, you can make sure that your data is safe from prying eyes, and that only the people who you decide should see your information have access to it. One of the most common methods for encryption is called PGP, and this article will guide you through what it is, what it’s good for, and how to use it.

Facebook reveals news feed experiment to control emotions

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jun/29/facebook-users-emotions-news-feeds/print

Protests over secret study involving 689,000 users in which friends’ postings were moved to influence moods

Robert Booth The Guardian, Monday 30 June 2014

Facebook’s Emotion Study Follows Efforts on Voting and Organ Donation

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/528706/facebooks-emotional-manipulation-study-is-just-the-latest-effort-to-prod-users/

With emotion-triggering effort, Facebook pushes beyond data-driven studies on voting, sharing, and organ-donation prompts, to make people feel good or bad.

By David Talbot on July 1, 2014

Cesar A. Hidalgo July 3, 2014

Outrage over Facebook’s “emotional contagion” experiment shows a general misunderstanding of what Facebook is and how it works.

The Facebook feed is a bit like a sausage. Everyone eats it, even though nobody knows how it is made.

The gap between our use of Facebook and our understanding of how it works, however, is a problem. By now most people are aware of the outrage triggered by a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that presented evidence of “emotional contagion” derived from an experiment conducted in Facebook.

Refriending Facebook | MIT Technology Review

http://www.technologyreview.com/view/528756/refriending-facebook/

A Booming Trade in Fake Online Friends | MIT Technology Review

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/528506/fake-followers-for-hire-and-how-to-spot-them/

Fake Followers for Hire, and How to Spot Them

It’s possible to buy a good reputation on the Internet for a modest price, but some are trying to put an end to that.

By Suzanne Jacobs on June 30, 2014

Given that Twitter followers and Facebook likes are one measure of popularity, it can be tempting to fudge the numbers. And that is cheap and easy to do, thanks to a willing cyber workforce dedicated to building fake reputations.

New research provides a fresh measure of the black market for creating false online reputations, but it also highlights a way to curb it.

Snowden: Dropbox is hostile to privacy, unlike ‘zero knowledge’ Spideroak

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jul/17/edward-snowden-dropbox-privacy-spideroak

How to create an anonymous email account | PCWorld

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2453926/how-to-create-an-anonymous-email-account.html

Microsoft’s implementation of aliases is not designed to hide your identity. Instead, Outlook.com aliases are about creating throw away addresses that you can give out to marketers and others to avoid plugging up your inbox.

But the question remains, how do you create an anonymous email account? Let’s take a look.

Note: This tutorial is not meant for someone in an oppressive country looking to hide themselves from government interlopers. This is aimed at people who want anonymity, but the stakes if they’re found out aren’t at risk of death or imprisonment.

Also keep in mind that no system is foolproof. But for most people, the instructions below should be good enough.

Windows RIP XP Long live 8.1

Microsoft makes Windows free for select devices, announces universal Windows apps

By Shawn Knight on April 2, 2014

http://www.techspot.com/news/56240-microsoft-makes-windows-free-for-select-devices-announces-universal-windows-apps.html

Microsoft on Wednesday revealed plans to make Windows free for manufacturers to use on smartphones and tablets with screen sizes under nine inches. Furthermore, a future version of Windows for the Internet of Things will also be completely free – moves that will no doubt help the Redmond-based company better compete with Android and increase market share in the red-hot mobile sector.

Microsoft sweetens XP upgrade offers as support deadline nears

http://www.techspot.com/news/56092-microsoft-sweetens-xp-upgrade-offers-as-support-deadline-nears.html

By Shawn Knight on March 21, 2014,

From now through June 15, XP users looking to move to a new system are eligible for a $100 discount on a qualifying machine priced at $599 or higher. A Microsoft rep said the deal will only show up for those who visit the Microsoft Store via a Windows XP machine in a clear nod to make sure that only XP users receive the savings.

Users that prefer to shop via brick and mortar can physically bring their XP machine to one of over 80 retail Microsoft stores across the country as proof of eligibility.

In addition to the $100 savings, buyers will also qualify for 90 days of free support and free data transfer. The data migration tool from Laplink was announced earlier this month and is available to all users free of charge from Microsoft’s website.

Windows XP is finally DEAD, right? Er, not quite.

Here’s what to do if you’re stuck with it
Lock down and look sharp, it’s the hackers’ game now
By Gavin Clarke, 8 Apr 2014
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/04/08/end_of_xp/

Today will be like no other day because it’s the last Patch Tuesday for Windows XP. Yet there’s good news if you’re still using XP. For starters, you’re not alone.

How do you protect yourself? Here’s some recommendations:

  • Edit your PC’s Windows registry so Office and media components don’t play or execute programs by default
  • Limit user rights to restrict things like browsing and email and also restrict the PC to run only “known good” apps
  • Control access to removable media and devices like smart phones, so viruses and other malware isn’t transported from machine to machine
  • Convert Windows XP machines into thin clients or virtualize the desktop
  • Create controlled zones of Windows XP machines, filtered via internet gateways to control inbound traffic as authorised
  • Apply all latest patches to the apps you’re running – and to Windows XP itself
  • Only run the latest versions of software such as Java and Flash
  • Install the latest anti-virus and anti-malware products from third parties onto your PCs
  • If you have upgraded, double check whether partner, customer or supplier connections to your network or PCs are using Windows XP
  • Move critical applications and users to server-based computing

 This changes everything: Microsoft slips WinXP holdouts $100 to buy new Windows 8 PCs

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/03/22/microsoft_windows_xp_100_dollars_windows_8/

By Shaun Nichols, 22 Mar 2014

In an attempt to lure people off its 13-year-old Windows XP operating system, Microsoft will pay $100 to XP users who upgrade to a new Windows 8 PC.

The promotion, run via the Microsoft Store website, is open to users who ditch their Windows XP systems and buy new machines.

The money-off offer applies to PCs costing $699 or more that are bought from Redmond’s online shop. The deal – which throws in 90 days of tech support and a download of software to migrate files all for free – will run through 15 June, nine weeks after official support for Windows XP is set to expire on April 8.

Dealing With Unwanted Windows Updates

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/28/technology/personaltech/dealing-with-unwanted-windows-updates.html

Microsoft has a guide on its site that suggests a number of solutions, including using the Add/Remove programs tool in the Control Panel to uninstall components left behind by older versions of Office.

4 Ways To Factory Reset Your Windows Computer

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/4-ways-factory-reset-windows-computer/

Danny Stieben On 26th March, 2014

  • Use the Recovery Partition
  • Use Recovery Discs
  • “Refresh” or “Reset” Windows 8
  • Reinstall Windows From Scratch

What you should know about Windows 8.1 Update

The soon-to-be-released Windows 8.1 Update brings minor improvements that favor those using a mouse — in other words, most Win8 users.

Anyone currently on Windows 8.1 will want the update; those who still haven’t made the Modern plunge won’t be impressed.

http://windowssecrets.com/top-story/what-you-should-know-about-windows-8-1-update/

Future Windows 8.1 update will finally bring back the Start menu

New menu combines classic Start menu look with new Live Tiles.

by Andrew Cunningham – Apr 2, 2014

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2014/04/future-windows-8-1-update-will-finally-bring-back-the-start-menu/

Six clicks: Weird tricks that will actually make you happier with Windows 8.1

http://www.zdnet.com/six-clicks-weird-tricks-that-will-make-you-happier-with-windows-8-1-7000027841/

Summary: Each new update chips away at the annoyances of Windows 8. Here are six power features that are new or improved with the Windows 8.1 update due in a couple of weeks.

By Ed Bott for The Ed Bott Report

 

 

Found on the web 2013/10

Some items which you may find interesting or useful

Some HOWTO’s and other hints mostly from PC World, some security and privacy alerts, software, some general news, Microsoft news, insight into censorship in China, explanation of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and Encryption.

Finally some light relief (this year’s IgNoble Prizes).

Roderick Aldridge

Help, hints, HOWTOs

Get a disposable email address from MailDrop | PCWorld

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2043868/get-a-disposable-email-address-from-maildrop.html

If you’re registering online for some freebie, promotion, or Web site that you just know is going to deluge you with ads and other spam, it makes sense to supply a disposable address—something you can access as needed for confirmation messages or the like, but that won’t otherwise interfere with your primary inbox.

MailDrop gives you a free throwaway email address. Use it in place of your own address, then head to the site to retrieve any messages you might need.

Get more out of Google Earth with these tips for power users | PCWorld

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2042845/google-earth-power-user-tips.html

Google Earth users can do more than just fly around a virtual globe. The free mapping application can display real-time weather, help compose photographs and measure distances much more easily than its Maps cousin.

How non-Dropbox users can send files to your Dropbox account | PCWorld

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2046745/how-non-dropbox-users-can-send-files-to-your-dropbox-account.html

What if someone wants to send a file to you via Dropbox? Unless they have Dropbox accounts of their own, they can’t.

Now they can. Browser-based Dbinbox enables Dropbox sharing in the other direction: It generates a custom link that others can use to send files to your Dropbox.

How to clean and secure your browser like a pro | PCWorld

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2046454/how-to-clean-and-secure-your-browser-like-a-pro.html

Take a minute to deep-clean the PC, eliminating unwanted browser toolbars, add-ons, extensions, and homepage- and search-hijacking malware.

How to delete or move a lot of Gmail messages | PCWorld

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2042425/how-to-delete-or-move-a-lot-of-gmail-messages.html

GMail lacks an obvious, simple tool for bulk operations. There’s no button to click or menu option to select for deleting or altering all of the messages or conversations that share a specific attribute. But you can still do it.

How to delete unwanted website accounts | Stuff.co.nz

http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/digital-living/9098001/How-to-delete-unwanted-website-accounts

WILL OREMUS Last updated 05:00 29/08/2013

It was after marvelling at some fed-up users’ tweets about how incredibly difficult it is to delete a Skype account that a British developer named Robb Lewis decided to lend a hand.

So he built a website that takes the adventure out of account-deletion.

It’s called Just Delete Me, and it’s as simple as Skype’s account-deletion procedure is convoluted.

1. Go to justdelete.me and find the service from which you want to delete your account.

2. Click on the service’s name and follow the instructions on the screen to delete your account.

How to find a lost message in Gmail | PCWorld

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2046306/how-to-find-a-lost-message-in-gmail.htmlo

Chances are that you simply misplaced the messages, moving them to another label by mistake. If that’s the case, finding them shouldn’t be too difficult.

 Install any version of Windows using any Windows disc you can find | PCWorld

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2044281/install-any-version-of-windows-using-any-windows-disc-you-can-find.html

You need to reinstall Windows and you never had recovery discs to begin with. Few manufacturers provide them anymore, and many new PCs don’t have optical drives even if they did.

Thankfully, there’s a way around this. All you need is a Windows ISO file (basically the entire Windows operating system in a single container) and the free Ei.cfg Removal Utility. The latter deletes a key file inside the former, thus allowing you to install any version of Windows.

How to download streaming media and watch it anywhere, anytime | PCWorld

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2048278/how-to-download-streaming-media-and-watch-it-anywhere-anytime.html#tk.rss_howto

Watching a movie or burning through episodes of your favorite TV show is the best way to get through a long plane trip, a car ride, or a vacation in the middle of nowhere.

Luckily, you can use third-party software and a few tricks to download streaming video from Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix. Now you can watch your entertainment on your terms, even in places where your cherished Amazon Prime account is inaccessible.

 Firefox: How to change the default page format (to A4)

http://it-tactics.blogspot.co.nz/2010/03/firefox-change-default-page-format.html

Martin Wildam said…

Here is how to change it (to A4 in my case):

  • In the location bar enter: “about:config”
  • Read carefully and confirm that you are going to be careful
  • Be careful with the following steps!
  • In the search bar enter “paper”
  • Look for properties ending with paper_size and paper_name.
  • For me it was sufficient to change “print.postscript.paper_size” and “print.print_paper_name” to “A4”.

There might be some additional properties ending with paper_size and paper_name for each of your available printers. I didn’t touch them and it worked anyway – YMMV.

print.postscript.paper_size needs to be changed to A4 now too in Thunderbird.

In my version it seems to be changed to iso_A4 not A4 – Roderick

 Security

 How Apple’s Touch ID Fingerprint Sensor Works To Protect Your Identity – ReadWrite

http://readwrite.com/2013/09/11/goodbye-swipe-to-unlock-hello-touch-id

Adriana Lee September 11, 2013

Say goodbye to pin codes or swiping to unlock. Apple’s new Touch ID will use human fingerprints to unlock iPhone 5S handsets with a single touch. According to the company, it comprises the most advanced hardware and software it has put in any device.

But

iPhone 5S finger-sniffer COMPROMISED • The Register

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/09/22/iphone_5_touchid_broken_by_chaos_computer_club/

By Richard Chirgwin, 22nd September 2013

Anyone can touch your phone and make it give up its all the Chaos Computer Club has already broken Apple’s TouchID fingerprint lock, and warns owners against using biometric ID to protect their data.

 Cyber criminals phishing for passwords with Google Docs bait – IT News from V3.co.uk

http://www.v3.co.uk/v3-uk/news/2291511/cyber-criminals-phishing-for-passwords-with-google-docs-bait

A new phishing message loaded with a malicious Google Doc is targeting Gmail users, according to security firm Sophos.

Senior security advisor at Sophos Chester Wisniewski reported the scam in a blog post, confirming that the message attempts to dupe users into clicking a suspect link by pretending to be a “Secure Document” from their bank.

 Privacy

N.S.A. Able to Foil Basic Safeguards of Privacy on Web – NYTimes.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/06/us/nsa-foils-much-internet-encryption.html

By NICOLE PERLROTH, JEFF LARSON and SCOTT SHANE

Published: September 5, 2013

The National Security Agency is winning its long-running secret war on encryption, using supercomputers, technical trickery, court orders and behind-the-scenes persuasion to undermine the major tools protecting the privacy of everyday communications in the Internet age, according to newly disclosed documents.

 Free Apps for Nearly Every Health Problem, but What About Privacy? – NYTimes.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/12/your-money/free-apps-for-nearly-every-health-problem-but-what-about-privacy.html

By ANN CARRNS Published: September 11, 2013

Need to lose weight, quit smoking, improve your sex life or get a better night’s sleep? There’s an app for that — all of it — and more. Thousands of mobile apps are available to improve your health and fitness.

MapMyFitness offers a group of exercise sites and apps including the popular MapMyRun. The company has developed a detailed privacy policy explaining how user information is used.

But beware.

Health apps can provide information and motivation to help you manage your well-being, and they’re easy to use and often free. But they may not have protecting your privacy as a priority.

 F.T.C. Says Webcam’s Flaw Put Users’ Lives on Display – NYTimes.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/05/technology/ftc-says-webcams-flaw-put-users-lives-on-display.html

By EDWARD WYATT Published: September 4, 2013

WASHINGTON — The so-called Internet of Things — digitally connected devices like appliances, cars and medical equipment — promises to make life easier for consumers. But regulators are worried that some products may be magnets for hackers.

Software

 5 Websites For Every Portable Application On The Web

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/5-websites-for-every-portable-application-on-the-web/

Portable applications are incredibly useful. If you’re someone who is constantly carrying around a flash drive, you should always have a few of your favorite portable applications (or even a portable application suite) on it.

In this post, let me show you where you can go to find these types of portable programs.

Google gives away QuickOffice – and 10GB of Google Drive | PC Pro

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/enterprise/384292/google-gives-away-quickoffice-and-10gb-of-google-drive

By Barry Collins Posted on 20 Sep 2013

Google is upping the ante in the mobile office market by giving away its QuickOffice suite to Android and iOS users.

Google’s sudden bout of generosity follows quick on the heels of Apple’s decision to give a free copy of its iWorks apps – including Pages, Numbers and Keynote – to buyers of the the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s.

Makeuseof’s list of favourite software

http://www.makeuseof.com/pages/the-best-of

 News

Google partners with EdX to create massive online course database – TechSpot

http://www.techspot.com/news/53962-google-partners-with-edx-to-create-massive-online-course-database.html

By David Tom On September 12, 2013, 8:30 AM

According to The Wall Street Journal EdX has joined forces with Google to create a brand new learning portal. Formally dubbed Mooc.org, this name is an acronym for Massive Open Online Courses. As the name suggests, its mission is to provide everyone with the opportunity to create their own digital course, whether they’re an established educator, a business professional or a member of the general public.

 Motion tracking cameras coming to Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo laptops in 2014 – TechSpot

http://www.techspot.com/news/53976-motion-tracking-cameras-coming-to-asus-dell-hp-and-lenovo-laptops-in-2014.html

By Tim Schiesser On September 12, 2013

3D tracking technology, similar to what is packed into Microsoft’s Kinect sensor, will soon be available in a range of laptops, Intel has announced at their Developer Forum in San Francisco. Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo have all put their support behind Intel’s motion tracking technology, meaning we will be seeing the camera arrays integrated into laptops in the first half of 2014.

Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray discs with up to 100GB of data are already in production – TechSpot

http://www.techspot.com/news/53980-ultra-hd-4k-blu-ray-discs-with-up-to-100gb-of-data-are-already-in-production.html

By Justin Kahn On September 12, 2013

New reports claim that leaked data from a disc manufacturing company points at upcoming 4K Blu-ray discs. Although there has been no official announcement from the Blu-ray Disc Association at this point, Singulus claims to be providing machine technology to support the new high storage capacity, three layer Blu-ray discs.

With up to 100GB of storage on the new discs, Singulus’ BLULINE III is able to print a 4K movie onto to a single triple layer Blu-ray disc. 4K content will be available digitally through services like Netflix and Sony Video Unlimited, but considering the size of these files, discs will likely still be a viable format.

Microsoft

Microsoft is pushing ahead with a unified Windows strategy

http://www.pcworld.co.nz/article/527070/microsoft_os_chief_one_api_rule_them_all/?utm_medium=rss&utm_source=taxonomyfeed

Juan Carlos Perez (IDG News Service) 20 September, 2013

Microsoft is pursuing the ideal of OS platforms: a unified code base that runs from smartphones to servers, giving users a consistent experience across devices at home and at work, and developers a common tool set for building applications.

“We really should have one silicon interface for all of our devices. We should have one set of developer APIs on all of our devices,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Operating Systems Engineering Group, during the company’s meeting with financial analysts on Thursday.

“And all of the apps we bring to end users should be available on all of our devices,” he added.

Microsoft prices Windows 8.1 starting at $119.99 | ZDNet

http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-prices-windows-8-1-starting-at-119-99-7000020794

Those running Windows 8 now will be able to get Windows 8.1 for free. But 8.1 will cost everyone else between $119.99 and $199.99 (for Pro).

 Google gives away QuickOffice – and 10GB of Google Drive | Enterprise | News | PC Pro

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/enterprise/384292/google-gives-away-quickoffice-and-10gb-of-google-drive

By Barry Collins Posted on 20 Sep 2013

Google is upping the ante in the mobile office market by giving away its QuickOffice suite to Android and iOS users.

Google’s sudden bout of generosity follows quick on the heels of Apple’s decision to give a free copy of its iWorks apps – including Pages, Numbers and Keynote – to buyers of the the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s.

Freedom of information

EU net neutrality seen in peril from draft law – PC World Magazine New Zealand

http://www.pcworld.co.nz/article/525358/eu_net_neutrality_seen_peril_from_draft_law/

Jennifer Baker (IDG News Service) 03 September, 2013

A digital advocacy group has accused Europe’s Digital Agenda Commissioner of caving in to pressure from telcos and abandoning her promise to protect net neutrality.

Fake Chinese Social Site Offers Glimpse Behind the Great Firewall | MIT Technology Review

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/519066/academics-launch-fake-social-network-to-get-an-inside-look-at-chinese-censorship/

By Tom Simonite on September 12, 2013

New research shows China’s online censorship relies on a competitive market where companies vie to offer the best speech-suppressing technology and services.

Food for thought

You own nothing: does it matter? | Analysis | Features | PC Pro

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/features/384310/you-own-nothing-does-it-matter

Posted on 20 Sep 2013

Thanks to the adoption of cloud-based subscriptions and content, we no longer own any of the software that’s key to our work, or have our own copies of the music we listen to or the books we read.

Technology explained

 What APIs Are And Why They’re Important – ReadWrite

http://readwrite.com/2013/09/19/api-defined?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+readwriteweb+%28ReadWriteWeb%29

What are APIs, and why do we care so much about them?

In the simplest terms, APIs are sets of requirements that govern how one application can talk to another. APIs aren’t at all new; whenever you use a desktop or laptop, APIs are what make it possible to move information between programs—for instance, by cutting and pasting a snippet of a LibreOffice document into an Excel spreadsheet. System-level APIs makes it possible for applications like LibreOffice to run on top of an OS like Windows in the first place.

On the Web, APIs make it possible for big services like Google Maps or Facebook to let other apps “piggyback” on their offerings. Think about the way Yelp, for instance, displays nearby restaurants on a Google Map in its app, or the way some video games now let players chat, post high scores and invite friends to play via Facebook, right there in the middle of a game.

 Understanding Encryption: Here’s The Key – ReadWrite

http://readwrite.com/2013/09/19/keys-understanding-encryption

Here’s why encryption matters, how it’s facing more threats than ever, and what we can do about it.

Unsafe At Any Computing Speed

The most recent set of documents, now being released piecemeal by Snowden’s media contacts across the world, seem to indicate that the U.S.’s NSA has somehow managed to render encryption, a tool used to obfuscate data and text, completely worthless.

But it turns out that while the NSA may have compromised some specific technical standards for encryption, the larger notion of encryption, properly implemented, remains valid.

Diversions

The Ig-noble Prize Awards

http://www.improbable.com/ig/

This years award for “Research that makes people LAUGH and then THINK”
have just been announced., including:

PSYCHOLOGY PRIZE: Laurent Bègue [FRANCE], Brad Bushman [USA, UK, the NETHERLANDS, POLAND], Oulmann Zerhouni [FRANCE], Baptiste Subra [FRANCE], and Medhi Ourabah [FRANCE], for confirming, by experiment, that people who think they are drunk also think they are attractive.

REFERENCE: “‘Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beer Holder’: People Who Think They Are Drunk Also Think They Are Attractive,” Laurent Bègue, Brad J. Bushman, Oulmann Zerhouni, Baptiste Subra, Medhi Ourabah, British Journal of Psychology, epub May 15, 2012.

and

Effect of James Bond on Macaque Brains

September 25th, 2013

This study tests previously untested extremes of the power of James Bond movies: