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Technology News
Manhattan computer repair service

Twitter's New Safety Rules: Hot Diggity or Hot Air? - Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Twitter has announced actions to further protect users of its network -- but it left them vague. The company is rolling out unspecified improvements to its reporting process for content issues including impersonation, self-harm, and the sharing of private and confidential information, aka "doxing." It's also beginning to add new enforcement actions for use against accounts that violate its rules.

Monster Problem Threatens New US Cyberthreat Plan - Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

President Barack Obama last week made good on his promise to establish a center for cybersecurity information gathered by agencies of the federal government. It's a laudable initiative -- if it works. The Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center will connect the dots regarding malicious foreign cyberthreats to the nation and cyberincidents affecting U.S. national interests.

The Open Source Squad at the GSA - Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

18F, a development unit within the General Services Administration, was established a year ago to tap into the success of the United Kingdom's Government Digital Services unit by pursuing a similar strategy. The unit is tasked with getting developers from Silicon Valley and the ranks of civic developers all over the country to change how federal technology gets done.

Samsung's New S6 Line Atones for S5's Plastic Sins - Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Samsung on Monday announced its much-anticipated Galaxy S6 line at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. In the S6, the strongly disliked plastic body of the Galaxy S5 is replaced with a combination of aluminum and Gorilla Glass. The Galaxy S6 and S6 edge both come in white, black and gold. Blue will be available only for the S6, while green will be available only for the S6 edge.

Mobile World Congress 2015, or Why Your Smartphone Is Crap - Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Don't you just love big industry events like Mobile World Congress? I mean, you've had whole weeks to enjoy the new phone you got last quarter, and now you'll hear about a bunch of incredibly wonderful stuff that will make that new phone look like your grandmother's favorite car -- you know, the one she fell in love with in the 1960s. Unfortunately, I'm not going to make things better.

Gadget Ogling: Scooting Around, Scratching Wood, Knocking on Doors - Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Even for someone endlessly in awe of our ability to traverse continents in just a few hours, traveling is increasingly a chore. Anything I can add to trips to make them even a touch more enjoyable is nothing to sniff at. A suitcase with a built-in, motorized scooter may be just what I need to freshen up journeys. Warning: It's carry-on size, but it's far beyond typical carry-on luggage weight.

The Apple Watch Mystery Won't Be Solved March 9 - Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

The fog shrouding the Apple Watch won't be lifted on March 9. Apple's invite to its media event displays the tease "Spring Forward," which likely refers to the shift in daylight savings time -- and time itself. Sure, we'll learn more about the Apple Watch's functionality, but the mystery is whether most of us new buyers suddenly will turn into watch wearers for longer than a few months.

DeepMind AI Exterminates Space Invaders, Pac-Man - Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Researchers at Google's DeepMind subsidiary in England have developed an artificial agent they call a "deep Q-network" that learned to play 49 classic Atari 2600 arcade games by just diving in. The DQN algorithm performed at more than 75 percent of the level of a professional player in more than half the games. It achieved the maximum attainable scores in certain games, such as Breakout.

Malicious Emailers Find Healthcare Firms Juicy Prey - Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Healthcare providers have garnered growing interest from hackers in recent months. More evidence of that trend appeared last week in a report on email trust. An email that appeared to come from a healthcare company was four times more likely to be fraudulent than an email purportedly from a social media company like Facebook, one of the largest creators of email on the Internet, Agari found.

Pearl OS Could Be a Gem in the Making - Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

If you favor the OS X environment, Pearl OS might be a Linux distro to feed your fancy. Pearl OS is a revival of the discontinued Pear OS distro. It picks up where Pear left off in early 2014. Pearl OS has two desktop versions: XFCE and MATE. Both are based on Ubuntu Linux distro version 14.04 Mini release. The two flavors of Pearl OS are customized to look and act like the OS X operating system.

Volvo Talks Up Its Self-Driving Cars - Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Volvo last week revealed the latest developments in its Drive Me project, showing off a complete system that could make it possible to integrate self-driving cars into regular traffic with drivers behind the wheel. Volvo is making progress toward its goal of releasing 100 self-driving vehicles to consumers on selected roads around Gothenburg -- Sweden's second largest city -- by 2017.

Valve To Put Steam Behind VR Efforts With New Headset - Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Valve on Monday announced that it's getting into the virtual reality hardware business. In a terse tease posted to the Web, the company trumpeted its intentions to reveal its SteamVR hardware system next week at the 2015 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Valve also announced that it is looking for developers and publishers to create content for its new VR hardware system.

Google Puts Blogger Porn Under Wraps - Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Google will place a privacy curtain around sexually explicit images and video on its Blogger platform if users fail to remove the content of their own volition by March 23. The measure falls short of outright censoring the content or terminating users. However, it does restrict access to the owner or admins of the blog and the people with whom the owner has shared it.

Open Source vs. Proprietary Firms on the IoT Battleground - Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

A battle is brewing over control of the Internet of Things marketplace. Consumers see only convenience and extensions to their always-on mobile devices. Product makers see a pathway to streaming data that can be monetized from buyers' connections. Will history repeat itself, as open source begins to take on the current, yet unsustainable, walled-garden core of the IoT?

Pebble Makes Big Ripples on Kickstarter - Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

The money is pouring into Pebble's Kickstarter campaign for its new smartwatch, Pebble Time. Within hours, upwards of 27,000 supporters had pledged more than $5.6 million. The project's goal was to raise a mere $500,000. The strength of the response highlights the enthusiastic fan base Pebble has built. "Pebble Time appears to be yet another blockbuster," said tech analyst Ryan Martin.

How Apple Will Sell a Watch That No One Really Needs - Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

There has been a lot of discussion lately of where and how Apple will sell the Apple Watch -- through high-end luxury department stores in Paris, for example, or through special new displays inside of Apple Stores, guided into existence by fashion genius Angela Ahrendts. Finding new ways to present the watch is important, but how will Apple actually trigger a buy decision?

Citizenfour's Oscar Highlights National Divide Over Snowden - Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

Citizenfour, a film documenting interviews director Laura Poitras conducted with whistle-blower Edward Snowden, won the Oscar for best documentary Sunday. The talks took place as Snowden blew the lid off the United States National Security Agency's surveillance activities. The award highlights the divisions in the U.S. over Snowden's actions and the question of national security.

Government Spies Steal SIM Card Cryptokeys - Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

The United States' National Security Agency and British spy agency GCHQ have hacked into the internal computer network of Gemalto, the world's largest maker of SIM cards, and stolen the cards' encryption keys, according to information in files leaked by whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Gemalto makes about 2 billion SIM cards a year, and sells them to 450 major wireless network carriers worldwide.

The Apple/Tesla Dream Team - Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

We've seen a lot of speculation this week on the Apple car -- everything from Apple building its own car from scratch to its buying or merging with Tesla. Like many, I think the best path would be an Apple/Tesla combination, but since I doubt Tim would want to work for Musk or Musk for Tim, the only real option would be an office of the CEO for both firms.

Gadget Ogling: Jewelry Gets Inky, Toys Get Brilliant, Remotes Get Beautiful - Posted on Wednesday December 31, 1969

L!ber8's Tago Arc is aimed at the fashion conscious or those who like to use their jewelry to tell the world a little more about themselves. It has an e-ink screen, which is controlled using an NFC-enabled smartphone -- sorry, iPhone owners -- to let wearers switch up the design on the fly. Ordinary users can purchase a variety of looks, while budding Stella McCartneys can create their own.

Security Alerts
Manhattan computer repair service

Guidance for Defending Against Destructive Malware - Posted on Tuesday March 03, 2015

Original release date: March 03, 2015

The Information Assurance Directorate of the National Security Agency (NSA) has released a report on Defensive Best Practices for Destructive Malware. This report details severalĀ  steps network defenders can take to detect, contain, and minimize destructive malware infections.

US-CERT encourages users and administrators to review the NSA report and ICS-CERT TIP-15-022-01 for more information on destructive malware.


This product is provided subject to this Notification and this Privacy & Use policy.


FTC Details the Top 10 Imposter Scams of 2014 - Posted on Monday March 02, 2015

Original release date: March 02, 2015

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released an advisory describing the top 10 reported imposter scams for 2014. Scam operators often impersonate individuals, companies, and organizations to entice targets to participate in fraudulent financial transactions.

Users are encouraged to review the FTC advisory for details and refer to the US-CERT Tip ST04-014 for information on social engineering and phishing attacks.


This product is provided subject to this Notification and this Privacy & Use policy.


Cisco IPv6 Denial of Service Vulnerability - Posted on Wednesday February 25, 2015

Original release date: February 25, 2015

Cisco has identified a vulnerability that could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to cause a denial of service condition. The vulnerability is due to improper processing of malformed IPv6 packets carrying extension headers. Cisco Network Convergence System 6000 (NCS 6000) and Cisco Carrier Routing System X (CRS-X) running an affected version of Cisco IOS XR Software are affected by this vulnerability.

Users and administrators are encouraged to review the Cisco Advisory and apply the necessary updates.


This product is provided subject to this Notification and this Privacy & Use policy.


Samba Remote Code Execution Vulnerability - Posted on Tuesday February 24, 2015

Original release date: February 24, 2015

Linux and Unix based operating systems employing Samba versions 3.5.0 through 4.2.0rc4 contain a vulnerability in the Server Message Block daemon (smbd). Exploitation of this vulnerability may allow a remote attacker to take control of an affected system.

US-CERT recommends users and administrators refer to their respective Linux OS vendor(s) for an appropriate patch if affected. Patches are currently available from Debian, Red Hat, Suse, and Ubuntu. A Samba patch is available for experienced users and administrators to implement.


This product is provided subject to this Notification and this Privacy & Use policy.


Mozilla Releases Security Updates for Firefox, Firefox ESR, and Thunderbird - Posted on Tuesday February 24, 2015

Original release date: February 24, 2015

The Mozilla Foundation has released security updates to address multiple vulnerabilities in Firefox, Firefox ESR, and Thunderbird. Exploitation of these vulnerabilities may allow a remote attacker to obtain sensitive information or execute arbitrary code on an affected system.

Updates available include:

  • Firefox 36
  • Firefox ESR 31.5
  • Thunderbird 31.5

Users and administrators are encouraged to review the Security Advisories for Firefox, Firefox ESR, and Thunderbird and apply the necessary updates.


This product is provided subject to this Notification and this Privacy & Use policy.


Lenovo Computers Vulnerable to HTTPS Spoofing - Posted on Friday February 20, 2015

Original release date: February 20, 2015

Lenovo consumer personal computers employing the pre-installed Superfish Visual Discovery software contain a critical vulnerability through a compromised root CA certificate. Exploitation of this vulnerability could allow a remote attacker to read all encrypted web browser traffic (HTTPS), successfully impersonate (spoof) any website, or perform other attacks on the affected system.

US-CERT recommends users and administrators review Vulnerability Note VU#529496 and US-CERT Alert TA15-051A for additional information and mitigation details.


This product is provided subject to this Notification and this Privacy & Use policy.


IRS Issues Warning for a Scam Targeting Tax Preparers - Posted on Wednesday February 18, 2015

Original release date: February 18, 2015

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued a press release addressing a new spear phishing scam targeting tax preparers and other tax professionals. Scam operators often use fraudulent e-mails to entice their targets to reveal login credentials.

US-CERT encourages users and administrators to review the IRS press release for details and refer to US-CERT Security Tip ST15-001 for information on "tax" themed phishing attacks.


This product is provided subject to this Notification and this Privacy & Use policy.


ISC Releases Security Updates for BIND - Posted on Wednesday February 18, 2015

Original release date: February 18, 2015

The Internet Systems Consortium (ISC) has released security updates to address a vulnerability in BIND. Exploitation of this vulnerability may allow a remote attacker to cause a denial of service condition.

Updates available include:

  • BIND 9.9.6-P2
  • BIND 9.10.1-P2

Users and administrators are encouraged to review ISC Knowledge Base Article AA-01235 and apply the necessary updates.


This product is provided subject to this Notification and this Privacy & Use policy.


Microsoft Releases February 2015 Security Bulletin - Posted on Tuesday February 10, 2015

Original release date: February 10, 2015

Microsoft has released updates to address vulnerabilities in Windows as part of the Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary for February 2015. Some of these vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution, security feature bypass, elevation of privilege, or disclosure of information.

US-CERT encourages users and administrators to review Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary MS15-FEB and apply the necessary updates.


This product is provided subject to this Notification and this Privacy & Use policy.


Microsoft Releases Critical Security Update for Internet Explorer - Posted on Tuesday February 10, 2015

Original release date: February 10, 2015

Microsoft has released a critical security update to address multiple vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer. Exploitation of one of these vulnerabilities could allow a remote attacker to take control of an affected system if the user views a specially crafted webpage.

Users and administrators are encouraged to review Microsoft Bulletin MS15-009 for details and apply the necessary update.


This product is provided subject to this Notification and this Privacy & Use policy.


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