Our last edition of WIG for January is filled with news link coverage on topics such as Ubuntu is considering a move to a rolling release cycle, some users have started experiencing update problems with Microsoft Security Essentials, Google has indexed more than 86,000 HP ‘public’ printers, and more.
Firefox OS phone images courtesy of Mozilla Hacks Blog.
Weekly News Links
Firefox OS phone images courtesy of Mozilla Hacks Blog.
- Firefox OS gets dedicated developer hardware
Mozilla announced this past Tuesday that it has teamed up with Spain-based Geeksphone to build and distribute developer preview hardware for its upcoming mobile Firefox OS. One device will be a budget model with the bare essentials for testing apps, while the other boasts some pretty competitive hardware. You can read the official Mozilla news post here.
- Work on Australis for Linux (Ubuntu) continues with improved visuals
Weeks ago, Mozilla’s Mike Conley published an interesting image (via Twitter), presenting the exciting work on Australis for Linux, furthermore, the image clearly showed Australis on Ubuntu’s Ambiance. The mentioned developer has posted another tweet,–described as “Curvy tabs are starting to shape up on Ubuntu”–, where an enhanced version of Australis is exposed.
- Google’s Native Client reaches ARM-based Chromebooks
The software for fast browser apps has taken a step beyond mainstream x86-based PCs to Chromebooks using ARM processors. But it won’t reach ARM-based smartphones until later this year.
- Google makes Microsoft sweat over Sync cutoff, but Windows Phone will get DAV support
Google’s decision to drop Exchange ActiveSync support, a protocol used to sync Gmail calendar, contacts, and mail items on mobile devices, left Microsoft surprised and disappointed. The Verge has learned that Microsoft is planning to support CardDAV and CalDAV in Windows Phone, Google’s new preferred route to sync contacts and calendars.
- Microsoft to deliver fix for Surface RT users hit by application-update problems
Microsoft expects to deliver in early February a fix for Windows RT devices hit by application-updating problems caused by fixes introduced with the latest set of Patch Tuesday updates.
- Microsoft said to be testing an Outlook client for Windows RT
Microsoft is believed to have completed a version of Outlook running Windows RT systems. But it’s not clear if or when this ever will come to market.
- Skype adds support for unlinking Microsoft account by yourself
From the blog post: As we reported back in September last year, one of the issues users faced was that once they have linked their accounts together, there was no way to unlink them except to contact Skype’s customer support. The great news is that Microsoft has finally added this functionality to the Skype website recently, allowing users to unlink their Microsoft and Skype accounts via the web interface by themselves.
- Ubuntu considers “huge” change that would end traditional release cycle
In the nine-year history of Ubuntu Linux, a new version of the operating system has come out every six months. But Canonical, Ubuntu’s developer, is considering ditching that model in favor of one that produces an entirely new version only once every two years—while speeding up the overall pace of development by adopting a “rolling release” cycle in between.
- Fedora 19 Could Replace Gnome 3 with Cinnamon
Fedora 18 (Spherical Cow) has launched without much fanfare, but the developers are already thinking about an important modification for Fedora 19.
- OpenSUSE also considers switching from MySQL to MariaDB
MariaDB, the MySQL fork, continues to pick up steam as openSUSE is also considering using it as the Linux distribution’s default database management system.
- iOS gets more ported apps as Android dominance grows
From the blog post: Over the last year, we’ve seen multiple signs point towards Android becoming the world’s dominant smartphone OS. As market share for the OS tilts and individual handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S3 pop up as legitimate one-on-one competitors with the iPhone, we’ve started seeing trends where apps are developed first on Android and later ported to iOS.
- Unauthorized unlocking of smartphones becomes illegal Saturday (January 26th)
The feds mandate fidelity between carriers and users: New rule under DMCA outlaws unlocking new handsets without carrier permission.
- Instagram account crackdown spreads panic, fear of hacking
Distressed Instagram users locked out of their accounts turn to Yahoo Answers for help. Confusion ensues.
- Belkin buying Linksys
It looks like Cisco is jettisoning Linksys and the rest of its home networking business unit after all.
- Video game maker Atari files for bankruptcy
Atari, the company that first brought video games into the home, has filed for bankruptcy.
Image courtesy of Ed Bott – ZDNet.
- A close look at how Oracle installs deceptive software with Java updates
Oracle’s Java plugin for browsers is a notoriously insecure product. Over the past 18 months, the company has released 11 updates, six of them containing critical security fixes. With each update, Java actively tries to install unwanted software. Here’s what it does, and why it has to stop.
- Update problems for Microsoft’s free anti-virus
This past Saturday (19th), Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE), Microsoft’s free anti-virus software package, stopped automatically updating its malware signatures on some systems. Users are also reporting that clicking on the “Update” button on the program window likewise fails to deliver the anticipated results. Blog post explains how to fix the problem.
- Microsoft Blocks Even More Skype Malware
Even though Shylock is believed to be one of the main threats for Skype users, it appears that many more forms of malware are actually targeting those who installed Microsoft’s VoIP application.
- Trojans conceal themselves using instant messaging protocols
Trend Micro has discovered new trojans which camouflage their communication by imitating common instant messaging protocols such as Windows Live Messenger or Yahoo Messenger. The security company has dubbed the trojans “Fakem RATs” (a RAT being a remote access trojan).
- Beware of fake Java updates
Following recent security vulnerabilities in Java, malware developers are taking a new approach to exploit the Java platform by issuing false updates that pose as legitimate updates for the runtime.
- Phishing attack attempts to steal Google passwords via Red Cross website
From the blog post: Always be careful about the links that you click on in unsolicited emails – are they really taking you where you think they’re taking you to? That’s an important lesson for all computer users to learn, and it’s brought home by this email we intercepted overnight:
- Just-patched Java, IE bugs used to snare human rights sites
The website belonging to non-governmental organization Reporters Without Borders is the latest to be hit by attacks that use the recently patched Java and Internet Explorer vulnerabilities to surreptitiously hijack computers of visitors, security researchers said.
- Italian-language page at MSN redirects to Cool Exploit Kit, serves ransomware
- Fake Plants vs Zombies and other Android games infiltrate Google Play store, make money for fraudsters
Is Google doing a good enough job of policing apps in the official Android app store? It seems not, judging by the number of bogus apps that continue to be made available for public download from Google Play, exploiting the name and reputation of legitimate games in an attempt to make money for fraudsters.
- GitHub Search shuts down after users’ private keys exposed
Social coding site’s search function closes without explanation, after online users pointed out upgrade earlier this week revealed private files and encryption keys.
- ICS-CERT warns of SCADA password cracker
ICS-CERT, the US body responsible for the security of industrial control systems, has warned of a tool that can be used to crack passwords for programmable logic controllers (PLCs).
- Backdoors Found in Barracuda Networks Gear
A variety of the latest firewall, spam filter and VPN appliances sold by Campbell, Calif. based Barracuda Networks Inc. contain undocumented backdoor accounts, the company disclosed this past Thursday. Worse still, while the backdoor accounts are apparently set up so that they would only be accessible from Internet addresses assigned to Barracuda, they are in fact accessible to potentially hundreds of other companies and network owners.
- Whoops: Google indexes more than 86,000 HP ‘public’ printers
The search engine turns up tens of thousands of publicly available printers connected directly to the Internet. Hackers, however, could launch never-ending printing attacks.
- Google: User-data requests have increased by 70 percent since 2009
Google’s latest Transparency Report reveals that user-data requests from government agencies worldwide have increased significantly in the last four years.
- Grammar badness makes cracking harder the long password
Password crackers get an English lesson. – When it comes to long phrases used to defeat recent advances in password cracking, bigger isn’t necessarily better, particularly when the phrases adhere to grammatical rules.
- Bluetooth? Why it matters and how to get it
A very useful article, sharing valuable information about Bluetooth and how to get it, even on your desktop PC.
- The Ed Bott Report shines on Java Update issue
No unwanted addons, please.
- Razer Edge Pro – The First Gaming Tablet, Powered by Windows 8
The most detailed presentation you will find so far, about this awesome device.
How-To Geek Weekly Article Recap
- How to See if Your Hard Drive is Dying
- How to Protect Yourself From Java Security Problems if You Can’t Uninstall It
- What Is the Difference Between 1080p and 1080i?
- How to Use a Windows Installer Disc to Back Up Your Files When Your Computer Won’t Boot
- How to Use Traceroute to Identify Network Problems
- Desktop Fun: The Open Highway Wallpaper Collection Series 2
- The Best Websites for Finding Free Puzzles to Solve
- How to Easily Create Your Own Google Chrome Theme
- Microsoft is Shutting Down Windows Live Messenger: What This Means For You
- How to Disable the Lock Screen on Windows 8 Without Using Group Policy
Geeky Goodness from the ETC Side
- The Grooviest Computer Tower Mod Ever [Humorous Image]
- Antarctica: Land of the Complicated Time Zones
- A Visual History of Video Game Consoles
- Make a Headphone Bone to Easily Control and Store Your Headphones [DIY Project]
- How to Start a Blog [Comic]
- The Transfer of Brain Power as Technology Advances [Comic]
- Social Media in the 16th Century [Comic]
- Inside the History of the Fisher Space Pen
- Late Afternoon Train Travelling Through a Steampunk City [Wallpaper]
- Ultra Cold Temperatures Change Boiling Water to Snow [Video]
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- How to Use Your Android Phone as a Modem; No Rooting Required, Redux
How-To Geek Weekly Trivia Roundup