Week in Geek: Google to Shut Down Picnik and 5 Other Services

Note: This article is part of our archive and is likely out of date.
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By Akemi Iwaya on January 22nd, 2012

Our latest edition of WIG is filled with news link goodness covering topics such as the password hack of web-hosting service DreamHost, the attempted blackmailing of Facebook users by a bot (trojan), the $9.5 million worth of source code stolen from the NY Federal Reserve Bank, and more.

Weekly News Links

  • Google cancels Picnik and closes a few other businesses
    In its continuing effort to bring focus to its operations, Google said it will shutter a half-dozen businesses–including Picnik, the photo-editing service that the company acquired less than two years ago.
  • Getting Gmail? Now you get Google+, too
    It is fairly likely that if you’re signing up for a new Google account these days, it is because you would like a Gmail account. Or perhaps you just want to keep track of favorite videos and subscriptions on YouTube.
  • Mozilla demos MediaStream Processing, audio mixing in Firefox
    Mozilla is drafting a proposal for a new Web standard called MediaStream Processing that introduces JavaScript APIs for manipulating audio and video streams in real time.
  • Canonical backtracks on deleting Oracle’s Sun Java
    Canonical has announced that it has decided not to push empty versions of the Oracle’s Sun Java JDK packages into their partner repositories for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, 10.10 and 11.04.
  • Is the Linux Desktop actually growing?
    No, the Linux desktop will never knock off Windows, but it may actually be a bigger player on traditional desktops than usually believed.
  • Microsoft mandating Secure Boot on ARM, making Linux installs difficult
    With Windows 8 coming out later this year, there has already been controversy about whether computers that ship with Windows 8 will have the ability to run Linux, either as a replacement for Windows or in a dual-boot setup.
  • Securely booting Linux a “difficult” proposition
    Matthew Garrett, the Red Hat engineer who originally raised the issue of UEFI Secure Boot and Linux, points out in a new posting titled “Why UEFI secure boot is difficult for Linux” that, despite Microsoft’s recent changes to its UEFI Secure Boot requirements, there are some major challenges left if users want secure-booted Linux.
  • Millions sign Google’s anti-SOPA petition
    Over the course of the day, millions of people signed onto Google’s petition. “The last number we released was at 4:30pm ET (Wednesday),” said Google spokesperson Christine Chen. “At that point we were at 4.5 million signatories and counting.”
  • OpenStreetMap claims map vandalism traced to Google IP range – Update
    Google has released a statement in which it says there were “two people who made these changes” and they “were contractors acting on their own behalf” while using the Google network. The two people are “no longer working on Google projects” says Google.
  • Bot blackmails Facebook users
    Security specialists at Trusteer have discovered a variant of the Carberp trojan that pretends to suspend a user’s Facebook account. The malware hooks into the victim’s browser and intercepts requests that are sent to Facebook’s servers.
  • McAfee to plug ‘spammer’ hole this week
    McAfee will release a fix this week for a bug in its SaaS for Total Protection anti-malware service that scammers were using to distribute spam, the company said this past Wednesday.
  • Web-hosting service DreamHost warns users of password hack
    DreamHost customers should change their passwords asap. That’s the word from the Web-hosting service and domain name registrar, which sent an e-mail to customers this past Friday night saying that their FTP passwords may have been accessed by hackers.
  • Zappos customer data accessed in security breach
    Zappos is urging its customers to change their passwords after an intruder gained unauthorized access to the online shoe retailer’s servers.
  • T-Mobile USA hacked
    A group of hackers that goes by the name “TeaMp0isoN” claims to have obtained access credentials belonging to staff at US Deutsche Telekom subsidiary T-Mobile USA. To back up their claim, the hackers posted data to the Pastebin anonymous text hosting service.
  • Data stolen from Japanese space agency
    The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has confirmed that sensitive data has been stolen from a staff computer. The agency said that a virus infection was detected on an employee’s terminal on 6 January.
  • Report: “several dozen” new threats to Mac OS X in 2011
    Security specialist F-Secure says that it discovered “several dozen new Mac threats” last year. According to a report from the company’s Threat Research team, there were almost 60 new threats to Mac OS X from April to December 2011.
  • Symantec admits to more exposed code
    Symantec has, according to a Reuters report, added Norton Internet Security, Norton Utilities, Norton GoBack and pcAnywhere to the list of products it now believes have been exposed.
  • Phishing Your Employees 101
    A new open source toolkit makes it ridiculously simple to set up phishing Web sites and lures. The software was designed to help companies test the phishing awareness of their employees, but as with most security tools, this one could be abused by miscreants to launch malicious attacks.
  • Koobface C&C goes silent after alleged controllers exposed
    The Koobface network is apparently down, according to Facebook. Ryan McGeehan, Facebook security official, told Reuters that the company’s decision to expose the five men alleged to be behind the malware had had an effect within 24 hours:
  • Man charged with stealing NY Fed Reserve Bank source code
    Authorities arrested a computer programmer this past Wednesday and charged him with stealing source code worth $9.5 million from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Random TinyHacker Links

Photo by Marcelo Alves.

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Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 01/22/12
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