Week in Geek: Mozilla Firefox 19 to Lead Switch-Over to New Australis UI

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By Akemi Iwaya on October 7th, 2012

Our first edition of WIG for October is filled with news link goodness covering topics such as Microsoft is releasing Windows 8 app updates ahead of general availability, Ubuntu will not fix NSFW content in Amazon Unity results, CyanogenMod is getting its own OTA update manager, and more.

Image courtesy of Mozilla.

Weekly News Links

Image courtesy of Mozilla.

  • Firefox 19 To Include Australis Interface
    According to a recent report, the upcoming Firefox 19 release will include the new Australis UI which aims to create a “smooth and streamlined appearance”.
  • Firefox makes a Metro move
    The first release of a Windows 8-optimized Firefox arrives, but it’s a rough alpha that Mozilla confirms won’t be ready anytime soon.
  • GNOME: Firefox extensions and wider availability
    With the recent release of GNOME 3.6, developers and distributions are making updated versions of their packages available and applications such as Firefox are getting improved integration into the GNOME desktop.
  • Opera 12.1 beta brings SPDY, Retina support
    With its next browser version, the Norwegian company emphasizes performance along with better support for high-resolution Macs and touch-screen Windows machines.
  • Top Advertisers Urge Microsoft to Shut Down Internet Explorer 10’s “Do Not Track”
    The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has sent a letter to Microsoft, asking the Redmond-based technology giant to let the “Do Not Track” option in Internet Explorer 10 turned off by default.
  • Enhanced Chrome browser support for Google Apps customers
    Moving forward, Google Apps for Business, Education and Government customers may contact Google via phone or email to receive support on Chrome installation, functionality, security, browser policy settings and Google Apps interoperability for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
  • Google Chrome Users Aren’t Allowed to Download Windows 8 Apps
    Whenever you load a product page in Internet Explorer or Firefox, the browser-based Windows Store displays the app description, screenshots, ratings and other info, along with a “View in Windows Store” button to launch Windows Store and download or purchase it. Google Chrome however doesn’t display this button, which is a bit awkward given the fact that Google’s browser holds a significant market share in this particular software segment
  • Microsoft rolls out Windows 8 app updates ahead of time
    The launch of Windows 8 is still three weeks away, but the software giant is already in the process of updating some of its built-in apps, including Bing, maps, photos, news, and weather.
  • Apple tackles latest OS X issues with supplemental updates
    Additional patches for the most recent versions OS X are available, as well as printer driver updates.
  • Ubuntu ‘Won’t Fix’ NSFW Content in Amazon Unity Results
    An unfortunate “side effect” of Ubuntu’s new ‘shopping suggestions’ feature is that, regardless of what you’re looking for, be it local or online, you’re going to be met with a barrage of results.
  • 64-bit ARM support merged into Linux kernel
    Less than 18 hours after the release of Linux 3.6, Linus Torvalds merged the first changes for version 3.7 into the main Linux kernel development tree. These included support for 64-bit ARM architecture (1, 2, 3, 4 and others), submitted for merger by ARM employee Catalin Marinas a little earlier.
  • CyanogenMod is getting its own OTA update manager
    According to a Google+ post by CyanogenMod developer Ricardo Cerqueira, the latest development versions of CyanogenMod 10 now include their own update manager. This is a significant change for the alternative open source ROM for Android devices.
  • MeeGo to return next month with Jolla phone launch
    The Finnish startup Jolla Ltd says that it has raised €200 million from a number of, currently unnamed, telecommunications companies and that it will be unveiling a MeeGo-based device next month. The funding consortium is reported to include at least one telecom operator, a chipset maker, and device and component manufacturers.
  • FFmpeg reaches 1.0
    The open source collection of audio and video codecs, FFmpeg, has reached its version 1.0 milestone. The release, code-named “Angel”, includes several new filters, encoders and multiplexers that have been added since the last major release in May.
  • Microsoft TypeScript: the JavaScript we need, or a solution looking for a problem?
    For all JavaScript’s prominence as the lingua franca of Web development, there are an awful lot of developers who don’t like it a whole lot, and as a result, a great many efforts to produce something better.
  • YouTube upgrades Content ID, expands appeals process
    The Google unit’s system for policing copyright violations will get smarter, thanks to a better appeals process and updated algorithms designed to identify unintentional claims before they do damage.
  • Wikimedia U.K. faces ethics probe, funding squeeze
    The Wikimedia Foundation has stepped in with an ethics investigation into Wikimedia U.K.’s conduct in a paid-PR scandal that isn’t likely to go away anytime soon.
  • Ubuntu has a bigger problem than its Amazon blunder
    Sending search queries to Amazon by default is bad enough, but backing it up with haughty statements is worse.
  • New patent hints at Google Glass wristwatch
    A filing shows that when it comes to wearable computers, Google is already thinking beyond eyeglasses.
  • Engineers hope to upload bees’ brains into robots
    Researchers in the U.K. hope to create “bionic bees” by scanning honey bees’ brains and uploading them into autonomous flying robots. And they’re not even doing it for a sci-fi film.

Security News

Image courtesy of The H Security.

  • Real-time data theft with “Universal Man-in-the-Browser”
    US security company Trusteer has identified a new type of man-in-the-browser (MitB) attack, which is both easier to use and more efficient than previous known MitB attacks. What marks this particular piece of spyware out is its integrated logic, which enables it to analyse stolen data in real time, allowing it to be sold on extremely rapidly.
  • Microsoft Windows Update Emails Attempting to Steal Gmail and Yahoo Passwords
    It’s no secret that Microsoft’s reputation is being used by scammers to steal users’ data, but this time a new wave of attacks tries to convince people that they need to download a Windows update pack. A fake one, that is.
  • Internet Explorer Users Are Now Hit by Phone Scams
    Both Internet Explorer 9 and 10 received security updates in the past two weeks, but phone scammers are still trying to make the most out of this fiasco.
  • New Oracle hacks revealed
    At the DerbyCon 2.0 conference, security experts Laszlo Toth and Ferenc Spala presented a range of attacks, some of which were previously unknown, on Oracle databases and SQL servers; they even released suitable tools to exploit them at the same time.
  • DSL modem hack used to infect millions with banking fraud malware
    Millions of Internet users in Brazil have fallen victim to a sustained attack that exploited vulnerabilities in DSL modems, forcing people visiting sites such as Google or Facebook to reach imposter sites that installed malicious software and stole online banking credentials, a security researcher said.
  • Security hole exposes Twitter accounts to hacking, victim claims
    A user whose account was stolen says Twitter’s password reset system is easier to circumvent than that of other services.
  • SQL injection in Trend Micro’s Control Manager
    Of all things, Trend Micro’s platform for centralised security management is vulnerable to SQL injection attacks. According to US-CERT, versions 5.5 and 6.0 of the Trend Micro Control Manager are vulnerable. The company has provided patches for both affected versions.
  • Middle East cyberattacks on Google users increasing
    The New York Times reports that tens of thousands of Gmail accounts have been targeted by state-sponsored attacks.
  • Android malware creates 3D maps of rooms
    Researchers have created a proof-of-concept Android malware app that is able to use the phone’s sensors and camera to gather data that can be used to surreptitiously create a 3D model of a room.
  • Hackers post data from dozens of breached college servers
    Group calling itself GhostShell says it posted thousands of usernames, passwords, and phone numbers of students and faculty to call attention to the state of education.
  • DDoS attacks: 150Gb per second and rising
    Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, favoured tactic of hacktivists and extortionists alike, are getting bigger, more numerous, and even smarter.
  • Regulators shut down global PC ‘tech support’ scam
    The FTC announces a crackdown on a massive international computer tech support scam that allegedly swindled tens of thousands of consumers in six countries.
  • McAfee, Trust Guard certifications can make websites less saf
    Marketers at security giant McAfee peddle their Secure trust mark service as an easy way for online merchants to showcase the safety of their websites. These sites include a link to a seal showing it has passed a rigorous security scan that is performed daily. But a pair of security consultants say the program in many cases can tip off malicious hackers to easy-to-exploit vulnerabilities that might otherwise not be found.
  • SecTor: Old Security Vulnerabilities Live On
    At the SecTor security conference in Toronto, Jamie Gamble, security researcher at Accuvant, detailed how old security issues that first surfaced in the 1990s remain security concerns today. Gamble’s talk, titled “The More Things Change: The Vulnerabilities that Time Forgot,” included issues related to trust, networking and system configurations in Windows and Unix machines.
  • In a Zero-Day World, It’s Active Attacks that Matter
    The recent zero-day vulnerability in Internet Explorer caused many to urge Internet users to consider surfing the Web with a different browser until Microsoft issued a patch. Microsoft did so last month, but not before experts who ought to have known better began downplaying such advice, pointing out that other browser makers have more vulnerabilities and just as much exposure to zero-day flaws.
  • Facebook private message issue raises more concerns over privacy
    If Facebook is in the clear and no private messages were actually exposed, what does that say about users who were adamant that they were?
  • SHA1 crypto algorithm underpinning Internet security could fall by 2018
    A widely used cryptographic algorithm used to secure sensitive websites, software, and corporate servers is weak enough that well-financed criminals could crack it in the next six years, a cryptographer said.
  • What do cyberattacks mean for the banking industry?
    Financial institutions are a constant target for cybercrime — but how safe is your money?
  • Enterprises too complacent over security
    IT departments are too trusting of their security vendors and commoditized tools yet unconcerned over threats like APTs, and such mindsets leave organizations in a vulnerable position.
  • Pirate Bay accused of collecting users’ IP addresses
    The Pirate Bay, used by millions worldwide to file-share copyrighted content and free-for-all works alike, is accused of collecting IP addresses of its registered users.

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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 10/7/12
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