John Lister

Tue
10
Dec
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FBI Warns: Smart TVs a Major Security Threat

The FBI has warned users to think carefully when buying and using "smart" televisions. The warning is based on the idea that many people have bought or will buy new televisions either as part of "Black Friday" or in time for Christmas. The warning ... from the FBI's Portland office is based partly on the prospect that people might not have set out to buy smart sets, but that most or all of the TVs on offer currently have such features. (Source: techcrunch.com ) Cameras and Microphones on Some Sets A "smart" television is simply one that has an Internet connection. Previously that's mainly been ... (view more)

Fri
06
Dec
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Mozilla Removes Security Extensions by Avast!, AVG

Mozilla has removed security tools from Avast and AVG from the Firefox extension store. It says the tools are collecting too much personal data about users. The extensions are third-party tools for the Firefox browser that add extra functionality to ... web browsing. In this case, the advertised purposes include highlighting and blocking malware that could be downloaded, and warning users when a page may be part of a phishing attack. That's where a user is tricked into typing in personal details into what they think is a legitimate site. Mozilla acted after online posts by Wladimir Palant, who ... (view more)

Thu
05
Dec
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Android Malware Extracts Passwords from Any Legit App

Security researchers say a serious Android bug could let malware pose as a legitimate app and gain unwanted access to a phone's data and functions. The concept of the 'StrandHogg' bug has been known for several years, but now it's being actively ... exploited to target online banking. In simple terms, the bug has two unwanted effects: it can trick users into giving malware sensitive 'permissions' to access the phone, and it can hijack legitimate apps to trick users into handing over login details and sensitive information. Researchers at Promon explain the bug is with a security setting called ... (view more)

Tue
03
Dec
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Facebook, Google Photos to Allow Data Sharing

Facebook is to let users automatically copy their uploaded photos and videos to Google's photo service. It's part of a "data portability" project between tech giants, but is also a demonstration of how slowly the project itself is moving. The tool ... will mean users can transfer files without needing to download them to their devices, then re-upload them to another service. In particular, Google's Photos service makes it easy to access photos on multiple devices. It also has automatic tagging so that users can quickly find all their photos of a particular location or activity, for example. It's ... (view more)

Thu
28
Nov
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Firefox to Fight 'Fingerprinting' Tracking

Mozilla is to block "fingerprinting" tracking in the Firefox browser. It's an alternative tracking technique to cookies and doesn't require any consent from users. Most people know about cookies, which involves sites putting a small file on a ... computer to either identify a user for future visits or track their online activity. In most cases cookies both legally and practically need consent from the user before they can be issued. Fingerprinting is a more creative technique that doesn't require consent and has proven harder to block. It's all based around the fact that a website is able to ... (view more)

Wed
27
Nov
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Buggy SSD Hard Drives Could Self-Destruct in 3 Years

A hard drive manufacturer has warned its solid state drives could effectively self-destruct after a little less than four years of total operation. HPE (Hewlett Packard Enterprise) says users need to apply a firmware fix immediately, while it's ... another reminder of the importance of backups. 20 different HPE models are affected, all in the SAS range, which are hard drives typically meant for enterprise. All are solid state drives, which have no moving parts. This makes them more expensive and much faster than traditional hard drives. (Source: hpe.com ) The problem isn't with the actual drives ... (view more)

Tue
26
Nov
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Win10 Update Blocked by Qualcomm Wifi, Antivirus

Microsoft has blocked users of some security software from updating Windows 10. It's also spotted some problems with specific WiFi drivers. The good news is that although the Windows 10 problems are with the well-known Avast and AVG security tools, ... it only affects older versions. Specifically the problem comes if the software is from version 19.5.4444.567 or earlier. (Source: techradar.com ) Since Avast! also owns AVG, the version number is the same for both engines. Automatic Updates On Hold Microsoft hasn't said exactly what the compatibility problems are, but has put a block on automatic ... (view more)

Thu
21
Nov
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'Windows Update' by Email is Actually Ransomware

A bogus "Windows Update" distributed by email is, perhaps unsurprisingly, actually ransomware. It shouldn't fool most users but makes it a good time to remind less tech-savvy PC owners of the need to take necessary precautions. The unsolicited ... emails have a subject line of either "Critical Microsoft Windows Update!" or "Install Latest Microsoft Windows Update now!" Those who open the email will then see a message that says (complete with opening typo) "PLease install the latest critical update from Microsoft attached to this email." (Source: trustwave.com ) $500 Ransom Demand It seems a safe ... (view more)

Wed
20
Nov
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Android Malware Records Calls, Tracks Location

Google is fixing an Android bug that let hackers remotely capture videos and images without permission. The bug could also have revealed the user's precise location, making it particularly dangerous if exploited by stalkers. Security researchers at ... Checkmarx discovered the bug in several default camera apps on a variety of Android phones, including the Google and Samsung apps. (Source: arstechnica.com ) The bug could only be exploited once malware was on the phone, but even then it still shouldn't have allowed such an attack. That's because it involved using a rogue app on the phone to access ... (view more)

Tue
19
Nov
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Man Jailed for Attacking Millions of Websites

A man who launched millions of separate attacks on websites has been jailed for 13 months for conspiracy to damage Internet-connected computers. Sergiy Usatyuk, who is 20, offered an attacks-for-hire service using Distributed Denial of Service ... (DDoS) tactics. A Denial Of Service attack is a crude but often effective technique that simply involves flooding a site with bogus "visits" until the web server becomes overloaded, which then causes the website to become inaccessible for ordinary users. It's roughly equivalent to tying up a company's switchboard with prank calls. The "distributed" ... (view more)

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