John Lister

Tue
21
Aug
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Skype Offers Secret Calling, End-to-End Encryption

Skype has added a new "private conversations" feature. Calls made this way will be encrypted so that it's impossible for anyone to usefully intercept or listen in. The data for such calls will use end-to-end encryption. That means the data is ... encrypted on one user's device and kept that way throughout its journey over the Internet until it reaches the other user's device. If the data is intercepted, it won't be of any use. The system will work on a "conversation" basis rather than a call-by-call basis. One user must select the feature, which will then send ... (view more)

Thu
16
Aug
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Experiment Unveils Google Location Tracking

Google has been tracking mobile device users movements even when they have "Location History" switched off. It turns out users need to turn off a less well-known setting to stop tracking altogether. The issue doesn't just affect devices running ... Android. Some iPhones are also affected if they have Google apps such as Maps or Search running. In theory, switching off the Location History setting on your device or in a Google account will prevent the company tracking and storing location information. The immediate effect is visible as the timeline feature in Google Maps will stop updating. ... (view more)

Wed
15
Aug
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Mock Election Site Hacked By Pre-Teen

An 11-year-old boy hacked a replica of a Florida election website in just 10 minutes. Officials have downplayed the incident saying it's not an accurate recreation of how such hacking could work. The hack took place at DefCon, an annual conference ... for people interested in computer security. It often has competitions and demonstrations of security vulnerability - and certainly isn't a place you would want to connect your wireless device to unknown WiFi networks. One of the events at the conference was the DefCon Voting Machine Hacking Village. Participants, including many children, attempted ... (view more)

Tue
14
Aug
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Chromebooks Could Run Windows 10

Google is reportedly working on an option to run Windows on Chromebooks. It could remove one hurdle to people buying the devices, but won't be suitable for the lowest-spec line of Chromebook machines. Chromebooks are portable computers than run an ... operating system called ChromeOS. It's effectively a souped-up version of the Chrome browser, which means most of the processing is actually done by remote servers, rather than on the machine itself as with conventional PCs and laptops. This type of setup reduces hardware demands, meaning it can get by with cheaper components as well as being ... (view more)

Thu
09
Aug
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EU Wants to Ban Apple Lightening, Quick Charge

Officials in Europe want all phone companies to use the same technology for charging mobile devices. If the rules go ahead, it could mean Apple has to ditch its custom 'Lightning' port, and Qualcomm's 'Quick Charge' (used by Android devices). The ... European Union is running an "impact assessment study" to decide whether to push the policy and if so, whether to seek a voluntary agreement or impose rules. If it opts for the latter, manufacturers might decide it is easier to use the relevant charging port format worldwide rather than make specific handsets for Europe. (Source: independent.co.uk ) ... (view more)

Wed
08
Aug
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US Military Bans Fitness Trackers, Citing Spy Risk

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has banned military staff from using geolocation tools such as GPS-enabled fitness trackers in "operational areas." The move follows fears such data could be unintentionally public and threaten security. Earlier ... this year fitness tracker company Strava published a worldwide map showing the most popular routes for its users to run and carry out other exercise activity. The map showed routes in increasing levels of brightness depending on their popularity. Middle East Bases Unintentionally Mapped Several users then spotted several routes in countries such as ... (view more)

Tue
07
Aug
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New Android Pie Improves CPU, Battery, 'Wellbeing'

The next edition of the Google Android operating system for phones and tablets will include measures to help users spend less time on their mobile devices. The update also makes notifications more useful and addresses battery life problems. The ... changes come in a new version of the operating system that's officially called Android 9.0 but nicknamed Android Pie (or "Android P"), continuing a pattern of naming updates after food. It's already available for Google's own Pixel phones and will then start gradually rolling out to other models, though older handsets may not get the update. ... (view more)

Thu
02
Aug
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Gov't Staff Revert to Typewriters After Ransomware Attack

Staff of a local government in Alaska have switched to typewriters after a ransomware attack crippled their computer network. Officials are currently rebuilding the system from scratch. The attack hit Matanuska-Susitna Borough, which covers the ... region just north of Anchorage. The problems began on July 24, though officials believe the malware may have been on the system for several weeks before activating. IT staff spotted the ransomware attack thanks to antivirus software , but had to start manually removing some of the more sophisticated elements. They also reset all passwords as a security ... (view more)

Wed
01
Aug
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Google Bans Apps That Hijack Device Resources

Google is to ban several categories of apps from its app store. They include so-called "cryptomining" apps that can suck up a resources from a device for somebody else's financial benefits. The changes come in the latest update of the Play Store ... Developer Policy. The relevant apps will no longer be available through the official Play Store, meaning that although users can still install them, they'll get much less prominence and exposure. The ban is specifically on apps that use a device's processor for mining cryptocurrencies. In very simple terms, mining involves computers racing to solve a ... (view more)

Tue
31
Jul
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Chrome Security Warnings Revamped: What You Need to Know

If you use Google's Chrome browser, you may have started seeing warnings that a website is not secure. Here's what it means and what's changed. What's the change? Google has changed the way it displays information about websites in the space on the ... left of the address bar at the top of the Chrome display. Originally this space was only used to indicate when a website was secure via a padlock symbol. Later on Google gave this more emphasis, adding the word "Secure" and marking both in green to stand out. Until now, the fact that a website isn't secure hasn't been explicitly stated: it's just ... (view more)

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