John Lister

Fri
27
Oct
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Most Phone Apps Want Unnecessary Device Access

Most popular mobile apps request system permissions that aren't necessary for their stated functions, according to a new study. In some cases, an app requested more unnecessary functions than necessary ones. The figures come from NordVPN, which ... examined the five most popular apps in 18 common categories. They repeated the exercise for both Android and iOS, making a combined total of 103 different apps. (Source: nordvpn.com ) Both mobile operating systems now use a permissions system that means apps must request specific permission for different types of access to a phone's data and components ... (view more)

Wed
25
Oct
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Online Giants Team Up to Fight Fake Reviews

Major websites are joining together to fight fake online reviews. The "global Coalition for Trusted Reviews" will share information and best practices to "stop fake reviews at the source." The partnership follows a conference last year that included ... business, government and academic experts. The idea now is for businesses to work together rather than rely on legislation. The BBC cites a recent report suggesting 15 percent of reviews of common consumer products are likely fake. It also notes that both the United States and United Kingdom are considering laws targeting fake reviews. However, ... (view more)

Mon
23
Oct
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Chrome Address Bar To Get More Useful

Google is overhauling the way searches work in the Chrome address bar. It should mean faster and more useful results in a range of situations. The changes are to the address bar (sometimes called the omnibox) in the Chrome browser. It's where users ... can type in the full address of the site they want to visit, but also carry out web searches without the need to visit Google.com or another search engine site. The address bar already has an autocomplete option, showing possible site addresses and search terms even when the user has only typed a few characters. At the moment, addresses only appear ... (view more)

Fri
20
Oct
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YouTube Overhaul Removes Audio Shocks

YouTube is adding a range of new features and usability tweaks. A stable volume feature is the highlight, promising an end to sudden deafening changes in sound level. The features have all previously been tested on small groups of Premium account ... subscribers and are now being rolled out to the general user base. While it's almost certainly coincidence, it may sweeten the blow for users upset with a recent crackdown on watching YouTube while using ad blockers . The "stable volume" feature will be switched on by default on mobile devices. That makes sense as mobile users are often listening on ... (view more)

Thu
19
Oct
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Ransomware Attacks Getting Quicker

The average ransomware attack now takes less than a day from first breaching a system. It's the first time average attacks can be measured in hours, though ironically it may be a sign of better defenses. The figures comes from researchers at ... Secureworks, who analyze ransomware attacks. They measure dwell time, which is the period between an attacker first gaining access to a system and deploying the ransomware. That's malware which encrypts files, letting the attackers demand a fee to restore access. The average dwell time being under a day is a dramatic development as last year the average ... (view more)

Tue
17
Oct
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YouTube Blocks Ad Blockers, Disables Playback

YouTube is trying to stop people who use ad blockers from watching its videos. It could spark a game of whack-a-mole, but it's still created a passionate debate. Although YouTube appears to have been testing the tighter policy since June, it seems ... to have significantly increased the number of users affected in recent weeks. Users report seeing a message that reads: Ad blockers violate YouTube's Terms of Service. It looks like you may be using an ad blocker. Video playback is blocked unless YouTube is allowlisted or the adblocker is disabled. Ads allow YouTube to be used by billions worldwide ... (view more)

Mon
16
Oct
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Man Uses Ring Camera, Sonic Waves to Deter Pests

A man has "trained" his Ring camera system to detect and deter badgers and foxes. It's an example of machine learning having a practical purpose. James Milward developed the comically-titled "Furbinator 3000" after being frustrated by the unwanted ... visitors damaging his garden. He also feared they could carry diseases that would be a risk to his two young children. He tried several traditional solutions without success, before deciding an ultrasonic repellent was the only solution. However, this had several limitations including that they were triggered during the day by humans, leading him to ... (view more)

Fri
13
Oct
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Pixel Spare Parts Available for Seven Years

Google has vowed to stock spare parts for its flagship Pixel 8 phones for at least seven years. It matches the companies software commitment to keep the phone operating systems updated for that period. The move is designed to overcome one of the ... main "gotchas" whenever Google boasted the long support period for the phone. Knowing the handset will have the necessary software for seven years isn't that meaningful if there's a risk the phone becomes useless or the battery almost inevitably dies. The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro were only officially announced this month but will be on sale almost ... (view more)

Thu
12
Oct
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Report: 40 Percent of Internet Users 'Addicted'

More than four in ten people are addicted to Internet use, according to a university study. The researchers put respondents into five categories on what they are calling an "Internet addition spectrum." Researchers at the University of Surrey in the ... United Kingdom asked 796 participants a range of questions about the way they use the Internet, including their emotions and motivations. They then looked for similarities between respondents to come up with the categories. (Source: tandfonline.com ) Growing Unease The first category, Casual Users, covered 14.86 percent of respondents. They mainly ... (view more)

Fri
06
Oct
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Red Cross Issues Hacking Guidelines

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has issued guidelines for civilians who carry out hacking attacks to support one side of a military conflict. It warned that non-combatants need to respect humanitarian rules. The guidelines relate ... to hacktivism, where people disrupt online services or replace text on websites. The tactic has often been associated with people making a political point against businesses or governments. However, it's now also commonly used by those trying to aid countries or regions involved in wars and other military conflicts. The ICRC believes such tactics ... (view more)

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