Articles

Thu
24
May
John Lister's picture

Google Autocomplete Could Breach Court Orders

Google has inadvertently revealed the names of rape victims whose identity is legally secret. It's all down to over-enthusiastic behavior by the search engine's "autocomplete" feature. Autocomplete works when a user starts typing a term into the ... Google search bar, then the search bar presents a drop-down menu with suggested terms based on what is being typed in. The user can then click or tap on any of these terms to carry out the search without having to type out the search query in full. As they continue typing more characters, the list of suggested terms will update to become ... (view more)

Wed
23
May
John Lister's picture

Microsoft: New Processor Bug Could Leak Data

Both Microsoft and Google are warning of another bug in computer processors. It's similar to previous bugs known as 'Spectre' and 'Meltdown'. For now the new issue has the less dramatic codenames 'Speculative Store Bypass Variant 4' and ... 'CVE-2018-3639'. As with Spectre and Meltdown , it involves a processor function known as speculative execution that's meant to improve computation processes. Unlike some bugs, it's classed as a low risk to users but is significant because of the sheer number of computers that could be affected. The processor is the part of the computer that physically carries ... (view more)

Tue
22
May
John Lister's picture

Google Sued $4B for 'Secretly Tracking Users'

Google is being sued for a potential $4 billion over claims it intentionally bypassed security settings on iPhones. It's likely to succeed following similar cases in the past. The case has been filed in the UK by a group called 'Google You Owe Us'. ... They are seeking "representative action" status, which is similar to class action status in the United States. If that's granted, any settlement or damages in the case could apply to as many as 4.4 million people. (Source: theguardian.com ) Claims May Sound Familiar On the face of it, the case looks bad for Google as it covers the same issue ... (view more)

Thu
17
May
John Lister's picture

Exams Plagued By 'Cheater' Wristwatches

British students have been banned from wearing any form of wristwatch in exams. It follows concerns that 'smart watches' containing helpful information could be disguised as ordinary watches. The new rules will affect most national exams for school ... students aged 16 and 18, including those which determined whether students can get a particular place on a university course. The rules say normally students must take off their watch and leave it in a visible place on their desk, though in some cases supervisors are collecting the watches and keeping them outside. The changes follow on from ... (view more)

Wed
16
May
John Lister's picture

Facebook Reveals Content Removal Stats

Facebook says it deleted 583 million fake accounts in the first three months of the year. That means on average three to four percent of active accounts in this period were bogus. The figure comes in the company's first Community Standards ... Enforcement Report, which gives statistics about the action it takes over content that breaks its rules. It's part of an effort to improve transparency about the site and follows last month's publication of the full detail of the 'community standards' for the first time. Spam The Most Prevalent Problem As well as improving transparency, the figures are ... (view more)

Tue
15
May
John Lister's picture

Google Drone Military Involvement Sparks Resignations

Around a dozen Google employees have resigned over the company developing artificial intelligence for use with military drones. An internal petition against the work has reportedly been signed by 4,000 employees. The protest is over Google's ... involvement in Project Maven, a program the US Department of Defense is developing to make better use of its aerial drones. It is said to collect so much video footage from its drones in war zones and other areas where the US has a military presence that it's not viable to have humans analyze all the material. The idea of Project Maven is to use computers ... (view more)

Fri
11
May
Dennis Faas's picture

How to: Use a Firewall to Block Full Screen Ads on Android

Infopackets Reader Steve G. writes: " Dear Dennis, Thank you so much for your article on How to Disable Full Screen Popup Ads in Android ! Lately I have been inundated with full screen ads appearing on my smartphone and I have no idea where they are ... coming from. I tried your suggestion in the article, which says to wait for the full screen ad to appear, then press the app button on my phone to see where the ad is coming from. The problem is that these full screen ads don't have a title, so unfortunately I can't tell where the ad is coming from. You also suggested using a firewall but I am not ... (view more)

Thu
10
May
John Lister's picture

YouTube Deletes Videos Promoting Cheating

YouTube has removed hundred of videos which included promotions for essay-writing services. The company says it breaches its rules but the video presenters say they weren't given enough warning. The case doesn't involve ads placed via YouTube itself ... that are shown to viewers before popular videos, or display ads shown on the site. Instead the 'ads' were part of the videos themselves. 700 Million Views For Promotions A BBC investigation found that more than 250 people who produce popular YouTube videos had broken off in the middle of a clip to promote EduBirdie, a Ukraine-based service which ... (view more)

Wed
09
May
John Lister's picture

Robocalls on the Rise; FCC rethinks Restrictions

Robocalls are on the rise according to one company which tries to fight them. Sneaky new tactics and a recent court ruling are both contributing factors. The rise has been reported by YouMail, which produces apps for smartphones designed to block ... automated robocalls that aren't made by a human and instead play a recorded message when the recipient picks up. Based on records collated from its apps, YouMail estimates 3.4 billion such calls were made in April, up from around 2.5 billion in the same period last year. While the nature of the estimate means the figures themselves shouldn't be taken ... (view more)

Tue
08
May
John Lister's picture

Google Cracks Down On Election Ad Abuse

Google is to tighten up its rules on election-related advertising. It will restrict who's allowed to place such an ad and give the public more detail on who's behind elections ads. The new rules will cover election ads purchased on Google in the US. ... It doesn't yet appear the rules will affect ads that simply address political issues rather than specific candidates and campaigns. One rule is that anyone placing an election ad will need to prove they are either a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident. While this becomes law, Google says it will tighten its enforcement by requiring proof ... (view more)

Fri
04
May
Dennis Faas's picture

How to Fix: Win10 April Update: RDP, Mapped Drives Broken

Infopackets Reader Robert G. writes: " Dear Dennis, I own two computers that automatically upgraded to Windows 10 17134.1 , dubbed the ' April 2018 Update '. Ever since the upgrade to 17134.1, my remote desktop (RDP) and mapped network drives no ... longer work. Also when I click on File Explorer -> Network to view my shares, it says it can't find the computer on the network. It's strange because I can access computer A from computer B, but not the other way around. I have been trying to fix this for over 3 days now and no one on the Internet seems to have a solution. Can you please help me ... (view more)

Thu
03
May
John Lister's picture

Facebook Fires 'Stalker' Engineer

Facebook has fired an engineer accused of misusing private data to 'stalk' women online. He is thought to be a security engineer who abused his 'privileged access' level to data. One of the engineer's alleged victims was the founder of a cyber ... security company. She's made public the conversation she had with the Facebook engineer, in which the man talks about being a security analyst. He wrote: "... I also try to figure out who hackers are in real life... [so, I'm a] professional stalker." It appears the pair were conversing after being connected through the dating app Tinder. To make ... (view more)

Wed
02
May
John Lister's picture

Firefox Browser To Carry Ads

The Firefox browser will soon incorporate paid advertising on its new tab page. It will be personalized to a degree, though developers Mozilla say it won't compromise privacy. The ads will appear in the form of links to pages. These links will ... appear whenever a user opens a new tab in the browser, before they type in an address. They won't appear on the home page that shows up when users first open Firefox itself. The new tab page will contain a list of recommended links to pages the user might find interesting. Some of these will be "sponsored" results while others will be included without ... (view more)

Tue
01
May
John Lister's picture

Windows 10 Update: Here's What's New

Microsoft has released the latest major update to Windows 10 for 2018. The main changes are most useful for people who do a lot of work on their PC, particularly if they use multiple computers. The update is part of Microsoft's new approach to ... evolving Windows 10. It continues to issue monthly security fixes, but has dropped the old approach of issuing new features as and when they are ready, then rounding them up in a 'service pack' every year or so before eventually moving on to the next version of Windows. Instead, the idea is to never have a completely new version, but rather to add new ... (view more)

Mon
30
Apr
Dennis Faas's picture

Explained: Absolute Best way to Limit Data on Android

Infopackets Reader Sam G. writes: " Dear Dennis, I work from home and also own an Android smartphone, which I use to communicate (via text messages) with friends and family. Because I am home all the time, I use WiFi on my phone instead of data. ... Therefore, I purchased a very cheap 'pay as you go' data plan for when I'm away from the office. The problem is that my data is being eaten away by apps on my phone whenever I'm on the go. I have tried disabling 'background data' on my Android phone to limit which apps can use data, but this is incredibly time consuming because each data permission is ... (view more)

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