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Firefox receives Patches for Private Browsing Firefox receives Patches for Private Browsing

April 03, 2013- On Tuesday, Firefox 20 was shipped by Mozilla adding more flexibility to private browsing and patching 13 browsers bugs, five of which had been rated critical by the security team at the company.

Along with the changes in privacy, Mozilla also changed the download manager of Firefox and added a tool that warns of a crash when a plug-in has hung for a minimum of 11 seconds. The offending plug-in can then be shut down by users rather than needing to reboot the browser.

However, the Private Browsing option has been the biggest change in Firefox. Previously the browser saved the current tabs and then opened one individual privacy window, then would reload the previous tab when the privacy mode was shut down. However, users can now open a private window and leave the browser with its tabs already open, untouched.

Mozilla announced the release of Firefox 20 on a blog post and billed the change as helpful when shopping online or checking multiple emails simultaneously. However, others regularly call similar browser features “porn mode” with the belief that is what they are used for most of the time.

With the new Private Browsing with per-window, Firefox is nearly on par with Internet Explorer 10 and Chrome, both of which have per-tab private modes.

Privacy mode in some way is offered by every major browser. Safari was the first browser to incorporate one back in 2005, that was followed by Chrome, then Internet Explorer and Firefox all in 2009 and Opera added it in 2010.

All of them work almost the same, lettings their users browse the Internet without leaving any obvious traces as the mode shuts down the recording of sites that are visited and files that have been downloaded. It also prevents both passwords and cookies from being saved. Any type of lingering evidence is purged when the session is ended.

BlackBerry 7 Headed to Emerging Markets BlackBerry 7 Headed to Emerging Markets

April 1, 2013- Even though the new BlackBerry Z10 is in the market and the Canada-based company BlackBerry has bet its entire future on the next generation smartphone, it does not mean its predecessor the BlackBerry 7 will disappear. The company knows there is life left in the operating system and BlackBerry knows what they will do to put it to good use.

The smartphone maker has decided to use the OS to power the lower-end mobile phones that can be sold in the different emerging markets around the globe, where the transition from the BlackBerry 7 to the 10 could take longer than in most other markets.

The BlackBerry Z10 has now been launched in many major markets around the world and soon the Q10 with the QWERTY-keyboard will follow sometime in April. At that time, BlackBerry will have its top two BlackBerry10 smartphones released over a large area of the world. However, what it will not have is a new, slick, entry-level smartphone that is affordably priced and for the emerging markets.

That is where the BlackBerry 7 will reappear. Thorsten Heins, the CEO at Blackberry said the company was planning to release a new phone that will be operated by the BlackBerry 7 and will be targeted to consumers that are price-sensitive in those different markets.

Heins said the company wanted those customers to be able to enjoy the BlackBerry experience. BlackBerry had a number of lower-end loyalists in Indonesia, India, Central America and other emerging markets.

It would be unwise for the company to move ahead with just an expensive new smartphone running on an OS that is unfamiliar. It is more profitable for them to offer the BlackBerry 7 system that can be used as a device to transition to the BlackBerry 10, once it becomes more established in their market.

Rumor: Apple planning to launch Game Hardware Rumor: Apple planning to launch Game Hardware

March 31, 2013- A recently released report says that Apple has shopped around their idea of a game controller to different developers, with a plan to launch the physical controller next month.

Apple, said an insider, has floated the idea to developers in San Francisco during the Game Developers Conference, which ends this weekend. The report said Apple would unveil the controller during a special press event in April.

Apple has reserved a space at the conference to meet with developers, but it is reportedly using another name, as they do not want anyone to know their plans. When asked, a spokesperson for Apple declined to make a comment about the report, citing the policy of the company.

Last year a popular site on the Internet for computer hardware noted that the Cupertino, California based Apple had a project for a controller in its plans, but it might not reach the market. In addition, in 2008, Apple applied for a patent depicting a dock, giving owners of iOS the opportunity to add controls and other features to their devices.

This hardware would be Apple’s first since the ill-fated home entertainment system known as Pippin during the late 1990s. On all of its latest portable devices, Apple has bi-passed physical controls for software controls on screen. It has allowed controlling games to be more customizable, but less responsive and ergonomic than a physical controller would be.   Since the iOS device became a reality such as the iPad and iPhone, a few companies have designed physical button as well as controllers for the devices. Many use Bluetooth, but they also need game developers to jump on board to give them support for the hardware. One such product is already sold by Apple in its stores – the iFling joystick.

Twenty-five Percent of U.S. Companies in China Have had Data Stolen Twenty-five Percent of U.S. Companies in China Have had Data Stolen

March 31, 2013- Over 25% of U.S. companies, operating inside China have had a theft, breach of proprietary trade secrets or other data, according to a recent survey that was conducted in China by the American Chamber of Commerce.

Many of those same businesses owned by American’s that operate in China also reported they worried often about data security, with more than 40% of those answering the survey saying there had been an increase in the risk of data breaches. Over 53% of those surveyed said the risk remained static, while 5% said it had decreased. This creates a very big obstacle for companies operating in China, especially when other concerns already are present such as intellectual property rights being enforced and de facto transfer requirements for technology.

Close to 78% of the businesses expressed, they were optimistic over the future of the next two years. The percentage that said the investment environment was improving fell to 28% in 2012 from 43% in 2011.

Slower growth economically and rising costs of labor in China were what was cited most frequently as the biggest risks that face foreign businesses operating inside China. This survey was conducted in November of December of last year and included more than 325 businesses that responded.

This report was released amidst increased tensions between the U.S. and China over issues pertaining to computer hacking and cyber security. In February, a cyber security company from the U.S. linked one of the most prolific computer hacking group’s in the world to the government of China, which succeeded in setting off an exchange of angry words between the two countries.

The report detailed allegations over a six-year period and said the group would systematically steal different amounts of terabytes from over 141 companies worldwide in 20 different industries.

Cyber Attacks Expose DNS Server Dangers Cyber Attacks Expose DNS Server Dangers

March 28, 2013 - This week a large number of denial of service hacks hit Spamhaus and focused broad attention on the security threats that millions of poorly configured Domain Name System servers pose.

The recent attacks that hit Spamhaus started on March 19 and were reportedly launched by hackers who are opposed to the volunteer organization work on antispam.

A number of security companies described the recent attacks on the Geneva-based company, as the biggest every publically.

Hackers, in DDS attacks, typically will attempt to take down the entire network by directing huge sums of useless traffic to the network. That traffic normally is generated from large botnets from computers that are compromised.

The attacks against Spamhaus involved volumes of traffic that were 300 Gbps, when often times these types of attacks are just 4 GBS to 10 Gbps of traffic. The recent 300 Gbps attacks were said to be over three times larger than the largest traffic seen thus far on a DDoS directed towards Spamhaus.

Those behind the attacks employed an infrequently used but well known method DNS reflection to help to generate the large stream of traffic directed at Spamhaus.

DNA servers usually are to look up domain names. They include well known sites such as computerworld.co, as well as idg.com. If a DNS server lacks domain information within its own database, it queries other DNS servers for the missing information.

Ideally, one of these servers should only be configured to handle requests to look up information that arrive within a specific IP address range or specific domain.

However, in reality millions of the servers are configured via default.

Hackers made lookup requests to appear they were coming from Spamhaus, response to the fake requests all were sent on to Spamhaus, which generated a large volume of traffic.

Saudi Arabia Might Ban Skype and other Apps Saudi Arabia Might Ban Skype and other Apps

March 26, 2013- The regulator of telecommunication in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reportedly warned that messaging services that are encrypted such as WhatsApp, Viber and Skype, could be blocked.

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have demanded a way to monitor the applications, but Saudis complain that would inhibit their means of communication. Newspapers in Saudi Arabia reported that the companies who own the apps were given a week by the government of the Kingdom to respond. No one at the communications regulatory agency would say why the demands have been given.

One Saudi blogger, Ahmed Omran, who operates a site in Riyadh says that telecom companies in Saudi Arabia might be tempted to agree with the regulator’s request, even though their customers would be upset, because of revenue loss they sustain due to the free apps, which have become immensely popular in Saudi.

One source in the country suggested that it might be telecom companies that have been demanding that action be used against the free apps. The latest move is similar in many ways to the attempt to stop the messaging service of Blackberry a number of years ago.

Social media networks have exploded in Saudi Arabia and made a huge impact in the country. The country has the world’s highest take up of Twitter.

Saudis see the new threat differently than others. A move to block or even monitor sites such as WhatsApp and Skype could deprive them of one of their essential means of just communicating with family and friends. Outsiders, on the other hand, see it as a means of stopping the Saudis from freely expressing themselves publically on politically on social issues.

One user in Saudi Arabia said she would be uncomfortable talking with relatives on Skype without wearing her hijab, which is her headscarf, if she thought someone could be monitoring the conversation.

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