6/22/2010

Google Wi-Fi Data Grab Snared Passwords, E-mail

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Wi-Fi traffic intercepted by Google’s Street View cars included passwords and e-mail, according to the French National Commission on Computing and Liberty (CNIL).

CNIL launched an investigation last month into Google’s recording of traffic carried over unencrypted Wi-Fi networks, and has begun examining the data Google handed over as part of that investigation.

Google revealed on May 14 that the fleet of vehicles it operates to compile panoramic images of city streets for its Google Maps site had inadvertently recorded traffic from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks. Google’s intention was only to record the identity and position of Wi-Fi hotspots in order to power a location service it operates, the company said. However, the software it used to record that information went much further, intercepting and storing data packets too.

At the time, Google said it only collected “fragments” of personal Web traffic as it passed by, because its Wi-Fi equipment automatically changes channels five times a second. However, with Wi-Fi networks operating at up to 54M bits per second, it always seemed likely that those one-fifth of a second recordings would contain more than just “fragments” of personal data.

That has now been confirmed by CNIL, which since June 4 has been examining Wi-Fi traffic and other data provided by Google on two hard disks and over a secure data connection to its servers.

Apple: FaceTime will not use airtime minutes

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Apple has confirmed that FaceTime, iPhone 4’s new video chat feature, will not consume any minutes of cellular airtime once activated.

A company spokesperson told Business Insider that all cellular voice use is terminated as soon as a FaceTime connection is established between two phones, and all subsequent communication happens through Apple’s own transmission protocol over Wi-Fi.

FaceTime, which is was introduced as a new feature in the upcoming iPhone 4, allows two phones to connect to each other and turn a phone call into a video chat. The video communication system works only over a Wi-Fi connection, meaning that FaceTime calls won’t use any cellular data, either.

Amazon, Barnes & Noble slash e-reader prices

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Amazon.com Inc and Barnes & Noble Inc reduced prices of their electronic readers on Monday, responding to the threat from Apple Inc’s iPad tablet computer.

Shares in both companies fell about 3 percent as investors feared intense competition could lure away buyers of e-books, the fastest-growing segment in a moribund bookselling industry.

Profit margins on Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Amazon’s Kindle are estimated by analysts to be relatively modest, but the devices are important to attracting book buyers.

Amazon announced its $70 price cut to $189 hours after Barnes & Noble lowered the price on its own 3G compatible “Nook” to $199. Both had cost $259.

Apple’s iPad, launched in April, can also function as an e-reader. It sold more than 2 million units in its first 60 days and its own e-bookstore has quickly won market share.

6/15/2010

Microsoft Kinect arrives November 4th

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft Corp will begin selling its “Kinect” motion-sensing game system on November 4, before the crucial holiday season, hoping to lure new and casual players to the Xbox and steal a march on rivals Nintendo Co Ltd and Sony Corp.

The world’s largest software vendor, which has ambitions of making its Xbox 360 not just a gaming device but a hub of home video and Web entertainment, will also begin selling a smaller, same-priced version of the console this week.

Microsoft would not say how much Kinect — which plugs into Xboxes and lets players control games with body and hand gestures — will sell for, though analysts’ estimates range from $50 to $200. Executives said 15 titles, including one from Ubisoft, will be available at the time of launch.

6/14/2010

Microsoft hides mystery Firefox extension in toolbar update

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

As part of its regular Patch Tuesday, Microsoft released an update for its various toolbars, and this update came with more than just documented fixes. The update also installs an add-on for Internet Explorer and an extension for Mozilla Firefox, both without the user’s permission. As you can see in the Windows Update screenshot above, Microsoft does not indicate that the update will install anything for either browser. It’s also not really clear what the installed extension actually does.

To make matters worse, the update was marked “Important” instead of “Optional,” which means it was more likely to be installed either automatically (if the user has Automatic Updates on) or manually when the user clicks Install (Important updates are checked by default).

6/13/2010

Adobe Patch Fixes Major Security Flaw in Flash Player

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Responding to a major security flaw in its Flash Player, Adobe Systems released a large patch Thursday. A security bulletin published on the company’s web site recommends that users of Flash Player 10.0.45.2 and earlier versions on Windows, Mac, Linux and Solaris update to version 10.1.53.64.

To determine which Flash Player version you are running, the company recommends going to http://www.adobe.com/software/flash/about/, or right-clicking on Flash content in the browser and selecting About Adobe Flash Player.

The bulletin also advises that users of Adobe AIR 1.5.3.9130 and earlier versions should update to AIR 2.0.2.12610. Users of Flash Professional CS5, CS4 Professional, and Flex 4 are encouraged to update to 10.1.53.64, and Flash CS3 Professional and Flex 3 users should download 9.0.277.0.

Leak Shows Updated Droid with Faster Processor

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

With the newest Apple iPhone unveiled and about to hit the market, attention is quickly turning to the next generation of another top-selling smartphone, the Verizon Wireless Droid. And in a case of history repeating itself, there are already leaked photos of the prototype.

6/10/2010

AT&T security hole exposes iPad users’ e-mails

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

AT&T Inc. on Wednesday acknowledged a security weak spot that exposed the e-mail addresses of apparently more than 100,000 users of Apple Inc.’s iPad, a breach that could make those people vulnerable to precision-targeted hacking attacks.

The vulnerability only affected iPad users who signed up for AT&T’s “3G” wireless Internet service.

It involved an insecure way that AT&T’s website would prompt iPad users when they tried to log into their AT&T accounts through the devices. The site would supply users’ e-mail addresses, to make log-ins easier, based on unique codes contained in the SIM cards inside their iPads. SIM cards are used to tell cell-phone networks which subscriber is trying to use the service.

The hacker group that claims to have discovered the weakness - the group calls itself Goatse Security - said it was able to trick AT&T’s site into coughing up more than 114,000 e-mail addresses, including those apparently of famous media personalities and important government officials.

6/8/2010

HP gives printers email addresses

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

HP is set to unveil a line of printers with their own email addresses, allow people to print from devices such as smartphones and the iPad.

The company last year released a web-connected, touchscreen printer - the Photosmart Premium Touchsmart Web - but the new line-up will be the first to feature their own dedicated email addresses.

That will allow users to email their documents or photos directly to their own - or someone else’s - printer. It will also let people more easily share physical documents, as rather than merely emailing links around, users can email a photo to a friend’s printer.

The email address could overcome the need for specific printer drivers on devices such as smartphones, Apple’s iPad (which doesn’t currently offer printing facilities) and Google’s forthcoming Chrome OS devices.

Hackers plant viruses in Windows smartphone games

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Hackers have planted viruses in video games for smartphones running on Microsoft Corp’s Windows operating system, according to a firm that specializes in securing mobile devices.

The games — 3D Anti-Terrorist and PDA Poker Art — are available on sites that provide legitimate software for mobile devices, according to John Hering, CEO of San Francisco-based security firm Lookout.

Those games are bundled with malicious software that automatically dials premium-rate telephone services in Somalia, Italy and other countries, sometimes ringing up hundreds of dollars in charges in a single month.

Nearly 5 million downloaded Skype iPhone 3G app

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Nearly 5 million consumers have downloaded a Skype Web telephony application that launched Sunday, allowing users of Apple Inc’s iPhone to use privately held Skype’s service over the cellular network for the first time, Skype said on Wednesday.

Before the launch of the application for use on high-speed third generation (3G) networks on May 30, consumers could only use Skype on their iPhone when they had access to Wi-Fi

Slimmer iPhone with clearer screen due June 24

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The next iPhone comes out June 24 and will have a higher-resolution screen, longer battery life and thinner design.

CEO Steve Jobs opened Apple Inc.’s annual conference for software developers Monday by demonstrating the iPhone 4, which will cost $199 or $299 in the U.S. with a two-year AT&T contract, depending on the capacity. The iPhone 3GS, which debuted last year, will still be available, for $99.

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