Saturday, August 02, 2014

For my Computer Security students. All new malware is, for a time, undetectable.
Backoff Malware So Sophisticated it Can Hardly be Traced
A never been seen before malware called Backoff, which has infected point of sale systems and remote desktop applications, has gone virtually undetected causing a huge security threat.
Hackers have developed a virus that has infected point of sale (PoS) software for retailers and businesses as well as remote desktop applications which are commonly used by telecommuting employees or independent contractors to connect to the businesses main network.
… businesses and retailers are being cautioned to monitor their traffic patterns and look out for strange IP addresses. They are also warning everyone to ensure they have strong passwords.
Those who have Microsoft’s or Apple’s Remote Desktop system are being asked to pay extra attention to unusual activity and make sure that their passwords are secure.

Silly and poorly thought out. If they can't video from overhead, they'll probably stand across from the gate and video “cars going in and out.” When that's banned, they will move a block away and do the same thing. Then telescopes? Perhaps following the cars with dashboard cams?
Ah, delicious irony….
Joseph Serna reports:
Los Angeles police on Friday said they have asked the city attorney’s office and county prosecutors to explore whether they can legally prohibit civilians from flying drones with cameras over department-owned parking lots.
The inquiry was sparked after a South Bay man who routinely films police activity and posts the footage on his website flew his drone over the parking lot of the LAPD’s Hollywood station this week and filmed squad cars going in and out.
He then posted the video on YouTube.
“What concerns us is that they are filming over private property and it’s gated – you’re looking at the layout of the police station, how we operate, personnel license plates,” said police Lt. Michael Ling. “It’s kind of like if it was your house, if they’re flying over your backyard you’d start asking questions about it.”
Read more on L.A. Times.

This is the world of social media. People can't imagine living without their toys.
Facebook goes down, panicked users call 911
When Facebook went down for some on Friday, a few people panicked and called 911, CNET reports. Whether they were prank calls or people truly concerned about the inability to update their status remains a mystery for now.

Interesting article. It seems to suggest that at least for mobile, the neutrality of the Internet is no more.
Free Mobile Data Plans Are Going to Crush the Startup Economy
The deal sounds great: Stream unlimited music without any data charges. The offer from T-Mobile includes popular services such as Spotify, iTunes, and Pandora. These app s will no longer count against your data plan, the company announced recently, no matter how much you stream across its 4G LTE network.
Or consider Sprint’s new offer, via its Virgin Mobile pre-paid service: unlimited access to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest for just $12 per month. Unlimited access to all four is $22 monthly, and $5 more also gets you unlimited music.
Yesterday, we described the Sprint deal as a Netflix-like unbundling of mobile data options, an à la carte alternative to standard all-access data plans that resemble nothing so much as cable’s all-or-nothing bundles that force you to pay for channels you don’t actually want. And there’s a truth to this. But a prominent New York venture capitalist has a far more pessimistic take on the new trend toward unlimited data for certain apps. Fred Wilson, co-founder of Union Square Ventures, views such deals—which he calls “zero rating”—as a discriminatory salvo against mobile innovation.
“What all of this zero rating activity is setting up is a mobile internet that looks a lot more like cable TV than our wide open Internet,” Wilson writes. “Soon, a startup will have to negotiate a zero rating plan before launching because mobile app customers will be trained to only use apps that are zero rated on their network.

I didn't know this was a problem. I'll post the chart for my students.
How to Share Files Between Mobile Phones and Computers
Your digital photos, documents, music, and other files are spread across a range of devices from your mobile phones to tablets and your computers. The devices are running different operating systems and therefore there’s no standard method that will allow you to easily copy files from one device to another.

Believe it or not, I have students who read for pleasure.
It’s a tedious thing to monitor time sensitive offers at Amazon, especially free ones these days. Fortunately independent sites that monitor such offers do exist and the good news is – they’re in abundance. Daily offers or very limited time free kindle ebook offers will be posted on a daily basis, allowing you the option to download and sample these stories without the need to log in to Amazon for the latest lists.

This is for my students who spend class time catching up on their favorite TV shows.
Hulu Android App Updated, Now Streaming Free Content
This week, video-streaming service provider Hulu released a major update to its app designed for Android smartphones and tablets.
The latest update allows mobile Android users to access and stream select TV shows and movies for free.
To download the updated Android Hulu Plus app, visit

(Related) I'll have to pull their earbuds to get their attention, but the might like this.
– listen instantly to 60 million songs. Atraci is an application for Windows, Mac and Linux that lets you listen instantly to more than 60 million songs (way more than iTunes’s 26 million). It requires no sign up, displays no ads and is 100% safe.
Android and iOS apps on the way

I can't believe this happens every week!
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has signed a bill extending existing privacy laws for library records to include materials related to e-books, streaming video, and downloadable audiobooks. More via School Library Journal. [“Library records” didn't include this information? Bob]
In order to stop cheating, the Air Force dropped grading as part of the examination procedures for its nuclear officers
This story from the Hoboken School District of its plans to destroy, yes destroy, all its laptops from its “failed” 1:1 laptop program details an amazing amount of administrative incompetence.
Some 31 million people enrolled in college during the last 20 years left without earning a degree. And via the chart-loving Vox: “7 charts that show what happened to 31 million American college dropouts.”

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