Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for June 7th, 2017

Enlarge (credit: F-Secure ) Security cameras manufactured by China-based Foscam are vulnerable to remote take-over hacks that allow attackers to view video feeds, download stored files, and possibly compromise other devices connected to a local network. That’s according to a 12-page report released Wednesday by security firm F-Secure. Researchers at F-Secure documented 18 vulnerabilities that the manufacturer has yet to fix despite being alerted to them several months ago. All of the flaws were confirmed in a camera marketed under the Opticam i5 HD brand. A smaller number of the vulnerabilities were also found in the Foscam C2. The report said the weaknesses are likely to exist in many other camera models Foscam manufactures and sells under other brand names. F-Secure researchers wrote: Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Categories: reader

JustAnotherOldGuy writes: A key weakness in malicious software is the “Command and Control” (C&C) system — a central server that the malware-infected systems contact to receive updates and instructions, and to send stolen data. Anti-malware researchers like to reverse engineer malicious code, discover the C&C server’s address, and then shut it down. Turla is an “advanced persistent threat” hacking group based in Russia with a long history of attacking states in ways that advance Russian state interests. A new analysis by Eset shows that Turla is solving its C&C problems by using Britney Spears’ Instagram account as a cut-out for its C&C servers. Turla moves the C&C server around, then hides the current address of the server in encrypted comments left on Britney Spears’s image posts. The compromised systems check in with Spears’ Instagram whenever they need to know where the C&C server is currently residing. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: reader

Wikimedia Executives Receive Six-figure Golden Handshakes

Posted by kenmay on June - 7 - 2017

Andreas Kolbe writes: The Wikimedia Foundation’s (WMF) recently released Form 990 shows that the organisation has developed a practice of handing outgoing managers six-figure severance payments, The Register reports. The foundation, which relies entirely on unpaid volunteers to generate the content of its websites, has taken around $300 million dollars over the past five years through fundraising banners placed on Wikipedia. The WMF says it is “committed to communicating with our volunteers, donors, and stakeholders in an open, accountable, and timely manner”, but has long been criticised for providing little transparency on the salaries of its executives, limiting itself to the legally required Form 990 disclosures that only become public two years after the event. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: reader

I’m intrigued by this cleverly designed USB charger faceplate for US/Canadian power receptacles: you unscrew your existing faceplate, insert this one into the receptable so that its USB charger leads make contact with the screws on the sides of the receptacle, and screw it back in, and in theory, you now have two power outlets and two USB charger outlets. (more…)

Categories: reader

Remove unused apps in iOS 11 without losing your data

Posted by kenmay on June - 7 - 2017

Of the many apps you likely have on your iPhone or iPad right now, how many do you actually use regularly? Chances are that you have at least a few that you’re keeping merely because they have data you don’t want to lose. Well, all that is about to change: iOS 11 will allow you to delete apps, but retain their settings and data. Cydia Geeks first spotted the feature that Apple calls “offloading, ” and it’s great news for people who are constantly struggling with storage space on their phones . The current “Storage & iCloud Usage” option within the iPhone’s settings will be renamed “iPhone Storage” in iOS 11. (Presumably, if you’re working on an iPad, it will be called “iPad Storage.) Within that menu is an innocuous-looking option called “Offload Unused Apps, ” with an Enable option. Apple’s menu description says, “Automatically offload unused apps when you’re low on storage. Your documents & data will be saved.” What’s more, it appears you can choose individual apps to offload if you don’t want to depend on Apple to automatically manage the process for you. Choosing the “Offload App” option for an individual app does the following, according to Apple: “This will free up storage used by the app, but keep its documents and data. Reinstalling the app will place back your data if the app is still available in the App Store.” It’s worth noting that many apps, such as Google Drive, Facebook and Twitter, already store data in the cloud, so it’s easy to delete and reinstall them as needed. But for any apps that you must keep to avoid losing data (such as games), offloading could be just what people with storage issues are looking for. Indeed, this feature could entirely break us of the habit of keeping apps around just in case we need them one day. Via: 9to5Mac Source: Cydia Geeks

Categories: reader

Maker Update: Hakko FX-901 cordless soldering iron

Posted by kenmay on June - 7 - 2017

This week in Maker Update, Donald Bell presents a zoetrope combined with a fidget spinner, an SLS printer from Formlabs, a Raspberry Pi weather chamber, component carnage, and a tiny OLED Pi screen. Our featured Cool Tool is the Hakko FX-901 cordless soldering iron. Read the full review on Cool Tools .

Categories: reader

Apple will be phasing out 32-bit apps with iOS 11, and soon the company will make the same changes on its macOS operating system. During its Platform State of the Union keynote at the Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple told developers that macOS High Sierra will be the “last macOS release to support 32-bit apps without compromises.” MacRumors reports: Starting in January of 2018, all new apps submitted to the Mac App Store must be 64-bit, and all apps and app updates submitted must be 64-bit by June 2018. With the next version of macOS after High Sierra, Apple will begin “aggressively” warning users about 32-bit apps before eventually phasing them out all together. In iOS 11, 32-bit apps cannot be installed or launched. Attempting to open a non-supported 32-bit app gives a message notifying users that the app needs to be updated before it can run on iOS 11. Prior to phasing out 32-bit apps on iOS 11, Apple gave both end users and developers several warnings, and the company says it will follow the same path for the macOS operating system. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: reader

These shoes are made of pineapple leaves

Posted by kenmay on June - 7 - 2017

The inedible green leaves left behind during pineapple harvesting contain fibers that can be transformed into goods traditionally made from leather, including shoes, bags, and other leather accessories. Pinatex has details. (more…)

Categories: reader

Enlarge / Dangling bits of old poles hanging off new poles, from a union complaint against Verizon in October 2015. (credit: CWA ) Verizon and a union representing its workers have reached a settlement requiring the company to fix thousands of problems in areas of Pennsylvania where it hasn’t upgraded its copper network to fiber. The settlement of the union’s complaint “will require the company to repair and replace bad cable, defective equipment, faulty back-up batteries, and to take down 15,000 double telephone poles,” the Communications Workers of America (CWA) said Friday . Double poles occur when “Verizon has failed to move its equipment from an old pole that was replaced with a new one by another utility (e.g., the electric company),” the CWA said. “In many cases, these are dangerous conditions—poles are falling, leaning, rotting, partially cut off, etc.”  Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Categories: reader

Microsoft has been steadily working on bringing the full Windows experience to devices of all types over the past few years, including PCs, phones and even the Xbox One. But there are still a few differences with how Windows runs across them. That’s why the company is developing CShell, a new version of the Windows Shell that can adapt to screen sizes of all types, as well as unify the overall experience. It’ll likely play a large role in Microsoft’s Fluent design strategy , which is broadly focused on scaling Windows to more devices. Now, we’ve got our first look at what CShell actually looks like on a Windows Phone, Windows Central reports . At first glance, CShell looks exactly like the current Windows shell on mobile. But dig a bit deeper, and you’ll notice some important changes. It gives you more size options for Live Tiles on the Start screen, for one. It also brings over the Action Center from Windows 10, and adds a landscape option for displaying the Start screen. CShell also gives Windows Continuum the ability to run several apps at once in windowed mode, instead of forcing them to be full screen. Given that that was one of our biggest gripes with Continuum , it’s a particularly useful upgrade. Source: Windows Central

Categories: reader