Articles

Fri
14
Jun
John Lister's picture

Background Data Company Suffers Massive Data Breach

Almost three billion personal data records have been stolen from a background check company. The massive breach has unintentionally proven the value of data opt-out laws. The people who stole the data had put it up for sale to other criminals for ... $3.5 million, but it seems they didn't find a buyer. They are reportedly now planning to release the data publicly. That might seem an odd move given its supposed value, but it's likely part of a long game. It means that if the same group steal data in the future, they would be able to blackmail the business with more credibility. The data is said to ... (view more)

Wed
12
Jun
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Google Play 'Update' May Be Scam

Android scammers are using a creatively nasty way to spread malware. They've disguised it as an update for the Google Play store itself. It's a particularly cheeky way to try to get credibility for a malware scam. Not only is Google Play the ... official place to get Android apps in the first place, but the best and simplest Android security tip is to only use apps from Google Play. In this case, the malware doesn't originate as an app but instead as a bogus link. This could be on a web page, in a text message or in an email. The supposed source is Google itself and the link comes with a message ... (view more)

Mon
10
Jun
John Lister's picture

YouTube Glitching Again For Adblocker Users

Some users are reporting finding it almost impossible to watch videos on YouTube while using an ad blocker. It's likely the latest attempt by YouTube to crack down, but seems to only work on specific ad blockers. Over recent months, YouTube had ... displayed a warning message to people who used an ad blocker, telling them the video would not play until they switched it off. YouTube maintains that using an ad blocker actually violates its terms of service. The company also argues that ad blocking hurts both creators and users, the logic being that without ad revenue, creators have less incentive ... (view more)

Fri
07
Jun
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Google Search AI Says Eating Glue is OK

Google appears to be rethinking its use of AI generated "answers" in search results page. It comes as tech experts figured out a workaround to disable the AI generated answers in the first place. The company recently launched what it calls Search ... Generative Experience behind the scenes, and "AI Overview" in search results. It kicks in when it thinks the user is trying to get a specific answer to a specific question rather than simply searching for a website or exploring a wider topic. The AI Overview appears at the top of the results before any links to websites and is rolling out to all ... (view more)

Wed
05
Jun
John Lister's picture

WinXP Lasts 10 Minutes Before Becoming Infected

An unprotected Windows XP machine lasted just 10 minutes online before being infected. It was an extreme and arguably unrealistic experiment, but does show just how prevalent online threats are. YouTuber Eric Parker carried out the test with a ... virtual machine running Windows XP. A virtual machine is a machine that lives inside of another machine, which makes it appear as if the virtual machine is a separate, physical computer. It's often used by people running two operating systems on the same computer. In fact, this website runs as a virtual machine. At any rate: it's no secret that running ... (view more)

Mon
03
Jun
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Nearly 1-in-10 Webpages Disappear in a Year

More than a third of webpages have disappeared in the past 10 years according to a new study. Eight percent of pages that existed last year have already gone. The figures come from the Pew Research Center, exploring what it calls "digital decay" and ... other sources have called "link rot". (Source: pewresearch.org ) Pew's researchers looked at a random selection of URLs which were active at various points over the past 10 years. On average, a quarter have now gone. Naturally there's a downward trend, with 38 percent of pages active in 2013 now unavailable. Even with pages active as recently as ... (view more)

Fri
31
May
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FBI Seizes Hacker Forum

The FBI has taken control of a forum used for selling stolen data. The fact it's the second time BreachForums has been taken down this year shows how it may be an endless task. Such forums are arguably a key incentive for hackers to steal data in ... the first place. The forums make it easier to find buyers for the stolen data, rather than the hackers having to figure out their own tactics for exploiting the stolen information. BreachForums was also a key marketplace for selling malware used for successful hacking attacks. High-profile data offered for sale on the site in recent months included ... (view more)

Wed
29
May
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TikTok Users Sue Over Ban

It's no surprise TikTok has challenged a law that bans it operating in the US under Chinese ownership. But what wasn't expected was individual users suing to block the law. The US government recently passed a law giving TikTok's Chinese-based owners ... ByteDance until January 19, 2025 to sell to a non-Chinese company. If it doesn't, app stores will be barred from distributing the app and hosting companies would not be allowed to serve the business. TikTok says the deadline is so short and the conditions so strict that the law is effectively an outright ban. It's already started a legal challenge ... (view more)

Mon
27
May
John Lister's picture

Study Claims Internet Use Boosts Wellbeing

Internet adoption has a positive link with wellbeing, according to an international research project. But it's a mixed picture and cause and effect could be questioned. The research comes from the Oxford Internet Institute, which examined a wide ... range of studies into psychological wellbeing and mental health. They covered a total of 2.4 million people across 168 countries at various points between 2006 and 2021. (Source: ac.uk ) The researchers then cross-referenced the results with figures on broadband and mobile Internet use in the relevant countries at the relevant times. The biggest ... (view more)

Fri
24
May
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FCC Closes Net Neutrality Loophole

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has banned Internet carriers from giving some applications access to "fast lane" speeds. The tweak to recently-restored net neutrality rules aims to close a potential loophole. Last month, the FCC voted to ... restore the principle of net neutrality. Broadly they say Internet carriers must treat all traffic equally. The commission has now published the full wording of the rules which will enforce the principle. One of the most notable elements of net neutrality is speed. Previously used rules explicitly barred carriers from slowing down access when ... (view more)

Wed
22
May
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New Laptop Memory Saves Space and Power

A new form of laptop memory aims to remove one of the biggest trade-offs in portable devices. It promises speed and power efficiency while still being easily replaceable. Most existing laptop memory falls into two categories, each with a weakness. ... One type, which is easily replaceable, takes up a comparatively large amount of space and uses a lot of power. That's double bad news in a portable computer. The other type is smaller and more energy efficient but must be soldered onto the motherboard, which is effectively the "spine" of a computer's operations. That's great at first but it removes ... (view more)

Fri
17
May
John Lister's picture

'Dirty Stream' Floods Android With Malware

A new form of Android malware can hijack legitimate apps. "Dirty Stream" take advantage of a legitimate function designed to make life easier for users. The function is called ContentProvider and allows one mobile app to access data from, or ... communicate with, another app. It makes it possible to, for example, open a PDF attachment from a messaging app in a dedicated PDF reader app. The people behind the DirtyStream malware found a vulnerability in the way ContentProvider worked. This made it possible not only to force another app to open a compromised file, but to then use the contents to ... (view more)

Wed
15
May
John Lister's picture

2.28 Million Rogue Apps Blocked By Google

Google says it blocked 2.28 million potentially malicious apps from getting into the official Play store last year. It stopped or paused a further 200,000 which didn't correctly use the permissions system. The figure for malicious app blocks is up ... almost half compared with 2022. Google didn't say conclusively whether that means more scammers are trying their luck or if it simply did a better job of detecting them. However, it did note the 2023 figure was "in part thanks to our investment in new and improved security features, policy updates, and advanced machine learning and app review ... (view more)

Fri
10
May
John Lister's picture

FCC Revives Net Neutrality

The FCC has restored net neutrality rules, theoretically making it harder for broadband providers to favor traffic speed on some sites or services over others. But the introduction of 5G technology could be a glitch in the plan. Net neutrality is a ... longstanding topic of debate for the FCC with policy largely following partisan politics. Rules were last introduced in 2015 and then repealed in 2017. (Source: theverge.com ) The general principle of net neutrality is that all Internet traffic (except for inherently illegal content) should be treated equally by carriers. That means, for example, ... (view more)

Wed
08
May
John Lister's picture

iPhone May Ditch Buttons

The next generation of the iPhone could have no physical buttons at all. The volume and power buttons could be replaced with sensors similar to the touchscreen itself. The news comes from leaks in the component manufacturing market that are normally ... reliable, though it's not certain the changes will come quickly enough for the iPhone 16's release, expected this summer. Similar rumors came before last year's iPhone 15, but Apple reportedly dropped plans because of manufacturing challenges. The theory of the latest rumors is that the physical buttons will be replaced with capacitive input. That ... (view more)

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