This botnet stole over a million Social Security numbers

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The exposed.su website started drawing attention in March when it offered social security numbers and other information for everyone from Beyonce to Michelle Obama and the director of the CIA. Shocked by the breadth of data, both the FBI and Secret Service launched investigations — but today the security blogger Brian Krebs has beaten them to the punch, offering a comprehensive look at how all that personal data made it to the web.   

Krebs traces the exposed.su data back to another site, SSNDOB.ms, which pulled the information through compromised servers at LexisNexis and two other companies that specialize in data for background checks. With this relatively small network, hackers were able to steal nearly 3.1 million date-of-birth records and over a million social security numbers, widely considered a weak point in online security.

Krebs also reports that the malware used had no trouble evading anti-virus software. As of early September, none of the top 46 antivirus services detected the software as malicious. There’s no word yet on who was operating the network, but the FBI says their investigation is ongoing and Krebs has promised more revelations in the coming weeks.

Source: The Verge

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Apple Patent Reveals Swype-like Keyboard

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Android users are probably familiar with the Swype keyboard which basically allows users to type on their phones just by swiping (or “swyping”) between characters versus pecking at individual letters one at a time. In fact one iOS developer has event attempted to port Swype onto iOS devices although it didn’t exactly take off. However it seems that Apple did think about keyboard alternatives back in the day, and thanks to a recent patent that was published, it looks like Apple’s idea was pretty similar to Swype. According to the patent filing, it was filed for back in 2007 which is the same year that the first iPhone debuted, suggesting that Apple was already looking for keyboard alternatives for touchscreen devices back in the day.

However given that it’s 6 years later and the only revision to the Apple keyboard on iOS would be its design, it’s safe to say that Apple decided not to pursue this idea, or other keyboard ideas the Cupertino company and its team might have cooked up then. In any case Apple’s keyboard is more than functional and is pretty accurate as far as onscreen keyboards are concerned.

Source: Ubergizmo

Bruce Schneier: NSA Spying Is Making Us Less Safe

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The security researcher Bruce Schneier, who is now helping the Guardian newspaper review Snowden documents, suggests that more revelations are on the way.

Bruce Schneier, a cryptographer and author on security topics, last month took on a side gig: helping the Guardian newspaper pore through documents purloined from the U.S. National Security Agency by contractor Edward Snowden, lately of Moscow.

In recent months that newspaper and other media have issued a steady stream of revelations, including the vast scale at which the NSA accesses major cloud platforms, taps calls and text messages of wireless carriers, and tries to subvert encryption.  

This year Schneier is also a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. In a conversation there with David Talbot, chief correspondent of MIT Technology Review, Schneier provided perspective on the revelations to date—and hinted that more were coming.

Continue reading by clicking the source link below.

Source: MIT Technology Review

How to turn off iOS 7 frequent location tracking and increase your privacy

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By default, iOS 7 will track and record places that you visit most often to provide better location-based data such as in the Today summary of Notification Center. If you value your privacy more than you do location-based data, you can turn the feature off. Turning off features like these can also help save a bit of battery life too.

Here’s how:

1. Launch the Settings app from the Home screen of your iPhone or iPad.

2. Tap on Privacy.

3. Now tap on Location Services at the top.

4. Towards the bottom of the next screen, tap on System Services.

5. Again, towards the bottom of the next page, tap on Frequent Locations.

6. At the top of the next screen, turn the Frequent Locations option to the Off position.

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That’s all there is to it. Locations you travel to most will no longer be tracked. While this comes at the expense of not having as accurate location data in places like the Today Summary screen, it also preserves your privacy better and to a lot of us, that’s more important.

Source: iMore

Apple Job Listing Hints At Plans With Solar Technology

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Could solar technology power our iPhones or iPads in the future? Or perhaps even Apple’s Mac computers? While that question remains unanswered for now, it seems that at the very least Apple is interested in the technology, thanks to a recent job listing on Apple’s website which calls for a “thin films” engineer who has experience in the solar industry to join Apple’s Mobile Devices group, with the job description reading, “assist in the development and refinement of thin films technologies applicable to electronics systems.”

Given that the job was for a position in the Mobile Devices division, it has been speculated that perhaps it could be used on future iPhone or iPad products, although others have suggested that maybe it could see integration in display and touch technology as well, maybe for future iWatch devices, perhaps? Solar technology is not new to Apple as the company has in the past used the technology with its data centers, so to see Apple trying to find a way to incorporate the technology into their other products would not be a stretch of the imagination.

Source: Ubergizmo

Google knows nearly every Wi-Fi password in the world

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If an Android device (phone or tablet) has ever logged on to a particular Wi-Fi network, then Google probably knows the Wi-Fi password. Considering how many Android devices there are, it is likely that Google can access most Wi-Fi passwords worldwide. 

Recently IDC reported that 187 million Android phones were shipped in the second quarter of this year. That multiplies out to 748 million phones in 2013, a figure that does not include Android tablets. 

Many (probably most) of these Android phones and tablets are phoning home to Google, backing up Wi-Fi passwords along with other assorted settings. And, although they have never said so directly, it is obvious that Google can read the passwords. 

Sounds like a James Bond movie.  

Android devices have defaulted to coughing up Wi-Fi passwords since version 2.2. And, since the feature is presented as a good thing, most people wouldn’t change it. I suspect that many Android users have never even seen the configuration option controlling this. After all, there are dozens and dozens of system settings to configure. 

And, anyone who does run across the setting can not hope to understand the privacy implication. I certainly did not.

Specifically:

In Android 2.3.4, go to Settings, then Privacy. On an HTC device, the option that gives Google your Wi-Fi password is “Back up my settings”. On a Samsung device, the option is called “Back up my data”. The only description is “Back up current settings and application data”. No mention is made of Wi-Fi passwords. 

In Android 4.2, go to Settings, then “Backup and reset”. The option is called “Back up my data”. The description says “Back up application data, Wi-Fi passwords, and other settings to Google servers”. 

Needless to say “settings” and “application data” are vague terms. A longer explanation of this backup feature in Android 2.3.4 can be found in the Users Guide on page 374:

For details and more information click the source link below.

Source: Computerworld

US Carriers Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile 4G LTE Coverage (Maps)

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4G LTE is the new kid on the mobile spectrum, which is looking to make your mobile life faster. But which US carrier has the fastest and most LTE coverage?

Verizon Wireless has been a pioneer in the penetration of LTE. The company has been aggressive at building new cell towers and expanding its coverage.

Big Red has put together new coverage maps which shows their LTE network coverage compared to AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. To put the results bluntly, all I see is red!

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Verizon LTE Coverage Map
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AT&T LTE Coverage Map
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Sprint LTE Coverage Map
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T-Mobile LTE Coverage Map

Source: N4BB

Gogo announces new Ground to Orbit network to bring 60 Mbps internet to US flights next year

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Inlfight internet service Gogo announced today that it plans to bring new technology to partner airlines in the US that will provide more than 60 Mbps starting with Virgin America flights in the second half of next year. Dubbed “Gogo GTO” or “Ground to Orbit,” the new service offers a 20-fold increase in speeds up from the peak 9.8Mbps delivered through Gogo’s current network.

“Because we are a Silicon Valley-based airline, Virgin America guests expect a fully connected in–flight experience that enables them to remain productive even at 35,000 feet,” said President and CEO of Virgin America David Cush. “We were proud to be the first to offer Gogo’s ATG-4 product last year and we are pleased to be the launch partner for GTO, which will be another leap forward in terms of speed and performance of in–flight Wi-Fi for our guests.”

Gogo will first have to get FAA approval before rolling out next year. But when it does, this is how it will work:

Gogo will be utilizing a Ku antenna developed specifically for receive only functionality.  The advantages of using satellite for reception only and Gogo’s ATG Network for the return link are unprecedented.  Existing two-way satellite antennas in the commercial aviation market have limited power for transmissions so they don’t interfere with other satellites.  This dynamic makes the connection from the aircraft to the ground using two-way satellite an inefficient and expensive return link compared to Gogo’s ATG Network. Gogo’s receive only antenna will be two times more spectrally efficient and half the height of other antennas in the commercial aviation market.  The low profile of the antenna will result in much less drag and therefore fuel burn on the aircraft and, ultimately, greater operational efficiencies for airlines.

Source: 9to5Mac

iPhone 5s vs. the competition: Spec comparison

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Via: Android Central

It’s no secret that Apple has just unveiled its latest devices, the iPhone 5s and 5c, and while our friends over at iMore dive deeper into the Apple-centric coverage we want to see how its latest device’s specs stack up against the Android hardware.

Going head-to-head with Google’s (admittedly 11-month old) latest reference device the Nexus 4 and the HTC One, the iPhone 5s stacks up pretty comparably. The latest iPhone sticks with the 4-inch 326 ppi “Retina” display, matching up to the 4.7-inch 320 ppi of the Nexus 4 and absurdly nice 4.7-inch 468 ppi of the One. On the camera front Apple has moved to an 8MP BSI camera much like the Nexus 4, but with larger pixels like the One and a few new features included in the form of software optimization, a new image signal processor and dual LED flash.

The rest of the specs round out very similarly as other high-end devices out there today, but there are naturally a few points where each device stands out. Stick around after the break for a full spec-by-spec breakdown of the iPhone 5S vs. the Nexus 4, HTC One and the latest BlackBerry and Windows Phone handsets.

Source: Android Central

Swype co-founder reinvents tablet typing with Dryft

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Anyone who has spent significant time typing on a tablet knows that despite its larger size, there’s still a massive room for error. Because it’s missing that satisfying, tactile clickety-clack of physical keyboards, tablets enable mistakes and typing hiccups in the same way that smartphones do. So it’s no surprise that Randy Marsden, co-founder of Android smartphone typing staple Swype, and a small team are seeking to reinvent tablet typing with a new startup called Dryft.

Announced at TechCrunch Disrupt, Dryft recognizes where hands move while typing, and subtly shifts the keys to compensate for the inevitable drifting (get it?) hands do across the device. The keyboard is able to track that by utilizing the accelerometer in a tablet to assess whether hands are moving or at rest. So users will be able to settle their hands on the keyboard without the risk of unintended typing — and with the added benefit of shifting keys. Marsden says those two features considerably boost natural typing speed up to 80 WPM, and lead to less errors.

See a video demo below:

Companies have made an earnest effort to perfect touchpad typing on tablets of all sizes in the last few years — most notably Apple’s split keyboard feature on the iPad. But that hasn’t stopped physical keyboard makers from producing some much-hyped products. If Dryft is able to get its resources together and get off the ground, it could prove to be as big a hit for Android tablets as Swype is for phones.

Marsden and co-founder Rob Chaplinsky are pushing Dryft into beta testing and are actively looking for OEM customers, developers and investors.

Source: GigaOM