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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hackers try to crack 600,000 Facebook accounts every day

Facebook reported that computer hackers try to break into around 600,000 Facebook accounts using stolen username and password details every day. Facebook has around 800 million users and receives over a billion login attempts every day.

If a hacker takes over a someone's Facebook account, they can do things such as post images, send messages and access all of that person's private information. Facebook is able to determine the number of stolen or compromised logins because it challenges the hackers with additional authentication questions. But this doesn't work 100% of the time and some of hacking attempts are successful. Other common scams include criminals hijacking friends accounts and trying to talk users into sending them money.

One of the new security features Facebook has come up with is called Trusted friends which will allow you to choose 3 to 5 trusted friends who can help you if you have a problem accessing your account if your email or password gets changed. The idea is that if you need to login to Facebook but can't access your email account, Facebook will send codes to your friends that they can pass on to you.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Facebook pans to build server farm near the Arctic Circle

Facebook plans to build a new server farm on the edge of the Arctic Circle to improve performance for European users. The huge server farm facility will be located in LuleƄ, northern Sweden which is 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle.

"The climate will allow them to just use only air for cooling the servers," said Mats Engman, chief executive of the Aurorum Science Park. "If you take the statistics, the temperature has not been above 30C (86F) for more than 24 hours since 1961. If you take the average temperature, it's around 2C (35.6F)."

Facebook plans to build 3 giant server halls covering an area the size of 11 football fields. Each building will be 300,000-square feet in size and the project is scheduled for completion by 2014. Even though they will rely on air cooling, keeping the servers running will still require 120MW of power and cost £45m a year. Facebook currently stores data at sites in California, Virginia and Oregon and is building another facility in North Carolina and has 800 million users world-wide.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Windows XP, still going after 10 years

10 years ago this month, Microsoft introduced what would eventually become the world's most popular desktop operating system. Windows XP was one of the most significant Windows releases to date. Windows 2000 was the first Windows NT based OS for the desktop which could be used by regular PC users without any issues. But it was Windows XP that brought the NT based OS to those who were afraid of Windows 2000. Windows XP introduced several useful user interface features and was far more advanced than the outdated Windows 98 or ME that it replaced. And once companies got accustomed to XP in the office, the idea of an operating system that they wouldn't have to change for years on end became something they couldn't pass up.

Microsoft on the other hand is eager for Windows XP to simply go away. But for that to happen, they need millions of XP users to drop the old OS and migrate to Windows 7, or even to Windows 8, when it comes out next year.

According to analytics firm Net Applications, XP finished September 2011 with a 50.5% share of all desktop operating systems which is a drop of 10% from just 10 months earlier. Windows 7 currently has more than 32% of the desktop OS market, and that number is on the rise. Microsoft has made it clear that it will be ending support for Windows XP in April 2014. XP may have been outed sooner if Windows Vista wasn't such a flop.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Duqu, the 'Son of Stuxnet' Virus said to target Specific Organizations and Assets

There has been some Malware recently discovered that is said to be based on the infamous Stuxnet virus which is considered one of the world's most sophisticated viruses. In a detailed report, Symantec says the malware was discovered in an organization in Europe. Its called Duqu because it creates files with the file name prefix ~DQ.

"Our telemetry shows the threat has been highly targeted toward a limited number of organizations for their specific assets. However, it's possible that other attacks are being conducted against other organizations in a similar manner with currently undetected variants," the report Symantec says.

The original Stuxnet virus delivered a highly specific payload that attacked control systems found in Iranian nuclear processing plants. Duqu is different because it doesn't spread from machine to machine. "It has been specifically targeted at systems with the goal of getting in, compromising them, and then exfiltrating information." Duqu tricks Windows into allowing it to execute by exploiting a stolen digital certificate, taken from a company with headquarters in Taiwan.

Once Duqu has been planted, it starts to communicate with a server based in India. It manages to obtain additional code able to record keystrokes and collect other system information that it then sends back to the control server.

Monday, October 17, 2011

No more Google Buzz

Google launched its first social networking site Google Buzz in February 2010 to try to compete with Facebook and other social media sites. Buzz never really caught on and had its share of problems so now Google is calling it quits. Google Buzz will be shut down in coming weeks so Google can turn its attention to its other social network, Google+.

Google Buzz had its share by privacy and security issues and never had the features that Facebook had. Buzz users won't be able to create new posts after Buzz is offline but they will be able to view their existing content on their Google Profile, and download it using Google Takeout.

Google also plans to tweak iGoogle to make way for Google+. Google will remove the iGoogle social features that it added to iGoogle several years ago.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 9.0.3 to fix security holes

Microsoft is making available by way of Windows Update an updated version of its Internet Explorer 9 web browser that incorporates a number of recently released security fixes. Your computer will be updated automatically if you have Automatic Updates turned on. Internet Explorer 9.0.3 resolves a number of privately reported vulnerabilities in IE 6, 7, 8 and 9.

The most severe vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted Web page using Internet Explorer. An attacker who successfully exploited any of these vulnerabilities could gain the same user rights as the local user. Microsoft has said, If exploited, the bugs in Internet Explorer would expose the user to drive by download attacks just by merely browsing to a booby trapped site.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Windows 8 Could Use Less Memory Than Windows 7

The upcoming Windows 8 operating system is shooting to minimize a computer's memory usage through efficient design so it can run on hardware originally designed for Windows 7. This will allow you to keep your current Windows 7 hardware if you decide to upgrade.

This memory saving is accomplished by several methods. The first way is by combining memory which allows Windows to identify duplicate memory being used for identical tasks and then retain a single copy. If a program etc needs some freed up memory, Windows provides what's called a private copy. This process can make anywhere from 10s to 100s of megabytes available. Windows 8 will also move some services to a start on demand model saving even more memory. One other thing Microsoft has done is removed 13 different services and has changed a number of others from automatic to manual

These tweaks will also allow for longer battery life for Windows tablets and phones that don't hold much physical RAM. This is necessary because Windows 8 will be running on these devices as well.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Google Chrome May Hit 20% Share By 2012

Google's Chrome Web browser could break the 20% market share by 2012 if it keeps up its current rate of growth. Chrome browser reached 16.2% in September which is up from its 15.5% share in August. Since January, Chrome's browser market share has climbed roughly one percentage point per month. Safari is also on the rise with a 5% increase while Internet Explorer and Firefox have lost some market share. IE fell to 54.4% from 55.3% and Firefox dropped to 22.5% from 23.6%.

Google's market share increase may have come from its advertising Chrome on TV. The ads started airing in May, and the two following months saw Chrome's largest market share increases of the year. Researcher StatCounter estimates Chrome at a 23.6% share and says Chrome will overtake Firefox as the second most popular Web browser by December.