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Google discloses unpatched IE flaw after Patch Tuesday delay

Feb 25, 2017 - 8:43 AM - by Reverend
Google's Project Zero team has disclosed a potential arbitrary code execution vulnerability in Internet Explorer because Microsoft has not acted within Google's 90-day disclosure deadline.

This is the second flaw in Microsoft products made public by Google Project Zero since the Redmond giant decided to skip this month's Patch Tuesday and postpone its previously planned security fixes until March.

Microsoft blamed the unprecedented decision to push back scheduled security updates by a month on a "last minute issue" that could have had an impact on customers, but the company hasn't clarified the nature of the problem.

Some people have speculated that the problem might be related to the Windows Update infrastructure and not a particular fix, but the company pushed out a Flash Player security update on Tuesday, which suggests that if there was an infrastructure problem, it is now resolved.

The newly disclosed vulnerability is a so-called type confusion flaw that affects Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer and can potentially allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary code on the underlying system.

"No exploit is available, but a PoC [proof-of-concept] demonstrating a crash is," Carsten Eiram, chief research officer at vulnerability intelligence firm Risk Based Security, said via email. "This PoC may provide a good starting point for anyone who wants to develop a working exploit. Google [Project Zero] even includes some comments on how to possibly achieve code execution."

The Risk Based Security researchers have confirmed the potentially exploitable crash for IE11 on a fully patched Windows 10 system and have assigned a CVSS severity score of 6.8 to it, treating its impact as potential code execution.

On Feb. 14, after Microsoft announced its decision to postpone the February patches, Google Project Zero disclosed a memory disclosure vulnerability... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 96 Views

Microsoft still plans to ship two Windows 10 upgrades in 2017

Feb 22, 2017 - 7:52 PM - by Reverend
Microsoft this month reaffirmed that it will issue two Windows 10 upgrades this year, twice the number of 2016 but still shy of the firm's original target.

In a presentation 11 days ago at a Microsoft technical conference held in Australia, Bill Karagounis, a director of program management, pointed to a follow-on upgrade that will appear sometime after the Creators Update, which is expected to finalize and ship next month.

A slide Karagounis showed during the session -- which was webcast from Microsoft's Channel 9 website -- included another upgrade this year after Creators. It lacked a release date and a more descriptive name other than "Second Update in 2017."

Not surprisingly, Karagounis said nothing specific about the second upgrade of the year, other than to point out "the two that we intend to ship in 2017" as he displayed the slide to his audience.

Microsoft first said it planned to release a pair of 2017 Windows 10 upgrades in August 2016, when it also confirmed that the upgrade dubbed "Anniversary Update" was the one and only for that year.

The company's descriptions of Windows 10's development and release tempo have changed several times in the two years since it began talking about the cadence. Prior to Windows 10's July 2015 launch the company regularly cited a three-times-annually cadence -- about every four months -- to describe the frequency of the feature upgrades it would deliver. Yet by November 2015, it was implying a slower pace.

Three months after Windows 10's debut, Microsoft issued the first feature upgrade, making for two in six months. But it reduced the rate to just one last year, claiming the reduction was "based on feedback from organizations moving to Windows 10."

... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 145 Views

Instagram now lets you share up to 10 photos and videos per post

Feb 22, 2017 - 7:47 PM - by Reverend
Instagram is rolling a feature out across its iOS and Android apps that allows its 600 million monthly active users to share more in a post. Now, instead of selecting all your best photos and videos and flooding your friends’ notifications with them, you can share up to 10 photos and videos in a single post.

Although somewhat akin to Instagram Stories, this new feature is more permanent in nature and lacks stickers and drawing. When uploading a batch of photos and videos, tap a new icon within Instagram. You’ll be able to edit posts like you would normally, including editing the entire post or individual photos and videos. These can also be re-ordered prior to publishing. However, captioning, location tags, likes, and comments are applied to the entire post.

The downside: It’s limited to square ratio images and videos, a restriction that Instagram did away with in 2015. Hopefully, the company will soon ease up and allow photos and videos of all aspect ratios to be inserted into these carousel posts.

To distinguish these new carousel-like posts from standard posts, Instagram has added an icon within your profile feed to denote that there are more images within the post. And when you’re looking at one of these posts, there will be blue dots at the bottom to show that there is more content and that you can view the rest by swiping left or right.

This capability is beneficial for when you’re on vacation, at a party, or on any other occasion when you just want to share a bunch of photos on Instagram.
What carousel-like posts look like within your profile on Instagram.

Above: What carousel-like posts look like within your profile on Instagram.Image Credit: Instagram

“Sometimes you want to show more than just the best photo or video from a memorable experience. Now, users and businesses alike can tell a deeper story by grouping moments together in one post without having to... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 125 Views

Google and Microsoft kick pirate websites off the front page

Feb 21, 2017 - 1:54 PM - by Reverend
Both Google and Microsoft have entered into an agreement this Monday with the British government that would see their respective search engines make piracy websites harder to find for UK users.

The new voluntary code, negotiated by rights holders and search engines, demotes websites like the Pirate Bay that have been repeatedly flagged for copyright infringement. These sites will drop off the first page of common searches and won't appear in suggested auto-completes, reported the Telegraph.

The move was made in an effort to prevent piracy and promote the discovery of legitimate forms of access to content.

While Google has maintained that search traffic is not a driving force behind piracy, the move will certainly still have an impact in terms of visibility. Research has shown that the first search result on Google receives 33 percent of traffic, and the first page of results generates 92 percent of all traffic.

"We have long campaigned for search engines to do more to ensure fans are directed to legal sources for music or other entertainment," said Geoff Taylor, chief executive of BPI, a firm that represents record labels. "The Code will not be a silver bullet fix, but it will mean that illegal sites are demoted more quickly from search results and that fans searching for music are more likely to find a fair site."

Typical moves to curb piracy tend to revolve around ISP-level site blocking, where access to a website is prohibited. Combating piracy through search traffic is a "world first" said Taylor.

"We are pleased to have reached agreement on this code of conduct for search-related copyright issues," said a Microsoft spokesperson. "We thank the UK Government for leading this industry-wide initiative forward."

Google did not immediately respond to request for comment.

... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 154 Views

EU privacy watchdogs say Windows 10 settings still raise concerns

Feb 21, 2017 - 1:50 PM - by Reverend
European Union data protection watchdogs said on Monday they were still concerned about the privacy settings of Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system despite the U.S. company announcing changes to the installation process.

The watchdogs, a group made up of the EU's 28 authorities responsible for enforcing data protection law, wrote to Microsoft last year expressing concerns about the default installation settings of Windows 10 and users' apparent lack of control over the company's processing of their data.

The group - referred to as the Article 29 Working Party -asked for more explanation of Microsoft's processing of personal data for various purposes, including advertising.

"In light of the above, which are separate to the results of ongoing inquiries at a national level, even considering the proposed changes to Windows 10, the Working Party remains concerned about the level of protection of users’ personal data," the group said in a statement which also acknowledged Microsoft's willingness to cooperate.

Microsoft was not immediately available to comment.

A number of national authorities have already begun enquiries into Windows 10, including France which in July ordered Microsoft to stop collecting excessive user data.

The EU privacy group said that despite a new installation screen presenting users with five options to limit or switch off Microsoft's processing of their data, it was not clear to what extent users would be informed about the specific data being collected.

Microsoft uses data collected through Windows 10 for different purposes, including advertising, the group said in its statement said.

"Microsoft should clearly explain what kinds of personal data are processed for what purposes. Without such information, consent cannot be informed, and therefore, not valid."

... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 135 Views

WhatsApp’s New Feature Continues Facebook’s Snapchat Mimicry

Feb 21, 2017 - 1:47 PM - by Reverend
Facebook offered $3 billion to buy the ephemeral messaging app Snapchat in 2013. Snapchat’s founder, Evan Spiegel, turned down the offer.

Ever since, Facebook and some of its top apps — including Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger — have been trying to tap into the explosively popular photo-sharing features pioneered by Snapchat.

The latest sign of that came on Monday as WhatsApp, a mobile messaging application used by 1.2 billion people, unveiled a version of its Status feature that takes a significant number of cues from Snapchat. Similar to Snapchat’s Stories feature, WhatsApp’s Status now lets people share images, GIFs and videos as a status update, all of which last for 24 hours before disappearing.

The move follows a string of actions by Facebook to emulate Snapchat. In August, Instagram introduced a Stories feature that was a near exact copy of Snapchat’s. In December, Messenger revamped its look and feel to emphasize sending photos, just like Snapchat. As Snapchat’s parent company, Snap, has positioned itself as a camera company, Facebook has experimented with making a camera feature the first thing people see when opening up the social network’s main app.

Even if imitation is the highest compliment, WhatsApp executives are not admitting it. “We build things because we really hope people will want to use them even more,” Randall Sarafa, a product manager at WhatsApp, said in an interview about the new version of Status. Avoiding any direct mention of Snapchat, he added, “We don’t really think about building things for other reasons.”

New York Times
  0 Replies | 87 Views

FrostWire 6.4.5

Feb 15, 2017 - 1:56 PM - by Reverend
FrostWire is a free, open source BitTorrent client, first released as a fork of LimeWire. In version 5, Gnutella support was dropped entirely, and now FrostWire only uses the BitTorrent network.

FrostWire 6.4.5

FrostWire homepage
  0 Replies | 190 Views

Facebook debuts vertical video format and confirms forthcoming TV apps

Feb 15, 2017 - 1:49 PM - by Reverend
Facebook wants be in your TV screen in 2017.

On Tuesday, the network launched new ways to watch videos on your iOS and Android device. You can now watch vertical videos in full-screen, autoplay videos with sound, and watch picture-in-picture while scrolling down your News Feed. In addition, Facebook confirmed the forthcoming launch of TV apps for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Samsung Smart TV.

Previously, all videos on Facebook’s News Feed autoplayed on silent, and you had to tap on the picture to hear sound. Now, Facebook is giving you the option to autoplay videos with sound that fades in and out as you scroll through the video on your feed.

“As people watch more video on phones, they’ve come to expect sound when the volume on their device is turned on,” Facebook wrote on its company blog.

If your phone is on silent, the videos will autoplay silently, however, and you can disable sound completely by unchecking the “Videos in News Feed Start with Sound” option in your Settings.

When watching vertical videos on your News Feed, you can now tap on it to watch full-screen. Facebook started testing this feature last year, and the company’s begun rolling it out more broadly after receiving positive response.
facebook picture in picture

Facebook has also taken a page from YouTube and Vimeo by incorporating a “picture-in-picture” video-watching experience. If you’re playing a video and continue to scroll down your News Feed, the video screen will minimize and be fixed permanently on the lower-right corner of the display. This way you can continue watching while browsing other posts on your News Feed.

You can even drag the minimized player to any corner, and Android users will get to finish the video even if they exit out of the Facebook app and go open another app.

Lastly, Facebook confirmed that it has developed a video app for... [Read More]
  0 Replies | 200 Views

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