Monday, January 23, 2012

INTERNET - Online Piracy Fight, Push-Back

"Hackers Retaliate Against DOJ in Raging Online Piracy Fight" PBS Newshour 1/20/2012


MARGARET WARNER (Newshour): It's one of the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought. The target is a website based in Hong Kong that's been used to share large files, including movies, videos, television shows, e-books, games, and music.

It's called Megaupload, and the heavily visited site is said to have 150 million registered users and 50 million visits a day. Now it stands charged with storing and distributing pirated material, and thus robbing copyright holders of more than $500,000.

Yesterday, the Justice Department shut it down and released indictments against seven executives. Four were arrested at the New Zealand mansion of its founder, who goes by the name Kim Dotcom.

Within hours, the hacker collective called Anonymous retaliated, shutting down the websites of the Justice Department and major media groups, including Universal Music and the Motion Picture Association of America. The government's crackdown came one day after this week's online protests against anti-piracy bills in Congress.

Another excerpt

CECILIA KANG, The Washington Post: So there's a lot of -- there's a lot of suspicion around the timing of this. But these are two -- one should keep in mind that these are two discreet issues. There's the federal indictment of a criminal case, and then there are the two bills right now that are being proposed on the Hill that I should say actually have been on hold, today were put on hold because of all the controversy around them.

Friday, January 13, 2012

INTERNET - Domain Names Controversy

"Domain Names: Debating the Effects of a Dot-Anything World" PBS Newshour 1/12/2012


RAY SUAREZ (Newshour): Since the earliest days of the Internet, Americans have gone to Web addresses with familiar names to the right of the dot, as in dot-com or dot-org.

Starting today, the company that assigns what are called domain names is making a big change. It's rolling out a program meant to dramatically increase the number and kind of names. So, instead of a company like let's say Marriott being called, it might now choose to be called simply .Marriott.

But it is going to cost plenty, up to $185,000 just to apply for the new name. And the total economic stakes could add up to hundreds of millions of dollars. Some businesses and lawmakers are upset with what this could mean for commerce and the future of the Web.

We look at this now with Rod Beckstrom, the president and CEO of ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. And Dan Jaffe is with the Association of National Advertisers, which is part of a coalition opposed to the rollout of the program.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

WINDOWS - Window Management Utility

This post is about WindowManager by DeskSoft

WindowManager helps you to improve your work flow by remembering and restoring the position and size of your programs and windows. Many programs don't remember their position and size between sessions and even Windows explorer does not always restore windows to their last position. This is where WindowManager steps in and makes sure your windows are placed exactly where you want them every time you open them. WindowManager even allows you to lock the position and size of any window, so that it will always open at the same spot no matter where you move it. The window handling is fully customizable and you can set up special rules for your favorite or most frequently used windows.

Key Features:
  • Remembers and restores the position and size of your recently used windows

  • Supports explorer windows, programs, dialogs, etc.

  • Special rules for moving or sizing only, etc.

  • Ignore list for preventing position or size change

  • Fully customizable

  • Now with full Windows 7 and 64 bit compatibility

Supported operating systems:
  • Windows XP

  • Windows XP x64

  • Windows Vista

  • Windows Vista x64

  • Windows 7

  • Windows 7 x64

  • Windows Server 2003

  • Windows Server 2003 x64

  • Windows Server 2008

  • Windows Server 2008 x64

NOTE: I have tried this utility and found that it interfered with ONE window on my WinXP system. It caused the window to open in the minimized mode EVERY TIME even though the shortcut was set for normal mode. I tested this by disabling the utility, then the window would open as expected. I have removed it from my system. This is by no means saying that other users MAY find the utility works for them, especially if you NEVER use the [Save] option.

SECURITY - Protecting Against Phishing

"How to Boost Your Phishing Scam Detection Skills" LifeHacker 1/5/2012

Phishing scams—the ones that try to get you to provide private information by masquerading as a legitimate company—can be easy to uncover with a skeptical eye, but some can easily get you when you let your guard down for just a second. Here's how you can boost your phishing detection skills and protect yourself during those times when you're not at full attention.

Want to test your phishing IQ and find out what kind of scams you're most likely to miss? Take this test.

What You Can Do

The way most phishing scams find victims is through email, but sometimes you'll come across a phishing site in the wild as well. Either way, here are the basic principles you want to follow to keep a cautious eye out for these malicious traps.

Check the URL

Phishing scams are designed to look like official emails and web sites from actual companies, but they aren't actually those things—they're just imitations. Because the emails and web sites are imitations they'll probably look a little different from what you'd expect in general, but more importantly those sites can't have the same URL as the web site they're pretending to because they are different sites. To check the URL, just hover of the link you're thinking of clicking. At the bottom of your window you should see the URL displayed. Once you do that, you have to figure out if it is a good URL or a bad URL.

Using PayPal as an example, you'll generally see as part of the URL. Sometimes you'll see something like as well. Both of these URLs are okay, because they end in A phishing URL, however, might look something like this: In this case, "paypal" is attached to another domain name ( URLs like this are the ones you want to avoid.

Always Go Direct

The best thing you can do to avoid phishing scams is always go directly to the web site you want to visit rather than clicking a link. This way you don't have to figure out if the URL is safe or not because you'll be using a URL in your bookmarks (or your brain) that you already know is safe. Doing this can also help protect you from phishing scams when you let your guard down because you'll be in the habit of visiting sites directly rather than clicking links.

I fell for a phishing scam once when I read the email right after I woke up in the morning. It was from my bank and they'd sent me a lot of verification notices lately since I'd been traveling and using my debit card all over the place. When I got another one, I didn't even think about it because I'd just woken up. I went to the site, filled in my info, and then immediately realized I'd just provided that information to a phishing scam site. I called the bank to let them know right away and got a new card, but had I changed my default behavior to calling the bank of visiting the bank's web site this probably wouldn't have happened. Of course, that's what I do now and it hasn't been a problem since.

What Your Browser Can Do For You

Detecting phishing scams on your own mainly require the mild paranoia and the behavioral adjustment described above, but there are a few other things you can do to make your everyday browsing safer.

Turn Off Form Autofill

One great feature of many web browsers is the autofill feature. It makes it really easy to fill out forms using information already stored in the browser. It also makes it easy for you to ignore the form you're filling out and just submit it, causing you to potentially miss a phishing scam when you're rushing through the process. While this precaution isn't necessary, and you might prefer the convenience of autofill to the safety benefits that deactivating it can provide, turning it off will provide a little added protection.

Utilize Your Browser's Built-In Tools

Most browsers come with some phishing protection built-in to help protect you, but it isn't always enable by default. Google Chrome keeps track of common phishing sites and can alert you when you visit one, but you may need to go through the short setup process to make it work. Firefox also offers phishing and malware protection in a similar way, and you can enable it in the Security section of Firefox's preferences.

Bump Up Your Phishing Protection with Web of Trust

Web of Trust is one of our favorite browser extensions because it automatically lets you know if a web site is trustworthy or not. While it can't possible verify every single site on the internet, it can make you aware of potentially harmful sites and phishing scams. All you have to do is install the extension for your browser and it will display a trust rating in your browser's toolbar. (You can read more about this here.) Web of Trust is available to download for Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari, and as a bookmarklet for other browsers.