Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Tuesday Tidbits #21

Some items of interest for your consideration. (Also, yesterday’s article has been updated.)

DropSmack: Using Dropbox to steal files and deliver malware

Michael P. Kassner interviews a digital forensic scientist who uses Dropbox to compromise targeted networks — something the bad guys probably figured out as well.Read more..

* WordPress hit by massive botnet: Worse to come, experts warn

“A massive botnet of tens of thousands of machines is attempting to hack in to weak password protected “admin” accounts of the popular blogging platform.” Read more..

[ note: this is of concern to even non-bloggers. ]

Good news? * Oracle to release 128 security patches, hundreds of products affected

The software technology giant will release today fixes for “hundreds” of its products, including Java, that led to high profile corporate hacking earlier this year.Read more..

Still true 7 Reasons Computer Glitches Won’t Go Away (Ever)

People have been complaining about computer glitches since the punch card days. Honestly, it’s 2010. Why don’t we have simple stuff like drivers and software compatibility fixed yet? Can we blame it all on Bill Gates?Read more..

[ note: To be “hip” and “trendy” {appeal to a younger set} the author uses a few rather salty words. But, he’s right on target. ]


Bah. All the headlines are discouraging.

Analysts start to sweat Apple’s Q2, outlook

Apple analysts have quickly stopped yapping about $1 trillion market caps and $1,000 stock prices and now sweat iPhone volumes and the outlook for the June quarter.” Read more..

California case another three-part tragedy of rape, cyber bullying and suicide

Three boys accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old California girl who took her own life after pictures of the attack were posted online are due in court this week, as authorities ramp up their investigation into the latest case involving rape and cyber bullying.Read more..

I used to think that they needed to tear down the entire Internet and rebuild it from the ground up — this time with security in mind. But now I’m starting to think they can (should?) just skip the rebuilding part… But, there’s kewel things like foursquare, so.. (see, The Future of Tech – “Intuitive” Phones [ scroll down a bit.. ]) maybe I’m wrong about that latter part.

More on the future of Tech: 10 things about Google Glass: Could this be Google’s iPad?

“Here are 10 things to know about the Google Glass program for developers, consumers, businesses and everyone interested in the search giant’s next big thing.Read more..

Today’s quote:Living in memories is an empty gesture.” ~ Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Copyright 2007-2013 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

April 16, 2013 Posted by | Apple, computers, consumer electronics, cyber crime, gadgets, Google, hackers, hardware, Internet, mobile, security, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Oracle – The Worst Tech Company?

I am tired of asking nicely, been doing so for years, so now I am just going to say it. IMHO the people at Oracle (who purchased Sun, which brings us Java) should be legally reprimanded. Whether it should prove they’re too lazy, simply morons, or deliberately sleazy makes no difference to me at this point. In my mind they’re criminally lazy and/or criminally stupid and/or criminally sleazy.
And/or all three.

And there’s no excuse. If it were at all possible, I would not get near anything they produced.

Why am I so angry? Yesterday, I told my browser, Firefox, to “Find Updates” for my Add-ons and Plug-ins. (Click on the “Tools” menu, then “Add ons”.)

and it turned out I needed to update my Java. So I did. Of course I did! Java is a known favorite target of the hackers (because it’s an easy target? Because it’s weak code? Because it’s everywhere?).

Here is Unpardonable Sin 1

Note there is no “Back” button, or “do not install this crap” option visible

Recommend?? I cannot print the words I use when I see this. To call them “angry and salty” is gross understatement. In case you do not know, has a reputation as the greasy used-car salesman of the Search engine set. In case you do not know, browser “toolbars” are spyware. (I’ll further tell you, I assess how “savvy” someone is by counting their installed toolbars. And I’ll tell you you won’t find any on my machines, or those of my family, or my clients.)

When I see this kind of thing built into an installer – particularly for an update – I know I am dealing with either a ‘starving artist’ independent programmer (freelancer) or bottom feeders. These latter types are counting on the fact that you “average computer users” are ignorant and/or mentally lazy and/or unobservant, in hopes of penny-packet profits.

But it gets better. Unpardonable Sin 2

Even though it is 2012, the programmers at Sun/Oracle still do not build an old version uninstaller into their installer package .. even though a 1st year programming student would know to do this.
Doing so is fundamental. Basic. ABC.

That means the old, insecure (and “vulnerable”) version of Java – the one I am trying to replace (aka “update”) IS STILL THERE. Still saying, “here I am! Attack me!

So I have to go into Control Panel > Programs and features > Uninstall a program and remove the old version(s) manually. And I have to go into my browsers and disable/uninstall the old plug ins. Even though it’s 2012, the “average computer user” does not know to do this. They assume that because they clicked “Update now” they’re safe. And they should be.

I think such a basic failure is reprehensible.


And the toolbar business, vile.

The most polite words I can use. Oracle management and employees, shame on you. (And in case you’re wondering, yes; I feel this way about  Adobe, and their “Flash”, too.)

Important Tech Tip: Do yourself a favor. Take a moment – right now – and open your Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel, as described above.

1) Uninstall any (non-Security) toolbars you find listed.

2) Uninstall any old versions of Java, Java runtime, Java Update, Java Deployment Toolkit. (At the time of this writing, version 7 update 5 is the most current.)

3) Reboot (aka “restart your computer”)

Now you’ll be less vulnerable to hackers and “drive-by downloads“, less spied on, and your web browsing will probably be faster.

Bonus Important Tip: Next, visit Secunia’s online scanner and have it scan your machine for any other outdated (aka “vulnerable”) items of software. To get started, click here. (You want to do this every so often, as a habit — say, once a week, or every two weeks at the most. Or, if that’s too much trouble, download and install their PSI (onboard) updater.)

.. counting on the naivete of people for profit.. leaving insecure code behind.. that’s snake-belly low, any way I look at it.

(For those of you wondering what “Java” really is.. well, think of it like the motor oil in your car. It doesn’t really do anything for you, like, say, your windshield wipers do, but you probably need it for the engine to run smoothly. Kinda.)

Today’s reading:

* Which is the most popular antivirus software?

Summary: “Using a data set consisting of 120,000 data points, researchers from OPSWAT estimate that Avast is the market share leader in the antivirus software market.” Read more..

* Free App Encrypts, Destroys Mobile Messages

Startup Wickr launches today with iPhone, iPad, iTouch app that ‘leaves no trace’ of text, video, and picture messages.Read more..

~     ~     ~

Today’s quote:Even if it’s a little thing, do something for those who have need of a man’s help, something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it. For, remember, you don’t live in a world all your own. Your brothers are here too.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

>> Folks, don’t miss an article! To get Tech – for Everyone articles delivered to your e-mail Inbox, click here, or to subscribe in your RSS reader, click here. <<

All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

June 28, 2012 Posted by | advice, browsers, computers, hackers, iPhone, privacy, security, tech | , , , , | 6 Comments

Breaking (Tech) News

Jury clears Google of infringing on Oracle patents

A jury has found that Google did not infringe upon Oracle’s patents.Read more..

May 23, 2012 Posted by | consumer electronics, News, tech | , , , | 2 Comments