Archive for the ‘hacking’ Category

The RSA leak exposes the dirty under-belly of the commercial security industry, it’s a story that sounds like it’s straight out of Hollywood.

Then – We’ve packed this episode full of Audience questions, and our answers. Find out how to plan for failure, start building a website….

All that and more, on this week’s TechSNAP!

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14 Million Americans Scanned QR or Bar Codes on their Mobile Phones in June 2011 – comScore, Inc.

Newspapers/Magazines and Product Packaging Most Likely Source of QR Code

QR Code Users Most Likely to Scan Code while at Home or Store

// RESTON, VA, August 12, 2011 – comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today released results of a study on mobile QR and bar code scanning based on data from its comScore MobiLens service. A QR (“Quick Response”) code is a specific matrix bar code (or two-dimensional code) that is readable by smartphones. The study found that in June 2011, 14 million mobile users in the U.S., representing 6.2 percent of the total mobile audience, scanned a QR or bar code on their mobile device. The study found that a mobile user that scanned a QR or bar code during the month was more likely to be male (60.5 percent of code scanning audience), skew toward ages 18-34 (53.4 percent) and have a household income of $100k or above (36.1 percent). The study also analyzed the source and location of QR or bar code scanning, finding that users are most likely to scan codes found in newspapers/magazines and on product packaging and do so while at home or in a store.

QR Code

“QR codes demonstrate just one of the ways in which mobile marketing can effectively be integrated into existing media and marketing campaigns to help reach desired consumer segments,” said Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president of mobile. “For marketers, understanding which consumer segments scan QR codes, the source and location of these scans, and the resulting information delivered, is crucial in developing and deploying campaigns that successfully utilize QR codes to further brand engagement.”

Read the rest here.

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Tonight I was asked “Why do I hate microsoft so much?”Well it isn’t that I hate microsoft per say, it wasn’t all that long ago I was a MS shareholder. And for a long time I was a frequent attendee at any and all MS events I could get into. For the longest time I would always be using (and pushing the) the latest and greatest for MS.

Then three things came together to change everything! First, even with the latest and greatest from MS, I was having increasing computer problems….crashes, viruses, malware, popups, etc… And more and more I was discovering features would not work. Sometimes they weren’t even features, just the claimed (by MS) benefits that I (as a user) would reap and make my computer usage new and exciting!

In the end it didn’t happen. I would discover that some additional (and expensive) piece of software was needed. Like Exchange to use the best features of Outlook. Or the feature sounded great but would have little use to an individual. Like Document Collaboration in Word, best used in a Fortune 500 environment.

The second thing was programming. I tried very much to program and web development using MS technology and tools. However I kept finding they had overly complicated everything. Look at embedding an ActiveX component in a web page vs embedding flash. Or connecting a database in ASP vs PHP.

PHP and javascript opened my eyes to the world of open source…

The third thing. Once I took a look at the open source world I realized there is a better way. Not only have I found the software to be better. The philosophy of open source makes way more sense then the MS way.

No one ever buys MS software. You effectively rent it. And under VERY restrict terms. The way MS uses EULAs, copyrights, and patents just isn’t right.

Just image what the world would be like if we used the same model for applying intellectual property rights that we use for software to everything else. Taking in to consideration the statutory life of a patent relative to the life cycle of a piece of software.

Ford Motor Co. wouldn’t bother building cars, they’d just be licensing the assembly line. Only GM cars would have seat-belts. All telephones would be made by Bell.

Libraries couldn’t exist. How dare someone think of buying just one copy of a piece of copyrighted work. And then sharing amongst a community! And what about schools and their textbooks? Oh well! Schools and libraries haven’t contributed much to society! Who needs them as long as Bill Gates gets his royalties.

Just look at how MS treats users

The philosophy of open source, may be great from an academic view point, but what about the reality? Well the software is just simply better.

In the twenty or so machines I either own or am the sole tech support for… When all was MS based I had to deal with an average of 1000 infections per week! Most didn’t cause any damage because I religiously ran virus/malware/spyware scanners. It was happening with multiple firewalls in place. Then I made one small simple change…. I locked down two programs from being used, Internet Explorer and MSN Messanger. Replaced them with alternatives, Opera and Gaim. From that point on I have NEVER had to deal with more the two infections in one single week!

Most tech-savy computer users I know have half their task bar filled with notification icons for different security/virus scanning/firewall software. I saw one once were with no open/running apps, just the desktop… 18 out of 40 processes were security related! That’s a HUGE allotment of system resources allocated just to security!

It’s late, and this post is long. Another day I will rant why Vista is the best marketing Linux could have ever asked for. Cheers cheers

  

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“Windows [n.]
A thirty-two bit extension and GUI shell to a sixteen bit patch to an eight bit operating system originally coded for a four bit microprocessor and sold by a two-bit company that can’t stand one bit of competition.”

  

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Are you practicing safe web surfing?  Probably not, most people don’t.  Many ‘think’ they are safe.  “I have virus filters and spam filters, and I don’t go to websites I don’t know.”, paraphrases the response I get from most people.  I hope you don’t consider a bug screen over an open window as contributing to your home security.  Bug screens keep bugs out of your house, not crooks!.  And a bug screen doesn’t stop the mosquitoes from bitting when you’re outside.  Viruses and spam can be used to steal your identity or personal information, but they are not the only threats to your cybersecurity.

The single largest cybersecurity threat is DOS.  Not the very old operating system that is still at the heart of Windows.  DOS, Deficit Operator Syndrome.  Computer users behaving badly.  Sorry, but I have never found any fix, patch, or work around for this issue.  Best just to keep your distance and hope it isn’t contagious.

The second largest, is Internet Explorer,  Microsoft’s web browser.  This you can’t fix, but you can replace.  And it’s not just Internet Explorer (IE), but any program that uses / accesses IE’s libraries for rendering web content.  This would included: Outlook, Outlook Express, and Windows Messenger (aka MSN Messenger, aka Windows Live Messenger).

First let me explain my reasoning.  Microsoft made two conscious choices that have opened and left open huge security holes in IE.  First, instead of having code to render web content included in every program that needs it, they have all the different programs simply start a background mini session of IE.  The idea being why have the essentially same code included into a whole lot of programs.  Two problems: One, any bugs or holes in IE are automatically in everything; Two IE is huge bulky inefficient code in the first place.  This is like saying “Let car pool! To be more efficient”, then doing so in a Freight-liner pulling a full trailer.  The second problem is ActiveX.  which are mini compiled programs that run inside web pages and IE.  Microsoft allows ActiveX code to have direct access to your computer.  This is unlike other similar technology (Java, Javascript, Flash, Shockwave, Quicktime plug-in) which are effectively restricted to the browser space.

The solution is to stop using IE and programs that utilize IE libraries.  There are numerous other web browsers: Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, SeaMonkey, etc….   Just don’t switch to one that uses IE as it’s core, like Avant, Bento, Enigma, Maxthon, Realplayer, MSN Explorer.  These are effectively re-skinned versions of IE.  I often use multiple browsers simultaneous (Don’t ask why, that’s a whole other post!), but Firefox tends to always be one that is open.

Switch to Firefox (any other browser, that doesn’t use IE to render web content).  Sometime in the near future I’ll write part 2.  Were I will explain how to make Firefox ALOT more secure then it comes standard.