Friday, March 11, 2011

Pwn2Own









                      That is my topic today, Pwn2Own. Do you know what it is? I would say that most people don’t. Of course I will fill you in on the exact details. Pwn2Own is a computer hacking contest held at the annual CanSecWest  security conference, which began in 2007. Contestants are challenged to exploit specific software (especially web browsers and web related software).
Contestants receive the device or computer that was successfully exploited and a cash prize. For each successful exploit, the contest’s sponsor, TippingPoint provides a report to the applicable vendor, detailing the vulnerability and how it was exploited. The details are not released to the public until the vendor has corrected the vulnerability.


                     This contest is a three day event. This year the event takes place March 9th, 10th, and 11th . This year the first two browser’s to be exploited was Microsoft’s IE8 and Apple’s Safari browser. Even though Apple updated Safari to 5.0.4, plugging 62 security holes in the process, it only took French security firm Vupen just 5 second’s to exploit the browser and take home the $15,000 dollar bounty from TippingPoint for doing so. I do believe that Apple definitely needs to make some changes to Safari, it clear has a lot of vulnerabilities and not very safe, to say the least.

                    This was the first time in four years that Charlie Miller, an analyst with Security Evaluators, wasn’t the first to be able to hack the Safari web browser. Just what about Microsoft’s IE8 browser? Guess what? It didn’t fare much better. Microsoft chose not to update the IE8 before the contest, and they paid for it. The IE8 also fell at the hands of it’s first attacker as well, Stephen Fewer, founder of Harmony Security. He bypassed IE8’s Protected Mode, which is sort of a sandbox mode ( another topic, another time), intended to isolate the browser from the OS in case a website install’s malicious software. If there is one thing that I know, I’m sure glad that I don’t use either browser to surf the web. As for Mozilla Firefox and Google  Chrome, it’s their turn later today. Now I want you to get out there and enjoy your day!         
 





Thursday, March 10, 2011

Microsoft Kinect


                        

                      
I wanted today to talk a little about the amazing Microsoft Kinect. I’m really not a game buff, but the idea behind this product is truly amazing. I don’t have an Xbox or PlayStation don’t get me wrong, I enjoy games, I’m just not into it like some. I am although fascinated by the technology that we today compared to what I grew up with as a child. I won’t bore anyone, but we just had the old Atari console. With the advancement of technology, I just wonder where we will be in 10 years from now. First we had the release of the Wii and the ability to play games without the use of a controller. I do believe though that with the release of the Kinect, Microsoft has one upped them to say the least. Do you know anything about the Kinect? We will have a closer look.


                          The Kinect brings games and entertainment to life in extraordinary new ways without the use of a controller. You can control your games, music, and movies, with the wave of your hand or even by your voice. Kinect get’s the couch potatoes off of the couch. You can really work up a sweat using the Kinect. Controller free games, means full body play. If whenever you play your games, you have to kick, jump, or whatever, you can, just get off of the couch. With the Kinect, it works with every Xbox 360. Here are some of the features of the truly amazing device.

                         Motion Sensor: Kinect uses a motion sensor that tracks your entire body. Whenever you play, you’re able to use your whole body. It has skeletal tracking, which as you play, it creates a digital skeleton of you based on depth data. Facial recognition is another feature that remembers just who you are and creates a profile for you. It also features voice recognition as well. You are able to control your music and movies by voice command. Truly amazing. This device got into the Guinness Book of Records, for being the fastest selling consumer gadget of all time. As of this writing, there have been over 10 million of these little devices that have already been purchased at $150 a whack! Wow! Get out there and enjoy your day!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

ViewSonic ViewPad


                    There are an overwhelming amount of tablets on the market today. Once Apple released the iPad in April of 2010, and it's popularity took off, everyone wanted a slice of the pie. I know that I've expressed this before, I'm waiting the release of the HTC Flyer, I just may buy one of these though. Yes the ViewSonic ViewPad. It's a 10 inch tablet that is dual booted with the Windows 7 OS and the Android 1.6 OS. You get the best of both worlds. You don't have to take the extra time to make this tablet the way you want it, it's already done for you.


                     With Windows and Android you have the best that the mobile OS has to offer in both entertainment and productivity. It has a 1024 X 600 LCD screen. It has the Intel Pine Trail Processor N455 1.66 GHz CPU (this is one that I'm not famaliar with), intergrated DDR 3 1 GB of memory and a 16 GB SSD card for storage, that is expandable to the capacity of a 32 GB SSD card.  It is wifi and bluetooth ready, it also features a 1.3 megapixel camera, 2 USB ports, a port for a microphone, headphones, and a slot for a mini SD card. It's really compact and lightweight.  Just check out this video below and see for yourself. I would enjoy any feedback or comments that you may have. As always, get out there and enjoy your day!
video


Monday, March 7, 2011

Too Much Eye Candy

               There is a new report that indicates the reason why some of us can’t sleep at night. We have too much eye candy. In other word’s we have too many technology toys that keep us going to bed of a night time. I know that I suffer from this. I’m always on my desktop, laptop, or iPod before it’s time to go to bed. Then I lay there in bed playing games on my cell phone. I don’t know if you are like me, but I really love all of my tech toys. So, before you head to bed of a night time, put away the ipad, turn off the smart phone, don’t go near the play station or Xbox. This of course is what researcher’s have found, which concludes that the use of  technology in the hour before bedtime is pervasive and even perhaps unhealthy.



             Of those who were surveyed in the poll, 95 % indicate that they use some sort of or type of electronic device the hour before bedtime, like a T.V., computer, video game, or even cell phone. It used to be that only the T.V., occupied our time before bed. With the advancement of technology, that’s just not the case anymore. All of our new toys are trying to catch up with the T.V., according to the finding that indicates it still occupies the majority of time spent before bedtime. The second thing on the list is the computer or laptop. Six out of  ten people indicate using it before bedtime. The study finds that exposure to artificial light between dusk and the time that we go to bed of a night suppresses the release of the sleep- promoting hormone melatonin, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Most people the ages of 13-64 indicate they have trouble sleeping of a night time, especially on weekends.


            The use of the cell phone being a disturbance has risen as well. Most indicate they either have been woken by a call, text message, or email. The higher use of these sleep disruptive gadget’s have a more serious and alarming danger on our youth, causing health problems to some. If you are having trouble sleeping, avoid all technology an hour before bedtime. I don’t know about the rest of you, but like I mentioned I think that this is the reason why it takes me awhile to get to sleep at times. Please feel free to drop a comment or suggestion. I would be glad to hear from you. As always, enjoy your day!        

Are You Up To Date?


         How many people out there are running their PC’s without any antivirus software? You need to have it for your PC, it’s very essential.  I’m often asked by friends, “ Can my computer get a virus? I have antivirus software installed”. The answer to this question is yes. Even though you have antivirus software installed on your PC, it can become infected. Do you keep your antivirus and spyware software up to date? If not, you should. You need to update it daily and run a scan at least once a week.  New software is the best software. By making sure that your PC is running the latest software versions, you get enhanced features and critical security patches.



          What is the best antivirus software out there? Some would differ or even argue on this question. I know that any is better than none. Whenever you buy that new PC, don’t let that pesky salesperson talk you into buying any. There is no need to, since most security companies offer some of the best free antivirus. Some would say AVG, Avira AntiVir, Avast, Comodo, Panda, MacAfee, the list is almost endless. There is also Microsoft Security Essential. I highly recommend this, as well as Avira. In my estimation, two of the best products on the market. I wish we didn’t have to have antivirus software, but we do. It used to be that viruses and spyware was exclusively on Windows OS’s, but not so anymore. In recent years we have seen and heard of viruses on the Mac and Linux as well.


           There are a lot of really great free antivirus software out there, what you use is really a matter of choice or preference. I myself have both Avira Antivir free and Microsoft Security Essentials. Both are free, lightweight, and they don’t cost any money, the best part. Now for spyware software, my choice is still Spybot Search & Destroy. I think by far, the very best anti spyware software, and it’s free as well. You can find these program’s or applications at the following links:
                Avira: http://www.free-av.com/
                Microsoft Security Essentials:    http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/
                Spybot Search & Destroy:    http://www.safer-networking.org/index2.html
            Whatever your choice of preference, just make sure that you keep your PC protected and that you keep it updated on a daily basis. Like I mentioned, it’s very essential. If you would like, drop a few lines of comments, I would like to know what’s on the minds of people. As always, get out there and enjoy your day! 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Just A Little Tech News


              There are a few announcements to make in the world of technology today. As promised this Friday March the 11th, Apple will release to the general public  the updated version of iOS to 4.3. This is the version that was released or shipped with the newest iPad 21. If you are an Apple developer you have had access to this update for a few days as well now. Those who have been fortunate to preview this newest release have noticed and found some hidden features.  Of course there is faster browser support for JavaScript performance and better support between a Mac and an iOS device, you will also have the ability to turn your iPhone 4 into a “personal hotspot” sharing your 3G connection with other devices. Now those of you who don’t have an iPhone 4, don’t run out and buy one, as the iPhone 5 will be here by summer. Like I had mentioned there are some hidden features to the new update, they are as follows:


               The App Store will finally recognize apps you’ve previously purchased, even if they’re not          installed on your device at the moment.
Personal Hotspot will only let you share your connection with up to 3 devices over WiFi, the other   two will have to use Bluetooth or USB tethering.
iTunes Home Sharing is a bit of a pain to set up.

             Hopefully Apple will work out the kinks in the Home Sharing feature, and yes it’s finally good to have the ability of WiFi tethering. Any improvements to the App store is a much wanted and needed welcome. Maybe now would be a good time to give one of our iOS devices a jailbreak? Just thinking!



             In other news, we have the following vauluble information, it seems as though that Google has finally pulled the plug on the malicious apps. They have found and removed all 21 rogue infected apps. This malware like all malware was siphoning identity information from Android handsets and installing security holes to get all of your personal information. There are about 50,000 infected handsets out there. Google not only pulled the apps, but called the authorities as well. They are going to be removing all offending apps and beefy up the code. They will release what's called " The Android Market Security Tool March 2011". I know know why Apple monitors their apps the way that they do. Let's just hope that Google has learned from this experience and start's monitoring it's apps as well. Let's rid the tech community of these people who exploit other's to their own advantage.




          Some other item of intrest, It seems as though with the release of the iPad 2, Apple held the top spot for tablet's. Over 90% of the market share that is. One thing that I was glad to hear was that Motorola says that the Xoom, is inferior to the iPad 2. They are going to be doing some analyzing of the situation at hand. Word has it that they will be reducing the price of the Xoom. I myself though that the price tag was entirely too steep. My money is still awaiting the release of the HTC Flyer. I don't know about anyone else, but I am anticipating the release of this. That's all I have for now, so get out there and enjoy your day!

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