Latest Technology News

Your PBX has been hacked!


This past week a very large corporation on the east coast was hacked in what seems to naive old me to be a new way -- through its corporate phone system. Then one night during the same week I got a call from my bank saying my account had been compromised and to press #4 to talk to its security department. My account was fine: it was a telephone-based phishing expedition. Our phone network has been compromised, folks, and nobody with a phone is safe.

Edward Snowden was right we’re not secure, though this time I don’t think the National Security Agency is involved.

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Companies team up to create powerful Internet of Things solution

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is set to change many aspects of the way we live, but for companies and developers it represents a whole range of challenges when it comes to integration with existing systems and analyzing the extra data it generates.

Now analytics specialist Glassbeam and development platform supplier ThingWorx have announced a collaboration to allow their solutions to work together.

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Watch Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's Ignite keynote here live


Build is over for another year, but that’s not the only Microsoft conference around. Ignite, the new enterprise focused tech event, starts today in Chicago.

Not familiar with Ignite? It’s essentially a number of Microsoft conferences rolled into one. As the tech giant describes it, Ignite is: "for big thinkers looking for an edge. It’s for anyone who attended the Microsoft Exchange, Lync, Project, SharePoint, MMS, or TechEd conferences -- and then some. It’s for senior decision makers seeking what’s next, and who want insights on key technology trends in the industry. It’s for IT professionals who need hands-on experience to enhance their tech skills. It’s for enterprise developers and architects looking for innovative ways to maximize application development. It’s for those who want to feel inspired and enlightened. It’s for you".

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Spanning launches automated protection for Office 365

Cloud backup documents

The rise of SaaS applications like Microsoft Office 365 has brought benefits in terms of collaboration and efficiency. However, switching to a cloud-based service doesn't remove the need for backups.

For example, Office 365 doesn't protect against accidental deletion of files and a deleted mailbox is only available for 30 days after which it's not recoverable. These problems are addressed by a new product from backup specialist Spanning Cloud Apps.

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Collect, organize and share your text notes with NoteCase Pro Lite


Notepad is a great tool for creating occasional ad-hoc text notes, but if your desktop is cluttered with TXT files, and you can’t remember what’s in any of them, it may be time to look for an alternative.

NoteCase Pro Lite is a free cross-platform (Win, OS X, Android, Linux) application which helps you get a little more organized. It allows you to enter text, apply simple formatting, insert images, and structure notes into lists or trees to build simple outlines.

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Facebook launches Platform and opens up to more developers

Facebook launches Platform and opens up to more developers

The aim behind Facebook's program is to bring internet access to the wider world. While an undeniably praise-worthy venture, it came in for criticism for going against the principles of net neutrality.

Today the company launches the Platform with a view to countering this criticism. The platform opens up to more developers, giving them the chance to bring "free basic services" to people around the world. There's also the promise of greater transparency.

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Thousands of top Android apps found engaging in suspicious activities


Google's Android operating system has matured over the past couple of years. Lollipop -- the latest update -- added fresh paint to give the mobile OS more elegance and provided sophisticated encryption options to make things more secure. But in all these years, Google Play Store -- the marquee Android app store -- has largely remained free from any substantial improvement. In the past, we’ve witnessed plenty of cases where prominently showcased apps in Play Store have been found malicious, riddled with adult content, and spying elements. So it didn't come as a big surprise when this past week a new study uncovered many more of such dubious activities. This time, however, we're looking at apps that many of you are likely using on your devices.

Security researchers from Eurecom tested the top apps from all 25 categories -- summing up to about 2,000 apps -- and found that many of these were connecting to tracking and advertisement websites. Furthermore, many of these apps were pinging even more dubious portals. What’s even more striking is that the owners of these devices have no idea about the activities happening behind the curtain.

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Windows 10: 'Free' can potentially cost a lot

Free lunch

It's been about a year since I’ve felt prompted to write anything; but the recent Microsoft announcements about Windows 10 has brought on the urge. I'm not really interested about the pricing or upgrade options for consumers as they have all been commented to distraction. My interest is the concept of the Operating System as a service.

Whenever anyone changes the goalposts on a supplier-customer relationship, it piques my business interest as there is no such thing as a free lunch -- particularly not from the likes of Microsoft or Apple.

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It really is game over for Windows 8.x

game over

Every month NetMarketShare releases usage share figures for all of the major operating systems. In the past these figures tended to paint an interesting picture of how well -- or rather how badly -- Microsoft’s newest operating system was doing. Occasionally the OS grew share, occasionally it lost share -- sometimes quite dramatically.

Now though, the only picture that’s being painted by these monthly figures is an operating system that has no future and will vanish quietly, and with zero fanfare, once Windows 10 arrives.

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ZTE Blade S6: An iPhone 6 copycat maybe, but a decent mid-range smartphone nonetheless [Review]


Until recently, Chinese Smartphone makers were disregarded as simple copycats. Now, alongside the revelation that Xiaomi has overtaken Samsung as China’s leading smartphone provider, Chinese firms finally seem to be realizing their potential. Good news all-round for the consumer.

Xiaomi aside, another representative of China’s emergence comes in the form of the ZTE Blade S6. The S6 is a phone that provides the perfect example as to why China’s is a blossoming but not yet fully-fledged smartphone superpower. Indeed, competitively priced, with a set of specs that defy its highly reasonable $250 price tag, the ZTE Blade S6 is well worth considering if you’re after a mid-range smartphone.

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At $149, Vensmile W10 mini PC is a handset-shaped Windows 8.1 device that ships in US

Windows 8.1 streamer (1)

Remember the Compute Stick? The $149 pen drive-shaped HDMI dongle from Intel running on Windows 8.1? Well, we’ve just found another similar device -- only a better. Called Vensmile W10 mini PC, the handset-shaped block offers twice as much storage, with more ports but the same processor as Intel’s Compute Stick.

As for the specifications, the miniature computer measures 5.9″ x 3.1″ x 0.39″. Underneath it sits an Intel Atom Z3735F Bay Trail processor coupled with 2GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. For connectivity options, the Vensmile W10 mini PC supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. Interestingly, it packs in a 3,000 mAh battery as well, which not only can keep the device running in case of a power outage, but also serve as a power backup device to charge your phone or tablet.

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Roku and Nielsen team to get ratings for streaming


Nielsen, the leader in TV ratings, has to move into the new era, which means TV streaming. Now the company is moving in that direction, partnering with Roku, the top set-top box maker on the market, in order to gather this data.

But how do you rate this new dimension in TV? Well Nielsen thinks it can and it's partnered with Roku to give it a try. The two are announcing a new deal beginning now and it aims to make the world of internet-based TV a ratable one.

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WikiLeaks unveils updated anonymous data submission system

WikiLeaks unveils updated anonymous data submission system

WikiLeaks prides itself on bringing information to public attention that might otherwise stay hidden. In order to get this information out in the open, the organization is reliant on a wide range of sources. The sort of stories which WikiLeaks deals with would often not come to light if those breaking the stories could not be guaranteed anonymity.

A few days ago the Sun newspaper revealed that it was using SecureDrop as a way for people to give anonymous tips about stories, and it was touted at the time as being a WikiLeaks-style tool. Now Julian Assange has announced that WikiLeaks has upgraded its own submission tool to offer even greater security.

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Resource Hacker 4.0 adds *.RES file creation


It's been more than three years since the last update, but Angus Johnson has just announced the latest release of his classic freeware tool Resource Hacker 4.0.

The program is designed to view, modify, or save resources from Windows executables (*.exe, *.dll, *.cpl, *.ocx etc) and Windows resource files (*.res).

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Microsoft needs to cut the mobile cancer from Windows 10

Microsoft needs to cut the mobile cancer from Windows 10

In the new world of Microsoft there has been a distinct shift in focus; Satya Nadella has said that the company's focus is a "mobile-first, cloud-first" strategy. This is all well and good -- and in many ways makes a great deal of sense -- but there is a very real danger that Microsoft is focusing too much on these new goals and to the detriment of other areas.

Windows 10 is an excellent case in point. This is an operating system that is destined for a wide range of devices, from phones and tablets to desktops, consoles and IoT devices yet to be devised. But in catering to the mobile side of its dream for the future, Microsoft has lost direction for desktop users and has made far too many compromises.

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