Mark Wilson

Malicious computers are spying on Dark Web users on Tor

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For people concerned with their privacy the Dark Web and Tor seem like natural bedfellows. Not for the first time, concerns are currently raised that Tor may not be anywhere near as anonymous as users might like to think, with researchers saying they have discovered dozens of computers engaged in surveillance of the Dark Web.

Computer scientists from Northeastern University used honeypot addresses to identify over 110 malicious machines storing identifying information about users accessing .onion addresses via Tor. At the moment it is not clear whether data gathered by the computers has been used to identify individuals, but the possibility exists.

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Windows 10 telemetry will be used to drive enterprise upgrades with Upgrade Analytics

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Rightly or wrongly, telemetry in Windows 10 has been roundly and soundly criticized. But while the feature may be a privacy concern for some, Microsoft says that it is using the data gathered to provide advice to would-be Windows 10 user about driver and application readiness.

This is something that is aimed at enterprise users for whom Microsoft recognizes that certain apps are mission-critical for businesses. This is why the company has launched Upgrade Analytics to "provide customers with insights which allow them to [...] mitigate potential problems".

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Judge wants Yahoo to reveal how it recovered deleted emails

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Helping out with a drug trafficking case, Yahoo was able to recover emails that had previously been deleted. Now a judge wants to know how this was possible.

Yahoo's only policies state that email cannot be recovered once they have been deleted, and defense lawyers for Russell Knaggs -- who planned to move cocaine from South America -- want to know how the company was able to produce deleted email in this case.

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Cyanogen ditches a fifth of its staff and switches focus from OS to apps

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Cyanogen Inc -- the cheeky little upstart behind Android-based CyanogenMod -- is reportedly laying off 20 percent of its workforce. The company is a fairly small operation with just 136 employees, but the lay-offs are significant as they are mostly from the OS side of things.

It seems that the open source Android-inspired operating system has failed to generate quite as much interest as hoped, although it does have a very dedicated cult following. It is not clear quite what the future holds for CyanogenMod, but things are not looking good at the moment.

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Google wants devs to reduce the size of app updates

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For many mobile users, it's important to keep an eye on data usage to ensure tariff limits are not exceeded. A major contributor to gobbling up monthly bandwidth allowances is the updating of apps, and Google is taking steps to reduce the size of APK updates.

In a post on the Android Developers Blog, Google speaks directly to developers, pointing out the various steps they can take to optimize the size of updates. The company also calls for greater transparency so users know the size of updates before committing to a download.

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Niantic Labs faces lawsuit in Germany over Pokémon Go privacy concerns

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Pokémon Go has proved almost unbelievably popular, and like any app that gains a huge following, malicious versions of the app soon appeared. The game has been in the headlines after hackers knocked gaming servers offline, but there have also been major privacy concerns.

Now there could be a nightmare brewing for developer Niantic Labs in Germany, where consumer advocates say the game violates the country's consumer and privacy laws. Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV) says the company needs to make sweeping changes to a raft of clauses in the app's terms of use in order to avoid further action.

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Spotify sells your personal and playlist data to advertisers making you the product

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Much like Google, streaming music service Spotify is increasingly turning its attention to advertising. Announcing what it refers to as "programmatic buying", the company reveals that it is launching a targeted advertising program.

Advertisers -- or "buyers" in Spotify's nomenclature -- will be granted access to not only demographic data about users, but also access to information about playlists.

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KAPOW! Bubble Zoom in Google Play Books means better support for comics

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If you use your Android smartphone or tablet to read comics, your reading experience is about to get a whole lot more enjoyable. An update to Google Play Books sees the introduction of Bubble Zoom, a feature announced at San Diego Comic-Con 2016.

It uses image recognition technology to identify speech bubbles and automatically enlarge the text of each, one at time as you tap. To celebrate, Google is offering 50 percent off certain DC Comics and Marvel comics.

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BBC iPlayer Radio app launches in the US for iOS and Android

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The BBC pumps out a great deal of fabulous content, but there's one problem -- an awful lot of it can only be accessed in the UK. With the launch of the iPlayer Radio app for iOS and Android, this changes.

As well as giving listeners the chance to tune in to live radio broadcasts, the app also provides access to podcasts, and boasts a catch-up feature for shows you may have missed. The iPlayer Radio app is available free of charge, and has already received rave reviews in the Google and Apple stores.

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Mozilla will block non-essential Flash in Firefox from next month

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Flash is seen, quite rightly, as the scourge of the internet, and for some time there has been a vocal movement to eradicate all traces of it. Following the lead of Google Chrome and upcoming versions of Safari, Mozilla is taking the step of blocking Flash content from Firefox that is "not essential to the user experience".

It's part of the company's drive to reduce reliance on Flash, whilst recognizing that there is still a need to provide a degree of support for "legacy Flash content". Mozilla has taken the decision to ditch Flash in a bid to improve browser performance, boost security and improve battery life on mobile devices.

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Now it's easier than ever to submit changes and additions to Google Maps

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Google has done a great job of mapping the globe down to street level, but it's not perfect. You've almost certainly encountered errors and omissions on Google Maps, and starting today the company is making it easy to point out missing and incorrect data from the comfort of your mobile.

Crowdsourcing the collecting of map data is a great way to ensure that Google Maps is kept constantly up to date. It means that as businesses close down, change names, or open up, users can submit feedback to Google straight away so the information is available to everyone as quickly as possible.

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UK crime rate doubles once all online crimes are taken into account

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The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed the true scale of online crime in England and Wales, and it is high enough to effectively double the overall crime rate. The previous estimate about the number of online crimes was 3.8 million, but the latest figures show that it is in fact over 5.8 million.

The ONS says that a tenth of adults have fallen victim to online crime, and incidents are not specific to particular areas or social classes. The statistics take into account virus attacks, online fraud, phishing attacks and the like, with 3.8 million of the overall 5.8 million incidents accounted for by various sorts of fraud.

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Microsoft responds to allegations that Windows 10 collects 'excessive personal data'

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Yesterday France's National Data Protection Commission (CNIL) slapped a formal order on Microsoft to comply with data protection laws after it found Windows 10 was collecting "excessive data" about users. The company has been given three months to meet the demands or it will face fines.

Microsoft has now responded, saying it is happy to work with the CNIL to work towards an acceptable solution. Interestingly, while not denying the allegations set against it, the company does nothing to defend the amount of data collected by Windows 10, and also fails to address the privacy concerns it raises.

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Google A4A will speed up the web by making ads far more efficient

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These days, the web is all about advertising. Whatever type of site you visit -- news, entertainment, music, or whatever -- you are almost certain to encounter ads. Many people turn to ad blockers not just because ads can be irritating (and something of a privacy concern), but also because they can dramatically slow down browsing.

We've already heard about Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages project which looks to speed up the web for mobile users. But AMP is about more than just pushing page content to handsets quicker. Google has also developed a way to dramatically speed up the appearance of ads: AMP for ads, or A4A.

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KickassTorrents seized and taken offline as owner is arrested

downloading-torrent

The Ukrainian owner of KickassTorrents (KAT) has been arrested in Poland and his torrent-touting website seized by authorities. Artem Vaulin -- who also goes by the name 'tirm' -- stands accused of criminal copyright infringement, as well as conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and money laundering.

The Department of Justice says that the site owned by 30-year-old Vaulin "has enabled users to illegally reproduce and distribute hundreds of millions of copies of copyrighted motion pictures, video games, television programs, musical recordings and other electronic media, collectively valued at more than $1 billion". Authorities now want to extradite him to the US to face prosecution.

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