Latest Technology News

Ireland in tax clampdown targeting Microsoft, Apple, Google, and more

Ireland in tax clampdown targeting Microsoft, Apple, Google, and more

The Irish government is phasing out the so-called 'Double Irish' finance scheme that currently enables companies such as Google and Apple to slash millions (or even billions) of dollars from their tax bills. The scheme works by companies, regardless of where they may be operating in the world, collecting their profits through an Irish office (where tax is already low), and then funneling the money through a subsidiary company located in another tax haven by means of royalty payments.

Companies, like individuals, are understandably keen to keep their tax bills down as much as possible, and will jump through lots of hoops to reduce the amount of tax they have to pay. Offshore bank accounts, subsidiary companies and the like might sound like the makings of something illegal -- which it can be -- but it's a legitimate way to reduce costs. But the fact that something is legitimate doesn't mean that it's popular. At least it's not something that is popular with governments.

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Thinking unconventionally is how you protect an entity the size of Google

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We are at the 27th annual Information Security Solutions Europe Conference (ISSE), one of Europe's largest gatherings of cyber security experts.

Stephen Somogyi of Google Safe Browsing gave an amazing keynote speech about how Google goes about protecting its billions of users around the world. Here are some of the highlights:

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Bitcoin will do nicely -- the state of Russian cyber crime

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Banking fraud is down, mobile threats are up and cryptocurrency is the preferred payment method in the world of Russian cyber criminals.

Fraud prevention and cyber crime investigation specialist Group-IB has released a report on the Russian high-tech crime market in 2014. The report provides detailed assessments of the who, what, where and how of high-tech crime, who is behind what crimes, where they originate and who they target.

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Samsung's 5G is now 25 times faster than 4G

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Samsung has made good progress on its 5G cellular technology, increasing transfer speeds to a whopping 7.5 Gbps from a tad over 1 Gbps in April 2013. To put things into perspective, the next-generation cellular networks are now more than 25 times faster than the fastest 4G (LTE Advanced) networks in use today.

The 7.5 Gbps transfer speed represents a new record for 5G cellular networks; it was achieved during the first successful outdoor test. Samsung says that stable transfer speeds of 1.2 Gbps were registered while traveling at 100 kph (62 mph), which is a more accurate representation of how fast the current 5G technology is in actual practice.

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How Apple's iPhone language has evolved over the years

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Over the years, Apple has become well known for its tight control of the message in new product launches. Increasingly, one word or concept has become a signature that is carefully woven throughout the keynote, press and marketing material.

Here is a look at some of the language used for each iPhone launch since 2007 and how we can learn from what Apple is really good at; controlling the message.

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Tracking and tackling Ebola using mobile phone surveillance

Tracking and tackling Ebola using mobile phone surveillance

Mention web or mobile surveillance, and you're sure to raise a few hackles. But the current Ebola outbreak is showing that the data collected from handsets can be extremely useful. The idea of tackling a disease with 'big data' gathered from mobile phones might seem a little odd, but it's actually an incredibly valuable source of information. Telecom firms such as Orange have been working with data scientists, using anonymized data gathered from phones to track population movement in regions affected by Ebola.

The BBC points out that even in relatively poor countries in Africa, mobile phone ownership is still high. Experts have been able to use this data to determine the best places to set up treatment centers, and it's an idea that has been pounced upon by the CDC.

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Why Google needs a bigger Nexus phone and phablet-optimized Android L

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The point of the Nexus line is ambiguous now. Is it a developer line? Does it showcase what Google wants in an Android phone? Does it showcase the cutting edge of Android? Maybe in the beginning the purpose was clear, but now I don’t think even Google knows. The one thing I am certain of is that the forthcoming Nexus phone will not be just another phone.

The Nexus line so far has helped to give developers a pure experience of Android to work on. One where the OS followed and fostered an environment that placed emphasis on the guidelines set forth by Google, such as on-screen buttons and leveraging full screen mode. A developer using a Nexus would get a very different impression of Android than one using Samsung's TouchWiz on a Galaxy phone -- which would reflect in the app produced.

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Mozilla will make Firefox 34 immune to POODLE, releases fix for older versions

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Google yesterday disclosed a major security vulnerability it has found in the SSL 3.0 encryption protocol, that is still employed by many sites across the web, despite long being superseded. Dubbed POODLE (Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption), it allows attackers to steal private data, like cookies, and, possibly, use it to access user accounts on vulnerable sites. The search giant says its Chrome browser should be safe, but warns that others may be vulnerable.

Firefox is one of the vulnerable ones. To address this issue, Mozilla reveals that the upcoming version -- Firefox 34, to be exact -- will feature code which makes it immune to the POODLE attack. For those who use lesser versions of the open-source browser -- most users, basically -- the organization provides an optional fix.

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Intronis ECHOshare brings simple, secure file sharing to SMBs

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Sharing files among employees can be difficult for any business, but particularly for smaller ones which often end up adopting solutions like emailing attachments or using public cloud services.

These approaches can put data at risk and also cause problems for support staff. Backup and disaster recovery specialist Intronis has a new solution to help businesses share files safely in the form of ECHOshare.

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WYSIWYG Web Builder 10 adds responsive web design, including mobile-specific design tools

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Pablo Software Solutions has released WYSIWYG Web Builder 10, a major new version of its DTP-style web building tool for Windows users.

Version 10 adds support for responsive web design, allowing users to create different variants of pages optimized for a wide number of devices. Part of this includes integrated support for designing mobile-friendly web pages.

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Don't overlook the most important cloud storage feature: Security

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The craze in the world of cloud storage today seems to be rolling out lists of additional features that match the features of every competitor out there, and presenting them as new and improved. Every company strives to be appear as the best possible cloud option on the market by continually adding "new" features right alongside competitors, and in all of the competition it can be a simple mistake to overlook what these features actually mean.

Before you let these lists of newly-added features dazzle you into choosing one specific cloud storage option over another, do a little research into what these features actually do. You might be surprised to find that many aren’t precisely new ideas, and they don’t increase the most important cloud storage aspect of all: secure file storage.

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Forgetting a password is more annoying than your phone dying or losing your keys

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A new survey has revealed that forgetting online passwords is one of the most annoying things imaginable -- as setting and remembering passwords becomes an increasing burden.

This is according to a survey of 1,000 UK consumers, commissioned by Centrify Corporation, which found that forgetting a password was more of an annoyance than having a mobile phone battery run out of juice, losing your keys, or getting a spam email.

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Popcorn Time fights back -- moves domain after takedown

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There's no accounting for what will happen if you run a website, especially a questionable one. We've all witnessed the trials and tribulations suffered by the folks behind the Pirate Bay. Others have been more fortunate, though the outcome for the site has been the same -- a takedown. Some give up, while others move on and fight to survive.

Popcorn Time falls into that latter category. The company has so far thwarted efforts to remove it from the internet, but recently faced yet another hurdle. The site's domain name was taken down -- a common problem to the folks at the Pirate Bay. No problem, just get a new one. Move along, nothing to see here.

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Security alert: Google drops SSL 3.0 after POODLE attack discovery

Security alert: Google drops SSL 3.0 after POODLE attack discovery

Google's security team has discovered a vulnerability in SSL 3.0 which can be exploited to steal secure cookies and other data. The 15 year old technology is still used as a fallback when connection problems occur as it helps maintain backward compatibility, but the security problems mean that Google will start to phase out support. Details of the exploit have been published and Chrome has today been tweaked to disable SSL 3.0 fallback.

Bodo Möller from Google's security team points out that this move will "break some sites" and that they will need to be updated. This does present some compatibility issues, and the advice is to support TLS_FALLBACK_SCSV instead, at least for the time being.

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YouTube creators hit by 'Microstopped' take down requests -- Microsoft already fixing it

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Creating content for YouTube is actually very hard and takes a long time to edit and upload. Even a simple-looking unboxing video can take hours from start to finish -- sometimes longer if you cut yourself opening the box and have to treat a wound. It is very disappointing to have your content removed for copyright issues, when you haven't actually violated anything. Even worse, it can be an impossibility to successfully dispute the bogus claim.

Today, many YouTube content creators were inconvenienced and upset by take down requests from an apparently overzealous company called "Marketly", acting on Microsoft's behalf. You see, all of the videos were Windows related, but not all of the removals were warranted. Of course, like all controversies, it has already been given a name and hashtag of #Microstopped.

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