Latest Technology News

Facebook suspends Trump campaign's data analytics team, Cambridge Analytica, for harvesting private information of 50 million users

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica

Facebook has suffered what has been described as the social networks "biggest ever data breach" after Cambridge Analytica and its parent group Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) harvested data from more than 50 million users.

Cambridge Analytica is best known for its work with the Trump campaign for the 2016 election, and Facebook found that the company had violated it data privacy policies. The data was used as part of a "microtargeting" campaign to try to predict and influence voters' choices in the election.

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Don't want Microsoft forcing Edge on you? Switch from Windows 10 to Linux with Zorin OS 12.3!

I am sick and tired of technology companies like Microsoft thinking they can impose their will on consumers. Just today, the company made a startling announcement -- it will now force links from the Windows Mail app to open in its own Edge web browser. In other words, whether you like it or not, even if Edge isn't your default browser, it will still be used for opening links from emails. This is unacceptable, and when combined with all of the other Windows 10 calamities, users should consider switching operating systems immediately.

Since macOS requires you to buy an entirely new computer from Apple, a Linux-based operating system is probably your best bet. By using Linux, you can finally reclaim your computer as your own -- not Microsoft's. Today, version 12.3 of Zorin OS is released, and it is the perfect OS to replace Windows 10. Hell, it can even run Windows programs (including Microsoft Office) with the help of the pre-installed and pre-configured Wine 3.

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Microsoft quickly rolls out Windows 10 Spring Creators Update Build 17120 to the Slow ring

The next big feature update of Windows 10 -- widely expected to be called the Spring Creators Update -- is due out next month. Microsoft is hard at work putting the finishing touches to it -- another new build arrives today -- but still has time to introduce some new additions.

Microsoft Build 17120 arrived on the Fast ring three days ago, and Microsoft has already deemed it ready for the Slow ring too. This build adds some improvements to the Windows Defender Application Guard (WDAG), its virtualization-based security technology which helps to protect enterprises from advanced attacks that can infiltrate networks and devices via the Internet.

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Microsoft releases Windows 10 Spring Creators Update Build 17123 to the Fast ring

In addition to releasing a new Windows 10 Redstone 5 build to the Insiders on Skip Ahead, Microsoft today also rolls out a new Spring Creators Update build for Insiders on the Fast ring.

Build 17123 comes just three days after Build 17120, and fixes a number of issues. It also introduces High Efficiency Image File Format (HEIF) for Windows 10 and the Photos app.

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Windows 10 Redstone 5 Build 17623 for Skip Ahead has a nasty surprise

Microsoft is still putting the finishing touches to its next big Windows 10 feature update -- Redstone 4, aka the Spring Creators Update -- due out next month, but in the meantime, work is already well underway on the update to follow that, Redstone 5.

We've already seen the introduction of one big new feature -- Sets in Build 17618 -- and today’s new release, Build 17623, also adds some new features and improvements, as well as one particularly nasty addition.

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Apple announces education-themed spring event -- what new products will we see?

Apple Store in New York, USA

It's been a while since Apple introduced a new product and it looks like the wait will soon be over, as today it announced its first major event of the year. It'll take place later this month and it focuses on education, one of the company's core markets.

The location for the spring event is a bit unusual, given that Apple has a perfectly good venue in its spaceship campus in Cupertino. It'll be held in Chicago, at the Chicago High School, Lane Tech, on March 27. Given the theme, we're likely to see new hardware aimed at educators and students.

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Force Windows 7 security updates even if you don't have antivirus software installed

Windows 7 sticker

Compatibility issues with patches for the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities saw Microsoft blocking the rollout of security updates to Windows users. The company has just changed its policy for Windows 10 users, but this does not help anyone running Windows 7 or 8.x.

The problem is that updates are blocked for people who have not installed antivirus software known to be fully compatible. When such software is installed, a registry entry is created, and this allows updates to be installed. If you've decided to run the risk of operating without antivirus software installed, this registry won't be created and you won't receive security updates. Unless you hack it, that is.

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Data-saving Facebook Lite is now available in the US

Facebook Lite

Originally designed for countries with slower mobile internet connections, Facebook's cut-down and data-light Facebook Lite app is making its way to the US.

The app has been around since 2015, but it was only available in a limited number of countries, with the focus being primarily on developing nations where connectivity was an issue. But now Facebook is spreading the love to the United States, the United Kingdom and other parts of the world.

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Facebook algorithms went mad and threw up some weird -- and sexual -- search suggestions

Facebook icon on iPhone 8

Facebook has issued an apology after its search algorithms apparently went haywire and started to suggest a range of strange, and often NSFW, videos to users.

Throughout Thursday night into Friday morning, a range of bizarre search suggestions were displayed to anyone who started typing "video of". Some of the suggestions were offensive, and it didn't take long for screenshots to be shared on Twitter.

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Best Windows 10 apps this week

Two-hundred-and-seventy-four in a series. Welcome to this week's overview of the best apps, games and extensions released for Windows 10 on the Windows Store in the past seven days.

Microsoft wants to release the Spring Creators Update for Windows 10 in April. Whether that is going to happen on April's Patch Tuesday or another day is not clear yet.

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How cyber criminals launder their gains

bag of money

The proceeds of cyber crime make up an estimated eight to 10 percent of total illegal profits laundered globally each year, amounting to an estimated $80-$200 billion.

This is among the findings of a new report, commissioned by virtualization-based security company Bromium, into the economics of cyber crime and how criminals launder and 'cash out' the profits of their endeavors.

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Google tries to polish a turd by renaming Android Wear to Wear OS

Smartwatches are largely garbage. Whether Apple Watch or Android Wear, these wrist-worn nuisances don't do much beyond inducing anxiety by bombarding the wearer with notifications. If you are big into fitness, you might find some value, but for the most part, these devices are nothing more than a way for companies to grab cash from consumers as the smartphone market slows.

Apple Watch has seen significant success, although I suspect many buyers are simply getting them as status symbols -- not for an actual need. Android Wear, however, is a major disappointment -- both from a sales and satisfaction perspective. Just like Android smartphones, these watches face fragmentation and a lack of updates. Today, Google announces that it will try to polish the turd that is Android Wear by giving it a new name -- Wear OS.

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Blockchain isn't just a ledger, it will help businesses boost revenue

Blockchain is a revolutionary technology, and it has the world’s business leaders talking. The distributed ledger system will change the way companies handle online payments, contracts and logistics.

But so far, there has been little conversation about how blockchain will help businesses increase their revenue. This is another benefit the technology will bring, as soon as businesses realize they can use it to buy and sell enterprise data without an intermediary like Amazon or Facebook.

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The shady world of mobile app tracking

Mobile tracking

Most of us click on the Agree button when we install apps without actually reading the privacy agreement.

But some new research from Princeton University and other bodies reveals that many apps use a network of third-party services  --  often invisible to the user -- that provide analytics, social network integration, and monetization.

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US says Russia launched a cyberattack on its energy grid

Russian and US flags

The US has introduced new sanctions against Russia after accusing the country not only of interfering in the 2016 election, but also launching a cyberattack on its energy grid.

Officials say that malware traced back to Moscow had been found to have infected operating systems on computers belonging to companies in the energy sector. The Department of Homeland Security is in no doubt that the Russian government is responsible.

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