Mark Wycislik-Wilson

Your HP laptop may be harboring a secret keylogger in Synaptics touchpad drivers

HP laptop

If you have an HP laptop, there's a reasonable chance that you have an keylogger installed. The tool is embedded in Synaptics touchpad drivers.

Before you start panicking too much, it's worth noting that the keylogging capabilities of the tool are disabled by default, but that's not to say there's no cause for alarm. This may all sound slightly familiar; back in May, HP hit the headlines for a keylogger that was buried in an audio driver. If you want to check if you are affected by the latest privacy violation -- and what you can do about it -- read on...

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Trump signs bill banning Kaspersky software

Kaspersky Labs logo

The distrust -- at least publicly -- that the US shows for Russia is well-known. Following concerns about potential espionage from the Kremlin, the government has banned the use of Kaspersky software on its systems.

This ban has now been cemented into law as President Trump signed a bill forbidding the use of Kaspersky Lab software on government computers.

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Warning: if you remove the Apple Pay Cash app, it's not obvious how to get it back

The Apple Pay Cash 'app' is built in to iOS, so you might well expect that it would be locked in place, completely un-uninstallable. But that's not the case. In fact, you can remove -- or at least hide -- the app, but you will run into problems if you ever change your mind and decide you want it back.

If you are running iOS 11.2 -- which introduced Apple Pay Cash -- you can easily uninstall the app if you feel you don't want it. But there is no obvious way to get it back, meaning that while you can still use Siri to make payments, you won't be able to do so in iMessage. This is something that may well be fixed in iOS 11.3, but in the meantime there are a couple of work arounds.

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Twitter introduces new 'threads' feature for easier tweetstorms

It's just over a month since Twitter doubled the maximum possible length of tweets to 280 characters -- but this was not enough for many people. However, rather than further increasing the length of tweets, the site has instead introduced another feature users have been begging for -- threading.

The threading of tweets -- linking together multiple related tweets so people can follow a longer piece of writing -- has been tried by users in a couple of ways (numbering tweets or self-replying, for example) for some time now. But the new feature is the first time there has been official support, and the implementation should go down well with users.

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Chrome 63 is more secure than ever -- and uses even more memory

Google Chrome logo

Google's Chrome browser has something of a reputation for being memory-hungry. With the release of Chrome 63 this image is not going to be shed -- a new security feature increases memory usage even further.

The latest desktop version of the browser includes a new Site Isolation feature which launches individual sites -- all sites, or a specific list -- in sperate processes. While this is something that will be of particular interest to enterprise users because of the added security it brings, it's something that will appeal to any security-minded user who is willing to shoulder a 10-20 percent increase in Chrome's memory usage.

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Huge Janus bug leaves Android apps open to unauthorized code modification

Android phone with apps

Researchers from security firm GuardSquare have discovered an Android vulnerability that allows for app code to be edited without affecting the apps' signature. Dubbed Janus, the vulnerability has massive potential for malicious use, and affects Android 5.0 onwards.

The security hole would allow an attacker to tweak an entirely legitimate app to behave maliciously without triggering any security alerts. Although vulnerability CVE-2017-13156 has been patched in December's Android update, very few people will have access to this security fix.

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Kodi addon site TVAddons to stop proactively checking for piracy

Kodi and TVAddons logos

Justified or not, Kodi has been somewhat synonymous with pirated content. At the heart of Kodi-related controversy are the addons that provide access to such material, and addon site TVAddons constantly finds itself embroiled in things.

Having recently announced that it managed to build up 12 million monthly users despite being closed down, TVAddons has now announced a change to the way it operates. While still perfectly happy to comply with the law when it comes to pirated content, the site will now rely on DMCA takedown notices rather than proactively checking for infringments.

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Amazon Prime Video comes to Apple TV, and the US gains live sports

Apple TV users in more than 100 countries now have access to Amazon Prime Video. The arrival of the streaming service means that anyone with an Apple TV 4K or an older model can enjoy a plethora of movies and Prime Original series.

On top of this, in the US, the Apple TV app brings live sports to iPhone, iPad and Apple TV users. There are already a number of supported sports apps within the Apple TV app, including those from ESPN and the NBA, and more will be added.

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Disqus has been acquired by marketing firm Zeta Global

Interacting with BetaNews -- and countless other websites -- means making use of the Disqus commenting system. Today the firm has been acquired by "marketing technology company" Zeta Global.

Disqus says that "we still are and will remain the same Disqus that you know and use," but there will be concerns from users that the company is being taken over by one with a vested interested in marketing and, therefore, user data.

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Privacy: Popular ai.type keyboard leaks personal details of 31 million users

Third-party Android and iOS keyboard ai-type is at the center of something of a privacy nightmare after a misconfigured database leaked the personal details of more than 31 million of its users.

Researchers at Kromtech Security Center discovered an unprotected database had been exposed by developers, revealing incredibly detailed information about its users. The database was found to be freely available for anyone to download, with no password required to access a treasure trove of information.

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Google yanks YouTube from Echo Show and Fire TV in Amazon spat

Google has announced plans to block its YouTube apps from Amazon's Echo Show and Fire TV as the situation between the two companies stepped up a notch. This is, of course, not the first time this has happened.

The bad feeling stems from Amazon's unwillingness to stock Google products such as Chromecast, Nest and Google Home, and refusing to make its Prime Video service available to uses of Google Cast. Amazon's use of a "hacked" version of the YouTube app on its hardware has also been a bone of contention.

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Yahoo sues Mozilla for breach of contract -- so Mozilla countersues Yahoo

Mozilla and Yahoo have started a legal spat about the deal that existed between the two companies regarding the use of the Yahoo search engine in the Firefox browser.

On December 1, Yahoo fired the first shot filing a complaint that alleges Mozilla breached a contract that existed between the two companies by terminating the arrangement early. In a counter complaint, Mozilla says that it was not only justified in terminating the contract early, but that Yahoo Holdings and Oath still have a bill that needs to be settled.

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Apple wins iPad trademark case against Xiaomi Mi Pad

A court has ruled that Chinese phone maker Xiaomi may not trademark the name Mi Pad in Europe. The name was thought to be too similar to Apple's iPad, despite there being a difference in pronunciation.

The General Court -- the second highest court in the European Union -- said that consumers were likely to be confused by the similarity of the two names.

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After a year of silence, VLC for Android is updated with much-needed new features

When an app goes silent for more than a year, it's reasonable to assume that it has been killed off -- but that's not the case with VLC. The Android version of the popular media player has been updated to version 2.5 after getting stuck at 2.0 for 13 months.

Work has been going on for VLC 3.0, but you would have been forgiven for thinking that the app had just been forgotten about. With the launch of VLC 2.5 there are a number of new features to enjoy including a new dynamic UI, a night mode, and picture-in-picture support for Oreo users.

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Apple agrees to cough up for $15 billion Irish tax bill

Apple is just one of many technology companies whose tax arrangements in Europe have been criticized. Like other firms, Apple made use of Ireland to help reduce its tax bills, and this is something that the European Commission took exception to.

Last year the EC said that tax benefits received by the company in Ireland were in fact illegal under EU law, and ordered that an outstanding €13bn ($15.3bn) tax bill be settled. Despite Apple not wanting to pay the bill -- and the Irish Government not wanting to receive it -- the two sides have now come to an agreement that means the money owed will now be collected.

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