tlhIngan writes: When moving from an iPhone to something else, if you were an avid user of iMessage, you may find your messages missing, especially from iOS-using firends. Indeed, it has been such a problem that there are even lawsuits about the problem. While Apple has maintained that users can always switch off iMessage, that only works if you still have your iOS device. Unless one also has other iOS devices or a Mac, they may not even realize their friends have been sending messages that are queued up on Apple's services via iMessage. Well, that problem has been resolved with Apple creating a deregistration utility to remove your phone number from the iMessage servers so friends will no longer send you texts via iMessage that you can no longer receive. It's a two-step process involving proof of number ownership (via regular SMS) before deregistration takes place.
tlhIngan writes: You, a security minded consumer, enable two-factor authentication on your important accounts (e.g., Google) to ensure that only you can log into it. Many two-factor systems rely on sending you a text when you log in to confirm your identity or to perform and confirm transactions. However, you may have overlooked security of your cellphone carrier — and Grant Blakeman found out the hard way when his Google account was hacked in order to steal his Instagram handle. Turns out hackers enabled call-forwarding on his cellphone (which redirects texts to that new number as well), enabling them to obtain the necessary passcode to log in. Hacker News has a bit more commentary.
tlhIngan writes: FinFisher, the German spyware installed by the government onto PCs for spying purposes has been leaked to Wikileaks which hosts copies of the server side packages (that collect data from targets) as well as copies of the malware that gets installed on target PCs.
tlhIngan writes: Katy Kasmai loves her Google Glass. So she took great offense while dining at Feast (a restaurant in NYC) when staff members asked her to remove it citing patron privacy concerns. Her reaction? A call to arms to downvote the restaurant by leaving it nevative one-star reviews. Most were fake, few having actually visited Feast (or even living in NYC), all taking offense over other's concerns about surveillance. Of course, more violent methods of Glass removal have occurred in the past. Do over-entitled Glassholes potentially doom the future of the technology?
tlhIngan writes: Everyone knows about GMail — Google's web-based email service. And there are a few people who refuse to use it, citing privacy amongst other reasons. However, it turns out Google may have more of your email than you think. Benjamin Mako Hill was curious and analyzed his personal email. He found out that Google handled approximately half of his personal email, despite not having a GMail account. This includes email sent to him, as well as email he sends out. While it shows how popular Google's service is, it also shows how much potential information there is for Google and others (like the NSA) could sift through.
tlhIngan writes: With big game releases come the usual trail of nickle and diming — from day one DLC, microtransactions, and season passes to get future maps. However, Respawn Entertainment, developers of Titanfall and Microsoft's heavily promoted next-gen Xbox One title (although also available two weeks later on Xbox360), has firmly stated there will be NO day one DLC, no microtransactions and no season passes. No paying a dollar for a pistol — you'll just have to fight your way through and earn it. What you get on the disc is everything — no paying for maps already included. Of course, this doesn't rule out future DLC, like additional maps, but it appears that everyone gets the same content on release day next week and no spending money to get upgrades without earning them.
tlhIngan writes: In an admission not unexpected, Google admits to using Google+ as a means to gather more user information. Linking together various Google services to help keep track of your activities across the Internet, it's seen as Google knowing more about you than Facebook (and presumably to use the majority marketshare of advertising to sell you product). Google does not fear a mass exodus, believing that the more people want to use your products, the more you can get away with.
tlhIngan writes: Today marks the first day that Valve has removed a game completely off its service. Order of War: Challenge has been not only removed from the service, but it is the first to be removed completely from a user's library as well. Previously, when a game was removed from Steam, it was just removed — as long as a local copy exists in your library, you could always play it, back it up, reactivate it, etc, (similar to Apple's iTunes and App Store — it may be gone, but as long as a copy exists, it'll work). Now it appears that Valve has actually gone the next step alongside Amazon and Google and removed games from a library.
tlhIngan writes: App developers have long struggled with ways to make money from their apps — from selling them outright in the app stores to liberal use of in-app purchases and in-app advertising. The problem with in-app ads is obvious — for those on Android, it's the ridiculous amount of permissions required to support it. For those apps that use the Unity framework, Icoplay introduces a new way to make money — Bitcoins. Their Icominer plugin for Unity turns spare CPU cycles of a user's device into mining Bitcoins. It transparently works in the background and promises to not interfere with general gameplay. Unmentioned though is the impact to user's battery life and drain on system resources, especially given how iOS7 now (and Android always) supports full multitasking with background support. The plugin is still in development, and is supposed to cost around $80.
tlhIngan writes: One aspect about the new OS X Mavericks release was that all Apple produced software was to be downloadable and updatable through the Mac App Store. However, this has the obvious implication of what happens to users who bought the software before Mac App Store? Initialreports showed that the Mac App Store scanned your hard drive for the apps and offered to associate it with your Apple ID, and that the scanning even found trial and pirated versions and upgraded those to fully licensed versions. Even more interestingly, this is not a bug, and it appears Apple is turning a blind eye to the practice and giving away copies of iLife, iWork and Aperture to users who own trial or even pirated versions of the apps. Apple has also recently stopped providing downloadable trial versions of iLife, iWork and Aperture from their web site.