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Security

The Web Won't Be Safe Or Secure Until We Break It 180

CowboyRobot writes "Jeremiah Grossman of Whitehat Security has an article at the ACM in which he outlines the current state of browser security, specifically drive-by downloads. 'These attacks are primarily written with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, so they are not identifiable as malware by antivirus software in the classic sense. They take advantage of the flawed way in which the Internet was designed to work.' Grossman's proposed solution is to make the desktop browser more like its mobile cousins. 'By adopting a similar application model on the desktop using custom-configured Web browsers (let's call them DesktopApps), we could address the Internet's inherent security flaws. These DesktopApps could be branded appropriately and designed to launch automatically to Bank of America's or Facebook's Web site, for example, and go no further. Like their mobile application cousins, these DesktopApps would not present an URL bar or anything else making them look like the Web browsers they are on the surface, and of course they would be isolated from one another.'"
Transportation

Why Apple's Next Revolution Should Be In Your Car 293

New submitter eetc writes "This article surveys the sorry state of car makers' stereo and navigation systems: 'It's clear that most of the auto companies that offer more than a car stereo want to lock you into their interface and services — as awful as they are. The rest don't care. The aftermarket stereo and nav systems are no better. Stuffed with even more buttons and light-show gewgaws, they're sure to keep your eyes off the road and may not work easily with your stuff. Add to that mix the split focus of also having to use a separate GPS unit in most vehicles, and you have to wonder what keeps our roads so relatively safe.' The answer in one word: iCar. This is just the sort of broken market that Apple specializes in taking over."
The Internet

UN Pushes Plan To Assume Internet Governance Role 287

no0b writes with an Op-Ed by the FCC Commissioner on a UN plan to gain more control over Internet regulation. From the article: "On Feb. 27, a diplomatic process will begin in Geneva that could result in a new treaty giving the United Nations unprecedented powers over the Internet. Dozens of countries, including Russia and China, are pushing hard to reach this goal by year's end. As Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said last June, his goal and that of his allies is to establish 'international control over the Internet' through the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a treaty-based organization under U.N. auspices. " BoingBoing offers a slightly different perspective; The Register offers a quite different perspective.
Microsoft

Microsoft Can Remotely Kill Purchased Apps 389

Meshach writes "The terms of service for Microsoft's newly launched Windows Store allows the seller to remotely kill or remove access to a user's apps for security or legal reasons. The story also notes that MS states purchasers are responsible for backing up the data that you store in apps that you acquire via the Windows Store, including content you upload using those apps. If the Windows Store, an app, or any content is changed or discontinued, your data could be deleted or you may not be able to retrieve data you have stored."
Advertising

Mastercard, Visa To Help Target Ads 222

New submitter ThatsMyNick writes "The two largest credit-card networks, Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc., are pushing into a new business: using what they know about people's credit-card purchases for targeting them with ads online. 'A MasterCard document obtained by the Journal outlines some of the company's plans, which included linking Web users with purchases. According to document, the credit card provider said it believes "you are what you buy." ... Visa is planning a similar service, which would aggregate its customers' purchase history into segments, including location, to make ads more effective at appealing to people in a respective area.'"
Operating Systems

Early Speed Tests For Windows 8 242

adeelarshad82 writes "You often hear in the software industry that performance optimization is one of the last steps in the software development process. That bodes well for Windows 8, considering at the early stage of Developer Preview—even before we've seen an actual beta—the nascent operating system is getting widespread praise for its performance, particularly in startup times. Anecdotal evidence is always encouraging, but PCMag decided to run some very early tests on the OS to see if the reports were wishful thinking or if there was a real, measurable boost in speed. Along with startup and shutdown times, they used several standard industry benchmarks to compare Windows 8 performance with that of Windows 7 running on the same machine."
Privacy

Verizon Wireless Changes Privacy Policy 204

First time accepted submitter flash2011 writes "Recently Verizon changed its home internet TOS to by default share your location with advertisers. Now Verizon Wireless has also changed its privacy policy to by default share your web browsing history, cell phone location and app usage as well. Whilst there have been a few stories on these changes, internet forums have largely been quiet. Where is the outrage? Or have we just come to accept that ISPs are going to sell our personal information and web browsing habits?"
Opera

Opera Proposes Switching Browser Scrolling For 'Pages' 320

Barence writes "Opera has proposed a new browsing system that swaps scrolling on websites for flippable pages. The Norwegian browser maker is looking to remove the side scroll bar for documents or articles in favor of 'pages' of a set-size, similar to an ebook. Text can be reflowed into a column layout, and ads will be moved into the right spot in the text, with different ones displayed depending on the orientation of the device. Pages are flipped with gestures on tablets or with mouse clicks on the desktop. It's an 'opportunity to rethink the ads on the web and the user interface,' said Hakon Wium Lie, Opera's CTO." Their main focus for this is browsing on tablets.
Games

Coming Soon, Shorter Video Games 637

Hugh Pickens writes "Blake Snow writes that according to one expert, 90% of players who start a game will never see the end of it and it's not just dull games that go unfinished. Only 10% of avid gamers completed last year's critically acclaimed Red Dead Redemption, according to Raptr, which tracks more than 23 million gaming sessions. 'What I've been told as a blanket expectation is that 90% of players who start your game will never see the end of it unless they watch a clip on YouTube,' says Keith Fuller, a longtime production contractor for Activision. The bottom line is people have less time to play games than they did before, they have more options than ever, and they're more inclined to play quick-hit multiplayer modes, even at the expense of 100-hour epics. 'They're lucky to find the time to beat a 10-hour game once or twice a month,' says Fuller of the average-age gamer. 'They don't feel cheated about shorter games and will just play a longer game for as many hours as their schedule allows before moving on to another title.' Even avid gamers are already warming to the idea of shorter games. 'Make a game worth my time and money, and I'll be happy,' says Casey Willis. 'After all, 10 hours of awesome is better than 20 hours of boring.'"
Privacy

"Expert Body" To Decide Which Sites To Block For Copyright Infringement 173

Barence writes "Rights holders in the UK are proposing to appoint a 'council' and an 'expert body' to decide which websites should be blocked by ISPs for infringing copyright. The controversial Digital Economy Act made provisions for sites accused of hosting copyrighted material to be blocked by British ISPs. 'The cost of the proposed scheme is not indicated, but is likely to be substantial, including the running cost of two non-judicial independent bodies and the cost to ISPs of permanently blocking websites,' Consumer Focus said."
Television

Practical "Smell-o-Vision" System Being Developed 210

cylonlover writes "Researchers have managed to create a proof of concept Smell-o-Vision device potentially capable of pumping out thousands of different odors, yet small enough to fit behind a TV. The device has 200 X-axis controllers and 100 on the Y-axis that could selectively activate each of the 10,000 possible odors stored within numerous non-flammable silicone elastomer compartments."
Microsoft

Another Windows 8 Pre-Beta Surfaces 534

angry tapir writes "While Microsoft has not announced the release date of its follow-up to Windows 7, an early pre-beta version of Windows 8 (although its official name has not been confirmed) has surfaced on the Internet, the second version to appear within a month. It is the second milestone release that has showed up on the Internet this month. Users of this Windows 8 software have said it features a Ribbon-based user-interface, similar to the one used in recent editions of Microsoft Office. This specific milestone build also has software for a Webcam, a new task manager, a PDF reader and an immersive browser." "Surfacings" like this tell me that Microsoft sees the value in crowdsourced opinion gathering far more than they're sometimes given credit for.
Businesses

Facebook To Be 'Biggest Bank' By 2015 301

angry tapir writes "The explosion of social networking commerce will lead to the unlikely candidate of Facebook becoming the world's biggest bank by the middle of the decade, according to a technology observer and entrepreneur. People who don't have a Facebook account should get one or risk having a financial profile created for them says founder and president of Metal International, Ken Rutkowski."
Facebook

Facebook Offers Easy Commenting Alternative 132

Spice Consumer writes "Facebook has just unveiled a 'new system (that) lets website owners replace their current commenting system with Facebook's simply by dropping in a few lines of JavaScript.' How widely adopted this new system becomes could greatly affect Facebook's already entrenched position on the web and further compromise individual users' privacy."

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