The New Firefox 4

If imitation is the sincerest form of compliment, then the people associated with the Google Chrome browser should be pleased. The new Firefox 4 will have a distinctive feel about it. As Mike Beltzner, Mozilla’s Director of Firefox, outlined, speed will be one of the main goals of Firefox 4. One of the primary goals will be “making Firefox super-duper fast”.

The HTML video presentation can be found at the following link:

Firefox 4: fast, powerful, and empowering

With the alternatives in browsers being readily available, it should be no surprise that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) continues to lose market share. Once the unquestionable dominant browsers, IE now slides below 60 per cent of the user market. Now Microsoft finds itself trying to keep users and trying to compete.

Catherine Forsythe

The iPad Spreads Beyond the United States

The date to remember is May 28th, if you are waiting for the iPad, outside of the United Stated. Today, Apple made the announcement of the date:

Apple® today announced that iPad™ will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK on Friday, May 28. Customers can pre-order all iPad models from Apple’s online store in all nine countries beginning on Monday, May 10…”

link: Apple iPad

Hopefully, some lessons were learned in the American launch. There were Apple fans who were disappointed in the launch. Apple can improve as the product launches go around the planet.

Kobe Bryant in an L.A. Times Magazine Photo Shoot

Is it art? Is it fashion? Yes, it is the L.A. Lakers superstar, Kobe Bryant in a photo shoot for the L.A. Times Magazine. It is Kobe Bryant as few have ever seen him. And, without a doubt, he will be hearing about these photos throught the 2010 NBA playoffs and beyond:

link: Kobe Bryant in the L.A. Times Magazine

Perhaps some pictures will be in opposing team’s locker room – “this is the one Lakers to stop”.

Catherine Forsythe

here is a link to some parodies: Kobe humour

Facebook Sharing Information

Facebook shares personal profile information with business partners. Facebook users are “opted in” automatically. If a Facebook user does not want this information to remain private, there is a procedure to “opt out.”

Go to “Privacy Settings”; then “Applications and Web Sites”; then “Instant Personalization Pilot Program” and click edit settings.

Facebook still may be able to share your information through your friends’ accounts. Perhaps the operating assumption with Facebook should be that there is no privacy:

As many as four out of five Facebook users accept that the site offers no privacy, unlike the majority of the general population who consider it a private space.

link: Facebook users reject illusion of privacy

This may be a good time to look through the information on your Facebook page and see if you want that information shared. Does it put you at risk?

Catherine Forsythe

Malware for the iPad

Popularity has its dark side. In technology, it draws the attention of hackers and cybercriminals. Now, with Apple’s successful launch of the iPad, the device has become the target of malware:

Scammers are distributing e-mails designed to trick iPad owners into downloading software that they think is an iTunes update, but which turns out to be malware that opens a back door on the computer…

link: iPad users on Windows targeted with malware

As computer security people have warned for years, only download from legitimate, trusted sites. And for Apple users, this is further evidence to discard the notion that Apple products are free from malware attacks. Admittedly, while this malware’s targeted for machines running Windows, this news serves to remind us that all systems are vulnerable to attack — Apple label or not.

Catherine Forsythe

*** thanks to R.G Fogarty for his assistance with this entry.

Malware for the iPad

Popularity has its dark side. In technology, it draws the attention of hackers and cybercriminals. Now, with Apple’s successful launch of the iPad, the device has become the target of malware:

Scammers are distributing e-mails designed to trick iPad owners into downloading software that they think is an iTunes update, but which turns out to be malware that opens a back door on the computer…

link: iPad users on Windows targeted with malware

As computer security people have warned for years, only download from legitimate, trusted sites. And for Apple users, this is further evidence to discard the notion that Apple products are free from malware attacks.

Catherine Forsythe

Steve Jobs Details the Apple Ban on Flash

Apple’s ban on Flash has been questioned by many. In a move to try to end the controversy, Steve Jobs has taken to using an open letter to explain why Apple has made this decision:

“… Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary. They are only available from Adobe, and Adobe has sole authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc. While Adobe’s Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system.

link: Steve Jobs: Open Letter

Undoubtedly, there will be many forms of rebuttal to the points that Jobs has made. The salient issues is that it does not seem to have had a negative impact on sales. The initial sales on the iPad have exceeded 600,000 by one estimation.

Catherine Forsythe

some additional links: Jobs slams Adobe Flash as unfit for iPhone

Jobs Attacks Flash As Unfit for iPhone

Steve Jobs’ Thoughts Won’t Shut Up the Flash Mob

Another Toyota Problem: The Sequoias

Toyota has issued yet another recall. This time, it is for the Toyota Sequoia SUV:

Toyota Motor Corp. issued yet another recall Wednesday, this time announcing a program to upgrade the software in the vehicle stability control system on about 50,000 early-2003 Toyota Sequoia sport utility vehicles.

The electronic system is designed to prevent a loss of traction in turns as a result of front or rear tire slippage during cornering.

link: Toyota issues another recall: Sequoias need electronics fix

There has been an active campaign by Toyota to thank its customers for trusting the company’s products. The campaign would be more reassuring if there were not so many recalls on Toyota products.

Catherine Forsythe

Government Health Official Recommends “More Sex”

The contributing risk of high blood pressure to stroke and other cardiac conditions has been well documented. The minister of health in Brazil has a recommendation for combating high blood pressure:

Brazil’s health minister has a remedy for the nation’s high-blood-pressure problem: More sex.

Minister Jose Temporao says adults should be exercising more to help keep their blood pressure down — and he says a good cardiovascular workout includes sex, “always with protection, obviously.“”

link: Brazil health minister prescribes more sex

One would assume that, in Brazil, there will be more requests for assistance in striving for good cardiac health.

Catherine Forsythe

Facebook Accounts for Sale

Compromised Facebook accounts are for sale. They go in lots of a thousand and the cost depends upon the number of friends in the account. The high end price is forty five dollars for a thousand accounts. There are a million and a half accounts for sale, by just one hacker.

The Facebook accounts are valuable to spread malware:

“… “Once you have the name and address and other profile-type information from a social networking site, you can use it to corroborate your way into debit card accounts and bank accounts through social engineering, ” Howard added. “You could also use these accounts as a platform to distribute malware through the friend system. Even as a security guy, I have to double and triple clutch when it comes to accepting friend invites from people that I do not know.”

link: 1.5 Million Facebook Accounts for Sale in Web Forum, VeriSign Reports

If this is just the ‘business’ inventory of one hacker, then one wonders how many Facebook accounts have been compromised. For some Facebook account holders, it is a matter of pride to build up the number of ‘friends online’. Some of those so-called friends may have criminal intent in mind. Networking on a service such as Facebook absolutely requires attention to privacy and security. Without that focus, the Facebook account may end up as part of a hacker’s sales inventory.

Catherine Forsythe

Disastrous McAfee Update

It may be among a software company’s worse nightmares. A security update causes customers unexpected problems. That is what happened with McAfee:

Nothing ruins an IT administrator’s day faster than a software update from a security vendor wreaking havoc on the computer systems it is intended to protect. That is exactly the predicament faced by many IT administrators today when a flawed McAfee update rendered Windows XP PC’s essentially useless.

link: Recovering from the Flawed McAfee Update

additional links: Buggy McAfee update whacks Windows XP PCs

McAfee flub sets off Twitter storm

Understandably, customers are furious. It also illustrates the importance of having a recent backup copy (or copies) of your hard drive. Problems can happen, even from a source that you depend upon for computer security.

Do a backup copy of your hard drive. Do a backup… do a backup…

Catherine Forsythe

Advertising Placed on Cremation Urns

Advertising seems to be everywhere. Long-time gnomies will remember when Chris Pirillo’s chest was the canvas for some advertising.

Now advertising may have found a new venue. A man with terminal cancer wants to sell advertising on his two urns to defray funeral costs:

“… His plan is to sell advertising space on two urns that will hold his ashes – one for his wife and one for his parents.

“I’m on different chemo now,” said Jamison, who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of colon cancer. It has spread to his liver and lymph nodes. “If it works, I’ve got about nine months. If it doesn’t work, I’ve got three. So I’m trying to get on the ball with the ad sales.”

link: Ore. man selling ad space on his urn

In this poor economy where advertising dollars have to be spent carefully, is this a ‘can’t miss’ opportunity? Will there be advertising on headstones?

More Facebook Scams

It is a problem that is increasing for Facebook. Scammers are using the social network site with the lure of something free. An example is the Ikea gift card:

“A scam Facebook page offering the site’s users a $1,000 Ikea gift card took in nearly 40,000 victims Friday.

It’s the latest example of a new and pernicious trend on the social-networking site as scammers — usually disreputable online marketers trying to earn revenue by generating Web traffic — have flooded Facebook with these fake gift card pages over the past months.”

link: Ikea Gift Card Scam Takes in Nearly 40,000 Facebook Users

If you are absolutely convinced that a firm like Ikea is giving away thousand dollar gift cards, then the story should be covered by the media outlets. There would be a notice on the Ikea site itself. And before you click on that great-looking offer, make sure all your security programs are running and up-to-date. The only thing that might be free with that mouse click is a whole load of trouble.

Catherine Forsythe

Another Day and Another Toyota Recall

The public relations nightmare continues for Toyota. There is yet another recall of one of the Toyota products. This time, it is the Sienna minivans:

Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest automaker, said it will recall about 600,000 Sienna minivans for corrosion in a cable that holds the spare tire.

Toyota, which has recalled more than 8 million vehicles worldwide in the past year for unintended acceleration, said in a statement today that the spare tire can be dislodged if the cable deteriorates. The company will voluntarily recall 1998 through 2010 models of the vehicle that were sold in parts of the U.S. where salt is most likely to be used on roads.

link: Toyota Recalls Siennas for Corrosion in Spare-Tire Holder

Over the years, Toyota has built its reputation on sound, safe, reliable products. The automaker has had a wealth of public good will. That public support is being eroded quickly. The question is becoming ‘what other flaws do the Toyota products have?‘. And eventually, that will reflect upon sales.

Catherine Forsythe

New Form of Computer Malware Demands Ransom for Privacy

A new form of malicious software (malware) is appearing that demands a ransom. The malware is appearing initially at file sharing sites. However, if the extortion is having any success, then the malware may morph into other forms to blackmail funds.

Presently, the computer infection steals personal web browsing information:

“… Masquerading as a game installation screen, it requests the PC owner’s personal details.

It then takes screengrabs of the user’s web history and publishes it online in their name, before sending an e-mail or pop-up screen demanding a credit card payment of 1500 yen (£10) to “settle your violation of copyright law” and remove the webpage.

link: Porn virus publishes web history of victims on the net

additional links: Porn virus holds gamers to ransom

Blackmailware publishes your web history, then wants your money

The malware infects the computer by means of a trojan.

There are some precautions to take. Make certain that the computer security programs are running. Download the latest definitions and avoid using file sharing sites. To protect your privacy, delete the web history.

Remember that no single security application is a hundred per cent effective. Security expects will recommend layers of protection, such as a firewall, an antivirus program, an encryption program and so forth. At this time of year, there may be information on the computer that have been used recently for tax preparation. These files, with an abundance of personal information, are prime targets of hackers and cybercriminals. The personal information on the hard drive provides information to victimize the computer owner with identity theft.

Now go check to make sure you have the latest security definitions for your security program.

Catherine Forsythe

*** Chris Pirillo frequently suggests security software and his recommendations usually come with a discount for his readers. Watch for his security articles.