British Airways accounts hit by cyber-attack

March 30th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

British Airways 857 19385812 0 0 4005 300 British Airways accounts hit by cyber attackBritish Airways have had to freeze tens of thousands of frequent flyer accounts after a cyber attack.

The airline said that customers’ personal info, like addresses and bank details was not stolen in the attack, which is something, but those affected won’t be able to use the air miles they’ve accumulated while BA try and sort everything out.

A spokesperson said: ”British Airways has become aware of some unauthorised activity in relation to a small number of frequent flyer Executive Club accounts.”

“We would like to reassure customers that, at this stage we are not aware of any access to any subsequent information pages within accounts, including travel histories or payment card details.”

“We are sorry for the concern and inconvenience this matter has caused, and would like to reassure customers that we are taking this incident seriously and have taken a number of steps to lock down accounts so they can no longer be accessed,” the spokesman added.

There’s no word on which set of hackers it is (it doesn’t look like the work of our pals at Lizard Squad), but it is thought that the hackers got into the company’s computers by utilising an automated computer programme that looks for vulnerabilities in online security systems, which is gaspingly unsurprising.

Anyway, reset your passwords if this affects you.

Google ready Nexus Player

March 25th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

nexus player 300x300 Google ready Nexus PlayerGoogle wants to get in on all that lovely television action that everyone else is weighing into. Apple are going to start streaming TV shows, and Amazon have their Fire TV box and stick. The internet godzilla is prepping the launch of the Nexus Player on 26th March in the UK.

As you’d expect, the Nexus Player will let you stream films and telly programmes from Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. Of course, this is pointless if you have a console, but for non-gamers, this is a good move and yet another option to look at.

That said, this offering from Google hasn’t exactly won everyone over in America, Canada and Japan.

One problem is that the Nexus Player us likely to cost somewhere in the region of £75 and, if you want to play games on it, then the joypad is another £30.

Google haven’t made an official announcement on all this, but the product has appeared on an Amazon listing.

Is there any point buying one if you can already stream Netflix from other devices to your television, for a much cheaper price?

Amazon launch Fire TV Stick

March 25th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

Amazon have launched the Fire TV Stick. A rubbish name but the device itself looks alright. Basically, this new thing is a budget version of Amazon’s Fire TV box and at £35, there’s a lot of people who’ll be interested in it.

Provided your telly has an HDMI port and you’re paying your subscriptions, you can whack it in and watch all manner of television shows and the like. It even comes with a little remote control, or you can hook it up to your phone and use that to navigate the menus.

Of course, it isn’t quite as powerful as Amazon’s £79 Fire TV box, which launched last October, but that’s why it is cheaper.

amazon fire tv stick 500x317 Amazon launch Fire TV Stick

This stick has more features than Google’s Chromecast and Amazon say that their gadget has a dual-core processor, which is apparently six times the processing power of Roku Streaming Stick. There’s 8GB of storage too, which is 32 times more than the Roku stick and quadruple Chromecast’s.

“When we launched Fire TV in the UK last September, it quickly became our fastest-selling Amazon device,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and boss. “We’re excited to introduce Fire TV Stick in the UK. Fire TV Stick is the most powerful streaming media stick available, with a dual-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, dual-band and dual-antenna Wi-Fi, included remote control, voice search with our free mobile app, and an open ecosystem.”

“The team has packed a huge amount of power and selection into an incredible price point – Fire TV Stick is just £35.”

If this sounds like your thing (it might not – loads of people hate Amazon on pure principal), then you can preorder it now and it’ll ship on April 15th. Amazon Prime members can get it for £19 for a limited time. Click here to have a look at it.

twitch 300x300 Twitch hacked: credit card details stolen along with other informationTwitch, bought by Amazon last year which allows people to make money from streaming themselves playing video games, has been hacked.

Everyone is looking at Lizard Squad, who hacked Xbox as well as Lenovo. They’ve got previous with Twitch as well, when they carried out a DDoS attack, which was only resolved when (get this) four Twitter users gave in to the Squad’s demands to post selfies with “Lizard Squad” daubed on their foreheads.

However, this latest hack doesn’t look like the handiwork of Lizard Squad because, mainly, they crow about their actions very readily and they’re not really about stealing personal information, which is what’s happened here.

It appears that login details, passwords and some credit card information has been stolen in this particular hack. Twitch themselves have confirmed the hack, saying that all users will be forced to reset their passwords. They said: “For your protection, we have expired passwords and stream keys and have disconnected accounts from Twitter and YouTube. As a result, you will be prompted to create a new password the next time you attempt to log into your Twitch account.”

There’s no word on just how many people have been affected by this, but seeing as Twitch has over 45 million monthly viewers and in advance of 1 million people streaming videos, it is likely that this’ll be a large number of people who have had their security breached.

Twitch say that they’ve warned users and told them that the information that may have been swiped includes usernames, email addresses, the IP addresses from where people last logged in, credit card types, truncated card numbers and expiration dates, first and last names, phone numbers, home addresses, and dates of birth.

If you’re a Twitch user, it’d be worth changing the password for any sites you use that has a similar password to the one you use with this lot.

Google tracking your every move

March 19th, 2015 7 Comments By Mof Gimmers

A lot of people don’t like the power Google have online, and this won’t help the internet giant any further.

If you have an Android phone and a Google account, then you might have been tracked without you knowing. Now, this’ll be old news to some, but it seems like there’s a good number of people out there who still have no idea.

Not to worry though – you can stop being tracked really easily

First off, watch this short video which tells you about how you’re being tracked and how you can see where you’ve been – provided you had your phone in your pocket – via a section on Google Maps.

As you can see, you can go back in time and see where you’ve been on a Google Map, which may well give you the willies, but it is easy enough to fix.

First off, you should switch your location services off on your mobile. You’ll find that in your settings. Some apps ask you to turn your location on, but you don’t have to. Twitter doesn’t need to know where you are and if you’re using something like Tinder which requires your location to show you who wants to hump nearby, then only switch your location on when it is needed.

As the video shows, it is really easy to delete your location history, and you can find out more on that, here.

Deathwatch: Internet Explorer

March 19th, 2015 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

internet explorer Deathwatch: Internet ExplorerWe spoke about Project Spartan and the sweeping away of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer at Christmas, and now, after 20 years in the game, it looks like IE is going the same way as Britpop – a vaguely embarrassing footnote in pop culture.

That said, we’ve all been a little unfair on IE, despite the many obvious flaws it has.

IE was there at the start of most people’s internet browsing, launching billions of pages and filled with innovations that were much copied and help to shape the internet as we know it. It originally killed off Netscape Navigator, before coming up against Chrome, Safari and Firefox and soon enough, when hackers had their way with it, entire governments were advising you didn’t use IE.

However, those that lead the way don’t always last forever, and Microsoft look ready to put the browser to bed. Microsoft’s head of marketing announced this week that there is going to be a new browser, currently code-named Project Spartan. Chris Capossela said: “We’re now researching what the new brand, or the new name, for our browser should be.”

Internet Explorer went from accounting for 95% of all browsing, but these days, it is much less fancied, thanks to the previously mentioned problems and competitors, and not to mention the fact that Microsoft failed to keep up with people’s web habits.

However, Microsoft aren’t giving up and, after dominating Web 1.0, they’re skipping 2.0 and eyeing up Web 3.0 or, if you prefer, the terribly named ‘Internet Of Things’.

It looks like Spartan (whatever it ends up being called), will be robust and stripped down, like Chrome. It could also be unveiled in the next 4 weeks, if rumours are to be believed. Sadly, it might also feature the chippy Microsoft equivalent of Siri – Cortana – who made Clean Bandit laugh so much in those appalling adverts (below).

Anyway, for now, we bid Internet Explorer farewell. Thanks for enabling much of the Western world to get access to dirty films in a much easier way.

Google: now checking your apps

March 18th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

android apps 300x187 Google: now checking your appsGoogle have just tinkered with their Play Store policies, which means that from now, Android developers are going to have to wait for their apps to be approved by the Internet Behemoth once they’ve been submitted.

Before now, Google didn’t bother with such things and only looked at apps once they’d been reported for violating its policies or whatever. Now, they’re going to preside over everything like Apple do with theirs. However, Google say that no-one will notice much difference as they’ve actually been doing it for months now.

“We value the rapid innovation and iteration that is unique to Google Play, and will continue to help developers get their products to market within a matter of hours after submission, rather than days or weeks,” Google’s product manager for Google Play, Eunice Kim, wrote. “In fact, there has been no noticeable change for developers during the rollout.”

It seems that’s the main difference between Android and Apple – the time it takes for apps to be verified, as Apple is known for their lengthy approval process.

In addition to this, Google will also be issuing a new age-based rating system, so the kidz don’t have to be flooded with genitals and gore. Probably.

This means that developers are going to have to fill-in a questionnaire about their new (and existing) apps so that they can be given an accurate rating. The questionnaires are available to developers now and Google reckon that apps “may be blocked in certain territories or for specific users,” if developers don’t submit them by May.

Yahoo! want to kill the password as we know it

March 17th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

password 300x289 Yahoo! want to kill the password as we know itYahoo are looking at killing off the password as you know it. Instead, they’re liking the idea of on-demand passwords if you want to login to their services.

Basically, this new service lets you log into a Yahoo account using a short password that is sent to your mobile phone. So, every time you want to get at your Yahoo! mail or whatever, instead of tapping in your password, you’ll hit a button which says “send my password”. You get it in a text and then you can login with a four-character password.

It all sounds like an almighty faff in the making.

Yahoo executive Dylan Casey said: “This is the first step to eliminating passwords.”

Of course, some places already have a two-step authentication process where you enter your password and then get a second one of the phone, but all the really popular sites don’t have them for a reason.

You can presumably stay logged-in to your account on your devices at home, but if you repeatedly check your emails at work or away from the house, this sounds like a royal pain in the dick.

Bionym Nymi 300x162 Fancy unlocking your account with the rhythm of your heart?How’s your heart? Well, your Halifax bank account might need to know as they’re toying with the idea of having a bracelet which you wear while it tracks the beat of your heart, which acts as a replacement for your password to get at your account.

No, seriously. It’s called the Nymi Band and it’ll look at the rhythm of your pulsating chest meat to keep you logged-in so you don’t have to remember tedious things like passwords, codes and PIN numbers.

All you do, is pop your finger on a plate which is housed in the band and it creates a circuit, and checks your electrocardiogram against one you’ve stored in it. As long as you’re wearing the band, you have access to your bank account and all that jive.

Bionym, who have come up with this device, reckon it is a much more secure than the usual means of identification. They also think you should use it for contactless payments.

Halifax digital development director Marc Lien muttered: “We are in the very early stages of exploring potential uses for the Nymi Band and wearable technology more widely which will help us further understand how we can serve our customers in the way that best appeals to their needs.”

Cue the Daily Mail worrying about someone hacking your heart through the bracelet.

Free LG smartwatch with LG G Flex 2

March 13th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

There’s people who really don’t see the point in smartwatches. We know this because they talk about smartwatches more than any other human on Earth.

For those quietly interested in such a thing, who just so happen to be looking at getting a new phone – here’s a thing you should know about.

If you’re eyeing up a new LG G Flex 2 curved smartphone, then you might want to look at Vodafone’s deal where you get the phone bundled with a free LG G Watch R. You’ll need to sign up for a monthly contract on Red 4G.

 Free LG smartwatch with LG G Flex 2

Of course, if the idea of signing up with Vodafone and having a curved mobile makes you vomit into your lap, then this deal won’t be for you. However, this isn’t a bad way of getting into wearable technology if you don’t want to fork out for a separate watch or whatever.

However, the cost of the actual G Flex 2 plans are quite pricey, so weigh that up first. 4G tariffs start at £39.50 per month (with an extra £19 for the hardware) which comes with unlimited minutes and texts, 4GB of 4G data.

If that all sounds like a complete swizz, then you’ll have to wait until prices start dropping on smartwatches when the competition heats up around Christmas 2015.

Google opens a shop in London

March 11th, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

google Google opens a shop in LondonGoogle have thrown open the doors on their first branded shop, choosing the lovely location of Tottenham Court Road in London, at a Currys PC World. The glamour is all too much for us.

Imaginatively, the shop will be called The Google shop, and of course, it will flog Android phones and devices as well as Chromebook laptops and the Chromecast TV dongle. Maybe you’ll be able to buy bits of internet as well. We just don’t know.

For that cuddly, holistic, we’re trying to do things differently because we’re from the internet feel, you’ll also be able to go in and have a tutorial with some people in Chuck Taylor Converse trainers, who will show you how to get the most out of Google apps and things.

This is the first time that Google have opened a shop in their own name and it looks like it is the way things are going, with Amazon looking at doing something similar (they’re going to do theirs in New York though). These shops will be different from Androidland (yes, really) and Chromezone. This will be an in-store concession inside the Currys PC Word and they’ll be opening up more, with plans to have The Google Shop inside the Currys PC Worlds in Fulham, and Thurrock, Essex.

James Elias, the UK marketing director for Google, said: “We’re incredibly excited to launch this space – the first of its kind anywhere in the world – in London with Currys PC World. The pace of innovation of the devices we all use is incredible, yet the way we buy them has remained the same for years.”

“With the Google shop, we want to offer people a place where they can play, experiment and learn about all of what Google has to offer; from an incredible range of devices to a totally-connected, seamless online life. We think it’s a genuinely unique try-before-you-buy experience.”

The shops will also… get this… host ‘Virtual Space Camps’, which isn’t something that will make you float around in pretend zero gravity, but rather, will be classes to teach children the basics of coding. Nice idea – dreadful name. Anyway, if you want to go and stand next to some Google, you know where to go.

the internet 232x300 PMs plans to ban encryption arent a good idea

The internet, yesterday

A plan by David Cameron to block and ban encryption has been found to be a rubbish idea, according to a study by the UK parliament.

This report, carried out by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, had a look at how the darknet (or Tor if you prefer) and online anonymity is being used. There’s little public support for it and the Darknet and Online Anonymity report (.pdf link here) noted that it is used by criminals, but it is also used by journalists and whistleblowers and journalists, so if you’re going to look at the ills, you have to weigh-up the pros too.

“There is widespread agreement that banning online anonymity systems altogether is not seen as an acceptable policy option in the UK. Even if it were, there would be technical challenges,” it said.

One thing the report pointed out, was that one place doing this was China, and their governments attempts to squash communications is not something that would be good for the UK.

The report continued, for those who understand the jargon: ”Some argue for a Tor without hidden services because of the criminal content on some THS. However, THS also benefit non-criminal Tor users because they may add a further layer of security.”

“If a user accesses a THS the communication never leaves the Tor network and the communication is encrypted from origin to destination. Therefore, sites requiring strong security, like whistleblowing platforms, are offered as THS. Also, computer experts argue that any legislative attempt to preclude THS from being available in the UK over Tor would be technologically unfeasible.”

Whether or not David Cameron listens to this report is quite another matter.

Obligatory Apple Smartwatch article

March 10th, 2015 15 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Apple, as you’ll know, have announced things about their smartwatch. By law, we’re obliged to write about it or someone will kick down our door and thrash us to within an inch of our lives.

So, if you’re interested in the new Apple device and want to start queueing up right now, here’s what you need to know:

apple watch 500x334 Obligatory Apple Smartwatch article

- It’ll cost you $349 for the smaller one. $399 for the larger one.
- It’ll be available to pre-order in Europe and America on April 10th and you’ll be able to buy it from April 24th.
- There’s a solid gold one and which will cost you loads of money. If you need to ask ‘how much?’ then you’re not wealthy enough to buy one.
- The phone will be like a second screen for your iPhone, which means you can leave your phone in your pocket if you like.
- You’ll be able to control your settings and that via a dedicated iPhone app.
- There’ll be loads of voice controlled stuff.
- The watch will log the rate of your heart and an accelerometer which will track how active you are.
- Apple CEO Tim Cook says: “In addition to being a beautiful object, the Apple watch is the most advanced timepiece ever created; it’s a revolutionary way to connect to others; and it’s a comprehensive health and fitness companion. We make products that enhance people’s lives, and the Apple Watch carries that to a new level. [It] tracks your daily movement, and it even reminds you if you’ve been sitting too long. It’s like having a coach on your wrist.”
- The phone’s battery will last for 18 hours of typical use.

If you need to know anything else, then surely you know how the internet works so you can salivate over every single minuscule detail of Apple’s new smartwatch

apple watch 300x200 What to expect from Apples smartwatch   and do you want one?The appetite for smartwatches has been, shall we say, not that great. It seems that everyone is happy enough to have their mobile as a watch replacement and having a secondary thing on your wrist seems a bit pointless and a bit expensive.

However, as we all know, such is people’s devotion to Apple’s devices, things can really take off when they get in the market.

Today, Tim Cook is going to announce the final details of the Apple Watch, and it is noteworthy at least, because it’ll be the first Apple product he releases that didn’t have an involvement from Steve Jobs.

So what can we expect from the iWatch?

Well, Apple’s offering is going to have more features than rival watches. Of course, it’ll have a load of health-related stuff so you can see what your heart-rate is like if you’re a runner or whatever. It’ll also handle your texts, emails and phone calls too, which is well Dick Tracy. It’ll have Siri and Apple too, and if Apple’s plans work out, you’ll also be able to use your watch as a key for your car or a hotel room.

Apple’s involvement shouldn’t be overlooked in all this. Apple weren’t the first to make media players and tablets, but there’s no question that they injected excitement into the markets. With Apple fanboiz all set to queue-up overnight to get the latest product, the rest of the smartwatch market will no doubt be grateful that this device is getting closer to hitting the shelves.

This is a powerhouse of a brand and it could well be the thing that turns the smartwatch market around. Or, it might not. Does Apple’s entrance into smartwatches actually make anyone want to buy one or is this just an expensive waste of time as it is going to be around £300?

It’ll be interesting to see if everyone really takes up this new product, or whether everyone has gadget fatigue and waits a year to see how everything gets updated and drops in price.

There’s a livestream you can watch of the event, if that’s your thing, here.

Behold, the dark web search engine!

March 6th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

internet exchange1 Behold, the dark web search engine!

The dark and deep web are the bits of the internet that you can’t find on Google. That’s where all the internet’s secrets live. However, a British cyber security firm has developed their own search engine, which will go into the darkest, deepest recesses of the web, which is nice of them.

Alistair Paterson, CEO of Digital Shadows, told Sky that “basically, it’s a Google for Tor.” Of course, there’s other engines out there that are doing a similar thing (such as Memex, Grams and Flashpoint), but this new one, according to Paterson, is the most comprehensive.

Apparently, this search engine “sucks in pages in real time and analyses them. We have some analysts direction. It’s helpful we have two Russian speakers as well. So the system is running all the time, but it’s directed by humans.”

However, Digital Shadows aren’t trying to track down criminals or anything exciting like that. They’re not Dog The Bounty Hunter. Instead, they’re simply trying to protect companies. Through their service, they found a bank employee who was trying to sell customers’ log-in details for £50 each. The company showed the info to the bank, who tracked down the employee and… well… who knows what happened next? They gave them a massive bonus?

So, if you’re trying to protect a business or, indeed, looking for somewhere to buy a machine gun, you know where you can go.