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2 Mil. Accounts Hacked in Latest Security Breach and A Reminder of Ways To Keep Yourself As Safe As Possible

According to various reports including this one from CNN Money 2 million accounts from social media outlets and email providers were compromised. CNN Money reports that credentials from over 93,000 web sites including over 300,000 on Facebook have been compromised. The cause according to cybersecurity firm TrustWave the cause of the security breach was the work of a malicious virus which stole log in credentials from people who were infected.

The recommendation I’ve heard typically is to change passwords every so often, somewhere in the every 3-6 month range. This is meant to make it harder for hackers or ID thieves to access personal information, social web sites, and personal email. Also be mindful not to make the password easy to guess, for example common passwords that people for some reason use are as easy as “123123” and “admin”, these passwords are poor in terms of safety because they’re frequently used.

Not to be a jerk, but I am happy than providers force people to use long passwords now a days and some also include a user to use all of the following: a capital letter, a special character (IE #,@,* and so on) and a number. This is done to make it much harder for potential victims to be hacked.

One of the more recent trends in email, so if you see an email that looks off, don’t open it! If you suspect something is wrong you should hover your mouse over the name of the sender, and it will show you what the email of the sender is, and that allows you to see who the sender really is. I think this can be done through all the major email providers.

The most common thing now is that these scams or virus’ are being sent under names of people you know in social media, which is a fault of Facebook selling advistising space and allowing the advertisers to access personal data including but surely not limited to, who is on your friends list, your location, and so on. So when I hear people complaining about security I can usually relate to their concerns. However this is a problem that I don’t think anyone expected to happen and it is little known, so make sure you hover over any suspicious emails, and double check, it won’t take much effort on the users end to check the email address. These emails from these supposed friends are easy to spot because they have headlines that make no sense because they’re written in broken English.

This probably doesn’t need to be said, but another place that is littered with bad things, and I am not referring to the content, are adult websites. Those sometimes have virus’ and can be a place for mal-ware, and spyware to be installed within the sites onto your computer. I do not advocate visiting these type of sites, but I would be doing a disservice if I ignored the threats within them since some people do visit them and there is nothing that can change that.

Also of note you might also consider a virus scanner than also keeps your computer safe from spyware. I personally use Windows Defender, but there is also Microsoft Security Essentials that also works well, and both are free to use. There are ones you can pay for and they probably offer superior coverage, but I’ve had no issues with the Microsoft products so I will stick to that.

I mean, listen, there is no way to be completely safe on the internet with all of the threats in cyberspace and hackers on the loose, but with a little common sense and some vigilant eyes you can do yourself a lot of good just by keeping yourself protected with the proper anti-virus software and using good passwords with all of your accounts. Another tip, is to have a different password for different places. Granted that may sound impossible, but it is doable, you just need to make a log of them on a piece of paper or a notepad externally off of your computer.

I hope this reminder helped you remember some basic stuff that might slip the mind with all of the stuff going on during the holidays including but not limited to shopping, Christmas parties, and so on.

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Adobe advises users to users to make new password in light of an early October security breach

Earlier today I was looking through my e-mail and I came across an email from adobe and it was from Adobe suggesting I change my password to my account, and my first reaction was “what account?” but then I realized that I could have had one in the past and forgotten I registered it.

But since I don’t use it now, it seems a little pointless to even care about doing that immediately. However for those who might have an account there for Photoshop, Dreamweaver, etc., you might want to secure your account so you can continue to use it as you once did.

Below is a portion of an e-mail I received from Adobe, I only took the useful information or information that didn’t have details of mine included:

Important Password Reset Information

As we announced on October 3, 2013, we recently discovered that an attacker illegally entered our network and may have obtained access to your Adobe ID and encrypted password. We currently have no indication that there has been unauthorized activity on your account.

To prevent unauthorized access to your account, we have reset your password. Please visit www.adobe.com/go/passwordreset to create a new password. We recommend that you also change your password on any website where you use the same user ID or password. In addition, please be on the lookout for suspicious email or phone scams seeking your personal information.

We deeply regret any inconvenience this may cause you. We value the trust of our customers and are working aggressively to prevent these types of events from occurring in the future. If you have questions, you can learn more by visiting our Customer Alert page, which you will find here.

Adobe Customer Care

Microsoft to acquire Nokia’s devices & services business, license Nokia’s patents and mapping services

Sept. 03, 2013

REDMOND, Washington and ESPOO, Finland – Sept. 3, 2013 – Microsoft Corporation and Nokia Corporation today announced that the Boards of Directors for both companies have decided to enter into a transaction whereby Microsoft will purchase substantially all of Nokia’s Devices & Services business, license Nokia’s patents, and license and use Nokia’s mapping services.

New Infographic from Watch Dogs facebook page

Twitter Adds Conversations

Ubisoft Website Hacked

Below is information regarding the hack. The info is taken from here

 

Hello All,

We recently found that one of our Web sites was exploited to gain unauthorized access to some of our online systems. We instantly took steps to close off this access, to begin a thorough investigation with relevant authorities, internal and external security experts, and to start restoring the integrity of any compromised systems.

During this process, we learned that data were illegally accessed from our account database, including user names, email addresses and encrypted passwords. No personal payment information is stored with Ubisoft, meaning your debit/credit card information was safe from this intrusion.

As a result, we are recommending you to change your password by clicking this link.

Out of an abundance of caution, we also recommend that you change your password on any other Web site or service where you use the same or a similar password.

An official forum thread has been created for you to post your questions.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your understanding.

User-added image

What can I do to secure my account?
We are recommending all our users change their passwords. Passwords can be changed by clicking this link. We also recommend that you change your password on any other Web site or service where you use the same or a similar password. Please note that no personal payment information is stored with Ubisoft, meaning your payment details were not at risk from this intrusion.

How did this happen? Which website was exploited? Where did it come from?
Credentials were stolen and used to illegally access our online network. We can’t go into specifics for security reasons.

Has any of my personal data been compromised?
The intruder was able to access account data including user names, email addresses and encrypted passwords. To our knowledge, no other personal information (phone numbers, physical addresses etc. was accessed). No personal payment information is stored with Ubisoft, meaning your credit/debit card information was not at risk from this intrusion.

What is an encrypted password?
Passwords are not stored in clear-text but as an obfuscated value. Those cannot be reversed but could be cracked, in particular if the password chosen is weak. This is the reason we are recommending our users to change their password.

Has any of my financial data been compromised?
No personal payment information is stored with Ubisoft, meaning your credit/debit card information was not at risk from this intrusion.

Which measures did you take following this incident?
We instantly took steps to close off this access, to begin a thorough investigation with relevant authorities, internal and external security experts, and to restore the integrity of any compromised systems.

Do you plan to take additional security measures in the future? Is there a risk of this happening again?
Ubisoft’s security teams are exploring all available means to expand and strengthen our security measures in order to better protect our customers.  Unfortunately, no company or organization is completely immune to these kinds of criminal attacks.

Is it related to other recent hacks faced by other gaming companies?
There is no evidence that this intrusion is related to any other game company’s previous security incidents.

Was it Uplay that was hacked? Were its servers hacked?
No, the attack did not originate via any Uplay services, the intrusion targeted some of our online systems.

Have other Ubisoft systems been affected? Will your games’ online stability be affected by the attack?
We instantly begin working to restore the integrity of any compromised systems and are continuing to investigate the incident. The uptime and stability of our games’ online services were not affected by this intrusion.

Tune In On June 10 for the Unveil of EA’s Next Generation

Need for Speed Rivals

Need for Speed Rivals

“The Download: EA 2013 Preview” Will Feature New Video and Gameplay of EA’s Hottest Next-Gen Games

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The next generation of games from Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) will finally be revealed on Monday, June 10 at 1:00 p.m. PT (4:00 p.m. ET) exclusively on Spike TV and streaming on www.ea.com/e3. “The Download: EA 2013 Preview” will feature the a first look at EA SPORTS™ UFC, FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, NBA LIVE, the latest from Need for Speed™ Rivals and the live world premiere of Battlefield 4™ all-out multiplayer warfare – and other surprises.

E3 attendees will be the first to get hands-on of Battlefield 4, experience next generation sports titles in the EA SPORTS IGNITE Lab, test drive Need For Speed Rivals and more all at EA’s booth #1601 in the south hall. EA will be showcasing titles for the Xbox One™, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, the PlayStation®4 and PC. The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC) from June 11-13.

Media demos for upcoming mobile titles such as the PopCap™ studio’s highly-anticipated Plants vs. Zombies™ 2, EA’s Ultima™ Forever, and Fightback, developed by renowned studio Ninja Theory and published by Chillingo, will be held at the JW Marriott by appointment only.

Product information, assets and exclusive EA content will be available throughout the show at www.ea.com/e3. Follow EA on Twitter® at www.twitter.com/ea and on Facebook® at www.facebook.com/ea.

About Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA) is a global leader in digital interactive entertainment. The Company delivers games, content and online services for Internet-connected consoles, personal computers, mobile phones and tablets. EA has more than 285 million registered players and operates in 75 countries.

In fiscal year 2013, EA posted GAAP net revenue of $3.8 billion. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, EA is recognized for a portfolio of critically acclaimed, high-quality blockbuster brands such as The Sims™, Madden NFL, FIFA Soccer, Need for Speed™, Battlefield™ and Mass Effect™. More information about EA is available atwww.ea.com/news.

The Sims, Need for Speed, Mass Effect , Battlefield, Battlefield 4, Ultima and PopCap are trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. and its subsidiaries. UFC, NBA, John Madden, NFL and FIFA are the property of their respective owners and used with permission. “PlayStation” is a registered trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Xbox and Xbox One are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. Facebook is a registered trademark of Facebook, Inc. Twitter is a registered trademark of Twitter, Inc.

Zynga lays off 18% of staff

 

Zynga the maker of social media games such as Cityville, Farmville, Mafia Wars, and Words with Friends is laying off 18% of its staff or 520 employees and it will also reportedly close its New York, Dallas and Los Angeles offices. Zynga has been in financial troubles since the summer of 2012 after a disastrous purchase of a game called Draw Something for $210 million and the game never took off like Zynga had hoped. After that they failed to make enough profits off of Facebook games to offset the cost of Draw Something.

Below is a memo by Zynga CEO Mark Pincus that was sent to employees:

To our Zynga Community,

Today is a hard day for Zynga and an emotional one for every employee of our company. We are saying painful goodbyes to about 18% of our Zynga brothers and sisters. The impact of these layoffs will be felt across every group in the company.

None of us ever expected to face a day like today, especially when so much of our culture has been about growth. But I think we all know this is necessary to move forward. The scale that served us so well in building and delivering the leading social gaming service on the Web is now making it hard to successfully lead across mobile and multiplatform, which is where social games are going to be played.

These moves, while hard to face today, represent a proactive commitment to our mission of connecting the world through games. Mobile and touch screens are revolutionizing gaming. Our opportunity is to make mobile gaming truly social by offering people new, fun ways to meet, play and connect. By reducing our cost structure today we will offer our teams the runway they need to take risks and develop these breakthrough new social experiences.

Because we’re making these moves proactively and from a position of financial strength, we can take care of laid off employees. We’re offering generous severance packages that reflect our appreciation for all of their work and we hope this will provide a foundation as they pursue their next professional steps.

Although these are hard decisions, I’m confident that our strategy of building leading franchises and supporting them with the largest network is the right one for the long term. I’m encouraged by our recent progress. Running With Friends is a great example of the quality player experience we can deliver, already receiving an average 4.5 app star rating from 22,000 players in less than one month after launching. Our FarmVille franchise teams continue to innovate and deliver ground breaking new social experiences like County Fair which, despite only being available on the web, is engaging 39 million monthly players.

I want to thank every one of you for the spirit, creativity and energy that you’ve invested in Zynga. You’ve reintroduced a generation of people to gaming and through these games offered them new ways to connect with their families, make new friends and even sometimes find love.

Everyone will be affected by these changes and I’m sure there will be many follow up questions to this email. If you have specific questions relating to your project or team, please talk to your manager. For any other feedback or thoughts feel free to email me directly.

Thoughts? Comments?

Yahoo set to acquire Tumblr

Yahoo! to Acquire Tumblr

Promises not to screw it up

SUNNYVALE, Calif. & NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) and Tumblr announced today that they have reached a definitive agreement for Yahoo! to acquire Tumblr.

“Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations”

Per the agreement and our promise not to screw it up, Tumblr will be independently operated as a separate business. David Karp will remain CEO. The product, service and brand will continue to be defined and developed separately with the same Tumblr irreverence, wit, and commitment to empower creators.

With more than 300 million monthly unique visitors and 120,000 signups every day, Tumblr is one of the fastest-growing media networks in the world. Tumblr sees 900 posts per second (!) and 24 billion minutes spent on site each month. On mobile, more than half of Tumblr’s users are using the mobile app and do an average of 7 sessions per day. Its tremendous popularity and engagement among creators, curators and audiences of all ages brings a significant new community of users to the Yahoo! network. The combination of Tumblr+Yahoo! is expected to grow Yahoo!’s audience by 50 percent to more than a billion monthly visitors, and to grow traffic by approximately 20 percent.

The deal offers unique opportunities for both companies. Tumblr can deploy Yahoo!’s personalization technology and search infrastructure to help its users discover creators, bloggers, and content they’ll love. In turn, Tumblr brings 50 billion blog posts (and 75 million more arriving each day) to Yahoo!’s media network and search experiences. The two companies will also work together to create advertising opportunities that are seamless and enhance the user experience.

Total consideration is approximately $1.1 billion, substantially all of which is payable in cash.

“Tumblr is redefining creative expression online,” said Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer. “On many levels, Tumblr and Yahoo! couldn’t be more different, but, at the same time, they couldn’t be more complementary. Yahoo is the Internet’s original media network. Tumblr is the Internet’s fastest-growing media frenzy. Both companies are homes for brands – established and emerging. And, fundamentally, Tumblr and Yahoo! are both all about users, design, and finding surprise and inspiration amidst the everyday.”

“I’ve long held the view that in all things art and design, you can feel the spirit and demeanor of the creator. That’s why it was no surprise to me that David Karp is one of the nicest, most empathetic people I’ve ever met. He’s also one of the most perceptive, capable entrepreneurs I’ve ever worked with,” continued Mayer. “David’s respect for Tumblr’s community of creators is awesome. I’m absolutely delighted to have him join our team.”

David Karp, CEO of Tumblr, addressed the Tumblr community, “Our team isn’t changing. Our roadmap isn’t changing. And our mission – to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve – certainly isn’t changing. But we’re elated to have the support of Yahoo! and their team who share our dream to make the Internet the ultimate creative canvas. Tumblr gets better faster with more resources to draw from.”

The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close in the second half of the year.

About Tumblr

Tumblr is a media network powered by an army of independent creators and home to an audience of more than 300 million unique visitors. Founded by David Karp in 2007, Tumblr is headquartered in New York City.

About Yahoo!

Yahoo! is focused on making the world’s daily habits inspiring and entertaining. By creating highly personalized experiences for our users, we keep people connected to what matters most to them, across devices and around the world. In turn, we create value for advertisers by connecting them with the audiences that build their businesses. Yahoo! is headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, and has offices located throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific (APAC) and the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) regions. For more information, visit the pressroom (pressroom.yahoo.net) or the company’s blog (yahoo.tumblr.com).

This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties concerning Yahoo!’s proposed acquisition of Tumblr (including without limitation the statements contained in the quotations from management in this press release), as well as Yahoo!’s strategic and operational plans. Actual events or results may differ materially from those described in this press release due to a number of risks and uncertainties. The potential risks and uncertainties include, among others, the possibility that the transaction will not close or that the closing may be delayed; and that the anticipated benefits to Yahoo!, including projected growth in audience and traffic, and benefits to users and advertisers may not be realized. More information about potential factors that could affect Yahoo!’s business and financial results is included under the captions, “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2012 and Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2013, which are on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and available at the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.

Facebooks new Problem

Let me preface this by saying the following video we are going to mention has illegal content to it and I have not seen it. I am basing what I know of the video off of a Fox News report and I am using that as the basis of the story. I write this so that I can get a message across to the readers on how to handle a situation like this should it or other pictures/videos appear again on Facebook or other Social Media outlets.

This story also goes against our typical good natured stories you see on here. This is a serious story and I do apologize if you feel uncomfortable at the end of reading this blog. Let it be known that it was also no fun to make, so I can only imagine how it is to read.

If you want to feel free to reblog, or share this post, this could save you or a family member from being in legal trouble for unknowingly breaking the law.

Last night I was sitting in front of the TV watching the top stories on a local newscast and a news alert came up and it brought attention to a story that needs to be discussed, not because the story  has anything to do with technology, entertainment, or sports but there is a major issue that people need to be aware of.

Let me quickly break down was the video was without going into details of the content, I do this for two reasons, firstly this is a clean website meant to entertain but also inform of potential internet threats out there. So the less details I give out here better off the website is, and secondly, the contents of the video according to reports are deeply disturbing to hear or read so I don’t want to disturb the reader.

So what was going around Facebook? Well according to a report report from Fox News there was a video that contained pornographic material featuring a minor. But that is all I will disclose, if you want to know more Fox News has some details on it on there site but I refuse to go into details of what the report says for the sake of keeping this as clean as possible.

So why does that belong here on a technology page? Well typically it doesn’t however I do have a couple of reasons in this instance. First of all, people were sharing the video under the hopes of trying to identify the man or child in the video. But according to the FBI the video has been around since 2005, so obviously in this case both parties no longer look the same as they did back in the timeframe this was made.

And this is not only the wrong way of doing this. But this kind of thing can get you in major trouble with the law because sharing, having possession or viewing such material is illegal in the United States and I assume most if not all other countries. If you are one of the people who accidentally ran into the video you should be okay since there was no intent.

With that said however Facebook has removed all known instances of this video from the website, and according to the Fox News article Facebook has a zero tolerance policy on such material as they should. No legitimate website should tolerate this kind of material on there websites. Not only for a liability reason, but also a moral reason.

I do want to bring up a few points though while this is being discussed and I feel may be helpful pointers moving forward. While this video was removed there is still a possibility that other videos like it can end up on Facebook again, I sure hope not, but there is always a chance for anything to happen on Facebook, I mean think of it Facebook has been involved in private legal battles between feuding spouses, kids, neighbors, etc., so Facebook isn’t a place where everyone is a Christian and there is no such thing as offensive material.

So with that said here are pointers on how to keep yourself safe:

  • Do not open anything that looks off, for example if something is posted on your wall and you are not sure if it is legitimate or not. Or if it has a title that gives you a bad vibe then do yourself and others a favor and report the material.
  • With that said, if it is a picture sharing page and it has a picture that you find offensive, there is no need to report the page, just move on to the next picture, or leave the page if it is full of filth. Certainly with that plea there are certain exceptions for example clear violations of Facebook rules such as nudity, and excessive violence depicted in the picture(s).
  • If it is a picture or video violates state or federal law such as the one I spoke of earlier in the blog, DO NOT SHARE, contact police and let them know about it so that the original poster can be tracked. Sharing it opens up the possibility for legal problems. There is no good reason to share, not even in an attempt to identify the person(s) in the video/picture. The FBI has a website with cut outs of these people that you can share instead if you feel inclined to help which is also listed in the Fox News report.
  • According to the local news report the line used with the video link was “Open if you are curious”. The video is now gone according to the report, but I share this in case you see something similar on Facebook

In all honesty, the best way to keep yourself safe is to follow basic Facebook viewing strategies. Some ideas here to help you know them:

  • Don’t friend people you do not know in any way. If you are recommended a friend by someone then message both parties first to make sure this person is someone you want to talk to or associate with.
  • No not give out personal information such as address, phone numbers, Your Social Security Number
  • Never use the check in function, this may seem harmless, but there may be people you don’t know that see it and realize that you are not home. This opens you up to being robbed if not worse.

In short, you need to use common sense when you use Facebook, not just common sense but use your brain when you post. Like I mentioned in the past Facebook is a good site to connect with but there are still ways that you can be harmed if you are not smart.

Anything you do on Facebook can be looked into by:

  • Law Enforcement if they have a warrant for it
  • Potential employers, or current employers
  • The Court System has and will continue to use Facebook posts as evidence in both legal and minor cases

So let me close this out by saying this, there is no reason the video I briefly spoke of earlier should have been shared by anyone never mind hundreds, if not thousands of people, that was a grave mistake on these posters part. Surely they did it for a good reason, but when you’re dealing with such material you cannot afford to share the video which so much riding on potential legal problems.

The graphic video got over 4,000 likes on facebook according to the Fox report, and I thought that was sickening. But I realize now why it did, it wasn’t the video that got the likes, it was mostly if not exclusively the meaning behind sharing it that got the video likes on Facebook. But even with that said, be careful with what you share because the choices you make may have severe consequences.

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