Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Hack puts another 427 million passwords up for sale

In another haunting hack from the past, Time Inc. has confirmed the theft of 427 million passwords from MySpace, the aging social networking site the media company acquired just three months ago.

The records were offered for sale on the dark web by the same hacker who posted for sale a trove of 117 million stolen LinkedIn passwords nearly two weeks ago. The posted price for MySpace credentials is 6 bit coins or about $3,200 at today's rate.

The MySpace incident is tied to a June 11, 2013 hack, according to LeakedSource, while the LinkedIn episode dated back to 2012. LeakedSource is the same web site that confirmed the LinkedIn theft.

The important similarity of these dated incidents lies in the fact that hackers could use these recently posted stolen passwords to break into current accounts of victims who re-use passwords across many sites, including banking and health services.

Read John Fontana's complete article at www.zdnet.com/article/myspace-hack-puts-another-427-million-passwords-up-for-sale/.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

How Mobile Pay Works and Why You Should Use it Now!

You may be on the fence about using mobile pay with your smartphone, but consider this: Mobile pay is safer, can be used in more places now than ever, and can save you money.

Still, you probably have a ton of questions about how mobile pay actually works – like what’s the difference between Apple Pay, the new Samsung Pay, and Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay.

That’s why the PC Mike podcast is happy to bring you one of the industry’s top experts: Silvio Tavares, president and CEO, The CardLinx Association, a nonprofit working to educate all about various forms of electronic payment and loyalty programs. CardLinx recently sponsored a report called “Mobile Wallets 101.”

Tavares and PC Mike Wendland talk about how mobile pay is in the process of changing forever the way goods and services are bought and sold in the U.S. They also discuss, among other things:

  • Why mobile pay services are safer than traditional credit cards 
  • How mobile pay services like Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay work 
  • How retailers like Starbucks use their own mobile pay services – and customers can save money 
  • How banks are allowing customers to use mobile pay 
  • What happens if you lose your phone set to work with mobile pay 
  • Where mobile pay can be used today 
  • Why mobile pay suddenly seems to be so hot now 
  • How mobile pay will change in the next 12-24 months

See veteran technology reporter Mike Wendland's article and listen to his podcast at pcmike.com/pcmike-33-how-mobile-pay-works-and-why-you-should-use-it-now/.

Friday, May 27, 2016

It's official: We now get most of our news from social media

The scale is tipping from traditional media to social media as a source for news. That’s the conclusion reached in a new study published on Thursday by Pew Research Center. 

Pew surveyed over 4,600 people who told them that they’re increasingly using their favorite social media platforms — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and even Snapchat — as their go-to sources for news. According to the study, News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2016, 62% of all Americans now get news from social media.

Read Lance Ulanoiff's complete article at mashable.com/2016/05/26/pew-news-social-media-study/#rskRwGchkgqE.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Thinking about a new smartphone? You should read this!

PayPal drives another nail into Windows Phone and Blackberry coffins.

In February, PayPal launched a new version of its mobile app, 6.0, and it wants iPhone and Android users to upgrade to it until the end of June. Windows Phone, BlackBerry and Amazon Fire users, however, are getting a different message: Paypal is discontinuing the app on these platforms on June 30.

In an announcement post Wednesday, PayPal VP Joanna Lambert explained that Windows Phone users will still be able to access PayPal on the mobile web, through both Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge. Likewise, Amazon Fire and BlackBerry users are advised to switch to the mobile web experience, though the post notes that on BlackBerry, you can continue to use the BBM app to send peer-to-peer PayPal payments.

Read Stan Schroeder's complete article at mashable.com/2016/05/26/paypal-windows-phone-blackberry-support/#0J4NPvF7wiqA.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bill Gates of hell: Windows 10 hijacking computers

Microsoft has turned “nasty” in its campaign to coerce hundreds of millions of customers to upgrade to its Windows 10 operating system, a program critics condemn as privacy-invading, data-swiping and “brimming with freemium services and ads.”

Microsoft has been trying to lure computer users into its new operating system for months, bombarding them with unending pop-up screens. But many users are comfortable with the systems they have, have no interest in learning new operations and have simply clicked the “X” to get rid of the unwanted solicitation.

You can’t do that anymore.

Microsoft changed the coding on the “X” so that clicking it now instructs MS to “upgrade” your computer to Windows 10. Yes, really. [emphasis added]

In fact, the two options on the page, “OK” and “Upgrade Now,” do the same thing as the “X.”

To avoid the forced “upgrade,” a user has to go into the fine print.

Inside a logo box in the ad is a scheduled date for a mandatory upgrade. The user must look in the tiny type just below that line and find where it says “here” and click on that to avoid the upgrade.

Read Bob Unruh's complete article at http://www.wnd.com/2016/05/bill-gates-of-hell-windows-10-hijacks-computers/#5xTsiLl4eVjjPODW.99.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Apps to track your kids and family members

If you want to feel a bit safer about knowing where your kids are when they leave the house this spring and summer, or you want the ability to keep track of your family and friends, a number of apps can make it happen.

Mike Wendland has more details about three apps at http://pcmike.com/apps-track-kids-family-members/.

Monday, May 23, 2016

People are absolutely awful at picking passwords

How good (secure) are your passwords?

We know that people are awful at picking passwords — and the huge hack of LinkedIn confirms it.

The professional social network was breached back in 2012, but it has come back into the news this week as we finally learned the true scale of it: A whopping 167 million accounts were compromised, including 117 million passwords.

The passwords were hashed — encrypting hem so that they can’t be read — but researchers at LeakedSource have been able to decrypt them. Their findings show just how much the same passwords get used over and over (and over and over and over and over) again.

The single most popular password? 123456. That was used by more than 750,000 accounts. In number two is the unimaginative “linkedin” (172,523), followed by “password” (144,458), and “123456789″ (94,214).

The complete article, including the top 49 passwords is available at https://kopitiambot.com/2016/05/20/the-massive-linkedin-hack-proves-that-people-are-absolutely-awful-at-picking-passwords/.

Friday, May 20, 2016

The average age for a child getting their first smartphone is now 10.3 years

This week I ended up with an advance copy of Influence Central’s new report called Kids & Tech: The Evolution of Today’s Digital Natives. The report—which is a subsection from a larger, ongoing study of 500 women across the USA—details findings on the way that kids are using technology and reveals several interesting insights. The highlights include:
  • The average age for a child getting their first smartphone is now 10.3 years
  • Tablets have surged from 26% to 55% usage as kids’ device of choice during car rides. Smartphones trail at 45% (up from 39% in 2012).
  • 64% of kids have access to the Internet via their own laptop or tablet, compared to just 42% in 2012
  • 39% of kids get a social media account at 11.4 years. 11% got a social media account when they were younger than 10.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Your Website Is Your Most Essential Business Tool

Your website is as important to your business as flour is to bread. Why? Because almost everyone–except perhaps your 95-year-old grandmother–uses the internet to find and research businesses. Eighty-five percent of users go online to find you. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in and it doesn’t matter if your business is a one-man show or a large corporate conglomerate–you need a website. It’s your online brochure of who you are, what you do, when you do it, where you do it, and why customers should flock to your business.

The internet is only about 25 years old. The first website, published in 1991, was text only. No graphics–just text. In its infancy, the internet was subject to dial-up, basic HTML, and a limited number of images. We’ve come a long way since then. Now, some websites, such as Pinterest and Instagram, can actually be image-centric.

In the last decade, the device choices of the masses have morphed from beefy desktops to sleek laptops to even sleeker smartphones. Now, Wired is predicting that the smartphone could become the main computing device for most folks by 2017.

Your content-rich, accessible website is the most essential tool in your business arsenal. Make sure it’s professional, user-friendly, visible online, and engaging. Go ahead. Use the full potential of the web to show customers why you’re the best at what you do.

See Matt Morgan's complete article at anewscafe.com/2016/05/17/your-website-is-your-most-essential-business-tool/

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Android Phones Crash at Almost Twice the Rate of iPhones

What type of smartphone do you have? How did you decide? Does crashiness impact your decision?

Luke Dormehl reveals in Cult of Mac some interesting information. Will your next phone change after reading this?

Android handsets crash far more regularly than iPhones, a new study by the Blanco Technology Group claims.

Measuring the number of failures of Android phones and iPhones during the first three months of 2016, devices running Google’s mobile platform were found to have a failure rate of 44 percent, compared to 25 percent for the iPhone.

Despite their status as high-end Android handsets, Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and S5 were found to be the most common Android phones to suffer from system crashes, while on the Apple side the phones most likely to crash were the iPhone 6 and 5s.

“Android’s failure rate was especially high for devices in Asia, which accounted for 55% of Android device crashes globally, up slightly from 50% in Q4 2015,” reads a Business Insider report on the subject, adding that, “This was followed by Europe with 35% and North America with 27%.”

Not only were Android handsets found to be more likely to crash by a large margin, but they were also found to feature a greater number of unstable apps. In fact, “crashing apps” were discovered on almost three-quarters of Android phones, with communication and social media apps being the most likely to cause problems.

Source: www.cultofmac.com/428792/android-phones-crash-at-almost-twice-the-rate-of-iphones/

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Which Browser Do You Use?

Jon Russell at TechCrunch reports that Firefox overtakes Microsoft’s IE and Edge browsers, but Chrome continues to dominate.

Microsoft may have built a new web browser that is befitting of today’s Internet, but the decision to develop Edge and deprioritize Internet Explorer might be benefitting its rivals. That’s according to a new report today from StatCounter, one of the most notable Internet tracking firms, which claims Mozilla’s Firefox browser has overtaken Edge and Internet Explorer on marketshare for the first time.

StatCounter, which takes its data from three million websites which received an estimated 15 billion page views per month, said that, as of April, Firefox represented 15.6 percent of its desktop web traffic globally, fractionally ahead of Internet Explorer and Edge’s cumulative reach of 15.5 percent. 

All three are well behind Google Chrome, which has more than one billion users across all platforms and accounts for over 60 percent of StatCounter’s traffic, but it’s notable that Firefox had trailed the Microsoft browsers in February and March, according to StatCounter’s data. Apple’s Safari and soon-to-be-China-owned Opera are among the also-rans make up the rest of the field.

Please note that StatCounter's data is for desktops only.

The complete article, including graphs to make the numbers more understandable, is located at techcrunch.com/2016/05/17/firefox-overtakes-microsofts-ie-and-edge-browsers-but-chrome-continues-to-dominate/

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Most Addictive Mobile Apps

As you probably expect, Facebook is the most addictive app on mobile – and by a large margin. On average, users use the Facebook app 5.8 days a week, a full day more than almost all the other apps on the list. Maybe that’s no surprise, but what about the rest of the apps on our list?

You might be surprised to find the list isn’t full of the apps that top the store charts. Why is that? Most downloads end up on the last page of your phone’s app screens and stick around like discarded old toys. So what do the apps you actually open every day have in common?

The list provides some interesting insights. Here are a few things we can learn.

  • The most addictive apps give you something new every day
  • If apps don’t revolve around content, they are strong on utility
  • Many of these top used apps are popular with teens
  • Messaging apps make up a fifth of the list
  • Dating apps keep users hooked
  • Fitness apps are actually working
  • Turn-based games top all the games on the list
  • No single company dominates the list

You can see the complete list and more details at www.surveymonkey.com/business/intelligence/addictive-apps/.