Sunday, August 18, 2013

Why You Should Think Twice Before Shaming Anyone on Social Media |

Shaming, it seems, has become a core competency of the Internet, and it’s one that can destroy both lives and livelihoods. But the question of who’s responsible for the destruction — the person engaging in the behavior or the person revealing it — depends on whom you ask. At its best, social media has given a voice to the disenfranchised, allowing them to bypass the gatekeepers of power and publicize injustices that might otherwise remain invisible. At its worst, it’s a weapon of mass reputation destruction, capable of amplifying slander, bullying, and casual idiocy on a scale never before possible. Read more

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

To Prevent Crashes, Your Future Car Will Chat With Other Vehicles |

Get ready for it: Soon your car will keep tabs on you and chat about you with other vehicles. As part of a Department of Transportation study, around 3,000 gossipy vehicles have been tooling around Ann Arbor, Michigan, sending out messages announcing where they are. The goal of the $25 million project, which just wrapped, is to evaluate systems that broadcast data packets called Basic Safety Messages. Around 300 of those autos will also receive messages that tell them the speed and location of every other car within roughly 1,000 feet—if they’re about to rear-end another car in the program, warnings go off. “It’s startling if you’re daydreaming,” says former U.S. secretary of transportation Ray LaHood, who test-drove a study car. (His was specially built, but most of them had aftermarket kits.) Vibrating seats, alarms, and flashing lights kept him in line through blind spots and lane changes. When the system finally hits the streets, it could cut the number of road deaths and injuries — a figure that reached 2.2 million in 2011. “At every opportunity for an accident, technology prevents you from having that accident,” LaHood says. Don’t underestimate us, Mr. Secretary. Sadly, we’ll probably still find a way to crash our cars, no matter how much they yap and yammer. Read more

NSA Snooping Was Only the Beginning. Meet the Spy Chief Leading Us Into Cyberwar |

Inside Fort Meade, Maryland, a top-secret city bustles. Tens of thousands of people move through more than 50 buildings—the city has its own post office, fire department, and police force. But as if designed by Kafka, it sits among a forest of trees, surrounded by electrified fences and heavily armed guards, protected by antitank barriers, monitored by sensitive motion detectors, and watched by rotating cameras. To block any telltale electromagnetic signals from escaping, the inner walls of the buildings are wrapped in protective copper shielding and the one-way windows are embedded with a fine copper mesh. Read more

In the Programmable World, All Our Objects Will Act as One |

In our houses, cars, and factories, we’re surrounded by tiny, intelligent devices that capture data about how we live and what we do. Now they are beginning to talk to one another. Soon we’ll be able to choreograph them to respond to our needs, solve our problems, even save our lives. Read more

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How to clean and secure your browser like a pro | PCWorld

The Internet runs on ads, but when you see them in your browser, your first instinct should be to run the other way—fast. The lion’s share of the Internet is wallpapered with tacky ads that invite you to “Lose 15 lbs. with this 1 weird tip” and load your browser with spyware in the process. In other corners of the Web, you might download a free game or a piece of music from an untrustworthy site, ending up with malicious adware that hitched a ride along with it.

Legitimate sites do a decent job of screening their advertisers, weeding out those that spread viruses, malware, or scams. But even a single instance of malicious adware on your PC can inject bad ads into otherwise innocuous websites. Worse, the adware can change your homepage and redirect your searches and the URLs you try to visit. Read more

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Do cops need a warrant to search your smart phone? | TechHive

You’re driving along the interstate when you see a familiar yet terrifying sight in the rear view mirror: A cop, right on your rear bumper, lights blazing. You pull over to the side of the road and get your license and registration ready. But the cop isn’t so interested in those things. He wants your phone.

Can the cop paw through your smart phone, see who you called, read all your texts and email, check your map locations, and leer at your Snapchat photos without getting permission from a judge?

It all depends on where that road is. If you’re in the deep south or California, the answer is likely to be yes. If you’re in the far Northeast or Florida, the answer is no. And if you’re anywhere else, it’s more or less up to the cop.

Read more

Rogue hotspots can steal your Windows Phone's saved Wi-Fi passwords, Microsoft warns | PCWorld

Microsoft is warning users that their Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 7.8 devices could be easily tricked into revealing login credentials for corporate Wi-Fi access points secured with WPA2 protection. The vulnerability appears to build on a known security weakness in a Microsoft authentication protocol as well as the way Windows Phones connect to WPA2 networks. Read more

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Where do people get those terrible passwords? | PCWorld

Google surveyed 2000 web users to find the most common types of passwords they use. The results aren't really shocking, but strongly suggest it would be really easy to hack into an account for anyone you know. That, and lots of people own pets. Here are the most common things people base their passwords on, according to the Google Apps survey. Read more