Friday, February 20, 2015

7 reasons friends unfollow you on Facebook

Facebook, the social network that everyone from your kids to your grandparents loves, isn't always easy to maneuver. In the third installment of our four-part Social Media Rules of Engagement series,'s Matt Kapko shares advice on how to be a responsible Facebook citizen.

One of the best, and most important, things about social media is that there are no hard and fast rules. Social media is what you make of it, and there's no right or wrong way to use it. 
However, some social networks are better suited for certain activities than others. Facebook has 1.39 billion monthly active users, and 890 million of them use the platform every day. At the close of 2014, 745 million daily active users were on mobile devices.
It's difficult to convey in words just how massively popular and important Facebook is around the world. Unfortunately, though your parents, grandparents and maybe even great grandparents are on Facebook, the social network isn't always simple to use or intuitive.
Let's face it, Facebook asks a lot from us, and it's about time we ask for more from our fellow users. On that note, here are our Facebook rules of engagement. 
(Editor's note: This story is the third installment of a four-part series. Read the first entry for Instagram here and the second entry for Twitter here. A similar story on LinkedIn is coming soon.) 

Don't Overshare or 'Like' Everything, Please

If you're using Facebook as your primary online photo-storage locker, you're almost certainly oversharing. If you post on Facebook multiple times each day, about anything and everything that comes your way, you're also very likely oversharing. And that's bad.
You should try to be considerate of people's time, and understand that you don't have to Like or share everything you read or see on Facebook. Try to be at least a little mysterious, and before you hit Like or share, take an extra second to reconsider the value of that post.
Nobody signs up for Facebook and accepts Friend request to live vicariously through their connections. Share what strikes your fancy on Facebook, and Like whatever matters to you, just try to be selective and don't beat people over the head with it.

Don't Tag (or Poke) Me, Bro

This one should be self-explanatory, but unfortunately, for many folks it isn't. Nine times out of 10, your Friends simply won't want to be tagged in photos you post on Facebook, especially if those images are even slightly risqué. If you have any reservations at all about posting an image, or suspect Friends in the photo might have some, don't do it. 
Tagging photos lets your Friends know you either posted a photo of them or more likely just think there's something they absolutely must see. I get it, and there's some value there. However, by tagging Friends you actually associate their Facebook profiles with your content, and that means it could show up in Friends' timelines and who knows where else. 
I'll be honest, I have no clue what Facebook's poke feature is all about. A virtual tap on the shoulder followed by … absolutely nothing? So, I'm begging you, please do not tag or poke people. It comes off as silly and rude, even if that was not your intention.

Don't Invite Me to Your Event or Ask Me to Like Your Page

Call me antisocial, but chances are I won't be going to your upcoming event or Liking your personal page anytime soon. Perhaps I'm old fashioned, but I think Facebook event invites are impersonal, and they lack sincerity.
If you're throwing a party or celebrating something, please send your friends a text message or write a quick email. You get extra points if you get really crazy and decide to send an actual invitation in the mail. (Yes, people really used to do that.)
I appreciate it when I'm introduced on Facebook to a new nonprofit organization or business that's doing amazing things, and if I was asked to Like their pages, I probably would. However, almost all of the event invites I receive on Facebook are basically spam. I don't want to hear about the club that's being promoted by someone I went to high school with, and I probably won't be able to make the poetry reading you're doing at a cafe in Albuquerque on a Wednesday night. Just leave me, and your other random Friends, out of it.

Set Realistic Expectations on Facebook 

Most people take Facebook way too seriously. It's out of hand, and I wish it would stop, but the fact (and reason why the site's so popular) is people are needy and Facebook has a special way of making everyone feel important. There's nothing wrong with that, unless you get angry or sad when something you share on Facebook doesn't receive as many Likes or comments as you expected.
Where did all these high expectations on Facebook come from anyway? Stop looking for love in all the wrong places, or in this case, the wrong profiles. Instead, log out of Facebook, then call someone who cares about you as much as you care about them.
Also, Facebook generally isn't a great place to cry out for help, seek verification or redemption.

Keep Facebook Group Chats Relevant (and to a Minimum)

Group discussions on Facebook can be fun, productive and enlightening. However, your Friends do not want to be notified every time one of the 85 people you invite to a group chat posts a comment. Those Friends probably know only five other people on the thread, anyway.
Don't mix your circles of family, friends and colleagues into group conversations. Keep your group chats relevant, purposeful and, most important, to a minimum.

Avoid Controversy on Facebook

Debating politics on Facebook is already some sort of pastime, which quite honestly pains me. We owe ourselves, and our Friends, a better sense of decorum on Facebook. 
Be a good Facebook citizen and avoid posting opinions on politics, if you can help it. Also avoid religion while you're at it. This is an unfortunate "rule," because Facebook is all about the free flow of ideas. However, I rarely read intelligent or meaningful conversations on Facebook about anything that's even semi-controversial. It's only going to get worse as the presidential election cycle heats up later this year and throughout 2016.

Don't Be an @$$#*!~ 

The most important rule on Facebook — and any other social network, really — is simple: don't be an @$$#*!~.
You don't always have to be nice, but you can get your point across on Facebook without being mean, calling people disparaging names or posting hurtful things.
This story, "7 reasons friends unfollow you on Facebook" was originally published by CIO.

Apple Patents A VR Headset For iPhone

Apple has been awarded a patent by the USPTO (via AppleInsider) for a head-mounted virtual reality set that uses an iPhone as the display and computing component. The patent describes something similar to both Google Cardboard and Samsung’s Gear VR, but with an insert built specifically to accommodate an iPhone, and with an optional remote that could be used to control the VR experience without having to deal with headset- or phone-based inputs.
Apple’s original patent application dates back to 2008, meaning it has been considering the worth of such a project since long before either Gear VR or Cardboard was announced. The patent still works in a very similar manner, however, and includes provisions for using the iPhone screen as the screen for the VR as well as designs which would include docking electronics in the VR headset that could dictate a mode shift on the iPhone to switch to VR content display.

In the detailed description of the invention, Apple stipulates different accessories and hardware features that could be built into its headset, including spare batteries for more power, physical control inputs including buttons, switches and touch-enabled surfaces, a cooling system and even additional on-board memory for media storage.
While third-parties have been eager to try to create a Cardboard-like system for use with the iPhone, including the Zeiss VR One, the Pinc VR headset and variants on Cardboard created by third-party accessory makers like DODOcase, Apple building its own unit would likely exceed all of these in terms of stability and software support.
On the other hand, Apple hasn’t shown much interest in exploring VR tech thus far, and aprofile of  Apple design chief Jony Ive from this past weekend revealed that the company considered eyewear but went for the wrist with the Apple Watch instead as its first foray into wearable tech. The patent indicates that Apple has considered VR and how it relates to its mobile devices, but that’s probably as far as things will progress, at least for the foreseeable future.

Zuckerberg talks connectivity, another billion users and working with Google

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he's OK with losing money on, that the company could pick up another 1 billion users by 2020 and he would consider working with Google to extend Internet connectivity around the world.

In an interview on Bloomberg Television's Studio 1.0 scheduled to air tonight, (The episode will be live streamed at 8:30 ET), Zuckerberg addressed Facebook's efforts to bring the Internet to the two-thirds of the world's population not yet connected.
"When people are connected, we can just do some great things," Zuckerberg said. "There are all these studies that show that in developing countries, more than 20% of GDP growth is driven by the Internet. There have been studies that show if we connected a billion more people to the Internet, 100 million more jobs would be created, and more than that would be lifted out of poverty."
Internet connectivity should be a right and not a privilege, he said.
"The Internet is how we connect to the modern world, but today, unfortunately, only a little more than a third of people have access to the Internet at all," he toldBloomberg. "Connectivity just can't be a privilege for people in the richest countries. We believe that connecting everyone in the world is one of the great challenges of our generation, and that's why we are happy to play whatever small part in that that we can."
While connecting billions more people to the Internet would affect worldwide education, communication and economics, it also would bring more people into Facebook's user base.
When asked if Facebook could double its user base by adding another billion people by 2020, Zuckerberg responded, "We'll see. I think so."
Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, said expanding Internet connectivity around the world would be key to making that happen for what is already the world's largest social network.
"More connectivity is very important -- more for Facebook than for anyone else," Gottheil told Computerworld. "The more people connected, the more valuable Facebook is. Don't you think people from Indonesia, the Philippines, Zambia, or Kenya who have moved to developed countries will use Facebook more if they can connect with people back home?"
So how does Facebook plan on making that happen? Like Google, Facebook is looking for new technologies that will bring connectivity to remote and impoverished areas of the world.
In 2013, Facebook started talking about, a collaborative effort between the social media company and telecommunications providers to offer free or inexpensive Internet access.
The project includes developing inexpensive smartphones, enhancing network capabilities and creating new connectivity services, and Zuckeberg conceded "we’ll probably lose a bunch of money."
"We probably won’t offset it by making much," he said. "But there’s this mission belief that connecting the world is really important, and that is something that we want to do."
Facebook isn't alone in its efforts. Online rival Google last year bought solar-powered drone maker Titan Aerospace in an effort to find an innovative ways to bring online access to those unconnected. Google also is testing high-altitude balloons to deliver Internet access.
In his interview with Bloomberg, Zuckerberg said he's open to working with Google in their efforts.
"Yeah, our team is in contact with them frequently, and I talk to a number of folks over there," he said. "When we launched in Zambia, Google was actually one of the services that was in the suite, and that's valuable. In addition to health services and education, jobs and different government services and communication tools, people need to be able to search and find information.
"And whether we work with Google or others on that in all of these other countries, I think that is an important thing," he added. "I'd love to work with Google. They are a great search product."
He also noted that Facebook is working on using drones, satellites and communications lasers for connectivity.
This story, "Zuckerberg talks connectivity, another billion users and working with Google" was originally published by Computerworld.

5 top tips and secrets for Windows 10

Trying out Windows 10 and want to get more out of it? Try out these top five tips and secrets for the new operating system.

Tell Cortana to keep her hands off your data
Cortana can be an exceptionally useful personal assistant -- but she can only be helpful if she has access to your data. And you may prefer less help from Cortana and more privacy.
To tell Cortana to keep her hands off of some of your data, click in the search bar in the taskbar, and then click the menu button at the top left of the screen that appears -- it looks like three horizontal lines. Select Settings and look for the setting "Delete tracking info such as flights and packages, in emails on my device." Move the slider to On.
Become a command line master of the universe
Remember the command line, that bare C: against a black, empty screen? If you're were willing to delve into its mysteries, it gives you quite a bit of power.
Windows 10 gives the command line new powers. But you'll need to turn them on. To do it, type cmd in the search bar, then click its icon that appears. That launches the command line. Now right-click its title bar and select Properties-->Experimental. You'll find all kinds of new tools, such as being able to copy and paste inside it with the usual Windows keyboard shortcuts Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V. You can do other things as well. Try them out.
Use the new keyboard shortcuts
Some people hate keyboard shortcuts, some people love them. I'm a big fan. If you are too, you'll be pleased to hear that Windows 10 has several new ones. To snap a window to the left or right of the screen, or re-center it if it's on the side of the screen, use the Windows Key-Left Arrow shortcut combo or Windows Key-Right Arrow shortcut combo. The Windows Key-Tab opens us Task View to show all of your running windows. There are also shortcuts for controlling virtual desktops. For a list of all the new ones, go to Brandon LeBlanc's Blogging Windows post. (Note: It's an official Microsoft blog.)
Move programs between virtual desktops
Virtual desktops are among my favorite new Windows 10 features. If you like them as well, you'll also like this tip: You can move programs between one virtual desktop and another. To do it, when you're running multiple desktops, go to Task View by pressing the Windows Key-Tab combo. Right-click the app that you want to move from one virtual desktop to another, select Move To, then move it to the desktop where you want it to go.
Turn off interactive feedback prompts
As you use Windows 10, every once in a while a prompt will appear, asking you to provide feedback about a feature you've been using. Microsoft uses this feedback from the more than 2 million people using the Windows 10 Technical Preview to determine what to change in future Windows 10 versions.
Don't like those prompts? You can turn them off completely, or have them bother you less frequently. To do it, select Settings from the Start menu, then select Privacy --> Feedback. Click the down button underneath "Microsoft should ask for my feedback" and select Never to turn feedback off completely, or choose another selection to change the frequency with which it asks you questions.
This story, "5 top tips and secrets for Windows 10" was originally published byITworld.

Microsoft adds business features to Outlook for iOS, Android

Microsoft on Tuesday updated Outlook for iOS and Android with several features important to enterprises.
The update made good on a promise to quickly begin adding tools formerly found only in Outlook Web App (OWA), the two-year-old Microsoft program used by corporate employees to retrieve email and appointments on their smartphones and tablets.
Outlook for iOS and Android launched three weeks ago as the replacement for OWA. At the time, Microsoft said it would refresh the app every few weeks and pledged to beef up Outlook with IT-necessary features currently found only in OWA.
At some point, Microsoft will retire OWA and it will be pulled from the Apple App Store and Google Play.
The biggest addition to Outlook Tuesday was PIN locking, which lets enterprise administrators require that mobile devices be locked with a passcode if they're used to grab business email, calendar appointments and other information.
Microsoft said it piggybacked onto iOS's device-level PIN locking rather than add an app-specific PIN, saying that the latter would have required entering a pair of passcodes, calling that "cumbersome." Device-level locking also let Microsoft take advantage of Touch ID, the fingerprint-scanning feature on iPhone 5S and later, as well as iOS 8's built-in encryption, which encrypts all Outlook data stored on the device.
The Android version of Outlook also relies on device-level locking, but unlike the iOS edition, will enforce corporate policies regarding password length and complexity, and the maximum number of allowable unlock attempts before wiping the phone.
Microsoft said that the tools Apple makes available to third-party developers does not allow it to set password length and complexity requirements on Outlook for the iPhone and iPad.
The Redmond, Wash. developer also said it reduced the time necessary for a remote wipe of Outlook, and added support for IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol), letting the app sync messages with services like AOL and Comcast.
Next up on Microsoft's Outlook agenda for enterprises: Support for the company's Intune mobile device management platform, one of the pillars of its mobile monetization strategy, and a migration from Amazon Web Services (AWS) -- where the messages are currently stored -- to Microsoft's own Azure cloud service.
As with other Office apps for iOS and Android, Outlook is free to use for non-commercial purposes. Only subscribers to business-grade Office 365 can use Outlook for work-related tasks.
Outlook for the iPhone and iPad can be downloaded from Apple's App Store; theAndroid version is available on Google Play.

Outlook on iOS now supports enterprise device locking policies; if a users business requires a PIN, one must be created before syncing messages from an Exchange or Office 365 account.

This story, "Microsoft adds business features to Outlook for iOS, Android" was originally published by Computerworld.

Unity 8 And Mir Undergo Necessary Improvements, To Be Implemented In Both Mobile And Desktop Platforms

Both Mir and Unity 8 are still in the pipeline to become default desktop utilities, but still developers always prefer making important updates to them. According to a new progress report, both Mir and Unity 8 have undergone several improvements recently.

Most of the Ubuntu users are familiar with Mir and Unity. While Mir is a new display server developed by Canonical for next-generation Ubuntu systems, Unity 8 is the new desktop environment that will replace the current generation soon. Mir will be used in new Ubuntu for phones and the upcoming Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. The differences between the current X display server and Mir, and between Unity 7 and Unity 8, are not so big and the overall experience will remain almost the same.

Both Mir and Unity 8 are quite interesting stuff and it will be really interesting to see how both of them work on the desktop. Unity 8 and Mir are already working on Ubuntu for phones for some time but both the components will take some time to reach the desktop version. Actually, the desktop is a complex platform with so many variable and hardware variations.

As mentioned on the changelog of the latest updates, Canonical's Kevin Gunn writes, "Work around unity8 for desktop config including listening for devices (like keyboard/mouse), remembering window size/placement. Full shell rotation feature branches being maintained & still getting automated testing in place (some illness slowed us down). Time spent on preparing for design team sprint for future of dash (navigation) and proper prompts/dialogs, meeting happening this week.”

Most of the latest updates are applicable to both the mobile and desktop platforms. For more details about the latest improvements in Mir and Unity 8, check the official mailing list.

Ubuntu 15.04 Likely to Adopt GTK+ 3.16 With Several Fixes

 Ubuntu developers are working on the 15.04 version of the operating system and some interesting changes have been made so far. The developers will probably adopt GTK+ 3.16, though it was not meant to be.

Ubuntu developers are quite particular with the packages they choose for their system. Till Ubuntu 14.10, many GNOME packages belonged to the 3.10 branch, which are quite old by now. Then in the upcoming Ubuntu 15.04, finally some progress has been made as the 3.14 branch is getting updated. These are not the vanilla packages from GNOME and they are customised to suit the specific Ubuntu profile and its requirements.

Well, having the latest packages from GNOME means certain advantages will be utilised too, just like the latest GTK+ integration. But still Ubuntu developers need to tweak the packages so that they function properly. Some important modifications are also necessary and GTK+ is the most interesting among them. Though adoption of GTK+ 3.16 is interesting enough, developers realised that it would have created many problems that could not have been fixed in due time.

According to a Debian and Ubuntu developer, Iain Lane, "We're thinking about having the released version of GTK3 in 15.04 be 3.16, which is the current in-development version to be released towards the end of March. But the main motivation from our side is that it contains an implementation of overlay scrollbars that will allow us to remove our existing GTK module which is becoming harder and taking longer to maintain over time.”

Several other Ubuntu developers pitched in earlier and it was decided that it would not be a great idea. After a debate was over, Lane gave this message, "We discussed this switch at the desktop team meeting on Tuesday and the consensus amongst those there is that the issues outweigh the benefits of switching, so for now we prefer to stick with what we have for 15.04." 

Five years later, how is the Oracle-Sun marriage working out?

Five years and two weeks ago, I was herded into a massive conference hall in Oracle's giant Redwood Shores towers with a bunch of reporters, analysts and Oracle customers. It was celebration day for Oracle. After nine painful months of delays thanks to the DoJ and European Commission, its acquisition of Sun Microsystems was approved.
Ellison had wanted a hardware/software integrated stack for a long time, and this gave him what he wanted. Now, his Exadata and Exalogic servers would be produced by Sun and not partners HP and Fujitsu. Even better, he could offer a turnkey system with Oracle software pre-installed and fully integrated.

Oracle made a lot of promises, the most around MySQL. The European Commission held up the merger for months because of interference by the likes of Richard Stallman and Ralph Nader purely over concerns of support for MySQL, which was such a miniscule part of the business. Meanwhile, Sun lost $100 million a month in declining sales while it was held in limbo.
Ellison and Oracle made numerous promises around Sun hardware, Java and MySQL. How have the products fared in that time? Let's take a look.
1) Support for MySQL.
In December of 2009, Oracle made 10 commitments to MySQL, ranging from development promises to licensing promises to openness. I'm not really up on the database world, but one database developer feels Oracle has kept many of its promises and did some good things, like adding headcount to the QA department. In the end, though, its mere ownership of MySQL was enough to kill it because people would avoid it via association.
The one thing the writer didn't get into, and I think is a valid case, is the massive shift to unstructured data and Big Data analytics and the rise of NoSQL. After all, the anti-Oracle community forked MySQL just prior to the acquisition to create MariaDB but I still hear very little about MariaDB these days. It's a NoSQL/Hadoop world now.

2) Focus on high-end hardware
From the beginning, Larry said he had no interest in the commodity server market and would phase out Sun's many product lines in favor of very powerful, high end machines. He has certainly kept that promise. The specs on SuperClusters and what are known as engineered appliances like Exadata and Exalogic are off the charts.
Ellison must have seen the writing on the wall for commodity servers. Server unit shipments from 2010 to 2014 are even, according to Gartner, which means at best, servers are being replaced but no new ones are being deployed. Virtualization means you buy one server in place of 10, and the cloud means you dump your servers entirely like many companies are doing. The only people buying commodity servers these days are cloud providers like Amazon, Microsoft and Google, and they are more likely to build their own than buy.
So while Oracle has hardware unit sales in the hundreds or thousands, it's not losing all that much ground dollar-wise because its systems are so decked out. In Sun's last full fiscal year of 2009, it reported hardware sales and support of $6.7 billion. In Oracle's last fiscal year ended June 2014, hardware sales and support was $5.3 billion. But its unit sales have plunged. Cisco, a company associated with networking, has replaced Oracle in the top five of Gartner's server vendors for unit shipments.
Oracle has focused on using its appliances and engineered systems as turnkey products where the OS, database, middleware, applications, Java and everything else the customer needs or wants is pre-installed and fully integrated. Just plug and go. That smacks of the mainframe days but in some cases that's exactly what some people want.
3) Sparc or x86
With the x86 getting more and more features and functions as those found in mainframes, it has slowly pushed its way up the server stack, from departmental to mission critical jobs. Its gain has been RISC's loss, as Sun's Sparc, HP's PA-RISC, IBM POWER and Intel's own Itanium have lost ground.
HP abandoned PA-RISC for Itanium which is for all intents and purposes, dead. IBM is sticking with POWER after selling its x86 server business to Lenovo. And Sparc? Well, Sun hung in there until the end, but Oracle isn't exactly breaking its back to support or advance it. Most of the engineered systems and appliances are x86.
Sun delivered roadmaps on Sparc development back in 2010 and 2011 but has increasingly fallen behind on delivery. It has delivered on the T-Series and M-Series processors in 2011 and 2012 but since then the roadmap is emptying and the release dates are widening. Part of the problem may be that sales simply don't justify funding further development.
4) Solaris
This is even more depressing. Oracle abandoned OpenSolaris, the experimental open source version of the OS almost immediately, thus ending that experiment. Solaris 11 came out in 2011 and since then there has only been two point releases.
Instead, Oracle has put its emphasis on Unbreakable Linux, its own version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. All of the engineered systems come with it, and Oracle ported DTrace, one of the more notable features of Solaris, to Unbreakable Linux.
5) Java
It wasn't very long after the merger that James Gosling, the inventor of Java, bailed from Oracle along with a lot of other Sun folks. It was no surprise. The culture clash had to be jolting for people like the laid-back Gosling and others.
It's been rough sailing for Java, and blame cannot be laid at the feet of Oracle. It has spent years cleaning up the mess of Java code and its endless parade of critical bugs that got so bad, a security group at Carnegie Melon and funded by the US Department of Homeland security recommended uninstalling Java unless you absolutely needed it.
This has distracted Larry's troops from delivering on new product. Java SE 7 came out in 2011 and Java SE 8 shipped in 2014, a fairly long gestation. Only one version of Java Enterprise Edition, version 7, has shipped since the merger. Java EE 8 isn't expected to ship until sometime in late 2016.
That said, Oracle has been quite good at listening to other JCP partners, especially IBM. Oracle has two very ambitious projects, Project Jigsaw, designed to make Java scale down to smaller devices, and Project Lambda, which seeks to add multicore support to Java 8.
The perception is that Java is in trouble. In reality, Oracle has put a lot of effort into it, it's a central piece of its Fusion product line and turnkey servers, and the editor of Dr. Dobb's Journal noted a few years back that "If Java Is Dying, It Sure Looks Awfully Healthy."
Sun was a mismanaged company. That's often why companies get bought out in the first place. Jonathan Schwartz was the wrong man for the job and made some very poor decisions, like spending $1 billion to buy MySQL, a $50 million company at the time, and putting all his efforts into open sourcing Sun software while sales were on a steady downward spiral.
Oracle brought some discipline and focus that was badly needed. The Silicon Valley has a rep for casualness in the workplace, but Oracle is more like Intel, Apple and Nvidia. It's a tough place to work and no one just punching a clock there. You better be on your A-game daily because the boss still shows up every day despite being 70 years old and worth billions. He could be cruising the world on that battleship he calls a yacht and enjoying the easy life. Instead he's still in the game. The Sun culture was not like that and I'm not surprised a lot of people left.
Oracle is making the most of an old-time Silicon Valley company whose time had come and gone. Sun sold servers. A lot fewer people buy servers at all these days, or they buy few compared to before. Had Oracle not bought it, Sun could have easily withered and died and hardware vendors like IBM, HP and EMC would have fought over its IP.
Sun lives on in a different form, but whether it is delivering to the bottom like as Larry has promised is still debatable.
This story, "Five years later, how is the Oracle-Sun marriage working out?" was originally published by ITworld.

World's Most Popular Hard Drives Infected By Spying Software: Kaspersky Report

 The U.S. National Security Agency has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives, which are made by manufacturers like Western Digital, Seagate and Toshiba, among many others. In this way the agency can spy on majority of the computers worldwide, according to cyber-security experts and researchers.

Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based security software maker, has exposed a series of such spying programmes. As per the Lab, personal computers in 30 countries are infected with one or more of the cyberespionage operations from the West. Most of the infections could be found in Iran, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria. The targets include government and military institutions, telecom companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media and Islamic activists.

The firm has declined to name the company in public which is conducting the spying programme. But it said that it's closely linked to NSA-led Stuxnet, that was used to attack Iran's uranium enrichment unit. A former NSA employee has also confirmed that the Lab's reports are absolutely correct. NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines said that the agency is also aware about the Lab's report but declined to comment about it in public. The technical details of the programme was published on Monday and with the help of it, infected institutions can now detect spying programmes.

The revelation could affect NSA's surveillance abilities and could lead to a backlash against Western technology in countries like China. Kaspersky says, the spies figured out how to install a malicious software in firmware that launches everytime a computer is switched on. The disk drive firmware is observed by spies. The vulnerable disk drives are manufactured by Western Digital Corp, Seagate Technology Plc , Toshiba Corp, IBM, Micron Technology Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. Among these companies, Western Digital, Seagate and Micron had no knowledge of these spying programs, Toshiba and Samsung denied to comment and IBM also didn't not respond to requests for comment. 

Sony To Launch SmartEyeglass On 10 March, Pre-Orders Going On!

 Japanese electronic giant, Sony, has decided to enter the smart eyeglass technology segment. The company has started taking orders for manufacturing SmartEyeglass Internet-linked eyewear. The company has taken a smart move as the demand for wearable gadgets is growing.

SmartEyeglass can be paired with a smartphone to superimpose the text, images and other information on the eyewear. Company is working on entirely new version of SmartEyeglass for developers, which will be available in United States, Japan, United Kingdom and Germany on 10 March for $840. In Europe, the SmartEyeglass will cost 670 euros plus taxes. The enterprise version will be shipped later in March in all major European countries.

Sony will release the software development kit for developers to improve user experience of SmartEyeglass. The company is encouraging developers and software enterprises to join hands in development of SmartEyeglass. Sony is planning the commercial release of SmartEyeglass in 2016. Company has target of developing fun and functional apps for SmartEyeglass so that people will be more interested in buying an eyewear gadget.

The official spokesperson from Sony said, “We have predicted the future of wearable devices and we are working on different use-cases to tap skilled developers to improve the user experience of SmartEyeglass", TOI reports. The company has wide vision for the different use cases for eyewear. Sony thinks that there are wide applications of AR (augmented reality) which has great potential in professional and personal use. The smart eye wear can be used to transmit the visual information in different domains.

This is the right opportunity for Sony as Google has taken a step back to reinvent Glass. Google stopped sales of Glass in January. Glass had become widely popular in US in last year. Microsoft has recently revealed its HoloLens eyewear that will rule the virtual reality headwear market in near future.

When You're Hacked in WordPress: Dealing With a Hacked WordPress Site

This post is part of a series called When You're Hacked in WordPress.
One of the worst things that can happen to your website just happened: It's been hacked. Somebody broke into your computer and got passwords, or your passwords were weak, or somebody exploited a security vulnerability caused by WordPress or your hosting provider, or something else happened that let a hacker hack your website...
What do we do now? It's not the time to feel sorry for yourself, it's time to take action and bring back your website. Let's go!
It's a good question, and it's got more than one answer, but none of those answers is "because WordPress isn't safe". 
Believe me when I say this: WordPress is one of the most secure platforms on the internet. You can't expect 100% security from any system (even your brain isn't 100% secure—scientists are now able to read or even overwrite thoughts on your brain!). So nobody can talk about total protection, but be sure that WordPress is a lot safer than regular platforms. Why? Because it has a huge developer community that can patch zero-day vulnerabilities on day zero. But, again, you shouldn't even trust yourself when it comes to safety and security.
So, let's answer the question: Why do WordPress websites get hacked? As I said, there is more than one answer:
Because of a security flaw on your server: You probably know that WordPress isn't the only software that runs on your server to generate your web pages. Your server has an operating system which runs important software like PHP, MySQL, a hosting control panel like cPanel, and anything that's necessary to allow software like WordPress to be run. Even the tiniest security flaw in this system can allow a hacker to bring down your website.
Because of a security flaw on your computer or mobile device: Remember the times when you could connect to a computer with Windows XP through a port and without any intervention, even evading those awful "firewalls"? It's not as horrible as it's used to be, but that doesn't mean that your computer, smartphone or tablet is completely safe—again, nothing is 100% safe. More and more viruses and trojans come out every day, targeting iOS, Android, Windows, Linux, OS X and every other operating system. Not only operating systems, but also regular software can cause security problems as well. It doesn't stop there either: You can even reveal your passwords to hackers through unencrypted Wi-Fi connections. Seriously, an evil mind has many options to get to your passwords.
Because of a security flaw on you: You know what I learned in over 15 years? You can take every single precaution on your systems, but if you don't have common sense, you will fail on security. It seems the easiest, but it's actually the hardest thing to do if you want better security: You have to be careful.
Or because of a security flaw on WordPress: Yeah, there's that, too. It happens, a zero-day vulnerability in the core of WordPress could emerge tomorrow and some 15-year-old script kiddie could go on a "hacking spree" and your website could get hacked.
So, what happens when what's done is done? It's time to act to get your website back, of course!
Yes, before everything, take down your website immediately. It's going to be a minor inconvenience if your visitors can't reach your website, but it's going to be adisappointment if your visitors see that your website is hacked. If WordPress is still running, take your website into maintenance mode. If the damage is bigger, just shut down the website and sort things out via your server's control panel.
If you don't know much about server management, ask your hosting provider about this attack: What really happened? What was the main cause—was it WordPress, or was it a PHP flaw that was exploited? If you find out that it's your theme or one of the plugins you installed, delete the file(s) with the vulnerability before anything else.
And save the log files, in case you're going to take legal action.
In times like this, you understand the importance of backing up your files and databases. If you have backups, review them and restore the healthiest one. It's a good idea to restore the last backup, but if you're not sure when the attack took place, you might need to download a bunch of backups and look inside each of them.
When my website got hacked for the first time, my hosting provider told me that it was a plugin file that allowed the hacker to run a "shell script" in my server. Luckily, the hacker was merciful and didn't delete anything on my server (though even if he did, I had backups)—he just put an index.html file in the root folder.
As you can guess, I immediately got rid of the plugin and contacted its author to inform him about the situation. If you find out that it was a theme or plugin vulnerability, you should contact the person who made it and tell them that it caused a hacker attack. If it was a core vulnerability and it's unknown to the community, make sure we (the community) know about this. If you can patch the vulnerability, that's another good thing.
If you don't panic when things like this happen, it will be a lot easier to overcome and fix everything.
  • Take a deep breath.
  • Shut down the server.
  • Review the backups.
  • Restore the latest healthy backup.
  • Get information (and logs) from the server admin.
  • Fix what caused the problem and eliminate the vulnerability.
  • Double-check to make sure everything is all right.
  • Go live again.
Incidents like these teach us to be more careful, so don't read the situation just in a bad way. What's done is done. You (hopefully) succeeded in making things right, and you're ready to move on with more wisdom.
It's an unpleasant experience, I know. But things like this happen all the time, and trying to avoid thinking about it is the worst thing to do. You shouldn't refrain from thinking about the worst case scenario, and you shouldn't refrain from taking precautions.
What did you do when your website got hacked? Tell us what you experienced or what you think in the comments section below. And if you liked the article, don't forget to share it with your friends!
Stay tuned for the next part of this series!