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Java Flaw Found for Hacker Exploits in Web Browsers

Web security firm FireEye has announced that internet users should disable Oracle’s Java software while utilising web browsers, due to the discovery of an inherent flaw in Java version 7 that allows hackers to gain access to personal computer systems and wreak havoc.

FireEye announced on its blog that the Java hack used the programme to bypass security measures with the specific purpose of spreading malware. On 26 August Atif Mushtaq noted that the exploit appeared to be in its early stages of circulation but that it wouldn’t be long before a wider circle of hackers started to use it:

“It’s just a matter of time that a POC will be released and other bad guys will get hold of this exploit as well.” He said.

Oracle claims that its incredibly versatile programming language runs on no fewer than 3 billion devices worldwide, including millions of smartphones. It is an essential tool for making sites and applications run without the need for developers to write specific code for different operating systems.

Despite its versatility and accessible nature, Java has recently come under scrutiny for its vulnerabilities against hacks such as this, especially in the mobile sector. Increasingly, developers of smartphone applications and games have been offering Java jobs to programming experts to minimise the security risks in using the code in their products.

FireEye also noted with disappointment that Oracle itself had not commented on the discovered security flaw and had made no attem

pt to discuss the possibility of an emergency patch to plug the breach. The Java creator announced recently that it would be moving to quarterly fixes for the programme, meaning that users shouldn’t expect a scheduled update until October this year.

Another cyber security firm, Rapid7, claims that it wouldn’t matter how speedy Oracle’s response is, there is still a significant amount of danger inherent in this new exploit. The company claims that even when known security issues are announced and updates are issued to combat it, only 35% of users will actively install these updates. The majority of users will simply assume that the problem will not affect them or will ignore the security threat entirely. Rapid7 reported that even among the users who do choose to update, nearly half of them take around 60 days to do so, which is plenty of time for malicious hackers to access their unprotected system.

Even though Oracle’s response to the situation has been underwhelming thus far, the company has shown signs that it is taking the issue of cyber security more seriously. Presumably hoping to avoid similar bad press for Java, more Oracle jobs dealing with the programming language have become available as the technology firm tries to shore up its vulnerabilities.

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Why well targeted online advertising benefits you

Image © Daniel Afrahim

Firstly, Google doesn’t care about you. I’m sorry, but they really don’t care that you just looked at My Little Pony, watched a cat video on YouTube and then read an article on “10 ways to know if you can satisfy a woman”. Google deals with vast amounts of data about billions of people worldwide. All they care about is trying to show you an ad to something you might like to buy.

It seems most people neglect the fact that much of this “personal” information which companies use, mostly purely to help advertisers show more relevant ads. Like it or not this is vital to everyone involved, and here’s why…

In the online advertising chain there are usually 4 main parties:

Company with product/service they want to sell  ->  Advertising Agency -> Website Owner -> You

In an ideal situation, all of these people – Yes, you included – benefit from GOOD and well targeted online advertising.

Companies want to spend their advertising budget in the most effective way possible, they want to know that their ad $$ are going to showing the people who might actually want their products their ads. There really is no point showing Men an advert for Tampons for example.

Because of this companies want the advertising agencies they use to target their ads at their products target market as effectively as possible, so that their money is spent showing their ads to people who are more likely to click & buy.

It’s then the advertising agency, like Google AdWords/Adsense job to try to show that ad to people who might actually buy it.

They do this through a variety of means, in the case of Google this includes things like what you search for and perhaps even the sites you look at. This helps them build up an idea of what kind of person you are and the types of things you like.

For example if you were just searching for something like “Nokia Lumia 800” and then clicked on GeekTechBlog.com and read our review on the Nokia Lumia 800 it would make sense for Google to then show you an advert to buy it.

If you read our review and thought, yes this does indeed sound like a fantastic phone I’ll buy it! Click the advert and buy the phone from the retailer you have then experienced useful relevant advertising.

In this process you have also helped the website owner as they can then earn money from the advertising agency for displaying the advert to you and is able to make some money which will likely help to pay for the expensive servers, domains and content producers required to run the site.

Without this ad revenue many site owners simply couldn’t afford to provide their content/sites/services for free to the end-user.

At the end of the day this is one of the small trade-offs of using the internet, and in reality the better it works the less you see pointless adverts and the more you see things you actually want to buy and this can only be a good thing.

I’m interested to hear your thoughts, so please do share them in the comments.

What would you do with $97.7 Billion Dollars?

Apple Inc has a lot of cash, it’s now the biggest public company in the world with ridiculously huge revenues from all the massively over-priced products brought by their mindless Apple fanboys… Not that I’m bias. But they now have a dilemma, they have a huge pile of cash and need to spend it (lucky them eh?). What would you do with $97.7 billion dollars? Let us know in the comments below.

Tom’s Weekly Rant: Why the internet needs to be governed.

 

Society relies upon a system of governing in order to maintain control and peace. Notably, this is something the internet lacks and instead relies upon physical governing. Needless to say, this creates problems where physical legislation simply doesn’t apply to virtual issues. (Superinjunctions anyone?)

So it’s all good and well saying that users of the internet need to be held to account regardless of anonymity, but who actually wants to be regulated on a network that is designed to promote freedom of speech? The foundations of the internet were of course based upon ‘net neutrality’ and the theory that everything online is equal and cannot be owned (YEAH RIGHT MURDOCH!), and is hypothetically collectively owned. Clearly, this no longer applies thanks to the like of News Corp whom formally own MySpace, Times Online, the Sun, and the Washington Post, not to mention Fox; all with their own independent websites. Now, that’s fine that they own these various groups, just as long as they’re controlled effectively. Last week for instance Fox’s Twitter was hacked resulting in the ‘R.I.P Barack Obama’ tweet, with no one being held to blame. If someone had hijacked CBS’s studios and said the same thing, you can bet the CIA would be round in 10 (Kettle on in 15). Just yesterday, Skype and Facebook announced a joint video chat venture which saw instantaneous sharing of information between the two companies at YOUR expense. In reality, this is totally illegal, under no circumstance could the likes of Microsoft sell your data to Intel if the two started manufacturing Windows PC’s together, without your consent.

But, who would implement internet law, when the internet is controlled by said groups? Government. Well, at least partially the government. Now I say partially, as the government has close ties to the likes of media moguls like Murdoch. In fact, the first person British PM Cameron met with upon becoming Prime Minister was Murdoch. Suspicious? Not really, it’s always going to be an elitist system. Importantly, when I say government; I mean the likes of world governing bodies such as the UN or EU (UN is more favourable). It would be relatively easy to enter it into the Declaration of Human Rights, considering that May saw the introduction of internet access as a Human right.

Okay, so we’ve established why and who, but how? How’s the most tricky based purely upon the anonymous nature of the internet, which in turn means that the likes of average Joe can pretend to be Paris Hilton on Twitter, claiming that they’ve been killed in a car crash with 50 Cent. There effectively needs to be 1 main category to protect users online,  importantly the removal of identity protection. As the internet continues to become an everyday part of society, surely the veil should be removed? Yes. Usage of actual names, in a similar fashion to Facebook; not for instance Drop Dead Darcy on Xbox LIVE (Yes, that is my tag). Now, the reason I put the anonymity issue as number 1 is purely because it’s the foundation of everything. For instance, anonymity results in the protection of individual users from online persecution. Because people can hide their identities, they have an ability to free roam, which results in piracy, paedophilia and other illegal actions.

Now, you might be wondering why I’ve only included this almighty one pillar of law, when the likes of say the US Constitution has 27 separate pillars, so to speak. The internet was never meant to be governed; Bill Gates once said had they known about the security threat the internet poses, they would never have promoted it in the way they did. As such, I don’t think it’s moral to place limitations on the internet based upon this. It’s a infinite index of everything, and to an extent should not be aggressively policed, unless you’re China. That being said, there of course is a huge concern in terms of online grooming, and general illegal activities, which can easily be thwarted if the removal of avatars was introduced.

After all, you don’t visit Whetherspoons, booking a table under the name OrkRaid99; do you?