Sunday, 10 August 2014

Gmail, Yahoo now make phone number mandatory

Gmail, Yahoo now make phone number mandatory
World’s most popular free email providers Gmail and Yahoo have made telephone number mandatory for creation of new email addresses in a bid to check spam.
Any person wishing to create a new email id needs to provide a telephone number which Gmail and Yahoo use for verification.
Google India spokesperson claimed giving phone number was optional but repeated attempts to create a new email address on Gmail by skipping the mobile number requirement failed.
The Gmail website said that move to seek phone number is to check spam email senders.
“In an effort to protect our users from abuse, we sometimes ask users to prove they’re not a robot before they’re able to create or sign in to accounts. Having this additional confirmation via phone is an effective way to keep spammers from abusing our systems,” the website said.
Google has also limited number of accounts that a person using one telephone number can create but the website did not specify the maximum number of email account it will allow.
While for Gmail a person can give either telephone or mobile number, for a new Yahoo it is now mandatory to have a mobile number.
“At Yahoo, we are committed to the security of our users. We ask our users to provide their mobile number at registration as a secondary means of authentication, in addition to their password. We would only use the number if we see any unusual activity on the account,” Yahoo spokesperson said.
Internet Service Providers Association of India said that there is no regulatory requirement for making telephone number mandatory for having an email address and condemned the move as such practice could expose privacy of an individual.
“This is an attack on user’s privacy. This should not happen. If they (Gmail and Yahoo) are doing such a thing, then this must be recognised by Indian government on how they are collecting phone numbers,” ISPAI President Rajesh Chharia said.
Internet companies have been advocating at global level that there should be no kind of restriction on use of Internet and if there are any regulations on Internet, then the cost associated with compliance of those regulations should be such that it should not check proliferation of Internet usage.
Though number of telecom subscriber is over 90 crore in India, a survey conducted by research firm Juxt in 2013 showed there were only about 55.48 crore people in the country who actually owned a mobile device.
Posted by : Gizmeon

10,000 ZenFone 5 units on sale exclusively via Flipkart today, says Asus

10,000 ZenFone 5 units on sale exclusively via Flipkart today, says Asus
Following the footsteps of Xiaomi, Asus has announced that it will put 10,000 units of its ZenFone 5 smartphone on sale exclusively via Flipkart today. The Zenfone 5 is available in 8GB and 16GB versions, and the company hasn’t specified further break according to the storage space. Currently, the Flipkart page still shows the device is “out of stock” and it’s asking users to insert their email addresses to receive alerts about its availability.
The 8GB variant of the ZenFone 5 is priced at Rs 9,999, while the 16GB storage variant costs Rs 12,999.  The device was launched alongside a slew of other Zenfone models like the Zenfone 4, 4.5, and 6. Last month, the company had claimed to have sold 40,000 Zenfone units in a mere four days in India.
Sitting in between the higher-end Zenfone 6 and low-end Zenfone 4, the dual-SIM Zenfone 5 sports a 5-inch screen.
It features a 1280 x 720 pixel IPS display, and comes with an 8MP rear camera.  There’s the standard 2MP camera for selfies and video calls. It runs on the same 2GHz Intel Atom dual-core processor as on the Zenfone 6, so it should be just as fast. It’s available in both 8GB and 16GB versions and you can add up to 64GB with a microSD card.
Posted by : Gizmeon

You can’t change your Facebook profile page colour, it’s just a scam

You can’t change your Facebook profile page colour, it’s just a scam
One of the oldest scams around Facebook is back and in the form of an app that promises to allow users to change the colour scheme of their profile page. It’s actually just a scam that eventually installs malware on your computer and then spreads it to other PCs in the network.
Facebook has always been blue, so we can understand that people want to change the colour scheme of the UI, just like Twitter automatically changes it from profile to profile. It supposedly lets you pick from nine different colours. However, a Chinese internet security company Cheeta Mobile found that it in fact just downloads malicious software, compromising the account and computer.
Cheeta said that viruses and malware can easily be package in the form of applications on Facebook, which users are all too quick to click on. According to the company, the vulnerability exploited is seen in Facebook’s app page itself, which allows hackers to implant code into Facebook-based applications directing users to phishing sites.
The colour changer app lures users with a tutorial video, which allows attackers access to all user data including photos, friend lists and personal messages. A message also appears alerting users that they have a virus, and offers free anti-virus software, which is in fact just a malicious software.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Mobile phone market is gold mine for hackers

Mobile phone market is gold mine for hackers
Tempted to get a new mobile phone in exchange for your old battered one? Beware! Unethical hackers can crack into every shred of personal information you have on your outgoing gadget.
For cyber criminals and unethical hackers, smartphones procured through exchanges are a catch in terms of getting access to valuable data related to finances and passwords, an expert said here.
“The volume of data one uses on their phones these days is huge and because of accessibility to internet services such as phone banking and e-shopping, data about one’s debit and credit cards, passwords, photographs and videos, everything is available to hackers.
“Even if you delete the data from internal storage or external memory, cyber criminals can retrieve them. Mobile phones are the next big targets for hackers, whether it is an old model or new mobile phone exchanges can lead to disaster,” said Sandeep Sengupta, co-founder and director of the Indian School of Ethical Hacking.
He was speaking at the ICT 2014 organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry. Busting myths, Sengupta said the best precaution one can take is over-write the data instead of deleting.
He said among other things, scamsters resort to cell spoofing (making calls from a cell phone to another without authorisation and knowledge of either owners), SMS and email spoofing and phishing attacks as well.
Fake profiles on social networking sites and frauds due to them are also rampant in India where lack of awareness is a hindrance.
“Top brands like Inox and educational institutions such as Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur etc. are one of the most vulnerable to hacking. “But because they are unaware about how big the threat is they become targets which consequently puts the consumers in perils,” he said.
Sengupta said consumers need to be alert while making online transactions and operating social networking sites. He suggested one should make use of the protective options available.
He said his organisation was training 500 ethical hackers per year to bridge the gap in information security services in India which requires more than 50,000 experts.
Currently, about 37,000 ethical hackers are available.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Google polluting the web with India’s classified info: Report

Google polluting the web with India’s classified info: Report
After registering a Preliminary Enquiry against Google for alleged mapping of classified areas, CBI has sought help of Survey of India which has alleged that the Internet giant continued to “pollute” the web with classified material despite being warned against it.
As the probe continues, Surveyor General of India Swarna Subba Rao alleged that the Internet giant did not refrain from mentioning classified site even after having been asked not to do so.
“During their (Google’s) Mapathon 2013 exercise, they collected lot of classified data and we had approached them to refrain from doing so when we came to know about it,” Dr Rao told PTI from Dehradun.
He said, instead of desisting, Google “polluted the Internet” with the coordinates of classified locations on the map. “They (Google) have expressed their desire to meet me at some hotel but I have been firm of a meeting in office,” he said.
The Survey of India (SoI), the official mapping agency of the country, is the complainant in the case. After initial probe by Delhi Police, the case was handed over to the CBI as the investigation involved a company which is based in the US.
Google had not taken permission from SoI before organising a mapping competition in February-March 2013 in which they asked citizens to map their neighbourhoods, especially details related to hospitals and restaurants.
The CBI registered the PE based on a complaint filed by the Surveyor General of India’s office to the Union Home Ministry, in which it was alleged that Google had been indulging in activities of mapping several areas which were not included in the maps of the country.
Highlighting the violations to the Home Ministry, the SoI said only it was mandated to undertake ‘Restricted’ category surveying and mapping, and no other government or private organisations or individual are authorised to do so.
As per the National Map Policy 2005, “the responsibility for producing, maintaining and disseminating the topographic map database of the whole country, which is the foundation of all spatial data, vests with the Survey of India”.
It was alleged that Google India had launched a nationwide contest and people might have passed on maps and other key details of strategic installations located in other cities and states to the US company, the sources added.
For SoI, it was clarified that the company never took any permission before undertaking the mapping exercise, and from national security point of view, civil and military Vital Areas, Vital Points (VPs) cannot be shown in the map/data published in public domain.
Posted by : Gizmeon

How Xiaomi revamped its China image for an Indian onslaught

How Xiaomi revamped its China image for an Indian onslaught
It’s been just over three weeks since Chinese brand Xiaomi made its grand entry into the Indian market by launching last year’s flagship Mi 3. The company has been grabbing eyeballs right from the word go, hitting headlines and even earning the ire of consumers due to its flash sale model. All in all, it is one of the most talked about brands right now. And all of this it has managed by a simple marketing strategy using its social channels and India’s most popular e-commerce site Flipkart.
Now, this isn’t something new to Xiaomi. It is simply adapting the China marketing and sales strategy for India. The company is known to not spend a penny on advertising and solely relies on announcements made on its social networks. It usually discloses the number of units in a flash sale, and when and where they will be available, and they are swept clean off the shelves within minutes and seconds, as seen previously.
Knowing the not-so-good image of Chinese brands in India, the company has made certain changes. For instance, it has quietly re-branded as Mi, shedding the Chinese name ‘Xiaomi’ that may possibly be a hindrance in creating awareness. A look at the social channels for India, the Flipkart company listing, you will find just ‘Mi’ now. It’s a change necessitated by its plans to take the brand global. In Southeast Asia Xiaomi was a name that could easily get by, but for a global play, the brand needed a new identity. Mi fits in perfectly, and it all starts in India.
The company’s first flash sale began on July 22 and customers had to register to be eligible to participate in the sale. It had received a jaw-dropping 1,00,000 registrations even before the device went up on sale exclusively on Flipkart. However, pre-registration didn’t guarantee’ a unit, and it only meant you were eligible to buy the phone. As soon as the Mi 3 went live on the site, Flipkart couldn’t handle the traffic and the site crashed temporarily. Within 40 minutes, Flipkart claimed the Mi 3 was out of stock, but the site promptly said it would bring in the next batch on July 29 while the registration would begin on July 28.
Interestingly, Xiaomi and Flipkart asked users to register again for the second flash sale that sold out in mere five seconds. The third sale that went live yesterday with 15,000 units in tow, did exceedingly well as Flipkart claims to have sold out the units within 2 seconds. Moreover, customers need to register once again for the next flash sale.
Xiaomi claims that it used its Facebook page fan numbers to gauge the interest, something it even follows in markets like Singapore and others, which is why it’s finding it hard to meet demand. Before sales, the Facebook page only had 10,000 fans according to Hugo Barra, the head of global operations at Xiaomi. The company has stated that it’s working hard to bring more units into the market, but at the moment, the majority of the conversation about the brand is about the lack of inventory and the confusing registration process.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Companies have long sought to adopt eye-catching techniques to find a foothold in the market dominated by the likes of Samsung, Apple, Micromax and other smartphone giants. Motorola struck the right chord in India with an exclusive Flipkart tie-up and Xiaomi has simply followed suit. Each time these devices go out of stock and are back in stock, they tend to create a huge buzz. How often do we see phones launching with huge hype and then just dropping out of the conversation. No chance of that with Xiaomi.
Unlike Motorola, Xiaomi has taken a slightly different approach. It ensures hype is created before every Tuesday, when the phone goes on sale, and has not allowed the conversation to die. Indians might not have lined up for iPhones so far, but for Xiaomi they are making a beeline. It also draws more attention by revealing how its stocks sold out within seconds. In a country like India, wherein it takes more than two seconds to even load a page, the company is hitting headlines about how its stock is sold in couple of seconds. The whole buzz is so intriguing and serves as a crowd puller each week. In no time, there are comparisons drawn with IRCTC, the ‘infamous’ yet essential railway ticket booking site.
It’s kept Xiaomi in the conversation, but this strategy for India could easily back-fire. Xiaomi has an excellent profile of phones, but the whole drama could tarnish its image and also affecting its reputation, which has been great so far based on the Mi 3. For a new entrant trying to form a customer base here, especially considering the growth potential and the saturation of vendors, it better sort out the chinks before it’s too late.
Moreover, if OnePlus One, another imminent Chinese brand with superior specs, manages to nail the price and purchase model, it could further affect Xiaomi’s India dreams. For the moment though, Xiaomi has managed to stay the flavour of the season, even despite the launch of LG G3, possibly the best Android phone released this year.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Wikipedia fights back against Europe’s “right to be forgotten”

Wikipedia fights back against Europe’s “right to be forgotten”
Wikipedia fought back against Europe’s “right to be forgotten” by listing the online encyclopaedia’s articles removed from search results, snubbing a court ruling that allows people to stop personal information appearing under Internet searches.
The Wikimedia Foundation, a nonprofit organisation that runs the free online encyclopaedia, said on Wednesday that it had received notices from search engines affecting more than 50 links to Wikipedia pages.
In its first public statement against the ruling from Europe’s top court in May confirming that people can stop irrelevant or outdated personal information from appearing under searches for their name, the foundation said it would publish each notice for the removal of a link to a Wikipedia page.
“Accurate search results are vanishing in Europe with no public explanation, no real proof, no judicial review, and no appeals process,” wrote Lila Tretikov, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation on its blog.
“The result is an Internet riddled with memory holes — places where inconvenient information simply disappears.”
The “right to be forgotten” has divided experts and pitted privacy campaigners against defenders of free speech, who argue that the ruling will lead to people whitewashing their past.
However, search engines are required to take into account the public’s interest in knowing certain information about famous or public figures when evaluating removal requests, and the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) said a balance must be struck between the freedom of information and privacy.
Also, the person requesting that the link be removed is not necessarily the one named in the article, but could be one whose name appears in the comment section.
“The disclosure of the link alone is not too helpful as you have no idea what name on the page asked for link to come down,” said Lilian Edwards, a professor of Internet law.
Wikimedia had received five notices affecting over 50 links across the British, Italian and Dutch versions of Wikipedia by Wednesday, it said.
Google, which handles around 90 percent of searches in Europe, had received over 90,000 requests under the right to be forgotten by July 18 and was accepting over half of them.
The search engine giant has been criticised for notifying publishers that a link to their website has been removed, a method that can draw unwanted attention to the page in question and feed speculation over who made the request.
“Our concern is that these notifications generate a lot of confusion, and in some ways undercut the request itself by bringing people’s names back into the open,” Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, who heads France’s privacy watchdog and the WP29 group of EU national data protection authorities, said in an interview with Reuters.
Google says it is necessary to ensure transparency and already notifies the owners of websites that are removed from search results because of copyright infringements.
Wikimedia said it was posting the removal notices in the interests of free speech and transparency.
Posted by : Gizmeon

With the new update, Foursquare can track users even when the app is closed

With the new update, Foursquare can track users even when the app is closed
Earlier this year, Foursquare disclosed its big plans to split into two apps – one will focus purely for discovering places while the other for finding what their friends are up to. Now, in its revamped mobile app, one may find a really creepy feature. It is believed to track users even when they are not using the app.
A report by The Wall Street Journal brings to light Foursquare permissions that are extremely intrusive. The new update now allows Foursquare to keep a track of your whereabouts as soon as you install it. As long as your phone is running, the device will track your movements.
Earlier, Foursquare required users to give its app the necessary permission to turn on location-tracking, but now users need to change a setting within the app if they don’t wish to be tracked.
Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley explains to ‘The Journal’ that the reason for doing so is analysing trends and finding what’s popular. According to Foursquare, “Your real-time location is not shared on the Foursquare app. If you write a tip, like or otherwise interact with a place, users may infer that you have been to that location. Some content, like tips, are time stamped and other users could use that information to infer when you were at a place even though tips can be posted when you aren’t at the place you are leaving a tip about.”
Crowley further added, “It’s been our philosophy since we started that as long as we are recycling the data back to people, people will be interested in using the services. You can’t just collect a lot of information off people and not doing anything with it. It’s not a fair trade.”
However, Foursquare hasn’t made it explicitly clear that it will be tracking your data even when not in use. It needs to educate users about the change because constant location tracking is something that needs the user’s affirmation. According to the report, Justin Brookman, director of the Center for Democracy & Technology’s Project on Consumer Privacy believes, “Persistent location tracking is the sort of thing that you should have to affirmatively decide to turn on, and if it’s not evident from the nature of the app, I think they have an obligation to clearly message to you that it will be constantly collecting location information in the background.”
What do you think about this new Foursquare change. Would you liked to be tracked all the time?
Posted by : Gizmeon

Regulating WhatsApp and the likes: Indian telcos are coming across as cry babies

Regulating WhatsApp and the likes: Indian telcos are coming across as cry babies
Indian telecom companies have been quite vocal about their dislike for over-the-top (OTT) services such as messaging and calling apps eating into one of their biggest revenue streams – voice calling and SMSes.
In the past there were murmurs about telcos seeking TRAI recommendation on regulation of OTT services, and reports today add more fuel to the story. If telcos manage to make a strong case to TRAI about OTT services hampering revenue, then users would most likely have to bear the cost.
Let’s take a step back and understand what the whole brouhaha is about.
Telecom companies have been having a hard time trying to increase revenues, especially as SMS usage drops and messaging apps become the norm.
With data plans galore, most users do not have to incur extra costs of SMS and, thanks to free calling apps, phone calls. This meant that telecom companies started promoting data plans instead of talk time or SMS plans and as a result data adoption and usage has increased. But telecom companies are realising that this change comes at a high cost.
The Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (AUSPI) president CS Rao said that though OTT players provide the same services that mobile service providers offer, there’s no regulation. “Major regulatory realignment is needed when consumers are moving from minutes usage to megabyte usage era. I want TRAI to note issue of stressed capacity of network. If 20 per cent of our customers start using OTT service, then burden on network will increase $ 55 per subscriber,” Rao told PTI.
The fallacy here is that mobile service providers do not offer the same services as the likes of WhatsApp. SMS costs are for each message sent, while messaging apps do not have any such per-message fee.
OTT players have alleged that telecom companies want regulation when it suits them and previously when VAS was booming, these same telcos urged OTT players to not go to TRAI over regulation in this field. So in a way, the tables have now turned. Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) president Subho Ray told PTI, “It is the reverse of what we used to say about VAS to regulator that we are not getting revenue share. The same operators used to ask us don’t go to telecom regulator.”
One could say that telecom companies have been slow to react to a massive sea change in mobile usage, not being wise enough to see where the market was trending towards. It could be called vision paralysis, but that’s not a consideration for the average user. For users, the big question is will I have to pay to use WhatsApp. And what if I have already paid? This is where things get tricky. While telcos want regulation, it’s not yet clear who will incur the costs, or whether costs will be for all OTT services or only the ones being used most. What counts as a OTT service? There’s really no clarity.
One scenario is that besides data plans, users will have to pay app-specific charges, akin to fast lanes that US telecom companies have long been fighting for. While the net neutrality debate in the US spans a whole range of Internet-enabled services and not just OTT services, one can draw a parallel to the India situation, in that users may have to pay extra to access these services.
In India, telecom companies are urging for regulation, which is a highly dodgy path to take and is not the best precedent. Mobile technology moves much faster than regulation and if messaging and calling apps are the norm today, there will be replacements and alternatives in a few months, if not sooner.
Secondly, how do telecom companies plan to deal with the flood of messaging apps? Sure, WhatsApp is popular, but it has been popular for a long time. These days apps such as Hike, Line, WeChat, Telegram, Viber make WhatsApp just an alternative. Secondly, even calling apps are dime-a-dozen. And what about Apple’s iMessage or Google Hangouts? There are simply too many options to cover and users will always find one that does not have prohibitive fees, if that’s the route adopted.
Telecom companies may cry about lost revenues, but there are plenty of opportunities for growth even in an OTT-first world. Ecosystem tie-ups such as the one Facebook signed with Airtel in Zambia for free Internet access are an option. The advent of 4G services will bring more opportunities, especially in video streaming, live events and other aspects which require data-heavy usage. In fact, as more mobile devices replace PCs, the revenue growth potential even within cellular data is quite high.
At the moment, telcos are coming off as cry-babies lamenting the death of phone calls and SMSes. Those died a while ago. It’s a different world now and regulation will hamper connections more than anything else.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Who owns a selfie taken by a monkey? Wikipedia battle to go to court

Who owns a selfie taken by a monkey? Wikipedia battle to go to court
Wikipedia is currently embroiled in a unique legal battle with British Photographer David Slater. The problem: Slater wants Wikipedia to take down the image of a Macaque smiling straight into the camera. This is a picture that was taken in 2011 in Indonesia when Slater was trying to take snaps of monkeys, except that one monkey stole his camera and took a selfie. And now Wikipedia says that they won’t take it down since the monkey took the image and thus owns it.
Slater had told Telegraph UK at the time when the pics had first caused some interest in 2011, “They were quite mischievous jumping all over my equipment, and it looked like they were already posing for the camera when one hit the button. The sound got his attention and he kept pressing it. At first it scared the rest of them away but they soon came back – it was amazing to watch.”
The picture is currently up on Wikipedia Commons which is a database of images and videos that are free to use by anyone online. And while Wikipedia is sticking to the argument that the monkey that took the image owns it, Slater says the court needs to take a call on this.
He told Telegraph, “If the monkey took it, it owns copyright, not me, that’s their basic argument. What they don’t realise is that it needs a court to decide that.” He also faces a legal bill of £10,000, adds the report.
According to Slater, he’s doing this because photography is his bread and butter and after all it was his equipment that the monkey used. “For every 10,000 images I take, one makes money that keeps me going. And that was one of those images. It was like a year of work, really, ” he told Telegraph.
The debate has raised an interesting question on who owns the selfie taken by a non-human. Interestingly as this BuzzFeed article points out Wikipedia is sticking to the picture not because it really thinks that the monkey owns the image, but because as the work of a non-human animal, it has no human author in whom copyright is vested.
According to Telegraph, Wikipedia also noted in its report on, “to claim copyright, the photographer would have had to make substantial contributions to the final image, and even then, they’d only have copyright for those alterations, not the underlying image. This means that there was no one on whom to bestow copyright, so the image falls into the public domain .”
While the debate over authorship continues, it remains to be if court rules in Slater’s favour.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Pay $120 to know if you are a victim, says Security firm that exposed ‘billion password’ breach

Pay $120 to know if you are a victim, says Security firm that exposed ‘billion password’ breach
Hold Security of Milwaukee, Wisconsin which broke the story on how a Russian gang is sitting on top of over one billion stolen usernames and passwords has come up with what seems to be a iron clad get-rich-quick scheme.
The ‘large hearted’ company has said it wants to help users, but… there is always a but.. there is no such thing as a free lunch.  After discovering the breach and scoring a high-profile story on New York Times, the security firm is now demanding a fee from users who want to know if they are affected. This means users will have to shell out $120 simply to know if they are a victim.
A report by Grahamcluley also adds how the breaking news was ‘perfectly timely’ with the security conferences going on in Las Vegas right now. “There was an alarming lack of information supplied by Hold Security in its official statement about the discovery and something just didn’t feel right,” adds the report.
A look at the official statement from the security firm clearly states that ‘it could not name sites that had been breached because of non-disclosure agreements.’ However, it now seems that Holds Security is using all the data it received to make a lot of money. For $120/year with a two-week money back guarantees, it now promises to alert you if your site is affected by the data breach.
“It’s certainly in the interest of any security firm to portray the state of cybersecurity as dire to make their wares more appealing, and that’s something any reader should keep in mind when reading quotes from a security professional. But this is a pretty direct link between a panic and a pay-out for a security firm,” reports Forbes.
Hold Security wants users to sign up with “Consumer Hold Identity Protection Service” (CHIPS) that is a subscription service. And yes, if you sign up right away you’ll be getting 30 days protection for free. You need to provide your email address to Holds Security and it will prove you with encrypted versions of your password and let you know which password has been compromised.
However, the report further calls its approach quite ‘idiotic’. ”What if the computer the user is typing on has keylogging malware in the background – isn’t it going to be trivial for malicious hackers to scoop up the victim’s most sensitive passwords as they are entered on this web form? Or what about the possibility of bad guys creating phoney versions of this webpage, specifically with the intention of nabbing users’ passwords,” the report adds.
While we can’t do anything about a website being hacked, it is important that we keep changing the password and avoid common and easy to crack passwords. You can also take a look at 7 steps to make passwords stronger and more secure.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Russian Hacker Group Steals 1.2 Billion Internet User Passwords

Russian Hacker Group Steals 1.2 Billion Internet User Passwords
A U.S. security firm has uncovered what appears to be the largest Internet security breach in recent memory, conducted by a group of Russia-based hackers.
According to Milwaukee-based firm Hold Security, which conducted an 18-month investigation into the breach, the online gang stole 1.2 billion username and password combos, as well as more than 500 million email addresses.
The hackers pulled off the data heist, which ultimately scooped up 4.5 billion records, using unsuspecting systems of botnet network victims (in this case, computers with viruses that allowed a single operator to control a large group of affected systems) to test websites for SQL vulnerabilities. When a vulnerability was discovered, the hackers were then able to execute SQL injections, enabling them to send malicious commands to a website and steal its data, including usernames and passwords.
The group managed to steal information from 420,000 web and FTP sites, Hold Security said.
"Accounts are hacked and credentials are stolen every day; however, the number of credentials reportedly stolen is at a massive scale," Eric Chiu, president of cloud company HyTrust, told Mashable. "
This is a huge wake-up call to consumers and companies that attackers are going after personal and work accounts in order to impersonate our online personas."
Hold Security's blog post, which details the data breach, also promotes its own services. However, an independent security expert hired by The New York Times confirmed its findings.
"Your data has not necessarily been stolen from you directly," the blog post said. "It could have been stolen from the service or goods providers to whom you entrust your personal information, from your employers, even from your friends and family."
The Russia-based cyber gang is comprised of a dozen men in their 20s who began as amateur spammers by buying information on the online black market back in 2011, The New York Times reported. Ironically, the hacking revelation has come during the Black Hat computer-security conference in Las Vegas, which takes place from Aug. 2 to 7.
The Times said Hold Security is trying to develop an online tool to help individual users identify whether or not they were impacted by the data breach. Those who use the Internet for online banking and shopping will likely be the most troubled by the company's report. As for businesses, they are advised to immediately run a check to see if their websites are vulnerable to SQL injections.
"If you haven’t updated your password recently, now would be the time," Adam Kujawa, head of malware intelligence at security company Malwarebytes Labs, told Mashable. "Make sure it’s a strong password containing capital and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. Also, don’t use the same username and password combo for every site. This is especially true for sites that have personal information like the site to your bank or credit card."
Posted by : Gizemon

iPhone 6 is coming soon: Apple schedules ‘big’ media event for 9 Sep

iPhone 6 is coming soon: Apple schedules ‘big’ media event for 9 Sep
Apple has scheduled a “big” media event related to the iPhone for September 9, technology news website Re/code said, without citing sources.
Apple is known to launch the newest version of its iPhone in September. However, the company did not immediately return emails seeking comment.
Analysts and media reports have said Apple may launch two iPhone models with 4.7 and 5.5 inch screens this year to compete with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s popular Galaxy Note 3 phablets, which have a 5.7 inch display.
Apple’s current iPhone models, the 5S and 5C, have a 4 inch display panel.
The company has asked suppliers to manufacture 70-80 million units of the new large-screen iPhones by the end of the year, the Wall Street Journal reported in July. Apple’s shares were down 0.8 percent at $94.81 in late afternoon trading on Tuesday.
The iPhone 6 is set to be the biggest change in Apple’s smartphone strategy and the new features expected could end up boosting overall sales of the iPhone this holiday season. Leaks have suggested that Apple will be going for a more rounded body and the iPhone 6 will be even slimmer than the current-generation iPhone 5s flagship.
Some rumours reveal that the next-gen iPhone may get a ‘curved’ display just like Samsung’s Galaxy S 3. Apple has already chosen to use sapphire crystal to protect the fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 5s, and now several reports have been suggesting the use of sapphire protection for the iPhone 6. It is highly speculated that the next-gen iPhone will have a sapphire crystal display protection to ward off scratches and nicks. Here’s everything you need to know about the iPhone 6.
Posted by : Gizemon

Flipkart sold 15,000 Xiaomi Mi 3 units in two seconds

Flipkart sold 15,000 Xiaomi Mi 3 units in two seconds
Xiaomi announced, in a Facebook post, that the Mi3 went out of stock in two seconds.
Xiaomi’s third batch of smartphones that went up on sale today at 2PM is said to have sold out within a second, if the chatter online is to be believed. Looks like, as soon someone hits the buy button, Flipkart considers the device sold. The company had put up 15,000 units on sale and they were all wiped off the shelves even before one could snap their fingers. The next sale is on August 12 and the registrations will begin at 6PM today. Users will have to register again for the next sale.
Xiaomi has been using Raksha Bandhan as a stage for pitching its next round of smartphones, with the official tweet saying “Make this Raksha Bandhan a special one for your sister”. However, Xiaomi is releasing just 15,000 units, which means there’s a good chance that many would go empty-handed.
With today’s flash sale, if the previous numbers are to be believed than Xiaomi is likely to have sold over 35,000 phones in India since it was launched on July 22. The first day, it reportedly went off shelves within 40 minutes, while the second batch sold in five seconds. Even with the evident demand, Xiaomi has been releasing meagre units, much to the frustration of the masses.
At just Rs 13,999, it packs a Snapdragon 800, which is by far the cheapest high-end phone available in the market. It competes with the likes of the Nexus 5, Galaxy S4, Xperia Z at nearly half the price.
Posted by : Gizemon

Karbonn A1+ Super and A5 Turbo budget smartphones launched starting at Rs 3290

Karbonn A1+ Super and A5 Turbo budget smartphones launched starting at Rs 3290
Keeping up with the latest market trend triggered by the Moto E, Karbonn has launched two new budget devices running Android 4.4 KitKat. The all new Karbonn A1+ Super and A5 Turbo are super affordable at Rs 3,490 and Rs 3,290 respectively. With these devices running Android KitKat, Karbonn is aiming to offer uber-affordable smartphones in the entry-level category, though we can’t vouch for the user experience or performance.
The Karbonn A1+ Super sports a small 3.5-inch display and is powered by a 1.3GHz dual-core processor. It runs Android KitKat and features a 3MP rear camera with flash, dual-SIM support and 32GB external storage through a microSD card slot.
The Karbonn A5 Turbo comes with a similar 3.5-inch HVGA display. It is powered by a 1GHz processor (chipset not specified). Some other specs include Android 4.4 KitKat, 3G, 3MP camera, dual-SIM support and 32GB expandable storage.
Both smartphones support Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, EDGE, USB Support, G-sensor, and proximity Sensor and a customisable menu and widgets options. However, processor details and RAM are still unclear, which will be essential for running all these apps on the devices.
Shashin Devsare, Executive Director of Karbonn, says, “Today, a large segment of consumer is shifting from feature phones to smartphones and looks for a smartphone with advanced technology and maximum features at affordable prices. While this growth of the smartphone market is basis the greater availability of affordable devices.”
Posted by : Gizemon

iYogi to support Spectranet broadband customer network

iYogi to support Spectranet broadband customer network
IT services firm iYogi today said it has entered into a strategic partnership with Spectranet to deliver solution for customer network management and technical support for Spectranet’s home and business customers in India.
Spectranet provides high speed broadband services to individuals as well as enterprises.
With Spectranet Tech Assist, managed by iYogi, the firm’s broadband home customers will get instant 24×7 support for all connected devices including computers, peripherals, smartphones and other digital devices through unified platform and customer contact center, iYpgi said in a release.
Tech Assist is a technical support service for Spectranet’s Broadband customers powered by FOX (Fiber Optic Xperience), the firm added.
It is based on iYogi’s SaaS platform – Digital Service Cloud which supports over 500 technology products. Tech Assist will be bundled with Spectranet Broadband powered by FOX products for existing and new customers at no additional cost, iYogi said.
The service will improve customer satisfaction and create new revenue opportunities by providing trouble-shooting support for such calls.
Spectranet estimates that the partnership will drive 12 per cent increase in revenue and 15 per cent reduction in support costs in next 12 to 24 months, iYogi said.
Posted by : Gizemon

Monday, 4 August 2014

NFL Makes a Play With Microsoft Surface Tablets on the Field

NFL Makes a Play With Microsoft Surface Tablets on the Field
There's a new player suiting up for the NFL season — one with the potential to affect almost every play.
It's the Microsoft Surface, which made its on-field debut during the preseason game between the Buffalo Bills and New York Giants on Sunday.
The Surface tablets will make it easier for teams to review plays on the fly. Currently, the NFL uses sideline cameras to capture action; those photos are then relayed to a printer, where someone takes the printouts, stuffs them in a binder, and runs them to the coaches. Even with black and white photos, the process takes about 30 seconds minimum, according to a Microsoft blog post about the partnership.
Clearly, there is a lot of room for high-tech improvement. With special Surface Pro 2 tablets connected to a private Wi-Fi network at the stadium, those same photos can get to the coaches' hands just a few seconds after the play happens. The photos are also in full color; the players and coaches will be able to zoom in on details and even annotate the pictures with a digital pen.
What they won't be able to do is tweet or check email.
The heavily modified Surface tablets can only run essentially one app: the Sideline Viewing System (SVS). Even the cameras are disabled, Bloomberg reports.
The device lockdown is partly to keep things simple, but also to ensure the devices adhere to NFL regulations, which prohibit computers of any kind on the sidelines. That's the reason the photo process has been so decidedly low-tech for so long, and Microsoft worked with the NFL to ensure the Surfaces were scrubbed of anything that could lend an unfair advantage to either team.
Why the Surface Pro 2 and not the newer, sleeker Surface Pro 3? Probably because the deal was in place before the latest model made its debut in the late spring, and the Surface Pro 2 is physically modified, too; it has a thicker bezel to ensure it will stand up to the punishment of the NFL season.
You'd think that if the NFL was prioritizing durability, it would have chosen a Panasonic ToughPad or something similar, but remember — there are marketing dollars here at work, too. The Surface's game day arrival is rooted in a partnership between Microsoft and the NFL, which began last year. Microsoft also debuted new NFL apps for Xbox and Windows 8 just in time for the start of the preseason.
Posted by : Gizemon

Samsung Galaxy Alpha Said to Imitate Part of iPhone Design

Samsung Galaxy Alpha Said to Imitate Part of iPhone Design
Photos claiming to depict the latest Samsung Galaxy smartphone appeared on Chinese social media site Weibo. The photos show a decidedly grooved metal design — an iPhone trademark on generations 5 and later — not shared by past Galaxy models.
The leaked images are unverified, and Samsung has so far been silent on the existence of a new Galaxy. A metallic exterior would be a departure from previous Galaxy phones, which have typically brandished plastic backsides, sometimes textured to give the feel of leather or metal.
The chamfered edge would also be new for Samsung, although the accusation of stealing it from Apple would not be.
For those who are eager to get their hands on the phone, British retailer MobileFun is offering pre-orders of the so-called Galaxy Alpha for $939 without a SIM card. The website touts the Alpha's fingerprint scanner and a 12-megapixel camera, putting it in the same league as the Galaxy S5.
Samsung rumor website SamMobile released images two weeks ago that reportedly showed early Alpha prototypes. However, while those photos showed only a black version, while the new photos display a white body, suggesting that Samsung may offer both colors for the Galaxy Alpha, as they have with previous Galaxy phones.
So far no pics of a gold Galaxy Alpha have turned up.
The Galaxy Alpha is expected to run Android 4.4 "KitKat" and start at 32GB of storage. The same Weibo page that leaked the photos claims that Alpha will come in both 4.7- and 6.7-inch sizes.
While Samsung itself has not confirmed a release date, SamMobile originally reported that the phone would be announced on Aug. 4. However, the site is now saying the date to watch is Aug. 13.
Posted by : Gizemon

Xiaomi Surpasses Samsung to Become Top Phone Maker in China

Xiaomi Surpasses Samsung to Become Top Phone Maker in China
Samsung is no longer the top phone manufacturer in China, thanks to a company that is still relatively unknown in the United States.
Xiaomi distributed around 15 million phones in early 2014 while Samsung came up short at 13.2 million, according to research firm Canalys.
The report notes that the number of Samsung phones bought in China dropped 15% during the last quarter, the first time the company dropped to second in China since 2011.
"Undoubtedly, this was helped by an anticipated, temporarily under-strength Samsung performance during the quarter," Canalys research analyst Jingwen Wang wrote in a statement. "But that is only half the story — Xiaomi has also executed on its strategy to grow volume shipments. It has delivered compelling products at aggressive price points ... backed by effectively targeted marketing.
"But it does now need to deliver LTE products in China to address growing demand for 4G services if it is to retain its momentum."
China has more mobile phone users than any other country and makes up 37% of the global phone market. Due to its success at home, Xiaomi is looking to expand into other countries in the next year, including Mexico, Thailand, Indonesia, Russia and Turkey.
"Xiaomi needs to build its international brand, and will need to localize its services offering with MIUI for the different markets into which it expands ... and it must tailor its marketing and largely online sales channels accordingly," analyst Jessica Kwee wrote in a statement.
"That said, Xiaomi does have the potential to be a disruptive force beyond China and international vendors should take note."
Posted by : Gizemon

The Internet's Nightmare Scenario Could Be Playing Out on Your Smartphone

The Internet's Nightmare Scenario Could Be Playing Out on Your Smartphone
There is no shortage of scaremongers who believe that the future of the Internet — and by some extension, humanity — relies on keeping the Internet an even, open and neutral platform for the flow of information.
It can be tough to tell whether the concern is legitimate. After all, the grim picture of an Internet that more closely resembles cable TV is a far-off notion compared to the open platform enjoyed today.
Or maybe not. A look at the wireless industry now makes the doomsayers look more like soothsayers.
Mobile carriers have begun to give the world a picture of what a net neutrality-free Internet could look like. Wireless companies have slowly but surely begun to roll out plans that favor certain content providers or entirely limit access to particular sites and apps.
Regulation of this activity is tricky. It is an area that FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has said is under supervision but "should not be prohibited out of hand." Wheeler has not been shy about going after companies for limiting consumers' access, but has little legal basis for going after the deals made between companies. (The FCC declined to comment for this story.)
Here's a rundown of what T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint have been up to:
T-Mobile and music: The "un-carrier" has looked for ways to attract younger consumers that tend to do data-intensive smartphone activities. Streaming music from the likes of Spotify tends to take a toll, so T-Mobile decided to stop counting it against data plans.
AT&T and sponsored data: Sponsored data is the term that usually refers to companies paying providers to give consumers preferential access to certain websites and content, often by not counting the activity against consumer data plans.
This type of plan has been in the works for some time, but finally launched in early 2014. Re/code reported that it has some smaller customers, but no big names as of yet.
Sprint and its Facebook/Twitter plan: This might be the most disconcerting plan of them all. With this deal, customers don't have access to the Internet; they have access to channels. Customers can choose to have access to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram (or all four for an additional charge).
Sprint bills the deal as a way for customers to have more choice while also serving to provide access for lower income customers.
As these deals pile up, a less-than-rosy picture of the future of mobile Internet begins to emerge. Fred Wilson, a prominent venture capitalist, recently took to his blog to discuss how these plans can seem advantageous. He focused on "zero rating," in which companies pay providers so that their content does not count against data plans.
"The pernicious thing about zero rating is that it is marketed as a consumer-friendly offering by the mobile carrier — 'we are not charging you for data when you are on Spotify,'" he wrote in a post.
"But what all of this zero rating activity is setting up is a mobile internet that looks a lot more like cable TV than our wide open Internet," he wrote. "Soon, a startup will have to negotiate a zero rating plan before launching because mobile app customers will be trained to only use apps that are zero rated on their network."
It's not that wireless Internet might end up becoming tiered for everyone, but freedom could become an expensive feature of smartphone plans.
Mobile broadband is regarded by the FCC differently from "fixed" broadband, which is Internet service used by devices at certain endpoints, usually computers. The most important distinction comes from the 2010 Open Internet Order, which detailed that mobile had to abide by transparency requirements but not other rules that helped ensure net neutrality for fixed broadband.
The order meant that wireless companies like AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Sprint could strike deals with companies that would prioritize certain content.
This might not have seemed as big of a deal in 2010, as mobile data usage remained a fraction of the larger Internet. That changed as smartphones matured, networks grew faster and more companies tailored content for the mobile experience.
To capitalize on this growth, mobile broadband providers have rolled out new data plans that put caps on usage and charge for overages. Many plans once offered limited voice minutes and text messages with unlimited data. That has now flipped, with data capped and voice and text an unlimited afterthought.
Data caps are not unique to wireless companies, and are on their way to a broader landline market. Comcast has been testing such plans and its chief executive has already said "usage-based billing" is on its way.
The combination of data caps and sponsored content deals suddenly make the dystopian Internet future more believable. With Internet consumption pushing more into mobile, the lack of rules ensuring equal access is providing some idea of what might happen if the FCC is unable to enforce net neutrality rules.
The result, unfortunately enough, looks a lot like a nightmare dreamt up by the most paranoid net neutrality advocates.
Posted by : Gizemon

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Top apps this week: Instagram’s Bolt, BBM for Windows Phone and more!

Top apps this week: Instagram’s Bolt, BBM for Windows Phone and more!
From Facebook’s yet-another attempt at building a Snapchat-competitor to BBM finally coming to Windows Phone, a slew of new apps and app updates have arrived. If you’ve missed on your daily dose of apps, here’s a quick recap.
Paying no heed to another app with a similar name that’s been around since last year, Instagram has gone ahead and launched the Bolt app. However, the app is available only in New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa as of now and can be downloaded on the Google Play store and Apple App store. Just like the popular ephemeral app Snapchat, Bolt lets users send one-tap photo and video messages. The Snapchat-competitor also comes with a ‘shake to undo’ feature. This means you can simply shake the phone to undo an action and save yourself from sending an embarrassing message or photo.
BBM for Windows Phone
Finally, BlackBerry’s Messenger aka BBM comes to the Windows Phone platform. The BBM beta for Windows Phone can be downloaded for free from the Windows Phone store.
Fitbit for Windows Phone
FitBit now has Windows Phone 8.1 support along with a dedicated app. The app is said to be almost identical to its iOS and Android counterparts. It can be paired with Fitbit devices like the Flex or One. The app will then track real time activities and sync data wirelessly with the smart bands. It also lets you key in the food intake to keep a tab on those calories. Interestingly, it also takes advantage of the live tiles. The FitBit app is now available for download on the Windows Phone store.
FitBit app comes for Windows Phone
Looks like all apps want to be a part of the Snapchat-inspired ephemeral feature. The latest to jump onto the bandwagon is China’s Line messaging app. Line has just updated its app on Android as well as iOS to support encrypted and disappearing chat options. Basically, it will let users send content to their friends as hidden messages/photos, which will not display until users click on them. Moreover, the message or photo will disappear depending upon the time set by the sender.
Google Now
Google has unveiled another travel-related feature that will allow mobile users to find restaurants and directions around their hotel without having to key in their location. There is a hitch, though: For the service to work, Google will troll your Gmail account and find the hotel confirmation.Users can ask questions like “Show me restaurants around my hotel” or “Give me directions to my hotel from here.”
WoNoBo provides tourists with a virtual 360-degree walking tour and a turn-by-turn navigation they plan to visit. Developed by the tourism ministry, the app helps tourists get acquainted with the place with important information so they don’t need to rely on the local people. This app could prove useful to those who are not well-versed with local language or culture. As of now, the app covers 16 cities, including Agra, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata and Mumbai. The tourism ministry plans to cover 54 cities in the future. The WoNoBo app is currently available only on Android devices via Google Play store.
LinkedIn Connected
The LinkedIn Connected app is a faster and simpler way to strengthen your professional relationships. Connected gives you relevant updates about the people you know, suggestions to connect with other people working in the same field as you and allows you to search for people you know. The app is free to download and is currently available only for iOS.
Image courtesy: Reuters
LinkedIn Connected arrives! Image courtesy: Reuters
Google Maps
Google has finally launched indoor maps for India. So now users can virtually browse through and locate specific locations inside venues like malls and museums. The service, available as part of Google Maps, is already available in countries like the US, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Netherlands.
Uber for Windows Phone
Uber, a popular radio cab service that serves more than 150 cities across 41 countries, has landed on the Windows Phone. It is available to download for free on Windows Phone store. The app has been on the Android and iOS app stores since 2010, though it’s taken time to come to Windows Phone users.
Confess is a Secret-like app, that lets you let out your secrets anonymously. You can also read anonymous confessions by others. Confess is available for Android and iOS devices.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Forget Spotify: Here are five alternative music streaming apps that work in India

Forget Spotify: Here are five alternative music streaming apps that work in India
If you’re out to discover some new music without pinching your pocket, online music streaming services are great places to start. You get to choose from a huge collection of songs along with lots of other benefits. For starters, you get to listen to music without having to first download or purchase songs, while also saving some storage space on your device.
Unfortunately, some of the most popular music streaming services such as Spotify, Slacker Radio, Deezer, Google Play Music and iTunes Radio aren’t available in India. But believe it or not, there are plenty of options out there that make great alternatives to these popular music streaming services and allow you to stream music for no cost at all. Some apps let you download music and listen to them offline, too.
After sifting through apps with limited features, sloppy interfaces and sparse music choices, here are some of the best music streaming apps that made the cut.
Best features: Gaana
Gaana is a great place for listening to Hindi and English music with a simple interface. You can download songs to play them later, though you’ll need to upgrade to the paid version Gaana+ for unlimited downloads. One of the best things of the app is that it offers the same features across Android and iOS. Some songs will let you watch the video or read their lyrics. You can easily add songs to the playlists you create, though creating new playlists is not very straightforward. By default, songs are streamed at 128kbps. You can set the app to stream at higher quality of 320kbps, but that would consume more mobile data and is suitable for faster internet connections.
Gaana’s built-in radio is just as comprehensive as the streaming features. You can choose a radio station based on a song or artist you like, or make use of its ‘One touch radio’ feature that plays music based on your listening habits. There are few pre-created radio stations as well, though these cater mostly to Hindi music.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 takes a bullet, saves life: report

Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 takes a bullet, saves life: report
Can a Samsung smartphone with a big-screen be a life-saver? According to news reports, the Galaxy Mega 6.3 might just be one.
According to Apple Daily, when a man was shot during an argument, the Galaxy Mega stopped the bullet from reaching his chest and saved his life. Apparently, the incident actually took place in the Xinjiang region of northwest China. Slashgear has a translated version of the report.
The event unfolded when a man dropped his wallet in a restaurant. The one who picked it up allegedly made a joke about keeping the money to buy himself some liquor. Oddly, the joke turned into a heated argument and started to get violent with one of the men pulling out a gun and the other, a knife.
During the scuffle, the gun-owner pulled the trigger causing the bullet to fire through a part of the other man’s arm. The bullet didn’t stop there. It went on to hit his chest, before being blocked by his Galaxy Mega 6.3, which he had resting in his shirt pocket. The victim survived and was taken to the hospital by some of the on-lookers.
So what was the problem with the Galaxy Mega 6.3 again? The oversized 6.3-inch display. Sure, it might not be ideal for phone calls, but it certainly can double up as a bullet-proof jacket of sorts. It should be noted that these reports haven’t been verified but still not a bad PR boost for Samsung.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Two students develop DIY ‘smartphone microscope’ for $10

Two students develop DIY ‘smartphone microscope’ for $10
You can now build your own microscope with nothing more than a smartphone and basic supplies worth  $10 from a hardware store.
The do-it-yourself smartphone microscope project is being undertaken by students at the Missouri University of Science and Technology.
The students are enrolled in two biological sciences courses taught by Terry Wilson, an associate teaching professor.
In one of the courses, students are building their own digital microscopes using carriage bolts, nuts, wing nuts, washers, plywood and Plexiglas from a hardware store, laser pointer lenses, LED click lights from a keychain flashlight to build a stand, and a smartphone for viewing and enlarging lab specimens.
The DIY microscopes can magnify samples up to 175 times with a single laser pointer lens, or nearly 400 times when stacking two lenses, said Daniel Miller, who earned his master of science degree in biological sciences from Missouri S&T.
Miller created a prototype to use in Wilson’s General Biology lab, where he served as a teaching assistant.
Wilson was looking at commercial kits and online versions of microscopes, but was not satisfied with what was available.
When Miller showed her his prototype, “I was blown away by it. I was really shocked by how good a job it does,” she said.
In commercially available biology lab kits, “the microscope is usually the most expensive thing. This is much more cost-effective. It’s the perfect solution for us,” Wilson said.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Law student files class action suit against Facebook for privacy violations

Law student files class action suit against Facebook for privacy violations
An Austrian law student has filed a class action lawsuit at a commercial court in Vienna against Facebook over privacy violations.
Max Schrems wants to receive damages of 500 euros (Rs.41,000) per user for the violations by the social network, urging the 1.32 billion Facebook users to join him in his legal battle, media reports said Sunday.
Facebook has a long list of violations, the student said,
“For this class action lawsuit, we have chosen basic or obvious violations of the law: The privacy policy, participation in the PRISM programme, Facebook’s graph search, apps on Facebook, tracking on other web pages and ‘big data’ systems that spy on users or the non-compliance with access requests,” Schrems wrote on Facebook Class Action website.
The legal proceeding will run as a class action because the Austrian law allows a group of people to transfer their financial claims to a single person.
“Our aim is to make Facebook finally operates lawfully in the area of data protection,” the 26-year-old student was quoted as saying.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Confusing hashtags? Let Twitter break them down for you

Confusing hashtags? Let Twitter break them down for you
Twitter gives you the freedom to add a hashtag to any word you can think of. Some are self-explanatory, while some are best understood only by the one who tweets it. This could explain why Twitter is testing a feature that could help users understand the meaning behind a tag.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal, searches for different hashtags will now display an explanation in addition to tweets associated with the hashtag. The new feature has been rolled out in the latest update of the iPhone Twitter app. Desktop and Android users are yet to receive the update. With this a regular hashtag will have a legend explaining its origins or the reason behind it. For example, #tbt  will bring out Throwback Thursday, #smh Shaking My Head and #oitnb  points out the TV series “Orange Is The New Black”.
Twitter has not officially announced the update, however, the micro-blogging website has been working on its interface for quite some time now. A series of revamping started after Twitter’s growth in terms of users took a beating in late 2013. Since then, it’s been trying hard to get first-time users make use of its platform by giving prominent placement to photographs and creating a simplified the sign-up process.
Hashtags work similar to search keywords and are useful for finding what’s trending on the web. With descriptors for popular hashtags, newbies can also be in the know and make sure they are not left scratching their heads trying to figure out what the buzz is about.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Line offers free talk time worth Rs 50 to all its India users

Line offers free talk time worth Rs 50 to all its India users
Japan-based messaging app Line is offering free talktime worth Rs 50 to all its users in India, for downloading and sharing stickers.
So how can users redeem the offer? Users need to download Line Characters in the Love sticker pack and send them to five Line friends. Once you do that, you will receive a link to redeem talktime worth Rs 50. Do note that taxes are involved, so the actual talktime you’ll get might be less than Rs 50.  The offer is available for all prepaid and post-paid users on all iOS, Android and BlackBerry devices, with no restriction on the telecom service provider.
Daman Soni, Head of India Business Development, Line, said in a press statement,“Line is well on its way to becoming the most preferred social communications application in India. The download numbers are on a constant upsurge and are engaging with a far greater number of users now.”
The company had recently roped in Katrina Kaif as its brand ambassador and had partnered with Sony to ensure that the app would come pre-installed on Xperia smartphones such as Xperia Z1 and Xperia C.
Line was launched in India in July 2013 and in October 2013, the company announced that is has nearly 10 million users in the country. Currently the company says it has close to 17 millions users in India.
Sticker packs have always been the key feature on Line. The stickers include a range of its own original characters as well as some famous ones like Disney, Hello Kitty and even Iron Man. This feature, claims the company, is behind the app’s exponential growth in Asian countries.
Stickers or no stickers, Line isn’t the only mobile messaging app that is vying for market share in India. WhatsApp, WeChat, home-grown app Hike, Facebook Messenger and BBM are some of the key competitors and more are being added by the day. The Rs 50 talk time is definitely an interesting offer that might help the app get some new users in India.
Posted by : Gizmeon