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Technology News Briefs — Feb. 28, 2013

tech_newsHackers Hit European Government Agencies

Hackers used a vulnerability in Adobe software to attack NATO and a group of European government agencies, security experts told Reuters Feb. 27.

Government computers in the Czech Republic, Ireland, Portugal and Romania were targeted although the alliance said its systems had not been compromised. The government agencies shared details of the attack with NATO member states.

Security experts from Russia’s Kaspersky Lab and Hungary’s Laboratory of Cryptography and System Security (CrySyS) said the attack seemed to be both extensive and inventive. One expert added that he believed a nation-state might be responsible.

They also said an American think tank, research institute and a health-care provider, a prominent research institute in Hungary and other entities in Belgium and Ukraine were among those targeted by the malicious software, named “MiniDuke.”

Although the security experts have yet to determine the purpose of the attack, they said it is likely MiniDuke was created specifically for espionage.

“This is a unique, fresh and very different type of attack,” Kurt Baumgartner, a senior security researcher with Kaspersky Lab told Reuters. “The technical indicators show this is a new type of threat actor that hasn’t been reported on before.”

Amazon Fixes Kindle App Bug that was Deleting Users’ Book Libraries

Amazon has posted a fix for major flaws in its 3.6.1 update of its iOS Kindle app.

Until Wednesday morning (Feb. 27), the e-retailer had been urging consumers not to download its new update because a bug was deleting users’ book libraries.

Until the fix was uploaded, a notice in the ‘What’s new’ section of the Kindle app read:

Note: There is a known issue with this update. If you are an existing Kindle for iOS user, we recommend you do not install this update at this time.”

It now reads:

“What’s new in Version 3.6.2: Fix for registration issue, various bug fixes and security fixes.”

Reports of problems with the Kindle app 3.6.1 update first began a few days ago.

After existing Kindle users downloaded the update, they were logged out of their accounts while everything they had downloaded was deleted. Bookmarks and other settings were also erased.

Users were forced to re-download their books from the cloud.

Smartphones Are ‘Emasculating,’ Says Google’s Sergey Brin

Google may make a lot of money from the sale of Smartphones powered by the firm’s Android operating system, but that doesn’t mean co-founder Sergey Brin has to like the handheld devices.

Walking around hunched over a Smartphone cuts users off from connecting with others, he said during the TED2013 technology conference in California.

“Is this the way you’re meant to interact with other people?” he was quoted in the TED blog. “It’s kind of emasculating.”

“I have a nervous tic. The cellphone is a nervous habit — If I smoked, I’d probably smoke instead, It’d look cooler. But I whip this out and look as if I have something important to do. It really opened my eyes to how much of my life I spent secluding myself away in e-mail.”

With Google Glass, however, users will be able to look the world in the eye rather than staring at their Smartphone screens whenever they need to get some information or check their e-mail, he said.

Brin also said, with Google Glass, taking pictures is immediate, unlike Smartphones.

Brin has taken to wearing the computing spectacles everywhere he goes. The futuristic, titanium-framed glasses are still in development.


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