Beware of Philippines typhoon scams on social media, email

Typhoon_scamSecurity experts are warning people to avoid online scams linked to the deadly typhoon that swept the Philippines.

With thousands feared dead, many aid organizations and NGOs have been appealing for people to donate to rescue and relief efforts.

While there are several legitimate campaigns, security experts at Symantec warn that some scams are circulating online – scams that might not be apparent as such.

Emails have been sent out containing fake donation requests, along with social media pages that have been set up to direct people to make donations on compromised pages.

One email chain Symantec has tracked appears to come from a news anchor/reporter from a major news organization.

We've seen similar scams from “reputable” sources before, such as when someone sent out a fake breaking news email newsletter from CNN claiming to contain exclusive Snowden details.

To avoid becoming a victim, always be extra careful with opening unwanted emails, make sure the organization or sender is authentic and never send your personal details to someone over email.

Have you seen any online scams related to Typhoon Haiyan?

- Maurice Cacho, MSN Tech & Gadgets



Android KitKat 'not really' more secure: expert

Android_kitkat_multitaskingWhen Google released the latest version of its Android operating system last week, KitKat, the company touted the OS was the most secure ever.

In several ways, it is.

The chocolate-bar-named mobile OS contains a new safeguard called OS hardening.

This security feature is designed to make it more difficult for a hacker or malicious app to get root access to your phone or tablet. That being said, it will also make it more difficult for people who want to “root” their hone with different operating systems.

Another security feature is called “digital certificates,” designed to prevent so-called “Man-in-the-Middle” attacks.

Such a hack is when someone on the same wireless network you're on, say – at a coffee shop, intercepts the data travelling between your phone and the Internet at large.

What could happen is that a website may appear to be the one you're looking to pull up on your device, but it's actually a fake that is pulling in your login details, for example.

But Kaspersky Lab researcher Stefan Tenase says these changes don't really do much to address key Android security concerns.

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Don't want to be tracked by the NSA? John McAfee pitches $100 blocking device

John_mcafeeThe founder of McAfee Internet security – John McAfee – says he has come up with a device that can help keep your communications private from the U.S. government.

While there is a software company that bears his name, John McAfee has been better known lately as a fugitive.

He even actively blogged about it, and still blogs and posts videos about a random assortment of things – including a bizarre NSFW YouTube video that describes how to uninstall McAfee antivirus – while John does bath salts.

With revelations that America's NSA is pretty much tracking almost everything and cracking nearly everything, Mr. McAfee is pitching a gadget that he claims will be able to keep your communications private.

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Canadian project launched for DIY home and car security

Alertly App - AlertSecurity systems these days are pricey, require professional installation and can cost a lot with monthly monitoring bills.

But a Canadian start-up aims to make home (and car) security an easy and affordable option for do-it-yourselfers.

Alertly works by giving you the control over security systems. Through a main pyramid-shaped hub and a series of triangular sensors/cameras throughout your home, Alertly is designed to send you...alerts...when an intruder is detected.

After receiving the alert on your smartphone (iPhone or Android), you can fire up the HD security cameras in the motion sensor/camera combo to see what's going on.

From there, you can call police. This should hopefully cut down on the number of false alarms flagged by security companies – which can be especially costly and problematic.

The whole system is connected via WiFi and data is stored securely in the cloud. Even if the power is out, the Alertly system's battery backup and cellular connectivity will keep you in the know with what's going on.

The automotive version of Alerty features a GPS transmitter, and it works the same way as the home system.

If someone is spending a lot of time in or around the car and the sensor notices it, you'll get the alert and can take a look to see what's happening with the built-in HD camera. It'll also track your vehicle if it gets stolen.

But to pull this off, they need some money. So just this week, Alertly launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. The deadline is Oct. 20 if you want to contribute and buy the device for yourself – and Alertly hopes to start shipping units in July 2014.

It seems as though there is a lot of future potential here. Alertly says it plans to launch an SDK so developers can build their own apps for the hardware platform.

Would you get a simple security system that you install yourself in your home or car?

- Maurice Cacho, MSN Tech & Gadgets



What security technologies has the US government cracked? Here are some ideas.

People are starting to identify security technologies that they think the US NSA has cracked after revelations this week of a long-running anti-encryption campaign. It isn’t looking good.

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Not even long passwords will save you from a hack attack

66E77A657412BE6777CE353EA7870Passwords with dozens of characters are supposed to be a natural defense against hackers, because they're that much harder to crack compared to short passwords. But not anymore.

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Toronto man fired after Twitter pot request

Twitter-bird-white-on-blueAn online search for marijuana has turned into a job hunt for one Canadian Twitter user.

Sunith Baheerathan caused an online stir when he issued a tweet requesting prospective pot sellers to bring some of their wares to a Mr. Lube location in a Toronto suburb.

That location was Baheerathan's place of employment until Tuesday, according to both the company and Baheerathan's own tweets.

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Hacker invades baby monitor and, yes, it's incredibly creepy

7D25642DCE7B569AA2B393968DC9_h231_w308_m5_cqYPKnUVdIt's like something ripped from a horror film. Marc Gilbert was down the hall from his toddler’s room in their Houston home when he heard a disembodied male voice saying sexually suggestive things to his child. The voice was coming from the baby monitor. "He said, 'Wake up Allyson, you little [expletive],'" Gilbert recalled. When he and his wife entered the room, they saw the camera move and realized what had happened: Someone had hacked the monitor system and read the girl's name where it hung in a decoration on the bedroom wall.

Allyson, luckily, did not hear any of the creepy comments; she was born deaf, and Gilbert said her cochlear implants were off at the time, so she slept through the incident. "As a father, I'm supposed to protect her against people like this," said Gilbert, who wants the incident to serve as a caution to other parents. "It's a little embarrassing, to say the least, but it's not going to happen again," he said. [Source]


Major password security flaw exposed in Chrome


Saved password revealed in Chrome. (Photo: Elliott Kember)

People who use Google Chrome - and save their passwords in the browser - should be aware of a feature that critics are slamming as a major security flaw.

Security experts have found that the web browser stores passwords (saved by users) in an unencrypted format.

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Call to block Internet porn spreads to Canada

First the U.K. proposed a ban on Internet porn — and now the idea is spreading to Canada.

An MP from Winnipeg is pitching a porn ban for Canadian internet providers.

Conservative MP Joy Smith, who represents the Manitoba riding of Kildonan-St. Paul says Canada should block porn websites.

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Danny BradburyDanny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with 20 years' experience. He writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Financial Post, and Backbone magazine. Danny also writes and directs documentaries.

Maurice CachoMaurice Cacho

Maurice Cacho is a Toronto-based journalist mixing his love for tech with a passion for news. He's also CP24's Web Journalist and appears daily on CP24 Breakfast and weekly on the channel's tech show, Webnation, discussing tech news and trends.