Tech String


The Malware Museum lets you experience viruses from the ’80s and ’90s

malware, ms-dos, dos, virus, nostalgia, emulation, internet archive, malware museum

Malware and viruses of yesteryear were far different than those that plague modern machines. Aside from the obvious level of sophistication, today’s malware and viruses are largely silent assassins that siphon personal data for financial gain.

Back then, however, most nefarious software was upfront about the fact that you’d been infected and typically just wanted to make your day miserable by trashing your files. Ironically enough, early viruses would often do so in a visually pleasing or otherwise amusing manner.

The fine folks over at the Internet Archive recently launched The Malware Museum, a collection of early malware (mostly viruses) distributed in the earlier days of computing. The team has removed the destructive portions of code and through the use of emulations, you can experience what early viruses were like right in your browser.

In total, there are currently 78 pieces of software on display – a small but important sampling of our digital past. Some of the noteworthy entrants include Casino, a slot machine “game” that gives you five chances to save your data, Coff Shop which promotes the legalization of marijuana, Marine which shows a sailboat out in the open sea and the Terminator-inspired Skynet virus.

As Wired correctly points out, these early viruses didn’t have the luxury of the Internet to make the rounds. Instead, they circulated via floppy disks physically passed around from person to person. My, how times have changed.

Source: Techspot

Check your Google security settings, get 2 GB of free Drive storage

google, storage, cloud, security, drive, free storage

There really aren’t any catches to this one: if you check your Google account’s security settings, Google will give you an extra 2 GB of free Google Drive storage to go on top of the 15 GB the service already offers for free.

To claim the free 2 GB, the process of checking your account security is incredibly simple. Firstly, you head to your security settings, where Google will ask you to review your recovery information. If the information listed there is correct, you can proceed to checking the list of devices connected to your account, where you should remove anything that looks unfamiliar.

The third step involves reviewing all the apps that have permission to access your Google account. Again, you’ll want to remove anything that looks out of place or that you don’t use anymore. After that, you have to check your app passwords, revoking anything that looks suspicious. And finally, you’ll be asked to review any two-step verification settings if you have enabled this feature on your Google account.

When you complete all the aforementioned steps, a small notice appears telling you that Google has added 2 GB of free Drive storage to your account to celebrate Safer Internet Day 2016. A quick check of Drive’s storage information suggests this free 2 GB of space does not expire.

If you want to claim your free 2 GB of storage, increasing the amount of free storage in your account to 17 GB, spend the two minutes to check your security settings before the promotion expires on February 18th.

Source: Techspot

Zuckerberg wants 5 billion Facebook users by 2030

Mark Zuckerberg has some grand goals for Facebook in the future: by 2030, the CEO of the world’s largest social network wants five billion users on his service, a significant increase on its current user base.

Most reports currently suggest Facebook has around 1.5 billion monthly active users, which is an impressive figure, but well short of Zuckerberg’s target of five billion. With the world’s population expected to reach over eight billion in 2030, the target would require Facebook to be used by around sixty percent of the entire world.

Targeting five billion users has a number of additional challenges that go beyond just increasing their user base. The total number of internet users is currently only 3.2 billion, a figure held back by lack of internet access in developing nations. If Facebook is to achieve such a massive user base, it will need to continue to help bring internet access to people who are currently without it.

Facebook already has some initiatives in place to increase internet access around the globe, including the controversial, and a plan to use solar-powered drones to provide internet access to refugee camps.

If Facebook can achieve five billion users by 2030, it will be a significant achievement for the social network and for internet access around the globe.

Source: Techspot

Microsoft built a datacenter that sat on the bottom of the Pacific ocean for three months

microsoft, datacenter, data center, sea, project natick, ocean, underwater data center, underwater datacenter, leona philpot

Our increased reliance on cloud-based services is forcing some in the datacenter industry to rethink their strategy. As you may know, it takes an incredible amount of energy to keep massive datacenters cool – so much so that companies like FacebookGoogle and now Microsoft are experimenting with unconventional approaches to the common problem of heat.

Over the past year, Microsoft has been working on a research project known as Project Natick that involves operating a datacenter under water. In the case of the initial prototype, christened the Leona Philpot (named after a character from the Halo universe), Microsoft deployed it on the seafloor roughly one kilometer off the pacific coast.

The benefits of an underwater datacenter are aplenty. Aside from the obvious of using the cool ocean water to keep server temperatures under control, Microsoft says its underwater datacenters could be deployed within 90 days versus the two years it takes to build a datacenter on land.

What’s more, because much of the world’s population lives in urban areas near large bodies of water, latency could be delayed greatly compared to land-based datacenters that are typically built far away from populated areas.

As for the impact on the environment, Microsoft said they observed no heating of the marine environment beyond a few inches from the vessel.

Microsoft deployed Leona Philpot for a total of 105 days and said it was more successful than expected. One of the obvious concerns is a hardware failure as you can’t exactly send a technician out to the bottom of the ocean at midnight for a repair job. Fortunately, nothing went wrong during the trial. And with the slowing of Moore’s Law, servers will be replaced less often – another plus for the project.

Microsoft researchers are already designing a follow-up experiment that’ll be three times as large as Leona Philpot which measured eight feet in diameter.

Souyrce: Techspot

Oracle is finally getting rid of the Java browser plugin

oracle, java, browser, plugin, java browser plugin, java plugin

Oracle has announced that it’ll soon be killing off the Java browser plugin, news that security-conscious users and IT professionals will no doubt welcome with open arms.

In a brief blog post, Oracle acknowledged that by late 2015, many browser makers either removed or announced timelines for the removal of plugins that use the old Netscape Application Programming Interface (NPAPI) standard – a decision that eliminated the ability to embed Flash, Java, Silverlight and other plugins.

True enough, Java has been a thorn in the side of web security for years. Kaspersky Lab said that in 2012, Java was responsible for 50 percent of all cyber attacks in which hackers broke into a computer by exploiting bugs in software. It got so bad that even the Department of Homeland security urged consumers to disable Java.

Oracle said it plans to deprecate the Java browser plugin in JDK (Java Development Kit) 9 which is slated to be released on September 22 of this year. They’re not necessarily killing it in one fell swoop but rather sweeping it under the rug. It will ultimately be removed from the Oracle JDK and JRE in a future Java SE release, the company said.

Oracle recommends that developers of apps that rely on the Java browser plugin consider alternative options such as migrating to the plugin-free Java Web Start technology. Oracle also published a white paper with information on how to migrate away from the Java plugin.

Source: Techspot

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