Tag Archive: Galaxy

The Heartbleed bug: Am I at risk and do I really have to change my password?

The discovery of Heartbleed, a flaw in one of the most widespread encryption standards used online, has panicked webmasters and users alike.

The bug has gone unnoticed for more than two years and could have potentially given hackers access to an unlimited array of secure data — everything from passwords and login details to credit card numbers and addresses.

Although it’s difficult to say exactly how many websites have been exposed, the lower estimates are around 500 million with a large number of major web companies (Google, Facebook, Yahoo, etc) all forced to update their software to protect against the bug.

However, there have been quite a lot of mixed messages as to whether or not users should change their passwords, with some outlets urging that you should create new ones immediately while others are advising that you wait.

To add to the confusion there’s also been reports of hackers sending out phishing emails related to Heartbleed — in order to trick users into giving up passwords that have yet to be compromised. Be on the look out for these and don’t follow any links in suspicious looking emails – if you want to change a password go to the site directly.

Which sites are affected?
Most Google sites and services (including Gmail and YouTube – but not Chrome) were affected, as were sites maintained by Yahoo (including Tumblr and Flickr). Facebook was also hit by the bug although Twitter and LinkedIn were not.

Other big sites that have confirmed that they weren’t affected include Amazon, Hotmail and Outlook, eBay, PayPal and all of Apple’s properties — including iCloud and iTunes. If you want to check whether or not a site you use is still affected then you can do so here — just enter the URL.

Another big worry is for online banking, but thankfully we have some good news in that department. Lloyds, HSBC, RBS, Natwest, Santander and the Co-Op have all confirmed that they were not affected by the bug (they were using different encryption standards). Barclays has yet to issue a statement.

However, this does not mean that your credit card details are completely safe — as they could have been compromised via your Gmail or another third-party site. The security of mobile banking apps is still a developing situation as well.

So do I need to change my passwords?
In a word: Yes. For the sites we’ve listed above as being affected (including Gmail, Yahoo, Tumblr, Flickr, Facebook) it definitely won’t hurt to change your password some time in the next couple of weeks.

Although security experts have warned that you shouldn’t be too quick to change passwords, this is because not all website have patched their servers and changing your password before this happens could make matters worse. The sites we’ve listed above have patched their servers and if you want to check one we’ve not mentioned — click here and enter the URL.

Unfortunately, some sites (including Google) have specifically said that users don’t need to change their passwords. While it’s true that some sites are confident that they fixed the bug a while back, as most of us are guilty of changing our passwords less frequently than we should do (aka never) we think that this is as good an opportunity as ever to be a bit more security-conscious.

What should my new password be?
In lists of the most frequently used passwords online there’s some obvious clangers that we know you’re too smart to use (these include old standbys such as ‘123456’ and ‘password’ itself) but just because a password doesn’t look obvious to you that doesn’t make it safe.

This means that you shouldn’t really use any single words that are found in the dictionary, any words connected to you (place of birth or pets’ names), nor should you use any obvious ‘substitutions’ (eg pa55w0rd — more complicated variations are required) or patterns derived from your keyboard layout (eg ‘1qaz2wsx’ or ‘zxcvbnm’).

It’s wise to use a variety of characters in your password (including upper and lower case as well as numbers) but an easy way to get more secure is to start thinking of your password as a passphrase.

The easiest way of increasing the difficulty of a password is by simply making it longer — so try combining multiple words together and then adding in numbers between them.

You could pick a number of some significance to you (for example a loved one’s birthday, ie 12/08/1970) and then splicing this with a nonsensical phrase (‘shoesplittingwatchwizard’) to get a suitably difficulty password: Shoe12Splitting08Watch1970Wizard.

Other suggested methods for making a strong and memorable password include taking a sentence or a favourite line from a song as a starting point. So you might take the line “When you call my name it’s like a little prayer” and turn it into wuCmNilaLP. Madonna is optional of course, but we think this a fun method — especially if you can work in numbers somewhere.

You should also use different passwords for your different accounts (perhaps the most difficult piece of advice to follow of all) and if you want to be really secure you should also set up two-step authentication where available.

Ryan says: I recommend everyone on any of the sites mentioned in this article to change their passwords ASAP.

Samsung: Do You Want Your IPad Clone in Small, Medium or Large?

In 2007, Apple started the smartphone market by showing smartphone makers what they had to aspire to: The iPhone. The tablet market hasn’t quite caught up to the iPad that created it yet, but Samsung’s given us a date for when it thinks it will: June 8.

That’s when the new Galaxy Tab launches. And Samsung’s adding on to its lineup, with new 8.9 inch and 10.1 inch Galaxy Tab models to complement the old 7 inch. These tablets will have slightly smaller and slightly larger screens than the iPad 2’s, respectively, but Samsung claims that they’ll both be thinner and lighter (even though these claims are disputed).

So what do these tablets have going for them, and is there any reason you’d buy one instead of an iPad?

Design by checklist

The new Galaxy Tabs have all the right boxes checked off. Size? Thinner. Weight? Lighter. Their screens are sharper, their front- and rear-facing cameras have better resolutions, and they’ve got dual-core processors just like the iPad 2. They’re seemingly designed to be its equal or better in every way, including price: The 10.1 inch model starts at $499, the same as an iPad 2.

After that, the Tabs toss in all the buzzwords that everyone’s talking about. Android 3.0 “Honeycomb,” the first version of Android that’s designed for tablets? Of course. How about Adobe Flash? Sure, even though it works about as well as it does on other Android devices (which is not very well). 4G wireless speeds? Supposedly, once they’re ready.

If a company got feature checklist dysfunction and decided it had to outdo the iPad 2 on everything, that’s exactly what the new Galaxy Tabs would look like. And with the June launch date (for the Wi-Fi version of the 10.1 inch Tab, at least), they’re only a few months behind. So is there anything they’re leaving out?

“Experience” is not on the checklist

Let’s start with retail and marketing. A lot of people think these are Apple’s only advantages, and that they’re unfair somehow. But whatever you think of Apple’s ads, they have to be better than the cheesy, contrived “interviews” Samsung did to promote the Tabs, at the CTIA Wireless show. Besides pointing out how these “true-life stories” bore a striking resemblance to Samsung’s marketing points, writer Harry McCraken also noted how the people being interviewed appeared to be actors.

So once these videos convince you that you need a Galaxy Tab, where do you get one? Not at the Apple Store. You’ll have to look past the other Android tablets at the electronics store, each one a black and gray slate that runs basically the same software.

And what software do they run? Not any of the 65,000 iPad apps. They run Android apps, and precious few of those (besides Google’s) have been optimized for tablets yet. Without apps, what’s the point of having a tablet?

The Upshot

Samsung’s made a heroic effort, and the new Tabs are striking hardware-wise. But the message it’s sending is out-of-tune. It seems like it’s hoping you’ll forget that there’s any way to judge between tablets besides raw checklists of specs … sort of like how things are in the PC market.

But just like with computers, Apple’s set itself apart in the tablet market that it created. And if no one can make something that’s not “just like an iPad, but … ” then Apple’s going to continue to dominate people’s choices.

Source: Yahoo! News