Top Stories for the Week of February 17, 2016

  • Episode 439
  • February 16, 2016
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Here are the stories we're following for the week of Tuesday February 16, 2016

Google Chrome is about to start warning that all non-encrypted web sites are "unsafe".

Google Chrome is about to start warning that all non-encrypted web sites are "unsafe".

It was Google who finally put the nails in Internet Explorer 6's coffin when they put their foot down about the dead technology. Now, they're once again putting the foot of Google down, and this time it's on non-https web sites.

We've seen it coming since they announced it in 2014. They announced at that time "We, the Chrome Security Team, propose that user agents gradually change their UX to display non-secure origins as affirmatively non-secure. We intend to devise and begin deploying a transition plan for Chrome in 2015"

The goal of this proposal is to more clearly display to users that HTTP provides no data security.

Could this signal the end of the line for non-secure HTTP websites?

Google plans to lead the way and start displaying browser warning messages that interrupt the flow of a visitor. Potentially, users could be driven from a site because of fear of security issues. In addition, Google and other search engines could penalize what they see as non-secure sites and drop them down the search results pages. If Google initiates this move, the other main browser providers such as Microsoft Internet Explorer and Edge, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox and others will be forced to follow.

All is not lost for those of you who run your own web sites... one of the Linux Foundation's "Collaborative Projects," is a new Certificate Authority: It’s free, automated, and open.

It's a bit technical, of course, but if you are familiar with the Linux command line and basic server administration, you'll do okay. And if not, there are a growing number of web hosts -- including our partner at -- who already have it integrated as a free add-on. went into public beta in December.


AT&T is beginning tests on 5G implementation, offering extremely fast wireless Internet in the gigabits-per-second.

AT&T is testing an early version of its 5G network this year, saying it will be 10 to 100 times faster than LTE and might be used for home Internet service.

AT&T is testing an early version of its 5G network this year, saying it will be 10 to 100 times faster than LTE and might be used for home Internet service.

An AT&T spokesperson told Ars Technica, "An early use of 5G’s underlying technology could be delivering broadband to homes and businesses, and it’s possible that we could have limited commercial availability this year depending on the trials".

This sounds like it could fit in with AT&T plans to provide fixed wireless Internet to areas without good wired broadband.

AT&T's announcement on Friday said the 5G network will rely on millimeter waves, which are 30GHz and above and require line-of-sight connections. 5G will also likely use the spectrum below 1GHz in order to connect areas that can't be covered by extremely high frequencies.

With speeds up to 100 times faster than today's average 4G LTE connections, "customers will see speeds measured in gigabits per second, not megabits."

Latency will also be lowered to about 1 to 5 milliseconds, the company said.

Verizon is also planning 5G trials this year.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash

Russia plans to Ban Windows from Government PCs

Russia plans to Ban Windows from Government PCs

The Russian government is famous for not being so open to foreign technologies. And now, Russia wants to take it a step further, as its government allegedly plans to ban Windows from government computers.

In Addition, German Klimenko, Putin’s new number one adviser for Internet and technology, appointed six weeks ago, has started a new campaign which is looking to increase taxes that American tech companies, like Google, Microsoft, and Apple, would have to pay. Companies would have to pay up to 18 percent more in taxes, if this campaign is accepted by the Russian government.

Reportedly, the purpose of this campaign is to support local companies, like Yandex and to be better accepted by the Russian people.

The most radical change being proposed is replacing Windows on all government PCs with a Linux-based operating system developed by Russia. Klimenko also stated that there are already 22,000 municipal authorities ready to replace Windows with their own operating system.

While the government prepares for the big move, Windows is still the dominant operating system on people’s computers, as 93 percent of desktop computers in the country still runs Microsoft’s operating system. We’ll see if the Russian government will even try to convince people to switch to another operating system, or if it will stop at its own PCs.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash

Adobe screwed up and deleted files from users Macs after updating Creative Cloud.

Adobe screwed up and deleted files from users Macs after updating Creative Cloud.

Adobe has patched its Creative Cloud apps after people noticed the software was deleting Mac users' files without warning.

After customers updated Creative Cloud, it accessed their hard drive and deleted the first folder that appeared in alphabetical order.

Due to file-naming conventions on Mac computers, the bug often deleted hidden system folders or data backup files.

Adobe issued a fix for the issue on Sunday.

Many people in the creative industries have reacted angrily on social media.

The problem came to light on Thursday after Backblaze, which makes data backup software, started receiving hundreds of support requests from its customers.

The firm's software detected that some of the files it uses to perform its duties had been deleted, and staff discovered that Creative Cloud was responsible after a designer installed Adobe's update.

The issue was present in Creative Cloud version on a Mac.

On a Mac, hidden files and folders are prefixed with "." which the operating system places before A in alphabetical order.

The flaw interfered with Backblaze's software by chance because the backup software places a hidden folder called ".bzvol" on the hard drives it indexes, which happened to be top of the list.

On machines without the backup software installed, a different folder may have been deleted instead.

In a statement, Adobe said: "On the 12 Feb we were notified that some customers had an issue with an update to the Creative Cloud Desktop application. We removed the update from distribution and deployed a new one which addresses the issue."

That's a pretty lousy explanation, let alone apology, Adobe. Pretty lousy indeed.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash

The UK Government plans to introduce new measures to keep children off porn sites... and could be forcing all users to register with their credit cards to verify their age.

The UK Government plans to introduce new measures to keep children off porn sites.

The UK Government wants to introduce a law which may, in one example, force users to enter credit card info if they want to access pornographic content online.

The new restriction will apply to any sites that 'contain pornographic material' and that would receive an 18 if they were formally rated.

The new law is being introduced in order to force users to identify themselves, in an attempt to keep children from using pornographic or otherwise inappropriate web sites.

Companies that run the websites will have to put checks in place to ensure that only adults are viewing them, or face having their sites shut down. Those that don’t comply could have advertising banned or be forced to have their pages unavailable in the country.

It isn’t clear exactly how the companies will verify the age of those visiting them, but one way is that the sites force people to sign up with a valid credit card to ensure that they are at least 18 — something that already happens on gambling sites.

The Government said that the new effort was part of its plans to keep children safe online.

Internet safety and security minister Baroness Shields says, “Just as we do offline, we want to make sure children are prevented from accessing pornographic content online which should only be viewed by adults”.

The final decision on the new rules will be decided on April 12.

What do you think? Does this move restrict freedom on the Internet? Or is it a viable tactic for protecting our children? Post your comments below.


Sent to us by: OfclRonnicat on Twitter


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