Archive for April 2014

Google Snatches Facebook Drone Deal

Just a month after word came that Facebook was working on buying the Titan Aerospace the 20-person drone maker, Google snatches it up for an undisclosed sum. Facebook wanted to purchase Titan Aerospace drone making company and had been in talks to acquire the Titan Aerospace earlier this year for a reported $60 million. But Google has suddenly beat them to it and paid more to keep Titan Aerospace away from Facebook.

It sounds like Titan will work on a variety of projects for Google. Facebook recently purchased Ascenta, a UK-based startup that also make drones — for $20 million. Now, drone maker Titan Aerospace has a posting on Titan’s barebones Web site: “We’re thrilled to announce that Titan Aerospace is joining Google.”

The drone company says it expects “initial commercial operations” to start in 2015. The aircraft, which will fly as high as 12 miles in the sky, are expected to have a long-term aerial lifespan of five years.

Google says, the drones’ primary function will be to help send Internet to places without a current connection at speeds as high as 1 gigabit per second, which — matching the speeds of fiber-delivered Internet — outranks many developed countries. The US averages only 7.2 megabits per second as of 2014

For Facebook, the plan is to ultimately create more users of its social network. For Google, it’s a more visible cycle of creating new users of its products and services and search engine. From here on out, the battle between tech giants is no longer just over your smartphone and its OS, your search engine of choice, or the destination of your online social life’s most valuable, ad-targeted assets. The fight has gone to space, and it’s not likely to remain so uncrowded as more and more large corporations start snatching up companies like Titan Aerospace and Ascenta in the future.

Heartbleed Bug Affected over 60% of Websites Today

The Heartbleed Bug is currently attacking over 60% of online websites today.

A contact of ours who works as a senior system administrator, in charge of computer network security at the University of Arizona, has just informed us that a bug on the internet named Heartbleed has just been identified, the bug creates a security hole, allowing hackers to potentially go on a world wide web hacking spree. The Heartbleed Bug has likely affected over 60% of websites, allowing the possibly for your usernames and passwords to be stolen.

Website security attack via Heart Bleed bug
The Heartbleed Bug allows for stealing information protected, under normal conditions, by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet. SSL/TLS provides communication security and privacy over the Internet for applications such as web, email, instant messaging (IM) and some virtual private networks (VPNs).

The Heartbleed Bug allows hackers on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software. This compromises the secret keys used to identify the service providers and to encrypt the traffic, the names and passwords of the users and the actual content. This allows attackers to eavesdrop on communications, steal data directly from the services and users and to impersonate services and users.

You are likely to be affected either directly or indirectly. OpenSSL is the most popular open source cryptographic library and TLS (transport layer security) implementation used to encrypt traffic on the Internet. Your popular social site, your company’s site, commerce site, hobby site, cloud storage sites, sites you install software from or even sites run by your government might be using vulnerable OpenSSL. As a precaution you should change pretty much all your users names and passwords. Though you will still be vulnerable until any websites you are using put in place their own updated security patch.

As long as the vulnerable version of OpenSSL is in use it can be abused. Fixed OpenSSL has been released and now it has to be deployed. Operating system vendors and distribution, appliance vendors, independent software vendors have to adopt the fix and notify their users. Service providers and users have to install the fix as it becomes available for the operating systems, networked appliances and software they use.

As a precaution you may want to contact any website you have a user name and password with like Facebook and other social sites, email accounts, ebay, online stores, government sites, e-commerce service providers, banks etc. via phone or chat and ask if they have secured their websites from the Heartbleed Bug.

We’ve been able to contact Host Gator and Blue Host so far and both have confirmed the Heartbleed bug exist. Both said they’ve already patched in their own security. Both as well suggested it’s a good idea for users to now change their passwords with them as added protection.

The news about the discovery of the Heatbleed bug hit the LA Times and other press about 18 hours ago. Keep in mind that reports say the Heartbleed Bug has been out there unidentified for about two years now, creating holes for hackers to gather your personal information.

Solutions: Confirm Heartbleed security patch has been put in place with your service providers and start changing your passwords.

Free Tools:  Website Vulnerability Checker and Another Heatbleed Test

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