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World's biggest-ever 'botnet' uncovered

30/06 (1334 hrs IST): This is worrisome. A report in The Christian Science Monitor says computer security experts have detected what appears to be the world's "largest-ever computer 'botnet,' a network of millions of computers controlled clandestinely by a criminal cyber gang with roots in Eastern Europe. No one yet knows for sure just how many "zombie" computers were under the thrall of this still-unnamed massive botnet, but it sprawls across 172 countries, according to Unveillance, the Wilmington, Del., botnet-tracking firm that announced the discovery Wednesday. Click on this link to read more...http://bit.ly/l1LI7E

Catch up with all that Online chatter on Google+

29/06 (1938 hrs IST): As an update, here's what the Online Community is saying to Google+, the new Social Site from Google Inc.
 

Groupon's Indian subsidiary slips, publishes users' passwords online


 

 
 
29/06 (1319 hrs IST): Groupon Inc's Indian subsidiary SoSasta had "inadvertently" published its users' passwords on the Internet, but the sensitive information was quickly removed after the co. had realized that. 
A report by Reuters said the world's largest daily deals site had admitted an "information security expert" told the company about the problem Friday morning, Indian Standard Time (IST), after which it immediately took down the data and began informing affected subscribers.

Google+ is here

 
29/06 (0600 hrs IST): In what is being said as its 3rd attempt at being "friendly" Search major Google has made yet another attempt at Socializing. It has today taken the wraps off Google+, a Social Network that apparently has been in the works for over a year. But don't get into a tizzy yet. For some strange reason, access to this latest Social Site is "By Invitation" only, as of now. Google says it is still "testing it", so.....
 
(We feel to launch a Social Site and then, of all the things, to say it is still being tested is a bad move, guys)
 
Analysts, Social Networking experts, just about anybody who is a somebody on the Net have a near-unanimous opinion - there is nothing new that Google+ offers which has not been offered before. For those of you who wanna read up on Google+, here's the official blogpost.
 
Okay, very quickly, since the site is a not for all yet, here's a quick lowdown. Here's what Google+ has:
 
Circles (like Facebook). You can share content with your friends, only you don't have to share everything with everybody at once. You can pick and choose specific groups.

Sparks (like Google Reader). You can subscribe to news and get a constantly updated feed.


Hangouts (like Tinychat). 'Live' video conversations.


Instant Uploads (like iCloud). Snap photos with your phone and automatically uploaded them.


Huddle (like GroupMe). Group chat.

Facebook took No:2 popularity slot in UK in May

27/06 (1357 hrs IST): Social Site Facebook overtook Microsoft websites in Britain for the 1st time in May 2011, in turn, becoming the UK's second-most popular after Google, said a report by measurement agency Nielsen
 
A report by agency Reuters said the boost to Facebook was because of people aged over 50 using Social Networks.

Facebook attracted a record 26.8 million visitors in Britain in May, up 7 % on a year on year basis, beating the 26.2 million who visited Microsoft's MSN/WindowsLive/Bing sites combined. Google had 33.9 million.

Elsewhere, Facebook attracted 140 million visitors in the United States, up 12 %. In Spain its numbers were up 7 % and in France by 18 %.

Brazil's Govt websites targeted for 3rd day

25/06 (1255 hrs IST): The AFP news agency has reported that  Internet hackers invaded Brazil's Institute of Geography and Statistics on Friday, the 3rd straight day Brazilian government websites have been attacked.

Early Friday morning, the home page of the Institute had been changed to read: "Hacked IBGE," accompanied by a picture of an eye in the colors of the Brazilian flag, the report, quoting local media, said. The hacker group called "Fail Shell" said it would launch this month the largest number of virtual attacks ever as a protest from a "nationalist group that wants to make Brazil a better country."

On Wednesday and Thursday, two other hacking groups, Lulz Security & Anonymous, attacked two official government websites.

Lulz Security has claimed responsibility for a month-long rampage on targets around the world including website of the CIA, US Senate, Sony and others.

Asians are loving Mobile Apps

25/06 (0713 hrs IST): A report in Gigacom says the Mobile Application business is booming in Asia. Quoting Distimo, an agency that monitors the Apps market, it says the largest downloads of Apps are now being down in that part of the world. The overall Apple App Store download volume in Asian countries has "grown significantly" in the past 6 months, while some Western countries actually saw a decline in volumes over the same period. China, says the report, has moved into 2nd place in overall Apps downloads but South Korea actually outpaces China & Japan in download volume on a per capita basis.
 
Meanwhile, Apple has just released the 2nd Beta of its iOS 5. Go on, check it out. 

 Site for curly haired users raises more funds

23/06 (1940 hrs IST): Business Insider reports this story headlined: Proof that any ridiculous idea can get funded right now: Social Network for curly-haired people raises $1.2 million
 
The story goes on to say that Naturally Curly Network (http://www.naturallycurlynetwork.com) hopes to be the solution for unruly mops; it just raised a $1.2 million round from angel investors (http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/the-naturallycurly-network-captures-12-million-in-additional-angel-investments-1530397.htm).

Naturally Curly is the "leading social network for people with curly, kinky and wavy hair." The network is made up of 4 sites: Naturallycurly.com, Curlynikki.com, Curlstylist.com & Curlymart.com

The report goes on to state, almost as an after thought that the site had previously raised US $2 million. It will use the money to make acquisitions, hire talent, & create more mobile applications.
 
Well, this particular development has nothing to do with your online life but we decided to run it anyway because it just shows a good idea will always get people to back it. 

Firefox 5 version released

22/06 (2004 hrs IST): Mozilla has released Firefox version 5 today. It has these new features:

'Do not track' options for Android, better visibility in Preferences of desktop version
CSS animaion support, which helps developers build more dynamic websites
Better support for JavaScript and Canvas
Updated support for MathML, HTML 5, XHR, and SMIL.

Google crosses 1 billion visitors a month mark

22/06 (0755 hrs IST): Industry tracker comScore says Google becomes the first online operation to attract more than a billion visitors in a single month. This happened in May this year & comScore has billed it as an "unprecedented" turn-out. Microsoft websites were closing in on the milestone with about 900,000 "unique visitors" for the month, according to comScore.

Facebook was the 3rd most visited Web addresses, but the Social site was No:1 where "staying power" of readers was concerned.

Internet body approves corporate domain names

20/06 (1828 hrs IST): June 20, 2011 could well go down as a red letter day in the history of the Internet. On this day, the Internet's global coordinator finally approved the creation of website addresses ending in corporate names, a proposal that was hanging fire for around 6 years. So the day is not far off now when one will see .Microsoft or .Cisco as Web addresses.
 
According to news agency reports, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) voted overwhelmingly in favour of the proposal at a meeting in Singapore. This, despite apprehensions & allegations that the shift would cause confusion or favour large companies. The ICANN board voted 13-1 in favour of the change, which was first proposed in 2005, with two members abstaining.

Once the new rule is implemented, businesses will no longer be restricted to using generic top level domains (gTLDs) that include .com, .net & .org. So, as example, BMW can very well now have a domain name that ends in .BMW.

ICANN chairman Peter Thrush said at a news conference that the new naming system will be a "tremendous opportunity for people to take control of this aspect of their branding and develop it in their own way." George Sadowsky was the lone board member who voted against the move, & he has been quoted as saying that it was not ICANN's job to influence the choice of winners & losers in such competitions. ICANN chief executive Rod Beckstrom said applications for the new web suffixes will open on January 12, 2012 & close 90 days later.

ICANN will now embark on a global campaign to spread awareness of the changes. ICANN is a non-profit body managing the Domain Name System & Internet Protocol addresses that form the technical backbone of the Web. It is meeting for an entire week in Singapore  to discuss a range of matters.

But before everybody (atleast those who support the move) jump in joy, there is a catch. These type of domain names won't come cheap, some saying they could cost somewhere in the region of US $185,000 just to apply. Further, only "established corporations, organisations, or institutions in good standing" may apply for a new gTLD, according to ICANN guidelines, a criteria that has critics saying only global corporates would take advantage, thus getting an unfair edge.

LulzSec offers to take revenge against hackers of Sega

19/06 (1955 hrs IST): It is ironical but the very guys who successfully "hacked" sites of Sony Entertainment & a host of other such, LulzSec is now extending "help" to video game software developer Sega to seek "revenge" against those who hacked the latter's website.
 
Sega was the latest victim of a network breach. LulzSec has offered help the game company "take down the responsible parties."

Blog PlayStation LifeStyle posted yesterday what it said was a letter sent by Sega to users of its Sega Pass service, informing them that "unauthorized entry was gained" to the Sega Pass database. The company was investigating.

"We have identified that a subset of Sega Pass members' e-mails addresses, dates of birth, and encrypted passwords were obtained," the letter reads.

The letter doesn't say who might be behind the intrusion. It, though, offered some words of caution:

If you use the same login information for other websites and/or services as you do for SEGA Pass, you should change that information immediately.

We have also reset your password and all access to SEGA Pass has been temporarily suspended.

LulzSec sent out a public tweet addressed to Sega: "@Sega - contact us," the tweet reads. "We want to help you destroy the hackers that attacked you. We love the Dreamcast, these people are going down."

Mass attack on Websites?

19/06 (0905 hrs IST): Are you a Website owner? Then, you need to read up on 'Mesh Injection Attacks'. Mass 'Meshing' is a new type of "redirection" attack adopted by hackers in the last few weeks against sites. Experts say it differs from the previous SQL injection attacks in many ways. The "horrifying news" for website owners is that already, as per one estimate, 30,000 sites could have been affected by such  Mass Meshing attacks. 
If you wanna learn more on MMAs, we came across this story on internet.com. Click on http://www.esecurityplanet.com/trends/article.php/3935941/New-Injection-Attack-30000-Websites.htm to read up.

Google launches Me On The Web

17/06 (0740 hrs IST): Search Engine major Google has launched an online reputation-management tool for Net users called Me on the Web. It can be found on the Google dashboard in the Analytics & Account information.

Me.... will contain information about individual users, who by using this tool, can decide who can see the information, determining whether it's visible to just a few friends, family members, or just about everyone on the Net. Google's new tool aims to make it easier to monitor an individual's identity on the Web & to provide easy access to resources describing ways to control what information is out there on the Internet.

Me on the Web will provides links to resources offering information on how to control what third-party information is posted about an individual on the web, including common tips like reaching out to the webmaster of a site to ask for the content to be taken down. Users can also get notified when their personal data appears on the Web.

Voice Search, Instant Search..Google announces a host of features

15/06 (0516 hrs IST): Search Engine major Google has announced a new bag of technological tricks to "simplify" Internet Search on PCs as well as handheld devices that connect to the Web.

The features include a 'Speak' option wherein users can voice their Search requests in English to their PCs. Google also showcased another feature called 'Instant Pages' which allows certain Web pages to pop-up in a user's Web browser almost instantaneously. The new features were unveiled at a conference in San Francisco on Tuesday.

For now, the spoken-request option for desktop computers will be offered only on Google's Chrome browser, which many have interpreted as a way of boosting Chrome. The feature can be activated by clicking on a microphone icon inside Google's search box. Chrome's users can hope to start using the feature within the next few days.

Google said it hoped to eventually make all the features available through Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer & Mozilla's Firefox browsers, & in different languages, too
 
Clearly, Search continues to be Google's topmost earner. It generated approximately US $29 billion in revenue last year,most from Search ads.

Another innovation announced at today's conference is designed to load web pages more quickly after users click on the top search result. The 'Instant Page' option, which also requires Chrome, builds upon a 9-month old feature in which search results automatically appear after typing in a few characters into a search box.

Not all of Google's latest search options will require Chrome, though. These include a new tool that allows users to drag images into Google's Search results to get a list of results about what's probably there in the photograph. This image-recognition technology can identify people, but Google has decided not to turn on that feature for this purpose. Such photos entered into the search box won't be  available for the general public.

Oh crap! It's those guys from Lulz again. This time, they got a video game co

14/06 (0744 hrs IST): Hackers have got through to the website of video game company Bethesda Softworks, according to online reports.
 
The group of hackers going by the "now infamous" name of Lulz Security, are behind the attack. Bethesda acknowledged the intrusion in a blog post Monday, saying hackers may have gained access to users' names, email addresses & passwords. The company added that no credit card data or other financial information were compromised.

Lulz Security had also recently claimed responsibility for breaking into the websites of PBS, Sony Pictures, Nintendo among others. In Twitter messages, Lulz (Internet-speak for laughs) said it has had information on more than 200,000 users "for weeks" and broke into Bethesda's website more than two months ago while the latter has claimed it happened over last weekend.

Gaming lovers would be familiar with Bethesda's games like Brink & Fallout: New Vegas.

Facebook losing users? This monitoring agency claims so

13/06 (1232 hrs IST): Social Networking Site Facebook may be growing towards 700 million users, having reached 687 million monthly actives by the start of June, but it has cause for worry, according to 'Inside Facebook Gold data service' run by Inside Facebook, a source of news & analysis on Facebook’s global growth, corporate developments & product innovations.

Most of the new users of Facebook continue to come from countries that were relatively late in adopting the Social Network. But overall growth has been lower than normal for the second month straight, which was "unusual."

Facebook, said the report, gained 11.8 million more users over May this year, following 13.9 million over April. In contrast, it grew by at least 20 million new users over the typical month in the past 12; while there have been a few months that have registered lower growth numbers, they have not been back to back.

Most prominently, the United States lost nearly 6 million users, falling from 155.2 million at the start of May to 149.4 million at the end of it. This is the first time the country has lost users in the past year, the report claimed. Canada also fell significantly, by 1.52 million down to 16.6 million, although it has been fluctuating around that number for the past year. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom, Norway and Russia all posted losses of more than 100,000. If these countries had not lost users & instead posted even small gains, Facebook would have had a much more typical month, claimed the report. 
If you wanna catch up with the rest of this report, click here

2 Startups join forces to bring you the best  

12/06 (0929 hrs IST): ReadWriteWeb reports that 2 Startups are combining forces to throw up the most-tweeted tweets. Twitter-powered new reader StrawberryJ.am is partnering with tweet-scheduler Buffer to surface the top stories in your social stream each day & tweet them at regular intervals.

StrawberryJ.am is still in Beta & is as an automated curator of stories to your social stream. Its algorithm finds what your fans on Twitter are following. You can then load those stories into your Buffer queue & they will be tweeted throughout the day.
Read the story on

Tweet: It's happening right now on Facebook

10/06 (1952 hrs IST): Social Networking site Facebook has just began testing a feature which will let users see what's "happening now" in a sidebar to the right of their news feeds. Yes, does that sound like tweets to you? Many surfers have already said so. The new feature is filled with links friends have posted that other friends like.

 
We will try out the new feature soon. If you have& wanna tell us about it, write to tellus[a]whatsnewonthenet.com

Twitter-like Microblog soon from the Chinese

 
 
10/06 (0619 hrs IST): One of China's most popular Web Portals Sina Corp. has said it will soon launch an English-language microblog aimed at users abroad. So, the next question that comes to mind is - should U.S.-based Twitter  start worrying?

The service will be a version of Sina's Chinese-language Weibo Microblog, according to company spokesman, Mao Taotao. He, though, did not give a date for the launch.
 
China's top Internet companies like Sina are only beginning to expand abroad. The country has the world's most populous Internet market, with more than 450 million people online at the end of last year, according to the government. Also, Microblog services are vastly popular in China.

Yet another online company manages to raise funds

 
 
09/06 (1249 hrs IST): Online coupon sites Coupons.com has raised US $200 million from institutional investors including mutual funds, according to online reports.

Coupons.com announced the deal early Thursday but did not disclose the company's total valuation, added the reports. The company founded 13 years ago is based in Mountain View, California, USA.

Coupons.com distributes discounted coupons to users through a variety of digital formats, including in-store kiosks, mobile applications, among others.

It already offers coupons in 12 European countries through its stake in the U.K.'s Couponstar Ltd. The deal, coming in the wake of Skype & Linkedin fund deals, is bound to make analysts sit up & take note.

World IPv6 Day goes without a hitch

09/06 (0645 hrs IST): World IPv6 Day had drawn to a close but there are no adverse reports coming in yet. This day, a test flight of the Internet's new communications protocol (IPv6) was carried out.

Scouring the Net for various reports on the one-day switch, we have found no news of any hiccups or short-circuiting of any agency that participated in it. The 24-hour global test run hasn't hit any major glitches, said a spokesman for Arbor Networks, an Internet security company monitoring the IPv6 activity, in one such report.

Major companies, including Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Verizon & Facebook, switched to the new protocol to check out how it works, or whether it works. The IPv6 has become necessary after IPv4, the Internet's main communications protocol, reportedly was running out of unique IP addresses for all of the computers, smartphones & other mobile devices that need to be connected to the Web. IPv6 will  provide over 4 billion times more addresses than IPv4.

Tencent Holdings to invest in funds for early stage Chinese firms

08/06 (1515 hrs IST): News agency Reuters reports from Shanghai that Tencent Holdings, China's Internet company,  said on Wednesday that it had invested into a fund that will support early-stage Chinese Internet firms.

Tencent runs China's largest instant-messaging platform & is the country's largest operator of online games. It will invest in a yuan fund with a total capital commitment of 700 million yuan started by Innovation Works, an incubation fund founded by Google China's former head Kai-Fu Lee.

Tencent & Innovation Works will collaborate to provide an open and supportive environment for Internet startups to foster growth and creative development, the report said, quoting Martin Lau, president of Tencent, said in a statement.

June 8 is IPv6 Day

07/06 (1718 hrs IST): June 8, 2011. we suggest our readers mark this day in their diaries. For on this day, the new Internet Protocol popularly known as Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) will be tested in a 24 hour window.
 
Already, Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Akamai & other Web majors have pledged to offer their Content over IPv6 for a 24-hour “test flight”, said the Internet Society, a non-profit organisation to provide leadership in Internet related standards.
 
The goal of the "Test Flight Day" is to motivate organizations across the industry – Internet service providers, hardware makers, operating system vendors and web companies – to prepare their services for IPv6 to ensure a successful transition as IPv4 addresses run out.

A quick explanation: Every device connected to the Web has an Internet address assigned to it so that all the devices can find each other.
This system of connectivity called Internet Protocol was created in the 1970s. Even back then the computer engineers who created IP addressing had the forethought to provide capacity for a lot of them, some 4.5 billion addresses. But as it turns out, it was not enough. IPv4 addresses are almost over. So a new system has been created to replace the old one. Now, its time to test it worldwide but how to do that? How can all devices switch simultaenously to IPv6?
 
So, as a preliminary test, June 8 is the designated date when the 1st such attempt will be made to check out the system.

Just read what Microsoft has announced for gamers

07/06 (0910 hrs IST): Software giant Microsoft has announced a slew of new games & features. 
                                  
At the much-awaited E3 press conference, in addition to several new Kinect-only games, Microsoft also announced Kinect Fun Labs, a new dashboard feature that finally realizes many of the Kinect capabilities. Most of the core games in the Xbox 360 line-up will now utilize the motion-sensing technology, the company said.
 
We reproduce some of the highlights of the press conference:

(a) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 demo. The game is set to release November 8th, later this year.

(b) A demo of Tomb Raider, the new reboot from Crystal Dynamics. The game will release during the fall of 2012.

(c) An announcement by EA Sports that 4 of their specific titles will offer Kinect support: Madden, FIFA, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, while one shall be named later.

(d) BioWare announced that Mass Effect 3 will offer Kinect support through voice commands. Players will be able to issue commands to their squad members by using the Kinect.

(e) Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier will offer Kinect support in a brand new way to get into the game including a new weapon customization system that allows players to use voice commands & body gestures to switch weapon parts & locations.

(f) Youtube is set to come to Xbox Live, which can all be controlled by Kinect voice commands. Xbox Live also plans to expand the partnerships, to now offer millions of entertainment choices to users.
 
(g) Bing on Xbox Live will allow users to search effortlessly for exactly what they want to see, hear, or learn more about.
 
(h) Live television will also come to Xbox 360, allowing users to watch news, TV series, etc

(i) Live UFC fights will be broadcast as well, allowing players to see weigh-ins, & call fights all from their Xbox 360 console, later this year.

(j) A new Gears of War 3 demo was shown, to be released later this September.

(k)Ryse, a new Kinect title, was introduced, that uses the player’s body as a weapon.

(l) Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition, to be launched soon.The game offers the original campaign as it’s totally remastered in HD. Players will also fight others across seven original multiplayer maps that will be remastered for use as well.

(m) Minecraft is set to make its console debut on the Xbox 360 later this year.

(n) Disneyland Adventures, too, comes to Kinect, allowing parents to take their kids on a virtual tour of the park.

(o) Sesame Street Once Upon a Monster game takes parents and children on an adventure to unite a monster with a cuddly creature to be friends for life.
later this year.

(p) Going 'Live' today is a new feature with Kinect called Kinect Fun Labs. The feature will allow players to take photos of themselves for use to create actual in-game avatars. Players can also scan their favorite real-life objects such as toys, skateboards, & more for use in-game. Also, players will be able to use real photos to create 3D drawings via Finger Tracking.

(q) Halo 4 was announced, with enough hints that it will begin a brand new trilogy for the franchise. The game is free from Bungie, with 343 Studios taking the wheel. The game will release next year.

Apple announces "better, advanced" Operating System for PCs called Lion

07/06 (0810 hrs IST): There was a triple bonanza for Apple fans today. At its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, USA, the company announced a slew of new software, across devices that is gonna make almost the entire industry sit up & take note. Here's more....

A roundtable for VC & Tech Startups

 
 
06/06 (1352 hrs IST): The TechSparks Regional RoundTable, Out of the Garage, Into the Market, is being held this time in Pune, India on June 11, 2011. The 1st roundtable this year was held in New Delhi in May. Organized by YourStory, TechSparks is an annual event that goes on at various destinations in India, throughout the year.
 
YourStory believes that TechSparks 2011, as a platform bringing together VCs, angel investors, CXO-level corporates from the technology sector & the mainstream media, "can serve as a launchpad for Indian product Tech Startups." The idea behind this get together is to get them access to genuine support, create an amicable atmosphere for substantive networking and eventually,  enable nation-wide recognition.
 
Each Regional RoundTable is characterized by two focussed activities -a Panel Discussion featuring key stakeholders in the Startup ecosystem and an Open House where entrepreneurs, for the first time, will be given the opportunity to ask any question to any panelist and engage in meaningful discussions and not just be a spectator.
 
At the Pune roundtable, the idea, say the organizers, is to have an absolutely open interaction over the topic of discussion, which is – Out of the Garage, Into the Market.

Angry Birds come to Windows

 

 04/06 (0730 hrs IST): The immensely popular puzzle game Angry Birds, is now available on Microsoft Windows. Prior to this, it had already released on Smartphones like Apple iOS, Symbian, Android & browsers like Google Chrome & Mac OSx.
 
Its makers, the Finland-based Rovio say you can buy this game from the Official Rovio store for just US $5. Both of the Angry Birds versions are available for download. Angry Birds, the Angry Birds Rio & the Angry Birds Season.
 
For Window users, the plus part is this game doesn’t require a higher end specification PC. All you need to have is just 1GHz Processor,512 MB ram & less than 100Mb free space on your hard drive.

http://download.angrybirds.com/#ABO

Google's latest acquisition:PR 

04/06 (0700 hrs IST): Google has bought PostRank (PR), a Canadian company that monitors how far social messages like tweets & Facebook updates spread across the Web for various clients.

It is significant that the move happened just a few days after Google announced its +1 button for websites. Many interpret the move as a "merger of ideas". PostRank will move to Google's Mountain View headquarters, it announced in the blogpost.

OnLive, Facebook are now buddy buddy

03/06 (1953 hrs IST): OnLive, a Cloud gaming service that lets you stream video games to your PC or TV, has announced a partnership with Facebook to share in-game clips. Which basically means when you play games online with OnLive, you will be able to capture your favorite moments on video & then share them with others on Facebook. A gamer can also launch the PC OnLive App directly from the Social Networking site.

The Gaming service is also introducing a new universal gamepad which will work with nearly any OnLive compatible device, such as set-top boxes, tablets, or TVs. It will be giving a public demo of this pad, soon.

No word from Sony yet 

04/06 (0645 hrs IST): Over 10 hours after the claim was first made, an official response to the hacking was yet awaited from Sony. 
 
"We recently broke into SonyPictures.com and compromised over 1,000,000 users' personal information, including passwords, email addresses, home addresses, dates of birth, and all Sony opt-in data associated with their accounts," the group said in a post on Pastebin.
 

Sense of deja vu: Claims of Sony Pictures websites hacked made

03/06 (1927 hrs IST): While Sony is getting its act together after its PlayStation Network & Qriocity music service were hacked, it has suffered another security attack. This time, the attack was on various websites associated with Sony Pictures.

Unlike the previous attacks, though, this time, the identity of these hackers is known. Simply because they went & announced it on Twitter. It was a team of individuals going by the name LulzSec. These guys announced that they had broken into SonyPictures.com & "compromised" more than 1 million user accounts. An additional 75,000 music codes and 3.5 million coupons were also exposed.
 
The attack, part of a campaign known as Sownage, was also announced on the LulzSec website (yes, these guys actually have a website). When we tried to access the Cloud-based site, it was offline, with a cached page available.
 
News agencies said according to the group's own press release, access to the main Sony Pictures website was gained using a very basic tactic called a SQL injection. LulzSec said that all of the information it took was unencrypted.
 
Sony has told some websites that it was investigating the claims.

Groupon files for IPO

 
 
03/06 (0630 hrs IST): e-Commerce site Groupon has decided to go public, according to online reports. The company has filed an Initial Public Offering (IPO) to raise US $750 million but has not said how many shares it intends to sell or what the initial price will be.

According to the financial statement (Form S-1) filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission as a requirement for the IPO, in 2009, Groupon claims to have made US $30.4 million in revenue. One year later, the figure jumped to $713 million. In the first quarter of 2011, Groupon’s revenues totaled $644.7 million, which will put it well over the $1 billion mark by its second quarter.
 
Groupon connects merchants and consumers by offering goods & services at a discount.The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering have not yet been determined. A portion of the shares will be issued and sold by Groupon, and a portion will be sold by certain stockholders of Groupon. 

"Tweet me up, dahlings"

 
 
03/06 (06015 hrs IST): In the on-going rivalry between Search major Google & Social Site Facebook, Net users have lost sight of another battle - that of Facebook versus microblog Twitter. Online community analysts such as Chris Crum of WebProNews have of late suggested that Twitter was fast becoming a viable competitor of Facebook.
 
Now comes the study that shows that the number of U.S. Twitter users has jumped in the past year, increasing more than 50%. Pew Research Centre found that 13% of online American adults now use Twitter as compared to the 8% who said they were using it in 2010.

The survey, based on telephone interviews of 2,277 adults, also showed that 18-to-29-year-olds used Twitter the most, with 18% reporting that they tweet and follower other Twitter users. The next most active age group was 30-to-49-year-olds; 14% of that age group were using Twitter.
 
So, what say mate? Are we on the cusp of seeing a new online war?

Almost 3 billion people will be using the Net by 2015:Report

02/06 (1301 hrs IST): Cisco has said in a report that global online traffic is set to quadruple by 2015 as the number of gadgets linked to the Internet climbs to 15 billion.

A report by AFP quoting Cisco's fifth annual Visual Networking Index Forecast released Wednesday, predicted that nearly 3 billion people, more than 40% of the expected world population, will be using the Internet by 2015.

Personal computers generated 97% of consumer Internet traffic last year, but the share will drop to 87% in the next 4 years as more people turn to smartphones, tablets, and Web-enabled televisions, Cisco said.

The report said online video traffic, including data rich 3-D and high-definition transmissions, was projected to be 14 times greater in 2015 compared to last year.

Mobile data traffic was expected to increase by a magnitude of 26 times in the same period.
 

China denies allegations

03/06 (0607 hrs IST): At spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry called Google's allegations “unacceptable,” adding, “Any blame against China in this is groundless and with an ulterior motive.”

Gmail users tricked by Chinese phishers

02/06 (0837 hrs IST): Search Engine Google has said that Gmail users were the victims of some very sophisticated password phishing attacks that appear to have originated in Jinan, China.

As a result, the scammers were able to access "hundreds" of personal Gmail accounts belonging to "senior U.S. government officials," political activists, and journalists. Google has clarified that the attack wasn't due to a security flaw in Gmail, though. The scam involved users being tricked into entering their passwords on a fake site.

The attackers would send an email that appeared to be from a friend, but was actually spoofed. The victim would open a link that directed them to a very realistic looking Gmail sign-in page. In fact, the page was fake, and set up to collect user passwords. Once they had these passwords, the attackers would use set up Gmail to forward email messages to other accounts owned by the scammers. In this manner, they would get access to personal information of the users.

Google detected the attack, notified victims & "secured their accounts." The company has also recommended that Gmail users employ extra security measures, like two-step authentication -- which requires users to enter a second password that is sent to the user's mobile phone -- & to use strong passwords.
 
 

Zynga announces new game

01/06 (1835 hrs IST): Social Gamers Zynga, the creators of FarmVille, CityVille, & scores of other such games, have announced the launch of a new Social Game - Empires & Allies, the company’s first combat strategy game.
 
A press statement out out by the Social Gaming giant describes Empires & Allies as “CityVille meets Risk.” Unlike FarmVille, where your goal is to build up your property through trade & commerce, the new game is about building an army & protecting your empire. Users can build army units, form alliances, secure energy & even invade other islands.

Unlike other Zynga games, Empires & Allies is driven by its story, said the statement. The game has more than 30 characters that guide players through the storyline. The game isn’t focused on hardcore gamers though, and has many of the casual gaming elements that have made Zynga’s games so successful. The game will become available today in 12 languages.
 
 
Empires & Allies features include:

Building an Empire Feared by his allies and hated by his enemies, “The Raven” is an unapologetic tyrant who wanted his pet mascot to be an eagle, but he couldn't catch one. In a tirade, “The Raven” has destroyed your empire. Once the rubble from the attack on your empire is cleared, build your empire’s population back up. Build island huts, cottages, houses and more to collect rent to fund your expanding empire.

Firefox 4 more famous than previous editions

01/06 (1705 hrs IST): Mozilla's Firefox 4 reached 14.2% of the worldwide market in May 2011, overtaking for the first time its previous 3.6 version which was on 12.3%, according to StatCounter, the free website analytics company.
 
A statement by the firm's research arm, StatCounter Global Stats, said that following its launch on March 22, Firefox 4 had overtaken Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9.0, which was on 4.6% globally, & was just behind Google's Chrome 11 which has 16%.
"Firefox 4 has performed well since launch and is on an upward trajectory," commented Aodhan Cullen, CEO, StatCounter. "This is particularly impressive as a Firefox upgrade has to be initiated or authorized by the user, unlike Chrome, for example, which undergoes automatic updates."
 
When all versions are combined, IE still leads the pack globally with 43.9% followed by Firefox with 29.3%. The forward momentum, however, is with Chrome which has increased from 8.6% a year ago to 19.4% in May 2011.

StatCounter Global Stats are based on aggregate data collected on a sample exceeding 15 billion page views per month (4 billion from the US) from the StatCounter network of more than three million websites.

Google to launch +1 button service for websites from today

01/06 (0925 hrs IST): Google's +1 button, the link sharing service, will be available for even website owners who want to use it from today, some online reports seem to suggest.

Till now, the button was only available in Google search results but one had to opt to use it to begin with. Adding the +1 button to a website will give its users the option to share it with others. Again, site owners need to ask Google to provide them with the +1 code.