Google is cracking down on ad-injecting extensions for its Chrome browser after finding that almost 200 of them exposed millions of users to deceptive practices or malicious software.
More than a third of Chrome extensions that inject ads were recently classified as malware in a study that Google researchers carried out with colleagues from the University of California at Berkeley. The Researchers uncovered 192 deceptive Chrome extensions that affected 14 million users. Google officials have since killed those extensions and incorporated new techniques to catch any new or updated extensions that carry out similar abuses.
The use of ad-blocking software is growing as Internet users try to deal with the swelling number of ads delivered programmatically and the pervasive tracking of their online behavior.
This growth has set alarm bells ringing within the online advertising industry, with concerns that the use of ad blockers could damage publishers' online revenues. Just last week it emerged that two groups of publishers in France are considering a lawsuit against, Eyeo GmbH, the maker of AdBlockPlus.
While behavioral advertising ideally makes advertising more relevant to viewers, some people find it "creepy"; data shows that last year’s revelations of the National Security Administration’s attempts to track citizens online has made them warier than ever.
If you don't have your Windows 7 disc handy—but want to create a custom installation, run Windows from a USB drive, or just do a fresh install—you'll need an ISO file of the disc. You used to be able to download them from Digital River's servers, but those links no longer work. Now, Microsoft has a Software Recovery Center where you can download those ISOs for free.
This isn't piracy, of course—you still need a valid Windows license to download the ISO and register Windows. If you purchased a retail version of Windows, enter the product key from the package. If you can't find it, use a program like Magical Jelly Bean KeyFinder. Once Microsoft confirms your product key, you can download Windows and use the Windows 7 USB Download Tool to put it on a thumb drive.
If your computer came with Windows, however, it's probably an OEM version, which will not work on Microsoft's new site. Instead, if you want to reinstall Windows without the bloatware, you'll probably need to borrow a disc from someone and use your product key when you resinstall.
Windows 8.1 users have always been able to download ISOs with Microsoft's tool, which you can now get here.
While Microsoft has dropped hints that the Internet Explorer brand is going away, the software maker has now confirmed that it will use a new name for its upcoming browser successor, codenamed Project Spartan. Speaking at Microsoft Convergence yesterday, Microsoft's marketing chief Chris Capossela revealed that the company is currently working on a new name and brand. "We’re right now researching what the new brand, or the new name, for our browser should be in Windows 10," said Capossela. "We’ll continue to have Internet Explorer, but we’ll also have a new browser called Project Spartan, which is codenamed Project Spartan. We have to name the thing."
Internet Explorer will still exist in some versions of Windows 10 mainly for enterprise compatibility, but the new Project Spartan will be named separately and will be the primary way for Windows 10 users to access the web. Microsoft has tried, unsuccessfully, to shake off the negative image of Internet Explorer over the past several years with a series of amusing campaigns mocking Internet Explorer 6. The ads didn't improve the situation, and Microsoft's former Internet Explorer chief left the company in December, signalling a new era for the browser.
Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users this summer, but Microsoft is also extending its offer to software pirates. "We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10," says Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s Windows chief, in an interview with Reuters. The move means that thousands, perhaps millions, of machines will get a free copy of Windows 10 even if a license has not been properly acquired. "Anyone with a qualified device can upgrade to Windows 10, including those with pirated copies of Windows," says a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. "We believe customers over time will realize the value of properly licensing Windows and we will make it easy for them to move to legitimate copies."
If you recently installed or updated uTorrent on your PC, you may have have picked up an unwanted passenger: a bitcoin miner called Epic Scale. If you don't pay attention, that piece of code can be inadvertently installed with the latest uTorrent build (version 3.4.2). It can then use your computer as part of a bitcoin farm (Litecoin, to be exact) to generate revenue for third parties. Users first reported the situation on uTorrent's forums, and it was quickly confirmed by a senior support manager. He said that the app "cannot be installed without permission," but one user claimed that there was "never a warning about it," even though he opted out of other bundled software.