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You all know the drill. You buy a phone from AT&T or other wireless provider and the phone is tied down to their specific. For those looking to take their smartphone elsewhere, 1998′s Digital Millennium Copyright Act actually made it illegal for anyone to unlock their own cellphone. It wasn’t until 2006 that the Library of Congress provided an exemption that allowed consumers to unlock their phones for the sole purpose of changing providers. Only problem is that exemption expired in 2013 (late 2012).

If you thought consumers were just going to be SOL from here on out, Senate has passed a new bill that will once again makes cellphone unlocking legal. Announced in a press release by Senator Patrick Leahy, The Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act allows consumers to unlock their cellphone — either “professionally” or by themselves — for use on different networks once their current contract is up.

So the war of words over interconnection has continued. Last week, we wrote about the back and forth between Verizon and Level 3 on their corporate blogs concerning who was really to blame for congestion slowing down your Netflix video watching. As we noted, Level 3 used Verizon's own information to show that Verizon was, in fact, the problem. Basically, in spite of it being easy and cheap, Verizon was refusing to do a trivial operation of connecting up a few more ports, which Level3 had been asking them to do so for a long time. In other words, Verizon was refusing to do some very, very basic maintenance to deliver to its users exactly what Verizon had sold them.

Earlier this week, Verizon went back to its blog with another blog post from David Young, this one even snarkier than the last. Snark can be fun, but if the underlying message is completely bogus, you're going to run into trouble. In fact, Young's underlying message is so weak, that he more or less admits to absolutely everything that Level 3 was claiming in its post -- while pretending it's Level 3 that actually admitted fault!

adblockplusEver since our start, Lunarsoft has taken great strides in avoiding having any advertisements on our website. Thanks to this, people do not have to worry about their privacy when browsing any part of Lunarsoft. This also means you don't need to worry about canvas fingerprinting.

Canvas fingerprinting is a new "unstoppable" method to track users online for advertising purposes. The data gathered includes graphic drivers, browser version, operating system and possibly some settings like ClearType. While some reports are claiming that it's impossible by bypass, the Adblock Plus team has found ways and methods to stop canvas fingerprinting.

Though Adblock Plus cannot stop a browser from receiving images used for canvas fignerprinting they are able to stop your computer from transmitting the "fingerprint". This stops the tracking that canvas fingerprinting uses in it's tracks.

The AdBlock Plus team has even stated that,

When you add the EasyPrivacy filter list in Adblock Plus this won't make Adblock Plus block tracking cookies directly. Instead, Adblock Plus will block the script that would try to set these cookies. And guess what: blocking that script doesn't just prevent cookie-based tracking, it also lets you deal with canvas fingerprinting or evercookie or any other tracking approach. In particular, the rules to prevent AddThis tracking were added to EasyPrivacy almost five years ago.

AdBlock Plus is available for Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Opera, Safari, and Android. Be sure to use EasyList and EasyPrivacy when you install AdBlock Plus. You can also check out our wiki page about Blocking Malware and Advertisements Safely along with our PC Security wiki page.

netflixReed Hastings recently stood before new employees packed into the company’s campus movie theater, pulled a gray hair from his head and held it up for all to see. A single fiber optic strand, as thin as that hair, could carry massive amounts of data — the equivalent of all of Netflix’s global video traffic at any given time, he marveled.

The co-founder of Netflix has been thinking much more about broadband providers these days, with his company spearheading a lobbying effort to get federal regulators to monitor how Internet service providers charge Web firms like his to move data around the Internet.

It’s a risky effort. Netflix, which gobbles up one-third of bandwidth during peak hours, doesn't think companies like theirs should pay extra to place its servers closer to the networks of Comcast and Verizon.

The issue reveals Netflix at an important turning point. It won kudos with television critics, nominated for 31 Emmys on Thursday. But it’s making enemies out of the companies it relies on most — the cable and telecom firms providing all those lightning-fast Internet connections as thin as his hair.

The following is an edited transcript of a recent interview in the “Hawaii Five-O” conference room at the company’s headquarters. Hastings had just returned from watching the U.S. play against Germany in an early World Cup 2014 match.

Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs claims to have "set a new broadband speed record of 10Gbps using traditional copper telephone lines" in a research project that could ultimately bring gigabit speed to broadband networks that combine fiber with copper.

Those 10Gbps speeds can only be achieved over 30 meters; at 70 meters, top speeds drop to 1Gbps, according to today's announcement. Alcatel-Lucent says that 1Gbps upload and download speeds may be possible in the real world over networks that bring fiber to the curbside and rely on copper for the final few meters. Such a setup would be similar to AT&T's U-verse fiber-to-the-node service, although U-verse places the fiber about 600 to 900 meters away from homes and currently tops out at 45Mbps.

googleDespite its high profile in the tech world, patent trolling — in which companies sue for damages over patents they don't intend to use — has been difficult to address. Reform efforts in Congress stalled earlier this year, when Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) failed to broker an agreement that would have raised the bar for sending patent infringement warnings and increased the risks for bringing a frivolous lawsuit. In the wake of this defeat, Google, DropBox, Canon, and others are forging a truce that they hope will stop trolls from building a patent arsenal.

The License on Transfer (LOT) Network is a coalition of seven companies that, according to the site, hold 50,000 issued US patents and 300,000 total patent assets between them. It's intended specifically to combat patent assertion entities, the nebulous companies that buy large numbers of patents and use them to reach settlements. Even if the patent doesn't exactly fit the case, settling is often cheaper than fighting a suit, and unlike companies that manufacture their own products, they can't be countersued in defense. The LOT Network can't help with patents these businesses already own, but they could defuse new ones. Any time a member sells one of its patents to a non-member, all other member companies are granted a license to use it. If a member is outright acquired by a patent assertion entity — as opposed to another hardware or software company — other members will be granted a perpetual license to its entire portfolio.

microsoftPlaying offense against cybercriminals is what drives me and everyone here at the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit. Today, Microsoft has upped the ante against global cybercrime, taking legal action to clean up malware and help ensure customers stay safer online. In a civil case filed on June 19, Microsoft named two foreign nationals, Mohamed Benabdellah and Naser Al Mutairi, and a U.S. company, Vitalwerks Internet Solutions, LLC (doing business as No-IP.com), for their roles in creating, controlling, and assisting in infecting millions of computers with malicious software—harming Microsoft, its customers and the public at large.

We’re taking No-IP to task as the owner of infrastructure frequently exploited by cybercriminals to infect innocent victims with the Bladabindi (NJrat) and Jenxcus (NJw0rm) family of malware. In the past, we’ve predominately seen botnets originating in Eastern Europe; however, the authors, owners and distributors of this malware are Kuwaiti and Algerian nationals. The social media-savvy cybercriminals have promoted their wares across the Internet, offering step-by-step instructions to completely control millions of unsuspecting victims’ computers to conduct illicit crimes—demonstrating that cybercrime is indeed a global epidemic.

We want to update all our loyal customers about the service outages that many of you are experiencing today. It is not a technical issue. This morning, Microsoft served a federal court order and seized 22 of our most commonly used domains because they claimed that some of the subdomains have been abused by creators of malware. We were very surprised by this. We have a long history of proactively working with other companies when cases of alleged malicious activity have been reported to us. Unfortunately, Microsoft never contacted us or asked us to block any subdomains, even though we have an open line of communication with Microsoft corporate executives.

We have been in contact with Microsoft today. They claim that their intent is to only filter out the known bad hostnames in each seized domain, while continuing to allow the good hostnames to resolve. However, this is not happening. Apparently, the Microsoft infrastructure is not able to handle the billions of queries from our customers. Millions of innocent users are experiencing outages to their services because of Microsoft’s attempt to remediate hostnames associated with a few bad actors.