googleWe’ve written about the Chinese attacks on Google and other U.S. corporations before, but new developments in the case link the source of the attacks to two schools. Since Google announced the attacks on January 12, National Security Agency investigators have been laboriously searching for the source of the attacks,

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hide Google offers users a free, superior online experience and services such as email, search, maps, etc. in exchange for your web browsing privacy. Now thanks to an independent security researcher who goes by the name Moxie Marlinspike, you can get all of Google’s freebies without having to sacrifice your privacy. He just launched a Firefox plug-in called Googlesharing, which gives users access to Google’s online services while cloaking their identity from the company’s data collection tools. The way that it works is it sends your Internet requests through another computer that hides your identity and mixes it up with those of other users.

“Each identity looks like a normal user, but everything is mixed up between identities so Google can’t track any individual” says Marlinspike.

Googlesharing hides your online privacy from everyone but one person: Marlinspike himself, and in case you don’t even trust him, he offers the source code to you for free to create your own proxy.

“If you don’t trust us, you can find someone who you do trust,” he says.

But is all this really necessary? Or are these the people that use proxy services like this one just paranoid? Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt tells us that the fears of governments using our web history to try to convict us of crimes might just be true:

“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in hidebagthe first place… The reality is that search engines–including Google–do retain this information for some time and it’s important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities”

Googlesharing is not the only proxy you can use to keep your online identity safe, there are others like Tor, which provides increased security, but slows you down a bit since it redirects all your Internet requests through 3 different servers. Other sites like Ixquick.com or Scroogle.com only offer to keep your searches private, but not any other of Google’s services.  For the most ease of use, and without sacrificing speed, try out Googlesharing.

(Via Forbes)

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google-china-conflict-300x300After Google and Chinese human rights activists repeatedly reported cyber attacks stemming from China, combined with the Chinese government’s tradition of Internet censorship, Google has had enough. Google announced that it will radically change the way it does business in China or leave the country altogether.

The way Google has previously done business in China was that it had its own site for the country: Google.cn. On this version of Google, the search results are censored based on what the Chinese government deems appropriate. For example, searching for Tiananmen Square  (a student uprising that resulted in a violent government response, and is currently unrecognized by the Chinese government) on Google.cn fails to bring up any results, as if the historic event never happened.

“Unfortunately we could see the dark side of technology, when they tried to subvert the things we’re building into tools of political suppression, which is the ultimate inverse of everything we stand for… that’s when it really hit home…” says a Google source.

Google’s motto has always been “Don’t Be Evil,” and limiting the information people have access to based on where they are from falls into the “Evil” category according to Google. Based on this policy, the search engine giant might resort to shutting down its Google.cn site and its office in China if the censorship policy in China doesn’t change. Small groups of Chinese citizens have shown support for Google’s decision by gathering in front of Google’s Chinese offices leaving flowers, candles and notes of support.

As of right now, we’re not sure how China will respond to this bold move by Google, but if the country doesn’t change it’s censorship policy, Google will face a huge loss of profit by leaving this huge market of Internet users to China’s homegrown competition as well as Google rivals like Microsoft and Apple.

(Via PCWorld)

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google-near-me Google has recently released a new “Near Me Now” feature that uses the built-in GPS tracker in smart phones to show business and attractions that are around you. It is located on the Google homepage underneath the search bar, and will only appear there after you enable the GPS feature on your smart phone. It will then allow you to look up local business , attractions, reviews, hour of operation, etc.

For now it is only available on the iPhone (OS 3.0 or later) and Android (OS 2.0.1 or later) and only in the United States. Google did not say if it plans on making this feature available on other smart phones such as the BlackBerry and Windows Mobile, or if it plans on releasing this in other countries. But if it does, then it will be a huge threat to other location-based business finder apps like Yelp and Urban spoon.

(Via PCWorld)

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gmail-security-issue-300x300Google’s Gmail has become the target of an industry-wide phishing scam. Phishing is when hackers create fake websites in an attempt to get voluntary information like e-mail or bank account passwords. Although this particular phishing scheme originally targeted Hotmail accounts, BBC News has seen lists detailing more that 30,000 Gmail accounts that have been hacked into and posted online.

A Google spokesperson stated “We recently became aware of an industry-wide phishing scheme through which hackers gained user credentials for web-based mail accounts including Gmail accounts. As soon as we learned of the attack, we forced password resets on the affected accounts. We will continue to force password resets on additional accounts when we become aware of them.” The company spokesperson stressed the fact that the attack was “not a breach of Gmail security.”

Google discovered the scam after a list of 20,000 victims emerged containing Hotmail, Aol, Yahoo, and Gmail accounts. Though some of the accounts are unused or fake, it has been confirmed that several of the accounts are real and are in use daily. A spokesperson for Microsoft stated that phishing was an “industry-wide problem.” A Yahoo spokesman urged customers to “take measures to secure their accounts whenever possible, including changing their passwords.”

The biggest risk according to a study by Sophos Security firm, was the fact that 40% of people use their e-mail passwords for every other website they have an account with, making hacking almost easy. Carole Theriault, a Sophos employee, told BBC News “Getting access to one password can give someone access to lots of things. People need to see a difference between an online bank account and booking cinema tickets online.” It is important for computer users to install and continually download updates for their security systems to help protect against scams like these. Users should also be wary of the links given to them in e-mails from people they don’t know and even the ones they do.

(Via BBC News)



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