Surely by disconnecting your PC from the Internet and bashing your cable modem with a hammer you'll be safe from the prying eyes of the National Security Agency (NSA), right? Wrong. Like a bad sci-fi movie that keeps unveiling unlikely technologies, it's now being reported that the NSA has been using radio waves to tap into offline PCs since at least 2008.
Let's not sugarcoat things, the McAfee brand isn't one that's well respected among enthusiasts, and it surely didn't help matters that its founder, John McAfee, had quite the adventure the past couple of years, one which started with him being wanted for questioning in a murder investigation in Belize to Mr. McAfee saying he played the "crazy card" in Guatemala to escape capture as part of a conspiracy by the Belize government. Suffice to say, we're not the least bit surprised Intel has decided to phase out the McAfee brand, we just wonder why it took so long.
Today marks the first day of a brand new year, but if you have plans of traveling abroad, be advised that the same old laws apply. That includes the government's right to search and seize your electronic devices without a warrant. The controversial law comes up in headlines every once in a while, and is again making the rounds after a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging the policy.
By far the biggest revelation of 2013 was that of the U.S. government's overreaching National Security Agency (NSA) and its PRISM surveillance program. Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the government's ability to spy on various forms of communication by leaking several documents to the press, and since doing so, new information keeps coming out. One of the most recent reports claims the NSA routinely intercepts computer deliveries in order to exploit vulnerabilities to aid with spying.
Security vendor F-Secure is ringing in the holiday season with a limited time Internet Security PC Lifetime Edition offer. Up through January 31, 2014, you can snag an F-Secure Internet Security PC Lifetime Edition license for $80, which remains valid for the life of your PC or 7 years, whichever comes first. Even better, F-Secure has an exclusive offer for Maximum PC readers -- two licenses for the price of one!
It's surprisingly cheap to purchase stolen credit card details and full blown identities
Your identity is worth around the cost of two movie tickets, or a pair of tickets and a bucket of popcorn, depending on where you live. That's according to a menu of items available in the underground market, a place where you can purchase someone's Visa or MasterCard details, including CCV code, for a mere $4. Fancy yourself an American Express gent? That runs $7, versus $8 for stolen Discover Card details.
If you've been around the PC block a time or two, then you've probably heard of System Mechanic, an all-in-one system tune-up utility that comes with a bunch of different tools to keep your computer running at tip-top shape. A single-year license runs $50, though for the next 24 hours, developer Iolo is offering new users a free 6-month license. Think of it as an extended trial, if you will.
A newly discovered security hole in Office could allow remote code execution
Microsoft has discovered a vulnerability in the graphics component of its Windows, Office, and Lync software that could allow hackers to execute malicious code from a remote location. The software giant said it is aware of targeted attacks that attempt to exploit the vulnerability in Office and has suggested a series of workarounds until it can issue a permanent patch. In the meantime, Microsoft has made available a piece of "Fix it" software to automatically apply the workaround procedures in affected products.
Adobe suffered a major security breach last month that compromised at least 38 million user accounts. In the wake of that attack, however, the top 100 passwords used by milliions of Adobe account holders have come to light, and it doesn't look pretty. If you're in a scolding mood, you could say that many Adobe users compromised themselves by using lazy passwords that are easy to guess.