Monday, January 30, 2012

Tech companies team up to combat email scams

Foxnews I  Published January 30, 2012
| Associated Press
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Facebook is teaming up with its tech peers to fight scams.

Google, Facebook and other big tech companies are jointly designing a system for combating email scams known as phishing.
Such scams try to trick people into giving away passwords and other personal information by sending emails that look as if they come from a legitimate bank, retailer or other business. When Bank of America customers see emails that appear to come from the bank, they might click on a link that takes them to a fake site mimicking the real Bank of America's. There, they might enter personal details, which scam artists can capture and use for fraud.
To combat that, 15 major technology and financial companies have formed an organization to design a system for authenticating emails from legitimate senders and weeding out fakes. The new system is called DMARC -- short for Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance.
DMARC builds upon existing techniques used to combat spam. Those techniques are designed to verify that an email actually came from the sender in question. The problem is there are multiple approaches for doing that and no standard way of dealing with emails believed to be fake.
The new system addresses that by asking email senders and the companies that provide email services to share information about the email messages they send and receive. In addition to authenticating their legitimate emails using the existing systems, companies can receive alerts from email providers every time their domain name is used in a fake message. They can then ask the email providers to move such messages to spam folder or block them outright.
According to Google, about 15 percent of non-spam messages in Gmail come from domains that are protected by DMARC. This means Gmail users "don't need to worry about spoofed messages from these senders," Adam Dawes, a product manager at Google, said in a blog post.
"With DMARC, large email senders can ensure that the email they send is being recognized by mail providers like Gmail as legitimate, as well as set policies so that mail providers can reject messages that try to spoof the senders' addresses," Dawes wrote.
Work on DMARC started about 18 months ago. Beginning Monday, other companies can sign up with the organization, whether they send emails or provide email services. For email users, the group hopes DMARC will mean fewer fraudulent messages and scams reaching their inbox.
The group's founders are email providers Microsoft Corp., Yahoo Inc., AOL Inc. and Google Inc.; financial service providers Bank of America Corp., Fidelity Investments and eBay Inc.'s PayPal; online service companies Facebook, LinkedIn Corp. and American Greetings Corp. and security companies Agari, Cloudmark, eCert, Return Path and the Trusted Domain Project.
Google uses it already, both in its email sender and email provider capacities. The heft of the companies that have already signed on to the project certainly helps, and its founders are hoping it will be more broadly adopted to become an industry standard.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Nigerian email scam ends in real-life kidnapping

Published January 16, 2012
| TechMediaNetwork
South African police have rescued a man and his daughter who were kidnapped by a Nigerian gang after the duo flew to Africa to claim their multimillion fortune promised to them in a phony email.
The unnamed victims, a 65-year-old South Korean man and his daughter, in her 30s, flew to Johannesburg last week after receiving an email promising them tens of millions of dollars, the Guardian reported.
The man was told he had to come to Africa to claim the money; when he landed at O.R. Tambo International Airport, he and his daughter were picked up by a driver (who was working for the gang), and dropped off at a house in a Soweto township. The driver managed to escape, but his passengers were not as lucky; they were held hostage for four days.
The kidnappers, five Nigerians and a South African, demanded a $10 million ransom from the kidnapped man's wife in South Korea, which was to be deposited to an account in Singapore, Col. McIntosh Polela of the South African police service told the Guardian. The amount was negotiated down to $120,000.
The man's wife alerted the South Korean embassy in South Africa, and the police raided the home and freed the victims. The man and his daughter returned to Korea without appearing in court.
"They declined to testify because they were traumatized," Polela said. "They were also embarrassed at being lured to South Africa. This is common once victims discover they've been fooled."

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

iPhone celebrates fifth birthday -- How has it changed?

Opening weekend sales numbers proved the iPhone 4S to be the most successful iPhone launch in Apple's history.
Opening weekend sales numbers proved the iPhone 4S to be the most successful iPhone launch in Apple's history

(WIRED) -- Gadget fans may be focused on the CES trade show this week, but there's something else notable going on today: It's the iPhone's fifth birthday.
Five years ago today, Apple unveiled the original iPhone to the world. It wasn't a tightly kept secret, shrouded in mystery and speculation like more recent Apple announcements, but it was arguably the world's most anticipated gadget launch.
Although its form factor -- a capacitive touchscreen candy bar -- hasn't dramatically changed over the years, each iteration of the iPhone has yielded important improvements. Let's take a look back at how the iPhone revolutionized what we thought a phone could be.
The iPhone Is Revealed
"An iPod, a phone, an internet mobile communicator," Jobs said when preparing to introduce the iPhone in January 2007. "An iPod, a phone, an internet mobile communicator.... These are not three separate devices!"

The original iPhone launched on AT&T with a handful of Apple-created apps. It had a 320×480 resolution, 3.5-inch capacitive touchscreen and 2-megapixel camera, and ran iOS 1.0. Inside, it featured a 412MHz ARM 11 processor, a proximity sensor, and an accelerometer.
Priced at $499 and $599 for 4GB and 8GB models, the iPhone didn't actually go on sale to eager hordes of consumers (hundreds of whom waited outside Apple Stores) until June 29.
"As a device, it's a genre-bender," former Gadget Lab editor Dylan Tweney said in his review of the landmark device. "Never before have American consumers had access to a phone that is simultaneously so powerful, so elegant, and that performs so many functions."
iPhone 3G, the App Store and iOS 2.0
Apple's second generation iPhone debuted in the summer of 2008. Internally, it was largely identical to its predecessor: same processor, same type of display, same 2.0 megapixel camera, same amount of memory. But the iPhone 3G, as the name implied, now supported 3G network operability, as well as GPS.
More importantly, though, the launch of the 3G was accompanied by iOS version 2.0, which included an industry-altering addition: the App Store. The App Store finally let independent, third-party developers legally create apps for the device with a 70/30 revenue split weighted toward Apple.
The App Store has been an incredible success story for Apple and developers alike. It houses more than half-a-million apps, and there's been more than 18 billion downloads to date. Pretty much every mobile platform has its own app market now, and most aremodeled similarly to Apple's.
iPhone 3GS Takes Photography Seriously
The iPhone 3GS was primarily an incremental improvement over the 3G, but it included some notable hardware improvements that would continue through later iterations of the phone.
First, the 3GS included a camera upgrade: a 3-megapixel, autofocusing camera that shot decent video that could be edited and easily sent to YouTube or other destinations. Photography would become an increasingly important feature for iPhone users. The processor was upgraded to a 600MHz Samsung chip, and the display was upped to 480×320 pixels. The 3GS also added a compass, a tool that would prove incredibly useful in apps like Google Maps.
On the software side, the 3GS also added Voice Control, and iOS, now at version 3.0, finally added a cut/copy/paste functionality to the system.
iPhone 4: Prototype Leak, 'Antennagate' and Verizon
The iPhone 4 stunned the world with its radically redesigned look, which Gizmodo revealed early after getting its hands on a prototype.
A 3.5-inch Retina Display put pretty much every other smartphone display to shame: At 960×640 and bearing a 326ppi pixel density, it offered pixels smaller than the human eye could detect. The iPhone 4 was also encased front and back by slim slabs of glass, and ringed by an aluminum rim. The visual conceit was slick, and Apple received kudos for its smart industrial design refresh.
Unfortunately, that aluminum rim became the source of a debacle known as "Antennagate": Because of the external antenna design of the phone, if users held it a particular way, they would experience a drop in signal strength.
The iPhone 4 debuted in June 2010, still on AT&T like its predecessors, but in January 2011, Apple expanded availability toVerizon.
iPhone 4S Delivers Siri
Expecting an entirely differently designed iPhone 5, some Apple fans were disappointed by the announcement of merely an "iPhone 4S." However, pre-sale numbers and opening weekend sales numbers proved the 4S to be the most successful iPhone launch in Apple's history.
A major reason for the success of the 4S was its new voice-controlled virtual assistant, Siri. Hackers attempting to port Siri toother iOS devices have almost succeeded, but the solution just isn't available for the masses. Others though, are more interested in hacking Siri to control other gadgets in their lives like thermostats or a rotary dial phone.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Work Faster in Microsoft Word: 10 Secrets

Ten Microsoft Word Secrets
Not everything that Microsoft Word 2010 can do is obvious from a quick look at the tools on the main ribbon toolbar. Some features are buried in the Options menu or in dialog boxes, and others take the form of keyboard shortcuts or simply aren't easy to see.

1. Create Lines for a Blank Form
Would you like to be able to insert a cent symbol or type the accented é characters inrésumé, directly from the ribbon toolbar? How about adding your company's specialized terminology to the built-in Word dictionary? You can have these and other options for working faster and smarter in Word at your fingertips if you know where to find them and how to set them up.
Creating a form with custom dot leader tabs; click for full-size image.Creating a form? Custom dot leader tabs let you easily create the blank lines.When a printed document--such as a form--needs typed or handwritten information added to it, you can use tabs to draw the blank lines. Start by typing the text (such as Name:) that prompts the form's reader to enter information on the blank line that you will draw; then press the spacebar, and select the Home tab on the ribbon toolbar.
Locate and click the Paragraph dialog launcher icon in the bottom right of the Paragraph group, and click the Tabs button at the foot of the Paragraph dialog box. Here you can create your own tabs--you'll need a single tab stop at the point where the dotted line should finish.
To set the margin at 6 inches in a letter-size document with 1-inch margins, for example, type 6"into the Tab Stop Position box, choose Right for the Tab Alignment, and choose 2 as the Leader to get a dotted line. The click Set and finally OK.
Back in the document, place the cursor where you want to draw the line; press the Tab key on your keyboard, and a dotted line will appear drawn from the blank space all the way to where you set the right tab. Press Enter twice, type the next prompt (such as Address:) and pressTab again. Every time you do this, a new dotted line will appear. When you're ready to return to normal editing, press Enter once and then press Ctrl-Shift-N to return to Normal paragraph style; and the default tabs will immediately reappear.

2. Label Items With Sequential Numbers

Field codes for automatic sequential numbering; click for full-size image.Use field codes to number tickets and coupons automatically and sequentially.Word lets you create elements within documents that appear in numeric order, such as printed coupons or event tickets. You can automatically create sequentially numbered items by using field codes. First design the coupons or tickets; and, you can place multiple tickets on a page inside table cells, if you like.
Click the location where the first ticket number should appear and selectInsert, Quick Parts, Field from the Categories list. Then selectNumbering, and from the list below choose SEQ. Next, click Optionsfollowed by the Field Specific Switchestab. After the letters SEQ in the Field Codes box, type a bookmark name that only you will see, such as ticketnumber, followed by a letter space, the marker \r, another letter space, and then the starting ticket number. Thus, to start at the number 1000, you would use this field code:
SEQ ticketnumber \r 1000
Click OK twice when you're done. Starting at the location where the next number should appear, repeat the process, this time using this field code:
SEQ ticketnumber \n
Click OK twice. The next-larger number (1001) should appear in the designated place. Copy this field code and add it everywhere you need an incrementally larger number. You can perform this operation as many times as you need to. If the numbering doesn't automatically increase incrementally, force it to do so by pressing Ctrl-A to select the document and then pressing F9to update the fields.
At any time, you can change the start number by clicking the first field code you added and then pressing Shift-F9 to view the field code. Replace the number 1000 with your new starting number, and then press Shift-F9 again to hide the field code. To update all of the codes to reflect your new starting number, press Ctrl-A followed by F9.

3. Reverse the Page Print Order

Reverse page print order; click for full-size image. Reverse the order in which pages of a document print, and save yourself the trouble of sorting pages manually.If the pages in your document are printed the wrong way around, you can reverse the print order by selectingFile, Options, Advanced, and then scrolling to find the Print group of options (these are different from and in addition to the Printing Options in the Display settings). Locate and change the setting of the Print Pages in Reverse Order checkbox; if it was enabled, disable it, or vice versa. Finish by clicking OK. In the future, documents will print in reverse order, saving you the trouble of having to reorder them. This setting will remain in place the next time you open Word, and it will apply to all documents.

4. Save Images as Building Blocks

Save an image as a Quick Part; click for full-size image.When you save an image as a Quick Part, you can add it to any document at any time.When you need to add a repeating image (such as a logo) to your documents, you can save it as a building block for easy insertion.
First, insert your image into a document and format it to look the way you want it to. Click the image to select it, choose Insert, Quick Parts, and then choose Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery. Type a name for the image, and select a gallery to add it to (Quick Parts is a good choice); then change the Category setting toGeneral or add a new category if you wish. Type a description of the image, and select it to save it in Building Blocks.dotx, a file that Word automatically creates during this process. End by clicking OK.
The image will be stored permanently in your building blocks collection, and you can add it to any document by choosing Insert, Quick Parts and clicking to select it from among the items displayed there.