Ukrainian Hackers Attack NATO Sites

Several NATO web sites went down late last week following mounting tensions in the Crimean peninsula. A group of pro-Russian Ukranian hackers has claimed responsibility for the cyberattack, which took place on the eve of Sunday’s referendum.

Hacktivist group Cyber Berkut is reportedly the perpetrators of the attacks which took down several of NATO’s websites. According to NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu, several of the organization’s sites went down following a “significant” distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. The sites were not breached during the cyberattacks, and are expected to be restored to normal functionality before long.

The attacks launched by hackers on Saturday were successful in taking down NATO’s main page, as well as the organization’s cyber defence center website. Although hackers claimed to have taken down the NATO Parliamentary Assembly website, this continued to function as usual.

During Sunday’s referendum, Ukrainians voted on whether the Crimean peninsula should join Russia or not, however tensions continue to mount despite a UN resolution.

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Voice Calls Coming Soon to WhatsApp

Over 460 million of us are already consummate believers in WhatsApp’s messaging service, but the next step for the popular application is going to be voice calls.

Reports have been circulating for some time that a voice calling service was next up for WhatsApp, but recently leaked screenshots seem to confirm that this major update will be on its way to our smartphones sooner rather than later. Technology blog iPhoneItalia featured supposedly leaked screenshots of the new WhatsApp call interface for iPhone.

WhatsApp, which is currently in the process of being acquired by Facebook for $19 billion, has reportedly been working on the possibility of introducing a call feature for some time. In a statement given a few weeks ago, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum promised an update to the long-awaited call feature by the end of 2014’s second quarter.

The product is intended to use the least amount of bandwidth possible for making calls, and should be available on iPhone and Android platforms.

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What to Expect from iOS 8

Not sure what to expect from the next iOS update? Not to worry, Apple tech hounds at 9to5Mac have released a complete list of the updates and refinements which just might make it into the smartphone’s next operating system. After the relatively large overhaul seen in iOS 7, there is still a little bit of refining to do with Apple’s next mobile OS.

CarPlay is Apple’s next big step towards making its technology even more mobile than ever by integrating it with our vehicles. Although CarPlay is available over a cable link in iOS 7, reports are in that the next operating system upgrade will allow the feature to work over WiFi in certain vehicles. This lines up very neatly with Volvo’s plans to allow wireless communication with iOS in future mobels.

While new features pop up, some old ones may be cleared away; reportedly on the chopping block is the Game Center app, which proved to be unpopular with users. More refinements may also be made to the Notification center, possibly reducing its tabs to just “Today” and “Notifications” in order to make things simpler.

Apple are also thought to be making changes to the Voice Memos app in iOS 8 in order to make the controls more visible, as well as giving users more control over how Messages are stored or deleted.

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Google Dramatically Cuts Drive Prices

Google’s cloud-based storage system has just become more appealing than ever thanks to dramatic price cuts across the board for their storage solutions. Storing data on Drive is now cheaper than ever, with a massive 1TB of space available for under $10.

Yesterday, Google announced that the prices for extra storage on Drive would be taking a serious drop, making it easier and more affordable than ever to use cloud storage. Similarly to previous plans, 15GB of space will still be free to anyone who wants the most basic storage option available. To upgrade from that relatively small amount of space, 100 gigabytes will be available for just $1.99 (down from $4.99).

For anyone looking for even more cloud storage space, an impressive 1 terabyte is available for only $9.99. To put that into perspective, Google’s director of product management quipped that a terabyte of storage space is enough to “take a selfie twice a day for the next 200 years.”

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WhatsApp Claims Security Flaw Report is Not Accurate

This week, popular messaging service WhatsApp came under fire after tech consultant and blogger Bas Bosschert wrote about a potentially massive security flaw in the messaging system. The internet messaging company, which was recently purchased by Facebook, has spoken up to say that Bosschert’s claims are overstated and inaccurate.

The original accusations levelled at WhatsApp by Bosschert claimed that malicious developers could be capable of accessing private messages via the microSD card. Considering the fact that WhatsApp has been in the news so often following its sale to Facebook, as well as its impressive 465 million person user count, it’s not surprising that the accusation went viral.

Yesterday, WhatsApp released an official statement to refute the claims made by Bosschert, claiming that the tech blogger paints an inaccurate picture of the security flaw. “Under normal circumstance the data on a microSD card is not exposed. However, if a device owner downloads malware or a virus, their phone will be at risk.”

WhatsApp officials also went on to say that the latest version of the app available in Google Play was updated further in other to protect users against malicious applications.

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Tinder Introducing Verified Accounts for Celebrity Hookups

Poor celebrities, they may be popular in real life, but they just can’t seem to find a date on Tinder. It must be hard being rich, beautiful, and swiped to the left. Thankfully, Tinder is in the process of introducing verified accounts which will be able to help the rich and famous find a date.

For anyone unfamiliar with Tinder, the matchmaking app allows its users to sort through a list of potential hookups in your immediate vicinity and decide whether or not they’re interested. If you like someone’s profile you swipe to the right to add them to your list, but if you don’t like them, you discard them by swiping left. With only pictures and a short bio to go on, Tinder users make decisions based on whatever info they have available.

Let’s say you’re flipping through a list of possible matches and that guy from Two and a Half Men pops up in front of you. Most people will just assume this is a fake account, and that’s the problem for celebrity Tinder users like Ashton Kutcher and Lindsay Lohan. Thankfully, Tinder is ready to put an end to this very serious problem; the app’s CEO Sean Rad explained to The Hollywood Reporter that verification would soon be put into place for Tinder’s celebrity users.

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Thousands of WordPress Sites Used in DDoS Attack

This week over 162,000 legitimate WordPress sites were used by hackers to launch a huge distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack against another popular website.

Security researchers from Sucuri confirmed earlier this week that hundreds of thousands of totally harmless sites were harnessed to mount the attack using a flaw in the WordPress system. Although the security firm would not confirm who the target of this attack was, it has been stated that the victim was a “popular WordPress site” which went down for a number of hours.

While the attack launched against this unnamed WordPress site was small in comparison to the recent siege against Namecheap, it still succeeded in crashing servers and causing down time. According to Sucuri’s chief technology officer Daniel Cid, the attack is remarkable because it may have come from a single hacker working alone. In a blog post on the attack, Cid expanded on why this lone hacker’s technique could be dangerous in the future.

“One attacked can use thousands of popular and clean WordPress sites to perform their DDoS attack, while being hidden in the shadows.”

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