Google Unveils New Look for Maps

Google’s popular online mapping service is getting a makeover as of this week as a new look is rolled out to all desktop users. The new interface for Maps is described by Google as being more immersive and social.

The Maps makeover has been quite a long time coming, having been announced in May 2013 during a Google conference to some fanfare. “It’s simple and powerful. The map is the user interface,” said Berhard Seefeld when he introduced the product makeover almost a year ago. Google hasn’t been resting since then, and there have been several updates to the popular service in the last year, including live traffic updates and better viewing options for location photos.

The new interface will start to adapt the more that a user interacts with it. “As you search the map, start places you like and leave reviews, the map starts to adapt and can suggest things like restaurants you might enjoy or the quickest way home,” said Google’s official blog post.

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Tinder Security Flaw May Have Leaked User Data

Popular dating app Tinder may have been letting on a little more about its users than their shared interests and profile photos. According to security firm Include Security, a vulnerability in the smartphone app may have been exposing private user data and their exact whereabouts throughout the previous year.

On Wednesday, Include Security officials announced that they had located a serious vulnerability in Tinder’s geolocation software, which was active on the app for most of 2013. Although the flaw was fixed earlier this year, it had already been abused by at least one Tinder user according to sources at Include Security. When accessed, the flaw allowed access to the exact coordinates of other users.

Tinder have yet to comment on the security flaw, though it is likely that the vulnerability was only ever used by one particularly advanced user who had thorough knowledge of programming skills and the app’s API. Security experts pointed out the security bug to Tinder in October 2013, and have reported that it was fixed in January 2014.

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Piracy Sites Rake in $4.4 Million Each per Year from Ads

For years, the music and film industries have been attempting to put a stopper on piracy websites, but despite the on-going battle, business is still booming for sites such BitTorrent and The Pirate Bay. A recent report points the finger at the legitimate companies which continue to pump advertising money into the most popular pirate sites.

Released on Tuesday, the report from the Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA) entitled “Good Money Gone Bad” outlines the fact that pirate sites take in as much as $4.4 million per year from business like Amazon, McDonalds and Lego. These huge figures only make up the top 30 sites investigated, though even small sites could reportedly take in as much as $100,000 per year from advertisements. This reportedly leaves the sites with a possible profit margin of up to 94% in a typical year.

According to the DCA, as many as 30% of the 600 pirate sites investigated had advertisements from well-known brands such as Whole Foods and McDonalds, which only serves to pump more money into a supposedly illegal industry.

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Firefox OS Launches on Low-End Smartphones

The smartphone market is dominated by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms- just ask Blackberry and Windows Phone about how tough the competition can be. Attempting to break into a very competitive market, Firefox OS has found a niche by turning its attentions on the low-cost phone market.

To gain a foothold in the super-competitive world of mobile operating systems, Mozilla has chosen to release Firefox OS on a number of low-end smartphones, targeting markets which may be neglected by Apple and Google. In the past, Apple has been criticized for failing to offer any low-end options, and even the cheapest Android phone may still be too pricey for a number of developing mobile markets. Emerging markets and first-time smartphone buyers will be able Mozilla’s target buyers for the release of its first mobile operating system.

This method has already proved a success in the markets where Firefox OS has already been debuted; despite its recent release, the platform made up 12% of smartphone sales in the growing market of Venezuela, and 8% in Colombia.

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Linksys Routers Attacked by Malware named ‘The Moon’

If you own a Linksys Wi-Fi router either at home or in your office, beware of a new piece of malware that’s been attacking firmware and replicating itself.

The malicious software known as ‘The Moon’ has apparently infected as many as 1,000 Linksys devices already, spreading from router to router by scanning for nearby vulnerabilities. According to sources, the malware has so far affected Linksys E1000, E1200, and E2400 routers, though it is not clear yet how dangerous the infection actually is.

So far, the malware has been seen to infect routers and replicate itself, but it is not clear to what extent it does damage, or if any damage is done at all. According to Linksys’ parent company, the malware may simple send a message back to its creators when it has infected new hosts. Since it is unclear whether the worm will develop further, users are still advised to take precautions against it by using the Disable Remote Administration feature on their Linksys device.

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Forbes Hacked by Syrian Electronic Army

Over 1 million user e-mails and passwords have apparently been stolen from Forbes by the Syrian Electronic Army following a hacking attack which compromised the world-famous publication’s popular website.

Apart from inundating Forbes’ compromised website with a series of fake stories, hackers from the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) claim to have stolen the details for over 1 million Forbes users, which will reportedly be published online in the near future. The hackers announced their victory on Friday, tweeting about the attack and posting pictures of the backend of the Forbes website.

Forbes confirmed the story to be true in a Facebook post not long after the announcement by the SEA. Although the official statement from Forbes is that no passwords were actually stolen in the attack, the company has still urged website users to change their login details as a precaution against further exploitation.

A spokesperson for the SEA stated that Forbes was being targeted specifically because of the organization’s belief that Forbes showed a clear hatred for Syria within its publication and articles.

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Over 4,000 Bitcoin Hijacked in Silk Road 2 Attack

The original Silk Road has been down for some months, but that hasn’t stopped the internet’s vast collection of dodgy sellers from setting up shop in a second market place. While the creatively named Silk Road 2 seemed to flourish for a while, it was reported this week that a hacking attack has claimed $2.7 million worth of Bitcoin.

A Silk Road 2 moderator going by the name of Defcon reported in an online forum that the marketplace had been hacked and the site’s escrow account emptied. The escrow service was used by the site to facilitate the transfer of Bitcoins between buyers and sellers; there were around 4474 Bitcoins in the account when the attack took place.

According to reports, the hackers responsible for the Silk Road 2 attack exploited a vulnerability within the transaction process to clean out the entire collection of Bitcoins.  The hackers made use of the Silk Road’s automatic transaction verification system to place orders from one another and then request refunds to automatically receive money back.

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