Friday, September 16, 2016

LG's new $150 midrange phone packs a huge battery


If your main concern with a phone is battery life, and basically nothing else, this new LG device could be up your alley. The LG X Power is available on Boost Mobile for $150, and comes with an impressive 4,100mAh battery. Everything else about the new handset is pretty meh. The 5.3-inch machine only has a HD resolution, runs the somewhat outdated Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and has relatively poorer 8-megapixel and 5 MP rear and front cameras. I'd say the price justified the specs, but there are better phones out there for the money.

Despite the underwhelming specs, the X Power still has the biggest battery in that price range. It uses an octa-core MediaTek processor that the chip maker said has power-saving enhancements to extend battery life. So the stamina alone could be reason to consider the X Power.

This is also the first time a phone powered by Qualcomm rival MediaTek has been released by a CDMA carrier (the X Power will be available on Sprint in a few weeks). T-Mobile already sells some MediaTek-equipped devices. The X Power's low price is likely a result of the less costly MediaTek chip (compared to Qualcomm's options), and we'll have to get our hands on one to see how it holds up for daily multitasking. In the meantime, Boost customers who really want a long-lasting smartphone may want to consider the Power.


Google Safe Browsing makes accessing The Pirate Bay harder


Guess what? There's another speedbump to browsing The Pirate Bay. Rather than internet providers blocking access to the URL (currently, certain web browsers are flagging torrent download pages with variations on the following message:

"The site ahead contains harmful programs

Attackers on might attempt to trick you into installing programs that harm your browsing experience (for example, by changing your homepage or showing extra ads on sites you visit.)"

That's what showed up when I did a search for "New Girl" on Google Chrome. But similar messages appear in Microsoft Edge and, as VentureBeat reports, Mozilla Firefox too. Surprisingly, Apple's Safari browser wasn't all that worried about me downloading any nefarious programs and let me see the torrent download page without a hitch.

Clicking the "details" link on the warning page in Chrome offers a clue about why the browser is warning users:

"Google Safe Browsing recently found harmful programs on If you understand the risks to your security, you may visit this site before the harmful programs have been removed."

It sounds like there may be a bad ad network on the torrent site and that Google isn't blocking the media repository itself. So, if the bright red screen has you worried, this problem should resolve itself fairly soon. Or if you're impatient, you can deal with false warnings from The Pirate Bay that your Flash player is out of date.

For what it's worth, Chrome isn't blocking the KickAss Torrents alternative (now defunct) Torrentz, despite multiple pop-ups urging me to download a new version of "Flash" for the same reasons as The Pirate Bay. When, in all actuality, I've disabled it wholesale. Nice try, jerks.

Via: VentureBeat

Source: Google


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Epson's $650 FastFoto scanner is ludicrously speedy


Even though the vast majority of people have switched to digital photography, someone in your family likely has a box of old pictures stashed away somewhere. Birthday parties, Thanksgivings, Bar Mitzvahs -- you probably have some record of your childhood trapped in there. (My family certainly does.) Add in the fact that there's less and less need to own a printer, plus the tedium of scanning, and it all means those memories are likely to stay offline. Epson is looking to unearth that treasure pile of moments with the new FastFoto FF-640, which can scan, sort and even post your entire photo collection at a rate of one photo per second.

Unlike an all-in-one printer, the FF-640 doesn't try to do everything; it's a scanner through and through. The document feeder can accommodate up to 30 photos at a time -- a vast improvement over whatever you can fit on a flatbed. The scanner also captures both sides, so you can record all the tasty data that might be printed on the back, like date stamps from the development lab and handwritten notes. You won't need to babysit the 640 to make sure everything fed into the machine correctly: The scanner can detect different photo dimensions, and also auto-corrects the angle the photo was scanned at. No more making sure everything is straight or the same size -- the FastFoto is smart enough to figure out what's what.

The FF-640 can lift the burden of organization as well. The included software makes it easy to automatically name and sort the photos into appropriate folders, and create searchable metadata for all of them, including the original date of the image. Even more impressive is the photo processing built in: Rather than drag your photos into dedicated image editing software like Photoshop, the FastFoto can do basic touches like red-eye removal and color restoration with a click. White Christmases of decades past will no longer be a sickly yellow -- and mind you, my family has a lot of photos of beige Christmases and pinkish birthdays, making photo correction a time-consuming process. Once you're done making your cousins look a little less demonic, it's easy to send those photos to Dropbox, Google Drive, Facebook or Instagram. (Because there aren't enough embarrassing pics of me on there already, mom.)

The FastFoto can also scan other types of documents, like bills and invoices and the random other little bits of paper I've accumulated over the years -- which is great, because I have a lot of crap that I'd love to digitize, and I hate the flatbed scanner on my all-in-one printer. The FF-640 can scan 45 pages per minute, meaning I can make quick work of those file boxes clogging up my office.

It's a good thing that the FastFoto FF-640 is versatile, at least: At $650, it's priced a bit steep for something you might only use once. It might be worth it when you consider that you won't have to pay someone else to scan photos for you, and the time savings are immense -- one photo per second means you can theoretically polish off a box of 1,000 photos in under a half hour, so you'll have to find some other way to spend your rainy days.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Major cyberattack seller knocked offline as it faces arrests


One of the more popular cyberattack peddlers just came crashing down. Israeli law enforcement has arrested Yarden Bidani and Itay Huri as part of an FBI investigation into their alleged control of vDOS, one of the most popular paid attack platforms. According to information unearthed by security guru Brian Krebs from a third-party hack targeting vDOS, the two teens raked in at least $618,000 launching "a majority" of the distributed denial of service campaigns you've seen in recent years. The platform itself is also offline, although that's due to one of vDOS' victims (BackConnect Security) using a bogus internet address claim to stem the flood of traffic hitting its servers.

Bidani and Huri weren't exactly careful about covering their tracks, Krebs says. The pair hosted vDOS on a server connected to Huri, and its email and SMS notifications pointed to the two. They even wrote a technical paper on DDoS attacks, while Bidani's old Facebook page references the AppleJ4ck pseudonym he used to conduct vDOS business. And if that weren't enough, vDOS refused to target any Israeli site since it was the owner's "home country."

Both suspects are out on bail, although they won't have much freedom. Officials have placed them under house arrest for 10 days, confiscated their passports and barred them from using any telecom devices for 30 days. It's unclear if they face extradition to the US.

The bust isn't going to stop paid denial of service attacks. As Bidani and Huri demonstrated, it doesn't take much more than a botnet and some basic business savvy to get started. However, it may put a temporary dent in the volume of those attacks -- and it'll certainly spook vDOS competitors who've been careless about hiding their activities.

Source: The Marker (translated), Krebs on Security (1), (2)