Category Archives: Internet

Google Drive subscription billing starts migrating to Play Store

google-drive-logo-759A few weeks ago, Google announced that they will eventually be migrating your Google Drive subscription to the Google Play Store billing system, but didn’t exactly give a timetable as to when this will happen. But now it looks like it has already started as some users are reporting that they’re seeing the change in the system. While this change isn’t really a big deal, it does help to streamline all your subscriptions into just one place, if you’ve always wanted that to happen.

It actually makes perfect sense for Google to do this since the Google Storage page is only for the shared storage subscription. But all your other subscriptions to any games or apps are billed through your Google Play Store account. You will continue to be able to get customer support through the help center and the subscription prices and tiers remain the same. It also won’t change any access to files or basically anything, except for where you will be billed and where you can manage this subscription.

Google sent the email a couple of weeks ago to those who have a Google Drive subscription. In it they also state that the management of the subscription will be governed by the Google Play Terms of Service. But the Google Drive Terms of Service will remain the same and you don’t need to do anything or accept anything while this change happens.

So if you’re excited to have all your billings under just one digital roof, you can check your Google Play account page and see if that change has already rolled out to you.

VIA: Reddit


Google uses machine learning to help Gmail users get rid of spam

Google is working on ways to make sure that Gmail users get mails that they want in their inbox and the rest all the spam remains out of sight.


“Less than 0.1% of email in the average Gmail inbox is spam, and the amount of wanted mail landing in the spam folder is even lower, at under 0.05%,” Sri Harsha Somanchi, product manager, said in a Google blog post.

“Even still, Gmail spam detection isn’t perfect. So we’re sharing some of the new ways we are supporting the senders of wanted mail, and using the latest Google smarts to filter out spam,” Somanchi further stated.

Google is launching Gmail Postmaster Tools that help qualified high-volume senders analyse their email, including data on delivery errors, spam reports, and reputation. This way they can diagnose any hiccups, study best practices, and help Gmail route their messages to the right place.

The company said the spam filter now uses an artificial neural network to detect and block the especially sneaky spam—the kind that could actually pass for wanted mail.

“We also recognise that not all inboxes are alike. So while your neighbor may love weekly email newsletters, you may loathe them. With advances in machine learning, the spam filter can now reflect these individual preferences,” the blog post reads.

“Finally, the spam filter is better than ever at rooting out email impersonation—that nasty source of most phishing scams. Thanks to new machine learning signals, Gmail can now figure out whether a message actually came from its sender, and keep bogus email at bay.”

Take these 6 security measures to protect your IoT devices from hackers

Tech AnnouncementBI Intelligence estimates that by 2020 there will be more than 23 billion IoT devices connected to the internet. One of the biggest challenges in connecting so many devices will be in securing them to prevent hackers from controlling them or using them to infiltrate networks and databases. Many low-power IoT devices don’t have the computing power to run antivirus software like a computer.

A recent blog post on EETimes discussed six measures that can be used to protect IoT devices from hackers:
Use a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) for authentication. A TPM is a dedicated microprocessor that integrates cryptographic keys into devices to uniquely identify and authenticate them. Each device then has its own identifier that is encrypted by the keys. This will prevent hackers from hacking and impersonating a device to gain access to home, enterprise, or government networks.

Use the Trusted Network Connect (TNC) standards to check for malicious software or firmware. The TNC standards offer a way to check devices for malicious software or firmware whenever they try to access networks or other devices. This would help prevent hackers from using hacked devices to upload spyware or other malicious software to networks or other devices.

Isolate and remediate infected devices with security software and protocols. If a device is infected with malware or other malicious programs, it needs to be quarantined. The IF-PEP protocol can isolate an infected machine from other devices and networks. There are numerous solutions from security software vendors for clearing the device of the infection once its isolated.

Layered security can limit the damage a hacker can do once device is hacked. A Mandatory Access Control system limits access to certain functions or files on a device for a given user. This acts as a choke point that can prevent hackers from gaining sensitive information through the hacked device.

Data encryption is a must. This should go without saying, but data needs to be encrypted when stored on a device or in transit. The post recommended using a read-only mechanism to obstruct hackers’ efforts to tamper with data on a device.

Secure legacy systems through industrial control systems. To reach their full potential, IoT devices and systems have to be integrated with legacy machines or appliances that were never built to be connected or secured against hacking. Industrial Control Systems can segment that legacy hardware from other systems and secure communications between them with encryption. This, for instance, could prevent a hacker who has infiltrated the network of a connected factory from then taking control of the machinery on the assembly line.

BI Intelligence estimates that spending on security for IoT devices and systems will increase five-fold from 2015 to 2019.


Net neutrality: Government to make its stand public soon

Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality

NEW DELHI: The government, after verbally backing the concept of net neutrality for some months, is all set to put it in writing. It is likely to make public this week the telecom department’s report on the subject, which sources say will back the Centre’s stance that the internet should be completely free with equitable access and without any obstruction or prioritization.

The Department of Telecom report – prepared by a team of six officials – is currently with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), and will form framework for the government policy on ‘net neutrality’ along with recommendations of the telecom regulator, which are yet to be submitted to DoT. The principle of net neutrality guarantees consumers equal and non-discriminatory access to all data, apps and services on internet, with no discrimination on the basis of tariffs or speed.

“A panel has the taken the views of all the stakeholders before submitting it to the telecom minister. There were a few critical points of debate such as allowing zero rating plans or not. The report will back the government’s stand unequivocally,” a person familiar with the matter said.

While the government has made its stand in favour of neutrality of the internet amply clear, industry experts and civil society groups say that the fine print of the policy will be critical for implementation.

“A policy supporting net neutrality in the Indian context must block any preferential treatment to any content. This is so because India is a country where all connectivity is slow. Hence, speed matters less than cost in a price sensitive country like ours,” Nikhil Pahwa, the founder of online news portal Medianama and one of the prime movers behind the campaign for net neutrality.

Last week, US telecom regulator, the Federal Communications Commission, slapped a $100-million fine on AT&T alleging the telecom giant was intentionally slowing down internet speeds to its unlimited data subscribers after they consumed a certain amount of data. This the commission said amounted to a lack of transparency on the company’s part. Earlier this year, the FCC, prodded by US president Barack Obama, embraced net neutrality.

Some say the government should either clearly bar a telecom operator from creating or owning content or it must put regulations in place which strictly forbid the telecom operator from throttling or slowing down the content of other providers.

“There could be a blanket ban. Or, instead of just a blanket ban on operators owning content, the government should ensure no content is throttled. The purpose will be defeated even if telecom service providers enter into agreements with other content providers and give certain content preference over the rest,” Prasanth Sugathan, Counsel at Software Freedom Law Center, told ET.

The DoT report will be made public even as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), after finishing a consultation process, is preparing its own report. The consultation, and launch of Airtel’s Airtel Zero plan — under which certain apps can be accessed by users free of charge, with the app makers paying telco for users’ access — caused a furore, especially on social media.

Bharti Airtel’s plan is what is known as zero rating plan when the content provider pays the telco for providing free access to users. Critics say such a plan gives a clear advantage to bigger content providers who can afford to pay, against those who cannot.

“In case a Flipkart app or browsing becomes free whereas a small startup is unavailable to make its app or website free because it cannot pay the telecom operator like a Flipkart. It will kill the small person’s business,” explained Pahwa. “Hence prevention of a ‘carriage fee’ in internet access which could be charged for zero rating or increasing or lowering speeds is a critical issue.”

Trai and Airtel’s plan faced a severe backlash from netizens who overwhelmingly expressed support for maintaining neutrality of internet. The regulator in fact received over 10 lakh responses supporting a free internet in a month, the highest ever it has received on any consultation paper.

Meanwhile, telecom department officials say the government could disallow the controversial ‘zero rating’ plans in its final policy on net neutrality. However, it could make an exemption for delivery of essential government services such as education and health on a preferential basis.

Telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea complain growth of apps, especially the ones providing communication services such as Whatsapp and Skype, have been eating into their messaging revenues and now have the potential to hurt their voice revenues, which makes up over 80% of their business.

Most telcos said that since the apps offer the same voice services as they do, they must be brought under similar rules, which involve payment of licence fees and meet roll out obligations.

Jio, the 4G mobile service from the Mukesh Ambani-run Reliance due to launched later this year, has on its part called for a regulatory framework for voice and messaging apps which will ensure that the likes of WhatsApp comply with all security guidelines that mobile phone operators need to follow, while supporting key proposals of rivals like Airtel, Vodafone and Idea.

Supporters of net neutrality though say any move to regulate content providers will stifle innovation. They add that the security rules proposal indirectly seeks to burden innovative application providers by increasing cost of providing services.

“Do you really want the government to decide which app should be allowed to offer services in the country? Do you think Whatsapp could have grown in this country if it had to take permission from the Indian government?” Pahwa asks.


Facebook ‘unfriend’ app might steal your data

8b5bc855-fbc8-4a01-9ab1-37dedc31659dwallpaper1Be careful while downloading apps as some of them may steal your data, say experts.

Recently, an app, Unfriend Alert – that alerts you when someone “unfreinds” you on Facebook – has been found to be collecting users’ Facebook data, reported.

The app is free and notifies you whenever someone removes you from the Facebook friend list. But it asks for your sign in and password.

“Looking at a Wireshark log for this check however shows that the login credentials are not sent directly to Facebook but to,” security firm MalwareBytes said.

The app also displays ads and can install malicious software on the user’s computer.

What’s more worrisome is that it doesn’t show up in the apps list on Facebook. So you can easily forget that it is there and monitoring your activities.

Expert recommend removing the app and changing your password.

There have been other apps in the market that alert the users when a Facebook friend ditches them, but this new app seems to be designed to steal passwords.

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