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Over the past month a number of websites, including TweakTown, have experienced sporadic redirects to scam websites. It has been exceptionally difficult to track down the source of these redirects, and our team has been working tirelessly to isolate the source of the issue. The source of the issue appears to be malicious code injected into Google Adsense ads, which are used by websites around the world.
The malicious redirect worked even in the Ad Review Center of the Google AdSense dashboard on Google.com site where webmasters may view ads that Google displays on their sites. This problem existed for about a month since the second half of December 2014, but became really widespread last Friday (Jan 9th 2015). By the end of the weekend, Google seemed to have been able to mitigate it.
While there may be notably reduced frequency to the malicious ads, they are still circulating. We have noticed these redirects are still present on other websites as well during the last few days. Google Adsense works by targeting specific ads to a specific viewers. This type of maddening attack, referred to as Malvertising, is hard to track because different users view different ads. The redirects are landing users on pages that appear legitimate, such as a fake Forbes website, but are all contained in different subdirectoriess of lemode-mgz.com, consumernews247.com, and wan-tracker.com.
President Obama has been covering some of the issues he intends to address in the coming year in the build-up to his State of the Union speech. The White House posted a video of President Obama announcing new executive actions that will allow easier local investment, that in the end will provide every American access to 1000Mbps internet speeds.
For us in the tech world it is widely known how badly American internet speeds lag behind other countries. The US is ranked 24th in the world for average broadband speeds according to Webindex. However, average citizens aren't as aware of how woefully inadequate our internet speeds are, especially considering the much higher prices we pay. For instance, Seoul has an average cost of $30 per month for the fastest internet, which would cost $300 a month in the U.S.
Obama used a tablet to highlight the difference between American internet speeds in several cities to the speed of other cities around the world. With the exception of a few key cities, such as Kansas City (which has Google Fiber), the overall US trails far behind competing countries. Obama did not outline the details of the plan, but mentioned that through executive actions he can take steps to encourage and enhance investment. Obama has wide latitude with executive actions, which do not require congressional approval.
Some of these steps likely will include reducing red tape in the heavily-regulated telecom industry. This will encourage large companies, such as Google, to expand their services to new areas. Tax breaks and other incentives will likely also be part of the package. Deregulation, at least to some extent, would allow other companies to come in and compete with price gouging ISPs, which are usually tied into the cable TV franchises.
Telstra Bigpond customers were been posting over social media claiming internet service outages country wide this morning, some claiming that they were desperately trying to contact customer service with little to no response.
Telstra has confirmed that a team was working to fix an outage that occurred overnight, further stating that the issues across New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria should now be fixed. They have advised customers to restart their modem or router by powering them down for 30 seconds or more, then turning them back on.
Some customers took to Twitter, explaining that Telstra customer service told them that "their wireless, adsl & cable out for whole of Australia for 24-48 hours." However reports seem to claim that a few select states were unaffected by the outages.
Storage Visions 2015 -Zac Woods from TRENDnet stopped by the booth to discuss their new router products. The move to 802.11 AC provides faster and more efficient wireless performance, and TRENDnet is providing new products to address the new technology.
The producta also feature 1Gb speeds for wired connections, and new innovative network management features. The new devices also feature MIMO functionality that will radically speed up multi-user environments.
U2 front man Bono is appreciative to see Apple and Spotify stepping up to pay musicians during a turbulent time in music. Digital album and song downloads are sliding, as more listeners turn to streaming music services, and some artists aren't supportive of the current trend.
Bono said Apple is "unique in big tech in trying to get artists paid," at a time when iTunes, Spotify, and other services garner various acceptance from musicians and the music industry.
"We all now understand the Internet is giving us access to information that is mostly flattening an uneven playing field," Bono recently said. "This is all good except when some technologists think that creative content is only valuable in its ability to show off their wares - hard or soft."
Thanks to a new advancement, Google are giving students some much needed assistance in the form of rental textbooks for all Aussie students.
Textbooks are often very expensive, seeing most university courses asking you to put up hundreds of dollars for lengthy books that you sometimes barely use - which is obviously quite hard given you are a student and generally don't have much money to spare.
Thanks to advancements in technology, these digital textbooks are fully searchable, notes can be taken, stored and exported at your will and your own notes can even be stored long after the textbook rental has expired. Also don't worry, if you're not yet a registered student, you can still gain full access to any of these textbooks - simply rent and try them out for yourselves.
Bing and Yahoo were experiencing some major issues just a few days ago thanks to Microsoft pushing an update without thoroughly checking it for bugs, as Reuters reported.
If you're an avid user of these search engines, you'll have noticed that after typing search.yahoo.com into your browser, you would have been met with an error message saying that Yahoo engineers were working to resolve the issue. Microsoft struggled to roll-back the updates changes, rectifying the outage a few hours later.
It has been reported that after the crash, Microsoft's initial roll-back failed, forcing them to shut down its groups of linked servers until eventually order was restored. According to an unnamed source, once the search was restored, Yahoo had some issues handling the backlog of search requests - eventually restoring order after a number of hours on the job.
The music industry continues to undergo drastic change, and music labels are unsure how to deal with paid download sales dropping as more users begin to enjoy streaming music.
Paid album downloads dropped 9 percent year-over-year down to 257 million albums, with paid individual song downloads dropping 12 percent to 106.5 million in 2014, according to Nielsen SoundScan statistics. Currently, streaming music has been unable to restore the music industry - the RIAA counts 1,500 song streams as a single album purchase, and listeners are tuning in - but generating revenue from this effort remains difficult.
More users are enjoying streaming music, whether sitting at the PC or using mobile devices, with 164 billion songs listened to in 2014 - a whopping 54 percent increase year-over-year. Record labels will have to find methods to ensure they monetize this change in how listeners listen to music, though will have to do so while limiting intrusions stations and listeners will endure.
Netflix is undoubtedly one of the biggest and best online-streaming platforms available today, but unfortunately for some countries (like Australia), its services aren't supported - seeing them region locked due to copyright and various other laws. As there is a demand we've seen a sub-culture of users who are located within this 'exclusion zone' - they're still paying members of Netflix, but utilize a VPN to trick this service into thinking they live in America.
Are they pirates or not? Its a commonly asked question among media entities and the public. Although these users are paying members and are not stealing content, they're using a VPN to trick the streaming platform into thinking they live in a supported country.
TorrentFreak has just reported of Netflix's implementation of specific blocks, said to block some services that get around geo-blockers. Although not everything has been taken down just yet, reports claim that more of these VPN extensions and applications may be stamped out one-by-one from here on in.
Google is apparently eyeing India, the second largest country in the world, as the next candidate for Google Fiber services. Google is planning to provide fiber broadband services as part of the Digital India program, with a small roll-out planned as a proof-of-concept project. Along with the blazing bandwidth, 100 times faster than normal connections, Google is offering unlimited uploads and downloads, and 1TB of free cloud storage.
There are several hurdles in the way. Google might have to acquire a telecom licence, which is apparently quite the feat in India, and several large native telecom companies are lining up to oppose the plan. The expansion to India would open a massive market of over 1.2 billion people up for Google, but there are numerous challenges and low internet penetration for the average citizen. The latest numbers from 2013 indicate only 15.1 citizens per 100 have internet access in India, which puts India at number 146 of 211 countries globally.