It may be the most popular web browser in the world, but Google’s Chrome is also known for being something of a memory hog.

But a new update due later this year wants to change that, and is set to reduces the app’s “memory footprint” and stop it from slowing computer performance.

(Mark Lennihan/AP)

Chrome update 55 is due on December 6, and Google has said that in testing, the new version of the software is already showing a reduction in RAM use of up to 50%. If these figures hold it will mean users will be able to do things such as keep more tabs open, as well as run more apps without seeing the performance of their computer slow.

Internal tests done by the tech giant have shown memory use drops when using the browser to visit a range of different sites, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Chromebook laptop
(Mark Lennihan/AP)

It’s the sort of change Google is expected to make now it has replaced Microsoft and Internet Explorer as the most popular web browser of choice earlier this year.

These two are way out in front from the rest of the browser market, both with over 40%, while Mozilla’s Firefox is in third place with just a 9.7% share of users.


How to Protect Yourself After the Yahoo AttackBy THE NEW YORK TIMES UPDATED September 23, 2016 RELATED ARTICLE PLAY VIDEO 2:58Four easy tips to protect your digital accounts from the next breach.CreditVideo by Wendi Jonassen, Molly Wood and Vanessa Perez on Publish DateNovember 05, 2014EmailShareTweetSaveYahoo said on Thursday that hackers in 2014 stole the account information of at least 500 million users, including names, email addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, passwords and, in some cases, security questions.Even if you might not have used a Yahoo account for years, security experts say the incident could have far-reaching consequences for users beyond Yahoo’s services.Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about how you can protect yourself.How do I know if my personal information was stolen?Assume it was.Yahoo said it had begun notifying potentially affected users, but itsbreach was huge, and similar attacks and smallerthefts happen all the time.Should I change my password?The first step, as always, is to change passwords for sites that contain sensitive information like financial, health or credit card data. Do not use the same password across multiple sites.Changing Yahoo passwords will be just the start for many of you. Comb through other services — especially those for which you provided a Yahoo email address to create an account — to make sure passwords used on those sites aren’t too similar to what you were using on Yahoo.And if they weren’t doing so already, they’ll have to treat everything they receive online with an abundance of suspicion, in case hackers are trying to trick them out of even more information.How do I create stronger passwords?Try a password manager like 1Password or LastPass.These sites create a unique password for each website you visit and store them in a database protected by a master password that you create. Password managers reduce the risk of reused passwords or those that are easy to decode.If you must create your own passwords, try creating long, complex passwords consisting of nonsensical phrases or one-sentence summaries of strange life events and add numbers and special characters.Examples:My favorite number is Green4782#The cat ate the CoTTon candy 224%Or, if you’re extra paranoid, consider mimicking this setup:Jeremiah Grossman, a web security expert, memorizes only a few passwords, including one to unlock his computer, and another to unlock an encrypted USB drive containing a file with a list of all his passwords for dozens of services. None of his passwords are memorable because they are random.“I select them quite literally by banging on the keyboard a few times like a monkey,” Mr. Grossman said, adding that his setup is “a bit more paranoid” than that of the average person.Create the strongest passwords for the sites that contain the most sensitive information and do not reuse them anywhere.Are passwords enough?Passwords are not enough. If a site offers additional security features, like secondary or two-factor authentication, enable them. Then, when you enter your password, you will receive a message (usually a text) with a one-time code that you must enter before you can log in.Many bank sites and major sites like Google and Apple offer two-factor authentication. In some cases, the second authentication is required only if you are logging in from a new computer.How can I stop my information from being stolen in the first place?Increasingly, you cannot. Regularly monitoring your financial records can help minimize the damage if someone gets your information. But only the companies storing your personal data are responsible for securing it. Consumers can slow down hackers and identity thieves, but corporate computer security and law enforcement are the biggest deterrents.What if you have changed your password after the breach happened but before it was disclosed?The Yahoo attack happened two years ago but was disclosed only this week. Even if you changed your passwords recently for other websites, chances are at least some of them are similar to the password linked to your Yahoo account two years ago.To play it safe, you should change your passwords, starting with your most sensitive accounts, including your online banking account.Forget about security questionsSites will often use security questions like “What was the name of your first school?” or “What is your mother’s maiden name?” to recover a user’s account if the password is forgotten.These questions are problematic because the internet has made public record searches a snap and the answers are usually easy to guess.In a recent study, security researchers at Google found that with a single guess, an attacker would have a 19.7 percent chance of duplicating an English-speaking user’s answer to the question, “What is your favorite food?” (It was pizza.)With 10 tries, an attacker would have a 39 percent chance of guessing a Korean-speaking user’s answer to the question, “What is your city of birth?” and a 43 percent chance of guessing the favorite food.Jonathan Zdziarski, a computer forensics expert, said he often answered these questions with an alternate password. If a site offers only multiple choice answers, or requires only short passwords, he will not use it.“You can tell a lot about the security of a site just by looking at the questions they’ll ask you,” he said.


Democrats fear ‘October surprise’ as White House ponders hack response
Security experts from both parties want to see strong action if the U.S. concludes Russia is meddling in the election.

Hillary Clinton supporters worry that Russian-backed hackers may indeed have free rein to try to influence the November election. | AP Photo
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As Hillary Clinton supporters fret about a WikiLeaks “October surprise,” dozens of defense and security experts from both parties are urging the Obama administration to take tough action if it concludes that Russia orchestrated a series of cyberattacks on the Democratic Party.

But based on past U.S. handling of foreign-sponsored cyberassaults, it could take months or even years to mount such a response — action that could encompass anything from public shaming or economic sanctions to indictments or retaliatory hacking. Even the most optimistic timeline, according to interviews with former security and law enforcement officials, could delay a forceful U.S. reprisal until just weeks before the very presidential election that the hackers may be trying to influence.

“I’m sure they’re cognizant of [the] timeline,” said Nathaniel Gleicher, who served as director for cybersecurity policy at the White House National Security Council until last October. “That doesn’t mean that they’re going to take action sooner or later.”

The administration insists it has improved its ability to respond quickly to cyberattacks, and officials increasingly say they support publicly calling out foreign nations that hack the United States. One administration official noted that it took just five weeks for President Barack Obama to impose economic sanctions against North Korea in response to the destructive late-2014 hacking of Sony Pictures.

Yet current and former officials acknowledge that constructing a public response isn’t an instant task. Merely preparing a declassified explanation of who perpetrated an attack or readying economic sanctions takes weeks. Bringing criminal charges — as the Justice Department has done with state-backed hacking suspects in Iran and China — can require years.

And the U.S. has never leveled any official public reprisal for hacking by Russia, despite years of evidence that hackers linked to Vladimir Putin’s regime have carried out intrusions of the White House, State Department and Pentagon.

Obama addresses election security
Obama himself preached caution at a news conference this week. Imposing penalties, he said, “requires us to really be able to pin down and know what we’re talking about.”

The prospect of a lengthy wait is unnerving for Clinton supporters, who see potential repeats of last month’s mass release of Democratic National Committee emails as one of a handful of unpredictable curveballs that could still toss the White House to Donald Trump. Democrats have charged that the website WikiLeaks dumped the emails as part of a Russian effort to aid Trump, who has praised Putin and expressed doubts about U.S. commitments to allies in Eastern Europe.

Russia has denied having anything to do with the DNC hacks or a separate breach aimed at donors to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. But if the U.S. concludes that Putin’s regime is to blame, a growing chorus of security hawks says the White House must make it clear that such meddling in the U.S. political system cannot stand.

“If in fact you could definitively or strongly develop a case for attribution against Russia, that in fact the Russians should be confronted with it and we should confront them publicly with it,” former Obama administration National Security Adviser Tom Donilon said Thursday during a POLITICO Playbook breakfast.

“I don’t think countries are paying a price for this kind of activities,” Stephen Hadley, who held the same post under George W. Bush, said at the same event.

Calls for action have also come from several congressional Democrats and Republicans who serve on defense, law enforcement or intelligence committees, as well as a bipartisan group of 31 security and counterterrorism experts who urged Obama to “take prompt actions” that would “deter foreign actors from pursuing such tactics in the future.”

“This is not a partisan issue,” wrote the experts from the Aspen Institute Homeland Security Group, who included Bush Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and former CIA directors Michael Hayden and William Webster. They added: “Our president should be chosen by American citizens, not by foreign adversaries or interests.”

Heads roll at the DNC
But Clinton supporters worry that Russian-backed hackers may indeed have free rein to try to influence the November election, depending on what information they’ve stolen and when they plan to release it. (The Aspen group also warned that the hackers may “salt the files they release with plausible forgeries” to worsen the fallout.)

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whose site released the DNC emails July 22, has refused to confirm or deny their origins but has told CNN that he might release “a lot more material,” noting that “they are having so much political impact in the United States.”

Democrats like veteran political strategist Craig Varoga can easily see the worst-case scenario. “In all likelihood, Russia and Assange are already planning an October surprise to influence our election and otherwise destabilize the Western alliance,” he said in an interview.

“We may be headed into uncharted waters, and this has the potential to spiral out of control,” said longtime Democratic operative Jim Manley, a former spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

No Democrats interviewed would speculate about what material could come out in future leaks, although known cyberattacks have already successfully infiltrated the DNC, DCCC and a data analytics program used by Clinton’s campaign. Trump also publicly urged Russia to obtain the 33,000 emails deleted from Clinton’s old personal server, although he later claimed he was being “sarcastic.”

WikiLeaks’ release of the first cache of nearly 20,000 DNC emails was well-timed to cause turmoil on the eve of the Democrats’ July convention, forcing the resignation of Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and stoking accusations that party insiders had conspired to undermine Bernie Sanders’ upstart presidential campaign. The fallout continued this week, when interim DNC chair Donna Brazile ousted three top officials, including CEO Amy Dacey, communications director Luis Miranda and chief financial officer Brad Marshall.

Private-sector cybersecurity experts have said the DNC emails appear to have been pilfered by hackers linked to Russian intelligence agencies, and intelligence officials have privately reached similar conclusions. Cyber experts have identified ties between Russia and an alleged hacker nicknamed “Guccifer 2.0,” who has taken credit for the intrusions and claims to have stolen documents from the computer that Clinton used as secretary of state.

“The prospect of something hanging out there is obviously unnerving, to say the least,” a former DNC official told POLITICO.

Former Obama security adviser: U.S. should confront Russia with evidence of DNC hack
Lawmakers urging a public White House response include the top Democrats on both Intelligence panels, Rep. Adam Schiff and Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, as well as Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), top Judiciary Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). They’ve said that at the very least, the administration should publicize the results of its probe into the hacks.

Some Democrats have said Putin could have ample reason to want to see Trump in the White House, noting that the New York real estate magnate has praised him as a “strong leader” and has expressed doubts about whether the U.S. would defend NATO nations that come under Russian attack. Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort also has ties to Putin’s allies, having served as a longtime adviser to Moscow-backed former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

An official U.S. government rebuke of Russian hackers for targeting the DNC would call even more attention to those ties. But it could also backfire, allowing the Trump campaign to accuse Obama of intervening to salvage Clinton’s presidential hopes.

“Is the Democratic administration going to take a particular action … or is this something that can be dealt with, and maybe is better dealt with, after November?” asked Ed McAndrew, a former cybercrime prosecutor with the U.S. attorney’s office in Delaware.

Still, the White House would have some political cover given the cries from both Democrats and Republicans for action.

Many cyber policy experts have pressed for indictments of the DNC hackers, an approach the administration has employed only twice before for government-backed cyberattacks. In 2014, it charged five members of the Chinese military with hacking U.S. companies. And earlier this year, the DOJ brought indictments against seven Iranian-backed hackers accused of infiltrating a range of financial companies and a dam in upstate New York.

Both cases stretched out for years.

“In the cyber arena, when you’re talking about a federal indictment, you’re talking about months or years, not days or weeks,” said one former National Security Council official, who also handled cyber matters at the DOJ.

Despite FBI findings, experts say Clinton’s email likely hacked
In addition to the highly technical process of tracing each intrusion to a specific computer, prosecutors then try to prove that a particular person executed the attack at that computer, or show that the “digital fingerprints” are unique to that individual, said Peter Toren, a cybercrime attorney and former DOJ cyber prosecutor.

Presenting this evidence in court could also expose valuable secret surveillance footholds in Russian intelligence agencies.

Raj De, a former National Security Agency general counsel, said spy agencies are typically “very reticent to burn sources and methods for any activity.” Revealing such tactics could even open up the NSA to lawsuits over its surveillance operations.

Together, these factors mean that getting such an indictment before November “would be an impossibility,” according to one former DOJ National Security Division prosecutor.

Sanctions could serve as a more expedient option. That was the case the November 2014 hack of Sony Pictures, which led the White House to hit Pyongyang with economic penalties in early January 2015. Since then, Obama has issued an executive order empowering the Treasury Department to go after foreign individuals or organizations engaged in “malicious cyber-enabled activities” that target government and private sector computer networks.

“It’s easier to level sanctions than to prosecute someone without jeopardizing intelligence sources and methods,” said Michael Vatis, a cybercrime attorney with Steptoe & Johnson and former national security-focused DOJ official, via email.

Still, it may be hard to match the quick turnaround on the Sony incident, several current and former officials warned.

The meaning of deeming elections ‘critical infrastructure’
Preparing sanctions is “not a quick process,” said Gleicher, the NSC’s former head of cyber policy. And with the DNC hack, he added, “there’s just more factors to analyze and consider,” given America’s delicate relationship with Russia and the sophistication of the attacks on the Democrats.

Treasury declined to say whether officials were discussing DNC hack-related sanctions.

Despite the public silence, it’s possible that the U.S. may already be hitting back with some kind of secret cyber campaign. Hadley advocated that approach during Thursday’s POLITICO event, saying the U.S. should send the message to foreign hackers that “if you intrude in our systems, we are going to take away your capacity to do it in the future.”

“Quietly, out of the public mind, tit for tat,” Hadley said. “You do that enough, and people start doing the cost-benefit analysis.”

But current and former officials say the White House is gradually favoring a public outing of foreign hackers.

“Post-Sony, I think people are … increasingly appreciating the value of [public] attribution,” said De, the former NSA general counsel, who now leads the cybersecurity and data privacy practice at law firm Mayer Brown.

A senior Justice Department official told POLITICO that recent realignments within the DOJ and FBI were helping the administration accelerate breach investigations. Previously, the official said, the DOJ National Security Division wasn’t necessarily talking to FBI digital investigators. In the past few years, the teams have become more integrated.

“We weren’t set up like his before,” the official said. “Hopefully, [the new alignment] will inform conversations about how to handle Russia.”

But one congressional Republican source warned, “The genie is out of the bottle — you can’t put it back in.”

“Even some kind of response to Russia is not going to change the fact there’s information out there,” the person said. “There will be information put out, I would expect every month.”

Martin Matishak, Darren Samuelsohn and Tim Starks contributed to this report.


Eric Geller egeller@politico.com
Cory Bennett cbennett@politico.com
This story tagged under:

Russia Barack Obama Hillary Clinton Democratic National Committee Elections Michael Chertoff Wikileaks Julian Assange Donald Trump Democratic Party Hacking 2016 Elections Cyber Security Hillary Clinton 2016 Donald Trump 2016

Smartphones become the most popular device for keeping Brits connected

It was only a matter of time, but smartphones are now officially the UK’s most popular internet-connected device.

For the first time, more people are choosing smartphones to get online than laptops, according to stats published today in Ofcom’s annual Communications Market Report.

Smartphones are now considered the most important way of staying connected by 33 percent of Brits, with 30 percent preferring their laptops. That’s a significant change from last year, when laptops were favoured by 40 percent of people and smartphones by only 22 percent. This coincides with smartphones also becoming the most widely owned web-connected device, with a presence in 66 percent of households compared with a 65 percent figure for laptops. Shipments of PCs have been declining for many years as mobile devices have become increasingly popular windows onto the web, and in the UK, tablet ownership is growing faster than anything else. In another first, Ofcom notes that over half of UK households (54 percent, to be exact) now have at least slate for the family to poke at.

The fact Brits now prefer to use their smartphones to get online can only have been helped by the widening availability of speedy 4G networks over the past year. The increase in the total 4G mobile subscriber base during 2014 is bordering on insane, going from 2.7 million to a whopping 23.6 million subscriptions during the 12-month period. That jump is partly down to Three launching its LTE services and putting every customer on its 4G network as standard, while EE, Vodafone and O2 were also slowly retiring legacy 3G tariffs to shift focus onto their 4G services. MVNOs, too, have been able to offer 4G data to more price-conscious consumers as the major carriers continue to build out LTE coverage. Of course, a proportion of those 23.6 million subscribers will be on 4G contracts by default and might not actually take advantage of LTE speeds, but there’s no arguing that 2014 was the year 4G took off.

‘byJamie Rigg | @jmerigg

ORIGIN:Engadget UK

PS:Very soon at the rate Nigerians are always holding on to their smartphones everywhere they go, smartphones will be the most popular way of communicating in Africa’s biggest democracy. .!!!


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