Google

Privacy & Google Search Alternatives

When it comes to privacy, using Google search is not the best of ideas. When you use their search engine, Google is recording your IP address, search terms, user agent, and often a unique identifier, which is stored in cookies.

Here are a few Google search alternatives

 

DuckDuckGo is a US-based search engine that was started by Gabriel Weinberg in 2008. It generates search results from over 400 sources including Wikipedia, Bing, Yandex, and Yahoo. DuckDuckGo has a close partnership with Yahoo, which helps it to better filter search results. This is a great privacy-friendly Google alternative that doesn’t utilize tracking or targeted ads.

Searx is a very privacy-friendly and versatile open source metasearch engine that gathers results from other search engines while also respecting user privacy. One unique aspect with Searx is that you can run your own instance

Qwant – is a private search engine that is based in France and was started in 2013. Being based in Europe, the data privacy protections are much stricter, as compared to the United States.

Metager – is a private search engine based in Germany, implementation of free access to knowledge and digital democracy. Ref: https://metager.de/en/about

StartPage – StartPage gives you Google search results, but without the tracking.
Ref: https://classic.startpage.com/eng/protect-privacy.html#hmb

 

Meltdown & Spectre Vulnerabilities

Meltdown and Spectre exploit critical vulnerabilities in modern processors. These hardware bugs allow programs to steal data which is currently processed on the computer.  Malicious programs can exploit Meltdown and Spectre to get hold of secrets stored in the memory of other running programs obtaining passwords, logon details and what was once thought to be secured information.

Meltdown and Spectre work on personal computers, mobile devices, and in the Cloud – AWS, Azure, and other 3rd party Cloud / IaaS Providers.

Meltdown breaks the most fundamental isolation between user applications and the operating system. This attack allows a program to access the memory, and thus also the secrets, of other programs and the operating system. If your computer has a vulnerable processor and runs an un-patched operating system, it is not safe to work with sensitive information without the chance of leaking the information. This applies both to personal computers as well as cloud infrastructure.

Spectre breaks the isolation between different applications. It allows an attacker to trick error-free programs, which follow best practices, into leaking their secrets. In fact, the safety checks of said best practices actually increase the attack surface and may make applications more susceptible to Spectre.

 

Vendor recommendations:

Information on the vulnerabilities:

 

Current known list of affected vendors and their respective advisories and/or patch announcements below

Vendor Advisory/Announcement
Amazon (AWS) AWS-2018-013: Processor Speculative Execution Research Disclosure
AMD An Update on AMD Processor Security
Android (Google) Android Security Bulletin—January 2018
Apple HT208331: About the security content of macOS High Sierra 10.13.2, Security Update 2017-002 Sierra, and Security Update 2017-005 El Capitan
HT208394: About speculative execution vulnerabilities in ARM-based and Intel CPUs
ARM Vulnerability of Speculative Processors to Cache Timing Side-Channel Mechanism
Azure (Microsoft) Securing Azure customers from CPU vulnerability
Microsoft Cloud Protections Against Speculative Execution Side-Channel Vulnerabilities
Chromium Project Actions Required to Mitigate Speculative Side-Channel Attack Techniques
Cisco cisco-sa-20180104-cpusidechannel – CPU Side-Channel Information Disclosure Vulnerabilities
Citrix CTX231399: Citrix Security Updates for CVE-2017-5715, CVE-2017-5753, CVE-2017-5754
Debian Debian Security Advisory DSA-4078-1 linux — security update
Dell SLN308587 – Microprocessor Side-Channel Attacks (CVE-2017-5715, CVE-2017-5753, CVE-2017-5754): Impact on Dell products
SLN308588 – Microprocessor Side-Channel Attacks (CVE-2017-5715, CVE-2017-5753, CVE-2017-5754): Impact on Dell EMC products (Dell Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking)
F5 Networks K91229003: Side-channel processor vulnerabilities CVE-2017-5715, CVE-2017-5753, and CVE-2017-5754
Google’s Project Zero Reading Privileged Memory with a Side-Channel
Huawei Security Notice – Statement on the Media Disclosure of the Security Vulnerabilities in the Intel CPU Architecture Design
IBM Potential CPU Security Issue
Intel INTEL-SA-00088 Speculative Execution and Indirect Branch Prediction Side Channel Analysis Method
Lenovo Lenovo Security Advisory LEN-18282: Reading Privileged Memory with a Side Channel
Microsoft Security Advisory 180002: Guidance to mitigate speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities
Windows Client guidance for IT Pros to protect against speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities
Windows Server guidance to protect against speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities
SQL Server Guidance to protect against speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities
Important information regarding the Windows security updates released on January 3, 2018 and anti-virus software
Mozilla Mozilla Foundation Security Advisory 2018-01: Speculative execution side-channel attack (“Spectre”)
NetApp NTAP-20180104-0001: Processor Speculated Execution Vulnerabilities in NetApp Products
nVidia Security Notice ID 4609: Speculative Side Channels
Security Bulletin 4611: NVIDIA GPU Display Driver Security Updates for Speculative Side Channels
Security Bulletin 4613: NVIDIA Shield TV Security Updates for Speculative Side Channels
Raspberry Pi Foundation Why Raspberry Pi isn’t vulnerable to Spectre or Meltdown
Red Hat Kernel Side-Channel Attacks – CVE-2017-5754 CVE-2017-5753 CVE-2017-5715
SUSE SUSE Linux security updates CVE-2017-5715
SUSE Linux security updates CVE-2017-5753
SUSE Linux security updates CVE-2017-5754
Synology Synology-SA-18:01 Meltdown and Spectre Attacks
Ubuntu Ubuntu Updates for the Meltdown / Spectre Vulnerabilities
VMware NEW VMSA VMSA-2018-0002 VMware ESXi, Workstation and Fusion updates address side-channel analysis due to speculative execution
Xen Advisory XSA-254: Information leak via side effects of speculative execution

Google+ posts from my WordPress blog posted as private

Wow!  And I learn something new every day…

I have been using the publicize feature for a long time now to only find out that my post sent to Goolge+ have been private or limited to those in my circles. Now that was unexpected!

What I have learned was by default, Google+ sets the visibility of your posts to “Only You”.

To change this I needed to do the following:

Enter the account Settings, locate Manage apps & activities in Google+ and change WordPress to be public.

Who knew… I for one did not.

 

I hope you enjoyed this #techshort and thanks for visiting – jermal

Back to School – What is Alphabet?

And wow… Google made an arrangement with Alphabet, Inc. replacing Google as the publicly-traded company and thus changing its operating structure.

Larry Page said in blog post he would become the chief executive of Alphabet Inc, while Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai will be CEO of Google.

“This new structure will allow us to keep tremendous focus on the extraordinary opportunities we have inside of Google,” Larry Page

But, What is Alphabet?

“Alphabet is mostly a collection of companies. The largest of which, of course, is Google. This newer Google is a bit slimmed down, with the companies that are pretty far afield of our main Internet products contained in Alphabet instead. What do we mean by far afield? Good examples are our health efforts: Life Sciences (that works on the glucose-sensing contact lens), and Calico (focused on longevity). Fundamentally, we believe this allows us more management scale, as we can run things independently that aren’t very related. Alphabet is about businesses prospering through strong leaders and independence.

In general, our model is to have a strong CEO who runs each business, with Sergey and me in service to them as needed. We will rigorously handle capital allocation and work to make sure each business is executing well. We’ll also make sure we have a great CEO for each business, and we’ll determine their compensation. In addition, with this new structure we plan to implement segment reporting for our Q4 results, where Google financials will be provided separately than those for the rest of Alphabet businesses as a whole.

 

 

I got my invite to Inbox by Gmail / Google

I’ve waited and thanks for a good friend I got my invite.
I am super exited to give this a test and be on the cutting edge.

You open you email to see the cool invite

Then you install the app and log in and you can feel the magic in your hands.  Email will never be the same again.