Big Lake, Alaska and The Susitna Valley News, Weather, Events, And More

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Saturday, January 20 2018 @ 02:05 AM AKST

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Bare Earth Hillshade Maps Give You a Cool View

TechMat-Su—A couple recently came in to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough’s permit center wanting to learn more about some land they were interested in buying. The permit center techs pulled up the Borough’s new LiDAR information and immediately showed the two an aerial image as well as a newly accessible bare earth image, showing features of the land. “You guys are cooler than Google Earth,” the couple said. The instant, comprehensive information helped them make a decision on purchasing the land.

Bare earth and imagery can help the public to learn all sorts of things about land in the Mat-Su Borough. For example, a general contractor may want to look at the slope of a road in advance if he is hauling a heavy load. A developer may want to learn the best access point before planning a subdivision road. A responder in a flood may want to know the lay of the land to stage resources on higher ground. The list goes on.
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New online scam targets Netflix users with phony tech support message.

TechSubmitted by an alert user: "Netflix subscribers beware: There’s a scheme floating around the Internet that you should watch out for. If you’re not careful, you could end up about $400 poorer and with a stolen identity.

It works like this: A group of scammers purporting to be Netflix tech support sends you a phony email. It sends you to a fake Netflix login page, sets a phony notice that your account has been suspended and then persuades you to call a support service to get it back. Once they have you on the phone with fake tech support, they persuade you to download software that allows them to crawl through your computer and snap up anything of interest.

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Some Linksys routers targeted by TheMoon malware

TechSecurity researchers have discovered a flaw in the firmware of some Linksys routers that could allow a hacker to gain control remotely, possibly turning a group of infected routers into a botnet.

The vulnerability has been exploited by malware dubbed TheMoon, according to a story at Computerworld, and the SANS Institute’s Internet Storm Center reports it has spotted Linksys E1000 and E1200 routers that were scanning the Net for other routers to infect.
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Angry Birds and 'leaky' phone apps targeted by NSA and GCHQ for user data

TechAn article posted in The Guardian says The National Security Agency and its UK counterpart GCHQ have been developing capabilities to take advantage of "leaky" smartphone apps, such as the wildly popular Angry Birds game, that transmit users' private information across the internet, according to top secret documents.
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The Worst Passwords of 2013

Tech"SplashData has announced its annual list of the 25 most common passwords found on the Internet. For the first time since SplashData began compiling its annual list, "password" has lost its title as the most common and therefore Worst Password, and two-time runner-up "123456" took the dubious honor. "Password" fell to #2."

"SplashData's list of frequently used passwords shows that many people continue to put themselves at risk by using weak, easily guessable passwords. Some other passwords in the Top Ten include "qwerty," "abc123," "111111," and "iloveyou."

SplashData suggests making passwords more secure with these tips:
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Product Review: Kaito KA500 Voyager Radio

TechThis Product Review is about the Kaito KA500 “Voyager” Radio, but as you will read, it is much more than a radio. It is an excellent item to have in your kit, whether for camping, emergencies, use at the cabin or on the boat, and for travel.

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7 Chilling Ways the NSA Can Spy On You

Tech"If the news, or perhaps more accurately Russian propaganda, is to be believed, spy gear for U.S. covert operatives consists of an ill-fitting wig or two, sunglasses, a paper map, a compass, and a pocket knife; the items found on Ryan C. Fogle last spring when he was apprehended by Russian authorities and charged with being a CIA operative.

But the documents released by Edward Snowden and a report in Der Spiegel suggest that when it comes to U.S. surveillance methods, the tools of the trade involve considerably more technology.

The German newspaper recently published a document from a National Security Agency (NSA) division called ANT, which reads like a catalogue of secret spy tactics. ANT's programs have bizarre and slightly hilarious names - from HOWLERMONKEY and JUNIORMINT to DROPOUTJEEP and WATERWITCH - but the details of what they do and how they do it are more chilling than humorous."
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NSA's 'Quantum' program reportedly lets the agency access 100,000 offline computers

Tech"Three days before President Barack Obama will allegedly announce major changes to the NSA's surveillance programs, The New York Times has a story addressing one particularly controversial practice: intercepting laptops purchased online to insert bugs that can phone home — or even give remote access — to the US government. According to the Times, not only does that practice take place, but the bugs are now installed in nearly 100,000 computers around the world as part of a program code-named Quantum. However, the publication's government sources say they aren't being used inside the United States, but rather to spy on allleged Chinese and Russian military hacker groups, Mexican drug cartels, European "trade institutions," and alleged terrorists. Since the devices have their own radios, they can allegedly tap into computers that aren't connected to the internet."
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Net neutrality is half-dead: Court strikes down FCC’s anti-blocking rules

Tech"The Federal Communication Commission's net neutrality rules were partially struck down today by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which said the Commission did not properly justify its anti-discrimination and anti-blocking rules.

Those rules in the Open Internet Order, adopted in 2010, forbid ISPs from blocking services or charging content providers for access to the network. Verizon challenged the entire order and got a big victory in today's ruling. While it could still be appealed to the Supreme Court, the order today would allow pay-for-prioritization deals that could let Verizon or other ISPs charge companies like Netflix for a faster path to consumers.

The court left part of the Open Internet Order intact, however, saying that the FCC still has "general authority" to regulate how broadband providers treat traffic."
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I Spent Two Hours Talking With the NSA’s Bigwigs. Here’s What Has Them Mad

Tech"My expectations were low when I asked the National Security Agency to cooperate with my story on the impact of Edward Snowden’s leaks on the tech industry. During the 1990s, I had been working on a book, Crypto, which dove deep into cryptography policy, and it took me years — years! — to get an interview with an employee crucial to my narrative. I couldn’t quote him, but he provided invaluable background on the Clipper Chip, an ill-fated NSA encryption runaround that purported to strike a balance between protecting personal privacy and maintaining national security.

Oh, and I was not permitted to interview my Crypto source at the agency’s headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland. I was crushed; I had grown obsessed with the vaunted triple fence surrounding the restricted area and had climactic hopes that I’d get inside. Instead, the meet occurred just outside the headquarters’ heavily guarded perimeter, at the National Cryptologic Museum. (I did buy a cool NSA umbrella in the gift shop.)

This time around, the NSA’s initial comeback was discouraging. The public relations person suggested that perhaps some unidentified officials could provide written responses to a few questions I submitted. A bit later, an agency rep indicated there was the possibility of a phone conversation. But then, rather suddenly, I was asked if I would be interested in an actual visit to meet with a few key officials. And could I do it… later that week?"
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40-80 rule: New tip for extending battery life

Tech"The rules for ensuring that your electronics enjoy a long and healthy life have changed. Years ago, smart gadget owners would fill up their rechargeable batteries to 100 percent and then run them dry. Regularly topping off and emptying out batteries kept them limber even in old age.

But most people should now ignore that rule. The pro tip applied to nickel-based batteries, which companies have largely phased out of phones, laptops, and rechargeable accessories. Today's lithium-ion batteries prefer a softer touch.

To keep your gadgets humming for many years to come, stop charging them from zero to 100 percent, says Cadex Electronics, which designs power-monitoring systems. Instead, keep the battery meter between 40 percent and 80 percent."
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