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Opera

Opera Sync Users May Have Been Compromised In Server Breach (fortune.com) 26

An anonymous reader writes: Someone broke into Opera's servers. The Opera browser has a handy feature for synchronizing browsing data across different devices. Unfortunately, some of the passwords and login information used to enable the feature may have been stolen from Opera's servers. Opera's sync service is used by around 1.7 million people each month. Overall, the browser has 350 million users. The Norwegian firm told its users that someone had gained access to the Opera sync system, and "some of our sync users' passwords and account information, such as login names, may have been compromised." As a result, Opera had to reset all the passwords for the feature, meaning users will need to select new ones.
Android

Opera Brings Its Free VPN Service To Android (techcrunch.com) 26

Frederic Lardinois, writing for TechCrunch: Earlier this year, Opera launched its free and unlimited VPN service for iOS; today it is bringing the same functionality to Android. Like the iOS version, the Android app is based on Opera's acquisition of SurfEasy in 2015 and allows you to surf safely when you are on a public network. While Opera's marketing mostly focuses on safety, Opera VPN also allows you to appear as if you are in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Singapore and The Netherlands, so it's also a way to route around certain geo-restrictions without having to opt for a paid service. In addition to its VPN features, the service also allows you to block ad trackers. Somewhat ironically, though, the app itself will show you some pretty unintrusive ads. "The Opera VPN app for Android sets itself apart from other VPNs by offering a completely free service; without a data limit, no log-in required, advanced Wi-Fi protection features and no need for a subscription," says Chris Houston, the president of Opera's SurfEasy VPN division, in today's announcement.
Bug

FalseCONNECT Vulnerability Affects Software From Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, More (softpedia.com) 32

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Softpedia: "Researcher Jerry Decime revealed details about a security vulnerability that allows an attacker to gain a Man-in-the-Middle position and intercept HTTPS traffic thanks to flaws in the implementation of proxy authentication procedures in various products," reports Softpedia. The flaw can be used to collect user credentials by tricking victims into re-authenticating, sending data to a third-party. Multiple software vendors deploy applications that can handle proxy connections. Until now, Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, and Opera have acknowledged their products are affected. Lenovo said this bug does not impact its software. Other software vendors that are still evaluating the FalseCONNECT bug and may be affected include multiple Linux distros, Cisco, Google, HP, IBM, Juniper, Mozilla, Nokia, OpenBSD, SAP, Sony, and others.
Television

TVs Are Still Too Complicated, and It's Not Your Fault (theverge.com) 234

In his latest column for The Verge, renowned journalist Walt Mossberg argues that TVs -- their UI, execution, underlying technologies, and remote -- are still too complicated. In the latest weekly, he has shared the experience of buying a new TV, setting it up, and the first few days of getting through it. The modern set, Smart TV for most, comes with a plethora of proprietary and standard features. But only a handful of people actually know what these features are -- and how they differ in the models offered by the same company. Mossberg says folks at Best Buy were of little use when explaining these features, but did a good job making false claims such as "you have to buy a sound bar because the TV doesn't have good speakers" even when that wasn't necessarily the case. Now Mossberg, having pioneered tech journalism as it is known today, knows a thing or two about TVs, but for a general consumer, it is an unnecessary thing that could spoil the experience, and make a bigger dent in their TV budget than it should have. But buying the TV wasn't the worst part. Following are excerpts from his column: But learning to use the TV is a whole other story. The Bean Bird (assistive cartoon feature) setup process was pretty straightforward, but it gets you going just enough to start watching something. Tweaking all of the TV's many features, including common ones like picture tones and uncommon ones like zooming in on a part of the picture or using a built-in web browser, takes hours. You must wade through menus containing scores of choices. And some controversial features common to modern TVs are buried deep in these menus. For instance, while I like motion smoothing others strongly dislike it -- it's sometimes known as the "soap opera effect." If you don't like it, the LG's interface doesn't make it at all easy to understand what's happening to your picture or what setting to adjust to turn it off. It's not even called motion smoothing in the menus -- LG calls it "TruMotion." The user interface is also somewhat confusing. There are at least three ways, for instance, to change inputs and at least two to bring up quick settings. The menu for launching apps like Netflix, inputs, and more appears to have a million icons in it and marches for what seems like miles across the bottom of the screen. So you have to edit it, which takes a bunch of time.Mossberg also found issues with the way the remote was designed to execute. "For instance, it's supposed to become a "universal" remote, controlling all your connected set-top boxes, but I can only get it to control some, but not all, of the basic features of my cable box, a TiVo Bolt. And its voice search is pathetic -- far worse than the one on the latest Apple TV."
Firefox

Mozilla To Remove Hello In Firefox 49 (softpedia.com) 128

Firefox's voice and videoconferencing add-on was described as "the first global communications system built directly into a browser" -- but things change. An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: An entry on Mozilla's issue tracker opened on July 17 reveals ongoing efforts from Mozilla engineers to remove the Hello system add-on from default Firefox installations starting with version 49, set for public release on September 13, 2016. Mozilla added Hello to Firefox in version 34, released on December 1, 2014, and from the beginning, it was part of the browser's core code, but was moved in December 2015 into a separate add-on, one that came pre-installed with Firefox, making Hello its first ever system add-on.

Mozilla plans to remove Hello from the codebases of Firefox Beta 49, Firefox Developer Edition 50, and Firefox Nightly 51. Based on the currently available information, the deadline for the Hello code removal operations is for this Monday, August 1, after which the first Firefox builds with no Hello integration will be available for testing, and will ship out in the fall with the stable release.

The article suggests this may have been a space-saving measure, "since Mozilla is focused on rebuilding Firefox's code from scratch to keep up with speedier competitors like Chrome, Opera, and Vivaldi."
Opera

Chinese Consortium's $1.24B Bid To Acquire Opera Software Fails, $600M Deal Agreed Instead (tech.eu) 85

The $1.24 billion takeover of Opera Software by a Chinese consortium of internet firms has failed, Opera said on Monday. The deal did not receive the required regulatory approval in time of a final deadline. But they will be doing some business. The consortium will now acquire only certain parts of Opera's consumer business, including its mobile and desktop browsers, for $600 million on an enterprise value basis. Tech.eu reports: What will not be acquired by the consortium is: Opera Mediaworks, Apps & Games and Opera TV. In 2015, Opera says these business units combined delivered revenues of $467 million. The company will report second-quarter results on August 31, 2016.
Media

Microsoft: Only Microsoft Edge Will Play Netflix Content At 1080p On Your PC (pcworld.com) 237

An anonymous reader writes from a report via PCWorld: Microsoft made the bold claim on Wednesday that its Edge browser was the only browser of the big four browsers -- Chrome, Firefox, and Opera -- to play Netflix content at a 1080p resolution. PCWorld tested the four browsers and found this claim to be valid. The other three browsers capped out at a 720p resolution. Microsoft has been trying to boost Edge's reputation. Microsoft recently claimed that its Edge browser is more power-efficient than Chrome. (Opera later denied those claims.) This is the latest bold claim to come from Microsoft in regard to its Edge browser. Microsoft has even publicized a Netflix support document to show that Netflix streams at 1080p on Internet Explorer and Edge, and 720p on the other browsers. PCWorld used the "secret Netflix menus" that were first unearthed by Reddit users (Ctrl+Alt+Shift+D) to display the resolution and bitrate and confirm that Microsoft's claims are true. "In a blog post, Microsoft claimed Microsoft Edge was built to take advantage of platform features in Windows 10, including the PlayReady Content Protection and the media engine's Protected Media Path," reports PCWorld. "The company said it is working with the Open Media Alliance to develop next-generation media formats, codecs, and other technologies for UltraHD video, and with chipset companies to develop Enhanced Content Protection that moves the protected media path into peripheral hardware for an even higher level of security, and one that could be used to protect 4K media."
Opera

Opera Denies Microsoft Edge Battery-Saving Claims (thestack.com) 57

An anonymous reader writes: According to the makers of the Opera browser, Microsoft's recent claim that its Windows 10 Edge browser is more power-efficient than Chrome are erroneous. Running its own tests with Opera, Edge and Chrome, the company finds that Opera runs 22% faster (with a battery life of 3hr 55m) than Edge (3hrs 12m). In Microsoft's own tests, Google's Chrome browser was the first to completely exhaust the battery, closely followed by Firefox and Opera. In May, Opera added a power-saving mode, but any advantage it can be verified to have in the energy-efficiency stakes may be more due to the native adblocking feature it introduced this year.
Microsoft

Microsoft Says Edge Browser Is More Power-Efficient Than Chrome (windows.com) 260

An anonymous reader writes: It's no secret that Google's Chrome browser eats up a considerable amount of memory (and by extension, battery). On Monday, Microsoft announced that its Edge browser has succeeded on that front. Citing several tests, Microsoft claims Edge browser is a better choice for portable device owners. The company took four identical laptops running Windows 10 to see which of the four most popular browsers would be most efficient when it comes to battery life. Interestingly, Chrome was the first to kill the laptop in the video streaming test at 4 hours and 19 minutes. Firefox closely followed its rival at 5 hours and 9 minutes, while Opera (running on the same tech as Chrome) managed to hit 6 hours and 18 minutes. In Microsoft's tests, it was found that Edge was best of the bunch when it came to enjoying a video online, lasting for 7 hours and 22 minutes. That's worked out to be 70% longer than Chrome.In a blog post, Microsoft wrote: "We designed Microsoft Edge from the ground up to prioritize power efficiency and deliver more battery life, without any special battery saving mode or changes to the default settings. Our testing and data show that you can simply browse longer with Microsoft Edge than with Chrome, Firefox, or Opera on Windows 10 devices."
Opera

Opera Adds Power-Saving Mode, Offers 'Up To 50 Percent' Longer Battery Life (arstechnica.com) 42

An anonymous reader writes: Opera Software has added a power-saving mode to its desktop web browser that "can increase the battery life by as much as 50 percent." The company claims optimizations are what has made the battery life increase possible, including "reducing activity from background tabs, adapting page-redrawing frequency, and tuning video-playback parameters." Opera claimed that a laptop running Windows 10 64-bit with the power-saving feature enabled lasts 49 percent longer than one with Chrome put under equal stress. Ad blocking was turned on during the test as well. The feature is not enabled by default, but a blue battery icon will appear next to the browser's address bar whenever the power cable is unplugged from your computer. When the laptop's battery is running low, the browser will suggest turning on power-saving mode, too. Earlier this week, Opera launched a new VPN app for iOS that is free to use and includes unlimited data.
Network

Opera Launches 'Free And Unlimited' VPN App For iOS (theverge.com) 23

Opera has launched a new VPN app for iOS that is free to use and includes unlimited data. The app uses the US-based SurfEasy VPN service acquired by Opera last March. Opera is promising that its mobile VPN is free for life, with no subscription needed. For comparison, SurfEasy's standalone apps for Android and iOS do charge subscription fees. Opera says the app is "especially relevant on campuses and workplaces," where Wi-Fi provided by one institution may have limited access to "social media and video streaming websites." The software blocks ads and trackers, in addition to allowing users to access geo-blocked content by routing their internet connection through another country. You can download the app here.
Bug

American Samoa Domain Registry Was Exposing Client Data Since the Mid-1990s (softpedia.com) 17

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Softpedia: A British security researcher that goes online only by the name of InfoSec Guy revealed today that American Samoa domain registry ASNIC was using an outdated domain name management system that contained a bug allowing anyone to view the personal details of any .as domain owner. The researcher also claims that anyone knowing of this bug would have been able to edit and delete any .as domain, just by altering the ASNIC domain info URL. Some of the big brands that own .as domains include Opera, Flickr, Twitter, McDonald's, British Gas, Bose, Adidas, the University of Texas, and many link shortening services. This flawed system has been online since the mid-1990s. The researcher contacted ASNIC after discovering the flaw at the end of January 2016, but email exchanges with the domain registry were scarce and confusing, with the registry issuing a statement today denying the incident and calling the allegations "inaccurate, misleading and sexed-up to the max," after previously acknowledging and fixing the security flaws.
Opera

Opera Adds Free VPN-Client With Unlimited Usage To Its Desktop Browser 101

On Thursday, Opera announced that it is adding a free built-in virtual private network (VPN) client to its desktop browser. The feature, which isn't available on other popular Web browsers, will allow users to hide their IP address, unblock firewalls and access region-locked content. It will also help users protect their personal information on public Wi-Fi networks as it offers 256-bit encryption. "Everyone deserves to be private online if they want to be," Krystian Kolondra, SVP at Opera told Slashdot in a statement. "By adding a free, unlimited VPN directly into the browser, no additional download or extensions from an unknown third-party provider are necessary."

The move comes a year after Opera acquired North American VPN company SurfEasy. Unlike Chrome and Firefox, which require you to use an additional third-party tool (such as an extension), Opera's VPN offering is baked in the browser. What's more, it is free and offers unlimited usage. The feature is available on Opera's Mac, Windows, and Linux clients.
Software

Opera's Ex-CEO Launches Vivaldi 1.0 For Power Users 135

Opera co-founder and former CEO Jon von Tetzchner on Wednesday launched the v1.0 of Vivaldi browser. Vivaldi v1.0, which is aimed at "power users", is available to download from the company's website for Windows, OS X, and Linux platforms. The Norway, Oslo company has been working on it since 2013. Vivaldi offers a range of features such as support for Chrome extension, Tab Stacks, Rewind and Fast Forward, and built-in support for custom keyboard shortcuts and mouse gestures. There are plenty of other handy tools including the ability to check how much data a Web page has consumed in real time.
Chrome

Opera Introduces Native Adblocking, 45% Faster Than Chrome With Adblock Plus (thestack.com) 100

An anonymous reader writes: A new version of the Opera desktop web browser introduces fully-featured native adblocking which is able to load adblocked pages significantly faster than rivals running the Adblock Plus browser. The new feature includes whitelisting of domains and a benchmarker to test the difference between page load-times with and without ads. Krystian Kolondra, head of Opera desktop, indicates in his post that the company's hope is to encourage the 'simpler' and less intrusive advertising which has been promised, but does not yet seem to be evident.
Opera

Opera Founder Opens Up About New Vivaldi Browser (networkworld.com) 73

alphadogg writes: Since the days of Mosaic in the early 1990s, Jon von Tetzchner has been working on web browsers. He is one of the creators of Opera, the alternative browser that's been a power-user favorite since 1995. His new project, Vivaldi, is heading for its first stable release. Network World sat down with von Tetzchner on Thursday to talk about Vivaldi and Opera at the Innovation House, a related venture of his.
Opera

Chinese Tech Group Offers To Buy Opera; Board Endorses 120

jones_supa writes: There's been plenty of speculation around the future of web browser maker Opera, and now that looks like it will soon be resolved. Today the Norway-headquartered company confirmed that it has received a $1.2 billion acquisition offer from a group fronted by Chinese consumer tech companies Kunlun Tech and Qihoo 360. The deal is for 100% of the company, and it represents a 53% premium on the company's valuation based on its most recent trading price. Opera's board said in a statement (PDF) that it has "unanimously decided to recommend" its shareholders to accept the bid. The final deal is subject to government and shareholders' approvals.
Star Wars Prequels

George Lucas: "I'm Done With Star Wars" 424

HughPickens.com writes: Entertainment Weekly reports that George Lucas has compared his retirement from Star Wars to a break-up – a mutual one, maybe, but one that nonetheless comes with hard feelings and although Lucas came up with story treatments for a new trilogy, those materials, to put it bluntly, were discarded. "They decided they didn't want to use those stories, they decided they were gonna go do their own thing," says Lucas. "They weren't that keen to have me involved anyway. But at the same time, I said if I get in there I'm just going to cause trouble. Because they're not going to do what I want them to do. And I don't have the control to do that anymore. All I would do is muck everything up. So I said, 'Okay, I will go my way, and I'll let them go their way.'" Lucas says he was going to tell a story about the grandchildren of figures from the original trilogy. "The issue was, ultimately, they looked at the stories and they said, 'We want to make something for the fans,'" says Lucas. "So, I said, all I want to do is tell a story of what happened – it started here and went there. It's all about generations, and issues of fathers and sons and grandfathers. It's a family soap opera."

Although the team behind The Force Awakens acknowledges they're taking the story in a different direction from what Lucas intended, they maintain affection for his original creations and the man himself. "Before I showed up, it was already something that Disney had decided they wanted to go a different way with," says J. J. Abrams. "But the spirit of what he wrote, both in those pages and prior, is everything that this movie is built upon." Some fans question why there was no "Based on" credit for Lucas in the poster for The Force Awakens. "I don't know why it isn't on the poster, but it's a valid point. I'm sure that that will be a credit in the film," says Abrams. "We are standing on the shoulders of Episodes I through VI."
Software

Vivaldi Hits Its First Beta (vivaldi.com) 140

An anonymous reader writes: Following well over 50 developer snapshots and 4 technical previews (Alpha), the new browser upstart has hit its first Beta release today. Following almost a year of work on alpha, Vivaldi is coming out with many unique features such as tab stacking and tiling, notes, and quick commands for navigating and feature use. Other features are in the works, such as sync and built-in mail client that will be introduced when they hit a more stable state. It's a refreshing take on the browser: as many others are diverging to a common design template, Vivaldi is taking a more feature-rich and customization-heavy approach. (We linked to a hands-on report about Vivaldi earlier this year, too.)
Google

Google Threatens Action Against Symantec After Botched Investigation (itworld.com) 95

itwbennett writes: Through its acquisition of Verisign's authentication business unit in 2010, Symantec became one of the largest certificate authorities (CAs) in the world. In September of this year, Google discovered that Symantec had issued a pre-certificate for google.com without its knowledge. Symantec's initial investigation of the incident determined that 23 test certificates had been issued for domain names belonging to Google, Opera and three other unnamed organizations. But Google quickly found additional unauthorized certificates that Symantec missed. Now, Google wants Symantec to disclose all certificates issued by its SSL business going forward.

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