Chrome Update and the Spy Who Came in Through the Microwave

Illustration of Integer Overflow

I can remember asking what a search engine was in my early days using computers.  A friend explained the concept and said, “There are several out there.  Google is a good one.”  So, I went with Google.  Who could have guessed how big Google would become or how successful?

Since then I’ve experimented with others, but I always go back to Google.  I’ve asked myself why and I think it’s related to the ease of searching.  Search terms can be in the wrong order, or contain the wrong terms and unless most things are wrong the search algorithm will come up with possibilities that include the one you are looking for.

The logic on other engines is not so forgiving.

Of course, search engines are about connecting buyers with vendors and, while that seemed like a minor irritation in the early days of the internet, the process is a lot more obvious today.  Google has done a good job of making it look less obvious.

Some search engines are impossible.  If you, for example, enter William Faulkner the first listings will start with, “Get all of William Faulkner’s works at”  Only several entries later will you find a reference to his biography or a critical examination of his writing style.

For some you have to enter Faulkner William or get nothing.  Maybe that is an overstatement, but it is illustrative of the problem of search logic.

This morning I went to Google News and found that Chrome, Google’s browser, put out a call to bounty hunters to find security issues within their system.

Nine issues rated as “severe” and a host of lesser issues were found by white hat hackers around the world.  In addition to names that were Chinese, or German, or Indian, Anonymous accounted for a number of the discoveries.  The big winner got thousands of dollars, and the total payout was, I believe, on the order of $38,000.  The fact that this was reported by Kim Komando tells us just how underground the world of hackers is.

One of the bugs was termed an “integer overflow” problem.  I envisioned a chemistry beaker with whole numbers spilling over the side causing the flame under the beaker to flare up.  It’s not quite like that.  I think it’s more like the Y2K issue.  An addition of one to a total of 9999 does not go to 10,000, it goes back to 0000.

I have no idea how that causes a security problem, and the rest of the problems were described in pure computer jargon.  I’m glad that there are people who understand all of that, and I’m glad some of them are on our side.

I’ve only recently learned about the Internet of Things; a web of smart machines.  I suppose that is the web Kellyanne Conway was thinking of when she surmised that President Trump’s microwave was spying on him.

This image was labeled, “How drones can find and hack the Internet of Things.”  Yikes!  I need to get rid of my thermometer.

Trump blamed President Obama of wiretapping him, and then his spokesperson said that he didn’t really mean Obama or "wiretapping".  If the microwave was guilty, which only conspiracy theorists believe at this point, I think it could have been Vlad Putin trying to find out whether his boy Donald was toeing the line in payment for getting the Russians to rig the election.  But, then I’m not a conspiracy theorist.

Anyway, if you use Google Chrome you need to update to version 57.  I had version 56.  Thanks, Kim Komando.

Views: 137

Comment by Rodney Roe on March 15, 2017 at 5:14am

What a stupid post.

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on March 15, 2017 at 5:27am

Obama has now and forever made me suspicious of microwave popcorn.  Next time I burn it, which will be the next time I make it, I'm going to yell "THANKS, OBAMA" at the damn thing.  I'm sure he will know it was me.

As for Google and Chrome?  There is a good reason that the Chrome logo looks like the Eye of Sauran!

Related image

Comment by JMac1949 Today on March 15, 2017 at 6:34am

Windows 10 keeps trying to download gaming software and yesterday it downloaded a desktop managemnt program called Raptor on me when I wasn't looking.  Talk about "sick."

Comment by koshersalaami on March 15, 2017 at 7:15am

Every time I start using my computer I go to Run and type in Prefetch. Then I delete almost everything I find. And sometimes I go to Temp and do the same thing. Those files load up fast and slow things down. 

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on March 15, 2017 at 7:47am

If you are lazy (me) or computationally challenged (me again), instead of manually deleting specific files (and thereby running the risk of accidentally deleting something important), I would HIGHLY recommend using these products:

Advance System Care is a free version of their Professional program.  It automatically cleans out all of the crap, prevents new crap from being installed without permission, optimizes your internet and installs all needed program updates for Windows (or any other programs you designate).  It is SERIOUSLY GREAT! 

Maxthon Cloud Browser is a fantastic alternative to Chrome.  It uses the Chrome Engine Core (which makes it compatible with almost anything Chrome works with), it is FAST!!!!, uses a VERY small amount of system memory and has a ton of apps available. (including a built in ad blacker that actually works).  Best Browser I have ever used! (some people concerns about it because, if you don't turn it off, it reports errors back to India, China or where ever it is from.  That doesn't bother me because EVERY browser made does the same thing.  So does Windows.  Same same).

Comment by Rodney Roe on March 15, 2017 at 9:52am

I looked up the Maxthon Browser after you recommended sometime before and the concern was that it is Chinese software, and G_d only knows what subroutines are hidden in the cracks to spy on us.  I'm sort of with you, Amy, every company's software is suspect.  It's just that some are more suspect than others.  Also, any review may look unbiased but be written by the competition.  I use Mozilla Firefox which works great for most things but is completely worthless with Our Salon, crashing every time I go here.  I use Chrome for .ning sites.  That problem is due to some interplay between Firefox, Windows 10 and my ZoomText software - doesn't happen with Windows 7.

Have you had problems with the Advanced Care freebie bugging you to update?  I got Malwarebytes years ago free.  Now I have to refuse a paid update every time I use it.  The only advantage to the Professional program is that it constantly updates the database of malware.  The free version requires updating prior to using the scan.

It's all a capitalist plot. ;-)

Comment by Rodney Roe on March 15, 2017 at 9:57am

JMac, I have not had THAT problem with Windows 10, but downloading it has caused me all sorts of other grief (see above). 

A little earlier ZoomText quit working - I'm blind without it - and the mouse arrow began dancing all over the screen unresponsive to everything.  Control + Alt + Delete didn't fix it.  I had to unplug, wait, and reboot and then wait while Windows did a lot of updating.  I don't shut the computer off enough.

Comment by Rodney Roe on March 15, 2017 at 9:59am

Of could have been Obama...or the Russians.

Comment by Rodney Roe on March 15, 2017 at 10:16am

kosh, I never go into the operating system unless there is a geek on the chat line telling me to do that.  Sometime around 2000 I did that and deleted part of my operating system.  I had to have my hard drive reformatted and, of course, lost all of my documents.  Can you imagine my computer had 1GB of memory then.  You can delete a music file and lose more than that now.

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on March 15, 2017 at 10:47am

Have you had problems with the Advanced Care freebie bugging you to update?

Nope, no problems like that at all.  OF COURSE the want you to buy an upgraded version, but they they are pretty nice about it.  They have a tab (that you never need to open) that lets you buy their upgrades and they give you the choice between the free version and the paid version when ever they notify you of an upgrade.  Other than that there are none of those damn pop-up pester the hell out of you screens.


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