Category Archives: Opera

Opera 39 released

A new version of the Opera web browser makes improvements to the video pop-out feature, adds a news reader, and adds customizable block lists to the integrated ad blocker.

The context menu that appears when right-clicking selected page text now includes more useful options. Opera’s memory footprint has been improved with version 39.

The Opera 39 announcement doesn’t include a link to the change log, so I had to go hunting for it on the Opera web site. Eventually I found it on the Opera desktop blog. Note that while many of the entries in the change log refer to unreleased, developer or beta versions, all of the changes described apply to the newly-released version, 39.0.2256.42.

Meanwhile, other Opera web resources have disappeared (Unified change logs for Opera), and others include no mention of Opera 39 (Opera for Windows change log). That’s just sloppy.

Opera 37 released

A major new revision of Opera was announced yesterday: 37.0.2178.32.

Opera 37 includes some significant changes:

  • The minimum Windows system requirement is Windows 7. Anyone using Opera on Windows XP or Vista will have to stick with earlier versions.
  • Opera now has a native (built-in) ad blocker.
  • Videos can now be popped out into their own window for viewing convenience.

The new version also includes a variety of bug fixes and performance improvements. You can see a list of all the changes on the official Opera 37 change log. Note: somewhat confusingly, that log shows changes in beta and developer versions going back to February 2016. Opera routinely makes major new versions available to developers and beta testers, and Opera 37 has been available in those forms for a few months.

Security roundup for March 2016

Ransomware made news frequently in March. Two more healthcare networks in the USA were hit with ransomware. A new variety of ransomware called Petya took things to a new level, encrypting the core data structures of hard drives. TeslaCrypt continued its destructive march across Europe and into the USA. A surge in malware-laden advertising (aka malvertising) on several popular web sites, including the Certified Ethical Hacker site, led to numerous ransomware infections.

Smartphones and tablets running Google’s Android operating system remain a popular target for malware. A newly-discovered vulnerability can allow malware to permanently take over a device at the root level. Malware that exploits the still largely unpatched Stagefright vulnerability was identified.

Security researchers discovered malware that can infect computers that are not connected to networks, using external USB devices like thumb drives. The malware, dubbed USB Thief, steals large quantities of data and leaves very little evidence of its presence.

A hacking group known as Suckfly is using stolen security certificates to bypass code signing mechanisms, allowing them to distribute malware-laden apps more effectively.

The folks at Duo Security published an interesting post that aims to demystify malware attacks, describing malware infrastructure and explaining how malware spreads.

Ars Technica reported on the surprising resurgence of Office macro malware. Macros embedded in Office (Word, Excel) documents were a major problem in the 1990s but subsequent security improvements by Microsoft reduced their prevalence until recently. Getting around those improvements only requires tricking the document’s recipient into enabling macros, and it turns out that this is surprisingly easy.

Millions of customer records were made available in the wake of yet another major security breach, this time at Verizon.

Google continued to improve the security of its products, with more encryption, better user notifications and other enhancements to GMail.

Brian Krebs reported on spammers taking advantage of the trust users have in ‘.gov’ domains to redirect unsuspecting users to their spammy offerings.

Opera announced that their web browser will now include ad-blocking features that are enabled by default.