Alan Turing Receives Royal Pardon

Computing pioneer Alan Turing has received a posthumous pardon from the Queen, more than 60 years after his conviction for “gross indecency” and his subsequent suicide.

The Independent reports that the pardon was given under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy, typically used to nullify the conviction of an innocent person.

Alan Turing is best known to history for his work during World War II in helping to defeat German ciphers and the Enigma machine in particular. Turing was also gay, and was prosecuted for his homosexuality in 1952. After undergoing chemical castration to avoid prison, he died of cyanide poisoning in 1954.

CryptoLocker Ransomware on Rampage

An increasing number of infections have been reported from the relatively new CryptoLocker malware, which encrypts files and holds them for ransom. Unlike previous ransomware, CryptoLocker makes its targeted files legitimately unrecoverable and also appears to honour ransoms by decrypting the files when paid (at least for now).

Naked Security has a pretty accessible overview of what CryptoLocker does and how to avoid infection. The primary vector appears to be email attachments, so please be particularly vigilant and do not open attachments unless you are certain of their contents.

Free Mobile Chat Apps Slowly Overcoming SMS

Highly popular mobile chat apps for smartphones are slowly replacing traditional SMS text messaging.

The Next Web describes the results of Informa research suggesting that while SMS messaging is by no means dying (usage continues to grow), it is being replaced by free mobile messaging apps. Eventually, the assumption is that SMS will disappear altogether, but the continued increase in usage numbers means that this will not happen for quite some time. At the same time, free mobile messaging already exceeds SMS usage and the gap between them is only expected to grow.

The continued usefulness of SMS can be attributed to its universal availability and the fact that the majority of mobile phones in use today remain “dumb phones.”

Dropbox Rebrands its Enterprise Product

Dropbox has announced that it is rebranding Dropbox for Teams, its product aimed at large enterprise, as Dropbox for Business.

The idea, according to TNW, is to get the message out that this Dropbox product is meant to handle hundreds or thousands of employees rather than the ten or so that the word “team” implies.

In addition to the branding change, Dropbox is also working on Single Sign On and Active Directory integration, which will make it much more desirable for large IT departments.

MSN Messenger Shutdown Inspires Malicious Fakes

Microsoft’s announcement that it intends to shut down its long-running MSN Messenger service and replace it with Skype has inspired enterprising malware developers to start offering fake installers.

The original announcement came late last year, but only recently as the cut-off date of April 8 (April 30 in Brazil) approaches have these attacks appeared in significant numbers.

Kaspersky’s offers some additional details, including some of the domains involved.

Microsoft Azure Outage Caused by Expired SSL Certificate

A worldwide outage of the Microsoft Azure cloud storage service was caused by the expiry of an SSL certificate on Friday, according to reports. This comes on the heels of a week-long outage of an SQL server component of the Azure service.

The news was reported in a number of outlets, including Slashdot, which cites articles from the San Francisco Chronicle, Yahoo, and the Register. PCWorld reports that service was restored on Saturday.