Tech blog: Five essential technology stories of the week

What’s making headlines in the world of technology and social media...

25 worst passwords revealed - and guess what’s top?

Many of us are guilty of using a fairly obvious password and then sticking with it through dozens of website logins, whether it’s a date of birth, a football team or some other identifiable personal information. But even these are more robust than some of the examples collated in SplashData’s annual list of the worst internet passwords. Top spot went to the highly inventive ‘password’, while ‘123456’, ‘iloveyou’ and ‘letmein’ also charted highly. The moral of the story? Memorise something a little more obscure.

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Google has iTunes in its sights

On Wednesday search giant Google launched its challenge to Apple’s dominance of the music industry - a download service which will run on the Android Market. It’s still only available in the US for now, but the company said it has already struck deals with EMI, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal and 23 independent labels to create a library of 13 million songs. Since iTunes has an eight-year head-start in the field, and firms like Blackberry and Amazon are also investing in their cloud-based music platforms, Google is looking to get its share of the cake - and fast.

Q: When is ‘unlimited’ not ‘unlimited’? A: When it’s on a mobile phone contract

Do you know how much data you’re allowed to download to your smartphone? If you’re not crystal clear on this you’re not alone. The communications ombudsman has told mobile phone companies to take action so that unwitting customers are not hit with massive phone bills. At the root of the problem is how you define “unlimited”: for most of us it means what it says, but in most cases there is a “fair usage” cap on downloads. It remains to be seen whether companies take heed and clarify their advertising, but for now the advice is to look out for those sneaky asterisks and read the small print.

Anonymous ‘not behind Facebook porn’

There were red faces at Facebook on Tuesday when the social networking website was hit by what it called a “co-ordinated spam attack”, resulting in sexually explicit images, as well as photos of extreme violence and animal abuse, appearing on user’s pages. Initially it was believed that the hacking group Anonymous could be behind the attack with its ‘Fawkes’ malware virus, but security specialists have since ruled this out. While Facebook has said it has identified those responsible, doubts remain over its ability to police its own patch.

A new Galaxy for Android

While Google’s Android mobile operating system has outstripped its rival over at Apple HQ, the company admits that it lacks the silky smooth experience which has come to be expected from iPhone disciples. So this week it launched its latest flagship handset, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. This is the first handset to run Google’s so-called Ice Cream Sandwich software. So what’s new? Face recognition, a redesigned interface, an improved keyboard and a larger, 4.65” screen are among the selling points. However, the new version of Android is unlikely to go truly mainstream until other manufacturers like Sony and Motorola get in on the act.

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