Last Week’s Top 8 Tech Stories – 14th Nov

The week that was gave us another 8 interesting stories, including this year’s biggest software hack, how you can easily hack with your laptop, VW embroiled in another emission software scandal, Amazon gets into the car business, Tesla into the sun business and how users can no longer hide from Skype calls!

The week that was gave us another 8 interesting stories, including this year’s biggest software hack, how you can easily hack with your laptop, VW embroiled in another emission software scandal, Amazon gets into the car business, Tesla into the sun business and how users can no longer hide from Skype calls!

Enjoy.

  1. AdultFriendFinder is the winner of the years biggest hack with 412M users
    chrome_2016-11-20_19-21-06Barely a week goes by when we don’t learn of a hack of some sort, but this one takes the prize for the largest number of users affected in 2016 at 412M users.   This haul included passwords, in both clear and (weak) hashed format.  The issue here is of course that the vast majority of people repeat their email/passwords combinations, opening them up for not only blackmail, but identify theft.

    Interesting tidbit; LeakedSource did an analysis on the passwords and found nearly a 1M people still use the classic 123456 as their password – no sympathy for those people anymore.

  2. Give a man one laptop; and he can bring down major pieces of the Internet
    chrome_2016-11-20_19-27-32When we hear of Denial of Server attacks, we picture 1000’s of independent machines infected with a piece of malware that saturate a servers infrastructure.  Well that may not be the case anymore if researchers from TDC Security are to believed.

    Armed with a single laptop, that has access to a fast network, you can use BlackNurse, a new technique that bombards network equipment with malformed ICMP packets.  So forget the foreign nationals trying to hack us – all it takes is a pissed off employee!

  3. VW are still caught in the emission cheating scandal with Audi
    chrome_2016-11-20_19-34-19.pngWith all the news this week about fake news stories on Google and Facebook you would think you can take solace that something as mechanical as a car won’t betray you.  Think again – those pesky German VW software engineers have been caught with their compilers down again – this time with the Audi brand.

    The US EPA are investigating Audi about discrepancies in their reports with particular attention being applied to the software.  This whole scandal is just ridiculous and I hope a single developer is not fired over this; management had to know, their heads need to roll.

  4. Do you want to Amazon Prime that new Fiat car?
    chrome_2016-09-24_05-16-50Yes, Amazon are getting into the automotive business, by offering 3 Fiat models on their Italian website.  If you recall they announced a few months ago, Amazon Vehicles that was more like a Wikipedia for cars, so this is a logical step to start selling cars direct online.

    This will be an interesting to watch and see how customers react to this model.  Personally, I think it will be a big hit, as the likes of CarMax (and Tesla) demonstrate, as people hate haggling and dealing with car salesmen.

  5. Tesla and SolarCity are now a single entity after 85% shareholder approval
    chrome_2016-11-20_19-49-48With Amazon getting into the car selling business, Tesla is now in the solar business after shareholders overwhelming approved the acquisition.  All gone crazy!  At first blush, a car company buying a solar panel maker makes absolutely no sense.  However, to understand this you need to buy-in to Elon Musk’s vertical transport energy company (car + battery + solar).

    This is a bold move and their stock took a bit of a beating on the official confirmation.  If Tesla can produce the Model 3 in the numbers this will be just a bump in the road as this journey is just starting out.

  6. Russia bans LinkedIn
    chrome_2016-11-20_19-56-57.pngWhat is a Russian recruiter to do now?!?   Russia has added LinkedIn to the list of foreign sites that are no longer accessible to the average Russian user.  LinkedIn has  succumb to that law that dictates that any company storing personal Russian citizen data need to have those servers hosted within Russia.  LinkedIn does not.

    LinkedIn are not the only sites to fall foul of this – YouPorn and PornHub are also in this list.  WikiPedia was also banned for a few days, and Facebook/Twitter are also on the cusp of being banned after repeated warnings.

  7. Skype no longer requires a username to call someone
    chrome_2016-11-20_20-03-06File this under, #finally.  Skype is a great service, but requires both parties to have a Skype account to really benefit.   Not any longer.  Microsoft have finally relented and can offer Skype call sessions via a web browser, single unique link experience.

    There are some limitations, but at least you can now call your Linux friends who have been holding out on you.

  8. Sssh … can you hear that?  Is that an electric car approaching?
    chrome_2016-11-20_20-08-02.pngDang naggit the US DoT has gone ruined one of the best bits of fun you can have in an electric car – that is sneaking up on runners in your neighborhood, dogs also fall into that category.   They now want all cars that can run silent to emit a sound while they are under 19 mph.

    Now details are a little sketchy here as to what type of sound we are talking.  I really hope Tesla allow me to upload my own MP3 – maybe the fun hasn’t been ruined after all.

 

… and this week’s soundtrack was brought to you by Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice.  Christopher Walken dancing I could watch all day – every time I press the elevator button this is what goes through my head!

Weekly Top 8 Tech Stories – 3rd October

The top stories from the week of the 3rd Oct; Samsung, Amazon, SalesForce, VMware, Yahoo, security and candles!

Here are the stories that caught my attention in the week starting 3rd October 2016.

  1. Samsung’s Note 7 replacement catches fire; plane is evacuated
    chrome_2016-10-08_07-28-02Samsung’s woes just got worse when its flagship Galaxy Note 7 burst into flames, when it was already turned off, onboard a Southwest flight.  The irony here was that this was a replacement phone from the first batch of faulty phones.  Network carriers are now offering free replacements to other handsets.

    Such a shame to see this, as I love my Note 5 and I was looking for to upgrading to the Note 7.  My reason is because the phone is waterproof – though I will need it to be flame proof too!

  2. Yahoo caught spying on its users emails for the NSA
    chrome_2016-10-08_07-32-32This is the first major email provider that has been caught with its fingers in their user’s inbox.   They not only gave data to the NSA, but actually helped the NSA do their job by building filtering software to track for certain keywords. This is not good for Yahoo as they try to close the deal with Verizon, who are seeking a $1B discount off the sale price because of the stolen 500M users details.

    Email is still our primary link to our digital world – we have to trust our email providers safeguard our precious data.  This is 2 major strikes against one of the oldest domains.

  3. Saving babies lives thanks to IoT
    chrome_2016-10-08_07-54-21Internet of Things is creating buzz all over the industry at the moment as we look to track everything, and one company, Owlet Baby Care has taken it to your baby.   They have developed a sock ($250) that monitors the wee ones heart rate and oxygen levels alerting the parents when things significantly change.

    This gives me such joy to see technology coming together so beautifully to save lives in a space where there is much research being done on infant premature death.

  4. Save yourself – how to avoid being scammed online
    chrome_2016-10-08_07-56-35The vast majority of security hacks are down to the infallibility of the human – we’re so easily seduced and tricked into doing things we really shouldn’t.  A very handy info-graphic was released this week to show all the ways scammers try to seduce you and the very simply steps you can do to present.

    Covers all forms of online scams in a very easy digestible format.  Do yourself a favor and take a look, and then either feel educated, or smug you already knew it all.

  5. SalesForce announces an improved IoT offering
    chrome_2016-10-08_08-03-07The big cloud providers are desperate for your IoT data – Amazon, Google, Microsoft and SalesForce have extremely rich offerings to make it real easy to pump your device data to their cloud.   This week was DreamForce in San Francisco, the annual SalesForce love fest, where they announced a number of updates to their Thunder IoT cloud.  The main one is marrying up the device data with core data stored in SalesForce.

    This is a huge step considering how many companies run exclusively inside of SalesForce.  Though price is their achilles heel – running inside SalesForce is not a cheap experience when compared to Amazon.

  6. Dongle technology finally comes to ordinary credit cards
    chrome_2016-10-08_08-17-06.pngI am sure you have seen the security dongles that many banks issue for online access to your account.  They are small devices that continually generate numbers that you read off and type in to gain access.   This technology has now come to credit cards, with France trialing the card that updates the 3 digit number on the back every hour.

    While this will complicate our lives a little more, not being able to save the card online for fast purchasers as we will be forced to look at the card and type in the ever-changing 3 digits, it is a small price to pay to be immune from hacks and data dumps.

  7. VMware throws in the towel; joins Amazon’s cloud
    chrome_2016-09-24_05-16-50VMware, recently part of Dell, was the early pioneer of virtualization technology that allowed the cloud world to even exist.  Like the Yahoo’s of its era, VMware has struggled to compete with the mammoth Amazon offering and this week, we learned that they have finally decided to stop fighting it and now offer their software to run within the Amazon cloud.

    This is a huge admission that their own cloud offering is failing to take off and instead of losing out on the customer relationship altogether they have wisely decided to give their clients what they want.

  8. Keep that new Apple Mac feeling going longer with the Mac candle
    chrome_2016-10-08_08-24-52Nothing better than that new smell that comes with a car or even a house, but what about the smell from a newly booted Apple Mac?   Well for those diehard Apple fanboys they can keep that smell going longer, thanks to a new candle that burns the scent of a new Mac.

    Naturally, special order at the moment, until such times that Yankee Candle decides they need a whole range of ‘new unboxing scents’.

 

and finally, this week’s soundtrack was Passenger’s new album.