10 tech things we didn't know a week ago

10 tech things we didn't know a week ago

Summary: Behind on the news and hungry for more? Here's what we learned this week — from webcam hacking, net neutrality, and all the things that are cheaper to buy than WhatsApp.


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  • 2. Up to 11 percent of NSA webcam images are "explicit"

    Britain's GCHQ, with the help from the U.S. National Security Agency, have hacked into millions of webcams connected to Yahoo Messenger and downloaded snapshots every five minutes.

    According to the documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden to The Guardian, between 3 and 11 percent of the images were considered "explicit." Those images are, in layman's terms, photos of people's birthday suits — if you catch the drift. Perhaps more interestingly is that the American and British intelligence agencies found that figure to be "surprising." 

    Image: CNET

  • 3. Even the best Apple engineers can accidentally screw up SSL

    In a day and age where everyone is paranoid about U.S. and U.K. government surveillance, Apple began to feel the heat when it slipped through an iPhone and iPad update to fix a flaw that allowed man-in-the-middle attacks, even through SSL encrypted pages. Apple was also slow to fix the flaw on the Mac, which was left vulnerable for four more days. 

    The culprit? A duplication of a "goto fail;" line, that negated other code. Some suggested it was implanted in there. Those who weren't wearing tinfoil hats on their heads realized it was more likely human error from code merging.

    Image: CNET

  • 4. Netflix actually pays Comcast for better streaming

    Net neutrality in the U.S. is dead — at least for now. Popular television streaming service Netflix agreed earlier this week to pay Comcast to ensure its video content streams quickly, even though Netflix will not receive any preferential treatment. It comes at a time where heavy bandwidth companies, such as TV streaming services, are fighting for fairness over the Internet pipes. 

    Image: Netflix

Topics: Networking, Mobility, Security, Storage

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  • GDP = price?

    see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GDP

    I think Iceland is worth more than its GDP.

    • Fail!

      To suggest that the value of a nation is its GDP, or that a nation could be bought for its GDP is one of the stupidest things I've read this year!

      It's like saying you could buy a house for the same amount you'd pay to rent it for a year. Or that the value of a stock is its yearly dividend.
      • True

        This is all very true. And what's dumber is that I've seen this nonsense repeated in other similar stories (what could Apple buy with its cash).

        A more appropriate claim is that you could buy everything sold in Iceland over the course of a year.

        That said, you might be able to train and equip a mercenary army for $16 billion and invade Iceland, stage a coup and declare yourself its king. In that sense, maybe...
    • Iceland

      I know Iceland is worth more than its GDP.
  • XP users refuse to upgrade

    As long as new apps support XP I'll be using it. It may be broke but it still works!
    • MACT

      Just run the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit. We completed our enterprise migration from XP to Windows 7 and when needed fixed issues with the MACT.

      The only reason to use XP is if a vendor software refuses to support their app on anything but XP. If if I had that vendor, I would be looking for a new vendor.
      Rann Xeroxx
      • Unless that application+hardware costs $100,000

        I rather doubt you would be looking at all...
        • You may not need XP support anyway

          If application + hardware costs $100k then it is quite likely that such software is not connected to internet directly and as such does not need much support. Just run it as it is.
          However, if software connects to internet, costs over $100k and vendor cannot upgrade it to anything beyond XP then what the hell that vendor is doing in this kind of business anyway? Most likely such vendor would not even fix any problems that are not OS related. Maybe such vendor already lost the source code or there are only salesmen and accountants left who do not know what compiler is.
          • MRI machines are connected to transfer the scan...

            to file servers on the hospitals (supposedly) internal network, where other doctors/technicians may access them for analysis.

            And we all know how "disconnected" those are.

            Other expensive machines like industrial X ray equipment, volume print machines (think bread bags), fabric weaving machines, industrial stamping machines (think car manufacturing) are ALL more expensive.

            And all are connected.

            Then there are the millions in monitoring sensors connected to collating workstations that send reports/updates to centralized servers....

            The vendor is in it to make money. They make money from a limited sales - they may only sell 25 of these things a year.

            And they are expected to last 10 years or more. (My brother works for such a volume printer and they have machines that are 20 years old - working just fine, under vendor maintenance. Still using Windows 95 with no plans to update.)
  • Also...

    ..rumors started this week that 'Win 8.1 with Bing' will likely be a free distro.

    BTW, whatever happened to the M$ anime "Inori Aizawa"? Haven't heard anything else about it since Nov last year.
    • Inori Aizawa

      Isn't she supposed to be associated with IE 11 which is not out yet except in previews?
      • Oh, maybe so...

        I forgot the details, thanks.
  • I feel obligated to point out something very wrong

    Selling a privately owned gun is not selling "illegal weapons". I guess I can forgive this since most tech writers live in California and seem totally ignorant of any gun laws outside of California laws and what they see on CSI.

    I'll just throw down a few basics. In most of the country, no license is required to own a gun. You may sell a privately owned gun without going through a dealer in more than 45 states. Advertising a gun you wish to sell on Facebook is not illegal or unethical in any manner.
  • Musicians & Streaming..

    Curious, it mentions how much the musician receives from streaming services but how much does the label make?

    Just wondering, as everyone seems to be fast to jump on how bad streaming services are in terms of $$ for the owners but maybe the problem is not with the method. Or couldn't the industry get together and work out a proper *working* way for this to be profitable?