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 — like how you can hack an entire company from their thermostat, and what Apple needs to compete?

TOPICS: Tech Industry

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  • 3. 'Heartbleed' bug that unraveled the internet was caused a simple programming glitch

    The talking-point of the year, "Heartbleed," which in the matter of hours took over the Internet in a sense of panic, after a flaw in a popular cryptography library allowed hackers to snoop on passwords and personal data. The programmer who introduced the flaw denied he inserted it deliberately, after claims were made he may have been working for a US intelligence agency. He denied this, but the flaw nevertheless led to a global security panic. Leading expert Bruce Schneier likened it to a "Spinal Tap 11" out of ten on the severity scale. Change your passwords — and the sooner the better, experts advised.

    Image: CNET/CBS Interactive

  • 4. The top Android app? A 'fake' anti-virus app

    Android has long been associated with malware issues, according to leading security and research firms. But those capitalizing on the issue this week got a sore slap in the face, after the top grossing app on the Google Play app marketplace was accused of being a "scam." Dubbed "Virus Shield," many thought the app was protecting their Android-based smartphones and tablets, when in fact, according to reports, it was entirely "bogus." The app only cost $3.99, but it was downloaded more than 10,000 times, making the developer very, very rich indeed.

    Screenshot: Google Play

  • 5. Starting your own Internet provider is really hard

    If you're concerned about US government surveillance, you might think setting up your own Internet provider might be the best option. Turns out, as the folks at Ars Technica discovered, it's far more complicated to start one than widely thought. Not only do you need millions of dollars, you need a lot of lawyers to navigate the complicated myriad of legal issues that you will face as the head of your own ISP. And that doesn't even take into account the requests you might be forced to undertake if you're under the authority of the National Security Agency. 

    Image: Open Compute/Facebook via CNET

Topic: Tech Industry

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  • Windows XP

    Wonder, what the excuse will be for Microsoft to start supporting it again.

    For example: It was claimed that there will be no more support, not even for (big) money and yet many corporations state they do have contracts with Microsoft to support Windows XP.
    • I never read anywhere saying "no more support, not even for (big) money"

      where was that article mentioned?
    • Paid support

      has always been an option for major customers, not just for XP, but for all MS products. You just needed enough PCs running the software and be prepared to pay for the support.
  • Starting your own Internet provider

    Wouldn't it be easier in declaring Broadband internet a Utility, and have the power companies deliver it.
    Don't they have the infrastructure all ready setup. They would be regulated so we could receive what we pay for.

  • Very, very rich? Not!

    The quoted revenue figure of $40,000 for the Virus Shield app is certainly a windfall for the scammer, and a nice nest egg or bankroll for another project, but after costs and taxes it hardly qualifies for the description of "very, very rich indeed."
    • You also forgot

      to take away 30% for Google's coffers.
  • Hacked English....again!

    'Heartbleed' bug that unraveled the internet was caused a simple programming glitch'....another wannabe Asian English copy editor who can't speak grammatical English....Oh, the humanity of it.......
  • XP

    XP, I hope you live beyond humanity! LOL
  • More than 44% XP, but thank you for admitting it's not 27%

    I'm so tired of people claiming the XP share was less than 1/3; when everywhere you go, XP is on the desktop. So the market for MSFT to instead offer paid support, is much larger. So they can reduce the price of paid support, and even offer it in tiers:

    TIER ONE: For about $50 per machine per year, offer to fix bugs and keep patching security. They would make more money offering that, and make people happier, than if they insist on people updating. Seriously, the only reason we don't update, is that the newer OS offering by MSFT will WRECK all our current systems, requiring so much retraining: the time and money cost for all that, is prohibitive. Why couldn't MSFT have made a COMPATIBLE newer OS version in the first place? Oh, because they hate us. So they won't do the smart thing to make money for themselves and their shareholders, and offer this TIER ONE.

    TIER TWO: improvements which are close to bug fixes, like enabling XP machines to read/write DVDs, better file management, etc. Includes all of TIER ONE, as well. Could charge an added $50 per year for this, total $100 per year per machine. Since the OS price is usually between $150-$300, MSFT makes 33% more, than by their current business model of selling only the OS. And their customers would be far happier!

    TIER THREE: Offer to pass on the under-the-hood improvements in the later OSes, but NOT change the interface. This tier includes the other two, so pretend an annual subscription cost of $150 per machine. Thus it's like getting a new OS every year, MSFT making more 3x money than by its current model; and, we are far happier as a result, since the INTERFACE is the same.

    So obvious, how to solve the problems of customer complaints. So ridiculous, that MSFT won't do this. Even a brainout can understand the advantages, and how the above would make MSFT a hero, overnight!
    • Why not switchable desktops for Windows ?

      Why didn't msft put more than one desktop on the OS ? They could have put an XP desktop on Win 8.1 and those that like xp could have familiar usage of the computer but it would be supported by the modern and powerful Win 8 . Some Linux distros have a choice of desktops built into the OS. eg., gnome , KDE, maybe something else. Call it Super XP ? PCs nowadays have such large drives it should not be a problem. Some people do not like touch screens. Perhaps Win9 will have a choice of desktops built into the OS.
      ivvan iskra
  • Hacking Thermostats with a Power Supply?

    I didn't know this was possible.
    • I think that was an allusion to Target.

      Also remember that a number of devices are now being powered through a USB connection to a wall USB power plug.

      And USB controllers have been known to permit scanning of the system memory without CPU interaction. Tnature of DMA permits most of the capability, and if they are not protected by an IOMMU then the controller can perform DMA from all of physical memory - thus, hacked "through a power supply".