Tech Ticker: Yahoo gets roasted on security; Windows 10 preview builds take a holiday break

A former Yahoo engineer says the company's services are "not safe to use." Also, Microsoft says it won't cooperate on a registry of Muslim Americans, Windows 10 Insiders get some time off, and Microsoft Edge gets a new extension: the popular uBlock Origin ad blocker.
Written by Ed Bott, Senior Contributing Editor

Short takes and quick hits for the week of November 11-17, 2016.

'Yahoo is not safe to use,' former company engineer says

Posted December 16, 2016 14:10 PST

An absolutely brutal article in The Parallax by Seth Rosenblatt. After a second data breach involving as many as a billion users, what should users do? Let's just say there aren't many advocates for the company right now.

Here's Avivah Litan, vice president and analyst at Gartner Research:

"They're not the only company with bad security, but honestly, this is at the level of a national emergency," Litan says. "Between China and Russia and regular cybercriminals, unless you're really focused on security, and you have a lot of resources to spend, you don't stand a chance."

Even more damning is this (understandably) anonymous quote:

Yahoo's external troubles reflect internal discord over prioritizing user security and privacy, according to a former Yahoo engineer familiar with how the company secures its products and services.

"Yahoo is not safe to use. Their innovation is gone, even from a nonsecurity standpoint. But from a security standpoint, do not touch Yahoo," says the former engineer, who spoke to The Parallax on condition of anonymity. He is currently employed as a security software engineer.

Another security researcher says he thinks fewer than 1 percent of Yahoo users will shut down their accounts.

- EB

Microsoft: "We Wouldn't Do Any Work To Build A Registry Of Muslim Americans"

Posted December 15, 2016 17:50 PST

One day after Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella joined a legion of his industry peers for a round table meeting with President-elect Donald Trump, a Microsoft spokesperson forcefully rejected one of Trump's signature issues.

Buzzfeed's Nitasha Tiku has the details:

In response to questions from BuzzFeed News, Microsoft spokesperson Frank X. Shaw clarified his company's position on the use of customer data. "We've been clear about our values. We oppose discrimination and we wouldn't do any work to build a registry of Muslim Americans," said Shaw.

The company's statement comes a day after its CEO, Satya Nadella, attended a tech summit hosted by President-elect Donald Trump, and at a moment many when tech leaders are under increasing pressure -- from both their own employees and the public -- to explain how their companies would respond to government requests from the incoming administration, including being asked to build a Muslim registry.

Tiku also notes that employees from Microsoft, Facebook, and other major tech companies signed a pledge this week to resist similar calls for "illegal or unethical data practices."

- EB

No more Windows 10 preview releases in 2016

Posted December 15, 2016 10:40 PST

Dona Sarkar, who runs the Windows Insider program for Microsoft, announced via Twitter that there will be no more preview builds for the rest of this year.

That makes build 14986 the last of 2016. That build's tagged as rs_prerelease (with "rs" standing for the codename "Redstone 2"), which seems about right for a new wave of preview builds starting in January 2017 aiming towards the expected March/April public release of the Windows 10 Creators Update.

- EB

Ublock Origin extension for Microsoft Edge arrives

Posted December 11, 2016 13:00 PST

Sideloading no longer required.

After an extended test period, the uBlock Origin extension for Microsoft Edge has finally landed in the Windows 10 Store. It's the third ad blocker to appear in the Store, on the heels of AdBlock and Adblock Plus (which, despite the similar names, are owned separately).

You can examine the uBlock Origin source code (also available for Chromium and Firefox) at its Github repository.

For now, at least, the extension doesn't show up in searches; instead, you have to visit the web listing to get to the page in the Store.

- EB


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