The Sizzle

Issue 214 - Monday, 26th September 2016 - I'm So Lost Out On The Highway

Only a short one today, my Mum is finally out of hospital and back home, so I didn't have much time to write stuff as I've been busting my arse helping my Dad and sister get things ready. There was fuck all news anyways, Snapchat released some stupid glasses, one of the biggest DDoS attacks ever took place over the weekend and Facebook lied about its video stats.


Snapchat released a pair of glasses with cameras on the front
Snapchat has renamed itself Snap Inc, and has announced a pair of sunglasses with a camera embedded in the frame called Spectacles. The Snap sanctioned stories are full of bullshit espousing about how amazing Evan Spiegel is. This story on The Verge gets down to what the hell the glasses actually do and how they work. Basically tap the side of the glasses, a video will record for 10 seconds and will use Bluetooth to end up in your Snapchat Memories. There's a max recording time of 30 seconds for video and if you don't have your phone on you, it'll save some video for later. Doesn't appeal to me all that much (Snapchat isn't my thing), but I do like the concept of being able to just look at something and have it recorded - that's pretty cool. It's definitely not as stupid as it looks. The camera sunnies will cost US$130 and be out in "fall" (so sometime between now and November 30th).

One of the biggest DDoS attacks hits blogger Brian Krebs
Over the weekend, popular infosec blogger Brian Krebs (aka KrebsOnSecurity) was hit with a humongous DDoS that even Akamai couldn't handle and resulted in his site going offline. This huge attack happened because Krebs loves pissing off hackers and exposing their handiwork. Criminals tend not to like that. This time it was exposing the guys who ran vDOS, a DDoS on demand service, hah. They managed to launch a 665 Gbps DDoS attack, knocking his site down once Akamai refused to keep offering DDoS protection unless he paid ~$150k/yr for it. Google has since offered it's Project Shield service to KrebsOnSecurity so the site can continue to run. This attack raises further questions around censorship and making sure information can be free - if someone publishes something you don't like, simply DDoS them so nobody can read it. Unless they have loads of cash to pay for the right amount of DDoS protection, the info will remain offline.

Facebook's been cooking the books on video playback numbers
Facebook are an advertising company, possibly the biggest in the world after Google, so stats about who watches what video on their platform is pretty important. Well it seems Facebook was using some dodgy math to work out video play numbers. The article has the full details, but basically it was counting videos that were played for 3 seconds or more, the same as someone who clicked a video and watched it. It just happens to be that on Facebook, videos autoplay, just scrolling past them, which can take 3 seconds or more. So you could never have even seen or noticed the video, but Facebook was counting it as a proper play, because it makes their numbers look awesome. Facebook finally owned up to it after the Wall Street Journal called them out.


Brave man live tweets his reading of the ABS's report into the 2016 census
The great Australian Census Fuckup of 2016 is still lingering on and the ABS recently submitted its side of the story to a government inquriry to find out what the hell went wrong. Justin Warren has read the entire thing and ended up live tweeting his discoveries, saving the rest of us from having to read the ABS's whinging. And there's actually a lot of whinging in it - they throw IBM under the bus early on and blame the media for stoking fear and confusion. The ABS is fucken cooked I reckon. Huge thanks Justin for readin' and tweetin'.

Here endeth the sizzle (until tomorrow!)

The Sizzle is curated by Anthony "@decryption" Agius and emailed every weekday afternoon. Today's subject line is from The Bronze, by Queens Of The Stone Age. Like The Sizzle? Tell your friends!