Issue 783

Tuesday, 11th December 2018

In This Issue


Google+ suffers another API bug exposing private info & will close down sooner than planned

You know how Google+ was gonna be shut down in August next year because of a bug in its API that allowed developers to get more data on a user than the user allows? Well it happened again, so Google's shut down API access to Google+ in 90 days and shut down the entire social network in April instead of August. This new "vulnerability impacted 52.5 million users, who could have had profile information like their name, email address, occupation, and age exposed to developers, even if their account was set to private. Apps could also access profile data that had been shared with a specific user, but was not shared publicly". Google reckons no developers did anything nasty as Google spotted the bug it before anyone else did.

Government report confirms that Equifax were hopeless at securing customer data

The US government has spit out a report on the massive Equifax data breach from earlier this year. Nobody reading this would be surprised to know what the breach came about because Equifax's management paid no attention to securing all that data they were quickly sucking up via rapid growth. A small excerpt from the report states that, "Equifax's failure to patch a known critical vulnerability left its systems at risk for 145 days. The company's failure to implement basic security protocols, including file integrity monitoring and network segmentation, allowed the attackers to access and remove large amounts of data". I reckon the only way this stuff will be prevented in the future is 1. not collecting it in the first place and 2. if it has to be collected, jail time for management who ignore the pleas of experts to fund security measures.

Qualcomm succeeds in getting iPhones banned for sale in China, kinda

I don't know how this works in practice, but a Chinese court has ordered Apple to stop selling older iPhones in China because it agrees with Qualcomm that Apple infringed on a few of their patents. There's now a "preliminary injunction that bars Apple from selling the iPhone 6S, the iPhone 6S Plus, the iPhone 7, the iPhone 7 Plus, the iPhone 8, the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X in China. The ruling did not apply to Apple's three newest iPhones: the XS, the XS Max and the XR". The patents in question are for the ability for users to "adjust and reformat the size and appearance of photographs" and "manages applications using a touch screen when viewing, navigating and dismissing applications". Apple however, are still selling the iPhones in China.

IOC pours cold water on eSports Olympic ambitions

Bad news for anyone hoping to see eSports at the Olympics - the IOC had a meetup this week and said it's "premature" to discuss seriously including them in the Olympic games and won't be on the schedule for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Kinda not surprised this has been pushed back, as Thomas Bach the IOC President, recently said "we cannot have in the Olympic programme a game which is promoting violence or discrimination". "So-called killer games. They, from our point of view, are contradictory to the Olympic values and cannot therefore be accepted". Considering most eSports titles are basically glorified warfare or traditional sports but on a screen, we might be waiting a while for the first gold medal in video games.

Samsung does a deal with copycat Supreme fashion brand

Supreme is a fancy hypebeast fashion brand from New York that's got knockoffs all around the world, including one in Italy that is practically identical thanks to a copyright loophole. Today Samsung announced a collaboration with "Supreme" (dunno what for, they didn't say), having to later clarify that it was the Italian Supreme, not the original NYC Supreme. Samsung, of all companies, is partnering with a company that only exists due to a copyright loophole and blatantly copies a much more popular and successful competitor. The irony meter is off the charts here. At the same event, Samsung announced a smartphone (Galaxy A8S) with an "Infinity-O" display that has the selfie cam punched through the display as an alternative to the classic notch we just got acquainted with.

Not News, But Still Cool

New York Times shows how deep smartphone location tracking goes

The New York Times has a very straightforward article explaining how relatively innocent apps end up as data harvesting trojans on both iOS and Android (but mostly Android). For example, there's a weather app, or a sports score app that when you use em, ask for your location for common-sense features like finding the weather near you, or for sports teams in your area. Most people would turn this on because it's a handy thing to have - unfortunately, that also gives them permission to track everywhere you and your device go, and then they sell that data to various brokers as a way to monetise their apps because who the fuck pays for apps in 2018? Then the data ends up god knows where and can be trivially personally identified as the NYT did in this article. I think the best way to avoid this, yet still enjoy the usefulness your smartphone provides, would probably be to set up a VPN running a vast array of DNS based blocking of known trackers and turn it on permanently, even on cellular.

Doom turns 25 next year

The legendary game Doom turns 25 next year and to celebrate, both Bethesda and John Romero (co-creator) have things lined up. Romero is making 18 new levels, called Sigil, for the OG Doom, for free! He will be releasing various collectors items like stickers, t-shirts, booklets, a CD soundtrack, collectors box and even a head on a spike (bad-ass). He also put up a cute blog post reflecting on the creation of Doom 25 years later. Bethesda are now the custodians of the Doom brand and have set up "Slayer's Club", which you can sign up for and get "exclusive content, rewards, events, contests, and much more" in the lead up to Doom Eternal which is due for release in 2019.

Cheap bookshelf speakers, BBQ thermometer, Nvidia Shield, Nintendo LABO, Foxtel HD Sports pack

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

 The Chemical Brothers - Out of Control