This Week in Tech News

New Bill Would Make it Legal to Hack Back Hackers

Episode 1430

Hacker

A new bill being proposed would allow computer users to hack back any hackers that strike them. This will give them the ability to destroy any data stolen from them, as well as giving a little digital pay back. Leo says that it's hard to know where the attack is coming from and you could make matters worse for some innocent person who was also hacked, with their computers and email addresses used as an alias for the real hacker. He also says this is asking for trouble because hackers are far more sophisticated than their victims.

Facebook Security Officer Says Security Is Hard, Especially for Ads

Episode 1429

Silhouette in front of Facebook on PC

Facebook's top security officer says that it's really hard to keep bad guys off their site. Testifying before Congress, he said that buying so-called dark ads is hard to stop. Leo says that's because they're willing to pay for it. Leo adds that Facebook really needs to do eliminate dark ads completely and have every ad be seen in the light of day so we know who's buying the ads. But Facebook doesn't want to do that.

CCleaner Contained Malware for Months

Episode 1429

CCleaner

Avast/Piriform has confirmed that its popular CCleaner app has been infected with malware for the last several months and that users who have used it may have had their computer's compromised. Avast says they believe that they've fixed the problem and that no users have been harmed by the hack. But Leo says he worries about the term "we believe," and this is yet another reason why using these kinds of apps to protect yourself gives you a false sense of security.

Google Announces Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Episode 1429

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Google Announces the Pixel 2 and Pixel XL. Learn more at store.google.com.

Bad Reviews of Essential Android Phone sinks sales. Only 5,000 sold. Leo says that's sad because he likes his Essential phone. It runs clean and pure Android. It had its initial problems, but they've fixed it and it's gotten updates to make it more mature. The only problem is, it has no headphone jack.

Google Announces Several New Products

Episode 1428

Google Home Mini

This week Google announced a ton of new products, including a new Google Home and a donut sized version of Google Home (called the Mini) that Leo says may be better than Amazon Echo. Though Leo says that Amazon has a huge lead, in the long run, Google may have the advantage. Meanwhile, Amazon did get a shot in the arm this week with the announcement that Sonos will partner with Amazon to bring connectivity of Sonos to the Amazon Echo. But that may be short-lived since Sonos plans to work with Google and Apple as well.

Guy Who Created the Facebook "Like" Button Says It's Too Addictive

Episode 1428

Facebook Like

Justin Rosenstein, the man who created the Like button for Facebook, is now saying that it has become too addictive. He's blocked his own use of Reddit, Snapchat, and has imposed limits upon himself for Facebook. He even instructed his assistant to set up a parental-control feature to prevent him from downloading any apps. He fears a smartphone dystopia, and says that "our minds can be hijacked."

Read more at theguardian.com.

iPhone 8 — Is it a Necessary Upgrade?

Episode 1427

Apple iPhone 8 and 8 Plus

Leo got the iPhone 8 and says that if you have the iPhone 6S, you're really not missing all that much. Yes, it's faster, but not that much faster. It's like having a Ferrari, but you can't open it up. It's a fast phone, but not worth $1,000. Leo also says that according to sales figures, the iPhone 8 isn't really selling as well as the previous model. Are people waiting for the iPhone X on October 27th?

iPhone 8 or Wait?

Episode 1426

Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Leo says that he's like many Apple fans, trying to decide on whether to buy the iPhone X, the iPhone 8, or just wait. Leo says that he bought them because he wants to review them. Leo also says that most people are calling the iPhone X the "ex," not the 10. Leo says that you won't be able to get the iPhone X until probably next year due to parts shortages for the FaceID feature. So should you wait or buy the 8? There's no real rush to get the new iPhone. It's easy to skip a generation or two, and that way, when you get a new phone, you can experience an exponential bump in performance.

Cutting the Cord has Become More Popular

Episode 1425

Sling on Apple TV

Rich says that the most popular question he gets these days is on how to cut the cord and get rid of your cable or satellite connection. That shows a serious trend — 22 million cord cutters and 34 million "cord nevers." But it's also far more complicated and you really don't save any money by doing it. Live and local channels is also still a challenge, and there are multiple services: