Ransomware has always been a terrible plague of the internet, where bad guys inject software into your computer through phishing emails. They usually trick you by saying it's from your bank, the IRS, or even your boss asking you to open something. When you do that, it's an application that runs and scrambles all of your data and asks you to give them money to get the data back.
This Week in Tech News
An interesting fact emerged from the US Highway Safety Investigation of the Tesla on Autopilot that killed its driver. While it didn't save the driver in this case, the data from all Teslas with autopilot show that it does save lives. The driver of the vehicle in question wasn't paying attention, and as a result, was the victim of his own negligence.
Many publications including The Guardian reported that the messaging app WhatsApp was insecure and hackable. The creator of that encryption protocol, Moxie Marlinspike from Open Whisper Systems, posted on his blog that this was incorrect. Now a large number of security professionals have written an open letter to The Guardian asking them to retract the story. There is no back door in WhatsApp, and the article was wrong. It was written in a sensational way to drive traffic.
A recent study has found that the greatest threat to our critical infrastructure is squirrels. Not hackers, not enemy states, not organizations, but squirrels. Small animals have been responsible for more than 1,700 power cuts affecting 5 million people.
The FTC filed complaints against two separate robocall groups. Many of the calls, according to the FTC, were to numbers on the "Do Not Call" registry. These robocall groups were calling hundreds of millions of people in 2012 and 2013 selling home security systems or generating leads for home security installation companies. They were also doing auto warranties.
Pwn2Own is an annual competition held at CanSacWest in Canada. Prizes are awarded to the hackers who can most quickly hack various operating systems and programs. This year a million dollars in prizes will be awarded, meaning it attracts the best hackers in the world. The money awarded is directly related to the difficulty in hacking the target. The most money goes to anyone who can hack an Apache web server.
Now that President Donald Trump has taken office, the question is whether he will continue to tweet, and what phone will he use? Leo says that he used an iPhone until halfway through the campaign, and then shifted to what Leo thinks is a Samsung Galaxy S. Now that he's president, he has to use a massively modified and far more secure mobile device. But can he tweet with it? The Secret Service has also urged the President to stop tweeting from his @realdonaldtrump account. Although Leo says he did tweet from it earlier today. Like Obama, Trump uses his phone for news and social outreach.
Telegram is an encryption system that many use to keep messages secure. The news is that Russians have cracked it, though. That could impact other apps like WhatsApp, but Open Whisper Systems says that WhatsApp, Signal, and even Facebook are still secure in encrypted mode. Leo also says that if you want to encrypt your email, PGP and GPG are still solid.
Read more at Mashable.com.
At CES Mercedes Benz says that they will have a self driving car by next year and are working with NVidia to develop it. Leo says that CES often announces things that don't happen for years, if at all. He thinks that it'll be 5 to 10 years before we see self driving cars on the roads as common place.