This Week in Tech News

TV News Segment Triggers Amazon Echos All Over San Diego to Order Products

Episode 1352

Amazon Echo

A local TV news segment told the story of a girl who talked to Amazon Echo and accidentally ordered hundreds of dollars in toys and cookies through the automatic ordering feature. In doing so, the radio station triggered homes all over San Diego that have Amazon Echo to do the same thing. Leo says it's important to make sure you have parental controls on to avoid this, and to train yourself to not use the "A" word when talking about things it may mistakenly use to order for you.

FTC Takes Router Manufacturer D-Link to Court

Episode 1352

Gavel

The Federal Trade Commission is taking router manufacturer D-Link to court over product security and privacy issues. This all relates to the lack of security for Internet of Things devices. The FTC alleged that the company “failed to take reasonable steps to protect their routers and cameras from widely known and reasonably foreseeable risks of unauthorized access.”

Read more at theverge.com.

Did the Russians Really Hack Us or Not?

Episode 1352

hacking

The Russian hacking story is now all over the news, especially after the joint agency report about the hacking. Many security experts aren't basing their assessment on that report, and it was most likely misdirection for public consumption having nothing to do with the actual information. In the report, they listed about a hundred IP addresses that they believe were used by Russian government hackers. The problem with those IP addresses is that a lot of them are TOR exit nodes, which could have been used by anyone.

Michigan Passes First Autonomous Car Laws

Episode 1347

Autonomous Car

Michigan became the first state in the union to pass laws that would pave the way for autonomous self driving cars. But in doing so, they made it only legal for auto manufacturers to do so. Leo says that no driver will be required and that Google and other companies pushing for the laws applauded the move even though they can't create them just yet. But Leo suspects there's a loop hole in there somewhere. Next comes Florida.

Samsung to Send Kill Switch to Remaining Galaxy Note 7s

Episode 1347

Galaxy Note 7

With about 100,000 Note 7s still out in the wild, Samsung is about to send out an update that will make the mobile phone inoperable unless it's plugged in. It is hoped that these outlyers will then be returned by owners. Verizon has already said it won't push that update over the air during the holiday season. Meanwhile, Samsung has upped the ante to a full refund, plus an additional $100 for the trouble.

AT&T Has to Pay Back over $88 Million to Customers

Episode 1347

AT&T Logo

In performing what what the FCC called illegal "sneak charges" for ring tones and other items without consent, AT&T violated FCC regulations and must now pay customers back over $88 million in charges. Leo says it amounts to about $30 per customer.

White House Releases Augmented Reality App

Episode 1346

1600 app

The White House has released an augmented reality app. The app called "1600" allows anyone with a smartphone or tablet and a $1 bill to take a tour of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Leo believes it's far more useful than virtual reality.

Microsoft is the first to leverage augmented reality with HoloLens. It's currently $3,000, but that should get cheaper soon. Leo says he wouldn't be surprised to see if plummet in price by next year.