This Week in Tech News

2019 - Ransomware is everywhere

Arizona

Episode 1580

Leo says that while 2018 was the year Ransomware, 2019 is even worse. Arizona Beverages got hit by ransomware last week. The attack shut down sales operations for days, scuttled their networks, and servers. The network was hacked and encrypted, targeted by hackers with a ransom note posted to their website.  Leo says that Arizona struggled with trying to rebuild their operations for five days. Most of their servers hadn't been given security patches in years and their backups didn't work.

Lyft Goes Public, Worth $23 Billion

Lyft

Episode 1579

Lyft went public this week, and on shares, it was worth $23 Billion. Leo thinks that Wall Street is banking on a future when these ride-sharing companies will have driverless vehicles. Until then, Lyft has to share the fare with its drivers and even subsidize nearly 40% of what cabs would normally charge. But once driverless cars are the norm, Wall Street believes the profits will come. But the real question is, would you get into a driverless car and trust that the computer will get you to your destination safely? Especially with other human drivers on the road with it?

Apple Kills AirPower Two Years After Announcing It

Episode 1578

Two years after it announced the surfboard like Qi charging station known as AirPower, Apple announced today that it was cancelling the product, citing engineering issues. Leo says that according to iFixIt, Apple probably never would've been able to get it approved by the FCC.  Apple did release the AirPods 2, which now has wireless charging. So while you can't charge your iPhone and your AirPods at the same time, you can now charge both wirelessly. 

City of LA to Allow Scooters on Streets, But ...

 Los Angeles

Episode 1577

The City of Los Angeles will now allow rented scooters on the streets, but there's a catch. The scooter rental companies must transmit location data to the city within 24 hours to ensure code compliance. As one can imagine, there is a privacy issue and the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other privacy groups are getting involved. Leo says that the data would be anonymized, so it won't point to any specific person. Companies also have the option of saying no to the data, but they would have only 3,000 scooters.

Google Announces Stadia Streaming Game Service

Stadia

Episode 1577

This week, Google joins Sony and Microsoft is creating a streaming gaming service. The service, called Stadia, is similar to the defunct Onlive streaming game service but will enable gamers to play from any platform anywhere, with all the heavy graphics lifting being done in the cloud. There is also no announced price or launch date. Leo says that your ISP will likely jump on the gravy train by charging extra for the privilege. Leo says that there will be latency issues to overcome. 

 

Google Announces Stadia Streaming Game Service

STADIA

Episode 1576

Google announced STADIA, a new streaming gaming service that will enable gamers to play games using even the simplest of devices. The cloud is your platform. Leo says though, that while interesting, Google didn't announce a price or a date the service will launch. But when it does launch, it could be quite tempting to the casual gamer who doesn't want to invest in a lot of hardware to play games. But it'll really impact data caps and will be a non-starter for people living in rural areas. And if your internet connection has a lot of lag (latency), you'll hate it. 

Facebook Stored Millions of Passwords in a Simple Text File

Facebook

Episode 1576

Facebook admitted that for years, they have been storing up to 600 million member passwords in a single text file that was unencrypted.  The text file was also searchable by thousands of Facebook employees. Facebook claims nobody had abused the ability and will notify users if their accounts are compromised. So you may want to change your password anyway.

Exploit discovered in WINRAR

WINRAR

Episode 1574

There's a huge security flaw in WINRAR, that will enable hackers to take over your computer. So Leo advises that if you use WINRAR to zip/unzip your files, that you should update to the latest beta version. But you have to go to the WINRAR site and manually download the update. There is no automatic update.