This Week in Tech News

Google to Put Ad Blocker in Chrome Browser

Episode 1392

Google Chrome

Google has announced that it will put an ad blocker into the Chrome browser that will get rid of "annoying ads." Leo says more likely, since Google is in the ad business, they will block all ads but their own. Leo says that's terribly anti competitive, but since it's the number one browser, it makes sense that Google would do it.

Apple May Announce Siri Home Device at WWDC

Episode 1392

Apple HomePod

There's plenty of credible evidence that Apple is going to get into the home connectivity game with an announcement of a Siri home speaker at WWDC. But Leo says that Siri is the dumbest of all the digital assistants, since Apple has systematically dumbed the service down since they acquired it. So he's not sure how beneficial it would be to have a Siri device over Amazon's Echo or Google's Home. Apple may have the edge with superior hardware, though.

WannaCry Ransomware Has a Possible Solution

Episode 1391

Encryption

WannaCry is ransomware that can lock up your data unless you pay the hacker who created it. WannaKiwi, however, finds the crypto key in your PCs RAM to undo the damage. It only seems to work about a third of the time, however. That's why Leo says to make sure you don't get it by altering your behavior, and by making sure you have current backups of your data should it happen. One thing you should never do is pay up, because you don't know if you'll get your data back, or if there's something even worse getting installed.

WannaCry is the Latest Phishing Ransomware Attack

Episode 1389

WannaCry

The latest ransomware attack is called WannaCry and it's spreading via phishing email attacks. The ransomware not only encrypts your data — it also has a built-in kill switch on websites. Security researchers may have crafted a fix to it, but there's a catch. The encryption is done using Microsoft's bit locker, and the fix is to take advantage of a flaw in the cryptographic memory that keeps the keys in RAM so it can harvest them and unlock your data.

WannaCry Ransomware Mostly Affected Windows 7

Episode 1388

WannaCry

Last weekend, the WannaCry Ransomware bit several hundred thousand computer systems, including sixteen hospitals in the UK. The ransomware infected the systems and encrypted all data. The reason this one was really bad is that it was a "worm," or a "network aware virus" that would spread out over the local area network to find other computers to infect, and bring the whole establishment to its knees.

Google I/O Announces New Products and Services

Episode 1388

Google Home

Google I/O was this week and the keynote had a bunch of new products and services. Google Home, the Amazon Echo killer, now has the ability to make unlimited phone calls anywhere for free. Should you then get rid of your home phone? Leo says no, because if the power or internet goes out, you'll have no phone for emergencies.

Find out about all of the announcements from Google I/O at techradar.com.

New Study Finds Social Media Is Making Us Miserable

Episode 1387

Facebook

According to a new study, social media is making us miserable as we compare our lives to those posting online. Leo suggests trying to search the beginning of a phrase in Google, such as "I always," and Google will finish the phrase using search data from other people. You'll immediately find out that everyone else's lives are not as glamorous as they seem on social media.

Facebook Creates Virtual Meeting Place

Episode 1387

Facebook Spaces

Known as Facebook Spaces, this new virtual meeting place/world enables you to use your Oculus Rift to interact with others around the world through your avatar, as if you're in the same room. Leo says it's buggy, but it's a beginning. You can share video or pictures, and add images to your world so it becomes part of the background. It's interesting. Maybe even intriguing. But Leo says you wouldn't want to live there.

Find out more at newsroom.fb.com.

Hackers Break Into Netflix, Release Orange is the New Black

Episode 1385

Hackers

A hacker by the name of "The Dark Overlord" broke into Netflix' servers and released the new season of "Orange is the New Black," after demanding payment not to. According to TDA, he also has shows from ABC, IFC, and other channels. Leo says that is a childish act that probably was perpetrated by an ambitious teenager and Netflix did the right thing by refusing to pay up.

Tech Companies Report Quarterly Earnings

Episode 1384

Earnings

Quarterly earnings came out this week and Microsoft, Google, and Amazon all posted record earnings in cloud services. Leo says that sadly, hardware earnings fell short for Microsoft whose tablets and laptops fell short. Leo says that's unfortunate because they make some nice hardware these days.

Leo also says that Google made a lot of money, up 49%, on their Pixel Android phone and their Google Home devices. Google's advertising revenue was also up 29% with nearly $2 billion a month in profit.