Love in the Time of Algorithms
Proving yet again what a fabulous idea it was to stage the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, NBC has discovered that all the Games’ attendees can expect to immediately get hacked as soon as they get to Sochi.
“The State Department warned that travelers should have no expectation of privacy, even in their hotel rooms,” NBC’s Richard Engel said in a report on Brian Williams’s show last night. “And as we found out, you are especially exposed as soon as you try to communicate with anything.”
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A few months ago, this Betabeat reporter jokingly created an OKCupid account on a whim with the username “ilovebitcoin” to solicit amusing messages from people who were shocked–shocked–to discover that ladies know about cryptocurrency, too. (“Think of all the randos who will want to message me!” she thought to herself one evening, feverishly pecking away on her keyboard all by her lonesome. “My life is awesome.”)
Indeed, the messages we received were oftentimes hilarious, so we’d occasionally forward them on to friends. What we didn’t realize, however, was that every time we forwarded an OKCupid email to someone, it gave that person direct access to our account–every silly message, chat and photo could be seen and even edited.
Hardware is the New Software
Hey, you pranksters. Have you ever wanted to use your smartphone to hack a toilet, freaking out whoever is enjoying their after-coffee ritual by causing the seat to open and close and water to spray all over their sensitive areas? We’re about to make your Friday: according to information security company Trustwave Holdings, the fancy Japanese toilet Satis is easily hackable using just your cell phone.
I'll Tumbl For You
The majority of home security systems are clunky, inefficient, expensive and not exactly ideal for renters. Chances are if you want to quantify your home the same way you quantify yourself, you have to sign a contract with a security behemoth like ADP and go through a lengthy install process to get the thing working. Canary, a new startup based in Soho, aims to change that.
Quantify Your Kids
Last night, Tumblr product VP Derek Gottfrid posted a rather alarming communique to its users, far from the usual omg-we’re-just-so-darn-happy-to-announce gushing. “We have just released a very important security update for our iPhone and iPad apps addressing an issue that allowed passwords to be compromised in certain circumstances¹. Please download the update now,” the post read, emphasis theirs.
Like something straight out of Gattaca, scientists have developed iris-scanning technology to be deployed at schools, airports and banks, CNN.com reports.
XXX in Tech
Edward Snowden: hero or traitor? The fiery debate is burning everywhere from the U.S. Justice Department to—you guessed it—the 2013 Miss USA pageant. Besides smizing their eyes out and booty-tooching in bikinis, two of the six finalists also had to answer questions on the recent controversial NSA leaks. Let’s see what Miss Alabama Mary Margaret Read More
Do you prefer your porn with a side of malware? According to one British researcher, users who visit popular porn sites like PornHub and xHamster have a 42 percent chance of contracting digital STDs (a.k.a. malware) on their computers. Naturally, online porn purveyors sites did not take kindly to the study, which they say overinflated the risk.
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Perhaps Binging it too often has some unintended and harmful side effects. According to a new study from a German security firm, the Microsoft-owned search engine is five times more likely to link you to a malware-infected page than Google.
In a high-tech humblebrag, AV-Test Institute reported that its initial suspicions that Google and Bing do a poor job of protecting their users from delivering Trojan-laden websites were correct. But Google isn’t really a winner here: it’s just that it did a less shitty job of indexing infected websites compared to Bing.
Devices like security cameras, traffic light systems, and high tech temperature controls can all be connected to the web, but they aren’t indexed by Google, which makes them difficult to find without deep computer expertise. Now SHODAN, a search engine that crawls the web for devices like routers, webcams and servers, is helping to expose some of the security flaws inherent to these devices.