Welcome to the big leagues, Snapchat! This week the photo-sharing app experienced a startup Bar Mitzvah, of sorts, when it was inundated with its first major spam attack.
Unsuspecting users received an explicit snap from someone calling herself named “Honey.Crush9,” inviting them to a sexy Skype conversation. Anyone foolish enough to take the bait ended up with—surprise, surprise!—malware.
Prolific startup investor and jOBS star Ashton Kutcher has news for everyone: he’s a total brainiac, not unlike Steve Jobs! The whole time he was playing dumb bro characters in sitcoms like That 70′s Show and Two and a Half Men and tweeting clueless riffs on sensitive news stories, he was actually acting.
Love in the Time of Algorithms
The Internet’s already disrupted meeting and mating; why not shake up the institution of the wedding itself? The New York Times ventured out to Jackson Heights to watch an American citizen marry a man in Bangladesh via Skype. It’s apparently an increasingly common practice among some immigrant communities, as Islam in particular gives it the Read More
Tim Cook’s not sure where you all got the idea he’s robotic. [Bloomberg Businessweek]
He also confirmed Apple is bringing some manufacturing back to the U.S. No guarantees how much, though. [Bloomberg News]
Get psyched for Skype voice messages. [The Verge]
Hey Best Buy (and all other mega corporations): Maybe don’t assume you can just rip off a startup’s proprietary technology? [Redeye VC]
International fugitive John McAfee has been apprehended in Guatemala, reportedly for entering the country illegally. No word on whether the Vice guys are screwed. [New York Times]
Michael Arrington is very peeved at Instagram pulling Twitter integration. So peeved he felt it necessary to slap on a Winnie the Pooh hat and write a rant. [TechCrunch]
This is what the earth looks like at night. [NASA]
Good news for those of you kept awake at night by terrible apocalyptic visions and/or whose name is Sarah Connor: The BBC reports that the University of Cambridge is taking up the study of the existential risks posed by new technologies. Think killer AIs with indestructible robot bodies.
One of organizers is Skype cofounder Jaan Tallinn, Read More
Worst nightmare for workday Skype gossipers: It appears until very recently there was a vulnerability that made it possible for anyone who knows your email to hijack your account. UPDATED: Skype says it’s been resolved. [TNW]
Do you fret about the amount of info you’ve shared with Facebook? Think for a minute about your Google Search history taken as a whole, and you’ll have a panic attack. [Buzzfeed]
As we head into the holidays, an update from Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson reveals that the community is now 20 million users strong and did more than $700 million in sales in 2012. By the end of the year, total all-time marketplace sales will surpass 100 million products. The company is also doing a holiday popup shop in Soho this year–right next to Dior. Fancy! [Etsy]
Are startups funded in the early-stage investing boom starting to run out of money? [Business Insider]
Judging from this video about the Jawbone UP, wearable computing requires a whole lot of trial and error in the design process. [Fuse Project]
Hackers are spreading new malware attacks via Skype contact lists. Unassuming Skype users are lured into clicking on infected URLS from anxiety-inducing messages like, “lol is that you?” only to find their computer infected by a variation of the Dorkbot worm.
Don’t let the funny name fool you. Dorkbot has a nasty mission. Infected computers may end up locked down and held for ransom:
Thrive Capital, the New York-based venture capital firm helmed by 26-year-old Josh Kushner*, announced today that it has successfully raised a $150 million fund for early and later stage startups. The news comes almost a year to the day after Thrive announced a $40 million raise from investors like Princeton University. The fresh $150 million comes from a slew of some of the same investors, including Princeton, Wellcome Trust and Hall Capital Partners.
Skype has taken to its company blog to reassure users that recent structural changes do not mean Skype has enabled snooping capabilities for itself or The Authorities. In a post titled, “What Does Skype’s Architecture Do?” Skype corporate vice president Mark Gillett did his best to refute the main allegations that have piled up since Skype was purchased by Microsoft. According to Mr. Gillett, worries that Skype’s changes were made to enable spying are pure paranoia:
Microsoft-owned Skype won’t come clean on whether its architecture allows for wiretaps. When it comes to Skydrive, the software giant’s cloud storage service, Microsoft is checking your ‘private’ folders, looking for swears and nudes.
Last Friday Slate reported Skype won’t comment on whether it can now eavesdrop on conversations. Ryan Gallagher wrote, “In May 2011, Microsoft bought over Skype for $8.5 billion. One month later, in June, Microsoft was granted a patent for ‘legal intercept’ technology designed to be used with VOIP services like Skype to ‘silently copy communication transmitted via the communication session.’”
In spite of hacker allegations about major changes in the way Skype works after being bought by Microsoft, the company wouldn’t tell Slate anything per “company policy”–a phrase beloved by slippery P.R. folks avoiding difficult subjects.
Where Skydrive–which requires you have a Windows Live account–is concerned, however, Microsoft is definitely watching you. As reported on July 18 by Myce.com, this is what recently happened to a Dutch user, screen name “WingsOfFury,” when he discovered he could no longer use any of his Windows Live services: