Sorry for the lack of update earlier this week, but it’s been a busy one for me! Of course, it’s also been a super busy week in the technology world:
So Much For Invincible
Apple Scrambles After 40 Malicious “XcodeGhost” Apps Haunt App Store, Ars Technica, Sep. 21, 2015
The 39 affected apps—which included version 6.2.5 of the popular WeChat for iOS, CamScanner, and Chinese versions of Angry Birds 2—may have been downloaded by hundreds of millions of iPhone and iPad users, security researchers said.
Note: Fortunately, the attack only really affected the Chinese App Store.
5.6 Million Federal Employees Had Fingerprint Records Compromised In OPM Hack, Slate, Sep. 23, 2015
“If you kind of blocked out the Office of Personnel Management hack because it was too ridiculous to face, you may not remember that among the 21.5 million people who had their social security numbers stolen, some also had fingerprint records compromised. Originally OPM said that about 1.1 million fingerprint records had been snatched up, but Wednesday the agency admitted the number is actually 5.6 million . . . What’s even scarier, though, is that the 5.6 million people involved in the fingerprint breach have lost control of a personal authenticator that they can’t change. Social Security numbers are still much more widely used, but fingerprints are a part of your body. You can’t alter them. For the 5.6 million people affected, the records are out there forever.”
Note: This is why it’s such a huge issue for us, as a society, to be moving into biometric identifiers. It’s bad enough that over the last few decades the U.S. decided that using social security numbers for anything besides social security was a good idea, now fingerprints are recorded almost as a matter of course (*cough* California State Bar *cough*). This will only get worse as more and more people get their DNA tested with companies who keep the records on file.
Obama administration explored ways to bypass smartphone encryption, The Washington Post, Sep. 24, 2015
“‘Any proposed solution almost certainly would quickly become a focal point for attacks,’ said the unclassified memo, drafted this summer by officials from law enforcement, intelligence, diplomatic and economic agencies for eventual consideration by Cabinet members.. . . Instead of offering technical solutions, the working group drew up a set of principles to guide engagement with the private sector. They include: no bulk collection of information and no “golden keys” for the government to gain access to data.”
The #ILookLikeAnEngineer Campaign Moves To Silicon Valley Billboards, Fusion, Sep. 24, 2015
“After the #ILookLikeAnEngineer hashtag campaign caught on last month, a group of female engineers crowdfunded nearly $50,000 to erect billboards in the Bay Area debunking the gilded mythology of the nerdy engineering dude. As a counter to the image of the Mark Zuckerberg acolyte, the new billboards offer up this:
The billboards will go up throughout San Francisco, as well inside BART stations and along Bay Bridge, the 880 in Oakland, and the 101 in Palo Alto, Santa Clara and San Jose — exactly the kinds of places tech company executives or errant brogrammers might see them on their commute to San Francisco or Silicon Valley.”
Note: Genuinely cool. I’ve been meaning to take a cool #ILookLikeAnEngineer pic, but the thing is – well – computer programming looks really, really, really boring. I mean literally, when I’m doing the Engineering thing, I’m usually just starting at a computer screen, or an iPhone screen. I suppose I do look cooler when I’m doing research with sensors – they at least light up. Anyway, since these Billboard pics are actually pretty boring (but still awesome because they’re inspirational and dispel stereotypes!), I’ll just post this one, where I at least arguably look cool, since my law school classmates voted me “most likely to invent a program to take law school exams for you.”
Politics Are Fun……..
Smart Cities, the Internet of Things and the Blue Revolution, The Hill, Sep. 24, 2015
“By incorporating sensors into pipes transferring water from aquifers and other sources, we can now detect and prevent leakage, saving as much as 30 percent of the water now being lost in transit to the end consumer. The integration of sensors, smart meters and data analytics can provide visibility and measurement of inefficiencies, allowing for predictive modeling and amelioration of water management issues.”
Note: Yes, the IoT has really awesome applications. But be careful – the above application is only a hop, skip, & a jump from publicly shaming consumers who, in some analyst’s eyes, use more water than they “should”. Otherwise, saving 30% of water that leaks for what is currently no good reason is very cool 🙂
Bloodhound: 1,000mph Supersonic Car To Be Unveiled In London, The Guardian, Sep. 24, 2015
“Vehicle with the power of 180 F1 cars is put on display in Canary Wharf ahead of plan to break current world land-speed record of 763mph”
Note: Yes, you read that right – this car goes roughly 10x the speed you’re going when you regularly look in your rear-view mirror for cop cars.
3-D Printing’s Next Act: Nerve Regeneration, MIT Technology Review, Sep. 23, 2015
“Researchers demonstrate customized implants that help injured nerves regenerate in rats. . . . Additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, makes it possible to build more customized biomedical implants, and has become a popular way to make dental implants and even windpipes. A new 3-D printed structure meant to “guide” the regrowth and reconnection of the loose ends of an injured nerve suggests that the technique could appeal to neurosurgeons as well.”
Note: Basically, this is just one more example of 3-D printing being magical.