Facebook; HTC; Windows 10 Privacy; the Cult of Apple

Posted August 13th, 2015 at 3:07 pm (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

Facebook Axes Internship for Student Who Exposed Location Flaw

Facebook did not appreciate an app created by enterprising Harvard student Aran Khanna that exploited a privacy flaw in Facebook’s Messenger. The flaw allowed Messenger to automatically share the location of users whenever they chatted. The plugin Khanna created allowed buddies to see their friends’ locations while chatting. Facebook demanded the app be removed. It was, but Khanna still lost his internship.

Cisco Warns Attackers Are Hijacking Critical Networking Gear

Cisco Systems warned customers that hackers are using valid administrator credentials to replace the ROMMON firmware image with a malicious one and subsequently hijack critical network gear. That attackers are using valid credentials indicates they might be insiders or have access to the passwords needed to change Cisco hardware.

HTC Cuts 15 Percent of Workforce Amid Weak Sales

Amid strong competition from Chinese companies like Xiaomi and Huawei, smartphone maker HTC announced a 15 percent slash in its workforce – about 2,000 employees – due to declining revenues. CEO Cher Wang said HTC is realigning to focus on sub-premium smartphone models in markets like India, virtual reality, and wearable technology.

Microsoft Quietly Rewrites Windows 10 Activation Rules

If you are having problems reinstalling Windows 10 because it refuses to acknowledge your product key, ZDNet’s Ed Bott has a very useful entry on how Microsoft’s new approach to software authentication works – or doesn’t.

Even When Told Not to, Windows 10 Still Talks to Microsoft

That means that even if you turn off all of Windows 10’s data-sharing settings – and there are many of them – the operating system still calls home to Redmond. Some traffic is technical, but other communications are raising concerns, such as the information that Windows 10 transmits to a Microsoft server used for the OneDrive cloud service even when users disable OneDrive.

Dropbox Adds USB Security Key Support for 2-Factor Authentication

Dropbox is boosting security with Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) security keys to give users stronger protection. The keys are USB devices that add another layer of verification when accessing the service. Once users type in their passwords, they can then insert the key in the USB port as an alternative to typing the six-digit code.

Twitter Removes 140-character Limit for Direct Messages

Twitter now lets users write direct messages without the 140-character limit. The change, announced Wednesday, will roll out for both Android and iOS platforms, and third-party apps.

Apple: From Fanaticism to Cult-Like Status

Apple has amassed a fanatical following over the years – becoming almost cult-like. Writer Derrick Wlodarz argues that the followers of Apple’s religion are blind believers equipped with a mindset that Apple can do no wrong. All good things end, however, and the writer wonders when Apple’s time will come.

Aida Akl
Aida Akl is a journalist working on VOA's English Webdesk. She has written on a wide range of topics, although her more recent contributions have focused on technology. She has covered both domestic and international events since the mid-1980s as a VOA reporter and international broadcaster.

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