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Tech News 2Night 69
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Tonight, Heartbleed hijacks VPN sessions, NASA's laser internet connection, and Pandora sued over playing Oldies
Tech News 2Night is Next!
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This is Tech News 2Night Episode 69, for Friday April 18, 2014
I'm Jason Howell, Let's get right to the Tech Feed!
The Heartbleed vulnerability that exploits websites using OpenSSL all over the world, continues to, well, bleed out. The latest? Earlier today, researchers with network security firm Mandiant said Heartbleed had been used to subvert a customer's VPN concentrator - which is typically a secure method for people to access a network from outside the organization. The devices often require multiple forms of authentication before granting a user access - such as passwords, previously set authentication cookies, and other security tokens. Mandiant's blog post didn't identify the target, but the New York Times reports it was a major corporation with "particularly sophisticated attack detection systems.”
As companies rush to revoke the SSL certificates for their domains and services and obtain new ones in order to protect themselves from the Heartbleed bug, the cost of doing so is skyrocketing. Yesterday CloudFlare, which provides security for web sites, revoked and replaced all of the SSL certificates for its customers, activity that forced issuer GlobalSign to update its Certificate Revocation List, or CRL, which is what a browser requests when determining whether a certiciate is safe or not. According to CloudFlare, GlobalSign’s CRL grew from 22 kilobytes before Heartbleed to 4.9 megabytes afterward. GlobalSign's update also caused a huge spike in requests from browsers for the latest list, which in turn caused a drain on GlobalSign’s bandwidth. In a blog post today, CloudFlare noted “If you assume that the global average price for bandwidth is around $10/Mbps, just supporting the traffic to deliver the CRL would have added $400,000USD to Globalsign’s monthly bandwidth bill.”
About three hours ago at Cape Canaveral, a SpaceX rocket headed for the International Space Station launched with some new cargo: NASA's optical laser communications (known as opticom) technology, which could make it much easier for the ISS to share data with Mission Control—and could change internet protocols on Earth as well. This is SpaceX's third Commercial Resupply mission to the space station. Once the technology is installed, the company will attempt to transmit video from space to Earth at more than 200 times the speed currently possible. The system is officially called the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science, or OPALS, and was developed at California's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It can send data up to 50 megabits per second, which puts NASA's current 200-400 kilobits per second firmly in the obsolete corner.
The HTC One M8's Duo Camera with UltraPixel technology has some of the best specs on the smartphone market. But what's next for the company? Vodafone spoke with HTC camera expert Symon Whitehorn, who says that “HTC wants to own the selfie market. You’ll see a lot more investment in that area. In some markets 90% of pictures taken are selfies.” So what does that mean for a front-facing camera? Whitehorn explains, "The nice thing there is that we always know what the range of someone’s arm is, so we can tune the camera for that setup by using things like an ultra-wide lens and digital correction.” Oh, but that's not all. HTC believes we have only about 18 months to two years before smartphone cameras catch up with the quality of DSLR cameras, and that will be through optical zooming technology, that HTC wants to take advantage of within the next 18 months.
In other HTC news, the Taiwanese company has hired South Korea-based Samsung's former U.S. marketing chief, Paul Golden, as a consultant. Golden helped create Samsung's successful Galaxy brand as Samsung's CMO from 2008 through 2012, and now consults for HTC Chairwoman Cher Wang. Within the past few years, HTC itself has shuffled through three CMOs and struggled with the marketing side of its business. The company's global smartphone market share has slid to less than 2%, according to Barclays analyst Dale Gai.
Coming up, how criminals are using drones to find pot farms
But first, I want to welcome Scott Budman to the show. Scott is the Business and Tech reporter for NBC here in the Bay Area. Thank you for joining me, Scott!
- Let's talk about music. Pandora and other online streaming services have long been a target of the music industry's ire. And now the music industry is filing a lawsuit against Pandora claiming that the service hasn't paid what its supposed to for songs older than 1972 citing a loophole in copyright law. What is the loophole that Pandora is supposedly exploiting here?
- Pandora isn't the only target here. This is actually a follow-up suit to one that was filed against SiriusXM last September charging the same copyright infringement. Is it safe to say that other music streaming services might be next or are SiriusXM and Pandora interpreting the law differently from everyone else?
- The sticking point here is that though some recordings may not be covered under federal law, EVERY sound recording is covered until 2067 under state law. So how do these companies feel they have a legal leg to stand on? Aren't they taking a huge risk and if they're found guilty, how much of a financial impact would the ruling be to these companies?
- If the labels are successful with the suit, can we expect to see services like Pandora begin to charge for access to offset the cost? How much might this affect the users of these kinds of services?
Well thanks so much for coming on to talk about music online, Scott! Where can people find your work and follow what you do?
And finally, since April 20th is just days away, we thought we’d end with this. You’ve heard about cops using drones to find pot farms, well now criminals doing it. In the U.K. at least one man admits he is using a drone to fly around neighborhoods looking for the high-intensity lights used in marijuana grows. The 33 year old man told HALE-SOWEN News he bought a second-hand heat-seeking camera online. When he finds a homeowner growing pot he either steals the plants, knowing they will not go to the police, or extorts them -promising not to turn them in. Apparently this man has no guilt saying, “They are fair game, it is not like I'm using my drone to see if people have nice televisions, I am just after drugs to steal and sell.” Well, ok then, pot stealer guy. Why don't you tell us how you really feel!
[good bye] That's it for this edition of Tech News 2Night.
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Don't miss our morning news program, Tech News Today, every weekday at 10am Pacific, 1 pm Eastern. I'm Jason Howell, thanks for watching.
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