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Tech News Today for October 24, 2016

Tech News for Monday October 24, 2016

AT&T officially announced its interested in buying Time Warner in a half stock, half cash deal valued at $85.4 billion dollars. The companies weren’t planning to make a deal so quickly, but once Bloomberg broke the story, talks escalated and finalized rapidly. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes plans to stay for an interim period after the deal is closed. The deal is set to undergo scrutiny in a hearing held by a sentate subcommittee, though AT&T is confident the deal will be approved. Read more at bbc.com.

Re/Code reports that The New York Times is buying products review sites The Wirecutter and Sweethome for more than 30 million dollars. The Wirecutter was founded in 2011 by journalist Brian Lam, formerly of Gizmodo and Wired. The site specializes in extensive, meticulously well-researched reviews of tech products. Sister site Sweethome offers similar reviews on home products. The company makes money through affiliate links, mostly to Amazon, but also to some other smaller niche sites. As digital ad revenue decreases, sites might be looking toward the old-fashioned affiliate-link method. Read more at recode.net.

Last Friday’s hack attack that shut down many top sites for a large portion of the United States seems to confirm to some degree what security analysts had been predicting for some time: That Internet of Things is sorely insecure and ripe for exploitation. The complex hack was executed by exploiting webcams and digital video recorders, and one big reason for these targets was the lack of customization to the default passwords that shipped with affected units. Chinese firm Hangzhou Xiongmai Technology Co, creator of parts used in surveillance cameras, is making the difficult decision to do something about the threat with plans to recall some of its earlier products sold in the United States. The company also plans to strengthen its passwords and issue patches to devices made prior to April 2015. Read more at reuters.com.

Apple released the superfecta of updates today - macOS Sierra 10.12.1 improves ‘stability, compatibility, and security’. iOS 10.1 offers the much-anticipated Portrait Mode for iPhone 7 Plus users, which simulates shallow depth of field photos taken by DSLR cameras. This feature is still in beta, though. Messages in the new iOS update allows you to play all those lazer, balloon, and firework effects with Reduce Motion enabled. Apple's watchOS 3.1 update includes fixing a bug that wasn't letting the Series 2 watch charge all the way, and tvOS fixes bugs and improves security. It also allows you to use Siri to search YouTube, but does not allow for single sign-on to all of your accounts. Read more at macstories.net.

The IoT hack shows us what hackers are capable of when it comes to large swaths of insecure technology. What could happen in the soon-to-be-reality where cars are fully automated? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued guidelines that emphasize the importance of addressing these issues to “stay ahead of the bad guys.” The guidelines emphasize a multi-layered approach that still protects a vehicle from an attack even if one layer has been penetrated. The goal of the voluntary best practices is that automakers of all types create their next generation vehicles with security top of mind from the very start. Read more at washingtonpost.com.

Tech News Today with Megan Morrone and Jason Howell streams live weekdays at 4PM Pacific, 7PM Eastern at twit.tv/live. You can download the show and watch it on-demand at twit.tv/tnt.

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