Disney will build a Star Wars-themed hotel where each guest gets a story. Uber says they are getting lots of applications for their open CEO post, but nobody big seems interested. Apple iPhone 8 rumors abound. Google is trying to eliminate Zika by releasing 20 million bacteria-infected mosquitos in Fresno, CA. Amazon is creating a new messaging app called Anytime. Prime Day was Amazon’s biggest sales day ever, and Best Buy stock dropped $1 billion over the rumor that Amazon is developing a Geek Squad competitor. If you don’t want Homeland Security to scan your face, you shouldn’t travel. Windows Phone 8.1 is dead. US welcomes Afghan girls robotics team, and the “world’s first robot lawyer” – meanwhile, Elon Musk warns that we need AI regulation sooner rather than later.
• Devindra Hardawar is still mad that new iPhones have no headphone jack.
• Georgia Dow needs a house with two VR rooms.
• Jill Duffy is learning Romanian on Duolingo.
Amazon buys Whole Foods, might buy Slack. Travis Kalanick resigns as Uber CEO. The best drones money can buy. iPad Pro is the future of Mac laptops. Neighbor spoofing robocaller made a million calls a day. Apple Music now $99/year. Why Apple made the iPhone.
–Owen JJ Stone has strange ideas about geography.
–Tom Merritt writes books about time travel.
–Jason Hiner writes books about amazing podcasters.
Leo is out this week, so Jason Snell takes the reins. At WWDC this week, Apple announced their Amazon Echo killer, the HomePod. They also announced big updates to iOS 11, the 10.5″ iPad Pro, and the (at least) $4999 iMac Pro. Catering to a slightly less spendy demographic, Amazon announced that it will offer lower priced Prime subscriptions to people on Government Assistance. Uber had (another) bad week – capped off with Eric Holder’s report to the Uber board.
–Mikah Sargent thinks Taylor Swift is fine.
–Harry McCracken is on Team Katy.
–Lisa Schmeiser has a blank space, baby, and she’ll write your name.
–Jason Snell has Katy Perry on the counter in his kitchen.
Is Apple just pretending to be innovative? Does AlphaGo’s latest victory mean that general AI is around the corner? Who knows more about you, Facebook or Google? Should the NSA stockpile exploits? How long can Tesla stay on top of the EV market? Are robot cops coming? And… Is that a hot dog?
–Clayton Morris recommends Cosmic Disclosure for the latest in UFO conspiracies.
–Dan Patterson recommends Gerrit Lansing for the latest in political data analytics.
–Tim Stevens knows that if you gaze long at the Cap’n Crunch, the Cap’n Crunch also gazes at you.
Apple slashes affiliate commissions and stops paying Qualcomm royalties. Google’s founders each have their own flying contraptions in the works. Amazon’s new Echo Look wants pictures of your clothes. Uber wants all of your data. WikiTribune wants to fight fake news. Hackers just want money from Netflix. The Juicero was just a bad, bad idea.
–Ashley Esqueda has the last three pairs of chunky hot pink LA Eyeworks glasses in existence
–Greg Ferro points out that American blimps used safe, non-explosive helium.
–Devindra Hardawar begs you not to see The Circle
At the F8 Developer Conference, Facebook shows off its hot new augmented reality technology – which looks a whole lot like Snapchat. Apple is secretly working on non-invasive blood sugar detection, which could be a boon to millions of diabetics. Apple also wants to save the Earth by using 100% recycled materials in its products, covering its headquarters in solar panels, and manufacturing its own sweat. Wait, what? Google, which has made billions in ad revenue, is working on an ad blocker. The Samsung Galaxy S8 came out this week and has yet to explode. Bixby, Samsung’s voice assistant, seems to be fizzling. According to Qualcomm, the first Windows PC using an ARM chip could be out later this year. in completely unrelated news, Intel has canceled the Intel Developer Forum. HTC’s newest phone, codenamed Ocean, will have a squeezable frame and a questionable logo. Steve Ballmer’s new site makes government spending more accessible. Another bad week for Uber. And McDonald’s new uniforms highlight the techno-dystopia we all live in.
In a recent blog post, Google announced that it intends to discontinue support for Chrome on Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Mac OS X versions 10.6, 10.7, and 10.8 by April 2016 because “these platforms are no longer actively supported by Microsoft and Apple.” Google did not release a specific date when for when it intends to discontinue support.
While Microsoft intends to support Windows Vista until April 11, 2017, Google’s previous reprieve for Windows XP clarifies its recent decision to discontinue support for Chrome on Windows Vista before that date: the operating system does not have substantial market share.
Google notes that current versions of Chrome “will continue to function on these platforms” after support for Chrome is discontinued, but the company encourages users to upgrade to newer operating systems so that they may continue to use the latest versions of the web browser.
When companies claim their products are unhackable or invulnerable, it must be like waving a red flag in front of bulls as it practically dares security researchers to prove otherwise. Apple previously claimed that Macs were not vulnerable to the same firmware flaws that could backdoor PCs, so researchers proved they could remotely infect Macs with a firmware worm that is so tough to detect and to get rid of that they suggested it presents a toss your Mac in the trash situation.
Corey Kallenberg, Xeno Kovah and Trammell Hudson will present “Thunderstrike 2: Sith Strike” at Black Hat USA on August 6. “Although several attacks have been presented against Mac firmware, unlike their PC counterparts, all of them required physical presence to perform,” they wrote in the description of their talk. “Interestingly, when contacted with the details of previously disclosed PC firmware attacks, Apple systematically declared themselves not vulnerable. This talk will provide conclusive evidence that Macs are in fact vulnerable to many of the software-only firmware attacks that also affect PC systems. In addition, to emphasize the consequences of successful exploitation of these attack vectors, we will demonstrate the power of the dark side by showing what Mac firmware malware is capable of.”
The researchers previously used LightEater when they presented “How Many Million BIOSes Would you Like to Infect?” After they revealed that about 80 percent of PCs have firmware vulnerabilities, Apple claimed Macs did not. But Kovah said that’s not true; he told Wired, “It turns out almost all of the attacks we found on PCs are also applicable to Macs.” In fact, the researchers said five of the six vulnerabilities studied affect Mac firmware.
Firmware runs when you first boot a machine; it launches the operating system. For Apple computers, the firmware is called the extensible firmware interface (EFI). Most people believe Apple products are superior when it comes to security, but the researchers want to “make it clear that any time you hear about EFI firmware attacks, it’s pretty much all x86 [computers].” Attackers need only a few seconds to remotely infect Mac firmware. Macs infected with Thunderstrike 2 would remain infected even if a user were to wipe the hard drive and reinstall the OS, as that doesn’t fix a firmware infection.