Geekly Update - 11 December 2019

Category: Tech-News

What's more important -- fighting crime or protecting privacy? Is your password on the naughty list? What should you do if you fall for a cyberscam? And what costs more: a fully loaded Mac Pro, or a Tesla? Get answers in today's Geekly Update -- it's jam-packed with the latest tech news. This issue is guaranteed to make you 146% smarter -- you'll see why. Read, think, and, comment!

The AskBobRankin Geekly Update

Need help finding the perfect geeky gift for the tech lovers on your holiday shopping list? Amazon's Electronics Gift Guide is here to help.

Don't get hooked by phish bait... An update to the Google Chrome browser will warn you if you're about to enter your username username and password into a fake website created by hackers.

KeyWe's smart door lock was billed as the "Smartest Lock Ever!" But researchers at F-Secure found that attackers could unlock doors with a $10 gadget that intercepts the signal between the KeyWe lock and the mobile app. And the KeyWe firmware can't be updated. Not so smart after all.

YouTube personality Colin Furze built a huge robotic elephant, and a replica of the Millennium Falcon. His latest project was a Star Wars landspeeder built with parts he found on eBay. Complete with jet engines!

Geekly Update 12-11-2019

An update to Android's "Call Screen" feature enables Google Pixel smartphones to block robocalls. Your phone won't even ring. For now, the blocker only works on the Pixel 4, but it will roll out "soon" to other Pixel phones.

So you fell for a cyberscam... what should you do right away to minimize the damage? CNBC gives tips on how to react if you get snookered by one of these five common scams.

Everyone knows you can attach photos or documents to outgoing emails. But Gmail kicked it up a notch, with a new option that lets you attach emails to emails. The new feature is rolling out over the next two weeks, and will let you attach one or multiple emails to an outbound message.

Data breaches exposed over 4 billion login credentials in just the half of 2019. Microsoft security researchers analyzed the compromised logins, and found 44 million accounts that were still using (and re-using) the stolen passwords.

This week's scary but irrelevant headline was "Scientists Crack Longest, Most Complex Encryption Key Ever". Security researchers in France crunched gigantic prime numbers using 35 million hours of computing time, and were able to crack a 240-bit encyyption key. But encryption keys widely used today are 2048 bits. So there's nothing to worry about. Yet.

The fully loaded Mac Pro sports a price tag just north of $52,000. So it seems silly not to add the $6000 Pro Display XDR with nano-texture glass, the optional $999 Pro Stand for the monitor, and a set of wheels for $400. I suppose that qualifies it as a mobile device.

An Instagram "influencer" was just sentenced to 14 years in federal prison, and it had nothing to do with the racy content he posted. He wanted a domain name so badly that he sent his cousin to the domain owner's home to threaten him with a gun. Shots were fired.

Congress says it will pass legislation to regulate encryption, if tech companies do not agree to provide "backdoor" access to law enforcement. The legislators say that the ability to investigate crimes is more important than individual privacy. But Apple and Facebook are pushing back. "At this time, we've been unable to identify any way to create a backdoor that would work only for the good guys," says Erik Neuenschwander, Apple's manager of user privacy, "In fact, our experience is the opposite. When we have weaknesses in our system, they're exploited by nefarious entities as well."

Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 11 December 2019"

Posted by:

11 Dec 2019

Is attaching an email to an email really something new for Gmail? MS Outlook has always done this. I would have thought it was in every email program.

Posted by:

11 Dec 2019

Backdoor access for Law Enforcement: I suppose the tech companies could put a Warning Message on the backdoor access, stating that it "is ONLY for Government Law Enforcement. Any other persons/parties attempting access would be in "Violation" of Federal Law." That should be enough. Hahahahaha

Posted by:

11 Dec 2019

Can we be sure no gov't or law enforcement official would use this backdoor access for personal gain? No.

Posted by:

Allan Brunner
11 Dec 2019

What is the point of attaching emails to emails when you can simply forward them?

Posted by:

11 Dec 2019

I obtained a new phone. On every phone I'v owned you pressed and held 1 to access voice mail. When I pressed and held 1 on my new phone, I got a message to input my ten digit code. I did that thinking I was setting up a new voice mail but an error message said it was the wrong number. The cell bill after that had unknown charges to my phone that were never detailed. I think I was scammed. The Cell Phone Company didn't believe me when I told them this story. My first thought was a wellness call I had to make every morning to a toll free 877 number, but it was never a problem on the old phone. The Cell Phone Company said the calls running up the bill were international calls. I have never made such a call, I wouldn't know how to make such a call and I don't know anyone overseas. I cancelled the service.
Have you ever heard of such a scam?

Posted by:

Robert T Deloyd
11 Dec 2019

"The ability to investigate crimes is more important than individual privacy"?!
I'm not sure if it's Constitutional to do so or even practical...

Posted by:

Robert T Deloyd
11 Dec 2019

I went to checkout the Star Wars Landspeederon YouTube... Colin Furze is crazy and highly energetic. I surprisingly found I was already subscribed to his channel and remember now some of the wild stuff I watched him do in the past...

Posted by:

Art F
11 Dec 2019

@Allan Brunner: I will find being able to attach emails to another email a convenience, even though I use Forward frequently. Suppose I want to write: I've attached 2 messages from Jack and another from Bill that discuss topic A. My response to Jack's first point is...."

Posted by:

11 Dec 2019

The right to be secure in your own person is a fundamental right. The government has only the rights that the citizens grant to it. Some in government seem to have lost sight of this. We should remember their names, and urge them to seek other employment when they next seek permission to 'represent us' for another term in office.

Posted by:

12 Dec 2019

Forwarding emails is different than attaching them. At least with Outlook, when you attach an email, the entire email including all the headers, etc. is sent. If you forward it, you lose all that information from the original email. Plus when you forward an email you modify it.

Posted by:

12 Dec 2019

Yeah! I am with RobertTDeLoyd on this part of the blog. Benjamin Franklin (circa 1775/02/17)may have said it best by “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Then, there is this cat who maintains that "All privacy/encryption provisions are fully secure... until they are found NOT to be!". Yes, you can quote me on this one.

Posted by:

14 Dec 2019

If Congress approves legislation for a backdoor, I will be more than happy to delete all of my social media accounts. I see absolutely no legitimate reason why they would do this to anyone.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 11 December 2019 (Posted: 11 Dec 2019)
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