Geekly Update - 27 February 2019

Category: Tech-News

What's the most common malware today, and what is it digging for? Is your GPS device going to stop working in 38 days? Was the last newspaper story you read written by a human or an AI-powered software bot? And will this new tech prevent annoying people from using mobile phones at concerts and movies? 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

Malware that uses victims’ computers to mine cryptocurrency is the most commonly distributed variety of malware for the second year in a row.

Check out images of people who do not exist; they are generated by an AI every time you refresh the web page.

This just in from the Drop In The Ocean Department: Over 100,000 rogue sites that distributed malware to unwary visitors were taken down over the past ten months by security researchers.

It's Y2K for GPS! Your GPS devices may stop working on April 6. Due to a software flaw, older GPS devices may get confused about the date and malfunction. Software patches are available to fix the problem.

Geekly Update 02-27-2019

Hacker Gets Hacked - Film at Eleven! Feds arrested a man who ran an online gang that attacked Web sites and called in bomb threats to schools via Twitter. His identity was exposed when a gaming website he frequented got hacked.

Loop is a new subscription service aiming to phase out single-use plastics. The program will provide high-quality, durable packaging for many consumer products that can be returned and refilled.

Nearly two decades of email, contacts, and related data were lost in a “catastrophic hack” of email provider VFEmail.

The Apple staff attorney responsible for preventing insider trading has been charged with insider trading. Guess he read his job description wrong.

A $2 computer the size of a saltine cracker can recognize objects by performing the computation-intensive deep learning that used to require cloud-based supercomputers. It uses no more power than a simple calculator.

NASA’s Earth Observatory is offering a free downloadable image of Earth every day.

Amazon has abandoned plans to build a second (or maybe third?) headquarters in New York because not all locals are thrilled by the honor.

An AI journalbot writes convincing news and fiction. It’s just hard to tell which is which.

Philadelphia passed and ordinance requiring most businesses to accept cash as a payment option. Cash accounted for 30% of consumers’ payments in 2018, down from 40% the previous year.

Spare keys to your house or car can now be stored on a smartphone in case you need another way to lose them.

To prevent phones from being used during movies, concerts, lectures, etc., Yondr locks them up in pouches that owners can unlock when they leave a venue.

Radio Garden lets you tune in to thousands of radio stations around the world using a Google Earth-like interface.

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

 
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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 27 February 2019"

(See all 21 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

Mark
27 Feb 2019

Tell me this Bob - I feel that the latest malware actually came from YOU!

After curiously clicking on your recommendation to use your company "Flowers Fast", I now receive pop-up ads on my desktop from your company every few days. Perhaps you would be so kind as to provide instructions on how to remove your malware from my system...

I would not have expected this type of clandestine advertising from you Bob...

EDITOR'S NOTE: It's not malware at all. In fact, you wouldn't get those unless you clicked the "Allow" button (twice!) when presented with the prompt on your first visit. To turn them off, click the little "gear" icon on the notification.


Posted by:

Charley
27 Feb 2019

Regarding "Spare keys to your house or car can now be stored on a smartphone in case you need another way to lose them.", great! Someone parks my car (or gets access to my keys for just a few seconds) and now they can easily make a copy? This doesn't work for the smart keys that have a chip in them but would work for most car keys, house keys, etc.

People have always been able to make a wax impression of a key but it was real work to make the duplicate from the wax impression.


Posted by:

Charley
27 Feb 2019

More on the Spare Keys. I misunderstood. Apparently you have to take the key to the Home Depot or other partner retailers to have it scanned. You can't just take a picture. So it is a little bit more secure.


Posted by:

Adrian Gordon
27 Feb 2019

I appreciate your posts Bob


Posted by:

Charley
27 Feb 2019

pdsterling ... Depending on the manufacturer and age of the GPS, there may be no way to update the software! You would have to contact the GPS manufacturer.


Posted by:

George
27 Feb 2019

I also am getting unwanted Flowers Fast pop-ups.

EDITOR'S NOTE: As I mentioned before, you wouldn't get those unless you clicked the "Allow" button (twice!) when presented with the prompt on your first visit. To turn them off, click the little "gear" icon on the notification.


Posted by:

Ken Heikkila
27 Feb 2019

I have a question about the device advertised on this page that will "double your wi-fi download speed and extend the range"......seems miraculous.


Posted by:

MartinW
27 Feb 2019

Not all locals were thrilled about Amazon in New York? I use Amazon, but, apart from that, just think of them as another mega-giant among those taking over everything. Still, a report I read said a poll showed 26% of New Yorkers in the area were against Amazon and 70% were for them building there. The poll may be wrong or biased, but still... (Another example of the rich and powerful vs. the rich and powerful?)


Posted by:

Jeri
27 Feb 2019

Garmin provides the Garmin Express software for updating your Garmin GPS.
But to get your free lifetime updates, you need to update at least once or twice a year. If you don't, your free lifetime updates expire. Then you have to pay for the updates. Love my Garmin.


Posted by:

denis
27 Feb 2019

Thanks for the Radio Garden link. It is very interesting to scan round the world and listen to what the locals are listening to.


Posted by:

JP
27 Feb 2019

I enjoyed clicking around on the Radio Garden globe! Found several interesting ones.


Posted by:

Jay R
28 Feb 2019

I used to get unwanted fast pop-ups, but now my PC is old and slow.


Posted by:

bb
28 Feb 2019

Mark and George: Bob Rankin has *no* control what-so-ever on the advertising that shows up on his page.

Or, more properly, the webmaster of askbobrankin.com contracts with an advertising agency which then sells ads to advertisers and other ad agencies. Then possibly a third or fourth level advertiser. This is why even well known and "good" websites can end up hosting "bad" advertising. It might not have even been "Flowers Fast."

These things have driven me to use an ad-blocker almost everywhere. Pages load faster, by some measures 70% faster across the board. And no more mal-vertising.


Posted by:

RandiO
28 Feb 2019

My browser home page is set to https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html, which provides a gorgeous new picture of space every new day.


Posted by:

RandiO
28 Feb 2019

Our local MicroCenter store is selling the Raspberry Pi Zero W (wireless) for $4.99. Heck, the case for it alone is more expensive.


Posted by:

James Flint
28 Feb 2019

Radio garden no work even on the BBC.


Posted by:

Randall
28 Feb 2019

People who do not exist . . . interesting that they all look related.


Posted by:

Jillian S
28 Feb 2019

So excited to learn about Radio Garden. Found a report that was on NPR two years ago, but I guess I never heard that report. I learned that Radio Garden is from the Netherlands. This is like a modern version of shortwave radio, right? However, I have not been able to figure out how to operate the website. After half an hour of "sprouting", it offered me public radio stations in my city. I couldn't see how to go to another part of the world. Will try tomorrow.


Posted by:

Bill Pfeifer
28 Feb 2019

Oh, man! Thanks a million for the link to radio.garden. Ages ago, before the internet, i used to listen to far-away stations on my shortwave radio. Since then, i occasionally found radio stations online, but the effort involved wasn't always worth it. The site works great, i just wish they would mark country boundaries on the map.
For those who have problems, perhaps try a different browser; i have no problem using Google Chrome, version 72.0.3626.119.


Posted by:

PgmrDude
01 Mar 2019

- - - -
@Jeri, thanks for mentioning the 1 year update requirement. I saw that and thought, oh my, how long has it been since I updated. I scrambled to find my charge cable for my Garmin, and plugged it into my PC. A message displayed on the Garmin that my Maps were OVER a year old, and I could PURCHASE updates on their web page. I could just SHOOT someone!


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