This Week in Tech News

GitHub Targeted in DDoS Attacks From China

Episode 1174

Hacker

Last week, Chinese hackers targeted GreatFire.org in a DDoS attack, and now are attacking GitHub. DDoS stands for "Distributed Denial of Service," and this attack brings down a website by hitting it with lots of bogus requests from thousands or even tens of thousands of computers distributed all over the world. GreatFire.org was spending $30,000 a day in bandwidth trying to keep up with the excess traffic.

The way they are getting this to be a distributed attack is by commandeering users of Baidu, a popular search engine in China.

ToyTalk Working on Wi-Fi Barbie Doll

Episode 1174

Hello Barbie

ToyTalk, a company that creates conversational characters for kids, is working on a Wi-Fi Barbie Doll that can analyze a child's speech and produce relevant responses. This will actually be able to talk to kids. This means that increasingly, children will be expecting their devices to talk back to them. This all started with Apple's Siri and Google Now, along with Microsoft's Cortana, which all respond to you.

ToyTalk says that 'Hello Barbie,' coming out this Fall, will have thousands of things to say and kids will be able to talk to her for hours.

Radio Shack to Sell Off Customer Information in Fire Sale

Episode 1173

Although they promised customers that they would protect private information, Radio Shack has announced that they will be selling off customer information as part of the Fire Sale portion of their Bankruptcy. State governments and even AT&T have announced lawsuits to stop it. AT&T says that the privacy information should remain confidential through the sale and that Radio Shack should only sell to companies in the same business. But the lesson is clear, if you gave Radio Shack your information, they're now considering it an "asset." So much for privacy policies.

Twitter Finally Launches Periscope, Going Up Against Meerkat

Episode 1173

Periscope

Twitter launched Periscope this week, a direct competitor to Meerkat in the live streaming space. Leo likes Meerkat better, but it's a growing new segment of online video streaming. Leo says it's nothing really new, live streaming has been going on for years. But these two apps have become wildly popular.

Hacker Exploits All Browsers, Wins Cash and Prizes

Episode 1172

Backlit keyboard

In the latest "Pwn2Own" hacking competition, a Korean hacker was able to crack secured versions of all the latest browsers. He not only took home a quarter million dollars, but also the laptops that the browsers and operating systems were installed on. Leo says that all these hackers save up exploits all year long in order to Pwn2Own. And a lone security researcher was able to own IE11, Chrome, and Safari, and he took the whole thing. All the browsers were 64 bit too. This was the largest payout in the history of the competition.

The 'UPDATE' Protocol Explains How to Protect Yourself Online

Episode 1172

Leo had talked to Mark Goodman, the author of a book called "Future Crimes," who is a former LAPD officer that got roped into computer forensics early on. This book is a good look at where we stand right now in global security and what we can do about it. One of the reasons Leo wants to recommend the website, FutureCrimesBook.com, is because there's a really good section of it called "The UPDATE Protocol." This echoes things Leo has said for a long time on the show, and it's all in one place.

Apple's New Notebook Has Users Up in Arms

Episode 1171

Apple MacBook

Because of it's new USB-C adapter working as the sole connector for both power and data, Apple fans are upset with the new MacBook. One reason people are upset is that to use anything else, you'd have to pay an additional $79 for a dongle.

Still, it offers a 9 hour battery life, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD drive. But it's $1300, so it's not cheap. It's also lighter than a MacBook Air. Could the Air be not be long for this world? Leo says he likes the USB-C option and offers props to Apple for advancing the technology. But he's keeping his powder dry before he buys it.

Apple Watch Announcement Elicits Angry Reactions from Some

Episode 1170

Gold Apple Watch

Although the announcement of the Apple Watch wasn't really breaking news since they showed it off last year, the fact that it can cost as high as $17,000 has prompted many to take to the internet and share their outrage over what they view as a waste of money. Leo says that since most of the models are over $1,000 (the entry level model starts at $349), it does seem pricey.