This Week in Tech News

Leo Tries the Magic Leap VR Headset

Episode 1532

Leo had a chance to try out the "Creator's edition" of the new Magic Leap Virtual Reality Headset. Magic Leap has raised $1.4 Billion to create this VR headset. Leo says that selling a developer's edition is the new Beta. People buy them, and then shake out the bugs. Leo says that while VR is initially a wow experience, over time, you start to get sick to your stomach. And while Magic Leap was interesting, Leo says we are still in the infant days of virtual and augmented reality.

Google announces Pixel 3 XL, Slate and other products

Episode 1531

Google announced the Google Pixel 3 XL this week, and Leo says it feels great in the hand. It has also added wireless charging, which Leo says is the holy grail of mobile phones, and the three major manufactures now support it. Google also announced the Pixel Slate, a new tablet with Chrome OS. It can also run Android and Linux apps. There was also the Google Home Hub tablet. Surprisingly tiny, it has a screen and is designed to be your home's hub.

Bloomberg: China Hacks SuperMicro Motherboards

Motherboard

Episode 1530

Bloomberg published a story that China's PRC had installed a tiny chip the size of a grain of rice on all Elemental SuperMicro Motherboard, giving them access to a treasure trove of corporation and national security secrets. These boards are used widely in corporations and even the Department of Defense. Leo says the article was well researched, well sourced, but the day after it was published, everyone, including corporations where 17 unidentified sources worked, have denied it. Even the US Department of Homeland security and the UK CyberSecurity Ministry.

Apple could make your Macs inoperative, sparking right to repair debate

Episode 1529

According to a story that broke this week, software in the new macOS will render your Macs inoperative if you have your computer repaired by a third party. Leo says that iFixit says that it's premature statement. Apple claims it's a security procedure to protect the secure enclave and other proprietary hardware. While the software does exist, Apple hasn't deployed it just yet. But Leo says that it's still problematic, as it goes to whether or not you have the right to repair your computers, or if you even own it.

Has China Hacked All Our Corporations?

Episode 1529

According to Bloomberg, China added a tiny chip, about the size of a grain of rice, to network motherboards that would allow China to Spy on corporations. The chip was discovered by Amazon Security, which notified federal authorities. The servers were created by Chinese company Elemental, and are on everything from network business servers to NAVY WARSHIPS. Investigators have discovered that the chips were installed by the PRC at the manufacturing plant. But here's the twist ... everyone is now denying it.

Microsoft Pulls 1809 Windows 10 Update

Episode 1529

After numerous complaints that users were having all their files deleted during upgrading, Microsoft has pulled their Fall 1809 Windows 10 update and recommends to users who have lost files to use Recuva to get them back (but only in some cases). This is a similar issue that plagued their 1803 update last Spring. Another issue is that your profile may get deleted as well! So it's really serious issue and Microsoft was wise to pull it back. But it's baffling that since millions are part of the Windows 10 beta test, how this could happen without Microsoft seeing it coming.

Facebook Gets Hacked, 90 Million Users Compromised

Facebook app

Episode 1528

Facebook reported this week that 50-90 million user accounts were hacked or compromised through three bugs in their interface that would allow a hacker to bypass password challenges through a stolen access token, video downloader access. Facebook says they have fixed the bug and made access tokens unusable for the 90 million compromised accounts. So if you had to re-log in this week, chances are that your account was compromised. Leo also says this is a good time to change your password and turn on 2 Factor Authentication in your Facebook settings.

Scammers Target Direct Deposit Systems

Episode 1526

Online scam artists are targeting users of the direct deposit payroll system, using social engineering to gain access to bank accounts and steal your paycheck. The primary targets are in education, healthcare, and airline employees. So be watchful over emails saying you need to log into your account to verify your direct deposit information. That's where they get you. As usual, do NOT click on any links in emails. Contact your HR department immediately to verify.

Amazon Hosts Surprise Alexa Event with 14 New Products

Episode 1525

Thursday, Amazon held a surprise Alexa event, announcing 14 new Alexa centered products, with nearly 75 new features. Rich doesn't think it's trivial that Amazon chose the day before the iPhone shipped to grab all the headlines. But Rich also thinks that companies want their customers to be exclusive, and you can end up becoming deeper into their ecosystem, making it harder to use other products outside of it.