Tech News This Week:
Widespread Distributed Denial of Service Cyber Attack Leads to Recall of Webcams
This week’s DDoS attack, which brought down hundreds of millions of users on popular sites such as Twitter, Spotify, GoFundMe, and AirBnB, was distributed through devices connected to the internet. Essentially, the connections trusted to carry out the most sensitive jobs are also the easiest to hijack. In the case of the October 2016 attack, the hackers used a piece of malware to scan for default usernames and passwords to gain access to the device, upload malicious code and hijack it. In this case, webcams and digital video recorder products manufactured in China were the culprit. As Lyndon Nerenberg, an internet engineer, said on the North American Operators Group (NANOG), “The way this will get solved is for a couple of large ISPs and DDoS targets to sue a few of these IoT device manufacturers into oblivion.”
Twitter Announces Layoffs Cutting 9 Percent of Staff
Twitter announced layoffs cutting 9 percent of its staff on Thursday as the company reported Q3 earnings. The cuts were centered on Twitter’s marketing and sales teams and are expected to help the company reach profitability in 2017. Twitter’s board of directors discussed layoffs in September during a time when Twitter was being looked at by multiple companies including SalesForce, Google and Disney, although only SalesForce has admitted to these rumors. The presumptive price tag was at least $20 billion –too high for anyone to move forward. Twitter reported earnings of 13 cents per share and revenue of $616 million. The social platform’s monthly active user count is at 317 million, up from 313 million in the previous quarter. The stagnant user growth has persisted despite an election year where presidential candidates use the platform as a key tool during the election.
Twitter Announces Video Service Vine is Shutting Down
Twitter is shutting down its video service Vine. The announcement follows Twitter’s plans to layoff 9 percent of its workforce or about 350 people. The announcement was posted in a blog post on Thursday, stating ““We value you, your Vines, and are going to do this the right way. You’ll be able to access and download your Vines. We’ll be keeping the website online because we think it’s important to still be able to watch all the incredible Vines that have been made. You will be notified before we make any changes to the app or website.”
Apple Delays Airpods with No Release Date Scheduled Yet Meanwhile Q4 Earnings Report is Mixed
The launch of Airpods, the wireless earbuds designed for the iPhone, has been delayed. Apple first showed off the accessory in September, stating the response to the AirPods has been incredible. “We don’t believe in shipping a product before it’s ready, and we need a little more time before AirPods are ready for our customers,” a spokeswoman told CNN. This news comes after Apple released their Q4 earnings. The company earned $9.01 billion, or $1.67 per share down from last year’s profit of $11.12 billion in Q4. Overall revenue fell 9% to $46.85 billion. The news was mixed, however, with cash reserves increasing to $237.6 billion. Despite Apple posting high revenue numbers, the company’s debt increased with $6.5 billion in bond sales.
FCC Adopts New Privacy Rules to Protect Consumer Data on Broadband Networks
Consumer privacy over Internet service providers (ISPs) broadband networks are under FCC jurisdiction after last year’s net neutrality. That gave the agency the authority to regulate ISPs similar to how telephone companies have provided landline phone service. This week, the FCC approved a measure to adopt new privacy rules to protect consumer data with a 3-2 vote. ISPs will have to get customers to opt-in to use customer data such as Web browsing history, app usage, health and financial information, children’s information, precise geolocation information, and the content of online communications. Meanwhile, opposing Republican Commissioners expressed concerns that the FCC had overreached its authority.