The Friday Tech Takeaway - 03.02.18


Dyson to vacuum up 300 staffers for its electric car division
The vacuum cleaner company, founded by James Dyson, is hiring 300 engineers to join its 400-strong electric car team, according to the BBC. The company declared its intention last year to build a “battery electric vehicle” by the year 2020, with Dyson himself saying at the time that it was linked to decades-old work carried out by the firm into reducing vehicle particulate emissions.

Towards cheap breathable electronic tattoo sensors
Experimenting with a cut-and-paste method developed a few years ago for epidermal electronics (more commonly known as electronic tattoos), a team of researchers from the University of Texas has managed to fabricate low-cost, breathable e-tattoos which are only 1.5μm thick.


Record-breaking 1.35Tbps DDoS
What's purported to be the world's largest distributed denial of service attack to date – measuring 1.35Tbps – knocked GitHub offline for a few minutes yesterday. The massive tsunami hit at 17:21 UTC. During the assault, the popular code sharing website's admins noticed thousands of systems and devices slamming GitHub's web servers.

Equifax finds 2.4 million more hit by breach
Embattled credit-reporting company Equifax has done some data crunching and discovered another 2.4 million people had their information stolen by hackers. The business, which was subject to one of the biggest data breaches in US history last May, has cranked up the number of affected individuals. 

Trustico stores private keys for customers' SSL certificates
Trustico, a reseller of SSL certificates, has stated that they stored the private keys of some of the SSL certificates it issued to customers over the past few years. This came in the form of a statement Trustico posted on its website late last night. Prior to the announcement, DigiCert and several security researchers implied that Trustico might have broken industry standards and the client-CA trust relationship by storing private keys for the SSL certificates it helped broker.

SAML vulnerability lets attackers log in
The flaw affects SAML (Security Assertion Mark-up Language), an XML-based mark-up language often used for exchanging authentication and authorisation data between parties. SAML's most important use is in single sign-on (SSO) solutions that allow users to log into accounts using one single identity. 


Apple to move Chinese customer iCloud data -- and its encryption keys -- to China
Like Microsoft for Azure and Office 365 services and Amazon, Apple is complying with a new Chinese law which requires data on Chinese citizens to reside in China. For all of these companies it's a matter of complying or losing China. Greater China is Apple’s second most important market after the U.S., with $44.76 billion in revenue in its last fiscal year, a fifth of Apple's total revenue for the year. What has stirred some controversy is that Apple has indicated that it also plans to store the encryption keys for its Chinese users in China... whereas neither Microsoft nor Amazon have said one way or the other. This raises understandable concerns for privacy advocates who worry that China may become heavy handed once the keys reside within its territory.

Dropbox to let Google reach inside
As explained by Dropbox, the plan means its users "will be able to create, open, edit, save, and share Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides directly from Dropbox. And when you're working in Dropbox, you'll be able to save Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides to your Dropbox account. "The partnership will then extend to Gmail and Hangouts Chat, so that Dropbox users can " select files from your Dropbox account and send links directly from Gmail."

Ofcom tells broadband firms: '30 days to sort your speeds'
Ofcom is tightening the screws – sort of – on broadband providers that play fast and loose with speed promises by imposing a deadline to meet service obligations or allow customers to walk away without a penalty. Customers are able to exit a deal if velocity slips below a minimum guaranteed level and the provider can’t rectify it, but providers currently have an unlimited resolution time before letting customers leave. 

Google enables companies to manage millions of devices remotely
Google has targeted the Internet of Things to differentiate its cloud from rivals Amazon and Microsoft. The company said that the service would cost only a fraction of a cent per megabyte. But these fragments could add up with billions of embedded devices that companies may have to disconnect and reconnect, monitor and manage, and patch for several years.

Free decrypter available for GandCrab ransomware victims
Bitdefender has released a free decrypter that helps victims of GandCrab ransomware infections recover files without paying the ransom. The decrypter is available for download via the NoMoreRansom project, of which Bitdefender is a member of.


OPU showed six-fold speed up at five times greater energy efficiency than a GPU
Startup LightOn SAS (Paris, France) is developing optical processing units (OPUs) to perform artificial intelligence operations and has announced the successful integration of its OPU prototype within a data centre. LightOn, founded in 2016, has worked with in partnership with Paris-based cloud computing service provider OVH Group and claims performance improvements for certain machine learning tasks.

2 March 2018

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