Daily Tech Briefing: April 14, 2014

The IT security world was buzzing last week with news of the Heartbleed vulnerability, a flaw that affects millions of users because it's embedded within OpenSSL. This is an open-source cryptographic library used for Secure Sockets Layer encryption on Websites.

While Heartbleed is definitely a major concern, security experts note that most websites and end users do not use SSL properly. SSL warnings are meant to alert people that something about a website could compromise their security, since an SSL certificate is meant to assert the integrity of the website, yet many people ignore this warning. Also, the latest SSL Pulse statistics show that only 25.3 percent of sites scanned for SSL were actually using it properly.

In related news, in response to Heartbleed, Google has patched some of its services including Search, Gmail, YouTube, Wallet, Google Play and App Engine. However, some services are still currently receiving patches.

The company is encouraging users to inform it if they spot any vulnerabilities in Google services so it can work to quickly remedy them. Some of the other Google features that were impacted by Heartbleed include Google Cloud SQL, Google Compute Engine and Google Search Appliances.

AT&T is hoping to expand its fiber broadband network business U-verse with GigaPower beyond Austin and Dallas, Texas and into parts of North Carolina. This is precisely the type of growth that Comcast and Time Warner Cable spoke about in their testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary to examine Comcast's proposed $45.2 billion acquisition of TWC. Both companies' Vice Presidents explained that the greater scale the the companies could achieve together is "essential" to compete in the modern marketplace.

Finally, Microsoft has announced the availability of Python Tools for Visual Studio 2.1 Beta. According to company officials, these tools offer are particularly effective for general scripting, web programming and technical computing.

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