Today’s topics include Yahoo’s disclosure that it had been hit by cyber-attack in 2014 that affected as many as 1 billion users, Uber’s self-driving cars hit the streets of San Francisco, The spinoff of Google’s autonomous car division to an independent company called Waymo and the patch of a backdoor in the code of Microsoft’s Skype for masOS.
Exactly what Yahoo and its prospective new owner, Verizon Communications, did not want to see happen happened again Dec. 14.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the pioneering search and web services provider has discovered new security issues that impact the data of more than 1 billion users, a theft of personal information that is different and twice as large as the hack it admitted to suffering last September. Yahoo said that attack happened in 2014.
The newly disclosed security event, which took place in 2013, involved sensitive user information, including unencrypted security questions. Yahoo is requiring all of its users to change passwords, and it is automatically invalidating the security questions.
Uber gassed up 11 of its self-driving Volvos Dec. 14 to roam the streets of San Francisco, pick up passengers and gather information for the design of future driverless vehicles.
The fast-growing ride-sharing company, whose new headquarters originally was in San Francisco but is in the process of moving across the bay to Oakland, has the sensor-packed vehicles here to do a couple of jobs.
One, of course, is to pick up customers and transport them to their destinations, while job No. 2 will be to do some mapping and sensor research.
Google’s move this week to spin out its self-driving car project into an independent entity called Waymo suggests the company is finally close to commercializing the technology after years of research and testing.
Waymo will operate as an independent company under the Alphabet umbrella and focus on delivering technology that, according to its CEO John Krafcik, will make it “safe and easy for people and things to move around.”
In post on the Medium news website, Krafcik explained that mission as one where Waymo will deliver autonomous vehicle technology for use in personal vehicles, ride-sharing services, the logistics industry and public transportation.
“In the long term, self-driving technology could be useful in ways the world has yet to imagine, creating many new types of products, jobs, and services,” he said.
Microsoft quietly patched the Mac OS X client for Skype in October, closing a backdoor that could have existed for as long as a decade and would have allowed attackers to control many aspects of the software, security-services firm Trustwave said on Dec. 14.
The backdoor, which bypasses a permissions check by the Skype client whenever a dashboard widget requests access, could allow an attacker that already had local access to computer to control the Skype client.
Someone using the dashboard widget application programming interface could, for example, get notifications of incoming messages; read, modify and create messages; retrieve information on any contact; and record the audio—but not the video—of any Skype call to disk.