Infected software got into the App Store, a human-powered vehicle hit 85 miles per hour, the best-selling ad blocker for iOS shut down two days after launch, Steam offers 1500 Linux games, Volkswagen was cheating on emissions tests, and an iconic Windows sound heard in an entirely new way.
Apple Allowed Infected Software in the App Store
Malware breached the walled garden, and in a big way.
Potentially millions of users had malware on their iPhones and iPads, and jailbreaking isn’t to blame: these apps made it through Apple’s approval system. Among the infected programs is WeChat, a Chinese messenger app with over 500 million users.
Mashable reports that the culprit is a modified version of the Xcode, the software used to develop iOS and Mac apps. A hacked version was offered to Chinese developers on unofficial sites, who reportedly downloaded it in hopes of a faster download (Xcode is over 3.5GB).
— Lisa Brewster (@Adora) September 18, 2015
Malware on iOS isn’t new, of course, but previously it was because of jailbreaking. This time even App Store users weren’t safe, though Apple did take down the software quickly after it was reported. Security firm Palo Alto Networks, who discovered the malware, offers a list of affected apps if you’re curious. Be sure to updated anything listed immediately.
Human Powered Vehicle Hits 85 mph
History was made last week: a human-propelled vehicle hit 85.71 miles per hour (137.94 kilometers per hour), the new world record. Canadian Todd Reichert’s vehicle doesn’t exactly look like your commuter bike, though, unless you get to work in something contained in a missile:
Curious about that electronic display Reichert was using? Here’s a first-person view of it putting around a parking lot:
The entire thing is an amazing combination of human effort and engineering, and everyone involved should be celebrating. They are:
— AeroVelo (@AeroVelo) September 17, 2015
Of course, if Back To The Future is to be believed (it usually isn’t), we’re just a few miles per hour short of human-propelled time travel. Not bad.
Adblocker To Rest In “Peace”
On Thursday, ad-blocker Peace was the top paid app in the App Store, with a five-star rating. It was the top-ranked item on Product Hunt.
By Friday, it was gone.
Peace, which used Ghostery’s list of servers to block trackers and ads system wide, was created by Marco Arment – who you may know as the founder of Instapaper and host of the Accidental Tech Podcast. Armet pulled Peace from the App Store and explained why on his blog:
“Achieving this much success with Peace just doesn’t feel good, which I didn’t anticipate, but probably should have. Ad blockers come with an important asterisk: while they do benefit a ton of people in major ways, they also hurt some, including many who don’t deserve the hit.”
The app, which cost $2.99, should keep working according to Armet, but there will be no updates. Users are encouraged to ask for a refund.
So I feel good about my decision, the app will probably work for a long time, and you can get a refund if you’d like, no judgment from me.
— Marco Arment (@marcoarment) September 19, 2015
Apple’s decision to allow ad-blocking software on iOS devices will have all sorts of repercussions for online publishing, and it’s not surprising to see that debate leaves even adblocking developers conflicted.
1500 Linux Games Are Available on Steam
Windows and Mac users might not realize it, but gaming on Linux is improving fast. Valve, the company behind Steam, has long been encouraging developers to offer games for the platform – and apparently it’s working.
There are 1500 native Linux games on Steam, Linux site Phoronix reported on Saturday. It’s good news for anyone who wants to avoid Windows and OS X but still wants to indulge in the occasional gaming session. We’ve long known that Linux offers more than just indie games, and hope the titles available to Linux users keeps getting better.
Volkswagen Was Cheating on Emissions Tests
Software can do a lot of things, apparently including cheating on emissions tests. Numerous Volkswagen diesel vehicles were turning on emissions-reducing features only during tests, the EPA claims.
The New York Times reports that Volkswagen has stopped the sales of these vehicles.
“I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public,” said Martin Winterkorn, Volkswagen chief executive.
And Finally, Here’s The Windows 95 Startup Sound Played Really Slowly
Windows 95 is 20 years old, and if you’re old enough you probably remember its startup sound vividly. But you’ve never heard it like this:
Turns out the iconic sound slowed down makes for a pretty great ambient track. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised, considering legendary ambient musician Brian Eno created it.
I know: Dave usually gives you a funny video. But I’m shaking things up while he’s gone, and I’ll be here all week. He can’t stop me. Okay, fine: I’ll go back to funny videos tomorrow.
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Should iPhone users be more careful? How would you make a human-powered vehicle go even faster? Do you have a nuanced and complex view of ad blocking, or do you think I simply shouldn’t get paid? What’s your favorite Linux game? Would you cheat on an emissions test?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.