Snapchat conjures up bad Memories, a new form of Mac malware is on the loose, half a million hoverboards have been recalled, Microsoft helps you collect things, and racing drones in the pitch black.
Snapchat Kills Its Raison D’être
Snapchat has introduced Memories, a new feature which essentially kills its raison d’être. Memories does exactly what it says on the tin, saving snaps to an archive. This archive lives inside the main app, meaning your snaps are being saved to Snapchat’s servers.
Snapchat has always been designed as an ephemeral experience, with snaps only being available to view temporarily. This meant users were providing a brief, candid glimpse into their lives. However, Memories changes the very nature of Snapchat, turning it into more of a standard camera app.
Memories means you can organize, edit, and/or share snaps long after they were originally taken. They’re saved in a private archive you can access by swiping up from the camera screen. Snapchat has helpfully included a “My Eyes Only” section for those snaps you’d rather no one else see, but they’re still being saved regardless.
Snapchat has, of course, previously attempted to expand on its limited offering, allowing users to save snaps to their own camera roll, and collecting photos and videos taken over a 24-hour period. However, Memories changes things on a profound level, turning Snapchat into something else entirely.
Memories is being gradually rolled out as an update to the Android and iOS apps. However, Snapchat has warned that it could take up to 30 days before you see the update, as it simply cannot handle the influx of photos and videos this will send its way all at once.
Mac Malware Rears Its Ugly Head
— Bitdefender (@Bitdefender) July 6, 2016
Bitdefender researchers have discovered a new form of Mac malware that allows cybercriminals to hijack a user’s computer. Dubbed Backdoor.MAC.Eleanor, this malware opens a backdoor into your Mac, allowing its creators to gain full access to your system.
The malware has been found embedded in a fake file converter application called EasyDoc Converter.app. Unfortunately, rather than being a drag-and-drop file converter as advertised, this downloads a malicious script that covertly opens your Mac up to attack.
Once this backdoor has been installed, the malware authors can access the command-and-control center from afar. This allows them to view files, execute commands and scripts, administer databases, send emails with attachments, and even capture images from your webcam.
Tiberius Axinte, Technical Leader of the Bitdefender Antimalware Lab, warned:
“This type of malware is particularly dangerous as it’s hard to detect and offers the attacker full control of the compromised system. For instance, someone can lock you out of your laptop, threaten to blackmail you to restore your private files or transform your laptop into a botnet to attack other devices. The possibilities are endless.”
The fake file converter transporting Backdoor.MAC.Eleanor isn’t digitally signed by Apple, which means that Mac owners taking the correct security precautions (and not downloading dodgy apps) should be OK. However, it’s another reminder that Macs are not immune from malware.
Recalling Half a Million Hoverboards
Half a million hoverboards are being recalled due to the risk of them bursting into flames. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is recalling the hoverboards after “at least 99 incident reports of the battery packs in self-balancing scooters/hoverboards overheating, sparking, smoking, catching fire and/or exploding”.
The recall affects hundreds of thousands of hoverboards made in China and sold under a variety of brand names. You can see the full list of recalled devices on the CPSC website, but the brands affected include Swagway, iMoto, Powerboard, and Hovertrax. The fire risk is due to battery packs overheating.
To be honest even if your hoverboard isn’t included in the recall you should probably dispose of it at your earliest convenience. Because a) it could still be a fire risk, b) it doesn’t actually hover, and c) you look really dumb riding it. You’d be better off on your Marty McFly fantasies until someone invents a proper hoverboard.
Microsoft Launches Thinga.me
Microsoft has launched a new app which helps you digitize and organize your real-world collections. While Pinterest (and the alternatives aimed at men) lets you collect photos of things you find online, Thinga.me lets you collect photos of things you own in real life.
If Thinga.me just collated flat photos of objects it would dull and pointless. So, Thinga.me instead generates cut-outs of any objects you photograph, displaying them in a virtual display case. This brings your real-world collections to life in the digital realm, allowing you to more easily organize and share your collections.
Thinga.me, the latest app to emerge from the Microsoft Garage team, is currently only available on iOS in an invite-only beta. There is no word yet on a wider release, but you can sign up for the trial now at Thinga.me.
Racing Drones In the Dark
And finally, this video shows a glimpse of the future of sports. Or at least one sport. This is FPV (First-Person View) drone racing at night, with a course laid out by a litany of LED lights. Filmed using a GoPro, this looks more like a video game than a real sport with real competitors.
This particular race occurred during the Phoenix Cup, which took place in Phoenix, Arizona, earlier this year. We get to view the action from the drone operated by Tony Thompson, who ended up coming in second place. It may not be the greatest spectator sport in the world, but I now know I want to try racing drones myself. H/T The Awesomer]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Is the new Memories feature likely to improve or ruin Snapchat? If you own a Mac, have you ever encountered malware? If you own a hoverboard, are you going to get rid of it? What collection(s) will you be sharing via Thinga.me? Would you like to try racing drones, whether during the day or at nighttime?
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.
Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.
Image Credit: Maurizio Pesce via Flickr