Today in Tech News Digest, dodgy DDoS attacks, epic Uber protests, an annoying XSS vulnerability, Amazon vs. Warner Home Video, free SwiftKey for Android, Chromecast support for VLC, and an amazing iPhone music video.
Feedly & Evernote Suffer DDoS Attacks
Both Feedly and Evernote recently suffered distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks from cybercriminals demanding a ransom to stop the barrage. Evernote quickly neutralized the attack, but Feedly was affected for most of Wednesday (June 11).
DDoS attacks generally see services flooded with traffic from a botnet, which prevents legitimate traffic from getting through. Most come with ransom demands which, if met, stop the attack. Feedly and Evernote both refused to pay the ransoms, but TechCrunch speculates that other companies have paid ransoms, which is why DDoS attacks are on the increase.
Both Feedly and Evernote should be back up and running for all users. No personal data was compromised in this instance, and anyone still being affected is being advised to refresh their DNS cache.
Uber Protests Create Streisand Effect
Controversial ride-sharing company Uber is expanding into Europe, and traditional taxi drivers are none too happy about it. This led to protests in several European cities, with cab drivers blocking roads to try and get governments to act against what they see as unfair competition.
These protests appear to have backfired somewhat, creating a Streisand effect where people who were previously unaware of Uber and the service it offers asked why the taxi drivers were unhappy. And with cabs refusing to pick up passengers, Uber offered a viable alternative.
Taxi drivers are right to be worried about Uber and other ride-sharing services, because the newcomers are bound to eat into their business. However, smartphones and apps aren’t going anywhere, so little can be done to halt this kind of progress.
XSS Vulnerability Hits TweetDeck
An XSS (cross-site scripting) vulnerability hit TweetDeck yesterday (June 11), with Twitter taking the site down while it worked on a fix. The script propagated itself but otherwise appears to have been harmless.
Twitter is advising all users to log out of the app and then log back in to “apply the fix.” An Austrian teenager named Florian appears to have discovered the vulnerability, but warned TweetDeck about it before it spread.
Amazon At War With Warner Home Video
Has anybody written about Amazon’s tactics vs Hachette / Warner Bros as being the big-business version of a DDOS?
— Felix Salmon (@felixsalmon) June 11, 2014
Amazon has added Warner Home Video to the companies it’s playing hardball with in contract negotiations. While trying to squeeze better margins from Warner Bros., Amazon is refusing to allow pre-orders for The Lego Movie, Transcendance, and other big-name titles.
This news comes after months of Amazon delaying or stopping orders and deliveries for titles from book publisher Hachette. Which suggests Amazon is switching from being “the everything store” to the store that only sells products which offer a healthy profit margin.
SwiftKey Android App Is Now Free
With its v5 update SwiftKey Keyboard has gone free. SwiftKey, which, like its rival Swype, allows for easier typing on Android handsets, previously cost $3.99. Its newly free status means SwiftKey now supports in-app purchases for premium themes, but just remember you don’t have to buy them.
VLC Getting Chromecast Support
Four weeks to go before VLC is available for my Chromecast. To be shortly followed by my Roku and Apple TV appearing on EBay #techclearout
— Fin Goulding (@fgoulding) June 11, 2014
The makers of VLC have announced Chromecast support for iOS, Android, and desktop, with iOS leading the way within the next six weeks. VLC is an extremely popular media player capable of playing a huge range of file types, and support for Chromecast just adds to its appeal.
‘All By Myself’ iPhone Music Video
And finally, what would you do if you found yourself stuck in an airport all night? Miserable. Bored. Lonely. This is the situation Canadian lighting designer Richard Dunn found himself in when travelling from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.
He did what any sane person would do in that position; he made a music video to Celine Dion’s cover of Eric Carmen’s All By Myself. It’s brilliant, naturally, but it also shows how smartphone cameras have turned us all into budding filmmakers.
Image Credit: Jim Bauer via Flickr