Freak Attack Security Flaw Revealed, Valve Teases Steam Machines [Tech News Digest]
FREAK attacks Android and iOS, Valve gets Steamy, the NVIDIA Shield set-top box, study comics with Stan Lee, Vince Vaughn’s stock images, and GEICO trolls YouTube users.
FREAK Attack Affects Millions of Users
It’s a very FREAKy bug. The kind you don’t take home to motherboard. http://t.co/ZKn1Uxkgwm
— Julian Sanchez (@normative) March 3, 2015
Researchers have discovered a dangerous new security flaw called FREAK Attack that opens Web browsers and websites up to man-in-the-middle attacks . The FREAK Attack site will tell you whether your browser is affected, with Android, iOS, and OS X devices all at risk. Both Apple and Google have promised updates fixing the flaw, but it could take a while for these to roll out to everybody.
The name of this particular security vulnerability is derived from ‘Factoring attack on RSA-EXPORT Keys’ which is shorthand for how it operates. Those seeking a more detailed explanation of how FREAK works should check out the write-up by cryptographer Matthew Green.
According to The Washington Post, the blame for the FREAK flaw has been placed squarely on the U.S. Government, which until the 1990s “forbade the export of strong encryption and required that weaker ‘export-grade’ products be shipped to customers in other countries.” This weaker encryption then got “baked into widely used software that proliferated around the world.” Thanks, Obama.
Valve Promises Steam Machines in 2015
Valve has announced its long-awaited Steam Machines will finally be arriving this November. The company has promised the new hardware will be available in the 2015 holiday season, along with a special Steam Controller and a device called Steam Link allowing 1080p streaming.
Steam Machines are, for the uninitiated, gaming PCs designed for the living room. In other words, these are pre-packaged consoles allowing PC gamers to move away from their desks and sit on the sofa instead. Various hardware partners are on board, with prices starting at around $400. That is if Valve actually delivers on its promises this time around.
The New NVIDIA Shield is an Android Box
Nvidia has revealed its latest Shield device, and this one, simply called the Nvidia Shield, is an Android games console . The Nvidia Shield is powered by the Tegra X1 processor, runs Android TV, and boasts 3GB of RAM and 16GB of onboard storage.
This is no slouch when it comes to games either, as the Nvidia Shield will be capable of handling Crysis 3, Doom 3, and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. Nvidia is also launching a game streaming service called Grid which will deliver games on-demand.
The Nvidia Shield is set to be launched in May and priced at $199. This gets you both the tablet-like set-top box and one wireless controller which looks like an Xbox 360 controller on steroids.
Study Superheroes With Stan Lee
EdX is offering anyone online the chance to study superheroes with none other than Stan Lee. The Marvel Comics legend is just one of a number of experts teaching students about comic book characters and the influence they have had on society over the past 70 years.
This is a free course running for five weeks from May 5, and estimated to require between one and two hours of studying every week. If you pay the minimum fee of $50 for a “verified certificate” you’ll also receive original artwork and the signatures of Stan Lee and Michael Ulsan. Which should act as an added incentive for true comic book geeks .
Vince Vaughn’s Amazing Stock Photos
— Adweek (@Adweek) March 4, 2015
Stock photos are, well, usually laughable. Unfortunately, they’re also a necessary evil, providing an easy, affordable option for those looking to punctuate their website with images. And now we have a new set of stock photos to enjoy, courtesy of Vince Vaughn, Dave Franco, and the cast of Unfinished Business.
In order to promote the movie, Twentieth Century Fox teamed up with iStock by Getty Images to create a set of adorably unsettling stock photos. A total of 12 images will be released over the next few weeks, with the first four available to download now. This isn’t enough to make me see the film, but we’re grateful regardless.
GEICO Beats the YouTube Ad Skip
And finally, conscious of the fact that most people skip past the pre-roll ads on YouTube as soon as they can, GEICO has created a series of ads you simply won’t want to skip . They’re unskippable by virtue of the fact all of the good stuff happens after the first five seconds.
The ad embedded above, simply titled Family, is the best of the bunch, showing a dog devouring the family’s dinners while they stay motionless. It’s so good that I’ve watched it more than once. Which is rare for any commercial, let alone one made for YouTube. [H/T AdWeek]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Are you worried by the FREAK Attack security vulnerability? Are you still interested in buying a Steam Machine from Valve? Did you watch the GEICO ad in full or skip after five seconds?
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.
Image Credit: PCRean via Flickr