Tech News

Freak Attack Security Flaw Revealed, Valve Teases Steam Machines [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 04-03-2015

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

Researchers have discovered a dangerous new security flaw called FREAK Attack that opens Web browsers and websites up to man-in-the-middle attacks What Is a Man-in-the-Middle Attack? Security Jargon Explained If you've heard of "man-in-the-middle" attacks but aren't quite sure what that means, this is the article for you. Read More . 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 What Is SteamOS? How to Start Gaming on Linux Gaming on Linux has always been hard... until SteamOS. What is SteamOS, what are its requirements, and can it replace Windows? Read More 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 Are Home Android Game Consoles Worth Buying? Several Android game consoles were announced as a revolutionary alternative. No longer would platforms be closed and heavily guarded – instead, developers could upload their games with minimal fuss! Or, at least, that was the... Read More . 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 10 Interesting Comic Book Writers You Should Follow On Twitter Whether you want news, previews, or tips to improve your own work, show your geeky allegiance with pride by following these 10 brilliant comic book writers. Read More .

Vince Vaughn’s Amazing Stock Photos

Stock photos 6 Free Websites for Public Domain Images and Free Stock Photos Public Domain refers to material that is 'publicly available' and not covered by intellectual property or copyrights. In today's media, where visual art is abundant, there is a high demand for images, for example for... Read More 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 10 Of The Best Viral Video Ad Campaigns Read More . 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

Related topics: Comics, Online Security, YouTube.

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  1. Koshy George
    March 4, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    Yes, Obama was the president on the United States during the 1990s

    • Dave Parrack
      March 4, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      It was sarcasm. Blaming Obama for the ills of the world is a meme. Tut tut, Koshy, tut tut.

    • Koshy George
      March 4, 2015 at 2:42 pm

      I knew you weren't serious. I was just making a stupid comment, sheesh