Tech News

Malware Invades Apple’s Walled Garden, 85 MPH Bike Ride…[Tech News Digest]

Justin Pot 21-09-2015

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).

Malware on iOS isn’t new, of course, but previously it was because of jailbreaking Should You Still Jailbreak Your iPhone? It used to be that if you wanted advanced functionality on your iPhone, you'd jailbreak it. But is it really worth it at this stage in the game? Read More . 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:


Of course, if Back To The Future is to be believed (it usually isn’t Lexus Made a Real Hoverboard - But It's Not What You Think Following a month of speculation, Lexus has unveiled a fascinating project to the world: a working hoverboard. It's definitely awesome - but are they being totally honest about it? (No. No they are not.) Read More ), 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.

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.

There’s widespread disagreement all over the web, and even here at MakeUseOf: one author called adblocking theft It's About Ethics in Stealing Games Journalism: Why AdBlock Needs to Die A simple, free browser plugin killed Joystiq – and is ruining the Internet. Read More the same week another said publishers need to stop complaining about it Publishers Need to Stop Whining About Adblock Ad-blocking seems like a natural option for any consumer because of a simple reason: it's an easy way to get rid of an annoyance. Read More .


1500 Linux Games Are Available on Steam

Malware Invades Apple's Walled Garden, 85 MPH Bike Ride...[Tech News Digest] linux games 644x250

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 Linux Has More Than Just Indie Games: Top 8 Blockbuster Games Available While it's true that Windows still has a better selection of games, there are plenty of "AAA" titles (the really big hits) that are already available under Linux. Read More , 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 Start Me Up - Windows 95 Turns 20 & Still Rocks 20 years ago the Rolling Stones cranked up "Start Me Up", and Windows 95 was born. We revisit history, discuss why Windows 95 was a big deal, and how it compares to Windows today. Read More , 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.

Related topics: Ad-Blockers, Anti-Malware, Gaming Culture, Windows.

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  1. Anonymous
    September 23, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    unless they approach Valve as a developer?

    • Justin Pot
      September 23, 2015 at 10:40 pm

      Yeah, maybe, but I think Valve sees their development wing as a pretty important way to promote Steam.

      • Anonymous
        September 24, 2015 at 2:21 pm


  2. Anonymous
    September 22, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    I find it interesting how Valve is pushing for more games for linux, yet there is no mention for Valve to get developers to make their games on mac as well because most games for Windows are already on Linux, but nowhere to be seen for mac.

    • Justin Pot
      September 22, 2015 at 11:42 pm

      Valve is thinking that, long-term, Microsoft and Apple will both stop allowing applications not installed through their app store on Windows and OS X – the way iOS and Windows Phone devices work right now. Seeing as Valve makes their living selling apps through their own storefront, this would be a disaster for Valve.

      Linux, on the other hand, isn't controlled by a single company – so installing Steam, and using it to install more games, will always be possible. Long term, Linux might be their only chance at survival.

      • Anonymous
        September 23, 2015 at 12:31 am

        that makes sense, however the problem is that they are trying to make the mac more game friendly, and I am curious if they will approach valve about it

        • Justin Pot
          September 23, 2015 at 3:18 pm

          Valve gets a cut of every game sold through Steam – a cut that I'm certain Apple would prefer they get, via the Mac App Store. So I don't think they'll be working with them, but I think they'll be working to get developers to release their games in the App Store.