Tech News

Netflix Starts Messing With VPNs, Google Reveals Windows 8.1 Exploit [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 05-01-2015

Netflix punishes pirates, Google publishes Windows 8.1 exploit, Acer reveals giant Chromebook, Sony offers PlayStation freebies, the Smithsonian posts art online, and the $7,500 iPhone 6.


Netflix Cracking Down On Location Pirates

Netflix is reported to be cracking down on people using virtual private networks (VPNs) to circumvent geolocation restrictions How to Get Full Access to American Netflix Selections on Your UK Account - With Any Device! A common complaint about UK Netflix (and it's competitor LoveFilm, though I still maintain the selection and interface of Netflix is far superior) is that the updates are so infrequent that the choice of movies... Read More . If true, this will make it much harder for Netflix subscribers to watch movies and television shows only available in a region other than their own.

According to TorrentFreak, Netflix has begun taking action against VPN users exploiting this workaround. Several VPN providers, including TorGuard, are reporting an increase in access problems. While the crackdown is currently mild in nature, there are fears this is a test run for a larger crackdown in the future.

Netflix has informed Engadget that there has been “no change” in the way it handles VPNs. A spokesperson then clarified the situation by telling The Next Web, “Netflix simply uses industry standard methods to prevent illegal VPN use.

Using a VPN to access content meant for another territory does go against Netflix’s terms of service, meaning this could be a significant change of strategy.

Google Publishes Windows 8.1 Exploit

Google has published details of a vulnerability in Windows 8.1 which allows low-level users to become administrators. Google’s Project Zero team Google Unmasks Elite Hackers, iPads Can Give You Rashes, And More... [Tech News Digest] Hidden From Google tracks blocked search results, naming rules relaxed on Google+, Oculus cancels Rift DK2 pre-orders over eBay sales, the story behind one man's Wikipedia bot, and Weird Al details Word Crimes. Read More reported the bug to Microsoft on September 30, giving the company 90 days to patch it before it was made public. When Microsoft failed to patch the vulnerability, Google carried through on its threat.


Microsoft released a statement saying it is “working to release a security update to address an Elevation of Privilege issue.” The company also made it clear that, “for a would-be attacker to potentially exploit a system, they would first need to have valid logon credentials and be able to log on locally to a targeted machine.” Still, taking more than three months to patch such a vulnerability really isn’t good.

Acer Reveals Biggest Chromebook So Far

Acer has revealed the Chromebook 15, the biggest Chromebook hardware released so far. The Acer Chromebook 15 was revealed on the first day of CES 2015, with prices starting at just $249 for the base model. As is becoming common with Chromebooks The Fundamental Advantages Of Using A Chromebook Chromebooks are highly divisive and a consensus about the merits of Google's offering is a long way from materialising. Here are the key advantages of using a Chromebook when compared to Windows and Macs. Read More , there will be several different versions of the Acer Chromebook 15 available to buy.

Sony Makes Up For PSN Holiday Outage

Sony is hoping to make up for the PlayStation Network outage that hit over the holidays Twitter Taken Down By New Year, Bitcoin Performed Poorly In 2014 [Tech News Digest] Also, PSN and Xbox Live are back online, Pinterest rolls out Promoted Pins, how to stream The Interview, and preferring a chocolate iPhone to the real thing. Read More by offering users a couple of small sweeteners. The outage, caused by a DDoS attack orchestrated by Lizard Squad Running Linux In A Chromebook Window, Xbox Hackers Offer DDoS Attacks [Tech News Digest] Also, the Xbox One SDK leaks online, the most pirated movies of 2014, Nuclear Throne freebies, and a look back at 2014 in GIFs. Read More , lasted several days.

Firstly, everybody who had an active PlayStation Plus account on Dec, 25 will get five days added to their current subscription. Secondly, sometime during January, every PSN user will received a 10 percent discount code to use as they see fit.


This may not make up for several kids enduring ruined Christmases, but it’s certainly better than nothing.

The Smithsonian Posts Art Collection Online

The Smithsonian has posted a vast collection of American and Asian artworks onto the Web. In total, 40,000 pieces of art, most of which has never before been seen by the public, have been digitized and made available online.

The art collection, which includes, “1,806 American art objects, 1,176 ancient Egyptian objects, 2,076 ancient Near Eastern objects, 10,424 Chinese objects, 2,683 Islamic objects, 1,213 South and Southeast Asian objects, and smaller groupings of Korean, Armenian, Byzantine, Greek and Roman works,” is all being made available for free for non-commercial purposes.

The $7,500 Apple iPhone 6

And finally, we all know Apple charges a small fortune for its products — because a) it gets away with doing so, and b) it adds to the desirability factor — but asking $7,500 for an iPhone 6 Apple's Big Event: iPhone 6, Watch & New Wireless Payment System Finally, the rumours are confirmed: two new larger iPhones and a smart timepiece known simply as the Apple Watch are on the way. Read More would be pushing things just a little. Even for Apple.


Still, that didn’t stop one contestant on The Price Is Right from guessing that’s the price of owning an iPhone 6 for a year, and for the contestant next to her to then add a dollar more. Proof that Apple is pushing the whole premium pricing thing too much, perhaps?

Your Views On Today’s Tech News

Would you be adversely affected by Netflix cracking down on people using VPNs? Is Google right to have published the Windows 8.1 exploit? Would you have guessed the right price for the iPhone 6?

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: Marjan Lazarevski via Flickr


Related topics: Netflix, Sony, VPN, Windows 8.1.

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  1. hotdoge3
    January 13, 2015 at 3:51 am

    free in new zealand from your ISP

  2. Paul
    January 8, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    If I purchase a dvd I can take it with me wherever I travel and watch it on my laptop. So why would the movie studios want to restrict companies like Netflix from providing a service to an existing country wherever they happen to be?

  3. Andrew
    January 8, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    Thank you predictive spelling to make it appear I was drunk typing !!!

  4. Andrew
    January 8, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Net flux is saying this content is only for the USa. What if I am in a country with no agreements?,
    Roku UK problems are ?? It should connect to Netflix UK
    Finally BBC I player. BBC is supported by licencungg fees paid to use your TV. It shouldn't supply free content to people who have not paid those fees ie outside of the United Kingdom

  5. darrin klong
    January 6, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    there is this box that the UK has called the iplayer. but it can only be used in the UK in order to use the iplayer you have to change your proxy to a UK proxy. i did this and it worked for about a week and some days and stopped and after that i tried other UK proxy's but nothing would work. it's like some one don't want me to access tv programs in the UK . and this basically what netflix is doing. and i bet somewhere down the road all this vpn and proxy stuff is going to become some kind of breaking the law crap. mark my words it will happen just watch..

    • Dave Parrack
      January 8, 2015 at 12:36 pm

      I suspect it already is against the BBC's terms and conditions for using iPlayer. AFAIK you're only meant to use it abroad it you're a UK taxpayer on holiday.

  6. TeC
    January 6, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Liked the summary. Thanks.

    • Dave Parrack
      January 8, 2015 at 12:36 pm

      No problem. There's a new one every weekday, so be sure to bookmark the Tech News section of the site for more good stuff.

  7. clucky
    January 6, 2015 at 8:10 am

    Maybe that is why the Roku 3 streamer is not working for many BT users in the UK for Netflix - we have static IP's and can't change them but techie users are saying if you can block Google DNS then you can stream Netflix on this device .....something we have no option to do. As we bought it for a gift and then spent 6 days constantly in touch with Roku and Netflix we have now deleted our Netflix account as 'they are aware of the problem and it will be fixed shortly' is about the only answer we got - oh, and that our telephone must be too close to our modem and causing problems!

    • Dave Parrack
      January 8, 2015 at 12:37 pm

      That makes no sense. I thought Netflix was a key selling point of the Roku boxes, meaning this is bizarre.

  8. Michael Kenney
    January 6, 2015 at 3:37 am

    As someone who travels a lot, I never realized I was breaking any laws by using a VPN to get the service I pay for at home.

    • Dave Parrack
      January 8, 2015 at 12:38 pm

      Not laws so much as the terms of service of individual companies.

  9. Jay from the Bronx
    January 6, 2015 at 12:27 am

    Because they have an obligation to the content owners to prohibit viewing their property in unauthorized countries. If they can identify such illegal usage they have a contractual obligation to interdict it.

    • gbswales
      January 6, 2015 at 2:21 pm

      why don't the studios make everything available worldwide from day one? Why should people in the UK wait longer than people in the USA to see the latest films (or vice versa) perhaps there should be some legal obligation to make all content equally available to everyone in the world and end this this silly protectionism which is aimed purely at squeezing a few drops of extra profit out of us. None of us really live in one country any more.

    • Dave Parrack
      January 8, 2015 at 12:39 pm

      I agree, gbswales. The Internet means any idea of borders when it comes to delivering content are essentially null and void. The piracy levels on films released in one country before others are higher, and with good reason.

  10. Duncan
    January 5, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    Hey Netflix - Why would you not want people using your service and even paying a premium to access a VPN then pay for your service as well. Marketing 101 if there is a market thats willing to pay for your product - sell it to them.

    • François
      January 6, 2015 at 12:34 am

      The problem is with the studios and Netflix for having signed these deals that are not cross border. Netflix never bothered enforcing those restrictions till now. The studios are putting on the pressure to have Netflix do the enforcement. The studios are still not getting it. All that's going to do is push people to illegally pirate movies.

    • Dave Parrack
      January 8, 2015 at 12:41 pm

      Netflix certainly wants people to use their service, but they're subject to licensing restrictions from the studios and content owners that want to divvy things up according to territory. I have some sympathy for Netflix, because they need the content in order to have a service, so they can't afford to upset the apple cart too much.

  11. tim
    January 5, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    Wish I could have been on that episode of The Price is Right. My guess was $1800.

    • Dave Parrack
      January 8, 2015 at 12:42 pm

      You would have won it too. Is it just me that thinks that's still quite a high price to pay for owning a phone for 12 months?!

    • Brent Taylor
      January 9, 2015 at 3:14 am

      Yeah, $1900 is pretty outrageous in itself.