Netflix Starts Messing With VPNs, Google Reveals Windows 8.1 Exploit [Tech News Digest]
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 . 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
App-layer randomness strikes again, sort of: http://t.co/PI52urLizl
— Thomas H. Ptacek (@tqbf) January 3, 2015
Google has published details of a vulnerability in Windows 8.1 which allows low-level users to become administrators. Google’s Project Zero team 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 , there will be several different versions of the Acer Chromebook 15 available to buy.
Sony Makes Up For PSN Holiday Outage
— PlayStation (@PlayStation) January 1, 2015
Sony is hoping to make up for the PlayStation Network outage that hit over the holidays by offering users a couple of small sweeteners. The outage, caused by a DDoS attack orchestrated by Lizard Squad , 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
I wanna go to the smithsonian
— ganja gremlin (@___lethalweapon) January 5, 2015
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 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
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