Tech News

Skype Lets You Spy On Strangers, Apple Issues Critical Mac Update [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 24-12-2014

Also, The Interview enjoys limited theatrical release, tablets are bad for you, the FAA drones on, and Vzio mocks Samsung for its curved TVs.


Skype Suffers Serious Security Scare

Skype has a rather serious security issue which means people using the Microsoft-owned service on Android can be spied on by others.

The flaw involves people with two devices connected to the same Skype account. If that person calls a friend on one device and then severs the network connection, the recipient’s phone will then automatically call the person back, being rerouted to the second device. This seems to be a problem limited to Skype on Android How to Use Skype on Android for Beginners Here's how to use Skype for Android, including how to get set up, add contacts, and make video calls. Read More .

In layman’s terms, this means Person A would be able to hear Person B without Person B having any knowledge that they were in a Skype call. That is all the while they fail to look at their phone and see the user interface revealing the truth.

Signing out of Skype when you’re not using it should solve the issue, but it’s clearly not a permanent solution. Which means there are likely to be a few engineers at Skype HQ who have just had their holiday leave cancelled. Those poor saps.

Apple Pushes Out Automatic Mac Update

Apple has, for the first time ever, pushed out an automatic update to all Macs. The security update fixes a number of critical vulnerabilities present in OS X. While Mac OS X bug fixes Worse Than Heartbleed? Meet ShellShock: A New Security Threat For OS X and Linux Read More aren’t rare, this is the first time Apple has ever instituted a mandatory update on all users.


Despite the obviously serious nature of this update, Apple is insisting no users have been affected by the bugs. Issuing an automatic update without offering users the chance to decline installation should ensure the remains the case.

The slight bad press this will receive will be insignificant compared to the bad press that would have been received had these vulnerabilities been exploited by opportunistic hackers What Is The Difference Between A Good Hacker & A Bad Hacker? [Opinion] Every now and then, we hear something in the news about hackers taking down sites, exploit a multitude of programs, or threatening to wiggle their way into high-security areas where they shouldn't belong. But, if... Read More .

Sony Releases The Interview After All

Sony IS releasing The Interview, albeit in a limited number of movie theaters. The controversial film was originally pulled from release Sony Pulls The Interview After Terror Threat From Hackers, & More... [Tech News Digest] Also, the BlackBerry Classic brings sexy back, Netflix is never going offline, Yo gets festive, Wikipedia edits 2014, and the best Star Wars Christmas lights ever. Read More after threats from unknown sources, but with many Americans, including President Obama, declaring this a shameful act of cowardice Hackers Vs. Haters: How Twitter Reacted To Sony Pulling The Interview [Weird & Wonderful Web] To say the Internet didn't take kindly to Sony Pictures pulling The Interview is putting it mildly. Twitter was equal parts annoyed and amused about the whole thing. Read More , The Interview will be released after all.

Michael Lynton, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures, said in a statement, “We have never given up on releasing The Interview and we’re excited our movie will be in a number of theaters on Christmas Day. At the same time, we are continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theaters so that this movie reaches the largest possible audience.


At the time of writing, none of the major theater chains had committed to screening The Interview, so it will initially only be available to watch in a couple of hundred independent cinemas. However, should it prove to be a popular film, the majors are sure to backtrack. That is if a streaming service such as Netflix doesn’t swoop in and buy the rights first.

Why You Shouldn’t Use A Tablet In Bed

If you make a habit of lying in bed using a tablet or eBook reader, you may be messing up your sleep pattern. According to research carried out by the Harvard Medical School, any device that emits light directly into your eyes can be bad for your health.

The results of tests carried out on 12 volunteers suggest people who use light-emitting devices in bed will take longer to get to sleep, get less sleep, and receive less of the benefits associated with a long and restful night’s sleep. None of which is good. At all.

So, it turns out Harry Guinness is wrong Books Suck: Why I Love My Kindle More Than Dead Trees Modern e-readers hold thousands of novels, weigh next to nothing, have built in lights, and don't give you a concussion when they hit your nose. Read More , and you’d be best reading a real book made of paper, at least in bed. The rest of the time you can please yourself, and save a few trees from being felled in the process.


The FAA Drones On In New Christmas Video

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the organization which regulates American airspace, has released a video aimed exclusively at anyone receiving a drone for Christmas. The short video contains some common sense tips and definite no-nos for new drone owners.

This video may look cheap and amateurish (because it is cheap and amateurish), but you’d do well to heed these words of advice. If you don’t, you may find your new toy being shot down by an angry mob of MakeUseOf readers. American MakeUseOf readers. With guns. Run!

Vzio Mocks Samsung’s Curved Televisions

And finally, Vzio has released a faux infomercial mocking Samsung and others for their curved television sets Why Bendable Displays Would Be So Cool Bendable displays are the future. Holographic displays would be more impressive, that's true, but that probably won't happen for a long while. Realistically speaking, flexible screen displays will be the next big revolution. Read More . For just $300 you can buy anti-curve glasses, and get a seating plan and some yellow tape thrown in for free. Bargain. Alternatively, you can just buy a flat-screen Vzio and eschew the need for any dubious extras. As advertising goes, this is pretty damn clever. [H/T The Verge]

Your Views On Today’s Tech News

Will the Skype spying scare put you off using the service? Will you be going to see The Interview? Are curved televisions a naff novelty or an exciting innovation?


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: Bill Selak via Flickr

Related topics: Apple, Drone Technology, Online Privacy, Skype, Sony.

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  1. Akamai Steve
    December 27, 2014 at 12:33 am

    Your reporting lumps e-book readers in with all light emitting devices that can cause sleep and then other health problems. Kindle E-Ink Technology E-Readers should not be lumped into this report by simply using the term e-readers. All e-reader devices are not the same. It is the backlit blue light emitting devices that cause the problem reported on. Kindle E-Ink Technology E-Readers do not emit that type of light and your reporting should have been more careful to make that distinction. If you are responsible reporters you should issue a correction.

  2. John Williams
    December 26, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    I do hate it when the 24 hour news juggernaut scrapes the world for tiny research papers and then turns them into Global News of Great Importance. Harvard Medical put just 12 volunteer readers in a sleep lab for two 5 day "weeks". Half on print books and the other half on iPads for 4 hours at a time before bed. Covered in sensors and wires, no doubt some of them had a bit of trouble sleeping - wouldn't you?
    This is how all these "mobile phones microwave our children's brains" stories begin. Along with "WiFi sterylises your testicles" and "Nuclear power stations cause cancer clusters". These no-brain journalists, desperate for stories spit out very early, low sample science research and present it as absolute fact.

    The first thing I noticed was the iPads - no e-ink devices were harmed in this study, they didn't have any. to hand. Next thing you know Apple will be in court with Harvard for besmirching the good name of the iPad backlight patents.

    My Kindle Paperwhite is fantastic to read in bed, the "backlight" (which is actually a front light really) is hardly on and there is no beside lamp to disturb my partner.
    I've always read before sleeping. I nod off and the reader turns itself off. I have no trouble whatsoever sleeping now, any more than I did when I read real books.

  3. Kevin M
    December 26, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    LOL, you use cheap shit software to secure your computer and then forget about it? Yea, not a smart move!