Skype Lets You Spy On Strangers, Apple Issues Critical Mac Update [Tech News Digest]
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
“Can you hear me?” “Can YOU hear me?” “I can’t hear you” – How every Skype call starts.
— Ash (@ashdigital_) December 24, 2014
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 .
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
Notification on my MBP this AM: “Security Update Installed. A new security update was installed on your Mac.” WTF, Apple? DON’T DO THAT!
— Shawn King (@ShawnKing) December 23, 2014
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 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 .
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 after threats from unknown sources, but with many Americans, including President Obama, declaring this a shameful act of cowardice , 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
Point #1 in favor of someday getting a smaller, lighter tablet: when reading in bed & I inevitably drop it on my head, it won’t hurt as much
— Stephanie (@UKMelia) December 24, 2014
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 , 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 . 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