WhatsApp is changing for the worse, your iPhone is at risk, Sony adds two-factor authentication to PSN, Dropbox is resetting million of passwords, and what happens when two artificial intelligences have a deep conversation.
The WhatsApp Honeymoon Is Ending
WhatsApp, the messaging app which now boasts over 1 billion users, is changing, and the changes aren’t good. For starters, ads are coming, with companies able to start messaging you in the near future. And to facilitate that change, WhatsApp is going to start sharing your data with Facebook. Unless you opt out, of course, which thankfully is an option.
WhatsApp isn’t calling the forthcoming ads “ads”. Instead, they’re “ways for you to communicate with businesses that matter to you”. The point is businesses will pay for the privilege of connecting with you via WhatsApp. The company is planning to “test these features in the next several months,” hence the updated terms and conditions all users are being asked to accept.
The updated terms and conditions allow WhatsApp to share data with Facebook. This includes your phone number, your profile name and photograph, and your online status at any given moment. It doesn’t, however, include the contents of your communications with others, which are still for your eyes only thanks to end-to-end encryption.
Tighter Facebook integration became an inevitability as soon as Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014. After all, Facebook didn’t spend $22 billion on WhatsApp for fun. It wanted access to its users, the reams of data they produce, and the ability to pair businesses with users. Which is exactly what it’s now doing, The only surprise is that it took Facebook two years to enact this plan.
When whatsapp asks to accept their new Privacy TOS— click "read" & then DISABLE sharing of info with Facebook pic.twitter.com/y1T8eFaigz
— Awab Alvi (@DrAwab) August 26, 2016
Thankfully you CAN opt out of WhatsApp sharing your data with Facebook, and it’s relatively simple. If you have yet to agree to the terms, simply click “Read More” and then untick the box which says, “Share my WhatsApp account information with Facebook”. If you have already accepted the terms, simply go to Settings, then Account, and then disable the “Share my account info” option within the next 30 days.
Upgrade Your iPhone to Secure Your Data
You should update your iPhone to iOS 9.3.5 at your earliest convenience. This is because the latest iOS update patches serious security vulnerabilities which leave iPhones vulnerable to being remotely jailbroken.
Once jailbroken, the attackers can execute code, access the kernel memory, read encrypted messages, and track your iPhone from afar. Which is truly scary stuff according to this write-up from the Washington Post.
Hey iPhone users,
If you don't want to freak out about security updates fixing issues all the time, you should try Android. ?
— SwiftOnSecurity (@SwiftOnSecurity) August 25, 2016
Thankfully, as responsible citizens (excuse the pun), the Citizen Lab passed its findings over to Apple, which patched the vulnerabilities before any real damage was done. But that’s only the case if all users actually update iOS to 9.3.5. So do it. Do it now!
Sony Adds 2FA to PlayStation Network
Sony is finally adding two-factor authentication (2FA) to PlayStation Network, offering additional security for PlayStation gamers. This has been a much requested feature since the PlayStation Network outage of 2011 which saw 77 million accounts compromised.
To enable 2FA on your PS4 go to Settings, PlayStation Network Account Management, Account Information, Security, and 2-Step Verification. Or you activate it on the web by visiting this page and following the instructions. After it’s enabled, you’ll be sent an SMS message every time you log in.
Dropbox May Be Resetting Your Password
Dropbox is currently resetting passwords for accounts that haven’t changed them since 2012. If you haven’t changed your Dropbox password within the past four years, then you’ll now be forced to do so. Which is annoying, but pretty much essential in an age when hackers are so prevalent.
This is all because of the LinkedIn hack from 2012, with Dropbox deciding that forcing people to change their passwords is preferable to leaving them vulnerable. People generally use the same password across multiple accounts (contrary to all advice) so when one site is hacked, accounts at other sites are also at risk.
Hal and Her Have a Conversation
And finally, Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey and Samantha from Her are two of the most interesting fictional artificial intelligences we have ever seen. With that in mind, what would a conversation between the two sound like? The video embedded below shows what might happen when Hal met Sam.
The result is an intriguing exploration of what it means to be an artificial intelligence, with the personalities of both AIs seeping through. The conversation is made up of audio clips from the movies, so it took some skillful editing to make it flow so well. Let’s just hope this kind of navel-gazing between AIs isn’t possible too soon in the future. [H/T Sploid]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Have you opted out of WhatsApp sharing your data with Facebook? Are you annoyed that WhatsApp is getting ads? Have you updated your iPhone to iOS 9.3.5 yet? Will you adding 2FA to PSN? Do you resent having to reset your Dropbox password? Which two AIs would you most like to hear having a conversation?
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.
Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.
Image Credit: Zeevveez via Flickr