Today in Tech News Digest, a Windows XP registry hack, Google’s self-driving cars, the Find My iPhone ransomware, Spotify gets hacked, Word Lens app given away for free, and an awesome Choose Your Own Vine Adventure.
Microsoft Warns Against XP Workaround
The XP hack to continue getting updates going around is interesting but just stop it OK. Quit right now.
— Richard Hay (@WinObs) May 26, 2014
A way of extending the life of Windows XP until 2019 has been discovered and passed on to users via various websites. However, Microsoft is warning XP stalwarts that this is a risky route to head down, and suggesting they would be better off upgrading to a “more modern operating system.”
The hack, as first described by BetaNews, tricks Windows XP into receiving updates intended for Windows Embedded Industry (formerly known as Windows Embedded POSReady) and Windows Server 2003. While support for Windows XP ended in April 2014, support for these operating systems is set to continue on until April 2019.
The Windows XP hack requires making a change to the registry, which itself isn’t something average users should be doing. In addition to that, these updates “don’t fully protect XP” and “are not tested against Windows XP.” Which means there’s a “significant risk of functionality issues.”
As the Windows Registry should only be modified by someone who knows their way around a PC, we’re not detailing the Windows XP registry hack here ourselves. However, those who are happy to risk borking their machine can discover the method on Forbes. At least until Microsoft acts to prevent the hack from working. Which it will, because Microsoft.
Google Unveils Self-Driving Cars
Google has been openly developing self-driving cars for several years now, and it’s finally ready to show the world the fruit of its labors. Co-founder Sergey Brin unveiled its prototype self-driving cars at the Code Conference in California.
The prototypes are basic and designed solely to get a maximum of two passengers from Point A to Point B. And as they drive themselves via sensors and software, there is no steering wheel, gear stick, or foot pedals.
Safety is obviously the first priority, so the speed limit of these first prototypes has been set to just 25 MPH. Google also maintains its sensors can see the equivalent of two football fields in any direction.
Google will build around 100 prototype self-driving cars, and run a small pilot program limited to California. The results of that pilot program will likely determine how quickly Google’s self-driving cars become a commercial venture for everyone outside Silicon Valley.
Apple Devices Held To Ransom
So why are Australians the only ones being targetting in the Apple ransomware attack? was it a leak of emails from a carrier?
— Nicholas Rayner (@aussienick) May 28, 2014
Apple users in Australia and New Zealand have been hit by ransomware that bricks their Macs and iDevices until they agree to pay up. Users are advised not to pay the ransom to one “Oleg Pliss,” and instead contact Apple for help and advice on unlocking their devices.
The email address linked to Oleg Pliss has been confirmed as a fake. The best explanation for the attack is phishing emails targeting Apple IDs that were then used to enable the ‘Find My iPhone’ feature.
Apple has stated that “iCloud was not compromised during this incident,” but advised every affected user to “change their Apple ID password as soon as possible.” This is yet another good reason to be aware of phishing techniques.
Spotify Hack Affects Just One User
Homer Simpson. That is all. “One unlucky person is the only victim of a Spotify hack” http://t.co/dkvlbXudDE
— Mike Wilson (@HawkWilson) May 28, 2014
Spotify has been hacked, or as it calls the attack, suffered “unauthorized access to our systems and internal company data.” Thankfully, only one Spotify user was affected, and no important information was stolen.
However, despite the lack of a widespread attack, Spotify is taking action. Certain users will be asked to re-enter their login credentials, while all Spotify for Android users will be asked to upgrade the app over the next few days.
If you are that one unlucky Spotify user affected by this hack then please do get in touch. We promise not to point and laugh.
Word Lens App Free For Limited Period
Google has acquired visual translation app Word Lens and immediately given it away for free. Word Lens is an Android and iOS app that translates foreign text on signs or posters. Google is only giving Word Lens away for free for a limited time, so you should probably get it while you can.
Choose Your Own Vine Adventure
And finally, although we have already seen people using Vine in creative ways, Ian Padgham may have just trumped us all with his AdVINEture. But then he is a former video producer at Twitter.
This is a Choose Your Own Adventure book for the Internet generation, with you choosing which video to load up next in order to continue the story. And it’s much more fun than it initially looks.
Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks.
Image Credit: Juhan Sonin via Flickr