QuoTW It's the week before the holidays and all through the tech world barely a mouse has been stirring: but one of the Winklevoss twins did take some time out from Christmas shopping to let everyone know that they should be buying Bitcoins.
Cameron Winklevoss told Redditors:
Small bull case scenario for Bitcoin is a $400bn market cap, so $40,000 a coin, but I believe it could be much larger.
When this will happen, if it happens, I don't know, but if it happens, it will probably happen much faster than anyone imagines.
Just in case you don't believe him, you really should, cause he owns quite a bit of the cryptocurrency:
I have put my money where my mouth is. I stand to gain as well as lose depending on how the future unfolds.
But wait, doesn't that also mean that you'd be very likely to say that it's totally great so that your stake gains in value? Oh yes, yes it does.
Speaking of Bitcoin, 4chan users this week have been spreading a hoax designed to trick Mac fans into deleting all the files on their machines by running commands supposedly needed to turn on hidden Bitcoin mining features. The dastardly denizens of the forum have been encouraging folks to run the command "sudo rm -rf/*", which is a very, very bad idea, since typing "rm -rf/*" into command tells your computer to delete all of your files and folders.
It's mean to be a merry jape, but security analyst Graham Cluley has warned that the less tech-savvy could be taken in:
With many people intrigued by mainstream newspaper stories about Bitcoins, but lacking in knowledge about how to dip their toe into the waters of Bitcoin mining, there is a danger that some folks could take the advice seriously.
Most of the denizens of 4Chan are probably in on the joke, and will give an evil grin at the suggestion. But there’s always a danger that other wannabe Bitcoin miners will see the “advice” and follow it to the letter with data-destroying results.
The security sector has seen the departure of guru and futurologist* Bruce Schneier from BT this week. There were some rumours doing the rounds that Schneier's departure from the grand old dame of British telcos had something to do with his public comments and analysis of Edward Snowden and his NSA surveillance leaks as well as other associated spy agencies. But both BT and Schneier said it ain't so. The telecoms firm said:
We hired Bruce because of his thought leadership in security and as part of our acquisition of Counterpane. We have agreed to part ways as we felt our relationship had run its course and come to a natural end. It has nothing to do with his recent blogs. We hired Bruce because of his thought leadership in security, not because we agree with everything he says. In fact, it's his ability to challenge our assumptions that made him especially valuable to BT.
While Schneier said:
This has nothing to do with the NSA. No, they [BT] weren't happy with me, but they knew that I am an independent thinker and they didn't try to muzzle me in any way. It's just time. I spent seven years at BT, and seven years at Counterpane Internet Security before BT bought us. It's past time for something new.
As to the future: answer, cloudy; ask again later.
Also in security, malware experts have warned that Google is hanging on to its kill switch capability to slaughter infections in folks' Android mobes. Current antivirus programs for the mobile operating system can help protect the system, but they can't automatically deal with viruses. Simon Edwards, technical director at Dennis Technology Labs, said:
Android antimalware applications can block URLs, scan downloads and identify malware that the user may have installed, but they cannot remove malicious applications that are installed by the user.
They have to alert the user and hope that the user is able to uninstall them manually, using the usual Android uninstall routine.
Andreas Marx, chief exec of AV-Test, confirmed Edwards' prognosis and said that the only people with auto-virus-killing capabilities were at Google:
The mobile security apps are all running in a sandbox, just like any other app. Therefore, they are not able to remove malicious apps on their own.
There actually is a way to remove malware from infected devices automatically. Google has a kill switch that can do it. But only Google has that power currently.
And finally, folks in the tech sector have been inviting us to imagine things this week. Kaspersky Labs' Securelist bloggers have found something nasty lurking beneath the surface of Apple's Safari Browser, which they say lists user IDs and passwords in plaintext. The security bods have found that the document the browser creates in order to “Reopen All Windows from Last Session” is written plainly and has IDs and passwords in it:
You can just imagine what would happen if cybercriminals or a malicious program got access to the LastSession.plist file on a system where the user logs in to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or their online bank account.
Google had another nightmarish scenario for us to imagine - our future world of eyelid-related repetitive strain injury and romantic miscommunications. The Chocolate Factory has released an update to Google Glass that will allow Glassholes to take pictures by winking. But that's just the start! Here's the future Mountain View is picturing for us:
Imagine a day where you’re riding in the back of a cab and you just wink at the meter to pay. You wink at a pair of shoes in a shop window and your size is shipped to your door. You wink at a cookbook recipe and the instructions appear right in front of you – hands-free, no mess, no fuss.
Yes indeed, a day when getting something in your eye results in 14 pairs of shoes showing up at your house, when such traditional privacies as knowing when someone was taking your picture are as antique as penny farthings and you end up accepting a date with your cab driver rather going through the socially awkward situation of explaining that you were actually trying to pay your fare with your face. ®
*Ed: Anyone have any idea what the difference is between a futurist and a futurologist? Anyone? Anyone? Hello?