Monday, May 23, 2022

Hashtag Trending March 7 – Starlink anti-jamming; Twitter embraces WFH; hackers attack Samsung

Starlink focuses on preventing signal jamming, Twitter makes work from home permanent, and hackers leak Samsung data.

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Monday, March 7, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

Starlink will work to prevent jamming measures near “conflict areas” as it focuses on improving cybersecurity. In a Tweet, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said that some Starlink Terminals were being jammed for several hours at a time. In response, Starlink’s latest software bypasses the jamming. Starlink is a critical component in maintaining communication in Ukraine as the country experiences network outages. To ensure that it can be operated everywhere, Musk said that SpaceX has reduced the terminal’s power consumption to work with just the cigarette lighter in regular cars.

Twitter is doubling down on its remote work strategy for its employees. The company announced that although its offices will reopen this month, employees will still be allowed to work remotely forever. Of course, they’d still have the option to come into the office if they choose to, but Twitter said that the decision of what events employees want to attend, as well as where they feel most productive, should be a choice left to the individuals. This isn’t a complete surprise; although Parag Agrawal has taken over Twitter’s CEO position from Jack Dorsey, the remote-first culture remains.

The Lapsus$ ransomware group has released a huge trove of data allegedly stolen from Samsung. The group made headlines last week for breaching Nvidia’s database. Although the Nvidia breach appears relatively harmless, its attack on Samsung looks to be much more damaging. According to Bleeping Computers, the hackers claimed to have obtained critical information on key features, including algorithms for all biometric unlock operations, confidential source code from Qualcomm, and bootloader source code for all recent Samsung devices. The information, packed into a 190GB download, has already been released onto the web. It’s unclear whether the group has contacted Samsung for a ransom.

Now for something a bit different. Researchers have discovered a new exploit that allows Amazon Echo smart speakers to essentially hack themselves. The researchers discovered that the speaker can execute commands played through itself as long it contains the wake word. When the speaker requires a verbal confirmation after receiving a command, the researchers could easily bypass it by playing “yes” after a delay. The researchers found that this exploit allowed for the unwanted control of microwaves, calls to any number, making unauthorized purchases and impersonation. At the time of writing, Ars Technica reported that this exploit works against 3rd and 4th generation Echo Dots.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash briefings or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Thursday morning. If you have a suggestion or a tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thank you for listening, I’m Tom Li.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT World Canada. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at tli@itwc.ca.

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