Tech News This Week:
Here’s How to Encrypt Your Facebook Messages From the Government, Hackers – and Even Facebook
Whatsapp was the first to offer end-to-end encrypted messaging to its billion users’ app and now the parent company Facebook is following its lead. “Secret Conversations” is available to all 900 million Facebook Messenger users as an opt-in feature that allows users to encrypt their messages so that no one can read them except the two people who are messaging. This includes Facebook and the Government. As of now, the iOS and Android versions have not mentioned the encryption feature, however, the “secret” option on the top right of the “new message” screen has been updated. There is also an ephemeral feature allowing messages to expire after five seconds up to one day.
Google Releases Pixel, Pixel XL Smartphone and Daydream View VR Headset plus Accessories
The Pixel and Pixel XL bear close resemblance with the Pixel XL having a 5.5 inch display and high resolution 2,560 x 1,440 display compared to the regular Pixel at 5-inches and 1,920 x 1,080. Notably, the Pixel XL offers greater pixel density when used with the $79 Daydream View VR headset. Google is proud of the 12.3 megapixel camera although the devices are not waterproof like the Apple and Samsung flagship phones. Other features include a long battery life (up to 7 hours after 15 minutes of charging), unlimited storage for photos and videos and it is the first phone with the Google Assistant built-in. Pre-orders are going on now.
Privacy Concerns at Yahoo Leads to Verizon Requesting $1 billion Discount
The New York post alleges that Verizon is asking for a $1 billion reduction in the $4.8 billion deal penned in late July. Two months later, in September, it was discovered that Yahoo had been hacked in 2014 resulting in illegal access to 500 million accounts. As of now, Verizon has not bailed from the deal to purchase Yahoo, but there is significant pressure for the price to be lowered. AOL chief, Tim Armstrong, said Verizon is “getting cold feet.” In September, Yahoo confirmed it had suffered the data breach which included names, email addresses, birthdates, encrypted passwords, and both encrypted and decrypted answers to security questions. There is risk the information could be easily reused across other websites or sold on black markets. “The key will be what was actually disclosed by Yahoo before signing,” said the M&A lawyer Frank Aquila.
A Replaced Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Catches Fire on Southwest Flight Potentially Causing a Second Recall
Federal regulators are looking into an incident on Southwest Airlines today where a replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7 caught fire. The phone belonged to passenger Brian Green who powered off his phone at the start of the flight, only to notice the phone smoking moment later. Green dropped the phone on the floor of the Southwest Boeing 737 and the plane was safely evacuated. The news could be catastrophic for Samsung as the phone Green possessed was already a brand new issue from a former recall only two weeks ago. If this is confirmed, then Samsung may face a second, additional recall of the replacement phones in addition the costly first recall.