Tech and startup news for August 5th, 2013
1. Government scientists reveal what they’ve come up with to make civilian internet faster, safer, and more efficient through quantum cryptography.”
US government laboratory scientists reveal that they’ve been operating a network that communicates in an exceptionally safe and potentially “hacker-resistant” environment since 2011. They have achieved this by using something called “quantum cryptography.”
What is quantum cryptography? Imagine the few seconds gap between the next loaded page when you click “buy” while online shopping. “That’s because of the cryptography,” says Hughes, a member of the laboratory team. It takes time to create a secure line to transmit sensitive information, like your card number, between your laptop, eBay, and your bank. But “in our case that just wouldn’t happen,” says Hughes, “in principle [our invention] could speed up the Internet.”
Researchers say that this hacker-resistant internet could be swiftly and cost-effectively applied to civilian internet. At consumer level, this would mean a safe and speedier internet when you go online, search up things on Google, and online shop. It would also help keep businesses and government institutions safe - secrets could finally stay private.
2. The Washington Post To Be Sold To Amazon.com Founder Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos, who was made famous by his entrepreneurship, is purchasing the Washington Post for a hefty sum of $250 million. Bezos will become the new and sole owner of the Washington Post when the sale is complete. The Post Co, who currently runs the Washington Post, will change to an undecided name and continue as a publicly traded company without the Washington Post.
The Washington Post has been the center of breaking domestic issues. Reporters from the Washington Post broke news of Watergate, and in June, the National Security Agency’s surveillance program. However, financial issues forced the company’s board to consider selling in order to bring in revenue.
3. The Story of Jaclyn Konzelmann: “Why I Quit Microsoft To Join A 5 Person Startup In Toronto”
When Jaclyn Konzelmann was working in Seattle for Microsoft, she would have told you that she loved it and would never leave. Now, she is currently in Toronto, sleeping on air mattresses after taking a huge pay cut because she is “homeless.” Although her life may have gotten harder, she is happier - and she is always surprised that people show no shock when she tells them her story.
Read the 6 things that drove her away from Microsoft and her journey leaving the software giant behind at http://jaclynkonzelmann.tumblr.com/post/29070457063/why-i-quit-microsoft-to-join-a-5-person-start-up-in
4. FBI might be using malware to try to expose anonymous identities.
Over the weekend, security researchers at Tor noticed an anonymous “darknet” on their network. Some hacker was trying to use a custom made malware to identify its users. According to Wired’s sources, this hacker was not a random stranger - it was a member of the FBI.
This is worrying for advocates of privacy because Tor’s goal is to protect the anonymity of its users. The hacker got in through a security flaw in Firefox and identified users on websites hosted by Freedom Hosting. The telltale signs that this hack was a FBI operation are stemmed in the details of the hack. The hack took place in Reston, Virginia, miles away from the FBI’s headquarters. And, instead of breaking into the website to build a backdoor and steal usernames and passwords (like most hackers would have done), the malware simply identified users in an “evidence-gathering” way.
One possible reason for the monitoring of this website is Freedom Hosting’s infamous reputation for being a favorite destination for child porn. Anonymous actually targeted the hosting service in 2011 for hosting illicit and child pornographic material. Last Thursday, chid porn kingpin Eric Eoin Marques was arrested in Ireland - if the FBI was participating in an investigation related to Marques and his contacts in the United States, Freedom Hosting would be one of the primary places to look at.
On one hand, child pornography is highly illegal and highly awful, so it makes sense to do what you can to stop it. But on the other hand, it seems as though the government is inching towards breaking privacy lines day after day. Is this a step in the right direction for justice or is this a step towards a slippery slope that will one day lead to a complete lack of privacy for the American citizen?
5. The Rise Of The Hardware Startup
GABA, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving networking between German-American and Californian businesses will host “The Rise Of The Hardware Startup” next week in Palo Alto.
GABA has assembled a panel of experts, with expertise ranging from corporations to startups to manufacturing and investing. The event takes place August 15th and costs $25-$34.
6. Too busy or too lazy? There’s a startup for that.
It’s a new trend: startups catering to people who can’t - or won’t - do something for themselves.
If you don’t want to clean the house, you hit up Exec or Homejoy. If you don’t want to go grocery shopping, you can have Instacart bring your groceries to your door. If you don’t feel like cooking, Hasty will bring you healthy, gourmet cooked meals. Prim will pick up and do your laundry for you. And if you somehow manage to get sick, you can call Mediacast and have them find you a doctor who makes house calls.
The average salary of a Bay Area employee is estimated at $101,278 in 2012. Long working days and a high salary leads to a propensity to pay others to do your chores for you - as can be seen in the successfulness and wide use of these startups. For example, TaskRabbit, a startup that connects you to people willing to do your errands, is popular with many big tech names. An software engineer admits to using TaskRabbit to have someone stand in the Apple iPhone 5 line on opening day. Roy Bahat, former IGN Entertainment president, admits to have hired a TaskRabbit to drive his car from meeting to meeting.
Although some of the startups may seem impractical it is clear there there is a market for laziness and a lack of time in the Bay Area, and these startups are definitely exploiting it.
7. 10 Sci-Fi Hacks That Are Now a Reality
Ten things you can now do thanks to the advancement of technology: Remote-Control a car; Kill someone with technology (hack their pacemaker, hack their heart); Spy on someone by hacking their phone; Impersonate a cell phone tower; Monitor people through their TV; Hijack a house through home automation systems; Induce power outages through cyber attacks; Spy on surveillance cameras; Spy on entire cities and Clone employee’s access badges to gain access to private facilities by scanning the badge.