12 things you need to know in tech for Wednesday, Feb. 6

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Here’s your daily tech digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019.

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Google launches Password Checkup: A Chrome extension you should install right now

What’s it about?

  • Google is essentially weaponizing the type of checking-if-you’re-hacked-offering that we’ve seen from haveibeenpwned.com.
  • It’s not just for your Google Account either.
  • The Password Checkup Chrome extension will run checks across 4 billion leaked or hacked passwords that have been published – such as the recent Collection #1 hack, the 2012 LinkedIn hack, Adobe from 2013, the Tumblr hack, and so on.
  • (By now if you haven’t been pwned, you just don’t use the internet that much. That’s definitely the best way to stay safe from a hack – don’t go online!)
  • Google explains it in its blog:
  • If we detect that a username and password on a site you use is one of over 4 billion credentials that we know have been compromised, the extension will trigger an automatic warning and suggest that you change your password.
  • You might be thinking: OK, but won’t Google end up with all my data?
  • Well, Google isn’t getting your information during the process, taking a well-considered and safe approach, working with Stanford cryptographers to keep your information private with a series of encryptions and hashes of your data:
  • “Your usernames and passwords are incredibly sensitive. We designed Password Checkup with privacy-preserving technologies to never reveal this personal information to Google.”
  • WIRED has good additional information about this process.
  • The extension won’t offer annoying false-positives either for outdated passwords or very weak passwords like “password.”
  • All in all, it’s a must-install. And if the plugin does alert you, be alert, and possibly even alarmed.
  • It’s time to update your password, and get a password manager, set up two-factor authentication, and at least make hackers work much harder at getting your info.

Here’s everything else happening:

1. There are 230 new emoji on the way in 2019: Falafel, Yo-Yo, Saturn, so much more (Unicode)


2. Moto Z4 Play specs leak: A 48MP smartphone with Moto Mod support? (Android Authority).


3. Samsung patent reveals camera-wielding S-Pen, fit for James Bond (Android Authority).


4. The broadband industry loves bullsh*t names: 10G! (The Verge).


5. Facebook Messenger now lets you unsend messages if you’re fast enough (9to5Mac).


6. When Apple hired the former CEO of Burberry, Angela Ahrendts, it looked like high-fashion would come to Apple – starting with the Apple Watch. That more or less failed, but the Apple Watch didn’t because it’s easily the best consumer smartwatch. Following a notable revamp of Apple Stores, Ahrendts is now leaving, after five years. Now an HR exec becomes Head of Retail at Apple, which is intriguing. Is retail all about people? (Apple).


7. …speaking of: “Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch Series 4 review: Which smartwatch is right for you?” (Android Authority)


8. Reddit is raising a huge round near a $3 billion valuation (TechCrunch).


9. “The rise on Instagram of meme accounts like @f__kjerry, which plagiarize and steal videos, images, and memes, is a platform failure Instagram refuses to acknowledge” (NYMag).


10. Office Space turns 20: How the film changed the way we work (BBC). Much of the commentary in the film is, sadly, still accurate.


11. A bank’s software chief figured out how to withdraw US$1m in ‘free’ cash from ATMs because the bank didn’t properly record transactions at midnight. He was given 10 years in jail. (His bank forgave him, but the courts didn’t.) (The Verge).


12. France and Germany just cut a deal to save the EU’s #CopyrightDirective — and made it much, much worse (Boing Boing). This is not good.


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