May 19 2021
Welcome to our tech news roundup – this is the place where we keep you up to date on the latest technology happenings, cybersecurity news, and more. Here’s what’s going on in the tech world today:
Here’s some interesting announcements that came out of the Google I/O conference
Google I/O is a yearly tech conference for developers, and although the pandemic threw a spanner in the works last year, I/O 2021 returned with a bang. A whole host of interesting announcements came out of the conference, but here are just a few that piqued our interest:
Chrome for Android’s Security Check Feature
With data breaches and leaks happening almost daily, it can be difficult to keep track of which passwords have been compromised and which haven’t. Google is about to make that entire dilemma almost disappear, thanks to a new feature that it’s adding to Chrome’s password manager that prompts you to change your password if it spots that it’s vulnerable.
Inclusive Improvements to Smartphone Cameras
Google is developing its smartphone camera to depict people’s skin tones more accurately. A spokesperson for the project had this to say: “For people of colour, photography has not always seen us as we want to be seen, even in some of our own Google products. Google says is making changes to auto white balance adjustments “to bring out natural brown tones” – wonderful news!
Enhanced Privacy Features for Android 12
Android 12 – aka the “biggest design change in Android’s history” – is fast approaching. With this update, you can expect stronger privacy features, such as increased control over how much data apps can get from your phone, a light on the top of your screen that indicates if an app is using your camera or microphone, and the option to share only an approximate location, instead of your exact whereabouts.
3D Video Calls
Google is promising real Star Wars vibes via its new Starline project: a video chat system that will create an ultra realistic 3D projection of the person you’re speaking to. The future is here.
More Artificial Intelligence
Google has also been developing its AI to perform a whole host of tasks – from helping to identify skin, hair, and nail conditions via uploaded patient images, to curating your photo albums to avoid bringing up pics of your toxic ex or questionable nights out. Exciting stuff.
Was Russia involved in the SolarWinds hack?
Whenever a large corporation is targeted with ransomware, or there’s a whiff of cyber-espionage against the US government, the finger is often pointed at Russia. But how often is Russia truly involved?
Sergei Naryshkin, the director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service has denied any involvement in the SolarWinds hack, but did state he was flattered that the UK and US think Russian hackers would be able to pull off such a feat. However, the former head of the NCSC smells a rat, and has stated that Naryshkin’s denial was “unconvincing.” Read more here.
Insurance firm One Call have fallen victim to a ransomware attack
DarkSide are apparently at it again. Fresh from their attack against the US’s Colonial Pipeline, the hacking group have moved on to an insurance firm based in Doncaster. One Call’s systems have been attacked with ransomware, and the hackers are demanding a full £15 million, “or else.” Whether an attack has actually taken place or not remains to be seen though, as so far, One Call haven’t commented on this situation at all. Read more here.
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