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DT Daily: Hacker holds iPhones hostage, MIT’s small space project, never lose your keys again

DT Daily for MAy 28, 2014: Some Apple device owners get a ransom note, living large with just 200 square feet and never lose your keys – or smartphone – again.

Several Apple tech users in Australia and New Zealand are understandably upset after they reported their devices were locked by someone who apparently hacked their iPhones, iPads or Macs through the Find My iPhone app – and then demanded a ransom to release the device.

One user posted a description of the hack attack in Apple’s user forum, saying his phone suddenly locked up and he got a message from one “Oleg Pliss” demanding $100 to release the device. Other posters said their devices went into “lost mode” and could not be unlocked. Oleg Pliss is the name of a high-ranking employee of Oracle and is not the culprit. Apple has not yet officially responded to the incident so it’s not clear how the hack was pulled off.

Posters in the Apple forum listed several workarounds, which usually included doing a full reset of the phone from a backup. And we recommend changing your PIN and password.

Many people aspire to live in a house big enough for all their stuff and, you know, maybe a sweet home theater. But a recent trend toward living in small spaces got the wheels turning at MIT and students there put together a rather cool high-tech space of just 200 square feet.

That’s not much but the trick here is the big moveable module that holds a bed, spacious desk, cooking area and more. The entire system works on gesture control and the inventive design, called CityHome, even changes up to give you a bigger bathroom! There’s even enough room for a dinner party… and apparently a disco party as well. It’s still a prototype but the lead researcher says he wants to bring it to market.

Pretty neat, but we get the sneaking suspicion we’ve seen some of these ideas somewhere before, maybe in the movies…

So, which is more frustrating, losing your keys, or your phone? Given the choice, we’d never lose either, but you know how it goes some nights. Anyway, a project called GOKey on Indiegogo looks to solve that problem once and for all and look good doing it.

The simple round GOKey pairs with your phone so if you lose your keys, you can track them down using Bluetooth. But it also works the other way as well: pushing the button on the GOKey makes your lost phone ring! That’s enough to convince us right there but the makers of GOKey have also added a short data cable for phone syncing, up to 32gb of data storage, and the best bit: the GoKey will power your phone for up to a claimed two hours.

GOKey blew past their main goal of $40,000 long ago and are now close to hitting their stretch goal of $500,000, which will add the last GPS location of your lost keys, in case, you know, you really had a good time last night.

Your host today is Caleb Denison.