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Yahoo confirms massive data breach was real, at least 500 million accounts compromised

By the time this news report publishes, Yahoo will most likely have confirmed a massive data breach involving hundreds of millions accounts. Recode cites several sources as saying the breach is widespread and serious. And, while there’s really no good time for a hack, this comes at an especially bad time for Yahoo as it negotiates the sale of its core business in what was expected to be a $4.8 Billion transaction.

The price may go down, however, as Verizon would essentially inherit this problem as it takes over. Though details on exactly what was exposed in the breach have yet to be disclosed by Yahoo, we do know that the hack likely took place just this past August. A hacker who goes by the pseudonym “Peace” claimed the attack and said they were selling the information on the dark web.

This could turn out very messy for Yahoo –hopefully it won’t turn out messy for you. Right now, the best you can do if you have a Yahoo account, or have had one since 2012, is change your password as soon as possible.

Mysterious USB stick hackers

While we’re on the public service announcement train, here’s another one: If you one day find a USB stick in  your mailbox, throw it in the garbage. Do not stick it in your computer. It’s hard to resist, I know. What could be on it? Maybe clues as to where it came from?

Curiosity could kill your computer, though. Authorities in Australia have reported that a number of USB drives were found in mailboxes around the city of Melbourne, and those who did plug them into their computers soon regretted it as they experience immediate and serious issues, presumably because the USB sticks contain some sort of malware.

Interestingly, a US study published earlier this year found that almost half of some 300 USB sticks dropped around college campuses ended up in someone’s computer. It’s no wonder, then, why hackers are turning to this mysterious approach. Don’t be fooled!

Energy-guzzling TVs

Finally, a new study conducted by the National Resources Defense Council suggests that your new LED TV could be gobbling more electricity than you may have been led to believe. The report paints a pretty ugly picture about the tests used by the Department of Energy’s Energy Star rating system, and even goes so far as to accuse major TV manufacturers, specifically Vizio, LG, and Samsung, of gaming the system.

We’d encourage you to read our full write-up on the report, but in summary, we think it is safe to say the Energy Star testing method needs a comprehensive update. Right now, the test doesn’t go beyond HD resolution, leaving 4K Ultra HD format and HDR out of consideration entirely. But it appears TV manufacturers may be pressured into making some changes themselves.

A certain kind of backlight dimming system in use by Samsung and LG allegedly reduces power consumption when it senses the fast-moving scenes used in the DOE’s test. The dimming effect is supposedly employed to reduce power consumption during commercials, but the report makes it sound like another Volkswagen dieselgate issue.

LG and Samsung may end up ditching this part of their TV tech if pressed hard enough, but that doesn’t address the core issue which is that today’s TV’s simply consumer more electricity than the LED TVs of the past, and it’s all because of the drive to deliver a better-looking picture. The ECO modes on most TVs do not look good, and the best performance requires more energy.

We may need to accept the fact that, for now, TVs may consume a little more electricity than we’re used to as manufacturers further develop Quantum Dot and OLED technologies which naturally use less.