We didn’t have to look very hard for today’s top story: a Belgian researcher says pretty much every modern wifi network out there is vulnerable to hackers, and sorry, that fancy “WPA2” password is not going to protect your network. Called the “KRACK attack,” a funny name for the “Key Reinstallation Attack,” the security hole will allegedly allow hackers to see anything and everything a wifi user is doing online.
The vulnerability was actually first detailed last May, and researcher Mathy Vanhoef says that since then, they’ve been able to refine the attack even more and that pretty much no Wi-Fi network is safe. If exploited, Vanhoef says the KRACK attack lets hackers “steal sensitive information such as credit card numbers, passwords, chat messages, emails, photos, and so on.” He says the attack works against all modern protected Wi-Fi networks.
Vanhoef also said the vulnerability was especially bad for Android and Linux users, but that essentially, all computers on all wifi networks can be affected. They even put together a video on how it works. So what to do? Not much you can do right now except run those software updates… just as soon as they come out from the parties involved. Meanwhile, you might want to think about plugging your PC in with that dusty CAT5 cable.
A fine and colorful Mate
The battle of the halo smartphones rages on, and this week’s contender is the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro, the latest top of the line phones from Chinese telecom giant Huawei. All the usual suspects are here: dual rear cameras (from Leica no less), six-inch screen with minimal bezelness, high-powered Kirin CPU, and in the Pro, which is the only version coming to the US for now, 6gb of ram and 128gb of storage. The Pro also has a headphone jack while its regular Mate 10 stablemate doesn’t.
The camera setup is unique: one lens takes arty 20-megapixel black and white shots, while the other takes 12-megapixel color photos. The phones run Android 8 with a thin layer of Huwaei’s special sauce on top. There’s also a cool “desktop mode” allowing the phones to plug into a monitor and utilize a keyboard and mouse. But, they’re not perfect, so check out DT Mobile editor Julian Chokkattu’s in-depth review for all the details and nitpicks.
Up a tree is a fine place to be
Tech companies are well known for their… unconventional… work environments, with Apple’s giant new “spaceship” campus being the latest example. Not wanting to be left out, Microsoft has literally gone back to nature with their “treehouse campus,” a series of buildings that, yes, are actual tree houses, built by Pete Nelson from the TV show “Treehouse Masters.”
The sprawling woodsy neighborhood in the sky includes meeting areas, wi-fi, A/C power, fire pits, and a barbecue restaurant built into a shipping container that is, thankfully, on the ground. Microsoft says the space is for employees to have fun, but they also say it helps workers focus by working in a less office-like environment. Coming from the 10th floor of the DT skyscraper, where our offices are made entirely out of candy (not really), we heartily agree with the tree house idea.
We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Close to the Metal (computers and such) on Tuesday, Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans) on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.