Petya ransomware epidemic spreads, old NSA Windows exploit may be key

It’s enough to make you upgrade to Windows 10

Once again, computer users are on edge over the latest ransomware attack that has spread through the interwebs. Just a few weeks ago, the WannaCry attack was making users puddle up and pay at least $300 to get their files de-cryprted. This time, the attacking malware is being called Petya, and it appears the primary target was the embattled country of the Ukraine, although the virus has now spilled out into the larger world.

The New York Times said cybersecurity experts at Symantec indicated the attack is hitting Windows computers through an NSA-developed exploit known as Eternal Blue, which they said was leaked online by the Shadow Brokers hacking group back in April. However, it doesn’t look like a financial bonanza for the unknown perpetrators, as it appears only a few dozen people have paid the $300 bitcoin ransom. Still, if in doubt, just don’t click on that email link. Learn more about the Petya ransomware attack.

Hoodies for everyone!

Congratulations are in order for Facebook, the obscure social network that just hit 2 billion users. Yeah, we don’t know anyone that uses it either. But with about 2 out of every 7 people on the planet now connected, chances are you might know someone “Facebooks.” All kidding aside, it is a big milestone for “The Facebook,” as it was originally called when it launched on February 4th, 2004 by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg and a cadre of friends.

Since then, Facebook has become a tech juggernaut, with a market cap of nearly $450 billion and popular sub-brands such as Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus VR and more. Head Facebooker Mark Zuckerberg is now the fifth wealthiest person on earth and Forbes ranks him as the Number 10 most influential person on the planet. Not bad for a Harvard dropout. Learn to code, kids, learn to code.

The tech below the surface

Edge-to-edge displays on cell phones are becoming a thing now, with handsets like the Xaiomi Mi Mix and others pushing screen real estate right to the edge of device. It looks cool, but there’s a problem: fingerprint readers won’t always work through those super-stylish displays. It’s a problem that reportedly has delayed production of Apple’s highly-anticipated iPhone 8, which is due out this fall. Now comes word from several sources that the problem may have been solved.

Mashable and others are reporting phone maker Vivo has shown a working sub-screen print reader at Mobile World Congress in Shanghai, and some video clips seems to bear out the news. The reader is made by Qualcomm and reportedly uses ultrasonic technology to read fingerprints through glass, water and even aluminum. At present, the reader takes a bit longer to authenticate than current tech like Apple’s home button reader and others.

But as you can imagine, updates will increase speed and a few years from now, we’ll wonder why we ever even had to have a home button – or a phone with bezels of any kind at all.

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.

Computing

Canada’s winters inspired a startup to warm homes with cryptomining heat waste

Cryptomining may be the key to untold riches and the future of currency, but it’s also an environmental nightmare. Heatmine, thinks it has the answer, but it could mean bolting a mining rig onto every home and business in the country.
Mobile

Midrange phones can’t do A.I., but MediaTek’s P90 chip aims to change that

MediaTek has announced the Helio P90 mobile processor, which it says will bring the best A.I. features we see on high-end smartphones, to the mid-range. We spoke to the company about the chip.
Mobile

On a budget? We found the best affordable smartphones you can buy

Here are the best cheap phones for anyone working with a tight budget, whether you're a fan of stock Android or marathon battery life. Find out what you can get for under $500 or far, far less as we round up the best budget smartphones.
Gaming

‘Fortnite’ streamer reportedly arrested after abusing wife while on Twitch

An Australian Fortnite streamer who goes by the name MrDeathMoth abused his pregnant wife while he was live on Twitch. An anonymous cybersecurity expert took matters into his own hands, resulting in the arrest of the streamer.
Digital Trends Live

Pro4Ma CEO Liz Dunn explains the retail trends of Black Friday, Cyber Monday

Black Friday is a day of sales, but also of chaos. Pro4MA CEO Liz Dunn appeared on Digital Trends Live to discuss the shifts she has seen in Black Friday weekend, and what they mean for consumers.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Self-driving cars, ocean exploration, and holiday shopping

Today on Digital Trends Live, we discussed the first self-driving car service in Phoenix, an expedition heading to the bottom of the world's oceans, and talked to Liz Dunn from Pro4ma about holiday shopping trends.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Alexa updates, Uber’s self-driving cars, and more

On this episode of Digital Trends Live, Senior Editor Caleb Denison discussed the best streaming devices and we welcomed Danny Pyell and Felia Mano, the Nintendo Power Couple, and Kelly Dachtler from OBVS to the show.
Digital Trends Live

CEO of shoe startup OB/VS talks about exploration-focused footwear

Today we had the founder of OB/VS Kelly Dachtler to talk about why he wanted to start a footwear company, what makes the shoes his firm manufactures unique, and what future products are in store.
Digital Trends Live

HouseSpecial animation team brings DT’s Holiday Gift Guide to life with miniatures

Digital Trends partnered with animation company HouseSpecial to create this year's Holiday Gift Guide. We sat down with art director Gee Staughton to discuss how HouseSpecial brought life to the project.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: The Game Awards recap, smart home hackers, and more

On episode 32 of Digital Trends Live, DT's live morning show, hosts Greg Nibler and Jeremy Kaplan broke down the news of the day, including a recap of The Game Awards, a smart home hacking, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Jobbatical’s Lauren Proctor discusses the future of jobs for tech experts

Today on Digital Trends Live we had Jobbatical's Lauren Proctor to talk about the future trends for finding tech jobs abroad, including a Digital Nomad Visa, which allows tech experts to travel from country to country much easier.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Amazon Go expansions, the robocall onslaught, more

On this episode of Digital Trends' live morning show, Digital Trends Live, hosts Greg Nibler and Jeremy Kaplan explored the news of the day, including Amazon Go's potential expansion, the robocall onslaught, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Twitch streamer Fuslie gives a glimpse of her life and future plans

Today, we welcomed Twitch streamer Fuslie to talk about how her career goals shifted from becoming a veterinarian to a full-time streamer. Also, she shared what her future plans are for streaming and created content.
Digital Trends Live

Cryptocurrency investor Ian Balina sees a comeback for cryptocurrency in 2019

We chatted with crypto investor Ian Balina on what the future is for cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin. He also gave us three things to look for when we are investing our own money.