Tech Today: March 1, 2021

Tech Today: March 1, 2021

Welcome to March! It’s a new month and Tech for the People is back. Here’s what you need to know about what happened in tech today:

Gab got hacked, blames “demon hackers”
Someone took advantage of some extremely basic security flaws to get into Gab’s database. According to The Verge, they got “private messages from some 15,000 Gab users,” as well as “user profiles, some users’ hashed passwords, and passwords for groups.” DDoSecrets has the data and will be sharing it with researchers and journalists.
In response, Gab’s CEO Andrew Toba blamed transgender “demon hackers” (but used a slur for trans people, of course). Tech for the People stands in solidarity with trans demon hackers everywhere.

This is innovation? Instagram launches Live Rooms, YouTube launches Shorts
We’re told capitalism leads to innovation, but social media companies seem to just be copying each other’s features and putting a new coat of paint on them. From Snapchat’s basic feature to Instagram and Facebook stories to Twitter Fleets, and from Clubhouse’s audio rooms to Twitter’s Spaces and now Instagram’s Live Rooms, we’re seeing the same idea recycled. Live Rooms let up to four people broadcast video live together. I’m sure we’ll see this in Facebook Live soon, too.
Meanwhile, YouTube has launched its version of TikTok, called “Shorts.” We could have saved some time – and app downloads – if these engineers weren’t being forced to compete with each other.
Maybe Gab was too busy working on chat to fix their security holes.

Digital Divide shows itself in vaccine application process
Talking on a flip phone to the New York Times, 84-year-old CA resident Annette Carlin says “it’s very frustrating” trying to schedule a vaccine appointment.
Reservation websites and even phone lines have been a disaster in cities and counties across the country, often being overwhelmed by the desire of nearly everyone to get their hands on a COVID vaccine – or, better, to get one in their arms. Those without Internet service are at a serious disadvantage. Those like Ms. Carlin, who don’t have a computer and even then would have to face navigating the byzantine reservation websites, might then have to wait on the phone for hours, or try calling for days.

Don’t blame the intern
Last week, the former CEO of Solarwinds – the target of a massive attack in 2019 and 2020 – testified in front of the House Oversight and Homeland Security Committee on what exactly happened to cause the breach. Kevin Thompson tried to blame a bad password created by an intern for the entire situation. Whether that’s the source isn’t known yet.
We all know why solarwinds123 would be a bad password (read here if you need a refresher), but the intern can’t be blamed for this: a company needs to have policies and procedures that would prevent weak passwords and other security issues.