Around the IT Industry 10/28-11/1

by Modis on November 1, 2013

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At Least 38 Million Accounts Breached in Adobe Hack

According to Adobe, some 38 million active accounts, including usernames and encrypted passwords were recently hacked. Some accounts that had been unused for more than two years were also affected. The hackers also stole some of the source code behind Photoshop, the well-known photo editing software. Hackers also took some of the source code for PDF document editing software Acrobat and the web application creation software, ColdFusion. Though the passwords were stolen, they were hashed, so there was no way they could be reversed to see the original text. So far, Adobe reports no adverse or unauthorized activity on any of the accounts affected by the hack.

One Step Closer to Artificial Intelligence: Computer Cracks CAPTCHAs

San Francisco based tech start-up Vicarious has said they have developed software that mimics the human brain in one way: it cracks CAPTCHAs, those nonsensical and sometimes nearly illegible strings of letters and numbers many websites use to combat spam. These are designed to “prove you’re not a robot” and are a real human behind the screen, intending to sign up for a service or submit a form. This is not the first time companies have claimed computers can break these CAPTCHAs, and the demo on the company’s website isn’t enough to convince some that it is possible. Some maintain that once computers break the letters and numbers, CAPTCHAs will move to something more complex, such as pictures.

Could the Government Install a Black Box in Your Car for Taxes?

As road planners struggle to find money in the budget to repair the crumbling roadways across the country, a new plan may be in the works to recoup some of the cost. A small black box that fits under the dashboard of your car may soon track every mile you drive, and possibly your location. The data would be used to determine your “impact” and present you with a tax bill based on how much you drive. Right now, there’s a fuss in the government over privacy concerns, and many states aren’t waiting for Congress to make up their mind. They’re already thinking about how they can make use of the system over the next decade to bring in additional revenue.

Google’s Robot Cars are Safer Drivers than Humans

Data from Google’s self-driving Prius and Lexus vehicles show those cars are safer on the road than humans behind the wheel. The information indicates the self-driving cars move smoother and safer than they would with a human driver. Right now, the cars are being tested in California and Nevada, and the data presented shows more than a few hundred miles logged. These cars have safely navigated thousands of miles on public roads. Compared to a human driver, these cars accelerate and brake much less sharply, while maintaining a safe distance from vehicles in front of them. And the information doesn’t compare to the typical human driver, it’s compared to trained professional drivers participating in Google’s autonomous car project.

iCloud Local Password Storage: False Claims?

With the new iCloud Keychain, Apple claims that it can sync passwords across all your devices attached to the cloud, without saving the data in the cloud itself. Most password managers sync passwords across multiple devices by storing them in a cloud, but Apple’s claim, though it could be an error in the original support document, seems false. After testing, it appears the passwords sync across devices despite “being stored locally.” When using various devices without an Internet connection, none of the information displays, but the second you connect to the Internet (thus giving you access to “the cloud”) you get your password. We’ll have to wait and see if Apple clarifies whether this is an error, or how exactly it can sync across multiple devices without Internet access.

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