Friday Tech Roundup (01 November 2013): Journalist discovers just how vulnerable we are to hackers


By on November 1, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Welcome to the Friday Tech Roundup! Contained herein is your weekly dose of some of the best tech news from across the Internet, rounded up for your edification and entertainment. Read on for all the details of a journalist’s investigation into online safety and hacking, Google Glass 2.0, the risks inherent in piloting drones around bushfires, and the US Navy’s monstrous new destroyer.

Journalist employs hackers to test his online security, is horrified at result

Investigative journalist and editor of PandoDaily Adam Penenberg is no stranger to solicited invasions of his privacy. Last year in an article for Forbes magazine, Penenberg hired a private investigator to delve into his life to see how much of his supposedly private information was available to prying eyes. A week later, the investigator returned with Penenberg’s social security number, stock holdings, and more. Given the current widespread concern over digital privacy Penenberg has repeated the experiment, this time employing the services of SpiderLabs, the “ethical hacking team” at Trustwave.

The “penetration test” performed by the hacking specialist produced some disturbing results, even while bound by Penenberg to not break the law, or to involve his children. By sending phishing email to Penenberg’s wife and having her simply click a link, they were able to gain access her local machine, email accounts, online banking systems, and the simplistic formula Penenberg uses to come up with new passwords. His Twitter and Facebook accounts were compromised and used to post cryptic messages, and his phone and laptop were remotely locked down. He closes his article with a tagline that elicits a chill, “And if I’m not safe, are you?”

Second revision of Google Glass is on its way

Google Glass Explorers will soon be eligible to “swap out” their current Google Glass units, in exchange for a new version of the head mounted display, says Google. Currently little is known about what exactly will have changed for the new version, aside from the fact that it will “work with future lines of shades and prescription frames,” and will come with a mono earbud, assumedly replacing or as an alternative to the oft-maligned bone conduction speaker.  Existing Google Glass Explorers will receive details soon via email, along with three invitations to bring friends into the $1500 program.

Xbox One Kinect

Leaked Xbox One instruction manual shows improved Kinect usage specs

Based on a leaked instruction manual, details on the setup required for use of the Xbox One’s Kinect 2.0 are now in the wild, and seem to be a significant improvement over the requirements for the original. Users can expect to be able to stand much closer this time around, with official requirements citing a 1.4 metre minimum, a 0.4 meter improvement over the original. The new version of Kinect can also be mounted much higher than last time around, within a range of 0.6-1.8 metres from the ground.

Casual drone pilots warned to stay away from bushfires

The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority has cautioned drone pilots against the dangers of flying their unmanned aircraft over bushfire-affected areas, reports the ABC. According to CASA regulations, it is illegal to fly a drone within 30 metres of a people without explicit permission, and through any restricted airspace, including active bushfire zones. CASA director of aviation safety, John McCormick, says that “Flying an unapproved remotely piloted aircraft near firefighting aircraft, firefighters and firefighting vehicles is dangerous.” CASA spokesperson Peter Gibson also notes that air crews could even be forced to land, thus leaving fires unfought for a period of time, “If they stop for half an hour or an hour, the bushfire will continue to burn and could put properties and lives at extra risk,” he said. “If we get evidence of drones being used in an unsafe manner, we certainly will issue fines and the fines can be many thousands of dollars.”

America’s newest destroyer looks like a Bond villain’s fever dream

The USS Zumwalt has been launched from its berth in Bath, Maine, and leads the charge on a new generation of high power-capacity destroyers, expected to rule the seas from early 2016. According to Bath Iron Works, the Zumwalt is the largest ship every produced by the shipyard. “The launch was unprecedented in both its size and complexity,” said Capt. Jim Downey, the Zumwalt-class program manager for the US Navy’s Program Executive Office, Ships. This monstrosity of iron and steel will be equipped with an all-electric integrated power system, and an “Advanced Gun System, designed to fire rocket-powered, precision projectiles 63-nautical miles,” and is designed to have a significantly reduced radar profile, and operate with far fewer personnel.

13 comments (Leave your own)

“has cautioned done pilots” just a small error :)


Thanks :)


I’m not afraid to admit I enjoy Just Dance series on Kinect so the knowledge I can dance like I want too without kicking my couch makes me happy… Now I just need to train my cat to avoid walk around the rug while I’m busting a move.


The new captain of the american destroyer is apparently captain James Kirk. Here’s hoping there’s a USS Enterprise B for him to captain one day with the current one decommissioned.


An EMP generator will stahp that ship pretty Quick :)

So would the Germans for that matter. Actually the Americans that built it have already destroyed it. You seen todays American cars? Ship has no chance.


An EMP generator will stahp that ship pretty Quick :)

Hehe nice BF4 SP campaign reference.


hehe silly people who built that ship,
don’t they know it is upside down.


hehesilly peoplewho built that ship,don’t they know it is upside down.

I imagine its shape is purely to lower sonar detection.

People often ignore their internet security and assume they are safe. Whilst I have things to work on I do what I can to avoid falling into traps especially via a phishing email which was claimed to start all of this Journalists breaches.


An EMP generator will stahp that ship pretty Quick :)

So would the Germans for that matter. Actually the Americans that built it have already destroyed it. You seen todays American cars? Ship has no chance.

Oh by all means, enlighten us with your extensive knowledge of this new warship.

With 20 Mk.57 VLS modules (80 Launch cells) with 4 ESSM per cell and AEGIS, any decent anti air missle loadout will kill any incoming threat and respond in kind. If there is one thing the Yanks know how to build, it’s a warship.


“And if I’m not safe, are you?”

I don’t click on random links in my email …


Or share your computer.

My dad lets mum use his computer. I don’t let her use mine.



If there is one thing the Yanks know how to build, it’s a warship.

They’d better; they blow bajillions of dollars on them afterall.

This however, looks like it could fall over in high seas.



I hear Starfleet officers who are “between ships” like to borrow Klingon Birds of Prey in the meantime. Hope this ship turns out to be workable, looks interesting. And also runs linux.

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