#WhatTheTech 12

Written by:
Lucie Sadler
Date Posted:
19 July 2019

We’ve handpicked some tech/security related news stories from the past week, in case you missed them.

FaceApp privacy warning
The #faceappchallenge has gone viral this week, with users sharing a glimpse of what they could look like in the future using FaceApp’s ageing filter.

The Russian-developed app uses artificial intelligence to alter images that are uploaded to the app, which has caused some concern amongst security-conscious users. According to the app’s Privacy Policy, FaceApp keeps hold of the photos that are uploaded to the app. It also states that it shares information with third-party advertising partners.

FaceApp does say that photos are deleted from their servers within 48 hours, but some security researchers are calling for a formal investigation into the storage and ownership of photos that are loaded onto the app.

$5bn US fine for Facebook
Facebook has been fined $5bn (£4bn) in the US over the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The fine is the largest ever to be imposed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on a tech company.

The settlement closes an investigation into the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, but details of the settlement have not been made public. Many tech critics in Congress felt that the fine wasn’t tough enough on Facebook and the way that they handled consumer data. The fine represents a mere 9% of Facebook’s total yearly revenue. Facebook is said to have expected a fine of this size and told investors in April this year that it had put aside most of the money, meaning that they won’t feel much added financial loss from this fine.

It has not been revealed if additional security and privacy measures may be placed on Facebook or if there will be any personal repercussions for Mark Zuckerberg. Investors have responded positively to the news, pushing Facebook shares up 1.8%.

“Just a second…”
DeepCubeA, an algorithm created by researchers at the University of California, has solved a Rubik’s Cube in just over one second using AI.

The artificial intelligence system learned how to solve the puzzle on its own and according to the researchers, chose a very different strategy and form of reasoning to humans.

The algorithm was given 10 billion different combinations of the puzzle, with the target to decode all of them within 30 moves. Humans who can solve the puzzle quickly generally take about 50 moves. The AI system solved it in an average of 28 moves.

Other computer algorithms have solved the puzzle in record times but were based on systems that mimic how the human brain works or were programmed to only solve the puzzle. This AI algorithm is the first of its kind to create a system for teaching itself to complete the challenge and is a step towards creating an AI that can solve real-world problems.

iOS 13 Keychain bug found
Developers have discovered a bug in the iOS 13 beta which made it easy for them to access ‘Website & App Passwords’ data in Settings.

The security flaw allowed testers to avoid any biometric authentication in Settings when accessing iCloud Keychain passwords. They could continue to tap the ‘Website & App Passwords’ menu until it showed all the passwords and logins, even if the user had not authenticated their identity.

The security flaw was found in the developer beta 3 which was released at the start of July. Apple is expected to fix the flaw in the next beta or by the time that iOS 13 launches in September. This discovery reinforces why beta versions are so important in identifying issues before the final versions are rolled out.

We’ll be back next week with more tech news!

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