#WhatTheTech 16

Written by:
Leah Johnston
Date Posted:
16 August 2019

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

Location leak on dating apps
Up to 10 million global users of popular dating apps have had their precise locations leaked, researchers claim.

High-end security testers, Pen Test Partners, have said that dating apps Romeo, Grindr and Recon have all been leaking the exact location data of their users. They were even able to develop a tool able to accumulate the user’s GPS coordinates.

The investigation stems from a report by the same company related to relationship application 3Fun, who were found to not only be leaking locations of users, but also sexual preferences, pictures, dates of birth and private chat data. 

Using all 4 dating apps under scrutiny, the team at Pen Test Partners were able to generate global user location maps using trilateration (algorithms based on longitude, altitude and latitude) and GPS spoofing.

Leaking exact locations is not only a data breach but a real safety risk to individuals. 

No phone? #tweetfromyourfridge
Keeping your beers cold, storing the weekly shopping, and now acting as a platform to access the internet – the fridge has truly evolved. 

A teenager in the US, known as Dorothy, claims to have used her smart fridge to tweet after her mum took her smart devices away.

Dorothy tweeted, “I do not know if this is going to tweet I am talking to my fridge what the heck my Mom confiscated all of my electronics again.”

And the domestic peculiarity doesn’t stop with fridges – selected washing machines, kettles, toasters and ovens are also now able to connect to Twitter! 

Android App Malware
Security researchers have detected and reported a malicious ‘clicker trojan’, which has been installed more than 100 million times on Android devices. The malware is designed to generate fraudulent subscription and click-through revenue for its developers.

The security researchers have advised that the malware has been built into “ordinary applications, such as dictionaries, online maps, audio players barcode scanners, and other software”, all of which on the surface seem to function normally. Unfortunately, this deters users from suspecting anything suspicious. 

The Doctor Web researchers also revealed that the malware only starts malicious activity eight hours after launch, which makes it even less likely the user will suspect any fraudulent activity on the app.

Reports suggest that the applications with malware embedded were installed by a staggering 101.7 million users. 

For now, a number of the infected apps have been removed from Android’s Play Store, but how long until the next app infiltration?

US Navy go back to basics
The US navy has decided to ditch touch screen controls on destroyers, due to two accidents being caused by unfamiliarity with the complex systems.

The collisions, thought to be caused by poor training, caused the death of 17 sailors according to incident reports. Sailors were unsure how to use such complex systems in emergencies, ultimately leading to disaster.

Rear Adm Bill Galinis, who oversees US Navy ship design, revealed that the control systems were ‘overly complex’, as shipbuilders lacked official guidance on how they should actually work.

This meant that control systems on different ships had very little in common, meaning sailors struggled to find key elements on the touch screens.  Surveys of the crew found that sailors ‘overwhelmingly’ preferred to control ships in the traditional manner, with wheels and throttles. So, the sailors want to jump ship, and they have been heard. Physical throttle and wheel systems to replace touch screens are in development and are expected to be implemented in the summer of 2020. 

Knot how we’d expect technology to progress…

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

#WhatTheTech 16 - Hyve's technology News of the Week

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