Newsletter Archives

  • The best tech secrets of 2022: AirTags, TikTok, Twitter, oh my

    newsletter banner

    ISSUE 19.52 • 2022-12-26
    Look for our BONUS issue on January 2, 2023!


    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    Amid my efforts to help you protect yourself against some rather aggressive technologies, I’m glad to report that there’s been at least some progress this year on the worst aspects of our “labor-saving” devices.

    Please note: I’m not claiming that my columns by themselves caused any of the changes I describe below. I just report the problems. We can all celebrate when bad tech is improved, whoever may have developed a particular solution.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.52.0, 2022-12-26).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Will the last tech worker who is fired please turn off the server


    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    A wave of layoffs by the world’s largest technology companies is causing widespread fears. People are afraid that the growth spurt in online commerce that occurred during the coronavirus pandemic may be over — and opportunities for tech employment may never be the same again.

    Firings and separations are certainly ripping through the Internet at a rapid pace. But the impact of all this downsizing may not be exactly what you might expect.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.51.0, 2022-12-19).

  • The Council of Truth and Wide Diversity


    Max Oppenheimer

    By Max Stul Oppenheimer, Esq.

    Elon Musk now owns Twitter and has announced that it will return to being a platform for free speech.

    With exceptions, of course.

    While the Twitterverse was all atwitter about the acquisition, Musk explained what he meant.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.46.0, 2022-11-14).

  • Twitter accounts are 80% bots, expert says


    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    More than 80% of the accounts on Twitter are likely to be nothing more than automated bots, according to a study by the head of intelligence at F5, an international network-security firm with offices in 43 countries.

    Even worse, bots represent as much as 99% of the login traffic at some highly visible websites — perhaps even one of your favorites.

    These are the conclusions of a study by Dan Woods, who was a cyberoperations officer with the CIA prior to taking his current role at F5 six years ago.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.37.0, 2022-09-12).

  • Massive Twitter hack: Don’t send bitcoin in response to a Twitter request

    This is happening right now…

    The Twitter accounts of Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Apple, Kanye West, Mike Bloomberg, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Uber and many more were compromised by persons unknown. They’re sending out tweets that look like this:

    Not sure how Twitter is going to fix it.

    P.S. You can watch the Bitcoin account get larger here. As of 3.30 pm Pacific time, it’s at 12.86030607 bitcoin, which is worth roughly $118,000.

  • I just swapped the Twitter handles @woodyleonhard and @AskWoody

    Those of you who watch for such things may notice that my tweets now come from @AskWoody, whereas before they were coming from @woodyleonhard.

    It’s not a big deal. (I think.) I did a lot of testing and it looks like you won’t notice a difference, with two exceptions:

    • If you want to add me to a thread, use @AskWoody
    • If you want to send me a direct message, send it to @AskWoody

    I’ll continue to watch the @woodyleonhard account for the foreseeable future, but from here on it’ll be faster to get to me via @AskWoody.

    Let me know of any problems!

  • Another Twitter scam: No, Elon Musk is not giving away Bitcoin

    Looks like the @PantheonBooks account was compromised. Pantheon Books is a biggie, a division of Random House, with 70,000 followers.

    Goes to show how much you should trust the “verified” blue tick mark — and the first dozen or so responses to the post, all from verified accounts, all saying they’d received Bitcoin.

    See Oliver Hough’s follow-up

    And Kevin Beaumont’s analysis.

  • Twitter is down

    It’s been down since about 5 am Central time, about an hour ago.

    Many of you scoff, but I’m 100% convinced that Twitter is the best source of technical news (and general news, too). If you haven’t tried it, you should.

    At least, when it comes back up. Gulp.


    UPDATE: It’s back up. Went down for me for about an hour and a half. Ouch.

    Another UPDATE: Down again.

    Twitter status page on the web says there was a service issue 8 minutes ago. I think Twitter’s service status page is built on Microsoft technology. Or at least Microsoft-style transparency.

  • breaking news gets Twitter twist

    Signs of intelligent life in Redmond….

    InfoWorld Tech Watch

  • Look, don’t Tweet XSS Twitter

    Rob Rosenberger had me laughing with this “Emperor has no Clothes” assessment of Mikko Hypponen’s tweets regarding the new XSS Twitter worm.

    Neowin reports that the XSS Twitter worm – which only affects those of you who are on Twitter – was written by a bored 17-year-old, who takes full responsibility for the worm:

    Over the Easter weekend, Twitter fell victim to yet another attack against the micro-blogging service. This time the attacker was 17 year old Mikeyy Mooney, who claims full responsibility for the attack, saying “I am aware of the attack and yes I am behind this attack”.

    The attack was harmless in a sense that no passwords or users data was compromised or stolen, only leaving messages on peoples Twitter page such as “Dude, is awesome. What’s the fuss?”. The worm infected other Twitter users when someone visited another person’s page, making the worm spread rapidly. The messages linked users to Mikeyy Mooneys own web site which offers similar features and style as Twitter does.

    Mikeyy Mooney described how he carried out the attack, “I am the person who coded the XSS which then acted as a worm when it auto updated a users profile and status, which then infected other users who viewed their profile. I did this out of boredom, to be honest. I usually like to find vulnerabilities within websites and try not to cause too much damage, but start a worm or something to give the developers an insight on the problem and while doing so, promoting myself or my website.”

    Ah, the ingenuity of America’s youth. Put that kid to work! He’s an ace XSS programmer…

  • Sun won’t turn blue after all


    Two good merger rumors and they both turn belly-up.

    Google probably won’t buy Twitter. And IBM (almost) definitely won’t buy Sun.

  • Google to Twit?

    Man, the merger rumors are out in full force.

    The New York Times reports that IBM is poised to pay $7 billion for Sun.

    And TechCrunch says they have reports from two independent sources that Google is close to buying Twitter.

    Must be something in the water.

    UPDATE: Kara Swisher at All Things Digital says, “In fact, Twitter and Google (GOOG) have simply been engaged in “some product-related discussions,” according to one source, around real-time search and the search giant better crawling the microblogging service.”

    So why does the rumor get such traction? Because Google buying Twitter makes a whole lotta sense, for both sides.