This week, Thunderbolt endangers computers, Sony eliminates free games on the PS3, and the internet enhances a hoax.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLuGHiTz Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the DDR community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bar Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and judging engineering notebooks at competitions. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors.
Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.
Over the last couple of weeks, there have been a number of reminders that any device that plugs into a computer port can be a hazard. This is even truer when the device plugs into an actively powered port, like USB. A few weeks ago, a flaw was demonstrated that showed that a USB cable could easily be made to create an opening for remote hacking into a system. The flaw is called BadUSB and was actually discovered years ago. Only recently, however, was the flaw applied to anything other than storage devices.
If you are a PlayStation Plus subscriber, you may have noticed a change to your free game selection this month. That's because, starting March 2019, Sony will no longer include PlayStation 3 or PlayStation Vita games in the selection. This is not a surprise, from the perspective that Sony announced a year ago that it was coming. It is a surprise, however, from the perspective that the company's competitors are moving the other way.
Over the past year, the issue of child privacy and protection online has become a big topic, and for good reason. Many large companies have either passively ignored their responsibilities, or have actively gone out of their ways to target children. Last April, YouTube was accused of purposely collecting information from minors, with a significant amount of evidence. Only a week later, another report exposed a large number of violations in Google Play. In July, Facebook and Instagram began purging profiles of those who do not have parental permission for an account.
An internet meme referred to as the "Momo Challenge" resurfaced this week after an uncredited blog posted a vague piece about an unattached YouTube video. The site, called pedimom (which now appears to be offline) contains an anonymous post by an author who claims to be a "physician mom," but cites no references to verify. In the post, the author claimed to have spotted a video appearing in YouTube Kids that cut from a cartoon to a guy walking in, offering instructions on how to kill themselves.