Spotify Encourages Journalists to Plug in Random USB Drives

As part of a promotion for a podcast, Spotify sent USB drives to journalists. But the move was criticized by computer security researchers.

But anyone with basic security training under their hat — which here at TechCrunch we do — will know to never plug in a USB drive without taking some precautions first.

Plugging in random USB drives is a bigger problem than you might think. Elie Bursztein, a Google security researcher, found in his own research that about half of all people will plug into their computer random USB drives.

I doubt anyone at Spotify was clueless about the security risk. But negative publicity is still publicity.

A Look Back at The Decade's Worst Hacks

As the decade comes to an end, we’re all in a reflective mood. Wired looked back at some of the worst cybersecurity incidents of the last 10-years.

Over the last decade, hacking became less of a novelty and more of a fact of life for billions of people around the world. Regular people lost control of their data, faced invasive surveillance from repressive regimes, had their identities stolen, realized a stranger was lurking on their Netflix account, dealt with government-imposed internet blackouts, or, for the first time ever, literally found themselves caught in the middle of a destructive cyberwar. It’s been apparent for decades that an increasingly computerized world would inevitably invite constant digital threats. But the actual evolution of hacking—with all its scams, criminal black markets, and state sponsored forces—has been characteristically human, not a sterile, dispassionate artifact of an unknown future.


Sling TV Adds News Channels and $5 to Monthly price

Sling TV, the live-streaming TV service, added more news channels such as MSNBC and Fox News to its plans on Monday. Existing users will see a $5 increase in their monthly price, 9to5Mac reported.

The price jump means both Blue and Orange service plans will now start at $30/month each. Sling divides channels by plans to make access more affordable. Subscribers who want all channels can subscribe to plans at a new price of $45/month. Sling TV adds that the price increase is the first for the Blue plan since it launched four years ago and the first for the Orange plan since June 2018. During that period, new channels and features including Cloud DVR Free have been added to the service.

AirPods Pro and Bluetooth Latency

As with most Bluetooth devices, audio latency is a problem with AirPods. However, the composer and software developer Stephen Coyle found that Apple noticeably reduced it with the new AirPods Pros.

Looking to the AirPods first, there’s a very encouraging trend occurring. They drop from 274ms to 178ms going from the first to second generation, and the AirPods Pro take it down even further, to 144ms. While a 130ms reduction may not seem like a lot, the perceptual difference from this makes the AirPods Pro tantalisingly close to seamless. Keyboard clicks are near enough to their corresponding keypresses that they feel like they’re actually related to them, not just the cacophony of blips they had seemed before. Tapt is playable, but only just; there’s still additional cognitive load caused by the delay, which I’m sure affects other rhythm-based games equally, and risks upsetting the playability of games that rely heavily on audio cues. However, it’s a lot better, and it looks like things are heading very much in the right direction.