ExtraBITS for 5 September 2016
In ExtraBITS this week, we now know the full scale of the 2012 Dropbox hack, the BitTorrent client Transmission has been infected with malware again, and Walt Mossberg evaluates Tim Cook’s run as Apple’s CEO.
Full Scale of Dropbox Hack Revealed — File sharing service Dropbox is warning users who created accounts before 2012 to change their passwords, due to a breach that occurred that year. (If you’ve already changed your password, there’s no need to do so again willy-nilly.) Dropbox previously disclosed the attack, but the full scope of the breach has only recently become known: 5 GB of documents containing email addresses and hashed passwords for over 68 million users. If you used a high-quality password and didn’t reuse it on other sites, there
is little cause for alarm, thanks to Dropbox’s strong password hashing, but you should change your password if prompted.
Transmission Infected with Malware… Again — Back in March 2016, we reported that version 2.90 of the Transmission BitTorrent client had been hacked to include the KeRanger ransomware. Though Transmission’s developers acted quickly to solve that problem, it has happened again. For less than 24 hours between August 28th and 29th, the distribution copy of Transmission 2.92 was infected with the OSX/Keydnap malware, so if you downloaded Transmission during that time, your Mac might be infected. Transmission’s developers once again resolved the problem quickly and posted instructions for eliminating OSX/Keydnap from
an infected Mac, but anyone contemplating using Transmission should keep this risk in mind. Note too that several studies have identified a significant percentage of BitTorrent downloads as containing malware — stick to the well-lit parts of the Internet if you’re concerned about safety.
Walt Mossberg Evaluates Tim Cook’s Apple — Veteran tech journalist Walt Mossberg has taken a look at Apple under CEO Tim Cook, five years after Cook took the position. Overall, Mossberg praised Cook for guiding the company to new financial heights, refining its product lines, and retaining most of its senior talent. However, Mossberg deducts points for the fact that Apple under Cook has yet to introduce a game-changing product, though he admits that the Apple Watch might be that game-changer, saying that it took 3–4 years before the iPod took off. We’d also
note that some of Apple’s biggest wins were actually low-hanging fruit — the iMac, iPod, iPhone, and MacBook Air all entered markets with radically inferior competition (the iPad didn’t have much to compete with in terms of tablets, but Steve Jobs set it against the entire netbook category). But there isn’t much easily reached fruit left in the consumer electronics world.