Top Stories for the Week of August 30, 2017

  • Episode 519
  • August 30, 2017
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Here are the stories we're following for the week of Wednesday August 30, 2017

Burger King Now Has Its Own Cryptocurrency in Russia - the 'Whoppercoin'.

According to New York Magazine who published the story based on Russian news reports, the Russian subdivision of Burger King has launched its own cryptocurrency, aptly called "Whoppercoin".

For each Whopper burger customers purchase, they'll receive one Whoppercoin in a special cryptocurrency wallet.

While the coins' wider use is unclear, some reports suggest that the Whoppercoin will be accepted as payment at Burger Kings across Russia.

Burger King has reportedly issued one billion Whoppercoin tokens to date on Waves Platform, though it is possible that there will be more to come.

According to reports, Burger King Russia is now also accepting bitcoin as a form of payment.


Sent to us by: The Albuquerque Turque

The Pepper robot has demonstrated its ability to perform a funeral in place of a Buddhist monk.

When the robot apocalypse comes, robots will be able to say a prayer over your remains, thanks to Japan's Softbank.

This week at Tokyo's International Funeral & Cemetery Show, Softbank's Pepper robot demonstrated its ability to perform Buddhist funeral rites through third party software designed for the task.

Draped in traditional Japanese funeral garb, Pepper not only presided over a faux death ceremony, it also chanted Buddhist sutras, taking over the usual role of a human monk during such ceremonies.

So far, Pepper isn't actually performing any real funeral rites, but Japan's Nissei Eco developed the funeral software for Pepper as an alternative when a Buddhist monk isn't available, or when the family can't afford the more expensive human practitioner (the service will cost about $450 versus the thousands of dollars usually spent for a human.


Sent to us by: Jeff Weston

A nasty firmware update butchers Samsung smart TVs so badly that they have to be repaired.

Owners of Samsung smart TVs say their swish sets are basically unusable after a bungled firmware update.

The update was so bad, it looks as though it will require people to send or bring their televisions back to base for repair to correct the issue.

People posting on Samsung UK's support forums report that an update released on August 8 rendered many newer smart sets – such as 50-inch Ultra HD and 49-inch 4K displays – entirely unusable.

Judging from the dozens of complaints, the gear functioned as expected prior to getting the most recent firmware upgrade from the South Korean giant. After that software is installed, the smart televisions are stuck on a single channel, the remotes don't work, the volume can't be adjusted, or in some cases they are just totally inoperable.

We saw this last week with smart door locks, and it's a terrible situation for end users. Don't install firmware updates and you'll miss out on security patches and potentially be vulnerable to exploit or other threats. Do install updates, and your device might be bricked.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash

DJI has announced a bug bounty program to pay hackers to report exploits.

Bending to public pressure as more and more drone hackers break into their kit, Chinese firm DJI has now announced a bug bounty program.

"Security researchers, academic scholars and independent experts often provide a valuable service by analysing the code in DJI's apps and other software products and bringing concerns to public attention," said DJI's director of technical standards, Walter Stockwell, in a canned quote.

This comes hot on the heels of hackers discovering hot-patching frameworks hidden inside DJI's app, which it removed last week.

In particular, DJI is interested in bugs pertaining to safe flight or data privacy.

Payouts will range between $100 and $30,000 "depending on the potential impact of the threat". Conscientious drone hackers are invited to email with details of flaws and fails.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash


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