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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dropbox Drops Passwords, Virtual Currency Plummets, and Apple Demands Discounts

Value of Bitcoins During Crash
Bitcoins, a virtual currency, plummeted in value within a few short moments dropping from $17.50 to nearly nothing after a large amount of the currency was dumped into a hacked account on June 20th. Trading was halted for a period of time and was eventually rolled back to pre-crash status. The hacker was able to get away with $1000 before being stopped by the daily limit. The fact that trades were rolled back is being criticized by many users who are angry that they are unable to profit from the companies lack of security. The future of the use of Bitcoins is being questioned due to the break in security. Normally security is very tight however and consists of money being swapped in a peer to peer fashion never using a central system, instead being traded via highly encrypted anonymous files of data. Should the encrypted file be deleted, the money is lost forever.

Apple is not known for their low prices when it comes to their products however when it comes to the iPad 2, the company is making roughly as much as it costs to make the device in profit. Even with this large margin of profit the company has seen it fit to demand that parts suppliers cut the cost of components by 10% for the new market quarter. They are expecting an increase in sales of up to 70 percent and as such believe they are entitled to the discount due to the higher yield of shipments being ordered. It is to be expected that Apple will ask for further discounts in the subsequent quarters. Also to be expected is that none of these discounts will reach the end user and the device will continue to hold the same cost.

Microsoft has announced Tuesday that the company will be using its Kinect sensor to bring interactive advertisements to the xbox360 console. Ads will be able to make use of voice and gesture recognition to give users a more in depth feeling. Microsoft has recently been adding to the xbox's arsenal of video offerings and as such believes that Kinect will bring about a revolution in the way people see ads. Users will be able to use voice commands to post an ad to twitter or ask for additional information on a project or use gestures such as the wave of a hand to interact with questions and polls. The company has already added the ability to use Kinect in order to search xbox live using Bing. Microsoft has sold over 10 million of the sensors which could form a good base for any moves they may wish to take into this new advertising scheme.

For four hours on June 19th you could have accessed any file on any Dropbox account by entering a random string of characters into the password field. This is of course due to a coding error which eliminated password checking the companies 25 million users. The breach occurred during an update to the coding at 4:54 PM EST and was fixed at 8:46 PM EST. The company had fixed the issue within 5 minutes of learning of its existence and has vowed to implement more safeguards to prevent such an issue happening in the future. Dropbox also notified all those who had logged in during the 4 hour period suggesting that they check out their account activity. Concerned users are also able to contact the company either support@dropbox.com or security@dropbox.com. It has been reported that less than 1%  of the accounts were accessed however investigations are continuing to see if any of the accounts were viewed by unauthorized persons.

My question to you is do you think virtual currency is a good idea? Leave you comments in the section below and be sure to give some love to our friendly follow button to keep up with the blog and feel free to share the love with some friends.

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