Baby monitor security, a semi-hiatus and the weekly roundup in tech and retail

News and commentaries

With another life-changing event coming next week in the form of a second baby (!), I have been putting together a few posts to fill the void in the next few weeks. I’m not too optimistic that I will be able to keep posting the weekly roundup considering the inevitable lack of sleep. Although, waking up every 2 hours at night could be prime opportunities to check the news… I’ll have to wait and see. For now, expect sporadic postings from me as I become a mother for the second time.

Speaking of babies, the Wall Street Journal reported research by computer security firm Rapid7 Inc. on the vulnerability of baby monitors. Even if the device owner followed good security procedures, the company still found that hackers can view baby monitor images from anywere in 3 of the 9 Internet-connected baby monitors that they tested. The monitors with the most disturbing flaws are (quotes are directly from Rapid7 Inc report):

  • iBaby M6 – “The web site ibabycloud.com has a vulnerability by which any authenticated user to the ibabycloud.com service is able to view camera details for any other user, including video recording details, due to a direct object reference vulnerability”
  • Philips In.Sight B120 – “The method for allowing remote viewing uses an insecure transport, does not offer secure streams protected from attackers, and does not offer sufficient protection for the the camera’s internal web applications.”
  • Summer Infant Baby Zoom WiFi Monitor & Internet Viewing System – “An authentication bypass allows for the addition of an arbitrary account to any camera, without authentication.”

Just in case, you happened to be thinking of which baby monitors to buy.

Here are this week’s most relevant news in tech and retail:

In tech:

  1. Acquisitions: Amazon Web Services buys Elemental Technologies, a video processing services startup for a reported $500M;  Verizon’s AOL unit buys mobile ad network Millennial Media for $238M; Blackberry buys California-based mobile security provider Good Technology Corp. for $425M
  2. Another big week for Google: Google will reportedly re-enter China with special version of Google Play mobile app store for Android smartphones in the country; Google faces another antitrust battle in India over online search; Google changes logo in biggest change since 1999; Google and subsidiary Waze facing lawsuit over stolen map and traffic data from competing app PhantomAlert
  3. Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe settle anti-poaching lawsuit for $415M
  4. Toyota partners with MIT and Stanford for AI and robotics research, pledging $50M over 5 years
  5. Tesla Model X will arrive on September 29, $35K Model 3 to start preorders in March 2016

In retail:

  1. Net-a-Porter founder and chairman Natalie Massenet leaves luxury online retailer midway through company’s merger with e-commerce group Yoox
  2. Alibaba founders Jack Ma and Joe Tsai to borrow more than $2B against company shares
  3. Online fashion retailer Asos shares fall by more than 5% after co-founder and CEO Nick Robertson’s resignation
  4. Limited Brands, Inc. shares rise after August sales exceed expectations, led by Victoria’s Secret brand division
  5. Kering’s Sergio Rossi shoe brand could be possible purchase for Italian private equity firm Investindustrial

Comcast and hiatus

News and commentaries

I’d like to think that I can keep posting in the middle of moving, house renovations, a growing toddler and a growing belly but I may have been too optimistic. What really happens is that at the end of the day, I have no energy left to even read my beloved tech news, much less browse new products in my usual online window shopping haunts. I can’t complain really because moving to a new house is always exciting but I miss blogging! I’m trying hard to get things on an even keel at least by next week but for now, I’ll be on hiatus.

In the midst of this though, I discovered something that a lot of consumers probably already know. Moving with Comcast is a bit of a pain. We transferred our service to a new address and were told that our perfectly working 2-year-old modem needs to be changed. This, after plugging it in and using said modem to connect to customer service. After a couple of representatives, we were finally told that all is good. Still, our online login shows the old address even though we were told it should update to the new address in 24 hours with the same login. So there I was again on chat and then a phone call. “Create new login,” I was told. I tried and then got a username that I didn’t create and have no password for. Someone will call me with login credentials. Of course, nobody did. So as I write this, I’m again on chat – still trying to decide which avenue is better – and trying to resolve the mystery of a simple transfer to a new address. Oh, and Comcast is charging me usage at my old address and I’m trying to get rid of that too. By the way, this is what happens when the consumer has very little power in the transaction because really what are my options for Internet services? Good thing that Comcast-Time Warner merger was scrapped otherwise, we’d really be chopped liver. Google Fiber, please come to Florida soon.

Wish me luck and I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks.