Virtual Skinny: Run and Tell That … 


Good to Know: Calling all U.S. citizens: Have you registered to vote? Facebook just launched its first voter registration drive. Just log onto your account. There’s literally no excuse so run and tell that! 


When You’ve Been Keeping A Secret and have to tell… 
Yesterday, Yahoo announced that about 500 million email accounts were hacked courtesy of a ‘state-sponsored’ attack. That’s 300 million more than the company originally thought. This is probably the largest data breach of all time. Kind of a big deal …
When You Need More Deats … 
Turns out the hack went down back in 2014, but Yahoo just learned about it in recent months (allegedly). The good news? Unprotected passwords and banking info weren’t stolen. The bad news? The list of stolen information is longer and includes things like: protected passwords, security questions and answers, email addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, etc. #NoBueno.
When You Need To Protect Yourself … 
Go ahead and change the password to your Yahoo email account like yesterday (especially if you haven’t done so since 2014). Avoid ‘weak’ passwords like ‘Password123;’ Password managers such as 1Password and LastPass can help. Once that’s done, think through your log in information for sensitive accounts like your online banking. If your previous Yahoo email password and/or security Q&As could be remotely similar, go ahead and change those passwords too.  We know … SUCH a headache! #BetterSafeThanSorry
When It’s All Bad … 
Yahoo users aren’t the only ones that need to worry.  This is a massive data breach that’s caught the attention of pretty much everyone and their moms.  And, Yahoo’s reported US $4.8 billion sale to Verizon could be on the line. Can Yahoo catch a break or what?


When It’s Been Another Tough Week … 
The killings of Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Terence Crutcher and Charlotte, North Carolina’s Keith Lamont Scott has left many feeling disheartened and outraged by the ongoing issue of police officers’ use of force against civilians. People are calling for transparency so we can all have an honest discussion. San Francisco-based nonprofit startup Bayes Impact is working on a new data tool to track ‘violent encounters between officers and civilians.’ Turns out the data on these incidents to date are terrible. Even the FBI’s numbers are off to say the least when it comes to homicides committed by police. Bayes Impact is asking California police departments to record ‘use of force’ incidents (i.e., shooting or assault that leads to death or serious injuries) on its platform called Ursus. Gotta start somewhere …
When You Need A Court Date … 
Not too long ago, messaging app WhatsApp put its users on notice that it would start sharing users’ data with Facebook. It had money from ads on the brain when it made the change. Many people were not happy. Two Indian college students Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi were so peeved that they went ahead and filed a court action law suit against Facebook. In the name of privacy and security, they want the Delhi High Court to tell Facebook to change the WhatsApp privacy policy back to the one we all knew and loved. WhatsApp says privacy and security are non-issues since it’s got end-to-end encryption for messages sent over the platform. 
When You’re Not the Only One Taking Things Back.. 
Google’s Allo is a new messaging app . When the company first introduced its version of  WhatsApp, it made some pretty big statements about privacy and security. We were promised an end-to-end encrypted Incognito Mode. The company also said messages wouldn’t be stored forever but just for a short time. This week, we learned that’s not the case. Messages sent while in the Incognito Mode will be stored by default, and it’s up to the user to actively delete messages. Before you rush to judge, Google says it made the change for a good reason:  To make a quality ‘smart reply’ function, which won’t work well if there’s no data available.


LinkedIn helps you get a job and now it wants to help you keep it with LinkedIn Learning. The feature relies on courses to help sharpen people’s skills in areas like business, creative, and technology.
Speaking of getting your learn on, MIT’s letting people learn first and pay later for grad level courses through MOOC platform edX.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan made a huge announcement this week.  They’re following in the footsteps of Bill and Melinda Gates and plan to donate US $3 billion to figure out how to cure diseases within the next decade.
Apple may or may not be in acquisition talks with ‘supercar’ company McLaren
Japan just added ‘priests’ to the growing list of people we can get on-demand. Who knew?


End-to-end encryption: A way to protect information being sent over communication platforms (e.g., WhatsApp) so it can only by read by the people involved in the chat. Third parties won’t be able to access the conversation.  In other words, end-to-end encryption is technology’s way of saying: “This is an ‘A’ and ‘B’ conversation so ‘C’ your way out.’ #Boom 

The Virtual Skinny: That’s The Spirit!


Good to Know: The first website popped up 25 years ago. To say that we’ve come a long way is an understatement. That was then.


iS iT toO laTE TO sAY Sorry?

The U.S. Democratic presidential candidates met up Saturday night in New Hampshire for their third debate. Bernie Sanders apologized to fellow candidate Hillary Clinton for a data breach incident that happened days beforehand. Clinton appreciated it. Now, it’s all water under the bridge.

Wait, What Happened?  

If you missed the drams late last week, here’s a quick re-cap.  People from Sanders’ campaign got their hands on confidential voter information from Clinton’s camp.  A software glitch is to blame for the exposure. It’s alleged that somewhere between 1 and 4 staffers from Sanders’ campaign saw the info.  It wasn’t a full-on public disclosure so things could’ve been much worse.

When Someone Says You Can’t… 

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) stepped in and banned Sander’s campaign from using the voter information until it cleared things up. This didn’t go over well, and Sander’s campaign hit back with a federal law suit against the DNC. The campaign said the committee had no right, and its actions would cost the campaign about $600k/day in donations. Ultimately, the DNC and Sander’s campaign settled the issue. Looks like everyone’s moved on.


When Something’s Definitely Not A Good Idea … 

Apple CEO Tim Cook sat down with 60 Minutes last night. Cook took the time to drive home the point that governments asking tech companies to weaken encryption measures on their devices is a terrible idea. With increasing terrorist attacks, intelligence agencies and law enforcement are asking tech companies to build “backdoors” into their technology just for them. Not possible, says Cook. “Backdoors” work more like general admission tickets than VIP passes. In other words, this type of access to communications wouldn’t just be for law enforcement but for anyone savvy enough. Hillary Clinton seems to agree … 

Things Are About to Get Real Serious … 

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is taking things to the next level with last year’s Uber data breach.  DOJ is launching a criminal investigation into who illegally downloaded names and license numbers of about 50K Uber drivers.  Employees from Uber’s U.S. rival Lyft aren’t exempt from DOJ’s investigation.  The situation is a bit complicated and has many moving parts. Lyft says it’s looked into the matter, and none of its employees are involved.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race… 

While everyone (including venture capitalists) pays attention to Silicon Valley (SV) for the next big startup, Utah aka ‘Silicon Slopes’ has been playing the long game. It’s given us people and companies like Pixar co-founder Ed Catmul, Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell, and even WordPerfect (talk about throwback). Who knew that Utah had a strong tech game? The state likely goes under the radar because its startups are more enterprise-focused than consumer-focused.  SV startups seem to have no problem raising money from venture capitalists, but the story’s very different in Utah.  Utah-based startups have to prove themselves for years (at times an entire decade) before they ever see a dime from investors. But, those who choose to invest in ‘Silicon Slopes’ startups probably won’t be disappointed in their returns.


If you ordered holiday gifts from e-commerce site, it’s likely your package won’t make it in time for Christmas day. Blame it on shipping delays.

Workers in Amazon’s German warehouses are on strike till December 24. They’re not happy with their pay and working conditions.

In more Amazon news, it’s rolling out 5 new original programs.  Also, just last week, Netflix debuted a new documentary Making of a Murderer. Critics love it, and it’s being dubbed Netflix’s version of Serial. With online content like these, it’s hard being in the TV biz these days, folks.

The Twitter account of probably the most hated man in pharma, Martin Shkreli, was hacked yesterday.

Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO of local recommendations site Yelp, says Google only cares about its alleged monopoly and not about its users. #Harsh

Speaking of harsh … If you’re having a hard time getting that job offer, don’t worry. Earlier this month, Twitter software engineer Jonathan Kuperman launched for computer programmers to share their employment rejection stories. Even if you’re note a programmer, you’ll still be inspired.  #NeverGiveUp #DontEverGiveUp

The Virtual Skinny: Make Room…


Good to Know:  Tomorrow is American Thanksgiving. Startups want people to stay at home, eat, drink, and be merry. This Thursday, these companies are prepared to deliver last-minute, wine, stuffing, movies, etc. straight to your door within an hour. BTW, like many people in the U.S., we’ll be busy gobbling up turkey. See you back here on Monday, November 30. 


When You Can’t Remember Your Password … 

It’s not you … It’s them. E-commerce company Amazon reset passwords for some of its users recently.


Well, if you got an email from Amazon, then you probably know that the company feared that some users’ passwords may have been inadvertently exposed to third parties. Amazon said it has “no reason” to believe that this actually happened but wanted to take precautionary measures.

Safety First … 

Amazon’s also pushing users to make sure their information is secure via two-factor authentication.  With this system, hackers would need more than just your username and password to get into your accounts. They’d also need another device like your mobile phone.


Shady “Mr. Grey…”

If you’re up to some shady things, it’s probably best to just keep your mouth shut. Around this time last year, cybersecurity firm Hold Security id-ed a Russian hacker group responsible for stealing 1.2 million credentials and over 500 million email addresses. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) got involved. According to official court documents, the FBI figured out that the hacker, known as “mr. grey,” is linked to a Russian email address. mr. grey hasn’t been shy… The group previously boasted that it could hook people up with user account information for popular sites like Facebook and Twitter. For now, FB, Twitter, the FBI, and the U.S. Department of Justice have nothing to say on the matter.

Going Solo … 

Tor, the place where Internet users go for private and secure messaging, wants your money. The organization’s network is mainly U.S. government backed (about 80-90%), but Tor thinks that it’s time to fly solo. The project thinks that being more independent will allow it the flexibility to offer its communication services to those around the world who need increased privacy.


Do it for the kids. YouTube’s under fire for allegedly pushing junk food ads on the kids’ version of its video platform. Two children advocacy groups have filed complaints with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Talk about trying to bring someone back down to Earth …  Earlier this week, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos took to Twitter for the first time to brag about his other company, Blue Origin. The aerospace company successfully launched and landed a rocket-ship. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, must’ve been feeling some kind of way. Musk gave the ultimate back-handed compliment:  First, he congratulated Bezos but then quickly implied that SpaceX did it first.

Amazon’s e-commerce rival just pulled in $350M and is expected to add $150M more. The company says most of it will go to marketing, customer support, and growing its team. Who needs a job?

Three ex-Goldman Sachs bankers are trading in their designer suits for jeans and hoodies. The former bankers recently joined Uber adding to the growing trend of people opting out of Wall Street for tech companies.  In more Uber news, the company’s pulling together a ‘Safety Advisory Board,’ to help the company navigate its consumer safety issue. It’ll focus on the U.S. first before taking the show worldwide.