TL;DR: Dive into this week's tech scene with fresh gadgets like the M1 and Apple Vision Pro, stirring up the security world and redefining wearables. We're also unpacking major tech shifts from Google's cookie conundrum to AWS shaking up the internet with IPv4 charges, and Microsoft's legal tangle over Activision Blizzard. On the security front, deepfake scams and cyber-attacks are on the rise, spotlighting the digital battleground. Plus, a peek into Google's morale dip paints a picture of a tech titan at a crossroads. Explore these developments to stay informed on security risks, tech advancements, and shifts within major tech firms.


The M1: A New Contender in the Hacking Tool Arena : Introducing the M1, a robust alternative to the Flipper Zero, designed for tech enthusiasts and cybersecurity professionals. Offering an upgraded microcontroller and extensive transceiver support for a myriad of wireless technologies, the M1 promises enhanced security and extended battery life. Its professional design deviates from the playful aesthetic of its counterpart, aiming to instill confidence in a professional setting. With a competitive Kickstarter price, the M1 poses an intriguing option for those seeking a comprehensive multi-tool device, though it requires patience for its mid-year release

Apple Vision Pro Review : The Apple Vision Pro headset is heralded as the best consumer headset made, introducing “spatial computing” at a starting price of $3,499. It aims to overlay apps and information over the real world, integrating seamlessly with Apple’s ecosystem. However, it faces significant trade-offs: its high cost, the video passthrough’s blurriness, inconsistent hand and eye tracking, and its isolating experience. Despite these issues, its display and tracking technologies set a new standard, making it a lonely yet revolutionary step forward in wearable computing.

Technology News

Google and Third-Party Cookie Deprecation : Google has to address the UK Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) concerns regarding its Privacy Sandbox before it can phase out third-party cookies in Chrome, planned for the second half of 2024. The CMA’s concerns include Google potentially benefiting from user data while limiting access for competitors, possibly advantaging its ad tech services, and impacting the ability of publishers and advertisers to identify fraud. Google is working with the CMA to resolve these issues and remains hopeful that the transition can occur in 2024.

AWS Charges for IPv4 Addresses : Amazon Web Services (AWS) plans to charge for public IPv4 addresses, aiming to encourage the shift to IPv6 due to IPv4 scarcity and rising costs. This move, effective from February 1, could generate significant revenue for AWS, with charges set at $0.005 per hour for each IPv4 address. AWS offers a free tier for EC2, including 750 hours of IPv4 usage per month for the first year, to mitigate initial costs. The change highlights the value increase of IPv4 addresses and the global shift towards IPv6 for its abundant address space.

FTC Accuses Microsoft Over Activision Blizzard : The FTC has accused Microsoft of misrepresenting its plans for Activision Blizzard following layoffs, challenging the pledge of independence for Activision Blizzard post-acquisition. This comes after Microsoft announced significant job cuts within its gaming division, contradicting earlier assurances to the FTC. The layoffs have raised antitrust concerns, leading the FTC to seek a temporary halt to the acquisition as it investigates further.


Deepfake CFO Scam in Hong Kong : In Hong Kong, a finance employee of a multinational company was deceived into transferring $25 million to scammers using deepfake technology to impersonate the firm’s CFO during a video call. The elaborate fraud involved deepfake simulations of several staff members. Despite initial suspicions, the authenticity of the participants in the call convinced the employee to proceed with the transaction. This incident highlights the growing concern over the use of deepfake technology in committing financial fraud and the need for increased vigilance and security measures.

Iranian Hackers Target UAE TV Services : Iranian state-backed hackers, identified as Cotton Sandstorm, disrupted UAE TV streaming services, broadcasting a deepfake news report on the Gaza war. This operation, reported by Microsoft, used AI to create a fake news anchor, marking a significant use of AI in Iranian cyber-espionage. The hack, which also reached audiences in the UK and Canada, is part of Iran’s broader cyber activities following the Israel-Hamas conflict, raising concerns about the use of AI-generated content in misinformation campaigns, including potential impacts on elections.

1Password Experiences Outage : 1Password experienced an outage that affected user logins across Europe, the US, Canada, and other regions. The issue, impacting the web interface and related to Single Sign On, was resolved within an hour. Reports of the outage peaked but quickly receded, indicating a prompt fix by 1Password.

Everything Else

Google’s Declining Morale : Google is facing internal challenges with declining morale among its workforce, as employees criticize leadership for being “inept” and “boring.” The company, once celebrated for its innovative culture, is now perceived as overly corporate and aimless, particularly after significant layoffs. Questions raised by employees during a town hall meeting highlight concerns about job security and the company’s direction. This situation reflects a broader shift in Google’s work culture, moving away from its original ethos towards a more conventional corporate environment, causing discontent among staff.

Thank you for joining me in this week’s exploration of the tech universe. Amidst the endless stream of information, I strive to bring you news that is not only relevant but also thought-provoking. Your thoughts and feedback are always welcome. Don’t forget to spread the word about the Friday Tech Focus Newsletter and stay tuned for more curated insights next week!