Apple patches nasty security bugs, HBO Max suddenly removes content, and a16z backs Neumann’s next thing

A16z backs WeWork founder’s new thing: Would anybody support the founders once again when a firm implodes so severely that it becomes the subject of a miniseries? It doesn’t appear to have deterred a16z, which just gave Adam Neumann’s next project its largest check yet.

Black Girls Code founder fired by board: Eight months after being permanently suspended from the company she started, Kimberly Bryant is now officially out of Black Girls Code, according to Natasha Mascarenhas and Dominic-Madori Davis. In reaction to the dismissal, Bryant has launched a lawsuit, citing “wrongful suspension and conflict of interest.”

Google shutters IoT Core: The goal of Google’s IoT Core service is to make it easier for manufacturers of connected devices to link their products to Google Cloud. Google said this week that they are closing it down, allowing the manufacturers of those devices a year to find an alternative.

Apple’s big security bug: It’s time for an Apple gadget update! Two (!) serious security flaws that attackers appear to be actively attempting to exploit were fixed this week by the corporation through the release of crucial patches. Update your software immediately since the issues affect Safari’s WebKit engine and might give an attacker complete access to your device.

HBO Max removing titles: For whatever reason, the merger of HBO Max and Discovery+ results in a number of titles being quickly removed from service. I was going to urge everyone to quickly binge-watch the excellent “Summer Camp Island” series before it is taken down, but it appears that it has already been done so. Here is the complete list of titles that are no longer available.

TC battles stalkerware: Back in February, Zack Whittaker of TechCrunch revealed a network of “stalkerware” applications designed to stealthily consume a victim’s private text messages, pictures, browser history, and other data. This week, Zack unveiled a tool to assist individuals in determining whether their Android phone, and thus, their private data, was affected. Zack will go into more detail about this new tool below.

Apple patches nasty security bugs, HBO Max suddenly removes content, and a16z backs Neumann’s next thing-1

Audio content

What’s new in the TechCrunch podcast world? This week, the Equity team discussed the need to “officially stop comparing Adam Neumann and Elizabeth Holmes,” and on TechCrunch Live, Burnsy spoke with the co-founders of Ethena, Roxanne Petraeus and Hunter Walk of Homebrew about how to “sell the concept, not the business.”

Additional stuff

What’s the process of venture capital? Although it sounds like a simple question, we hear it very frequently. Haje explains it all as only he can, drawing on his unique combination of perspectives as a reporter, pitch coach, and previous director of a venture capital firm.

You intend to utilise your startup equity as security. Having put in years of effort, you’ve managed to amass a sizable amount of equity in the private firm you helped start. Is it genuinely acceptable as security for anything? Max Brenner from Compound talks us through the difficulties.

Writer spotlight: Zack Whittaker

Apple patches nasty security bugs, HBO Max suddenly removes content, and a16z backs Neumann’s next thing-2

We’re testing this week with a new segment where we briefly hook up with one TechCrunch writer to learn a little bit about them and what they’re thinking about this week. First up? The amazing, unique Zack Whittaker.

Zack Whittaker: Who is he? Describe your role at TechCrunch.

I’m the security editor here, also known as the “Bearer of Bad News” for TechCrunch, and I’m in charge of the security department. We investigate and disseminate the major cybersecurity stories of the day, including hacks, data breaches, nation-state assaults, spying, and national security, as well as how it affects you and the broader IT community.

What one thing about your beat would you like to convey the entire world if you could just snap your fingers?

Consider investing in cybersecurity as a precaution against something you hope would never happen, like a breach of your personal information. It is preferable to start early. It’s easier than it’s ever been, and starting is never too late. Spend only a little time on these three easy actions to make it far more difficult for hackers to access your accounts or steal your data: Use a password manager, enable two-factor authentication whenever you can, and maintain the most recent versions of your apps and devices.

How did you deploy this anti-stalkerware programme this week?

Back in February, TechCrunch reported that a network of almost similar “stalkerware” applications had a common security flaw that leaked the confidential phone information of millions of Android device owners worldwide. These malicious applications are hidden, installed by someone who has access to your phone, and secretly take control of your phone’s data, including messages, images, call records, location, and more. A list of every single device that was infected by these applications was leaked to us months later.

We designed this search tool to enable anybody to verify if their device was hacked — and how to uninstall the spyware, if it’s safe to do so. The data didn’t include enough information for us to identify or alert victims.

Ugh. Okay. So, while you’re not looking, someone takes your phone and downloads one of these dubious applications, which then pulls your personal information for the installer to snoop on. A lot of data is being leaked by the app to anyone who knows where to search in the meanwhile. Does it appear like the creators of the stalkerware programmes want to stop?

In no way. The stalkerware network’s developers from Vietnam went to considerable measures to conceal their identity (but not well enough). With little hope of a patch and an increasing number of affected devices, we publicised our findings to inform users of the spyware’s risks. Without their knowledge or permission, no one in civil society should be the target of this intrusive surveillance.

What is your favourite post you’ve published or thing you’ve done with TC, outside this wonderful tool?

Over the course of my four years here? Hard to do that! One that comes to mind frequently is how two British security researchers in their early 20s contributed to the internet’s protection against the rapidly spreading WannaCry ransomware malware in 2017. That year, the malware spread throughout the world, locking up computers in NHS hospitals, shipping giants, and transportation hubs and causing billions of dollars in damage. However, the attack was stopped in its tracks when one of them discovered and registered a specific domain name in the malware’s code. They discovered the kill switch for the infection, instantly becoming “accidental” heroes. Although malicious actors attempted to take it offline by flooding it with internet traffic, the kill switch domain under their control was the only thing preventing a new WannaCry breakout. Being in charge of the thing that keeps the NHS afloat? Fucking horrifying,” a researcher at the time told me.

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