You made it to the weekend! Before you shut down for the next few days (and please, take at least a little time off), let’s touch on some of the biggest tech stories of the week, including the fate of Trump’s controversial TikTok deal and a very high-profile hacking.
TikTok Deal Stopped Dead
In August 2020, then-President Trump wanted Chinese social media apps TikTok and WeChat banned in the U.S.; his eventual executive order called out privacy and security concerns with both apps. The next month, a group composed of Oracle, Walmart, and other players stepped in with an offer to become TikTok’s “partner” in the U.S., which would have settled the White House’s concerns. It was all very confusing, especially since the partnership didn’t seem to do anything to actually alleviate any potential security issues.
With the new Biden administration, though, that TikTok deal is now dead in the water, killed as part of a sweeping review of Trump’s China policies. “We plan to develop a comprehensive approach to securing U.S. data that addresses the full range of threats we face,” National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne told the Journal. “This includes the risk posed by Chinese apps and other software that operate in the U.S. In the coming months, we expect to review specific cases in light of a comprehensive understanding of the risks we face.”
The Biden administration could certainly pass its own restrictions on apps created by Chinese companies—but for the time being, it’s seemingly content with slamming the brakes on Trump’s policies.
‘Cyberpunk 2077’ Creator is Hacked
It hasn’t been the easiest few months for CD Projekt Red, creator of ultra-popular video games such as “The Witcher” series and the controversial “Cyberpunk 2077.” First, the blockbuster release of “Cyberpunk 2077” was marred when numerous users encountered technical difficulties (especially on older consoles), which led to the studio issuing a public apology for its work.
Then, the company was reportedly hit by a ransomware attack that resulted in hackers making off with source code for the company’s games, along with a bunch of internal documents. Those hackers, or someone associated with them, then placed that code up for auction online… and someone bought it.
The net result of this, of course, is that code for “Cyberpunk 2077” and some “Witcher” games could hit the web at some point. CD Projekt Red was hopefully taking its cybersecurity seriously, but this attack serves as a reminder that ransomware is a huge threat to companies big and small.
Yet Another Sign That Apple is Serious About AR/VR
Although it’s always problematic to predict Apple’s future moves, it seems safe to say that the company’s “next big thing” will be some kind of virtual reality (VR)/augmented reality (AR) headset. According to Bloomberg, Apple has placed Dan Riccio, who previously served as senior vice president of hardware engineering (re: a very big deal), in charge of its highly secretive VR/AR project.
According to current reports, Apple’s first foray in VR/AR will be absurdly expensive ($3,000 or more per headset) with extremely high-end components. It could hit the marketplace next year. If Apple named Riccio head of the project, it obviously has high hopes.
Have a great weekend, everyone! Stay safe!