Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

About the Author Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols


eSIM: No more roaming fees, ever!

Each year these days, I spend about a month overseas on business. With every trip I rack up frequent-flier miles, and before every trip I have an internal debate over whether I should buy a local phone, pay Verizon enormous fees, or perform phone surgery to transplant SIM cards. I hate these choices. I just want a phone I can switch from carrier to carrier and country to country without swearing. Now, thanks to a newly standardized technology called embedded SIM (eSIM), I may be able to change carriers, both domestic and international, in seconds.

Well, that’s the theory anyway. I’ll see how it works out soon with my new Google Pixel 2.

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Don’t be the fool in the cloud

When I hear people worrying about cloud security, they’re usually shaking in their boots about some obscure bug beyond their control. Ha! Ordinary, stupid human mistakes are more than bad enough.

For example, Accenture left hundreds of gigabytes of private user and corporate data on four unsecured Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 cloud servers. The data included passwords and decryption keys. What did you need to dig into this treasure trove? The servers’ web addresses.

That’s all. No user ID, no password, no nothing.

Adding insult to injury, according to Chris Vickery, director of cyber-risk research at security firm UpGuard, Accenture’s revealed data included its AWS Key Management System (KMS) master keys. With those, an attacker could have also taken control of all the company’s encrypted AWS data.

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You WILL pay a grand for the iPhone X

Is the iPhone X, with its starting price of $999 — with 256 GBs of RAM it will cost $1,149 — worth the money? Nope. Will you buy it anyway? Yep.

Not all of you. But enough of you. And you know who you are.

Now let me tell you why you’ll buy it.

Sure, it’s a nice phone. It has oodles of new features, such as an all-new 5.8-inch OLED Super Retina display, a faster A11 Bionic processor, wireless charging capabilities, and an improved TrueDepth camera. None of those are the reasons.

And its one “newish” feature, Face ID facial recognition, creeps me out. I’m not the only one. As my colleague and friend Mike Elgan pointed out in a recent Computerworld column, “privacy invasion [using] face recognition is 100 times more dangerous than all other” kinds of biometric scanning.

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