The Download: April 6

This is The Download, a weekday recap of the top technology headlines.

Some advertisers pause Facebook spending after Cambridge Analytica scandal

facebook-logo

In an interview with Bloomberg¸ Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg disclosed that “a few” advertisers have paused their ad spending on the site.

Sandberg also mentioned that Facebook was engaged in “reassuring conversations” with advertisers concerning about data privacy.

In the interview, she admitted that Facebook historically addressed problems on the platform as isolated incidents which let more systemic issues remain unaddressed.

“What we didn’t do until recently, and what we’re doing now, is just take a broader view, looking to be more restrictive in ways data could be misused. This is going to be a long process… we’re going to find more things, we’re going to tell you about them, we’re going to shut them down.”

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO

Delta, Sears, Kmart, Best Buy affected by malware attack at chat vendor [24]7, leading to data breach including credit card details of “hundreds of thousands” of customers

Customers at Best Buy, Delta, Sears, and Kmart between Sept. 26 and Oct. 12 may have had their name, address, and credit card number exposed at the companies’ websites.

A piece of malware temporarily residing in the online chat service used by the stores – provided by [24]7.ai – may have harvested payment info after you completed a transaction.

According to a Delta spokesperson, any customer who entered payment data may have been affected regardless of if they used the online chat feature.

A FAQ published by Delta claims that hundreds of thousands of customers could have had their data stolen. Sears Holdings, who also owns Kmart, believes that fewer than 100,000 of its customers were affected.

According to Delta, customers won’t be responsible for any fraudulent use of their credit cards, and will offer free credit monitoring. Sears Holdings will offer Sears and Kmart updates here.

Best Buy didn’t say how many customers were affected, but they believe that the number is small.

“As best we can tell, only a small fraction of our overall online customer population could have been caught up in this [24]7.ai incident, whether or not they used the chat function.”

Best Buy, in a statement

Best Buy will offer free credit monitoring services to those that want them, and is ensuring customers that they won’t be liable for any illegal transations.

A press release from [24]7.ai claims that the issue only affected “a small number of our client companies,” and was fixed by October 12. Both the chat vendor and Delta say that there’s no indication of any personal information being stolen.

However, it may be too early to tell since Delta was only informed of the breach on March 28 while Sears was informed in mid-March.

Other [24]7.ai clients include American Express (which confirmed to CNET that it wasn’t affected by the breach), AT&T, Citi, eBay, Farmers Insurance, and Hilton.

Apple delays planned Mac Pro update until 2019, forms Pro Workflow team to focus on professionals

Mac Pro 2013

Apple’s planned update to the Mac Pro lineup won’t be released until 2019, according to the company.

“We want to be transparent and communicate openly with our pro community so we want them to know that the Mac Pro is a 2019 product. It’s not something for this year.”

Tom Boger; Apple senior director of Mac hardware product marketing, in an interview with TechCrunch

According to TechCrunch, the release of the Mac Pro necessarily affects the rest of its pro-focused product lineup.

“We know that there’s a lot of customers today that are making purchase decisions on the iMac Pro and whether or not they should wait for the Mac Pro.”

Tom Boger, Apple senior director of Mac hardware product marketing

Apple has also created the Pro Workflow Team, an internal team dedicated to coordinating efforts across the company’s hardware and software teams to better ensure the end product meets the needs of the core target audience. The team is also tasked with interfacing directly with pro consumers and the communities of workers who use Apple hardware and software across graphic design, video editing, animation, and other industries.

YouTube TV now supports Firefox; Google says support for more browsers will come

YouTube TV

Google has quickly opened up YouTube TV to be used on Firefox, with the company’s support pages getting updated to reflect that.

Amazon Key rolls out keyless entry, remote lock/unlock, guest access to all US users; adds five new compatible smart locks

Amazon-Key

Several of Amazon Key’s main features are rolling out across the US.

This means that you can use the service nationwide for keyless entry, remote lock and unlock, and guest access, according to the company. Plus,  an additional five locks work with Amazon Key making a total of eight locks available for Key customers.

However, in-home delivery will still only be available to Prime customers in 37 US cities and surrounding areas.

Microsoft brings Files Restore to all OneDrive customers

OneDrive

Microsoft is rolling out Files Restore to OneDrive for consumers that have an Office 365 subscription, which lets users restore their entire OneDrive account to a previous point in time within the last 30 years.

Users can also use this feature to recover from an accidental mass delete, file corruption, ransomware, or other catastrophic event.

Microsoft will also alert consumers through email, mobile, or desktop notifications if Office 365 detects a ransomware attack and will guide users in restoring their OneDrives to a point before their files were compromised.

In addition, the company is making new OneDrive password protection links available for shared files and folders which can help prevent forwarding of shared links. This password protection functionality will launch in the coming weeks.

Facebook launches AR-based Target Tracking

Facebook Target Tracking

Facebook is adding target tracking, a new augmented reality feature that lets people launch AR experiences by pointing their phone at an image.

The feature is in a closed beta for developers, but Facebook users can check out simple, animated experiences on posters from Ready Player One and A Wrinkle in Time by scanning a QR code. A toolkit for developers should be publicly released later this spring.

Facebook claims that the system will work more smoothly and consistently than other AR platforms, and will be simple for people to turn their posters or images into fiducial markers. Animations are supposed to stay in place even if someone walks in front of the poster and on low-end phone.

The company describes this as “persistent augmented reality,” because it’s permanently storing information that’s associated with a specific image rather than recognizing flat surfaces so you can put virtual objects on them.

Ultimately, Facebook’s goal is that lots of businesses and artists will use this tool to “build their brands and connect with customers” through AR. Here are a few things suggested:

“The movie poster (or any poster for that matter) experience can weave in all kinds of promotions, from a free popcorn to a scavenger hunt for free tickets. Restaurants and stores can create immersive and entertaining AR experiences tied to their storefronts (like fashion shows or chefs in the kitchen) to entice customers to walk in the door. And the opportunity to create games will take us on adventures way beyond what was previously imagined.”

Facebook

 

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