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November 29, 2021

👋 Good morning! It’s Cyber Monday, and my colleagues that are awake this morning are talking about what they’ve bought so far. 

💰 We’ve had a few grab the Amazon Fire 10 HD tablet, including John Callaham, while Dhruv added 18TTB hard drives for his NAS. Hadlee grabbed a 5TB external hard drive, and newcomer (welcome!) Mark O'Neill upgraded his iPad to an iPad Pro 128GB and his wife got a Roborock S7+ Suction & Mop Robot, while our Weekly Authority writer Paula picked up PS5 games including Deathloop. Rita El Khoury grabbed one of everything, including three Philips Hue filament lights and a Xiaomi Mi TV P1 43" with Android TV. 

👟 As for me, other than the Google Nest Wi-Fi pair from last week, I grabbed a pair of Adidas shoes. Yup.

Tech makes spying hard
A screenshot of Google's Find My Device app, one of the best spy apps for android

The Wall Street Journal has a piece on how it’s just harder to be a spy now. The job we all wanted as children, is, in reality, now harder than ever. The WSJ focuses on US spies and the CIA, with the CIA putting its chest out to say it’s adapted before, while others are less sure.

  • “Humint isn’t dead, not by a long shot,” one official said, using the acronym for human intelligence.
  • Others aren’t as confident.
  • Quote: “The foundational elements of espionage, I argue, have been shattered — they have already been broken,” said Duyane Norman, a former CIA station chief who led an early agency effort to adapt spying for the digital age, called “Station of the Future.”
  • “As an example, he asks, how can a CIA officer purport to work for another government agency or private enterprise if his cellphone isn’t regularly present at that entity’s location, there is no record of him making ATM withdrawals or paying for lunch with a credit card in the vicinity, and no sign of him on video cameras there?
  • “Having no electronic “signature” — as in not carrying a cellphone and having no presence on the internet — is itself a tipoff to adversary spy services, Mr. Norman and others said.”
  • Things have changed so much that spies no longer follow spies in many countries: CCTV and phones pinging towers are easily enough.
  • And: “A recent top-secret cable from counterintelligence officials at CIA’s headquarters to stations and bases worldwide warned that a large number of agency informants in foreign countries were being captured, according to officials familiar with its contents.

So, what’s next for spies?

  • Quote: “More spying will be done in ‘true name,’ meaning the spy won’t pose as someone else, but ‘live their cover’ as a businessperson, academic, or other professional with no obvious connection to the US government.”
  • Another part suggested games like spoofing phone locations to hide real locations are common.
  • Dawn Meyerriecks, who was then deputy CIA director for Science & Technology said in a 2018 speech that a CIA team mapped surveillance cameras “in the capital of a U.S. adversary,” complete with direction of focus and type of camera. Then, using AI, a surveillance-free route that a CIA officer could travel was found.
  • “Most technological challenges are surmountable,” the senior CIA official said. “We play great offense, and aren’t sitting around in a defensive crouch.”

🔥 We’ve hit Cyber Monday, a last chance to grab what you need at a great price or scour for new deals! (Android Authority)

🤔 Leak says Dimensity 9000 could be cheaper than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. Also, MediaTek Dimensity 7000 specs leak: Next-gen chipset likely for cheaper Galaxy A phones, Poco M range, and more (Android Authority)

🚗 GM shows off new smart features coming to its vehicles: “OK Google, start my car.” (Android Authority).

🍎 Report: Apple still working on multi-device charger, a future where all devices ‘can charge each other’ (9to5Mac).

👮‍♀️ Australia plans laws to make social networks identify trolls (Engadget).

👉 This is what I was on about last week: Black Friday online sales reportedly dipped for the first time ever, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index (Engadget).

⛔ Regulators in the UK look set to block Facebook’s Giphy purchase. Of all the things, the gifs must be protected (Reuters).

🔧 Elon Musk tells Tesla employees not to ‘sprint like crazy’ to deliver cars and focus on reducing costs (Gizmodo).

🔨 Also on cars: Xiaomi to open car plant in Beijing with annual output of 300,000 vehicles, reckons the Beijing govt (Reuters).

🍁 Canada’s maple syrup cartel will release 50% of its reserves amid shortfall: largest amount of syrup released since 2008 and 2009, years when reserves were emptied (Gizmodo).

🏀 Crypto enthusiasts want to buy an NBA team, after failing to purchase US Constitution (NPR).

🧬 “What are the mutations in the Omicron COVID variant, and what is it about these particular mutations that make scientists worried about it?” (r/askscience)

🍳 “What is your most controversial cooking opinion?” (r/askreddit).

Monday Meme

Memes are good for learning things but bad news about this (good) one: /p>

good meme passwords
  • Grammar like ” ‘ | < > [ ] ( ) or the humble comma are handled by most CSV parsers.
  • Or, to add another preventative layer, websites just don’t even let you use a comma in your password.



stan Rayner, Senior Editor

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