Welcome, friends, to Week in Review (WiR), TechCrunch’s regular newsletter covering the big tech events of the past few days. Are your eyes not focused on the headlines? Don’t worry. That’s our job, and we’ve compiled them into the nice little digest that is WiR.
In this week’s edition of WiR, we cover a $70 device that can spoof an Apple device, hackers stealing Americans’ health data from an IBM system, and Elon Musk vowing to fight -fight Mark Zuckerberg in a proper cage match. Elsewhere, we highlight X, the social network formerly known as Twitter, which slows down access to rival websites; Better.com to the public; and TC’s impressions of Baldur’s Gate 3.
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A cheap Apple spoofer: Attendees at Def Con, one of the world’s largest hacking conferences, observed that their iPhones displayed pop-up messages prompting them to connect their Apple ID or share a password nearby. which Apple TV. It’s part of a research project — a $70 device that can spoof an Apple device and trick unsuspecting users into sharing their password.
Americans’ health records stolen: Millions of Americans had their sensitive medical and health information stolen after hackers exploited a zero-day vulnerability in the widely used MOVEit file transfer software raided system operated by tech giant IBM. The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, which is responsible for managing the Medicaid program in Colorado, confirmed on Friday that it fell victim to the MOVEit mass hacks, which exposed the data of more than 4 million patients.
Musk vs. Zuckerberg: In June, X CEO Elon Musk challenged Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, a practitioner of Brazilian jiujitsu, to a cage fight – for charity. After repeatedly delaying the end of Musk, last week, Musk promised that the fight is still on. But shortly after, Zuckerberg said he and Musk couldn’t agree on terms, including a place and date, and that it was time to “move on.”
X slows access: X was found to block traffic to websites that the social network’s owner, Elon Musk, did not want publicly. The platform slows down the speed required to access links on some websites, including The New York Times, Instagram, Facebook, Bluesky, Threads, Reuters and Substack.
Better.com will be public: Digital mortgage lender Better.com’s proposal to merge with Aurora Acquisition Corp. through SPAC (special purpose acquisition) approved by the shareholders. The company originally began making plans to go public in May 2021 but was hit by layoffs, high-profile executive resignations, a housing market slowdown and negative publicity that forced it to scale back the IPO.
Baldur’s Gate 3, reviewed: Baldur’s Gate 3 is a Dungeons & Dragons game through and through, Taylor reported in his first impressions piece, but you don’t need to be familiar with that world or those systems to enjoy it. Whether you want to smooch vampires or watch the world burn, the game is a gaming experience like no other, he writes.
A smart ring to compete with Oura: Indian fitness and nutrition tracking startup Ultrahuman quickly followed up its debut smart ring last year with the second generation of the device, which was officially launched in June. Natasha, who reviewed it for TC, found it to be an improvement on the original in many ways, including (very importantly) in the form-factor department.
An EV battery with greater range: CATL, the Chinese battery giant and a major supplier to Tesla, has unveiled its latest product that aims to solve the charging and range limitations of electric vehicles. Called Shenxing, or “godlike movement,” the battery can refuel up to 400 kilometers (250 miles) away in 10 minutes.
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In Equity, the crew started with an update on former FTX exec Sam Bankman-Fried heading to prison, then went to Better.com public, the growth of Monday.com, Vinfast added to the SPAC list, the anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act and two bright spots in the venture landscape in 2023.
Meanwhile, found highlighted Marco Zappacosta, the co-founder and CEO of Thumbtack, a startup that runs a market for services at home and beyond. Zappacosta discussed his unusual path to entrepreneurship, which included almost getting a degree in neuroscience before deciding to start a company out of an idea.
And Chain Reaction spoke with Eric Balchunas, senior ETF analyst at Bloomberg, along with TechCrunch+ editor Alex Wilhelm. Among other things, they examine what is happening with bitcoin spot ETFs in the US, why they are important and the possibility that the SEC will approve one in the near future.
TC+ subscribers have access to in-depth commentary, analysis and surveys — which you already know if you’re a subscriber. If you’re not, consider signing up. Here are some highlights from this week:
A surprisingly strong job market: After major companies staged mega layoffs at the start of this year, it’s natural to think that the tech unemployment rate will rise. But Ron writes how – if we think about tech jobs that consist of pure IT, engineering and developer types of roles – then those jobs are definitely more in demand and less affected than you might think.
What do CTOs do, exactly?: Haje writes about how technical blind spots mean investors are leading founders in the wrong direction. Premature optimization helps no one. But having a CTO with the right experience, knowledge and skills for the stage a company is in appears to be rarely checked in the investment process.
A superconductor at room temperature? Not so fast: If there was any hope left that LK-99 could become a superconductor at room temperature, it is now dead. Tim writes that several studies published in the last week or two converge on this conclusion, less than a month after a startling preprint paper was published by a team at the Quantum Energy Research Center.
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