Pixel 6 Event October 19th; Facebook Outage Cost & Causes; Yubico Bows Hardware Key With Fingerprint ID; Redfin Teams with ADT for Realtor-less Home Buying

Google will be showing off its latest phones, the Pixel 6 series, in just 2 weeks, on October 19th. Theverge.com reports that the event will be a virtual one, and starts at 10AM Pacific. Google says in the press blurb that they are ‘completely reimagined Google phones.’ They will be powered by Tensor, Google’s first custom mobile chip. Google claims that ‘they adapt to you,’ so log on, and let’s see what they can do!

As you know, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp were down everywhere for over 6 hours yesterday. According to arstechnica.com, it’s estimated that the Book of Face lost something like $60 million in that time. (Nope, that’s not going to dent them much….they had revenue of about $86 billion last year. Share prices dropped 4.9%, so poor Zuck lost $5-6 billion…but no worries…he’s still worth some $120 billion. What caused the total wipeout? Apparently its was a BGP mis-configuration. Basically, their BGP routes got withdrawn from the internet. That took their DNS server off line. As we noted, people couldn’t even get into buildings at their headquarters, or access the servers to straighten out the problem! A Twitter post from a Cullen (@cullend) said ‘Lmao. Friend at Facebook Confirmed they ended up bringing in a guy with an angle grinder to get access to the server cage.’ I can’t verify that, but have heard that there weren’t any physical keys, so this would make sense why the delay getting back online was so long. Pro tip to Zuck: allow a few senior IT people to have physical keys, and put in physical locks on that server cage!

Yubico makes a number of hardware security keys, which can be quite handy for the sites you use that work with those things. Now, TechCrunch.com says they have rolled out the YubiKey Bio, which has a fingerprint biometric identifier to further secure your info. It might even be considered 2.5FA instead of 2FA, or 2 factor identification. It will work across macOS, Windows and Linux machines. YubiKeys also support open security and authentication standards — FIDO U2F, FIDO2, and WebAuthn protocols — so they work on Macs, iPhones, Windows PCs, and Android devices, as well as apps and services that support FIDO protocols out-of-the-box. It’s not priced that much higher than most of the YubiKeys…coming in at $80 for USB-A and $85 for the USB-C model. 

Redfin is teaming up with venerable security firm ADT (the name of which was originally American District Telegraph- they’ve been around 140 years!) Geekwire.com reports that a new program called the Direct Access program will enable a buyer to tour a home without a realtor. They will be able to unlock the door via an app and connected smart lock. The Direct Access program already has been in operation, allowing realtor-less home buying. ADT will keep the owners posted about entries and exits to the property, and will shoot a photo of every person who enters, monitor when doors are open or closed, and report unauthorized entry. Redfin pays for the service, and the buyer will keep the ADT lock, sensors, and security panel. They can buy a 36 month monitoring contract from ADT for $28.99 a month. 

Well this is all well and good, a couple of notes. First, realtors always work for the seller…that’s who pays their commission. That said, they like repeat business, so will also look after the buyer’s interests at least to a degree. Realtors and their firms know the ins and outs of the 4-6 inch stack of documents you sign at closing, too, and can help guide that (along with the escrow company.) Having done a few deals, and having had a mentor in law who had worked for a major bank’s real estate department, I would suggest you hire your own realtor or a real estate attorney anyway. Homes are crazy expensive, and are the biggest thing you will ever buy. Spend a buck or two to make sure you don’t get screwed!


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