Weekend Reads 100419

Juniper Threat Labs discovered a new Trojan-delivered spyware that uses Telegram to exfiltrate stolen information. Using Telegram as a Command and Control (CnC) channel allows the malware some anonymity, as Telegram is a legitimate messaging application with 200 million monthly active users. —Paul Kimayong

DoorDash—the popular on-demand food-delivery service—today confirmed a massive data breach that affects almost 5 million people using its platform, including its customers, delivery workers, and merchants as well. —Swati Khandelwal

The Linux Kernel 5.3 has arrived and it’s a mixed bag of changes, most of which will benefit desktop users. There are, of course, some improvements and features that could eventually bring to life some important steps for cloud and large-scale systems, but 5.3 should mostly be considered a move forward for the desktop world. —
jack Wallen

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition and Consumer Rights held a hearing last week to explore the competitive impacts of big tech companies’ massive string of mergers with smaller companies in the last handful of years. —ERnesto Falcon

Congressional antitrust investigators are scrutinizing plans by Google to use a new internet protocol, concerned that it could give the company a competitive advantage by making it harder for others to access consumer data. —Joihn D. Mckinnon & Robert McMillan

Most people who follow the debate over unbreakable, end-to-end encryption think that it’s more or less over. Silicon Valley has been committed to offering such encryption since at least the Snowden revelations; the FBI has abandoned its legal campaign against Apple’s device encryption; and prominent national security figures, especially those tied to the National Security Agency,, have sided with industry and against the Justice Department. —Stewart Baker

Comcast Corp, one of America’s largest media and communications companies, is wading into the epic regulatory pile-on against big tech companies such as Google, according to people familiar with the matter. —Paresh Dave and Sheila Dang

The United States government’s continuing disagreement with the Chinese company Huawei underscores a much larger problem with computer technologies in general: We have no choice but to trust them completely, and it’s impossible to verify that they’re trustworthy. Solving this problem ­ which is increasingly a national security issue ­ will require us to both make major policy changes and invent new technologies. —Bruce Schneier

Running is frequently an exercise in watching your pace go up and down with no discernible reason for the zigs and zags. Many days feel like regressions. Direction can and will change – in writing my book, I’ve changed the plot significantly three different times. Each resulted in a substantial rewrite. Project goals are often moving targets. —Ben Brostoff

When you first stumble across the term “quantum computer,” you might pass it off as some far-flung science fiction concept rather than a serious current news item. —Jonahtan Terrasi

There is an upcoming kicker to the Power9 family, variously called the Power9’ (that is a prime symbol there, not an apostrophe) or the “Axone” chip or the Power9 AIO, short for Advanced I/O and distinct from the “Nimbus” Power9 SO (short for Scale Out) and “Cumulus” Power9 SU (short for Scale Up) processors. —Timothy Prickett Morgan

Over the past few years, observability has become a prominent topic in distributed computing. Observability means different things to different people and the use of the term is still evolving, but, essentially, observability refers to the practice of using instrumentation to understand software systems in order to derive superior operational outcomes, like a superior customer experience, reduced operational costs, greater reliability, or product improvement. —Colin Breck

“Interoperability” is the act of making a new product or service work with an existing product or service: modern civilization depends on the standards and practices that allow you to put any dish into a dishwasher or any USB charger into any car’s cigarette lighter. —Cory Dcotorow

Recently, Mozilla announced it would be moving Firefox DNS lookups to Cloudflare by default, for its American audience. There will be a notification about this for existing users, at which point they could choose to go back to their provider DNS. But crucially, there will be no opt-in: it is Cloudflare by default, using a technology called DNS over HTTPS (DOH). —Bret Hubert