Jack Dorsey just spent $9.5M buying more Twitter stock

Jack Dorsey is at it again — after purchasing $7 million in Twitter stock back in February, the Twitter CEO bought another $9.5 million today. After making his purchase, Dorsey posted the news on Facebook Twitter, sparking a one percent gain in the company’s after share price in after-hours trading.

Sourced from Google Finance.

According to an SEC filing, Dorsey purchased 574,002 shares of Twitter stock at roughly $16.62. That price is either a steal, if you compare it to Twitter’s peak share price of almost $70 or a pretty bad deal if you’re looking at last week’s share price that was $2 lower. Either way, the CEO is expressing confidence in his company that just posted its first decent earnings report in a while.

Earlier this week Twitter reported to investors that it brought in $548 million in revenue in Q1 2017, beating investor expectations of $511.9 million. That sent Twitter stock on an upward trajectory, benefitting shareholders. But despite all the good news, Dorsey hasn’t actually made much from his purchase of over 400,000 shares back in February.

With both purchases combined, Dorsey has now grabbed up over 1 million additional shares of Twitter stock this year alone. In contrast, he has been dumping stock from his side-hustle Square. The share price for Square stock has been on the rise. The money from Dorsey’s sale of Square stock has previously gone to find his own Start Small Foundation.

Featured Image: Paul Jeffers/Fairfax Media via Getty Images/Getty Images

Apple’s Amazon Echo killer may be in its final design stage

Why it matters to you

Apple has a rep for ease of use. A digital assistant from the company could turn this market on its ear.

Several years after Amazon launched its Alexa digital assistant as part of its Echo home speaker, Apple is said to be moving toward the launch of its own version of the device.

The claim comes from blogger Sonny Dickson, a guy who over the years has called it right with a number of Apple leaks. In a tweet posted on Thursday, Dickson said the Cupertino-based company is “currently finalising designs for their Alexa competitor, expected to be marketed as a Siri/AirPlay device.”

The blogger added that the product is may carry some form of Beats technology and run a variant of iOS, with the latter point suggesting it could come with a touchscreen, something Amazon’s Echo device lacks though might one day include.

There have long been rumors that Apple is looking to build Siri — its own digital assistant that launched five years ago with the arrival of the iPhone 4S — into a piece of hardware similar to the Echo, and Dickson’s tweets this week suggest the company could be gearing up to unveil it in the coming months.

So, what would Apple’s offering let you do? Well, if it’s anything like Amazon’s Echo speaker and its Alexa assistant, or Google’s Home offering incorporating Google Assistant — or indeed Siri — users will be able to call out questions on any number of topics and expect a spoken reply within seconds. Want to listen to a song from your music library? Then simply call out the track and let your digital assistant take care of it. Echo and Home also let you control your integrated smart home appliances, so we can expect similar functionality involving Apple’s own technology.

We can also expect the tech giant to offer up something special in the way of features or hardware quality to help it stand out from its rivals and grab attention in the marketplace.

News that Apple may be close to unveiling its Echo/Alexa rival came on the same day that Amazon unveiled the Echo Look, a hands-free, voice-activated camera for the home that the ecommerce company is touting as a kind of fashion assistant so you can see how your outfits look in full-length snaps.

We wonder if Apple is already working on a rival offering …

Yik Yak, once valued at $400 million, shuts down and sells off engineers for $1 million

Yik Yak, an anonymous messaging app for college students, announced today that it would finally be shutting down. The app first launched back in 2014 as a way to discretely communicate with others nearby, and it took off quickly for its gossip-centric role in American universities. Along the way, the team scooped up $73.5 million in venture capital funding. With today’s closure and an accompanying SEC filing issued last week, we’ve learned that mobile payments company Square looted Yik Yak for its engineering talent and some minor intellectual property to the tune of just $1 million. At one point, investors valued Yik Yak at $400 million.

“The time has come… for our paths to part ways, as we’ve decided to make our next moves as a company,” co-founders Brooks Buffington Tyler Droll write in a blog post on the company’s website. “To that end, we’ll begin winding down the Yik Yak app over the coming week as we start tinkering around with what’s ahead for our brand, our technology, and ourselves.”

The app’s rise, its failed pivot to group messaging, and its eventual fall is quite emblematic of the anonymous messaging trend and its quite death. These apps took off around 2014 and largely rode to popularity based on college-aged users dishing out secrets and being cruel to one another under the protection of anonymity. These businesses, though sporting promising user growth, never seemed to grow large enough to sustain themselves. Other anonymous apps, like Secret and Formspring, went out of business back in 2015.

Yik Yak, to its credit, lasted longer than most. It had its fair share of trouble along the way, most notably an ill-fated attempt to force users into adopting a permanent handle that would be attached to every post. After months of sliding user numbers and fading relevance, Yik Yak laid off around 60 percent of its staff in December of last year. Yik Yak also earned attention, and school-wide bans, from college campus officials when it was used to make threats and became a hotbed for abuse and harassment.

To be fair, the anonymous messaging trend isn’t completely over. Back in February, North Carolina man named Garrett Grimsley was arrested for making what looked a lot like a threat of public violence on the app Whisper. Police requested the user’s IP address, which Whisper stores and hands over to law enforcement, and Grimsely was promptly arrested and charged with transmitting a threat over interstate commerce.

Whoops. Millions of Android phones are wide open to hackers

All is not well in Google Play

A group of researchers has determined that hundreds of apps in the store have a gaping security hole that potentially allows hackers to implant malware and steal data from millions of Android smartphones. 

According to a paper detailing the alleged flaw, the problem lies within apps that create open ports on cellphones. This is a known and understood problem with computers, but hasn’t before been systematically studied in smartphones. The University of Michigan team used a custom tool to scan 24,000 apps and found 410 potentially vulnerable applications — at least one of which has been downloaded millions of times.

“These newly discovered exploits can lead to a large number of severe security and privacy breaches,” the group explains. “For example remotely stealing sensitive data such as contacts, photos, and even security credentials and performing malicious actions such as executing arbitrary code and installing malware remotely.”

The main problem appears to be with apps like WiFi File Transfer, which lets users connect to a port on their phone via Wi-Fi and access its contents. The apps make it easy to transfer files from a phone to a computer, but because of insufficient security the ability to do so is apparently not limited to merely the device’s owner. 

WiFi File Transfer has been installed between 10 million and 50 million times, meaning this problem is not just theoretical — a fact the University of Michigan researchers didn’t have to look far to confirm. 

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“To get an initial estimate on the impact of these vulnerabilities in the wild, we performed a port scanning in our campus network, and immediately found a number of mobile devices in 2 minutes which were potentially using these vulnerable apps.”

The researchers manually confirmed that 57 of the 410 apps were indeed vulnerable, and demonstrated various attacks in a series of videos showing how the “app opens ports by default and no client authentication or incoming connection notifications are engaged, which put the device user into severe danger.”

The apps appear to leave the security barn door wide open, in other words, and malicious actors can stroll right in. 

We reached out to Google for comment, but received no response as of publication. 

The good news is that there is an easy fix if you have one of these potentially vulnerable applications: Uninstall it. Unfortunately, unless the problem is systematically addressed, this is a vulnerability that will be with us for a long time to come. 

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Protect your tablet with Logitech’s new Universal Folio case, keyboard

Why it matters to you

If you want to make sure your new case will work with whatever nine- or 10-inch tablet you buy, then be sure to consider Logitech’s latest.

If you are a big tablet user, then you know the advantages of a nice case that can double as a keyboard dock. The market is full of options that made for specific tablets, but there are fewer good options that work with any tablet — and so if you buy a case and then switch tablets, you are stuck with a case you do not need.

Logitech recognizes this pain point and has developed a solution. The new Logitech Universal Folio is a case and keyboard dock combination that promises to work perfectly well with any nine- or 10-inch tablet, no matter who makes it.

In terms of its design, the Universal Folio is made to be durable and spill-resistant, to provide a measure of protection during daily use. It is also made to secure any tablet, with a patented four-point grip that locks onto a tablet regardless of design and keeps it in place. An integrated pen hold can make sure your pen, pencil, or stylus remains with you.

The Universal Folio also integrates a keyboard with a generous 2mm of travel and large spacing for comfortable typing. The keyboard incorporates dedicate function and shortcut keys that work with iOS, Android, and Windows tablets, and it is locked into place in what Logitech characterizes as the perfect typing position, even on uneven surfaces.

Logitech designed the Universal Folio to be durable and to meet the company’s exacting engineering standards. It adds a strap that securely closes the case and keeps everything securely in place. Finally, a replaceable coin battery can power the keyboard for up to two years thanks to Logitech’s smart management system. Bluetooth 3.0 provides the connectivity between the tablet and the keyboard.

Logitech is shipping the Universal Folio for $60 and it is also available at retailers like Amazon for immediate shipment. The company provides a one-year limited warranty to keep you protected. If you want to invest in a case that will work with your next tablet as well as the one you’re using today, then the Logitech Universal Folio seems like a flexible option.