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Tech Bytes – Week of Jun 13

📰 Recent Top Tech News

  1. FBI operated a fake messaging app to capture 800 criminals.

  2. World-first country to make Bitcoin legal tender: El Salvador

  3. 1 customer causes a global internet outage.

The Takeaways

1. The FBI managed to take over a ‘secure’ chat network connecting over 12,000 devices used by 300 criminal syndicates in 100 countries. After 3 years of tapping in, over 9,000 police offices made over 800 arrests globally, and hundreds of millions in drugs and stolen assets.

🔎 Our Take

  • The FBI managed to get the original developer to add the backdoor, which was a rare opportunity to listen in on criminal networks. This also shows that the weakest link in a secure system is often one or two people.

🧁 Your Takeaway

  • Privacy is a myth. Even if you aren’t a criminal mastermind, assume that everything you do online will leave some electronic trace.

2. El Salvador becomes the first country in the world to make Bitcoin mandatory legal tender. All businesses and banks must accept Bitcoin, in addition to cash and USD, and no capital gains tax is paid to transfer Bitcoin to USD.

🔎 Our Take

  • El Salvador GDP is 20% made of incoming transfers from other countries. This is less about bitcoin and more about making it easy to transfer money from overseas. However, it offers legitimacy that other countries (especially developing ones) could be inspired by, and help reduce the dependency on USD.

🧁 Your Takeaway

  • Make it easy for clients to pay you. And if you don’t mind the volatility (but want a good marketing talking point), consider bitcoin or ethereum, though cashing out may be expensive (for now).

3. Fastly, a CDN*, was misconfigured by 1 customer, which then took down thousands of major websites. This impacted sites such as Amazon, Ebay, Reddit, PayPal, Spotify, Pinterest, Github and many government websites. The issue was resolved within an hour.

🔎 Our Take

  •  This issue showcased how impressive Fastly’s customer base actually is (which raised the stock price after the issue was resolved), but also exposed how vulnerable the internet really is, with few large players operating most of the internet. We expect such outages every now and then, though quick enough to repair.

🧁 Your Takeaway

  • If your business relies on the internet to speak to customers, ensure you have communication backups that customers can reach out to you on. Ensure you mention these options across all channels before one or more of them break.

Jargon Buster

  • *CDN: Content Delivery Network: a global network of servers that allow visitors from across the world to access a copy of the images, texts and videos from a server close to them.

  • For example, when you visit, it is actually connecting to a CDN server that’s likely near your city, instead of a ‘main server’ at Google HQ in the US.

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