As any nagging cybersecurity expert will tell you, keeping your software up to date is the brushing and flossing of digital security. But even the most meticulous practitioners of digital hygiene generally focus on maintaining the updates of their computer’s operating system and applications, not its firmware. That obscure, reptile-brain code controls everything from a PC’s webcam to its trackpad to how it finds the rest of its software as it boots up. Now one new study has found that the most critical elements of millions of Macs’ firmware aren’t getting updates. And that’s not because lazy users have neglected to install them, but because Apple’s firmware updates frequently fail without any notice to the user, or simply because Apple silently stopped offering those computers firmware updates—in some cases even against known hacking techniques.
Internet connections get faster but websites get more complex—and that means we often still have to wait an age for pages to load. Now, a new technique from MIT that helps browsers gather files more efficiently could change that.
Google’s codebase — the programming instructions that run every one of its services from Gmail to Slides — span a whopping 2 billion lines of code that stretch across 1 billion files and require 86 terabytes of storage, according to Google engineering manager Rachel Potvin. She recently disclosed those figures at the @Scale engineering conference. She also noted that this massive collection of data is mirrored and continually updated in ten data centers peppered around the globe. “Not only is the size of the repository increasing,” Potvin explained during her lecture, “but the rate of change is also increasing. This is an exponential curve.”