CONSUMER CATCH-UP: San Mateo County electric car program, FDA to test frozen berries, Google's security key has Bluetooth vulnerability

ByMichael Finney and Simone Chavoor via KGO logo
Thursday, May 16, 2019
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CONSUMER CATCH-UP: A new program helps San Mateo County residents purchase electric cars, the FDA is now testing frozen berries for food-borne illnesses, and Google's security key has a Bluetooth vulnerability.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Mateo residents eligible for down payment assistance on hybrid electric cards through new program

Qualifying residents of San Mateo County could receive a $4,000 incentive to purchase a used plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

Peninsula Clean Energy and Peninsula Family Service are teaming up for this new initiative within their existing DriveForward program. DriveForward provides affordable interest rates on vehicle loans to those who quality. Now, they hope to make electric cars more accessible to those who may not otherwise consider them, by offering assistance with the car's down payment.

Participants must fall within a certain income range, live or work in San Mateo County, have a valid driver's license, and be able to cover the vehicle loan and maintenance and fueling expenses. They must also be able to plug in the cars at their homes or workplaces.

"Used plug-in hybrid electric vehicles can provide affordable and reliable transportation for all members of our community who need a car to access better jobs or opportunities," said Jan Pepper, Peninsula Clean Energy CEO. "Electric cars deliver additional savings to drivers by reducing maintenance and fuel costs compared to a gas-powered car."

FDA will now test frozen berries for Hepatitis, norovirus

Most people don't cook their smoothies, the Food and Drug Administration realized. That's why the agency will now test frozen berries for Hepatitis A and norovirus.

Prompted by four frozen-berry-related outbreaks of disease from 1997 to 2016, the FDA will now test frozen berries for the two illnesses. Previously, frozen berries were not subject to the more stringent tests. Now, the FDA plans to collect 2,000 samples, test them, and post their findings quarterly. The testing began in November and will continue for the next 18 months.

Many food-borne illnesses can be prevented by washing or cooking foods before eating. However, many frozen berries are used as-is, such as being thrown into a blender as a part of a smoothie.

Google's Titan Security Key has Bluetooth-related vulnerability

Google is addressing a security flaw in its Bluetooth Titan Security Key.

The key is a physical device that acts as a part of "two-factor authentication" when logging into secure accounts, defending against phishing and account takeovers. Google disclosed that there is a vulnerability in the key's Bluetooth connectivity; essentially, if a hacker were in close physical proximity (about 30 feet) to the key as it was being connected via Bluetooth, the hacker could potentially pair the key with their own device instead.

Google says that despite this flaw, the key's main functionality of defending against phishing attacks is still effective. Google will provide a free replacement key to all existing users.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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