CONSUMER CATCH-UP: IRS debuts anti-identity theft website, Uber gets new permit for testing self-driving cars, and Phillips Hue lightbulbs found to have flaw that hackers can exploit

ByMichael Finney and Simone Chavoor via KGO logo
Friday, February 7, 2020
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CONSUMER CATCH-UP: The IRS debuts a new anti-identity theft website for the public, Uber gets new permit for testing self-driving cars in California, and Phillips Hue lightbulbs are found to have a flaw that hackers could use to break into a smart home network.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- IRS debuts new anti-identity theft website

The Internal Revenue Service has launched a new website to help educate the public about identity theft.

Identity Theft Central contains detailed information on how to prevent identity theft during tax time, as well as what to do if someone realizes they are a victim. There are tailored guides for individuals, businesses, and tax professionals, including videos on how to spot phishing emails, and how to secure their electronic devices. The new website is part of a joint effort with the Security Summit, a group that includes the IRS as well as 42 state agencies and 20 industry offices in the tax and financial industries.

"Improving awareness and outreach are hallmarks of initiatives to combat identity theft coordinated by the IRS, state tax agencies and the nation's tax industry, all working in partnership under the Security Summit banner," the IRS said in a news release.

Uber issued permit to test self-driving vehicles on California public roads

Uber will be allowed to once again test their self-driving vehicles on California roads.

The Department of Motor Vehicles in California has issued permits to Uber for testing their latest vehicle models. This comes nearly two years after the fatal crash in Arizona involving one of their self-driving vehicles that left a pedestrian dead. Shortly afterward, the company let go of all its self-driving car operators, sparking rumors it was trying to sell its self-driving unit.

Uber spokesperson says that they do not plan on putting these vehicles back onto the streets of San Francisco just yet. The company says it will inform local, state, and federal stakeholders before restarting tests in the city.

"San Francisco is a great city to gather key learnings for self-driving technology given its complex and ever-changing environment. While we do not have an update as to exactly when we'll resume autonomous testing, receiving our testing permit through the California DMV is a critical step towards that end in Uber's home city," an Uber in a statement.

Uber plans to launch their autonomous vehicles in Washington, D.C. by the end of 2020.

Philips-Hue lightbulbs found to have flaw that could allow hackers into smart home network

Security researchers have found a flaw in the wireless protocols used by Phillips Hue lightbulbs that could allow hackers into a smart home network.

Zigbee is a commonly used wireless protocol for smart devices. Security research firm Check Point found a vulnerability where a hacker was able to kick a connected Phillips Hue "smart" lightbulb off of the system and replace it with their own, potentially malicious code. If a user attempts to correct the issue, they could spread the code to the rest of their connected smart home devices.

Phillips Hue's parent company, Signify, has already released a security patch for the vulnerability. "We are committed to protecting our users' privacy and do everything to make our products safe," said George Yianni, Head of Technology for Philips Hue.

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