Tech round-up for May 30: Here come HomePods, Papua New Guinea and Facebook bans, Canadian banks hacked, The Expanse heads to Amazon Prime

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This week, Apple’s HomePod wireless speaker comes to Canada, Papua New Guinea talks about banning Facebook, BMO and Simplii customer data stolen, Amazon saves The Expanse.

HomePods land in Canada on June 18, iOS update available now

Apple’s wireless speaker, HomePod, is releasing in Canada on June 18. The device is being launched in France and Germany on the same day.

The speaker has been praised for delivering quality sound, and with the iOS 11.4 update Apple has addressed a big criticisms, that of being able to deliver multi-room audio.

AirPlay 2, which is enabled by the mobile operating system update, also turns a pair of HomePod speakers, which are available in black and white, into a stereo pair.

A single HomePod will cost you Cdn$449.

Papua New Guinea wonders if Facebook ban will clean out fakes

Island nation Papua New Guinea media organization Post-Courier reported yesterday that the country’s government is considering a month-long “shutdown” of Facebook.

The idea is to “identify users that hide behind fake accounts, users that upload pornographic images, users that post false and misleading information on Facebook to be filtered and removed” according to Communications Minister Sam Basil.

Estimates on internet penetration in the country have only 10 percent of the population with access. Some 50 percent of citizens have mobile phones, though, through which they use social media

Today, Basil said that he had not schedule the Facebook ban, but was considering it, and would not rule out an indefinate ban

Facebook is currently banned in China.

Personal info from Canadian banks being held for ransom

Some 90,0000 customers of the Bank of Montreal and CIBC’s Simplii Financial found out this week that their personal and account information had been stolen by hackers, and held for a million-dollar ransom.

Global reported on three people who claimed to have had money transferred out of their Simplii accounts.

Hackers reportedly contacted media with sample data, and CBC verified that information on two Canadians was accurate.

The culprits claimed that login systems used by the two banks were poorly designed, which led to the breach.

If you think you may be affected, monitor your accounts daily for illicit activity. Both institutions have said that affected customers will be fully reimbursed.

And while this hack has nothing to do with your password, you should remember the rules of passwords:

  • Use complex passwords
  • Change them regularly
  • Don’t write them down

Amazon saves The Expanse television show

After being cancelled by SyFy after three seasons, the television show, The Expanse, has been picked up by Amazon for its Prime service.

Jeff Bezos confirmed the deal while appearing at a National Space Society event in Los Angeles.

In Canada, the show was broadcast on Space. There’s been no announcement from Alcon Television Group, which finances and produces the series, on licensing deals outside the U.S.

Here’s the trailer for Season 3, which concludes on June 27.

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