April 13, 2024
The 20 most-read stories on Ars Technica in 2022

Aurich Lawson | Getty Pictures

When 2022 dawned, there have been just a few issues we knew we might be writing about: The worldwide pandemic, no matter cool issues Apple and Google did, rocket launches, and funky synthetic intelligence stuff. However yearly presents surprises, and 2022 was no exception.

Sure, we figured there could be loads of articles about Elon Musk on Ars Technica this yr. In any case, he runs SpaceX and Tesla, two corporations we incessantly cowl. But when somebody advised me Musk would change into “Chief Twit” and find yourself all around the entrance web page of Ars because of his impulse buy of Twitter and the… fascinating selections he is made since taking management of the corporate, I might’ve requested them to go the dutchie on the left-hand facet.

2022 has been an extended, unusual journey. And it is nearly over.

So let’s look again at what you, our readers, discovered essentially the most fascinating on Ars this yr.

This was not a real slide from Google I/O 2022, but it could have been.
Enlarge / This was not an actual slide from Google I/O 2022, however it might have been.

Google / Ron Amadeo

Google is arguably recognized for 3 issues: completely dominating the Web promoting market, completely dominating the Web browser market, and completely dominating the killing-your-own-products market. At Google I/O 2022, the corporate determined to interact in a little bit of machine necromancy. Working example: Android tablets.

The head of Google’s Android pill growth was in 2011, after we noticed the discharge of Android 3.0 Honeycomb. I am going to let Ron Amadeo take it from right here:

“[E]very subsequent Android launch and Google app replace watered down the pill interface till it disappeared. App builders took Google’s neglect as an indication that they need to cease making Android tablets, too, and the ecosystem fell aside.

“After the 2015 Pixel C launch, Google stop the pill marketplace for three years, then launched the Pixel Slate Chrome-OS pill. It then stop the pill marketplace for one other three years. Now it is again. Will the corporate’s new plans produce one other one-year surprise just like the Pixel Slate?”

Ron went deep into Google’s 2022 product technique, and he’ll you should definitely report on when the brand new and resurrected merchandise are killed sooner or later.

In February, Russia illegally invaded Ukraine, unleashing hell on its neighbor. Along with slinging bullets, rockets, artillery shells, and different munitions at each other, Russia and Ukraine have been engaged in bouts of cyberwarfare towards each other.

Ukraine—or a gaggle sympathetic to the nation—unleashed some never-before-seen malware on Russian courts and mayors’ workplaces throughout the nation. Dubbed CryWiper, the malware completely annihilates information on contaminated techniques.

“After inspecting a pattern of malware, we discovered that this Trojan, though it masquerades as a ransomware and extorts cash from the sufferer for ‘decrypting’ information, doesn’t really encrypt, however purposefully destroys information within the affected system,” in response to evaluation by safety firm Kaspersky. “Furthermore, an evaluation of the Trojan’s program code confirmed that this was not a developer’s mistake, however his unique intention.”

As Dan Goodin put it, “Given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and different geopolitical conflicts raging across the globe, the tempo of wiper malware isn’t more likely to sluggish within the coming months.”

Be sure to maintain your entire networks and gadgets locked down tight… simply because that is the sensible option to do it.

Talking of locking down your stuff, one bit of excellent information in 2022 was the arrival of passwordless authentication. Apple, Google, Microsoft, and another tech companies are all on board with it. Better of all, it is much less painful than repeatedly altering your password or utilizing multifactor authentication. Customers can retailer a single token that can authenticate them on any service from the Massive Three, plus each different firm that helps it.

This is the way it works:

“The linchpin to this scheme is one thing referred to as ‘multi-device credentials’ or, extra colloquially, ‘passkeys,’ launched in updates to the prevailing FIDO, WebAuthn, and CTAP requirements for authentication. Because the identify suggests, the credential works throughout all gadgets, whether or not you are working iOS, Android, or Home windows, and throughout all Apple, Google, or Microsoft providers.

“To make passkey authentications proof against phishing and different widespread types of credential theft, the telephone or different machine storing the credential have to be in proximity to the machine the person is utilizing to log in. A Bluetooth connection permits the 2 gadgets to change data that ensures the machine logging in is close to the tip person quite than a distant risk actor. It additionally permits the authenticating machine to make sure that the machine logging in is linked to the authentic URL quite than an imposter making an attempt to realize unauthorized entry.”

For the total story on the way it all works, try Dan’s wonderful and in-depth write-up.

Wagner et al. 2022

The world’s oldest pants belonged to a warrior now referred to as Turfan Man. He lived in China between 1200 and 1000 BCE, and he paired his pants with a poncho that belted across the waist, an adorned wool headband, and ankle-high boots. The opposite grave items discovered at his burial web site point out that he most likely was a horseback-mounted warrior. However again to the pants—what’s so superb about them is not that they survived, however how they have been made:

“The Turfan trousers are an especially practical design, however they’re additionally fairly rattling fancy. Because the weaver was engaged on that stretchy, roomy crotch piece, they alternated completely different colours of weft threads to create pairs of brown stripes on an off-white background. Zigzag stripes adorn the ankles and calves of the pants, together with a design just like a step pyramid. That sample led Wagner and her colleagues to invest that Turfan Man’s tradition may need had some contact with folks in Mesopotamia, main them to incorporate ziggurats in a woven motif.”