Last week, Mojang released a couple of announcements, focusing on the Heartbleed bug that affected Minecraft (as well as most of the web) and the new 1.7.9 update that headlines the ability to change your in-game name while still not breaking server bans, inventories, etc. Read on for the details.
If you are not aware, the Heartbleed bug was a bug in the security protocol most sites use that allowed someone to access a small amount of data from the server that could include sensitive information. The vulnerability was open for 2 years prior to it becoming publicly known and fixed by most sites. Mojang took down their online services right away and fixed it, but because it was open for so long, they recommend changing your password now that it is patched up. They've also shut down support for the old launcher and some old authentication services, so there could be custom launchers out there that have now ceased to function. You can find all the details here.
An update was also released last week. Though there are no content changes, the 1.7.6 update (now 1.7.9 after bugfixes) lays down the groundwork for name changes. Yes, you'll finally be able to get a shiny new name, xXxcrprhnt3r420xXx. But not right now. The feature isn't actually available yet, but all the new background stuff is in the game now and is incompatible with the old code, so you need to upgrade your servers too. It's a bit frustrating from a purely user perspective, but I can understand why it had to be done. If you need more info, Mojang actually released a neat FAQ regarding the new system here.
That's it for news, but stay tuned to MCmodder.net for more Minecraft info and the best mods, all the time.