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OnePlus Phones Have Dangerous Hacking Backdoor

November 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Hackers who obtained OnePlus phones can obtain virtually unlimited access to files and software through use of a testing tool called EngineerMode that the company evidently left on the devices.

Robert Baptiste, a freelance security researcher who goes by the name Elliot Alderson on Twitter after the “Mr. Robot” TV show character, found the tool on a OnePlus phone and tweeted his findings Monday. Researchers at security firm SecureNow helped figure out the tool’s password, a step that means hackers can get unrestricted privileges on the phone as long as they have the device in their possession.

The EngineeerMode software functions as a backdoor, granting access to someone other than an authorized user. Escalating those privileges to full do-anything “root” access required a few lines of code, Baptiste said.

“It’s quite severe,” Baptiste said via a Twitter direct message.

OnePlus disagreed, though it said it’s decided to modify EngineerTool.

“EngineerMode is a diagnostic tool mainly used for factory production line functionality testing and after sales support,” the company said in a statement. Root access “is only accessible if USB debugging, which is off by default, is turned on, and any sort of root access would still require physical access to your device. While we don’t see this as a major security issue, we understand that users may still have concerns and therefore we will remove the adb [Android Debug Bridge command-line tool] root function from EngineerMode in an upcoming OTA.”

SecureNow found the tool on the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 5. Android Police reported it’s also on the OnePlus 3T. And Baptiste said it’s also on the new OnePlus 5T.

Baptiste had spotted evidence that EngineerMode was written by mobile chipmaker Qualcomm. But Qualcomm said Wednesday that’s not the case.

“After an in-depth investigation, we have determined that the EngineerMode app in question was not authored by Qualcomm,” the company said in a statement. “Although remnants of some Qualcomm source code is evident, we believe that others built upon a past, similarly named Qualcomm testing app that was limited to displaying device information. EngineerMode no longer resembles the original code we provided.”

Microsoft Unveils ‘Near Share’ Wireless File-sharing Feature

November 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft last week unveiled another Windows 10 preview, a regular occurrence in its Insider program, that featured a handful of additions to the under-construction OS. One of those, called “Near Share,” is a simple wireless service meant for impromptu file transfer between devices.

The easiest way to pigeonhole Near Share is to think of it as Microsoft’s belated doppelgänger of Apple’s “AirDrop,” the share service that debuted on Macs, iPhones and iPads six years ago.

Although AirDrop is one of the most under-used tools in macOS and iOS, there’s no reason Near Share has to follow suit on Windows 10. That’s why Computerworld dug up information on the feature now, rather than wait for its debut next year.

Near Share is Microsoft’s name for its ad hoc file transfer feature in Windows 10.

Like Apple’s AirDrop, which it resembles, Near Share is a file transfer service that works only between nearby devices. It’s designed for occasional inter-device transfer where simplicity and convenience are paramount. Rather than email a presentation from one device to another, for example, or upload to an online storage service or the network, Near Share lets one user zip the file directly from his or her PC to a colleague’s.

Not to beat the comparison horse, but again, it works much like AirDrop, the iOS and macOS file-sharing feature. Near Share relies on both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth alone, to sniff out nearby devices, create an ad hoc peer-to-peer network, then transfer the file.

Like AirDrop, Windows 10’s Near Share uses Bluetooth to broadcast the presence of the sharing-enabled device, detect other ready devices, then negotiate the connection between the two. For all but the smallest files – which are transmitted via Bluetooth – Near Share moves the file over a point-to-point Wi-Fi link.

That Wi-Fi connection uses the Wi-Fi Direct peer-to-peer (P2P) industry standard.

Microsoft doesn’t say, but Bluetooth – the limiting factor here – can reach as far as 300 feet. Most Bluetooth, however, maxes out at an effective range that’s considerably less. Apple, for instance, recommends that AirDrop be used only when devices are within 30 feet of each other.

Microsoft debuted the file transmission in Build 17035 of its Windows 10 Insider program, released Nov. 8. Devices on both ends of the transfer must be running that or a later build of Insider. The feature must also be enabled on both devices by toggling the “Near Share” switch under the “Shared Experiences” section of Settings.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios must also be present in both devices. A Wi-Fi connection to the Internet, or even a Wi-Fi network, is not necessary.

DiD apple Rush The iPhone X

November 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

There seem to be more local problems popping up on Apple’s latest super expensive iPhone X.

According to Macrumors, one of the bugs is related to audio. Some people rich enough to own the latest phone are reporting buzzing and crackling from the stereo speakers.

Some people rich enough to own the latest phone are reporting buzzing and crackling from the stereo speakers.

One customer took his crackling iPhone X back to the Mac shop where he bought it and Apple replaced it with another phone which had the same problem.

So far Apple hasn’t publicly commented on the latest problem to afflict the shiny device but according to some reports the difficulty isn’t down to the hardware but to the operating system.

If that’s true, then the problem may well be fixable.

Over the weekend other buyers of the bright and shiny gadget claimed their phones were showing a green line on the devices display.

Meanwhile other news reports claim that you can beat Apple’s Face ID system by wearing an elaborate mask.  And it is an elaborate mask that you probably couldn’t knock up in your bedroom in a thrice.

Courtesy-Fud

IBM Expands Quantum Computing In The Cloud

November 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

The ever-shrinking Big Blue is expanding what it calls quantum computing as a cloud service.

Since last year IBM has offered a 5 qubit version and now it is pumping up the volume to 20-qubits.

The outfit also announced that IBM researchers had successfully built a 50 qubit prototype, which is the next milestone for quantum computing.

Quantum computing is a difficult area of technology to understand unless you are a cat which can exist in two different states at once. The theory is that instead of having a machine which interprets zeroes and ones in on/off states, quantum computers can live in multiple states at once. This creates all kinds of new programming possibilities and requires new software and systems to build programs that can work with this way of computing.

Dario Gil, IBM Research VP of AI and IBM Q, says the increased number qubits is only part of the story. The more Qubits you deal with, the more complex the qubit interactions become because they interact with one another in a process called entanglement.

However the higher the qubits, the higher the error rate as they interact. Big Blue has managed to achieve the higher qubit number with low error rates, making them highly useful to researchers.

IBM has been battling the coherence problem which means that there is only a a brief window of time before the qubits revert to a classical computing state of zeroes and ones. Now they can manage 90 microseconds range.

With this release and the improvements that IBM made to the QISKit, a software development kit (SDK) to help companies understand how to program quantum computers, they can continue to advance the technology.

IBM sees applications for quantum computing in areas like medicine, drug discovery and materials science as this technology advances and becomes better understood.

Courtesy-Fud

Will Cloud Services Explode In 2018

November 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Number crunchers at Forrester have been shuffling their tarot cards and reached the conclusion that the cloud will be even bigger in 2018.

Apparently next year cloud computing will cross a special threshold.

Forrester predicts that more than 50 percent of global enterprises will rely on at least on public cloud platforms to drive digital transformation and delight customers.

This means that cloud will become business critical and is now a mainstream enterprise core technology.

Forrester believes that the cloud is consolidating, so outfits need to start planning now to mitigate lock-in risk.

SaaS vendors are likely to expand to become true platform providers and make it even easier to consume their software.

Cloud platforms outside North America will become more locally focused and target specific regional or industry needs. This is probably because governments are busy spying on each other’s clouds and don’t want data leaving the country.

Forrester said that Kubernetes has won the war for container orchestration dominance so it is probably not a good idea to think of something different.

Private and hybrid cloud spending will rebound after a slowdown, driven by a raft of new on-premises cloud solutions, Forrester predicts.

Cloud management solutions will start to be sold in parts or offered for free as competition heats up.

Forrester adds that Enterprises will shift 10 percent of their traffic from carrier backbones to colocation and cloud service providers.

Courtesy-Fud

SoftBank Acquires $10B Stake In Uber

November 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Uber’s board of directors has agreed to a deal that will allow SoftBank to make a multibillion-dollar investment in the ride-hailing startup.

The agreement resolves a legal battle between Uber co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick and Benchmark Capital, one of the startup’s early investors, Reuters reported Sunday. Benchmark Capital, which owns about 13 percent of Uber, sued Kalanick in August, alleging that Kalanick misled Uber’s stockholders to gain control of three board seats.

“We’ve entered into an agreement with a consortium led by SoftBank and Dragoneer on a potential investment,” an Uber representative said in a statement. “We believe this agreement is a strong vote of confidence in Uber’s long-term potential. Upon closing, it will help fuel our investments in technology and our continued expansion at home and abroad, while strengthening our corporate governance.”

The agreement comes a month after Uber’s board voted to eliminate its super-voting structure, in which early shareholders had 10 times the voting power, to a one vote per share model, according to a source familiar with the vote. The board also voted to expand the number of board members to 17, adding six seats to dilute additions made by Kalanick in September.

At the same time, Uber’s board approved the sale of $10 billion of stock to SoftBank, a Japanese internet giant. SoftBank plans to acquire a 14 percent to 20 percent stake in the world’s most valuable privately-held tech startup, board member Arianna Huffington said in October.

The vote came amid a tumultuous year for the ride-hailing startup, which has been rocked by a slew of scandals, including sexual harassment allegations that resulted in more than 20 Uber employees being fired. The company has been caught using a secretive tool called Greyball to avoid local authorities. The company is also defending itself against a trade-secret theft lawsuit from Waymo, a self-driving car business run by Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

 

Were The Russians Responsible For The Yahoo Data Breach

November 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

At least one of the attacks carried out on Yahoo was the work of Russian spooks, according to former Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer.

Mayer apologised for two massive data breaches at the internet company, blaming Russian agents for at least one of them.

Speaking at a Senate hearing on the growing number of cyber attacks on major US companies, Mayer said sorry for the hacks which were committed on her watch.

“Unfortunately, while all our measures helped Yahoo successfully defend against the barrage of attacks by both private and state-sponsored hackers, Russian agents intruded on our systems and stole our users’ data”, she said.

Verizon, the largest US wireless operator, acquired most of Yahoo Inc’s assets in June, the same month Mayer stepped down. Verizon disclosed last month that a 2013 Yahoo data breach affected all three billion of its accounts, compared with an estimate of more than one billion disclosed in December.

In March, federal prosecutors charged two Russian intelligence agents and two hackers with masterminding a 2014 theft of 500 million Yahoo accounts, the first time the US government has criminally charged Russian spies for cyber crimes.

Those charges came amid controversy relating to alleged Kremlin-backed gaming of the 2016 US presidential election and possible links between Russian figures and associates of President Donald Trump.

Special Agent Jack Bennett of the FBI’s San Francisco Division said in March the 2013 breach was unrelated and that an investigation of the larger incident was continuing. Mayer later said under questioning that she did not know if Russians were responsible for the 2013 breach, but earlier spoke of state-sponsored attacks.

Senator John Thune, a Republican who chairs the Commerce Committee, asked Mayer on Wednesday why it took three years to identify the data breach or properly gauge its size.

Mayer said Yahoo could not identify how the 2013 intrusion occurred and that the company did not learn of the incident until the US government presented data to Yahoo in November 2016.

She said even “robust” defences are not enough to defend against state-sponsored attacks and compared the fight with hackers to an “arms race”.

“We now know that Russian intelligence officers and state-sponsored hackers were responsible for highly complex and sophisticated attacks on Yahoo’s systems”, Mayer said. She said “really aggressive” pursuit of hackers was needed to discourage the efforts, and that even the most well-defended companies “could fall victim to these crimes”.

Courtesy-Fud

Disney Plans To Take On Netflix With Streaming Service

November 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Disney’s future streaming service will face off with Netflix, the reigning streaming champ, with lower prices, CEO Bob Iger said in an earnings call earlier this week.

In August, Disney announced its plans to pull movies like “Moana” from Netflix and instead stream them along with future films like the sequel to “Frozen” on its own service, which will launch in 2019.

Iger said:”I can say that our plan on the Disney side is to price this substantially below where Netflix is. That is in part reflective of the fact that it will have substantially less volume. It’ll have a lot of high quality because of the brands and the franchises that will be on it that we’ve talked about. But it’ll simply launch with less volume, and the price will reflect that.”

Iger went on to say that the company’s main goal starting out will be to attract as many subscribers as possible, diverting at least some of the wind out of Netflix’s sales.

Disney-owned brands include Pixar, Lucasfilm (of Star Wars), Marvel Studios (think of all those “Thor” and “Avengers”-themed shows and films) and the ABC television network. While Marvel shows developed for Netflix are expected to stay on that service, such as “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones,” features like “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” will likely move to Disney’s service.

Disney first signed a deal to stream content through Netflix in 2012.

 

Is Bitcoin’s Rising Value Finally Over?

November 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Bitcoin fell below $7,000 on Friday to trade more than $1,000 down from an all-time high hit earlier in the week, as some traders dumped it for a clone called Bitcoin Cash, sending its value up around a third.

Bitcoin has been on a tear in recent months, with a vertiginous sevenfold increase in value since the start of the year that has led to many warnings the bitcoin market – now worth well over $100 billion – has become a bubble that is about to burst.

 It reached a record high of $7,888 around 1800 GMT on Wednesday after a software upgrade planned for next week that could have split the cryptocurrency in a so-called “fork” was suspended.

But it has quickly retreated from that peak, falling to as low as $6,718 around 1330 GMT on Friday. It later recovered a touch to trade around $6,880 by 1645 GMT, but that was still down almost 4 percent on the day.

“The market realized that the price rise was an over-reaching, so people started selling… (and) there are many long and short positions that amplify price movements.”

As bitcoin tumbled, Bitcoin Cash, which was generated from another software split on Aug.1, surged, trading up as much as 35 percent on the day to around $850, according to industry website Coinmarketcap.

Did NotPetya Cost Maersk 300 Million

November 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Maersk has claimed that the NotPetya ransomware that ripped through a number of its operations in the summer has cost the company as much as $300m.

The company admitted this week that the ransomware caused a 2.5 per cent decrease in shipping volumes as the company struggled to process freight with systems that had been taken down by the outbreak.

“The effect on profitability from the June cyber-attack was $250m-$300m, with the vast majority of the impact related to Maersk Line in the third quarter. No further impact is expected in the fourth quarter,” the company advised stockholders in its latest financial report.

“The cyber-attack primarily impacted July and August, while contingencies related to recovery from the cyber-attack resulted in a negative development on volumes, utilisation and unit cost performance throughout the quarter.”

The $250m-$300m costs associated with dealing with NotPetya compare with an “underlying profit” of $372m generated on revenues of $8bn, according to the company, and came against the backdrop of rising container freight rates, which will have cushioned the blow.

In addition to the hit on Maersk Line, part of the company’s Transport & Logistics division, the report also indicated that its APM Terminals business had also been affected by “additional costs related to the cyber attack”.

However, despite the company’s claim that no further impact is expected from the cyber attack in the current quarter, it admitted that recovering IT services and reliability following NotPetya would lead to continuing higher costs.

The report confirms a profit warning related to the ransomware issued by the company in August. It is not the only major organisation to have suffered heavy losses as a result of the destructive malware, with parcel delivery firm TNT Express particularly hard hit.

Courtesy-Fud

Facebook Has A Unique Way To Fight Revenge Porn

November 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook is prompting people to share their nude photos. But this isn’t what it sounds like.

The goal of the social network’s plan is to make sure people’s nude photos aren’t used for revenge porn by a disgruntled ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

The way it’ll work is people will share their photos with Facebook via its Messenger app and the company will then “hash” the images, which is a process that converts the photos into a unique digital code. Once Facebook has that code, it can block the images from ever being uploaded to its site. The company will store the images for a short time and then delete them.

The company is piloting the technology in Australia with a small government agency headed by e-Safety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant.

We see many scenarios where maybe photos or videos were taken consensually at one point, but there was not any sort of consent to send the images or videos more broadly,” Inman Grant told the ABC.

Other tech companies have used similar types of hashing technology in efforts to rid the internet of child pornography. Google, Microsoft, and Twitter have used unique digital codes to detect exploitative images, some of which have led to the arrests of people distributing the photographs on the web.

Facebook didn’t immediately respond to request for comment.

Marissa Mayer Blames Russians For Yahoo Hacking

November 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Former Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer offered up apologies for two massive data breaches at the internet company, blaming Russian agents for at least one of them, at a hearing on the growing number of cyber attacks on major U.S. companies.

”As CEO, these thefts occurred during my tenure, and I want to sincerely apologize to each and every one of our users,” she told the Senate Commerce Committee, testifying alongside the interim and former CEOs of Equifax Inc and a senior Verizon Communications Inc executive.

“Unfortunately, while all our measures helped Yahoo successfully defend against the barrage of attacks by both private and state-sponsored hackers, Russian agents intruded on our systems and stole our users’ data.”

 Verizon, the largest U.S. wireless operator, acquired most of Yahoo Inc’s assets in June, the same month Mayer stepped down. Verizon disclosed last month that a 2013 Yahoo data breach affected all 3 billion of its accounts, compared with an estimate of more than 1 billion disclosed in December.

In March, federal prosecutors charged two Russian intelligence agents and two hackers with masterminding a 2014 theft of 500 million Yahoo accounts, the first time the U.S. government has criminally charged Russian spies for cyber crimes.

Those charges came amid controversy relating to alleged Kremlin-backed hacking of the 2016 U.S. presidential election and possible links between Russian figures and associates of President Donald Trump. Russia has denied trying to influence the U.S. election in any way.

Special Agent Jack Bennett of the FBI’s San Francisco Division said in March the 2013 breach was unrelated and that an investigation of the larger incident was continuing. Mayer later said under questioning that she did not know if Russians were responsible for the 2013 breach, but earlier spoke of state-sponsored attacks.

Senator John Thune, a Republican who chairs the Commerce Committee, asked Mayer on Wednesday why it took three years to identify the data breach or properly gauge its size.

Mayer said Yahoo has not been able to identify how the 2013 intrusion occurred and that the company did not learn of the incident until the U.S. government presented data to Yahoo in November 2016. She said even “robust” defenses are not enough to defend against state-sponsored attacks and compared the fight with hackers to an “arms race.”

Yahoo required users to change passwords and took new steps to make data more secure, Mayer said.

 

Twitter 280-Character Tweets Go Worldwide

November 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Microblogging website Twitter Inc, known for its iconic 140-character tweets, officially announced that it would roll out 280-character tweets to users across the world.

Twitter said it ran a test on 280-character tweets in September that showed users spent less time editing their tweets and were less likely to abandon them.

User posting in languages including Japanese, Korean and Chinese, which do not face the issue of “cramming”, will continue to have a limit of 140 characters, Twitter said.

The company did not say when it would start allowing users to post 280-character tweets.

Snapchat Launches Re-design

November 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Snap Inc is redesigning its disappearing-message app Snapchat hoping to attract a broader audience, going back to the drawing board as Wall Street clobbered it for another quarter of slowing user growth.

The Venice, California-based firm, whose March stock market debut was the hottest of any tech stock in years, reported revenue and user growth for the third quarter well below Wall Street expectations as it struggles to compete with Facebook Inc’s Instagram.

Snap has disappointed investors each quarter of its brief existence as a public company.

User growth in the last three months was well below what investment analysts expected. Daily active users rose to 178 million in the third quarter from 173 million in the second quarter. Analysts had expected 181.8 million, according to research firm FactSet.

Chief Executive Evan Spiegel said the company was launching the redesign after hearing for years that Snapchat was difficult to understand or hard to use.

“We are going to make it easier to discover the vast quantity of content on our platform that goes undiscovered or unseen every day,” Spiegel told analysts on a conference call.

The 27-year-old CEO said there was a “strong likelihood” the redesign would be disruptive in the short term, but said Snap was willing to take the risk for long-term gain.

Such a radical change so soon after an IPO is unusual.

Snap is not the only social media company looking to revive growth by changing its look. Microblogging service Twitter Inc said on Tuesday it would roll out 280-character tweets to users across the world, double the length of its iconic 140-character tweets.

Asked on the analyst call what Snapchat’s redesign would look like, Spiegel said the company had been studying the evolution of mobile content feeds such as Twitter streams and the Facebook News Feed and saw room for a “personalized content service.”

Spiegel said the company next year would also build more tools for people to share with broad audiences beyond their friends, the type of public broadcasting common on Instagram and Twitter.

“It seems like a significant amount of change in a short period of time,” analyst Rich Greenfield of BTIG told Spiegel on the call. He asked what led to the shifts.

Spiegel said Snap needed to evolve rapidly. “We’re just not afraid to make changes in the long-term interest of the business,” he said.

Is The iPhone X Too Fragile

November 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

The iPhone X is so fragile it will break the first time you drop it

 Cnet has just discovered to its horror that for some reason having two breakable glass surfaces makes the hugely expensive phone rather fragile.

In its breakability tests Cnet found that the glass on either side the iPhone X has more potential surface area to scratch. On the plus side, at least the stainless steel frame should, in theory, be tougher to scuff than the aluminium on previous models.

The tester rubbed the screen with medium grain sandpaper, the scratches were visible, and slightly more pronounced on the Space Gray version. Doing the same on the stainless steel frame left no visible scuffs.

“When I turned over the phones though, I noticed their screens already had some additional tiny dents and scratches just from rubbing up against the ceramic surface I was testing them on. They key test didn’t do much, and the sandpaper left a similar mark as on the back glass.”

The drop test from 3 feet (0.9 m) showed showed visible damage.

The back hit first, but it then did a flip and landed screen-side down with the back facing me so the tester could see the damage immediately. The glass from three of the four corners cracked at different degrees of severity and scuffed up the side of the camera mount. The bottom right-hand corner took the biggest hit and had the largest fracture flanking the corner. Even the stainless steel on the frame looked chipped on this side where the phone hit the floor. The top right corner also had a small tear and scuff on the frame, and another tiny bump on the bottom left hand corner of the glass.

If the phone was dropped on the screen it was destroyed.

There were deeper fractures extending diagonally across the entire back of the phone from the impact. There were new cracks on the bottom edge of the screen.

Everything still worked fine, but this iPhone X definitely looked banged up.

Of course Cnet loves Apple, so the writer did not warn users not to waste their money on such a lemon. Instead he advised wasting more money on Apple’s insurance.  A better solution would be to save money, and buy a phone at half the cost which is a little more robust.

Courtesy-Fud

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