Police in Beijing have raided a factory that made more than 41,000 fake iPhones worth as much as 120 million yuan ($19 million), including some that reached the United States, and have arrested nine suspects in the counterfeiting operation.
Apple is one of the most popular brands in China, where authorities have stepped up efforts in recent years to dispel the country’s reputation for turning out counterfeit goods.
Officials have taken stiffer action to enforce intellectual property (IP) rights, pushed firms to apply for trademarks and patents and cracked down on fakes.
Police arrested nine people, including a married couple who led the operation, after a raid in May on the factory, run under the guise of a gadget maintenance shop on the northern outskirts of the Chinese capital.
The details were revealed in a social media posting on Sunday by the public security bureau in Beijing.
The group, headed by a 43-year old man, surnamed Yu, and his 40-year old wife, surnamed Xie, both from the southern hardware manufacturing city of Shenzhen, allegedly set up the Beijing factory with six assembly lines in January, the bureau said.
They hired “hundreds” of workers to repackage second-hand smartphone components as iPhones for export, it added.
Police seized 1,400 handsets and large quantities of accessories during the May 14 raid. In the United States, the newest Apple Inc handsets can fetch $649, or more, depending on the model.
Beijing police said their investigation followed a tip-off from U.S. authorities who seized some of the fake devices.
The destination of the counterfeit phones, and how many made it there, remains unknown.
Public security representatives declined to comment on Monday, telling Reuters they had no additional information.
Apple also declined to comment, saying the investigation was ongoing.
The software genii at Apple have redesigned their OSX software to allow malware makers to make designer micro-software that can infect Macs with rootkits.
Obviously the feature is one that Apple software experts designed specifically for malware writers, perhaps seeing them as an untapped market.
The bug in the latest version of Apple’s OS X allows attackers root user privileges with a micro code which could be packed into a message.
Security researcher Stefan Esser said that this was the security hole attackers regularly exploit to bypass security protections built into modern operating systems and applications.
The OS X privilege-escalation flaw stems from new error-logging features that Apple added to OS X 10.10. Plainly the software genii did not believe that standard safeguards involving additions to the OS X dynamic linker dyld applied to them because they were protected from harm by Steve Job’s ghost.
This means that attackers to open or create files with root privileges that can reside anywhere in the OS X file system.
“This is obviously a problem, because it allows the creation or opening (for writing) of any file in the filesystem. And because the log file is never closed by dyld and the file is not opened with the close on exec flag the opened file descriptor is inherited by child processes of SUID binaries. This can be easily exploited for privilege-escalation,” Esser said.
The vulnerability is present in both the current 10.10.4 (Yosemite) version of OS X and the current beta version of 10.10.5. Importantly, the current beta version of 10.11 is free of the flaw, an indication that Apple developers may already be aware of the vulnerability.
An Apple spokesman said that engineers are aware of Esser’s post of course they did not say they would do anything about it. They will have to go through the extensional crisis involved in realising that their product was not secure or perfect. Then the security team will have to issue orders, signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to an internal inquiry, lost again, and finally bury it in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighters.
IBM has added another stick to its pile, picking up a company called Compose to increase its standing in the cloud database-as-a-service (DBaaS) market.
The firm has come straight out with the news and explained how it expects to benefit.
Compose, it said, offers a bountiful on-demand business and will let IBM roll out DBaaS offerings to a presumably hungry market. IBM has a big focus on the cloud and likes to see action around its Bluemix platform.
IBM said that Compose is a player in the MongoDB, Redis, Elasticsearch and PostgreSQL DBaaS game, and that this honour will extend itself to the new parent and its punters.
“Compose’s breadth of database offerings will expand IBM’s Bluemix platform for the many app developers seeking production-ready databases built on open source,” said Derek Schoettle, general manager of IBM cloud data services.
“Compose furthers IBM’s commitment to ensuring developers have access to the right tools for the job by offering the broadest set of DBaaS and the flexibility of hybrid cloud deployment.”
IBM acquires @composeio as complement to Cloudant CouchDB, cloud data warehouse, dashDB, and more #bluemix services. https://t.co/2j4ASqisGi
— IBM Bluemix™ (@IBMBluemix) July 23, 2015
There is money behind this, and IBM said that the DBaaS market is likely to be worth almost $20bn by 2020 thanks to thousands of companies and their multitudes of demands for easy to grasp databases. This is not the first cloudy move the firm had made.
Compose, naturally, is keen on the arrangement and expects that its union with the veteran firm will increase the scale of its services, and allow customers more freedom to innovate.
“By joining IBM, we will have an opportunity to accelerate the development of our database platform and offer even more services and support to developer teams,” said Kurt Mackey, co-founder and CEO at the firm.
“As developers, we know how hard it can be to manage databases at scale, which is exactly why we built Compose – to take that burden off our customers and allow them to get back to the engineering they love.”
No financial terms were revealed.
The promotion launched later this year than in the past: In 2014, for example, Apple started its back-to-school campaign July 1.
Buyers who purchase a qualifying Mac between now and Sept. 18 receive a $199.95 credit toward a a pair of Beats Solo2 On-Ear Headphones, which list for that amount. Alternately, the credit can be applied to a pair of Beats Solo2 Wireless On-Ear Headphones, which run $299.95, making the out-of-pocket expense $100.
The promotion launches today in Apple’s retail stores and participating authorized on-campus stores but won’t appear on the company’s e-store until Aug. 6.
9to5Mac.com first reported on the promotion earlier today.
This year’s back-to-school promotion gives parents of college students and incoming freshmen, and teachers and staff members of all grade levels — including K-12 — the credit when they buy a new iMac, Mac Pro, MacBook, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. Unlike years past, iPads and iPhones do not qualify.
For the last four years, Apple has handed out gift cards and maxed the amount of the offer at $100. Before that, a more generous Apple gave rebates of up to $300 toward the purchase of an iPod Touch.
Educational discounts on the hardware also apply. MacBooks and MacBook Airs are reduced by $50 for parents of students and for faculty and staff. The discounts on other products are $100 on MacBook Pros, $100 to $200 on Retina 5K iMacs, $50 to $100 on iMacs, and $200 to $300 on Mac Pros.
The flaws could potentially be exploited to execute malicious code on computers when users visit compromised websites or open specially crafted documents. They were reported through Hewlett-Packard’s Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) program.
HP’s TippingPoint division, which sells network security products, pays researchers for information on unpatched high-risk vulnerabilities in popular software. The company uses the information to create detection signatures, giving it a competitive advantage, but also reports the flaws to the affected vendors so they can be fixed.
The ZDI team gives vendors 120 days to develop fixes before making limited information about the flaws reported to the public. That deadline was apparently reached for the four Internet Explorer vulnerabilities this week.
The ZDI advisories describe the type, impact and general location of the flaws, but intentionally leave out technical details that could help attackers create exploits for them. In other words, they don’t classify as full disclosure.
Three of the new ZDI advisories don’t have sufficient information for other researchers or hackers to easily rediscover the issues, said Carsten Eiram, the chief research officer at vulnerability intelligence firm Risk Based Security, via email. The fourth one, however, is a bit more detailed, he said.
That advisory, tracked as ZDI-15-359, covers a vulnerability that was used by security researcher Nicolas Joly during the Mobile Pwn2Own hacking contest organized by ZDI in November last year. As part of the contest rules, researchers disclose the vulnerabilities they use with ZDI, which then shares them with the affected vendors.
Microsoft said in an emailed statement that it would take “appropriate steps” to protect its customers, but noted that no attacks had been reported so far.
Database outfit Oracle’s moves to try and copyright APIs appear to be part of an attempt for Oracle to make money on Android.
Oracle has asked a U.S. judge for permission to update its copyright lawsuit against Google to include the Android which it claims contains its Java APIs.
Oracle sued Google five years ago and is seeking roughly $1 billion in copyright claims if it manages to convince a court that its APIs are in Android it could up the damages by several billions.
Oracle wrote in a letter to Judge William Alsup on Wednesday that the record of the first trial does not reflect any of these developments in the market, including Google’s dramatically enhanced market position in search engine advertising and the overall financial results from its continuing and expanded infringement.
Last month, the US Supreme Court upheld an appeals court’s ruling that allows Oracle to seek licensing fees for the use of some of the Java language. Google had said it should use Java APIs without paying a fee.
Named Send, the new tool aims to deliver a simple experience much like that offered by text messaging or instant messaging software but without the need to know a co-worker’s mobile number or username. Instead, Send lets users quickly fire off a message to any co-worker using just their email address; no subject line, salutations or signatures are required.
“On my way,” might be one example, or “Are you in the office today?”
The app connects to Office 365 business and school email accounts to find frequent and recent contacts; users need only tap on one to start a conversation. A “Quick Reply” option allows for speedy responses.
That Office 365 connection, meanwhile, also means conversations are synced with Outlook, letting users continue them from anywhere. Messages sent using Send are treated internally like any other work email and comply with an organization’s email compliance policies, Microsoft said.
Send is now available free for iPhone through the Microsoft Garage in the U.S. and Canada. Versions for Windows Phone and Android are coming soon, as are additional IT controls. Currently the app works with Office 365 business and school email accounts, but Microsoft plans to make it more broadly available in the coming months, it said.
The case involves the chairman of the Airport Board in Kenton, Kentucky, which oversees the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. The chairman, James Huff, was on a business trip in Italy with his wife and a colleague when he accidentally pocket-dialed the secretary of the airport’s CEO back in the U.S.
The secretary, Carol Spaw, said “hello” a few times and soon figured out the call wasn’t meant for her. But she overheard Huff and his colleague talking about personnel matters, including the possibility that the airport’s CEO — Spaw’s boss — might be replaced. The inadvertent call continued after Huff got back to his hotel room with his wife.
The call lasted 91 minutes and Spaw stayed on the line the entire time, court records show. Spaw claims that she thought Huff was discussing a plan to illegally discriminate against the CEO, a woman. She says she felt obliged to record the call and report it.
Spaw took handwritten notes for most of the call, but managed to record the last four minutes after a colleague brought her an iPhone. By that time, Huff was back in his hotel room, where he discussed personal matters with his wife Bertha but also shared some details of the personnel discussion from earlier.
Huff and his wife sued Spaw, alleging she had breached their privacy by violating a law often called the Wiretap Act, which prohibits interception of “wire, oral or electronic communications.”
However, the catch is that the law applies only where people can show they had a reasonable expectation of privacy. And that’s not case with pocket-dialed calls, the appeals court ruled, upholding in part a lower court’s decision.
Citing case law, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals said people must “exhibit” that they have an expectation of privacy, by taking reasonable steps to ensure their conversation won’t be overheard.
Microsoft has begun to open source some more of its code, this time for the Microsoft Research Software Radio (Sora).
“We believe that a fully open source Sora will better support the research community for more scientific innovation,” said Kun Tan, a senior researcher on the Sora project team.
Sora was created to combat the problem of creating software radio that could keep up with the hardware developments going on around it.
The idea behind it is to run the radio off software on a multi-core PC running a basic operating system. In the example, it uses Windows. But then it would.
A PCIe radio control board is added to the machine with signals processed by the software for transmission and reception, while the RF front-end, with its own memory, interfaces with other devices.
The architecture also supports parallel processing by distributing processing pipelines to multiple cores exclusively for real-time SDR tasks.
Sora has already won a number of awards, and the Sora SDK and API were released in 2011 for academic users. More than 50 institutions now use it for research or courses.
As such, and in line with the groovy open Microsoft ethos, the software has now been completely open sourced, with customizable RF front-ends, customizable RCB with timing control and synchronization, processing accelerators and support for new communication models such as duplex radios.
The Sora source code is now up on GitHub. Use cases already in place include TV whitespace, large scale MIMO and distributed MIMO systems.
Microsoft has made a number of moves towards open sourcing itself over the past year. Most notably, The .NET Framework at the heart of most Windows programs was offered up to the newly created .NET Foundation.
It was announced yesterday that Google is releasing its Kubernetes code to the Linux Foundation to set up a standardized format for containerization.
HP has released a study suggesting that anyone who uses a smartwatch is offering their wrist to vagabonds, criminals and privacy probers.
Blam! HP ain’t messing. “You got a smartwatch?” it says. “Then damn, son, you are in trouble!”*
A report apparently straight outta HP finds that the smartwatch lets us all down by not doing encryption right, not considering privacy and using second rate authentication.
In the current threat market, this would be a pretty much a full house of problems and pretty bad form on the part of providers like Apple.
Security firm Bitdefender has wrapped itself around the study, and describes the threat as “extreme” in its reporting of the HP smartwatch horror story.
The INQUIRER has not been able to find the report, but it has found mention of it. We shall turn to what we can while our inquiries hang in PR purgatory.
ESET has its own report on the study and offers advice on securing wearable technology, including smartwatches, on its website.
The security firm quotes from the report, saying that HP security personnel are fretting about increased adoption and the rising tide of threats.
“Smartwatches have only started to become a part of our lives, but they deliver a new level of functionality and we will increasingly use them for sensitive tasks,” Jyoti Prakash, country director for India and south Asia at HP Enterprise Security Products, is quoted as saying.
“As this activity accelerates, the watch platform will become vastly more attractive to those who would abuse that access, and it’s critical that we take precautions when transmitting personal sensitive data or bringing smartwatches into the workplace.”
The best practice if a zombie has bitten your arm and infected you with a virus, for example, would be to chop it off. Your arm, that is.
Here, we suggest that perhaps you consider what you share, where you share it and what you share it on as your best response.
The company’s online promotions in advance of the launch featured a mysterious high-end Android device. The marketing scheme paid off, according to Adam Zeng, CEO of ZTE’s mobile devices business, sparking media interest. It even caused some to wonder if the product was Korean-made, since Chinese brands have a low-end image to U.S. consumers, according to Zeng.
ZTE was happy to clear up any preconceived notions. “Chinese brands can also come out with top-tier products,” Zeng maintained.
The Axon is a premium handset that the company claims can rival flagship phones from Apple, Samsung and LG.
It is scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. in early August, and is already available for pre-order, with a no-contract price of $449. That’s about $200 less than an iPhone 6 when bought without carrier subsidies. But consumers are still getting the latest in smartphone technology.
For the Axon, this includes a 2560 by 1440 screen, an eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, 4GB of RAM, all fitted in a sleek metal case with leather on the back cover.
Zeng noted that it took ZTE 18 months to develop the product. The company wanted to make sure it had everything, such as the ability to shoot 4K video, and a rear-facing camera with dual lenses.
ZTE kept pushing the phone’s launch date back to include more features, Zeng said. It also tapped talent from North America, hiring Seattle-based design firm Teague and former BlackBerry employees to help build the product.
ZTE has been expanding in the U.S., although competition remains stiff. In this year’s first quarter, it was ranked as the U.S.’s sixth largest smartphone vendor, with a 4.5 percent market share, according to research firm IDC. Industry leaders Apple and Samsung, on the other hand, have a combined market share of 62 percent.
Samsung has put 10nm FinFET in its roadmap to stop its customers migrating to TSMC.
There were some rumours that Samsung may alter its schedule in order to prevent clients that might consider switching to 10nm chips from TSMC as that outfit is expected to skip the 14nm process and go straight to 10nm
Kelvin Low from Samsung Foundry confirmed in a video posted on YouTube that Samsung has formally added 10nm FinFET into the process roadmap, for chip designers working in mobile, consumer or networking market segment the new chips will provide significant performance and power consumption improvements.
Samsung LSI division has already shown off its first 10nm wafers which was a symbolic message to major clients that Samsung is more than capable of getting its 10nm production lines up and running without much hassle. Low expected 10nm products to appear at the end of 2016
Investors in ARM are deeply worried about its close relationship to the fruity cargo cult Apple.
ARM released its results which looked great, but investors were looking at its close ties to Jobs’ Mob which posted results which were disappointing.
Shares dropped 3.1 per cent on the back of Apple’s results. Apple uses ARM’s processor designs in its range of iThings.
It seems odd as ARMs Revenues rose 22 per cent to $17.5m for its second quarter, while pre-tax profits increased 32 per cent to $90.9m, compared with the same period last year.
The chip designer signed 54 processor licences for the three months, a “record” number.
Simon Segars, ARM chief exec, said a diverse range of companies chose to license ARM’s latest processors in the second quarter and physical IP for future product developments.
“ARM has been investing in advanced technology products for mobile devices, automotive applications and enterprise infrastructure, and in Q2 ARM signed licences for many of these new products. This licensing activity will help to grow the royalty revenue opportunity for years to come,” he said.
BlackBerry Ltd announced that it will acquire privately-held AtHoc, a provider of secure, networked crisis communications, as it moves to broaden its software offering and generate revenue from its BBM messaging service.
San Mateo, California-based AtHoc’s services are used by a number of top clients including the U.S. Department of Defense, Homeland Security and a host of blue-chip companies, to provide software that seamlessly allows them to reach staff via their smartphones, or via digital displays, radios, and even sirens, in times of crisis. Its services help organizations and people share information during business continuity and rescue efforts.
The terms of the transaction, which is expected to close by November, were not disclosed.
“AtHoc is an alerts system, but it also needs richer content and that can be provided by BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), which offers not just text, but voice, picture and video sharing, so we can provide a much richer experience to their clients,” said BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen in an interview.
The deal is the latest in a string of acquisitions made by the smartphone pioneer, as it pivots to focus more on software and turn around its faded fortunes.
Earlier this year, Chen said he saw a part of the company’s targeted software revenue growth in the current fiscal year coming from acquisitions of companies that will allow it to sell more value-added services.
In April, Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry announced plans to acquire privately-held software maker WatchDox, which secures files. Its services are used by some of the world’s top federal agencies, private equity firms, and a slew of Hollywood studios.
This followed last year’s buyout of Secusmart, a German firm that specializes in voice and data encryption and British tech start-up Movirtu, whose software allows users to have two phone numbers on the same device with a single SIM card.
“AtHoc, with its messaging alerts, is the next piece in the puzzle,” said Chen, noting that the firm has some large marquee clients that compliment BlackBerry’s own customer base.
The acquisitions made so far have helped BlackBerry ramp up its portfolio of services that cater to the needs of its core base of clients, such as corporations and government agencies.
The biggest U.S. wireless service provider added 1.1 million wireless retail postpaid subscribers – those who pay each billing cycle based on usage – on a net basis in the second quarter, in line with estimates from analysts polled by market research firm FactSet StreetAccount.
Customer defections, also known as churn in the telecommunications industry, for Verizon’s wireless postpaid business dipped to 0.90 percent versus the 0.99 percent estimated by FactSet.
Revenue from Verizon’s FiOS high-speed Internet, TV and phone service rose 10 percent to $3.4 billion, while tablet sign-ups totaled 852,000 in the quarter.
Wireless carriers have been offering heavy promotions and discounts on tablets as they look to boost crucial subscriber growth numbers and limit customer churn.
Verizon is gearing up to launch its online video service to unlock new revenue streams as competition in the wireless industry from smaller players such as T-Mobile US Inc and Sprint Corp heats up.
The company bought AOL Inc in June in a $4.4 billion bet that a push into mobile video and targeted advertising can help it find new growth avenues.
Verizon said it added 842,000 4G smartphones to its postpaid customer base in the quarter.