Category Archives: Technology

(Reuters) EU warns of 5G cybersecurity risks, stops short of singling out China

(Reuters) BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union warned on Wednesday of the risk of increased cyber attacks by state-backed entities but refrained from singling out China and its telecoms equipment market leader Huawei Technologies as threats.

The comments came in a report prepared by EU member states on cybersecurity risks to next-generation 5G mobile networks seen as crucial to the bloc’s competitiveness in an increasingly networked world.

The authors chose to ignore calls by the United States to ban Huawei’s equipment, drawing a welcome from the Shenzen-based company after it faced U.S. accusations that its gear could be used by China for spying.

“Among the various potential actors, non-EU states or state-backed are considered as the most serious ones and the most likely to target 5G networks,” the European Commission and Finland, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, said in a joint statement.

“In this context of increased exposure to attacks facilitated by suppliers, the risk profile of individual suppliers will become particularly important, including the likelihood of the supplier being subject to interference from a non-EU country,” they said.

Huawei, which competes with Finland’s Nokia and Sweden’s Ericsson, said it stood ready to work with its European partners on 5G network security. It has always denied its equipment can be used for spying.

“This exercise is an important step toward developing a common approach to cybersecurity and delivering safe networks for the 5G era,” a Huawei spokesman said.

“We are pleased to note that the EU delivered on its commitment to take an evidence-based approach, thoroughly analyzing risks rather than targeting specific countries or actors.”

Tom Ridge, a former U.S. secretary of homeland security, took a different view of the report. He said Huawei’s close ties to the Chinese government meant it would have to comply with legislation requiring it to assist with intelligence gathering.

“If countries needed more reason to implement stricter security measures to protect 5G networks, this comprehensive risk assessment is it,” said Ridge, a member of the advisory board of Global Cyber Policy Watch.

Fifth-generation networks will hook up billions of devices, sensors and cameras in ‘smart’ cities, homes and offices. With that ubiquity, security becomes an even more pressing need than in existing networks.

“5G security requires that networks are built leveraging the most advanced security features, selecting vendors that are trustworthy and transparent,” a Nokia spokesperson said, adding that the company was the only global vendor capable of providing all the building blocks for secure 5G networks.

EU members have differed on how to treat Huawei, with Britain, a close U.S. ally, leaning toward excluding it from critical parts of networks. Germany is meanwhile creating a level playing field in which all 5G vendors should prove they are trustworthy.


The report warned against over-dependence on one telecoms equipment supplier.

“A major dependency on a single supplier increases the exposure to a potential supply interruption, resulting for instance from a commercial failure, and its consequences,” it said.

European network operators, including Germany’s Deutsche Telekom typically have multi-vendor strategies that they say reduce the security risks that might arise from relying too heavily on a single provider.

“The Commission’s 5G assessment recognizes security isn’t just a supplier issue,” said Alex Sinclair, chief technology officer of the GSMA, a global mobile-industry trade group.

“We all have a role to play – from manufacturers to operators to consumers – and we are taking responsibility for our part in the security chain seriously.”FILE PHOTO: A logo of the upcoming mobile standard 5G is pictured at the Hanover trade fair, in Hanover, Germany March 31, 2019. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/File Photo

The EU will now seek to come up with a so-called toolbox of measures by the end of the year to address cyber security risks at national and bloc-wide level.

The European Agency for Cybersecurity is also finalizing a map of specific threats related to 5G networks.

(CNBC) Microsoft unveils new folding smartphone in surprise announcement


  • Microsoft unveils the new Surface Duo, which runs on Android, at its annual hardware event on Wednesday.
  • The folding phone features two side-by-side 5.6-inch displays that are connected by a 360-degree hinge.
  • The Duo will launch in late 2020, in time for the holiday season.
CNBC Tech: Microsoft event 22

Microsoft had its annual product event on Wednesday.

Microsoft made a surprise announcement Wednesday of a new two-screened Android smartphone, the Surface Duo. The device will launch in late 2020, in time for the holiday season. No pricing details were announced.

The device features two side-by-side 5.6-inch displays that are connected by a 360-degree hinge. Once it’s folded up, the Duo is small enough that it can fit in your pocket.

CNBC Tech: Microsoft event 24

Panos Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer, holds up the new Surface Duo.

Microsoft said it partnered with Google to “bring the best of Android” to the device, while incorporating elements of Windows 10X, a new operating system meant for hybrid devices. It can also run two different apps at the same time.PUBLICIDADE

The phone opens up so that the second display can be used as a game controller or a keyboard. The second display can also function as a stand, enabling users to watch videos in landscape mode.

“You can text, you can write, you can do what you want,” said Panos Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer. “Make no mistake, this product is a Surface.”

CNBC Tech: Microsoft event 25

The Duo folds open so that the second screen can be used as a game controller.

Microsoft was rumored to be developing a Surface phone for some time. The company’s last stab at a smartphone, the Windows Phone operating system, didn’t sell as well as Microsoft had hoped, and it has since been discontinued. This time around, Microsoft isn’t relying on its own mobile operating system; instead, it has chosen to bring Android, the most popular operating system globally, to the Duo.

The company unveiled Duo alongside other Surface announcements. The company debuted an all-new dual-screen computer, called the Surface Neo, as well as the Surface Pro 7, the Surface Laptop 3, the Surface Pro X and the Surface Earbuds.

(ECO) Edward Snowden é o convidado surpresa do Web Summit. Fala na sessão de abertura, a partir de Moscovo

(ECO) A viver em Moscovo, na Rússia, o whistleblower que desafiou o sistema de segurança da NSA vai estar em direto no palco principal do Web Summit, no arranque da edição deste ano.

Owhistleblower Edward Snowden vai ser orador na edição de 2019 do Web Summit. No palco principal da conferência e, a falar a partir de Moscovo para uma audiência de mais de 70 mil pessoas, anunciou esta manhã Paddy Cosgraveo analista de sistemas será o cabeça de cartaz da quarta edição do maior evento de tecnologia e empreendedorismo em Lisboa, revelou a organização do evento.

Esta terça-feira, Paddy Cosgrave, CEO do Web Summit, anunciava no Twitter que “a pessoa mais importante na área da tecnologia, no planeta”, estaria no evento, questionando os seus seguidores sobre o nome do convidado em causa. Pouco mais de 24 horas depois sabe-se, agora, que Edward Snowden estará na sessão de abertura do maior evento de tecnologia e empreendedorismo do mundo, no dia 4 de novembro, a partir de Moscovo.PUBLICIDADE

inRead invented by Teads

Paddy Cosgrave@paddycosgrave

The most important person in tech on the planet is coming to @WebSummit – formal announcement in a few hours.

Who could it be?7008:59 – 1 de out de 2019Informações e privacidade no Twitter Ads66 pessoas estão falando sobre isso

Edward Joseph Snowden foi administrador de sistemas da CIA e ex-contratado da National Security Agency (NSA). Em 2013, com 29 anos, tornou-se conhecido depois de ter divulgado informações secretas recolhidas a partir do seu trabalho na NSA, quebrando o sistema de segurança secreto estabelecidos nos Estados Unidos. A revelação aconteceu através dos jornais The Guardian e The Washington Post.Vestager é “oradora mais popular”. Vai voltar ao Web Summit Ler Mais

Snowden falará, em direto, a partir da capital russa e a transmissão da sua talk poderá ser vista, ao vivo, no Altice Arena, em Lisboa. De acordo com a organização do evento, Snowden falará, pela primeira vez, sobre a forma como ajudou a construir o sistema de segurança e sobre as razões que o levaram a revelar informação confidencial.

Snowden junta-se assim a uma lista de convidados que já conta com nomes repetentes, como o caso da Comissária Europeia da Concorrência, Margrethe Vestager. “O Web Summit dá as boas-vindas a ativistas de segurança e privacidade (…) como Werner Vogels, CTO da Amazon, Garry Kasparov, campeão do mundo de xadrez e embaixador de segurança da Avast, e Natalia Oropeza, diretora de cyber segurança da Siemens”, entre outros.

(BBG) Facebook, WhatsApp Will Have to Share Messages With U.K.


  •  Information will be shared in serious criminal investigations
  •  Facebook opposes government attempts to build ‘backdoors’

Social media platforms based in the U.S. including Facebook and WhatsApp will be forced to share users’ encrypted messages with British police under a new treaty between the two countries, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The accord, which is set to be signed by next month, will compel social media firms to share information to support investigations into individuals suspected of serious criminal offenses including terrorism and pedophilia, the person said.You’ve reached your free article limit.Get unlimited access 

(NewScientist) Google claims it has finally reached quantum supremacy


Energy flash
Google’s demonstration reportedly involved checking a series of binary numbers were truly random

This could be the dawn of a new era in computing. Google has claimed that its quantum computer performed a calculation that would be practically impossible for even the best supercomputer – in other words, it has attained quantum supremacy.

If true, it is big news. Quantum computers have the potential to change the way we design new materials, work out logistics, build artificial intelligence and break encryption. That is why firms like Google, Intel and IBM – along with plenty of start-ups – have been racing to reach this crucial milestone.

The development at Google is, however, shrouded in intrigue. A paper containing details of the work was posted to a NASA server last week, before being quickly removed. Several media outlets reported on the rumours, but Google hasn’t commented on them.

A copy of the paper seen by New Scientist contains details of a quantum processor called Sycamore that contains 54 superconducting quantum bits, or qubits. It claims that Sycamore has achieved quantum supremacy. The paper identifies only one author: John Martinis at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who is known to have partnered with Google to build the hardware for a quantum computer.

“This dramatic speedup relative to all known classical algorithms provides an experimental realization of quantum supremacy on a computational task and heralds the advent of a much-anticipated computing paradigm,” the paper says.

Google appears to have partnered with NASA to help test its quantum computer. In 2018, the two organisations made an agreement to do this, so the news isn’t entirely unexpected.

The paper describes how Google’s quantum processor tackled a random sampling problem – that is, checking that a set of numbers has a truly random distribution. This is very difficult for a traditional computer when there are a lot of numbers involved.

Totally random

But Sycamore does things differently. Although one of its qubits didn’t work, the remaining 53 were quantum entangled with one another and used to generate a set of binary digits and check their distribution was truly random. The paper calculates the task would have taken Summit, the world’s best supercomputer, 10,000 years – but Sycamore did it in 3 minutes and 20 seconds.

This benchmarking task isn’t particularly useful beyond producing truly random numbers – it was a proof of concept. But in the future, the quantum chip may be useful in the fields of machine learning, materials science and chemistry, says the paper. For example, when trying to model a chemical reaction or visualise the ways a new molecule may connect to others, quantum computers can handle the vast amount of variables to create an accurate simulation.

“Google’s recent update on the achievement of quantum supremacy is a notable mile marker as we continue to advance the potential of quantum computing,” said Jim Clarke at Intel Labs in a statement.

Yet we are still at “mile one of this marathon”, Clarke said. This demonstration is a proof of concept, but it isn’t free of errors within the processor. Better and bigger processors will continue to be built and used to do more useful calculations.

Read more: Google’s quantum computing plans threatened by IBM curveball

At the same time, classical computing isn’t giving up the fight. Over the past few years, as quantum computing took steps towards supremacy, classical computing moved the goal posts as researchers showed it was able to simulate ever more complex systems. It is likely that this back-and-forth will continue.

“We expect that lower simulation costs than reported here will eventually be achieved, but we also expect they will be consistently outpaced by hardware improvements on larger quantum processors,” says the Google paper.

(CNBC) Apple’s iPhone 11 goes on sale with lines outside major stores around the world


  • Apple’s new lineup of iPhones went on sale in retail stores around the world Friday.
  • Crowds gathered outside of Apple’s stores in Singapore, Sydney, Berlin and London, among other cities
  • Lines also formed outside New York’s new Fifth Avenue Store which reopened on Friday after renovations.  CEO Tim Cook greeted crowds there.
  • Some analysts have pointed to strong demand in pre-orders for the new smartphones, especially the $699 iPhone 11.

WATCH NOWVIDEO01:55Consumers wait in line to buy iPhone 11 in London

Apple will get a taste of whether upgraded features on the new iPhone 11 are enough to lure shoppers to retail stores around the world as the new smartphones officially hit shelves Friday.

At the Apple flagship store on Regent Street, a handful of diehard iPhone fans started waiting in line to purchase the new smartphones Thursday evening. As of 6 a.m. Friday, roughly 40 customers were waiting for the doors to open. The number started rising as Apple opened its doors.

There were also lines outside of Apple’s Fifth Avenue store in New York on Friday morning. The store officially reopens at 8 a.m. ET after two years of renovations. CEO Tim Cook greeted the crowd as he made his way inside.

Ella Bowman@EllaMatildaB

Wahoo! Tim Cook is in da haus! @Apple #AppleEvent @MousCase

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112:31 PM – Sep 20, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacySee Ella Bowman’s other Tweets

Among the features customers were most excited about: the triple-camera system on the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max.

“Instead of buying a new camera, I prefer to upgrade my phone,” said Tarif Karanfil, who started waiting in line around 6am Friday morning to upgrade from the iPhone 7 to the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

GP: Apple lines London

Customers are applauded as they arrive to collect their pre-orders for new Apple products at the tech giant’s flagship store in Regent Street, central London.Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images

Images on Twitter showed crowds outside of Apple’s stores in Singapore, Sydney and Berlin, among other cities.

Ben Rudolph@BenThePCGuy

Always impressive how Apple inspires Fandom. This is the line outside the Sydney Apple Store on #iPhone11 launch day.

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78:22 AM – Sep 20, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacySee Ben Rudolph’s other Tweets

Fernando Montoya@montogeek

Berlin Apple Store line

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18:37 AM – Sep 20, 2019 · Berlin, GermanyTwitter Ads info and privacySee Fernando Montoya’s other Tweets

Spencer Chong@exynosx

#iPhone11 is only out tomorrow but there is already a line at the Singapore Apple Store and it is only going to be worse as the day passes!

View image on Twitter

433:39 AM – Sep 19, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy17 people are talking about this

Apple unveiled the new lineup iPhones earlier this month, touting the upgraded cameras, longer battery life, more durable screens and faster processors. Some analysts have pointed to strong demand in pre-orders for the new smartphones, especially the lowest-price $699 iPhone 11, as a positive sign for Apple heading into the crucial holiday quarter.

J.P. Morgan said Friday that it expected the iPhone 11 to be the largest driver of iPhone shipments over the next year. The investment bank also maintained its iPhone shipment forecast for 184 million units in 2019, with 195 million shipments of the smartphone expected in 2020.

Leading Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier this week the iPhone 11 appears to be attractive to buyers in China, a belief echoed by Chinese e-commerce firm Fenqile in an interview with CNBC. Strong demand for the new iPhones from Chinese consumers would be a positive sign for Apple, which has struggled to boost sales in the market in the past few quarters.

WATCH NOWVIDEO03:23iPhone 11 review: Lots of small improvements that add up to a solid phone

Some analysts expected demand for the iPhone 11 series would be more muted as consumers hold out for a 5G iPhone, which is expected to be released next year.

Global smartphones sales declined 2% in the second quarter, according to research from IDC, as consumers wait longer to buy new devices. Samsung was the biggest smartphone seller in the world as the second quarter, followed by Huawei then Apple.

(CNBC) Facebook working on smart glasses with Ray-Ban, code-named ‘Orion’


  • Facebook has partnered with Luxottica to develop augmented-reality Ray-Ban glasses, sources familiar with the matter told CNBC. 
  • Facebook is hoping a partnership with Luxottica will result in the glasses reaching consumers by 2023, 2024 or as late as 2025. 
  • The glasses are internally codenamed Orion, and they are designed to replace smartphones, the sources said.
RT: Mark Zuckerberg F8 Developers Conference 190430 1

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg makes his keynote speech during Facebook Inc’s annual F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, U.S., April 30, 2019.Stephen Lam | Reuters

Facebook has been working to develop augmented reality glasses out of its Facebook Reality Labs in Redmond, Washington, for the past couple of years, but struggles with the development of the project have led the company to seek help. Now, Facebook is hoping a partnership with Ray-Ban parent company Luxottica will get them completed and ready for consumers between 2023 and 2025, according to people familiar.

The glasses are internally codenamed Orion, and they are designed to replace smartphones, the people said. The glasses would allow users to take calls, show information to users in a small display and live-stream their vantage point to their social media friends and followers.

WATCH NOWVIDEO01:17Facebook enlists Ray-Ban maker to help develop ‘Orion’ smart glasses

Facebook is also developing an artificial intelligence voice assistant that would serve as a user input for the glasses, CNBC previously reported. In addition, the company has experimented with a ring device that would allow users to input information via motion sensor. That device is code-named Agios.

The company has hundreds of employees at its Redmond offices working on technology for the AR glasses, but thus far, Facebook has struggled to reduce the size of the device into a form factor that consumers will find appealing, a person who worked on the device told CNBC.

Given the long lead time, there’s no guarantee that the glasses will be completed on time or ever ship. But one person familiar with the project said that CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a strong interest in the glasses, and asked hardware chief Andrew Bosworth to prioritize them.

Facebook declined to comment. Luxottica did not immediately return request for comment.

Facebook is not alone in believing that smart glasses that superimpose computer-generated images over the real world will be the next big thing in computing. Already, Microsoft makes the HoloLens 2 headset, Snapchat parent company Snap sells its Spectacles glasses and Florida startup Magic Leap sells its Magic Leap One AR glasses, although none of these devices has become a hit. Apple is also reportedly working on a similar product that could hit the market as early as next year.

Luxottica is the parent company of Ray-Ban, Oakley and other sunglasses brands. The company has previously experimented with this technology, partnering in 2014 with Google to design, develop and distribute the Google Glass device.

(ZH) Older iPhones Reported ‘Breaking’ After Apple Unveils iPhone 11


Right after Apple announced the iPhone 11, numerous owners of older iPhones began to report device malfunctions reminiscent of a 2017 debacle in which the company admitted slowing the performance of older phones – ‘officially’ in order to extend their battery life. 

At the time, Apple said in a statement that it had “never – and wound never – do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product.” 

According to USA Today, however, the coincidences are piling up

“So, of course I’m suspicious that yesterday’s Apple announcement killed my current iPhone. It just stopped working. Awesome,” claimed Twitter user ZarduBen. 

Ben Acevedo@ZarduBen

So, of course I’m suspicious that yesterday’s Apple announcement killed my current iPhone. It just stopped working. Awesome. #Apple106:11 PM – Sep 11, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacySee Ben Acevedo’s other Tweets

“The new iPhone was just announced and my phone randomly stopped working,” user @secondhandcurls tweeted.

numjin @secondhandcurls

the new iPhone was just announced and my phone randomly stopped working36:02 AM – Sep 12, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacySee numjin ‘s other Tweets

jenna noel darosa@jdarosa115

iphone 11 was announced YESTERDAY and my phone is already acting up46:43 AM – Sep 12, 2019 · California, USATwitter Ads info and privacySee jenna noel darosa’s other Tweets

Desireé Meowington@DesireeMeoww


Swear I just said my phone has been acting up ever since they started talking about the iPhone 11 release . My 10 was working perfectly fine and then bam 512:29 PM – Sep 12, 2019 · Pittsburgh, PATwitter Ads info and privacySee Desireé Meowington’s other Tweets


I find it awfully convenient that the camera on my iPhone stopped working the day Apple announced new iPhones with fancier cameras92:14 PM – Sep 11, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacySee Evan’s other Tweets

And so on. All Apple can offer on the topic is the same “As batteries age” schpiel – however the flurry of sudden issues being reported would appear unrelated.  

Whether Apple practices the theory or not, its latest iOS 13 update will leave some iPhones and tablets behind. The older devices will still work, but they’ll miss out on security updates, which makes them more vulnerable to hacks.

Apple’s website lists several reasons why your iPhone’s performance may be lagging over time, and one of the main causes is aging batteries.

“All rechargeable batteries are consumables and have a limited lifespan – eventually their capacity and performance decline so that they need to be replaced,” Apple says on its website. “As batteries age, it can contribute to changes in iPhone performance.” –USA Today

So what’s going on? Perhaps suspicious users are more sensitive to phone issues surrounding new product announcements – or maybe, just maybe, Apple is nerfing their older phones to drive sales.

(MIT) Apple says China’s Uighur Muslims were targeted in the recent iPhone hacking campaign

(MIT) The tech giant gave a rare statement that bristled at Google’s analysis of the novel hacking operation.

In the wake of one of the worst attacks ever against iPhone and iPad security, Apple issued a rare statement on Friday rebutting claims about the attack made by Google in a blog post last week.

The Google post said that hacked websites were used to “indiscriminately” attack individuals who visited them, through numerous critical vulnerabilities in iOS, the operating system that powers iPhones and iPads. These exploits were used to attack as many as thousands of victims per week, according to Google. However, according to Apple’s new statement, Google’s report left out or misrepresented key details.

Targets of attack: Apple’s new statement confirms that the hacking campaign targeted Uighurs, a Muslim minority in China, many of whom live in Xinjiang, a northwestern province where approximately a million people are being held in detention camps. A report last month detailed how Chinese officials put spyware apps on Uighurs’ phones, one of many surveillance techniques the government has used against Uighurs, Tibetans, and other dissidents.

Scale of attack: Apple disputed some key facts in Google’s report, which said that potentially thousands of iPhone users could have been hit every week in a two-year-long hacking campaign. 

“First, the sophisticated attack was narrowly focused, not a broad-based exploit of iPhones ‘en masse’ as described. The attack affected fewer than a dozen websites that focus on content related to the Uighur community,” Apple wrote. “Google’s post, issued six months after iOS patches were released, creates the false impression of ‘mass exploitation’ to ‘monitor the private activities of entire populations in real time,’ stoking fear among all iPhone users that their devices had been compromised. This was never the case.”

In a statement replying to Apple’s statement, a Google spokesperson said, “We stand by our in-depth research which was written to focus on the technical aspects of these vulnerabilities.”

Length of attack: Apple asserted that the campaign lasted “roughly two months” and “not ‘two years’ as Google implies.”

Apple says it fixed the problem shortly after it became aware of it. iPhone users who have updated their phones’ operating systems are protected.

Impact of attack: The overall thrust of Google’s report is not in question. The attack is one of the most serious, and successful, attacks ever perpetrated against iPhones. Not only is the number of people who were affected unclear, but so too is the impact on those individuals.

Amnesty International has detailed what it describe as “an effort by the Chinese government to wipe out religious beliefs and aspects of cultural identity in order to enforce political loyalty for the State and the Communist Party of China.”

Apple, which does a large amount of business in China, never names the country, or the Chinese government, in its statement. Google likewise avoided any such characterizations.

(Vice) Google Says Malicious Websites Have Been Quietly Hacking iPhones for Years

(Vice) It may be the biggest attack against iPhone users yet.

In what may be one of the largest attacks against iPhone users ever, researchers at Google say they uncovered a series of hacked websites that were delivering attacks designed to hack iPhones. The websites delivered their malware indiscriminately, were visited thousands of times a week, and were operational for years, Google said.

“There was no target discrimination; simply visiting the hacked site was enough for the exploit server to attack your device, and if it was successful, install a monitoring implant. We estimate that these sites receive thousands of visitors per week,” Ian Beer, from Google’s Project Zero, wrote in a blog post published Thursday.

Some of the attacks made use of so-called zero day exploits. This is an exploit that takes advantage of a vulnerability that the impacted company, in this case Apple, is not aware of, hence they have had “zero days” to find a fix. Generally speaking, zero day attacks can be much more effective at successfully hacking phones or computers because the company does not know about the vulnerability and thus has not fixed it.

iPhone exploits are relatively expensive and the iPhone is difficult to hack. The price for a full exploit chain of a fully up to date iPhone has stretched up to at least $3 million. This includes various vulnerabilities for different parts of the iPhone operating system, including the browser, the kernel, and others to escape an application’s sandbox, which is designed to keep code running only inside the part of the phone it is supposed to.

Do you work at companies selling these sorts of exploits? Did you used to? We’d love to hear from you. Using a non-work phone or computer, you can contact Joseph Cox securely on Signal on +44 20 8133 5190, Wickr on josephcox, OTR chat on, or email

Beer writes that Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) was able to collect five distinct iPhone exploit chains based on 14 vulnerabilities. These exploit chains covered versions from iOS 10 up to the latest iteration of iOS 12. At least one of the chains was a zero day at the time of discovery and Apple fixed the issues in February after Google warned them, Beer writes.

Once the attack has successfully exploited the iPhone, it can deploy malware onto the phone. In this case “the implant is primarily focused on stealing files and uploading live location data. The implant requests commands from a command and control server every 60 seconds,” Beer writes.

The implant also has access to the user’s keychain, which contains passwords, as well as the databases of various end-to-end encrypted messaging apps, such as Telegram, WhatsApp, and iMessage, Beer’s post continues. End-to-end encryption can protect messages from being read if they’re intercepted, but less so if a hacker has compromised the end device itself.

The implant does not have persistence though; if a user reboots their iPhone, it will wipe the malware, Beer explains. But one infection can still of course deliver a treasure trove of sensitive information.

“Given the breadth of information stolen, the attackers may nevertheless be able to maintain persistent access to various accounts and services by using the stolen authentication tokens from the keychain, even after they lose access to the device,” Beer writes. The information is also transferred to the server unencrypted, the post adds.

Previously documented attacks have been more targeted in nature, typically by a text message sent to the target, along with a link to a malicious site, sometimes just for that target. This attack appears to, or at least has the potential to be, broader in scope.

“This indicated a group making a sustained effort to hack the users of iPhones in certain communities over a period of at least two years,” Beer added.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Update: This piece has been updated to include more information from Google’s blog post.

(Verge) YouTube disabled 210 accounts for spreading disinformation about Hong Kong protests


Google just published a blog post revealing that it has disabled 210 YouTube channels that the company says “behaved in a coordinated manner while uploading videos related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.” Google cites the behavior as being “consistent with recent observations and actions related to China announced by Facebook and Twitter.” The accounts were disabled earlier this week.

Both Facebook and Twitter recently uncovered and suspended accounts that the social media companies believe were operated by the Chinese government and designed to seed doubt about and undermine the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. Twitter suspended nearly 1,000 accounts tied to China, and Facebook removed various pages, groups, and accounts linked to the effort to spread information opposing the protests.

“We found use of VPNs and other methods to disguise the origin of these accounts and other activity commonly associated with coordinated influence operations,” Shane Huntley, from Google’s Threat Analysis Group, wrote in the blog post. “These actions are part of our continuing efforts to protect the integrity of our platforms and the security and privacy of our users.”

Google also used the opportunity to address moves it recently took to counter the government of Kazakhstan, which recently forced citizens to install a security certificate that gave the government broad power to spy on internet activity and “decrypt and read anything a user types or posts, including intercepting their account information and passwords.”

“These actions are part of our continuing efforts to protect the integrity of our platforms and the security and privacy of our users,” said Huntley, adding that Google’s teams “will continue to identify bad actors, terminate their accounts, and share relevant information with law enforcement and others in the industry.”

(CNBC) Trump says he talked to Apple CEO Tim Cook about tariffs and Samsung


  • Trump said Cook made a “good case” that it would be difficult for Apple to pay tariffs, when Samsung does not face the same hurdle because much of its manufacturing is in South Korea.
  • “I thought he made a very compelling argument,” Trump told reporters Sunday.
  • The president said on Friday he was having dinner with Apple’s CEO. 
GP: President Trump Participates In American Workforce Policy Advisory Board Meeting

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple Inc., during an American Workforce Policy Advisory board meeting in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, March 6, 2019.Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

President Donald Trump said he talked to Tim Cook about tariffs and Apple’s South Korean competitor Samsung.

Trump said Cook made a “good case” that it would be difficult for Apple to pay tariffs, when Samsung does not face the same hurdle because much of its manufacturing is in South Korea.

“I thought he made a very compelling argument,” Trump told reporters Sunday. The president said he was having dinner with Apple’s CEO on Friday. 

Trump has ordered 10% tariffs on an additional $300 billion in goods imported from China. Originally, all of those tariffs were scheduled to go into effect on Sept. 1, but Trump delayed some of the import duties until Dec. 15 over concerns about how they would impact the holiday shopping season.

“It’s tough for Apple to pay tariffs if it’s competing with a very good company that’s not,” Trump said.

The tariffs delayed until December include consumer electronics such as cell phones. Apple’s stock closed up 4% on Tuesday after Trump made that decision. 

Apple is expected to release its new version of the iPhone in September.

(Mirror) Facebook paid contractors to transcribe voice chats in Messenger app

(Mirror) Facebook claims the contractors were checking the accuracy of its voice-to-text service

(Image: Getty)

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Facebook has been paying hundreds of outside contractors to transcribe voice chats carried out using the company’s Messenger app, it has emerged.

The contractors – many from outsourcing firm TaskUs – were able to hear Facebook users’ conversations, sometimes including “vulgar content”, according to Bloomberg .

They were not told where the audio was recorded or why it needed to be transcribed, only to transcribe it.

This led some contractors to feel their work was unethical, according to the people with knowledge of the matter.

Woman talking on mobile phone
(Image: Getty)

Facebook has confirmed the anonymous reports that it has been transcribing users’ audio, and said it will no longer do so, following scrutiny of other companies.

“Much like Apple and Google , we paused human review of audio more than a week ago,” a spokesperson for the company said.

It added that contractors were checking the accuracy of Facebook’s voice-to-text service in Messenger, which uses artificial intelligence to transcribe conversations.

Users who were affected chose to have their voice chats transcribed in Messenger and granted access to their phone’s microphone for this purpose, according to Facebook.

However, they were not informed that clips of their conversations may be subjected to human review.

(Image: Bloomberg)

Facebook’s data-use  policy states that its systems “automatically process content and communications you and others provide to analyse context and what’s in them.”

But it includes no mention of other human beings screening the content. 

The news comes after other major tech firms including Apple, Google and Amazon have all come under fire for their use of human workers to review voice recordings.

They claim that employees listen to these recordings in order to grade the responses of their AI voice assistants, and make them better at understanding and replying to users.

Apple and Google have both now paused their review programmes, and Amazon has given users the ability to opt out of having their voice recordings manually reviewed.

(ST) WhatsApp flaws could allow hackers to alter messages: Cybersecurity firm


Check Point Software Technologies, an Israeli company that provides security for computer networks, said its researchers found three potential ways to alter conversations.
Check Point Software Technologies, an Israeli company that provides security for computer networks, said its researchers found three potential ways to alter conversations.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) – A cybersecurity firm says it has identified flaws in the popular messaging app WhatsApp that could allow hackers to manipulate messages in both public and private conversations, raising the prospect of misinformation being spread by what appears to be trusted sources.

Check Point Software Technologies, an Israeli company that provides security for computer networks, said its researchers found three potential ways to alter conversations.

One uses the “quote” feature in a group conversation to change the appearance of the identity of a sender. Another lets a hacker change the text of someone else’s reply.

And the other, which has been fixed, would have let a person send a private message to another group participant disguised as a public message to all, so when the targeted individual responded, it was visible to everyone in the conversation.

A WhatsApp spokesman declined to comment.

The flaws could have significant consequences because WhatsApp has about 1.5 billion users, and is used for personal conversations, business communications and political messaging, said Mr Oded Vanunu, Check Point’s head of products vulnerability research.

Check Point said it alerted WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, about the flaws late last year. But the company said only one of the flaws – disguising a private message as one that becomes visible to an entire group – has been addressed.Related Story

WhatsApp tells users to update app after finding flaw that allows commercial-grade spying

Mr Vanunu said his company is working with WhatsApp, but the other problems were difficult to solve because of the messaging app’s encryption.

(CNBC) Trump administration to ban agencies from directly purchasing equipment or services from Huawei


  • The Trump administration is expected to release a rule Wednesday afternoon that bans agencies from directly purchasing telecom, video surveillance equipment or services from Huawei.
  • The prohibition was mandated by Congress as part of a broader defense bill signed into law last year.
  • The new rule will take effect Tuesday and applies not only to Huawei, but also a list of other telecom companies that have sparked security concerns, such as ZTE and Hikvision.
  • In addition, the law set a deadline of August 2020 for a broader ban on federal contractors doing business with Huawei or the covered firms.

WATCH NOWVIDEO00:51White House to introduce rule stopping government deals with Huawei

The White House is planning to take a big step Wednesday toward preventing government agencies from doing business with Huawei, according to a senior administration official.

The Trump administration is expected to release a rule Wednesday afternoon that bans agencies from directly purchasing telecom, video surveillance equipment or services from Huawei. The prohibition was mandated by Congress as part of a broader defense bill signed into law last year.

“The administration has a strong commitment to defending our nation from foreign adversaries and will fully comply with Congress on the implementation of the prohibition of Chinese telecom and video surveillance equipment, including Huawei equipment,” said Jacob Wood, a spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget.

The new rule, which will take effect Tuesday, also applies to a list of other telecom companies that have sparked security concerns, such as ZTE and Hikvision. In addition, the law set a deadline of August 2020 for a broader ban on federal contractors doing business with Huawei or the covered firms.

Contractors will be able to seek waivers from individual federal agencies if they do not believe their interaction with those companies poses a security threat.

The congressional mandate is separate from the Trump administration’s own efforts to rein in Huawei’s dominance in the industry.

The Commerce Department has put Huawei on a blacklist that effectively bans the export of goods to the company from the United States. U.S. chipmakers and tech firms can request waivers, and the chief executives of Google, Qualcomm, Micron, Intel and others met with President Donald Trump at the White House last month and urged the administration to issue those decisions quickly.WATCH NOWVIDEO08:13Potential threats to US communications are very real: Security expert

In addition, the White House has proposed a wide-ranging ban on American companies doing business with Huawei. Those rules have yet to be written, and the administration official did not have an update on its status.

Huawei is a telecom giant and the largest privately held company in China, but hawks on Capitol Hill and in the White House have warned of the company’s close ties to the Beijing government and the risks of surveillance.

In an interview on CNBC, Huawei chief security officer Andy Purdy defended the company’s track record. He argued that leaders in the United Kingdom and Germany had been told by U.S. officials there were no allegations of a cybersecurity threat from Huawei.

“We have tested the products of all vendors to international standards so that there’s trust through verification,” Purdy said.