Smart phones

iPhone Spyware Flaw Unfolds

Apple’s most recent iOS operating system was found to have software flaws that made it incredibly easy for a hacker to install spyware on a victim’s device. According to security experts, the security breach could be set in motion simply by tricking a target into clicking on a link.

apple2The vulnerability was discovered when a human rights lawyer alerted security researchers that he was receiving unsolicited text messages. The researchers ultimately isolated three previously unknown flaws within the most recent version of Apple’s iOS, a discovery which has already resulted in Apple’s release of a software update that patches the vulnerabilities.

The security researchers were employees of two different firms: Citizen Lab and Lookout. Both firms held back on announcing the discovery until Apple had issued the new update.

The text messages received by human rights lawyer Ahmen Mansoor were sent on August 10th and 11th. The texts promised Mansoor that if he clicked the links, he would be able to access “secrets” regarding people being allegedly held and tortured in the United Arab Emirates’ jails.

According to Citizen Lab, had Mansoor clicked on the links, his iPhone 6 would have become jailbroken and unauthorized software would have been installed on his device.

“Once infected, Mansoor’s phone would have become a digital spy in his pocket, capable of employing his iPhone’s camera and microphone to snoop on activity in the vicinity of the device, recording his WhatsApp and Viber calls, logging messages send in mobile chat apps, and tracking his movements,” Citizen Lab explained. “We are not aware of any previous instance of an iPhone remote jailbreak used in the wild as part of a targeted attack campaign, making this a rare find.”

Lookout called the malware “the most sophisticated spyware package we’ve seen.”

“It takes advantage of how integrated mobile devices are in our lives and the combination of features only available on mobile- always connected (wi-fi, 3G/4G), voice communications, camera, email, messaging, GPS, passwords and contact lists.”

apple3Researchers have attributed the bug’s creation to an Israeli cyber-war company called the NSO Group. NSO then issued a statement confirming that it creates technology to “combat terror and crime” but denying that it was responsible for the spyware.

Previously unknown vulnerabilities that are readily exploitable in a product’s hardware or software are called “zero-day flaws.” According to Professor Alan Woodward, for a zero-day to be found in the software of something so widely used is “rather rare.”

“To have several found at once is even rarer. As can be seen from how these have been exploited to date, it represents a serious threat to the security and privacy of iOS users,” he continued.

“Apple has been remarkably responsive in providing fixes for these issues, so I would encourage any iOS users to update to the latest version of the operating system.”

While the flaw reveals the intimidating reality of sophisticated hackers with political agendas, the response made by the wary target, security researchers and Apple demonstrate the responsibility and capability of people set on countering cyber crime.

Why Facebook isn’t a Technology Company

Believe it or not at the close of the trading this last Monday, the top 5 global companies in terms of their market capitalization were all U.S. tech companies. Not surprisingly they were in this order: Apple at number one, Alphabet(google) coming in at number 2, Microsoft in a respectable number 3 spot, Amazon coming in at 4, and finally in the number 5 sport was Facebook.

Bloomberg, which reported on this apparent milestone insisted that this “tech sweep” is unprecedented, not even during the dot-com boom did anything close to this happen. Back in 2011 however, we can remember when the Exxon and Shell held the 2 top spots was the last time anything kind of similar happened so that should give you some perspective.

However, if we look a bit deeper at what Facebook is, and the service they provide is peculiar to call them a technology company as such. But to deny that moniker to firms that make diesel trains, oil drilling platforms, vital infrastructure and engineering designs seems a bit odd.

Consider that part of the problem in this regard has to do with the private language that we use when it comes to business and more importantly finance. Because think about it what technology has Facebook put out that has ever been ground breaking in and of itself, and how can it be said that they are even capable to doing so. They really can’t nor are they in a position to ever make mores in this regard. Why should they, as long as they keep the lights on and maintain a website that is great in spite of their direct influence not because of it, people will continue to beat down the doors to throw money at them and jam it down their throats.

Consider a company like Microsoft for example. Microsoft very easily and neatly fits into their square definition of what it is to be a technology company, given their development of things like technology and software and computer services. Almost the entirely of Google’s and Facebook’s money is generated from their advertising. In Facebook’s case it is more than 95 percent on most days. By that metric it is ease to see that there is in fact an argument that those firms are really media industry companies with a focus on broadcasting and entertainment. In the case of Alphabet though it is a lot like GE or in a lot of ways it aspires to be, with its investments in automotive self driving cars as well as health care, and in more than one case they try to do the whole utilities thing. Now When we look at what Facebook is doing in regards to other plays there simply aren’t any. Facebook has never created an original idea, they just branded and marketed the hell out of old ones. So to say that they are a tech company is confused from the onset if the only qualification to be one is that you take advantage of the technological developments of your time. If that were the case every company would fall under this umbrella.

Pokemon Go’s Massive Security Breech

Unless you have lived under a rock for the past month you know exactly what Pokemon Go is and what you friends strategy to be the very best is. Even if you have lived under a rock there is a chase that one of these knuckle heads has overturned your rock looking for a ratatat or spoken about it in your pretense. Simply put there is no escaping this game, and everyone in the world or at least well to do millennials in urban centers are playing this game. In order to play they are signing away their cyber lives, and essentially have access to any and everything you have on your most sensitive data. Pretty messed up right, but we can rest assured knowing that its just in the right hands and they have everything under control. Oh wait, no we shouldn’t feel this way and in fact they are way too pours and have back doors everywhere. Legal litigator I choose you!

They have access to everything and it is also very odd that they are going for such data collection considering that so much of their base are children. Senator Al Franken has sent a scathing letter to the company asking just why this is necessary for them to deliver their service to their clients.

“while this release is undoubtedly impressive, I am concerned about the extend to which Ni-antic may be unnecessarily collecting using and sharing a wide range of users personal information without their appropriate consent.” He goes on to say that, ” once we become aware of this error, we began working on a client side fix to request permission for only basic google profile information in line with data that we actually access; Google has verified that no other information has been received or accede by Pokemon Go or Niantic.” This was one way that they responded once they found out they were caught and it was essentially to play dumb but there is obviously more at work here. They knew that this information is expressible valuable, if not to them which it is, they also know that they can sell it to a myriad of players in the tech world, so it makes us think, god damn what gives. 

When it comes to the attacks on liberty and net neutrality people are ready to throw up their arms and say that certain things are an outrage, but when it comes to something that is fun and a fad we throw money and attention at the things. “From Google Apps to slack, office 365 to Skype, we live in a post byod world where not only do users self select their own productivity tool chain, buy they also integrate even more tools into these environments.” essentially Pokemon Go is not doing anything out of the norm for business these days, they are just ones that got found out in a high profile way. This going to be interesting to see what, if anything gets done.

Tech Giants Take the Reigns

Google may like to portray itself has a garage-based startup that took flight through non-conformist work ethics and an altruistic devotion to the spreading of knowledge. To some extent, the company has certainly contributed to the wealth of technological advancements the have changed the lives of the underprivileged.

That said, the company has started to become somewhat all-powerful, and it’s worrying a lot of citizens during an election cycle focused on the unjust campaign finance systems that make our democracy feel a lot like an oligarchy, as Bernie Sanders says.

The Center for Responsive Politics recently released that Google spent more money on federal lobbying than any other company since 2012, and that 34 senators and 128 members of the House of Representatives had received a total of almost $300,000 in campaign contributions from the wealthy tech mogul.

tech g2A civil society organization known as Public Citizen warned last November that Google was “amazing greater political power than ever,” after it opened a White-House-sized office in Washington D.C. According to PC, Google ranked first among all corporations in lobbying spending over the first three quarters of 2014 and invested a whopping $18.2 million on federal lobbying in 2015, meaning it invested even more than the powerful trade association of the pharmaceutical industry.

PC states that Google has hired or retained 102 lobbyists since 2014, 81 of which previously held government jobs.

“Meanwhile, a steady stream of Google employees has been appointed to high-ranking government jobs- an individuation of the company’s growing influence in national affairs.”

The revolving door between Google and the US Government is certainly concerning. “Where Google stops and the government starts is hard to tell. They’re backers of Barack Obama and it’s well known in Washington how it’s done,” an antitrust lawyer based in Washington commented. “I’ve heard instances of Google calling the White House to say they’re unhappy about appointments. They don’t just buy off politicians; they buy off the ecosystem, including advocacy groups and think tanks.” Obama famously appointed Megan Smith as chief technology officer last year; Smith is a former vice-president of Google.

According to the Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division’s research director Taylor Lincoln, “Google has essentially responded to concerns about its practices by saying, ‘Just trust us.’ But Google is gaining so much power that regulators may find it difficult to act if it turns out that the public’s trust has been misplaced.”

google v euA lot of controversy regarding Google’s role in the US government boiled over in reaction to the Guardian’s revelation that Google pressured a number of senators and House of Rep members to discourage prominent MEPs in Europe from moving forward in their considerations to break up Google’s online business into separate companies.

Court said of this year’s election: “Google leant their analytics and voter reach to Obama and they’re doing the same to Hillary Clinton. When you control the greatest technology on earth to reach people, Democrats want to be your friends.”

Google’s offering of unrivaled campaigning technology led Precursor president of research Scott Cleland to make the following statement: “The Google influence machine is one we’ve never seen before. It’s the first dominant company in the internet age.”

 

Smart phone undeniably a Smart Decision

Smart phones are posing out to become a basic necessity of life with numerous benefits associated with them. Almost everyone owns a smart phone or craves to possess one. As the name suggests; smart phone is designed to make your life simpler as you can look into it for almost anything thanks to the many apps pre built in your phone or the ones that you can download for free.

smart1

Basically cell phones are believed to be an extension of one’ self and smart phones have taken this dependency to an altogether new level where for each and every thing you use your smart phone.

The numerous benefits of having a smart phone

Communication is the prime function of a cell phone and smart phone has provided added features like communicating made possible not only through phone calls or text messages but also through emails and video calls and video conferencing. This combination of internet with smart phone is the example of technology that has made life easier and convenient on the go.

The countless applications that can be installed in your smart phones have made endless games, fitness apps, compass apps, etc easily accessible from your phone anywhere and everywhere with access to internet. These endless entertainment and productivity apps are a reason that makes buying a smart phone a smart decision that you take.

Social networks made possible on phone by internet

Smart phones make accessing your social media accounts via smart phones. This means that you can login whenever and wherever you want to on the go. With the advent and popularity of these smart phones most of the sites are designed such that they are smart phone friendly.

Updating of status or checking out what your friends are up to on the go using a smart phone.

Your android or smart phone is your one stops shop for all information, apps, etc that you need on the go. Shopping online made easy by smart phone. In fact many of the latest smart phones have all the functions of a personal computer like high definition videos, games, etc.

Merging of all devices into a single smart phone; thanks to collaboration of internet and cell phone – this is the beauty and miracle of technology. Earlier one had to literally carry all the devices like PDFA, MP3 player, camera, GPS device, etc. But a smart phone comes with all of these functions. E books, MP3, GPS, media player, camera, etc all in built in a single smart phone.

Thus you don’t have to carry other additional accessories or equipment. The convenient size and touch screen option has made smart phone very potable as well.

smart2Going down memory lane by a decade and comparing the present day life will make a person stand in awe of the change in pace of his professional and personal life, all on account of technology and its constant advancements. The world has now become smaller by actually bringing people closer virtually, by a widespread bridge called technology via Smartphones.

-->