Apple to make ‘a large number’ of day-to-day security guards full-time employees

apple hq headquarters

Following the outcry in Silicon Valley regarding the treatment of part-time employees and in general people who work for technology companies, Apple is now moving to “dramatically expand” its in-house security team by giving the officers the same benefits as other employees, according to a report Tuesday by Mercury News.

A company spokesperson confirmed to the paper that Apple has now decided to hire the majority of its day-to-day security staff in Silicon Valley as full-time workers, following a yearlong review.... Read the rest of this post here

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WARNING: How to avoid the scary new malware infecting thousands of phones

Android Malware

The dangers of mobile malware are very real, and we're now reminded yet again how quickly these malicious programs can spread thanks to a new outbreak. Dubbed "Gazon," this new malware has been called "one of the single largest messaging-initiated mobile malware outbreaks" by the experts who discovered it.

Luckily, Gazon is fairly easy to avoid if you know what you're looking for, and we'll tell you everything you need to know to protect yourself right here in this post.

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Fraudsters take advantage of banks’ weak Apple Pay identity checks

Apple Pay in action

A mobile payment system is only as secure as its weakest link... and in the case of Apple Pay, it's the banks' ability to verify who you are. The Guardian has learned that thieves are setting up iPhones with stolen IDs and taking advantage of lackadaisical identity checks (often just a part of the social security number) to provision victims' cards for Apple Pay. After that, it's open season -- crooks just have to claim that the legitimate card owner is on a trip to go on a shopping spree.

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Source: The Guardian

Qualcomm’s next chips will help smartphones think for themselves

Qualcomm's Derek Aberle holds up the G Flex2

Qualcomm teased the prospect of smartphones that learn a couple of years ago, and it's now much closer to making them a practical reality. The chip designer has revealed its next big mobile processor, the Snapdragon 820, will be one of the first that can handle its Zeroth cognitive computing platform. In short, it'll let your phone learn about you (and the world around you) to take action on its own. You should see photo apps that detect whole scenes, security tools that protect against unknown viruses and interfaces that depend more on expressions and head movement than button taps. It gets more ambitious than that, though. Zeroth allows for always-on sensors that detect your surroundings (such as through motion or sound) and help your phone anticipate what you want.

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Source: Qualcomm

Venmo halfheartedly responds to its mobile payment security woes

Venmo mobile payments

eBay's Venmo mobile payment service can be extra-helpful when you need to repay a debt to a friend, but it's grappling with some significant security problems -- and it's not clear that a proper fix is in sight. Slate notes that Venmo not only lacks a few basic security measures, such as notifying you when login details change, but encourages risky steps like linking your bank routing info. If someone gets in under that circumstance, your bank account could be permanently compromised. There's also little support outside of a slow-to-respond email system, so you may be left high and dry if you need urgent help.

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Via: New York Times

Source: Slate, Venmo, State of California (PDF)

Tim Cook: there is no reason why you would have to choose between privacy and security

WWDC 2012 keynote (Tim Cook 001)

Apple CEO Tim Cook is on the final leg of his tour of Isreal and Europe and has been speaking to UK publication The Telegraph about a range of things including Apple customers’ privacy and of all things, terrorism.

Known for his unusual stance on privacy – one which doesn’t jive with other high profile tech executives who are happy to share everything about you – Cook told the publication during an interview that he feels people’s information is being “trafficked around” in ways that they just don’t yet understand.... Read the rest of this post here

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Massive SIM card hack might have been too sophisticated to be caught in time

Gemalto SIM Card Hack

A new Snowden leak a few days ago revealed that the NSA and GCHQ conducted a complex hack operation that focused on obtaining the secure encryption keys that protect mobile communications in devices with SIM cards. A subsequent report revealed that the goal of spy agencies might have been a lot bigger, as they may have been hunting for other security keys that would let them deploy spyware on any mobile device with a SIM card inside, and users would have no idea that anything had happened.

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Apple and other Western firms removed from China’s approved government purchase list


Apple, along with other leading Western technology companies, has been taken off the list of approved tech companies for state purchases in China, Reuters reported last evening.

Apparently in response to widespread Western cyber-surveillance, companies like Apple, network equipment maker Cisco Systems and chip giant Intel have now been removed from the Central Government Procurement Center’s (CGPC) list.

The list, maintained and approved by China’s Ministry of Finance, covers regular spending by central ministries.... Read the rest of this post here

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Gemalto confirms hack, but denies massive SIM keys theft

Gemalto SIM Card Hack Details

Following reports that claimed the NSA and GCHQ may have targeted Gemalto, one of the main phone SIM cards makers, the company revealed that such attacks indeed took place in 2010 and 2011, though the hackers were not able to steal SIM keys, as had been reported by the media.

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Interview with Lenovo’s CTO will scare anyone still thinking of buying a Lenovo product

Lenovo Superfish Adware Scandal

I've long wondered which would be worse for Lenovo -- if the company decided to install the Superfish adware onto its machines despite knowing its potential to be a major security vulnerability, or if it really had no clue about the risks involved with this kind of software. A New York Times interview with Lenovo CTO Peter Hortensius has now left me hoping that Lenovo has just been lying about its foreknowledge of Superfish's capabilities because the alternative is just too scary.

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