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Archive for the ‘mobile phones’ category

Jul 26, 2021

‘Holy moly!’: Inside Texas’ fight against a ransomware hack

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, government, media & arts, mobile phones

DALLAS (AP) — It was the start of a steamy Friday two Augusts ago when Jason Whisler settled in for a working breakfast at the Coffee Ranch restaurant in the Texas Panhandle city of Borger. The most pressing agenda item for city officials that morning: planning for a country music concert and anniversary event.

Then Whisler’s phone rang. Borger’s computer system had been hacked.

Workers were frozen out of files. Printers spewed out demands for money. Over the next several days, residents couldn’t pay water bills, the government couldn’t process payroll, police officers couldn’t retrieve certain records. Across Texas, similar scenes played out in nearly two dozen communities hit by a cyberattack officials ultimately tied to a Russia-based criminal syndicate.

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Jul 22, 2021

Apple Issues Urgent iPhone Updates, But Not for Pegasus Zero-Day

Posted by in categories: mobile phones, security

Update now: The ream of bugs includes some remotely exploitable code execution flaws. Still to come: a fix for what makes iPhones easy prey for Pegasus spyware.

IPhone users, drop what you’re doing and update now: Apple has issued a warning about a ream of code-execution vulnerabilities – some of which are remotely exploitable – and experts are emphatically recommending an ASAP update to version 14.7 of iOS and iPadOS.

Unfortunately, you aren’t getting a fix for the flaw that makes your iPhones easy prey for Pegasus spyware. As headlines have focused on all week, a zero-click zero-day in Apple’s iMessage feature is being exploited by NSO Group’s notorious Pegasus mobile spyware: A spyware blitz enabled by a bug that has given the security community pause about the security of Apple’s closed ecosystem.

Jul 22, 2021

How does the Pegasus spyware work, and is my phone at risk?

Posted by in category: mobile phones

It’s reported the Pegasus spyware can capture a user’s keystrokes, intercept communications, track their device and tap into their camera and microphone.

Jul 21, 2021

Here’s how to check your phone for Pegasus spyware using Amnesty’s tool

Posted by in categories: computing, government, mobile phones

Amnesty International — part of the group that helped break the news of journalists and heads of state being targeted by NSO’s government-grade spyware, Pegasus — has released a tool to check if your phone has been affected. Alongside the tool is a great set of instructions, which should help you through the somewhat technical checking process. Using the tool involves backing up your phone to a separate computer and running a check on that backup. Read on if you’ve been side-eyeing your phone since the news broke and are looking for guidance on using Amnesty’s tool.


The process is straightforward, but it requires some patience.

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Jul 19, 2021

Cheap, sustainable, readily available plasma tech could replace rare iridium

Posted by in categories: chemistry, computing, mobile phones, sustainability, transportation

A team led by a researcher from the University of Sydney has developed a low-cost, sustainable, and readily available technology that can dim the screens of electronic devices, anti-reflection automobile mirrors, and smart architectural windows at a fraction of the cost of current technology.

It would replace one of the world’s scarcest—yet highly ubiquitous in use—modern materials: indium. A rare chemical element, that it is widely used in devices such as smartphones and computers, windscreen glass and self-dimming windows.

Although small amounts are used to manufacture smart screens, indium is expensive as it is hard to source; it naturally occurs only in small deposits. Industrial indium is often made as a byproduct of zinc mining, which means a shortage could occur if demand for optoelectronic devices—such as LCDs and touch panels—ramps up.

Jul 19, 2021

Chip Shortage Reaches Smartphone Makers

Posted by in categories: computing, mobile phones, transportation

SEOUL—The smartphone industry is showing battle scars from the world-wide chip crunch.

Shipments are slowing and customers are seeing their first significant price increases in years. Some companies have had to scale back production and delay new releases. All this has halted what had been a strong start to the year.

Smartphone makers, for much of the year, avoided the parts disruptions faced in the auto, personal computer and home-appliance industries. Phone manufacturers purchase key parts roughly a half a year in advance, but now those stockpiles have shrunk.

Jul 19, 2021

Taiwan semiconductor company plans to build U.S. factory to meet sustained chip demand

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, mobile phones

TAIPEI —Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) signalled on Thursday plans to build new factories in the United States and Japan, riding on a pandemic-led surge in demand for chips that power smartphones, laptops and cars.

TSMC, which posted record quarterly sales and forecast higher revenue for the current quarter, said it will expand production capacity in China and does not rule out the possibility of a “second phase” expansion at its $12 billion factory in Arizona.

The world’s largest contract chipmaker and a major Apple supplier also said it is currently reviewing a plan to set up a speciality technology wafer fabrication plant, or fab, in Japan.

Jul 18, 2021

Private Israeli spyware used to hack cellphones of journalists, activists worldwide

Posted by in categories: business, cybercrime/malcode, military, mobile phones, surveillance

Military-grade spyware licensed by an Israeli firm to governments for tracking terrorists and criminals was used in attempted and successful hacks of 37 smartphones belonging to journalists, human rights activists, business executives and two women close to murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to an investigation by The Washington Post and 16 media partners.

The phones appeared on a list of more than 50000 numbers that are concentrated in countries known to engage in surveillance of their citizens and also known to have been clients of the Israeli firm, NSO Group, a worldwide leader in the growing and largely unregulated private spyware industry, the investigation found.

The list does not identify who put the numbers on it, or why, and it is unknown how many of the phones were targeted or surveilled. But forensic analysis of the 37 smartphones shows that many display a tight correlation between time stamps associated with a number on the list and the initiation of surveillance, in some cases as brief as a few seconds.

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Jul 18, 2021

Can Science Cure Death? It Sure Looks Like It

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, genetics, mobile phones, robotics/AI, science

Nick Saraev is 25 years old, far too young, it would seem, to be thinking about death. And yet, since he turned 21, he has taken steps to prevent the infirmities of old age. Every day, he takes 2000 mg of fish oil and 4000 IU of vitamin D to help prevent heart disease and other ailments. He steams or pressure-cooks most of his meals because, he says, charring meats creates chemicals that may increase the risk of cancer. And in the winter, he keeps the humidity of his home at 35 percent, because dry air chaps his skin and makes him cough, both of which he considers manifestations of chronic inflammation, which may be bad for longevity.

Based on the life expectancies of young men in North America, Saraev, a freelance software engineer based near Vancouver, believes he has about 55 years before he really has to think about aging. Given the exponential advances in microprocessors and smartphones in his lifetime, he insists the biotech industry will figure out a solution by then. For this reason, Saraev, like any number of young, optimistic, tech-associated men, believes that if he takes the correct preventative steps now, he might well live forever. Saraev’s plan is to keep his body in good enough shape to hit “Longevity Escape Velocity,” a term coined by English gerontologist Aubrey de Grey to denote slowing down your aging enough to reach each new medical advance as it arrives. If you delay your death by 10 years, for example, that’s 10 more years scientists have to come up with a drug, computer program, or robot assist that can make you live even longer. Keep up this game of reverse leapfrog, and eventually death can’t catch you. The term is reminiscent of “planetary escape velocity,” the speed an object needs to move in order to break free of gravity.

The science required to break free of death, unfortunately, is still at ground level. According to Nir Barzilai, M.D., director of the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, scientists currently understand aging as a function of seven to nine biological hallmarks, factors that change as we grow older and seem to have an anti-aging effect when reversed. You can imagine these as knobs you can turn up or down to increase or decrease the likelihood of illness and frailty. Some of these you may have heard of, including how well cells remove waste, called proteostasis; how well cells create energy, or mitochondrial function; how well cells implement their genetic instructions, or epigenetics; and how well cells maintain their DNA’s integrity, called DNA repair or telomere erosion.

Jul 17, 2021

China Wants a Chip Machine From the Dutch. The U.S. Said No

Posted by in categories: government, mobile phones, robotics/AI, security

The chip world’s most important machines are made near corn fields in the Netherlands. The U.S. is trying to block China from buying them.


The one-of-a-kind, 180-ton machines are used by companies including Intel Corp., South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. and leading Apple Inc. supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to make the chips in everything from cutting-edge smartphones and 5G cellular equipment to computers used for artificial intelligence.

China wants the $150-million machines for domestic chip makers, so smartphone giant Huawei Technologies Co. and other Chinese tech companies can be less reliant on foreign suppliers. But ASML hasn’t sent a single one because the Netherlands—under pressure from the U.S.—is withholding an export license to China.

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