Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

A new market for Apple?

June 6, 2016

Caters news agency via Daily Mail

This macaque was in a mischievous mood at the Jigokudani park in Japan and made off with an iPhone


That iPhone the FBI (Israelis) cracked – “contains nothing of significance”

April 15, 2016

Much ado …. full of sound and fury … signifying nothing.

So, Syed Farook’s iPhone that Apple refused to unlock, which the FBI took Apple to court for, which was finally cracked by an Israeli company working for the FBI, contained nothing of any significance. Still, I suppose the FBI and Apple (and the Israeli security company Cellebrite) have all had their time strutting and fretting on the stage, and all publicity is good publicity.

But the FBI come out of this looking petty and silly.

CBS News: 

A law enforcement source tells CBS News that so far nothing of real significance has been found on the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone, which was unlocked by the FBI last month without the help of Apple.

It was stressed that the FBI continues to analyze the information on the cellphone seized in the investigation, senior investigative producer Pat Milton reports. Investigators spent months trying to gain access to data on the locked iPhone used by San Bernardino gunman Syed Rizwan Farook, believing that it might hold information on the plans or contacts of the attackers, who killed 14 people on December 2, 2015.

Apple was fighting a court order to assist the FBI in bypassing the phone’s security measures. On March 28, the FBI announced that it had managed to unlock the phone and was dropping the court fight with Apple.

The FBI has not disclosed what method it used to access the data on the iPhone but the method is believed to have been developed by a third party, a private entity, the government has refused to identify.

FBI Director James Comey said last week that the bureau has not decided whether to share details with Apple about how it hacked into Farook’s iPhone 5c. “If we tell Apple, they’re going to fix it and we’re back where we started,” Comey said. “As silly as it may sound, we may end up there. We just haven’t decided yet.”

As The Register points out the FBI were more interested in attacking Apple and actually did not expect to find anything. They probably always knew that Cellebrite could get into the phone but dinät reveal that to support their position in court:

The news will not come as much of a surprise to anyone who has followed the case: the phone in question was one of three used by Farook. It was his work phone and was owned by his employer, the health department.

His two personal phones were found by investigators, crushed and dumped in a trash can at his house. Since Farook had clearly gone to some trouble to destroy any digital evidence (he also smashed up hard drives and other digital media), the fact that the iPhone in question was recovered intact made it highly unlikely that it held anything of real value.

Regardless, the FBI used the existence of the phone and the shocking nature of the crime to wage a public war with Apple over encryption and access to electronic goods. Having mistakenly caused the phone’s cloud storage to be reset (some doubt it was a mistake), the FBI applied through the courts to force Apple to develop a way for it to pull all the information of the phone.

The court served an injunction but Apple refuse to honor it, claiming that the request effectively obliged it to break its own product’s security and would have implications far beyond the single phone.

Following a very public spat in which Apple refused to back down, and voices in Washington starting to criticize the FBI for trying to seek a legal precedent rather than solve a crime, the day before a legal hearing on the matter, the FBI suddenly announced it had found a third party that was able to grant it access to the phone’s data.


Israeli company cracks Apple iPhone for FBI

March 29, 2016

iphone seThe FBI has now dropped its lawsuit against Apple because they have managed to crack the encryption on the  iPhone of the San Bernardino gunman without Apple’s help. Clearly the Israeli company Cellebrite has succeeded where the FBI’s own experts had failed.

The question now becomes what Apple will do about this demonstrated vulnerability. Perhaps they have already eliminated the weakness in their new models after the iPhone 5S? Added to their latest fiasco with their OS 9.3 download, Apple “technology” is not riding very high right now.

The Verge:

Cellebrite, an Israeli mobile forensic software company, is reportedly helping the FBI get into Syed Farook’s device, according to reports from Reuters and Ynet.

The FBI “has been reportedly using the services of the Israeli-based company Cellebrite in its effort to break the protection on a terrorist’s locked iPhone, according to experts in the field familiar with the case,” Ynet reports. The Verge reached out to Cellebrite yesterday afternoon for comment and hasn’t yet heard back. ……. The company has a sole-source contract with the FBI that it signed in 2013 specifically to help with mobile forensics and data extraction, exactly the task presented by the San Bernardino case. …..

In its notice of intent to sole source, the FBI wrote: “Market research efforts have indicated that the Cellebrite UFED System is the only hand-held, cellular exploitation device worldwide that requires no PC or associated phone drivers.” It continued that the company supports “all major technologies (DMA, CDMA,GSM, IDEN) including smartphone operating systems and PDAs (Apple iPhone, Blackberry, Google Android, Microsoft Mobile, Palm, and Symbian) for over 95 percent of all handset models worldwide.”

………. experts speculate the attack is based on a NAND mirroring technique, which involves essentially copying the flash memory of the device so it can be restored after a lockscreen wipe. US Representative Darrel Issa directly asked FBI Director James Comey about the possibility of using this technique during a House Judiciary hearing last month. The bureau is now well aware of its existence, and there’s no reason to believe it won’t work on the iPhone 5C in question. Notably, this method will run into problems on phones with a Secure Enclave, ruling out any phones beyond the 5S.



Some of Cellebrite’s promotional material on their UFED:

Cellebrite’s UFED Pro Series

With mountains of data being created via mobile device applications daily – Facebook, Twitter, Kik, Snapchat, etc. – forensic examiners need quick and efficient ways to tap into rapidly expanding data sources when a situation demands. Our UFED Pro Series is designed for forensic examiners and investigators who require the most comprehensive, up-to-date mobile data extraction and decoding support available to handle the influx of new data sources.

UFED Ultimate

UFED Ultimate enables the physical, logical and file system extraction of all data and passwords – even deleted – from the widest range of mobile phones, portable GPS devices and tablets. The powerful combination of proprietary boot loaders, UFED Physical Analyzer, UFED Phone Detective and UFED Reader, enables advanced decoding, mobile phone detection, data analysis and reporting every time.


Web ads may not be the dominating revenue model in the future

June 11, 2015

I find web ads always irritating and sometimes so intrusive that they have put me off the site altogether. Now I use Adblocker with Chrome, which works very well and this allows me to visit and stay on sites which I would otherwise have avoided. Apparently Apple will also allow ad blocker apps with Safari (iOS9) and clearly they see it as a way of improving the experience of their users. But what Apple plans will allow more than just ad blocking:

“Content Blocking gives your extensions a fast and efficient way to block cookies, images, resources, pop-ups, and other content.”

Effectively Apple are offering”ghostery” rather than ad blocking:

QuartzGhostery is a popular browser extension for all major desktop browsers. It blocks all content pulled in from third-party servers.

The way the modern web works is this: if you go to a website, it only sends some text and images your way. But it also pulls in data from dozens of analytics tools, ad servers, ad exchanges, web analytics firms, social buttons and trackers, and various other forms of online surveillance that serve you ads, measure you responses, gauge your profile, figure out your shoe size, and so on. Ghostery stops all of it. Apple’s content blocker appears to allow developers to do something similar.

Why is Apple doing this? Joshua Benton at Nieman Lab lays out three ways of looking at it: either Apple is serious about all its recent privacy talk, or it is out to get Google and Facebook, or it wants people to look at the ads served by its own iAds service on its new News app. Perhaps it is a mix of the three.

But what is clear is that small businesses that rely entirely on online advertising are going to have to rethink how they make money.

In fact it could be a way for Apple not only to to differentiate themselves from their competitors but also to develop some brand loyalty from among the increasing number of web and mobile users who are just irritated and get no added value from the ads and 3rd party content.

Since using Adblocker I have returned to many sites which I had abandoned because of their intrusive ads. Typically on the news sites, “quality” news sites have upto 5 ads blocked per web page while the “tabloids” have 10 – 20 ads blocked. One tentative conclusion that I come to is that the experience of getting the “news” is inversely proportional to the number of ads on the page.

Surfing some of the news sites just now I found the number of ads being blocked as below:

NYT – 5, Wa Po – 3, Huff Po – 13, CNN – 5, NY Post – 9, CBS News – 18

The Telegraph – 13, The Guardian – 5, The Independent – 19, Daily Mail – 12, The Times -8, BBC – 4, The Mirror – 38

The Hindu – 3, Times of India – 5, Hindustan Times -6

Expressen – 7, Svenska Dagbladet – 2, Dagens Nyheter – 7, Aftonbladet – 21

Der Spiegel -3, Deutsche Welle – 0, Reuters – 17, Le Monde – 4, El Pais – 6

So by my simple reckoning, without an adblocker, The Mirror provides about the worst experience and Deutsche Welle, SvD, BBC, Der Spiegel and Le Monde offer the least intrusion and disturbance to their readers.

US technology giants were complicit in NSA’s data trawling

March 19, 2014

Microsoft, Google, Apple,Yahoo, Facebook and AOL all claimed they did not know that the access they provided led to the NSA trawling their clients’ and customers’ data. But while they may not have liked it, they certainly knew all about it according to the NSA’s chief legal counsel. It would seem that these large technology companies all cooperated – even if reluctantly – and were complicit in the NSA’s indiscriminate data gathering.

It seems they have all been protesting too much as they have tried to build up their facade of innocence.

The Guardian: 

The senior lawyer for the National Security Agency stated unequivocally on Wednesday that US technology companies were fully aware of the surveillance agency’s widespread collection of data, contradicting month of angry denials from the firms. 

Rajesh De, the NSA general counsel, said all communications content and associated metadata harvested by the NSA under a 2008 surveillance law occurred with the knowledge of the companies – both for the internet collection program known as Prism and for the so-called “upstream” collection of communications moving across the internet.

Asked during at a Wednesday hearing of the US government’s institutional privacy watchdog if collection under the law, known as Section 702 or the Fisa Amendments Act, occurred with the “full knowledge and assistance of any company from which information is obtained,” De replied: “Yes.”

……. The NSA’s Wednesday comments contradicting the tech companies about the firms’ knowledge of Prism risk entrenching tensions with the firms NSA relies on for an effort that Robert Litt, general counsel for the director of national intelligence, told the board was “one of the most valuable collection tools that we have.”

“All 702 collection is pursuant to court directives, so they have to know,” De reiterated to the Guardian.

The technology giants do not really believe in the privacy of their clients. They have been complicit all along in the NSA’s data trawling exercises and have put up – in reality – very little resistance. And all their protests of innocence and reluctance and resistance are merely a public relations exercise.

As the Jungle Drum reported in December last year:

Let’s start with Gates and MS, which allowed the NSA to access every 9x series OS via a backdoor tailored especially for the purpose — that much is verified. Then we have master data censor and exploiter Eric Schmidt of Google, who has been a regular attendee at Bilderberg meetings over the past few years — for those unaware, the shadowy Bilderberg group of mega wealthy business people, bankers, media magnates, monarchs and strategically placed people of influence, hold annual meetings where ‘they’ outline future directions for the world — and you thought your elected puppets represented you and made all the decisions!

The latest well publicised manoeuvres by tech giants are simply part of an overall damage control plan to convince the public that their data will not be compromised by the NSA when in fact these companies were willing and complicit partners to US agency spying. Schmidt, Gates and Zuckerberg are probably the worst pretenders/offenders.

What Snowden’s revelations have done is make the public aware of a well known fact in digital underground circles, that privacy is a myth, in fact it was Eric ‘Google’ Schmidt who stated publicly that people have to fight to maintain privacy today. So let’s cut the crap and just admit that large tech companies are complicit in attacks on the public and follow the globalist agenda.

……. Do not be deceived by the pretence of mega tech companies, they voluntarily entered into partnerships with the NSA and in Google’s and Facebook’s case, the CIA. Private mail services are already being offered on the net and its only a matter of time before other companies, not related to the above nefarious data corporations, make huge inroads in the digital world.

Drunken gang of elk get obstreperous!

August 31, 2013

It is at this time every year when apples have fallen to the ground and are gently fomenting, that the stories of drunken elk (which are not moose) proliferate in Sweden. We usually get the odd elk cleaning up under our apple tree but – so far – we have never encountered an intoxicated animal. Elk find apples – and other fruits and berries – irresistible. Their resistance to intoxication seems relatively low and drunken elk get quite feisty. This time a gang of five drunken elk got very stroppy and barred a resident from entering his own home. However, as the police report reads “Police who arrived on the scene reported that the animals had been warned that the police were on their way and wisely decided to leave the address,”

The Local:

A gang of angry drunken elk barred a man from entering his home in suburban Stockholm on Tuesday, leaving the frightened homeowner no choice but to call police for help. “Five drunken elk were threatening a resident who was barred from entering his own home,” read an incident report on the website of the Stockholm police department.

The author of the report confirmed that the homeowner, who lives on the island of Ingarö in Stockholm’s eastern suburbs, was justified in calling the police for help. “I’m not surprised that he called the police when he was faced with a gang of five drunken elk,” police spokesman Albin Näverberg told The Local. “They can be really dangerous. They become fearless. Instead of backing away when a person approaches, they move toward you. They may even take a run at you.”

The incident involved four adult elk and one calf, Näverberg explained, all of whom were intoxicated after having eaten fermented apples that had fallen from the homeowner’s apple tree.

“Police who arrived on the scene reported that the animals had been warned that the police were on their way and wisely decided to leave the address,” the report read.

“The elk will have to find somewhere else to get intoxicated.”

Perhaps the most famous photograph of a drunken elk is from September 2011 of this one which got itself stuck in an apple tree

Moose in a tree - September

When The Local talked to Per Johansson about the elk (no, it’s not a moose) that had been caught in a tree after a fermented apples bender, he would never have imagined his words would be repeated worldwide. Type “elk in a tree” into Google, you’ll find 29 million hits. Worryingly, “moose in a tree” gives even more.
Photo: Gustav Johansson

Apple dumps “green” certification in favour of design freedom

July 10, 2012

It was inevitable!

Wall Street Journal:

Apple has pulled its products off the U.S. government-backed registration of environmentally friendly electronics.


Steve Jobs was a leader – but where are the political leaders today?

October 6, 2011
Steve Jobs shows off iPhone 4 at the 2010 Worl...

Image via Wikipedia

Steve Jobs passed away yesterday. His passing got me thinking about leadership. The definition of a “leader” that I like best is

“one who visualises and then moves his “people” (or group or company or “tribe”) from a given “state of existence” (set of conditions or location or both) towards or to another desired state”

Steve Jobs was a leader who had a vision of the world and moved very many towards that destination – and not just at Apple.

With this definition it is incumbent on a leader to first have the vision to be able to visualise and communicate the “desired” state and then to carry his “people” with him towards that state. Kicking and screaming if necessary. A leader is not one who is merely an effective administrator who follows rules and hopes for a beneficial result. A leader is not one who – in the name of democracy or consensus – blends and averages out the opinions of many to produce a grey, amorphous blob of a destination. He is not one who becomes merely a “keeper of a process” where the process reigns supreme and the direction of movement and the change of state achieved is subordinated to maintaining the process.

Political democracies around the world today are suffering from a dearth of leadership. Maintaining the “democratic process” has become more important than defining the direction of where we are going and ensuring movement in that direction. Right now every single democratic leader has degenerated into a professional pessimist. The 2008 financial crisis probably prevents any “leader” today from daring to be optimistic and confident enough to look to the future. The current financial crisis being played out in Europe is no doubt due to the irresponsible and profligate behaviour of Greece and Italy and Spain and Portugal. But deeper than that is the lack of any leadership not only in these countries but also in the rest of Europe. Throughout the democratic world today it is fears which subordinate actions and the definition of courage is “when fear is subordinated to purposeful actions”. The people in positions of leadership lack courage.

In modern party political democracies, it is party politics which govern and every party is concerned primarily with getting to governmental power or staying there. Minor and fringe political parties (often fanatical and extreme) are allowed to hold the balance of power just so that some other larger party can form or remain in government. When these minor parties exercise greater influence than they should, the entire concept of democracy is compromised and corrupted (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Austria). Even in effectively two party states like the US and the UK and Australia and France and India, the lack of a clear mandate leads to political deadlock on the one hand, or having a clear mandate on the other leads to an oppression by the majority. (The Liberal Democrats in the UK merely bend with the wind to stay in government and do not count). Proportional representation in many European countries leads to hodge-podge, coalition governments with no clear direction and no clear mandate (Germany and Italy for example). In Belgium there is no government at all and actions have been abdicated to the bureaucrats and the administrators.

In political democracies there are no leaders visible today. Only followers.

Obama, Merkel, Cameron, Sarkozy, Gillard, Noda and Manmohan Singh all behave essentially like sheep or like “keepers of a process” and I see no signs of any real leadership. Staying in government is the name of the game and there is no hint of a vision of a desired state of conditions – let alone any movement towards such a desired state of conditions.

It is high time for some vision and some optimism and some daring in the political arena.

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