John P. Mello Jr.

About the Author John P. Mello Jr.


Tablets

Apple Unveils Budget-Friendly iPad, Dresses iPhone in Red

Apple has announced an iPad update, a red iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and a new video-editing app for iOS. The iPad upgrade has a 9.7-inch, 2048 x 1536-pixel Retina display and Apple’s A9 64-bit processor. The unit will come in silver, gold and space gray with a starting price of $329 for 32 gigabytes of storage and WiFi-only support. It will cost $459 for a 32-GB unit with WiFi and cellular support.

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Tech Buzz

Apple May Alter the AR Competition

Apple is stockpiling resources to make a splash in the augmented reality market. The company reportedly is not only marshaling internal resources behind its AR efforts, but also hiring talented outsiders and acquiring companies with expertise in AR hardware, 3D gaming and virtual reality software. The new outsiders include engineers who worked VR headsets for Google and Microsoft.

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Privacy

Facebook Gets Tough on Spy Apps

Facebook has updated its Facebook and Instagram policies to prohibit developers from using data obtained from those platforms in surveillance tools, according to Rob Sherman, deputy chief privacy officer. Facebook already has taken enforcement actions against devs who created and marketed surveillance tools in violation of the company’s previous policy, he noted.

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Mobile

Malware Found Preinstalled on Dozens of Android Phones

Malware has been discovered preinstalled on 36 Android phones belonging to two companies, security software maker Check Point reported. “In all instances, the malware was not downloaded to the device as a result of the users’ use — it arrived with it,” noted Oren Koriat, a member of Check Point’s Mobile Research Team. The malicious apps were added somewhere along the supply chain.

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Cybersecurity

Tech Companies Weigh Responses to WikiLeaks Exposure

Following WikiLeaks’ publication earlier this week of classified documents stolen from the CIA, major technology companies, including Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and Cisco, have been scrambling to assess the risks posed to their customers by the revelations. The so-called “Vault 7” leak includes information about methods and tools the CIA crafted to hack into products produced by those companies.

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Cybersecurity

WikiLeaks Dumps CIA Hacking Docs Online

WikiLeaks on Tuesday dumped thousands of classified documents onto the Internet, exposing hacking programs used by the CIA. The torrent of data is just the first in a series of dumps WikLeaks is calling “Vault 7.” This first installment includes 8,761 documents and files stolen from an isolated high-security network within the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virginia.

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Tech Buzz

USB-C Port, Curved Display Top Latest iPhone Rumor List

Apple poked a hornet’s nest when it removed the standard headphone jack from the iPhone 7. It may do it again by replacing the Lightning port with USB-C in the next iPhone. The Lightning port, introduced in 2012, is used to charge and connect accessories to the iPhone, but Apple reportedly plans to swap it for USB-C, which the company has been introducing into its computer lines.

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Wall Street

Snap Sells Itself as Camera Company as IPO Nears

As it approaches its IPO, Snap, maker of the popular Snapchat messaging app, is positioning itself as a camera company. “We feel like we’re really at the beginning of what cameras can do,” said Snap CEO Evan Spiegel. “Before, cameras were the best way to perfectly save or record something that you saw. They sort of helped augment memory — but now, you know, cameras augment the way that we talk.”

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Mobile Apps

Rich Content Makes WhatsApp Look a Lot More Like Snapchat

Facebook has rolled out a WhatsApp update that could threaten Snapchat’s share of the mobile app messaging market. The update allows WhatsApp users to share photos and videos through the app’s status area. Moreover, like WhatsApp text messages, content shared through status updates is protected by end-to-end encryption — a key distinction between WhatsApp and its competitors.

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Cybersecurity

Watson Joins Cybersecurity Warriors’ Ranks

IBM this week announced Watson for Cyber Security, a powerful new ally for organizations that want to protect their data from Net marauders. The new offering bolsters the ability of information security pros to analyze the flood of information from the roughly 200,000 events that pour into their Security Operations Centers, or SOCs, every day. As much as 80 percent of it is unstructured data.

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Mobile Apps

Dozens of iOS Apps Vulnerable to WiFi Snooping

Dozens of applications for Apple’s mobile devices are vulnerable to WiFi snoopers, according to Will Strafach, CEO of the Sudo Security Group. He identified 76 popular iOS apps available at Apple’s App Store that were vulnerable to wireless eavesdroppers, even though the connections were supposed to be protected by encryption. There have been 18 million downloads of the vulnerable apps, he said.

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Hacking

Anonymous Hacker Pulls Plug on Thousands of Dark Net Sites

Twenty percent of the Dark Net was taken offline last week, when a hacker compromised a server hosting some 10,000 websites on the Tor network. Tor, designed to hide the identities of its users, is widely used on the Dark Web, which serves as a hub for illegal online activities. Visitors to the affected pages were greeted with the message, “Hello, Freedom Hosting II, you’ve been hacked.”

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Emerging Tech

3 Teams Qualify for Tube Test in Hyperloop Pod Competition

Elon Musk’s hyperloop dream began to take shape in reality last weekend as 27 teams, including six from outside the U.S., participated in a competition to create the mass transit vehicle of the future. The competition in Hawthorne, California, sponsored by SpaceX, which Musk founded, attracted teams made up mostly of students who created pods designed to run on hyperloop transportation systems.

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Malware

Hackers Targeted DC Police Cams Days Before Inauguration

A ransomware attack darkened the video surveillance system of the District of Columbia’s police department eight days before the presidential inauguration of Donald J. Trump. Video storage devices for 70 percent of the CCTV system reportedly were unable to record anything between Jan. 12 and Jan. 15, as police techies scrambled to combat malicious software found on 123 of 187 networked video recorders.

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Cybersecurity

Trump Clings to Personal Phone Despite Security Risks

President Donald J. Trump apparently has continued to use his personal Android smartphone despite security concerns. Trump was concerned about losing access to his personal phone even prior to taking his oath of office, according to a report citing unnamed aides who said he worried about how isolated he could become in the White House without his phone to keep in touch with friends.

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