Recent Articles By Andrew Orr [RSS]

Newegg Breach Resulted in loss of Credit Card Data

· Andrew Orr · Link

A recent Newegg breach lasted a whole month, and hackers stole customer credit card information.

Hackers injected 15 lines of card skimming code on the online retailer’s payments page which remained for more than a month between August 14 and September 18, Yonathan Klijnsma, a threat researcher at RiskIQ, told TechCrunch. The code siphoned off credit card data from unsuspecting customers to a server controlled by the hackers with a similar domain name — likely to avoid detection. The server even used an HTTPS certificate to blend in.

For the past couple of years I’ve used a service called It connects to my bank account and I can create near-unlimited virtual cards to use with various places. And no this isn’t an ad, I just think it’s a great service. It’s basically a password manager for your money.

Turn Off Notifications Young Lady. Don't Make Me Count to Three

· Andrew Orr · Link

Turn off notifications. Just do it. They create unnecessary stress and some apps use notifications to whine that you’re not using it 24/7. Especially Facebook.

As our attention is increasingly fragmented and split among dozens of apps, the apps have compensated by getting more demanding of your time. Notifications are no longer used to notify you of anything—they’re used by apps to scream over each other in hopes that you’ll click them.

Our phones don’t control us. In fact it’s the other way around.

Apple Uses Your Phone Calls and Emails for a Device Trust Score

· Andrew Orr · Link

Apple updated its iTunes Store terms and privacy disclosures. Included is how the company computes a device trust score to prevent fraud.

To help identify and prevent fraud, information about how you use your device, including the approximate number of phone calls or emails you send and receive, will be used to compute a device trust score when you attempt a purchase. The submissions are designed so Apple cannot learn the real values on your device. The scores are stored for a fixed time on our servers.

They aren’t full records, rather “abstracted.” It’s not like Apple is going to abuse this information, but at first glance it does seem a bit unusual. Especially for devices like Apple TVs that don’t have email or phone capabilities.

How Edward Snowden Protects Activists Against Surveillance

· Andrew Orr · Link

Wired has another good article today, written by Edward Snowden. He writes how government surveillance isn’t new.

Born to a mother who was a member of the Black Panther Party and raised in Brooklyn in an environment of political ferment and police scrutiny, Malkia was fighting against the surveillance of activists and people of color before anyone knew my name.

Us white people might not be so used to surveillance, but Mr. Snowden reminds us how African Americans and Muslim Americans have long been targeted by the government.

How Apple Made the A12 Bionic Chip

· Andrew Orr · News

Wired has a great article about how Apple made the A12 Bionic Chip. The A12 processor is even more powerful than its predecessor.

Good Morning America has a new Tim Cook Interview

· Andrew Orr · Link

Apple CEO Tim Cook during Mac

Good Morning America has a new Tim Cook Interview. Robin Roberts interviews him and talks about the trade war with China, the price of the new iPhones, the iPhone’s camera, and Memojis.

The iPhone is assembled in China, but the parts come from everywhere. Including the United States, you know, the glass comes from Kentucky, there are chips that come from the U.S., and of course the research and development is all done in the United States.

So, I don’t want to speak for them, but I think they looked at this and said that it’s not really great for the United States to put a tariff on those type of products.

Here's How to Avoid Becoming the United State

· Andrew Orr · Link

If we don’t want to become the United State, we have to figure out how to stop smart cities from becoming surveillance cities.

Since the growth of “surveillance cities” is no longer a hypothetical, we should all be ready to do what it takes to create responsible safeguards and prevent the unnecessary risks and harms this technology can create. Both elected officials and the public should be provided notice of the potential deployment of these technologies, the potential privacy and civil liberties risks they present, and the real impact of their use.

An interesting piece from the ACLU discusses how smart cities can become tools of surveillance. We have a modern example of this in Xinjiang, China.

Instagram Models Will Be Irrelevant Some Day

· Andrew Orr · Link

Warning: in a society that values the beautiful people, if you rely on making money based solely on your good looks, like Instagram models, you’ll some day become irrelevant as you turn old and wrinkled, especially if you have no other life skills.

But, for a growing number of users – and mental health experts – the very positivity of Instagram is precisely the problem. The site encourages its users to present an upbeat, attractive image that others may find at best misleading and at worse harmful. If Facebook demonstrates that everyone is boring and Twitter proves that everyone is awful, Instagram makes you worry that everyone is perfect – except you.

Time Magazine Acquired by Salesforce Billionaires

· Andrew Orr · Link

Salesforce billionaires Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne have purchased Time magazine from Meredith Corp. for US$190 million.

We are honored to be the caretakers of one of the world’s most important media companies and iconic brands. Time has always been a trusted reflection of the state of the world, and reminds us that business is one of the greatest platforms for change.

This is a personal purchase and not a Salesforce acquisition. Besides Time, Fortune and Sports Illustrated are also being sold, because “they have different audiences and advertisers than most of its other magazines.”

Siri Shortcuts and Trust Issues

· Andrew Orr · Link

Khari Johnson writes that in order for Siri Shortcuts to succeed, we can’t have trust issues.

Trust was a central theme at an AI conference held by Affectiva last week in Boston, where the emotion detection company is attempting to remain transparent while powering emotion recognition services in vehicles. Affectiva wants to give in-camera cars the ability to recognize when you’re distracted, tired, or angry, and track people’s emotions.

Trust has never been an issue with Siri. Apple’s privacy protections means that what you ask Siri isn’t associated with your personal identity. Other assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant may be able to do things that Siri can’t. But Siri’s strength is being able to do things without needing to collect your personal data and ship it to “the cloud.”

An Emergency Physician Explains the Apple Watch ECG

· Andrew Orr · Link

An emergency physician took to Reddit to explain the Apple Watch ECG and what the FDA approval actually means.

In summary, the new Apple Watch looks like a great tool, but it is not meant to be a medical grade device and not a substitute for medical and professional evaluation in the case of symptoms. Even if your Apple Watch ECG appears totally normal that does not necessarily mean you do not have atrial fibrillation or other cardiac abnormalities.

Basically, I was totally wrong when I wrote about the ECG function. Also, FDA-approved doesn’t mean the Apple Watch is a medical device. It’s in the Class II category which puts it on the same level as condoms and home pregnancy kits. The Verge has details as well.