Marriott Hit by Second Data Breach Affecting up to 5.2M People

· Andrew Orr · Link

Image containing the words “data breach”

Hotel chain Marriott International has suffered a second data breach, exposing the personal data of up to 5.2 million guests.

The breach, which began in mid-January 2020 and was discovered at the end of February 2020, saw contact details, including names, addresses, birth dates, gender, email addresses and telephone numbers exposed. Employer name, gender, room stay preferences and loyalty account numbers were also exposed.

Marriott has also said that at present it does not believe passports, payment details or passwords were exposed in the data breach.

It sounds like login credentials of two employees were stolen, likely through a social engineering attack.

Russia Postponing Introduction of Rules Forcing iPhones to Have State-Approved Apps

· Charlotte Henry · Link

TMO's Dramatic Reenactment of a Typical Russian Hacker

Russia has postponed the introduction of new legislation that required devices, including iPhones, to have state-approved apps pre-installed. AppleInsider reported that this is likely due to the current coronavirus outbreak. The legislation is now slated to come into force on January 31, 2021.

“When we buy complex electronic devices, they already have individual applications, mostly Western ones, pre-installed on them,” co-author of Russia’s legislation, Oleg Nikolayev said at the time. “Naturally, when a person sees them, they might think that there are no domestic alternatives available. And if, alongside pre-installed applications, we will also offer the Russian ones to users, then they will have a right to choose.”

Key Apple Supplier Raising $200 Million From Unknown 'Customer'

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Apple Logo

A key Apple supplier, Japan Display, has raised $200 million from a “customer”, Reuters reported.  There is speculation that the unknown source of cash was, in fact, Apple itself.

The $200 [sic] fund will come in the form of the customer purchasing equipment at Japan Display’s main smartphone screen factory in central Japan, the company said in a statement. As Japan Display owed Apple more than $800 million as of last year for the $1.5 billion cost of building the plant, the fund to be raised would be used for repayment, the sources have said.

Decode the True Power of Microsoft Excel Training Bundle: $49.99

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

The Premium A to Z Microsoft Excel Bundle Ft. Alan Jarvis & Chris Dutton

We have a deal on the Premium A to Z Microsoft Excel Bundle featuring Alan Jarvis and Chris Dutton. This training package includes 10 courses covering Excel basics to advanced Excel training, and those courses have hundreds of lectures spanning 43 hours. This bundle is $49.99 through our deal.

Perhaps Apple Shouldn't Release an iPhone in 2020

· Charlotte Henry · Link

iPhone 11 reveal

People have been speculating for a while about what the coronavirus outbreak means for global supply chains, not least Apple’s. It is all based on the assumption there has to be an iPhone in 2020. Over on iMore Bryan M. Wolfe says there doesn’t. It’s a view I’m increasingly sympathetic with – the world is in turmoil, does Apple really want to be waving shiny new devices around right now?

There’s nothing wrong with the iPhone 11. More importantly, with unemployment rising, now is not the best time for the company to release a new device intended for the masses. Instead, the company should use its first online WWDC conference to announce splashy updates for iOS, iPadOS, and other systems. Then, when this crisis (finally) ebbs, Apple should launch the iPhone 12 in 2021. I understand Apple just released a new iPad Pro. However, the line hadn’t been updated in nearly two years, so a refresh was justified. Same too for the 2020 MacBook Air, which includes the company’s well-received new Backlit Magic Keyboard.

Photographer Claims Apple Copied his Photo in Apple TV+ Show

· Andrew Orr · Link

Adrian Murphy writes that Apple copied his photo of two kids looking into a glowing chest, a visual that can be seen in Amazing Stories on Apple TV+.

To me, this is flagrant copyright infringement and is using my intellectual property to derive visual elements for one of the most viewed portions of their entire series… the intro that plays before every episode. I’m flattered by the obvious imitation, but I’m also disappointed by the obvious theft.

The scene does look visually similar to Mr. Murphy’s photo. I wonder if he will legally pursue this.

Saudi Spies Use Network Flaws to Track Citizens in US

· Andrew Orr · Link

Image of person holding phone

A report today reveals that Saudi Arabia uses flaws in telecom networks to track its citizens as they move through the U.S.

The data shows requests for mobile phone location data that were routed through the decades-old SS7 global messaging system, which allows mobile operators to connect users around the world…The SS7 system also enables tracking of phones, which has been a cause for concern by security experts. When a US carrier – such as Verizon, T-Mobile or AT&T – receives what is known as a Provide Subscriber Information SS7 message (or PSI) from a foreign mobile phone operator, they are getting, in effect, a tracking request.

Also included in the report: Senator Ron Wyden says the FCC knew about these flaws and failed to act, blaming FCC chairman Ajit Pai.

Get Default Mac Wallpapers in 5K With This Website

· Andrew Orr · Link

512 Pixels collected every default Mac wallpaper since 10.0 Cheetah, and there are high quality 5K versions available.

Major props to the world-class designer who does all the art of Relay FM, the mysterious @forgottentowel, for upscaling some of these for modern screens.

I think this is great. It’s cool to see how the default wallpaper has changed over time.

Niantic’s Diana Hu Talks Engineering, AR, And ‘Lightbulb Moments

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Niantic logo

iMore has another fascinating interview as part of its ‘Celebrating Women in Tech’ series. This time it is with Niantic’s Director of Engineering and Head of AR Platform, Diana Hu.

The exciting thing here, with building things for AR, is that this is really new technology that hasn’t been created yet. I get to work with a lot of super-smart people and very caring people. And pushing the technology forward is exciting. For some of the innovations that we get to realize, I am one of the first people to see it before anyone else. It’s very exciting when that light bulb moment comes on and it is like, “Oh, we can connect these ideas from the past to what’s happening in the present to invent the future.” An example of this happened about two years ago.

Google Restarting Chrome Updates

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Google announced Thursday that it will resume its Chrome and Chrome OS update program, ZDNet reported. It paused the updates to avoid disruptions web developers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The company said that starting next week, the current Chrome 80 release will start receiving security updates once againt. Chrome v81, initially scheduled to be released on March 17, was rescheduled for April 7, at which time, web developers and system administrators would have had the time to adapt to their new working conditions. The Chrome 82 release was canceled altogether, with features being reshuffled into Chrome 83 and other versions. Per the new adjusted schedule, Chrome 83 is now expected to be released somewhere in mid-May.

The Pick Your Streaming Service and Device Giveaway: HBO Now, Apple TV+, Hulu, Disney+, More

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

The Pick Your Streaming Service & Device Giveaway: HBO Now, Apple TV+, Hulu, Disney+ & More

We have a giveaway for you today called The Pick Your Streaming Service and Device Giveaway. The winner can choose a streaming device, including, but not limited to: Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, and Google ChromeCast. And, a 1-year subscription to the streaming service of your choice — including, but not limited to: Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Showtime, and Disney+. Cool, right? To enter, register for our deal emails (which you should do anyway). If you’re already registered, click the Enter to Win button on the giveaway listing.

There’s a Cyber Defense Force Fighting Coronavirus Hackers

· Andrew Orr · Link

An international group of roughly 400 cybersecurity experts are fighting hacking related to the coronavirus.

One of four initial managers of the effort, Marc Rogers, said the top priority would be working to combat hacks against medical facilities and other frontline responders to the pandemic. It is already working on hacks of health organizations.

Also key is the defense of communication networks and services that have become essential as more people work from home, said Rogers, head of security at the long-running hacking conference Def Con and a vice president at security company Okta Inc.

At least there’s some good news.

Nintendo Fixes 'Animal Crossing' Infinite Items Glitch

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

A lot of people have been getting into the Animal Crossing: New Horizons game since it launched last week. But there was a glitch that allowed players to get infinite items, something many were happily taking advantage of. However, Kotaku reports that the game’s makers managed to fix it with the first update… sorry if you’ve been enjoying the freebies!

If you weren’t aware, the item involved two players. While one of them rotated an item, the other would pick it up at the same moment, suggesting to the game that two different versions of that item existed – one which had been rotated, and the other which had been placed in the other player’s pocket. This would generate an awful lot of items in a short space of time, which could then be sold back to Timmy and then used to pay off your Nook Loans.

Why is Zoom Sending Our Data to Facebook?

· Andrew Orr · Link

Zoom logo

As people are required to work from home, apps like Zoom help us with video conferencing. But why is the iOS app sending our data to Facebook?

Upon downloading and opening the app, Zoom connects to Facebook’s Graph API, according to Motherboard’s analysis of the app’s network activity. The Graph API is the main way developers get data in or out of Facebook. The Zoom app notifies Facebook when the user opens the app, details on the user’s device such as the model, the time zone and city they are connecting from, which phone carrier they are using, and a unique advertiser identifier created by the user’s device which companies can use to target a user with advertisements.

I’ll add this to my #DeleteFBSDK endeavors.

Automate Tedious Text Document Cleanup with TextSoap for Mac: $19.99

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

TextSoap for Mac

We have a deal on TextSoap for Mac, software that removes unwanted text, fix-up carriage returns, tabs, and any other text-based formatting you might come across. It features more than 100 built-in cleaners, and lets users design custom solutions for their own text-cleanup challenges. TextSoap for Mac is $19.99 through our deal.

The FBI is Collecting Your Data Through its ‘FitTest’ App

· Andrew Orr · Link

The FBI has been promoting its fitness app called FitTest to help people exercise at home. It’s also collecting your data.

…an FBI spokesperson reiterated the app’s privacy statement, adding that “the app does not gather or save any personal information other than what you select for your profile.”

But the app’s privacy statement makes room for some tracking: When FitTest accesses pages from the official FBI website, it says, “fbi.gov’s privacy policy applies.” The fbi.gov privacy policy states that “individuals using this computer system are subject to having all of their activities monitored and recorded.”

I can’t wait for the FBIPhone and FBIMessage apps.

Watch Season One of 'Picard' For Free

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Picard poster

Lots of shows have had to suspend shooting due to the coronavirus outbreak. If you need something new to watch in the meantime, you can watch Picard for free. Entertainment Week reported that there is a 30-day free trial for CBS All Access, with a coupon code making all episodes of the Star Trek spin-off available.

You’ll still have to sign up for the CBS streaming service to watch the show, but now there’s a coupon code that unlocks Picard: “GIFT.” The will unlock a one month free trial which includes all shows on the service (so if you want to check out Star Trek: Discovery or old episodes of Next Generation, you can do that too).

KeepSolid VPN Unlimited Adds DNS Firewall for Customers

· Andrew Orr · Link

Logo of keepsolid vpn

KeepSolid’s VPN Unlimited added a new feature for its customers. This DNS firewall can block domains associated with malware, porn, drugs and alcohol, gambling, games, and more.

This benefit of KeepSolid DNS Firewall is closely connected with the previous one. If you don’t open a malicious website, you won’t get infected with malware. Better prevent than cure, agree? And there is really much to avoid, as malware attacks are exponentially increasing over time.

Great news for KeepSolid customers. And if you’re not a customer, I recommend reading my roundup of DNS services to use.

Internet Archive Releases National Emergency Library With 1.4 Million Books

· Andrew Orr · Link

As of March 24 the Internet Archive suspended wait lists for its collection of books by creating a National Emergency Library.

This suspension will run through June 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later.

During the waitlist suspension, users will be able to borrow books from the National Emergency Library without joining a waitlist, ensuring that students will have access to assigned readings and library materials that the Internet Archive has digitized for the remainder of the US academic calendar, and that people who cannot physically access their local libraries because of closure or self-quarantine can continue to read and thrive during this time of crisis, keeping themselves and others safe.

The Social Distancing Lifetime Subscription Bundle Featuring Rosetta Stone: $199

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

The Social Distancing Bundle, with Rosetta Stone, 12min, and KeepSolid VPN

Our friends at Stack Commerce have put together a timely deal called the Social Distancing Lifetime Subscription Bundle. It features lifetime subscriptions to Rosetta Stone (24 languages), 12min (the micro book library), and KeepSolid VPN. Just the thing, or things, for being stuck at home. This bundle is $199 through our deal.