20GB Intel Data Leak Spread on Twitter Includes Source Code

· Andrew Orr · Link

Alert symbol of an exclamation point inside triangle

An anonymous leaker took to Twitter to leak 20GB of Intel data and says more is coming soon.

The poster encourages downloaders to look for mentions of ‘backdoors’ in some of the Intel source code, and even provides a sample clip of one such listing, but we aren’t sure of the intentions behind the listings in the code.

Hitting Command + F to look for mentions of backdoors, because such backdoors would conveniently  be labeled as such, right?

Harry Potter Movies Heading to Peacock

· Charlotte Henry · Link

NBCUniversal Peacock Logo

The entire set of Harry Potter movies is heading to Peacock and will be available in windows from later this year and into 2021, Variety reported. The films will even be accessible to those users with the free tier.

The octet of movies based on J.K. Rowling’s famed fantasy book series is set to roll off HBO Max as of Aug. 25, after WarnerMedia had carved out a three-month window for the popular franchise following its launch. In 2016, NBCU inked a deal with Warner Bros. locking up TV and digital rights to the Potter movies (including “Fantastic Beasts”) from 2018-2025 that also incorporated content for Universal theme parks. “The Harry Potter franchise is beloved by people of all ages and represents the caliber of quality entertainment customers can expect to find on Peacock,” said Frances Manfredi, Peacock’s president of content acquisition and strategy, in a statement. “We’ve built a world-class collection of iconic movies and shows, and we will continue to expand the film library with treasured titles from NBCUniversal and beyond that will surprise and delight Peacock customers time and time again.”

Apple’s Senior VP of Machine Learning Talks Strategy

· Andrew Orr · Link

AI machine learning

John Giannandrea, Apple’s Senior Vice President for Machine Learning and AI Strategy, and Bob Borchers, VP of Product Marketing, spoke with Ars Technica about Apple’s AI strategy and beliefs.

When I joined Apple, I was already an iPad user, and I loved the Pencil,” Giannandrea (who goes by “J.G.” to colleagues) told me. “So, I would track down the software teams and I would say, ‘Okay, where’s the machine learning team that’s working on handwriting?’ And I couldn’t find it.” It turned out the team he was looking for didn’t exist—a surprise, he said, given that machine learning is one of the best tools available for the feature today.

This Photographer Shot a Wedding With an iPhone 11 Pro

· Andrew Orr · Link

Jennifer Van Elk wrote a review of the iPhone 11 Pro as a professional camera, using it to shoot a wedding, and the results are stunning.

The best part by far though was that during downtime at the wedding and after the wedding during the ride home we were able to cull and edit the wedding. It was a 45 minute ride home from the wedding. In that time I was able to cull the wedding and edit all the photos in Lightroom on the iPhone 11 Pro. By the time we were home, I was already uploading the gallery.

LastPass Dark Web Monitoring, Security Dashboard Here

· Andrew Orr · Link

LastPass icon

LogMeIn announced on Wednesday the arrival of LastPass dark web monitoring, as well as a security dashboard for the password manager.

The new LastPass dark web monitoring feature proactively checks email addresses against a 3rd party database of breached credentials. If that email address has been found in the database, the user will be immediately notified by email and with a message directly in their LastPass Security Dashboard. From there, users will be prompted to update the password for that compromised account.

StarFinder Now Available Via Alexa

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Amazon’s sci-fi game StarFinder is now available over Alexa devices, reported CNet. All you have to do is set up the skill and say “Alexa, play Starfinder.”

Starfinder is an exciting example of more experimental game and story formats made possible by voice assistants like Alexa. We’ve seen examples like The Wayne Investigation — a Batman-themed choose-your-own-adventure Alexa skill from 2016 — but Starfinder brings higher production values and a bigger budget to the structure, although Amazon won’t share the exact numbers. Actors like Laura Bailey (The Last of Us, Part II) and Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle) voice characters in a cast of 13, selected and recorded by Audible Studios. The acting, sound and music are excellent across the board. Unlike a simple choose-your-own-adventure, Starfinder allows you to select from five characters to play, gives you an inventory of items and checks your stats for performing different actions (say, schmoozing an alien or disarming a bomb).

NSA Publishes Guide to Limit Location Data Exposure

· Andrew Orr · Link

The NSA recently published a guide on how to limit location data exposure on your devices. Direct link to the PDF here.

The guidelines are geared more for government officials, but the advice itself can be useful for those hoping to stop sending so much location data to tech companies, ad firms, or apps that may then expose it later.

It’s a useful guide, albeit strict.

Twitter Could be Fined up to $250 Million Over Privacy Violations

· Andrew Orr · Link

Twitter logo

Since October 2019 the FTC has been investigating Twitter over its use of personal data for targeted ads. Twitter has set aside US$150 million for the minimum fine amount but it could possibly reach up to US$250 million.

If it’s preparing for an unfavorable outcome, that’s probably because it’s not the first tech company that’s had to face the same allegations from the FTC. Facebook previously had to pay $5 billion for several privacy missteps, including the use of people’s phone numbers, provided for security purposes, for its ad business.

Going Cold Turkey on Apple, Amazon, Google,Microsoft, and Facebook

· Charlotte Henry · Link

App icons to signify big tech: Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple.

Kashmir Hill stopped using the ‘big five’ tech giants, one at a time. For the final week, she stopped using them all. She relayed her experience for Gizmodo.

I went through the digital equivalent of a juice cleanse. I hope I’m better than most dieters at staying healthy afterward, but I don’t want to be a digital vegan. I want to embrace a lifestyle of “slow Internet,” to be more discriminating about the technology I let into my life and think about the motives of the companies behind it. The tech giants are reshaping the world in good and bad ways; we can take the good and reject the bad.

[Update: August 3] The quote above and main link (below) is from the first time Ms. Hill conducted this experiment, in 2019. She has since reflected on it for The New York Times.

iOS 14 Features Could Hurt Facebook Ad Targeting

· Andrew Orr · Link

Facebook logo

iOS 14 features like “ask to track” could hurt Facebook’s ad targeting business, said Chief Financial Officer David Wehner.

With the update to its mobile devices, Apple will ask users if they want to let app developers track their activity across other apps and websites […] The change is expected to start impacting Facebook’s advertising in the third quarter but it will have a more pronounced effect in the fourth quarter, Wehner said.

I’m sure Facebook will find other ways to track people.

‘Military Grade’ is Hardly More Than a Marketing Term

· Andrew Orr · Link

Two soldiers with a computer

In early 2020 I wrote an article explaining what it means when companies use phrases like “military grade encryption” or “bank level security.” I wrote “they might seem like marketing buzzwords” but I should’ve said, “they totally are buzzwords.” This usage isn’t limited to discussions around encryption. Mel Magazine says it refers to MIL-STD-810 and it’s not the tough, high quality standard we think it is.

Commercially, Hollings adds, “there’s no governing body that says, ‘Okay, you met the requirements for MIL-STD-A-10.’ So effectively anyone can say their product is military standard.” This obviously isn’t great for civilian consumers, while ex-military like Hollings just scoff at the designation […]

‘Greyhound’ Success Prompts Apple TV+ Rethink

· Charlotte Henry · Link


It seems that the success of Tom Hanks moving Greyhound has prompted a shift in thinking at Apple TV+. While big-name series were clearly always fundamental, sources told Fast Company that blockbusters are going are to be a much bigger focus going forward.

One source says the streamer is discussing plans to release a dozen new movies a year on Apple TV Plus, roughly one a month. Two to four of those would be blockbuster-type titles such as Greyhound and Emancipation, the runaway-slave thriller starring Will Smith and directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) that Apple recently acquired for $120 million in a bidding war with Warner Bros., Universal, and other studios. Another source had fewer specifics but confirmed that Apple is telling Hollywood that it’s now in the market for more tentpole-like feature films. (Apple would not comment for this story.) Apple’s greater focus on big films marks a noticeable amplification on its movie front.

Sorry, Catnip Won’t Protect You Against the Meow Attack

· Andrew Orr · Link

White cat looking at laptop screen

Over 1,000 insecure databases have been completely erased, and the attackers leave no trace except the word “meow.”

Since then, Meow and a similar attack have destroyed more than 1,000 other databases. At the time this post went live, the Shodan computer search site showed that 987 ElasticSearch and 70 MongoDB instances had been nuked by Meow. A separate, less-malicious attack tagged an additional 616 ElasticSearch, MongoDB, and Cassandra files with the string “university_cybersec_experiment.” The attackers in this case seem to be demonstrating to the database maintainers that the files are vulnerable to being viewed or deleted.

Better erased than breached, right?

‘The Darwin Affair’ Latest Big Library Read

· Andrew Orr · Link

The Darwin affair book cover

“The Darwin Affair” is the next book in Libby’s digital book club called Big Library Read.

London, June 1860: When an assassination attempt is made on Queen Victoria, and a petty thief is gruesomely murdered moments later—and only a block away—Chief Detective Inspector Charles Field quickly surmises that these crimes are connected to an even more sinister plot. Was Victoria really the assassin’s target? Are those closest to the Crown hiding something? And who is the shadowy figure witnesses describe as having lifeless, coal-black eyes?

The Reasons Why Apple Should Buy TikTok

· Charlotte Henry · Link

TikTok logo

TikTok has been the focus of much political attention recently due its base in China and allegations (which it denies,) of data sharing with the Chinese state. The video-sharing app has said it will move its HQ, but it could even be bought by a U.S. firm. Music Business Worldwide offered a number of reasons why that company could, and maybe should, be Apple.

TikTok’s global addictive appeal is no accident. The app’s advanced artificial intelligence capabilities and powerful recommendation algorithms are key factors behind the 68 billion hours spent by its users in the app last year. Case in point: respected investor and tech industry commentator Connie Chan recently wrote a piece in which she called TikTok “the first mainstream consumer app where artificial intelligence is the product”… In an increasingly competitive music streaming market, with Apple Music’s primary rival Spotify known for excelling in content recommendation, TikTok’s AI baked into the the Apple Music ecosystem could be Spotify’s kryptonite.

DNA Company ‘GEDmatch’ Hacked in Data Breach

· Andrew Orr · Link

Image containing the words “data breach”

First, over a million DNA profiles from GEDmatch were leaked. Then, email addresses from the breach were used in a phishing attack against users of genealogy website MyHeritage.

As a result of this breach, all user permissions were reset, making all profiles visible to all users. This was the case for approximately 3 hours. During this time, users who did not opt in for law enforcement matching were available for law enforcement matching and, conversely, all law enforcement profiles were made visible to GEDmatch users.

If GEDmatch sounds familiar, it was the DNA database used to identify the Golden State Killer.

iPhone 'Periscope' Lens Supply Chain on Target for 2022 Launch

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Ming-Chi Kuo

Apple’s so-called “periscope” lens for iPhone is on track for 2022, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. It is expected to bring onboard new suppliers to fulfill orders for both lens and voice coil motor parts, reported AppleInsider.

Two new suppliers are anticipated to enter Apple’s supply chain as the tech giant works to build out iPhone’s camera capabilities, Kuo said in a note to investors on Wednesday. Korean lens supplier Semco and Chinese lens supplier Sunny Optical are predicted to furnish parts in the second half of 2020 and in 2021, respectively. Apple is contracting with the new companies to further diversify lens component supply for iPhone, iPad and Mac, the note reads. Lower lens costs and new technology development are also cited as benefits. Semco, for example, is forecast to ship a periscope telephoto lens for iPhone in 2022, with the firm winning an estimated half of all orders. Largan+Alps/Minebea are also expected to provide parts for the new mechanism.

Companies Like Doordash Share Your Purchases With Facebook

· Andrew Orr · Link

Facebook logo

Thomas Smith dug into his Facebook settings and downloaded a copy of his data. In a section introduced this year called Off Facebook Activity, he found that companies like Doordash send data about your purchases to Facebook.

If you’ve bought an item on myriad e-commerce websites, made a donation to a political campaign, used any of several hundred participating apps, or, in my case, bought a wildly expensive bubble tea, there’s a good chance Facebook knows about it. What are they doing with this knowledge? Again, it’s pretty clear. It’s there so it can “show you more relevant ads,” “help you discover new businesses and brands,” and the like.

He also sounds incredibly guilty for buying bubble tea through Doordash.

TestFlight Beta for NextDNS iOS 14 is Here

· Andrew Orr · Link

nextdns logo

NextDNS for iOS 14 is now available as a TestFlight beta. It uses the encrypted DNS feature introduced with iOS 14.

The first beta of NextDNS for iOS 14 is now available at:https://testflight.apple.com/join/AFDFPLP3

This version uses the new Encrypted DNS feature of iOS 14, removing the need for the fake-VPN trick used in iOS 13 and below.

The new iOS 14 feature means three things. First, DNS apps will no longer need to set up a fake VPN profile for you to use the service. Second, these DNS settings will work over cellular, whereas in the past it would only work over Wi-Fi unless you used said fake VPN profile. Third, this means that if you have a real VPN app, you can set it to use the OpenVPN protocol. Because of the fake VPN profile created by DNS apps, you had to use the IKEv2 VPN protocol if you wanted to use the VPN and DNS apps at the same time.

Instagram Introduces New Way to Fundraise for Personal Causes

· Charlotte Henry · Link

New Instagram fundraising tool

Instagram is rolling out a new way to fundraise. Parent company Facebook made the announcement in a blog posted, published on Tuesday. The tool will be made available to users in the U.S., UK, and Ireland over the coming months.

We’re making it easier to create fundraisers directly on Instagram that benefit such personal causes. To create a Personal Fundraiser tap Edit Profile, Add Fundraiser and then Raise Money. Choose a photo, select a fundraiser category and add details to help tell your story and encourage others to donate. Then you’ll enter your information for Stripe, our payment processor for donations. And when you’re finished, you’ll tap Send to submit your fundraiser for review. All fundraisers go through a review process to make sure they are for eligible causes. Once approved, you can start raising money. Each fundraiser lasts 30 days, but can be extended as many times as you want. You must be at least 18 years old to create a fundraiser.