News roundup: Does the blame lie with Equifax or Apache?
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News roundup: Does the blame lie with Equifax or Apache?

A roundup of the week’s technology news including some iPhone stuff, Kaspersky woes, and Jack Ma dancing.

Apache vs. Equifax

Was Apache at fault for the recent Equifax hack? Equifax was quick to place the blame on a vulnerability within Apache Struts – a framework for developing Java EE web applications. The Apache Foundation quickly rebutted this claim.

Turns out that it was a Struts vulnerability that allowed hackers in, but one that was already disclosed and saw a patch issued in March. So the blame still lies at Equifax’s door for failure to plug a gaping hole months ago.

Also, the password on Equifax’s Argentina employee portal was ‘Admin’.

In related news, the Linux Foundation this week launched the Community Health Analytics Open Source Software project (CHAOSS) project, which is designed to help create the analytics and metrics to help define community health.

 

iPhone

Some company named after a fruit announced a new phone this week. If you haven’t already read about it, the iPhone 8 is just the same as the 7, while the X (call it the “ten”) comes with wireless charging, facial recognition, and a hefty price tag.

iOS 11 with ARKit will ship soon, as demonstrated by facial-tracking emojis, the new Watch comes with standalone LTE capabilities.

via GIPHY

In my eyes it’s been a long time since Apple released anything truly world-rocking, and even Apple die-hard Robert Scoble called this year’s event a “big meh”. 

Noteworthy aspects to this year’s event:

  • Apple said its on-stage facial recognition fail was meant to happen
  • Some are worried what en mass facial recognition will mean for privacy
  • Apple’s backing of the Qi wireless charging technology has basically settled the VHS vs. Betamax of the wireless charging wars
  • These Apple events get some fans very hot under the collar

One interesting bit of Apple news that went under the radar this week is that despite now costing $1,000 a phone, the company only expects these devices to last a year. Motherboard reports that in a lawsuit directed at the company over phones ceasing to function due to ‘touch disease’, Apple’s lawyers have said that users should have no expectation devices will last longer than the 12-month warranty they ship with.

“To hold Apple's Limited Warranty substantively unconscionable simply because Plaintiffs expect their iPhones to last the length of their cellular service contracts 'would place a burden on [Apple] for which it did not contract,'” said Arturo González, the lawyer representing Apple.

In English: “Yeah, you’re stuck with a 2-year contract, but it shouldn’t be Apple’s problem if your phone dies halfway through even if they’ve designed it that way.”

 

Kaspersky troubles in the US

Kaspersky’s links to the Russian government continue to cause trouble for the company in the US.

Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire Democratic senator, wrote a scathing Op-Ed in the NYT, calling Kaspersky’s presence within US government networks a “alarming national security vulnerability”. The US government has now banned federal civilian agencies from using Kaspersky technology in its networks. And on the consumer side, Best Buy has pulled Kaspersky antivirus from its shelves for similar reasons, saying the two companies have “suspended their relationship at this time” due to “too many unanswered questions”.

In his own rebuttal for Forbes, Eugene Kaspersky asked; “Are we now banning companies based on its origin? Is it really the path we go on now?”

“Misinformation and inaccurate perceptions are driving forward a dangerous agenda that may impact global cybersecurity, as origin may start dictating what technology is used instead of being able to choose the best solutions and experts available.”

Kaspersky the man also told the BBC the allegations aren’t true – and has previously even said he’d hand over the company’s source code to US intelligence – and has also agreed to appear in front of Congress to testify about the independence of his company.


Legal or no

The UK this week published the Data Protection Bill which will replace 1998’s Data Protection Act and bring over the GDPR legislation into UK law post-Brexit. Meanwhile the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) has said that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) should decide whether the UK’s bulk collection of communications data is legal.

The FTC isn’t a fan of the power that some of the technology companies are accruing. “We are spiralling towards a dystopian future where a few giant technology companies will ultimately gain sustained control over our economic lives,” Maureen Ohlhausen, head of the FTC, said this week. Sounds ominous with regards to any future expansion certain tech giants may have.

 

M&A

Equinix has acquired Itconic and its CloudMas subsidiary, Rackspace has snapped up Datapipe, Flexera now owns BDNA, Silent Circle has bought Kesala, and Bet365 (yes the betting firm) has bought Basho’s Riak NoSQL technology and plans to Open Source it.

Uber rival Taxify lasted all of three days in London before getting shut down. Intel has countered reports about it discontinuing its WiGig wireless line and said it will “remain committed to WiGig”. The White House has vetoed the acquisition of Lattice Semiconductor by a Chinese investment fund.

 

BlueBorne

Several cyber-security people I’ve talked to have warned that we’re yet to see a truly massive mobile attack. Something on the scale and severity of WannaCry or HeartBleed. Have we finally found a vulnerability fitting that description in BlueBorne? The vulnerability, discovered by Armis, is a Bluetooth vulnerability found in pretty much every Bluetooth-enabled device. Updates patching the vulnerability have been issued, but it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see this exploit being used for an attack in the near future.

In other security news, did you know the CIA has 137 projects directly related to Artificial Intelligence currently under way?

 

Tesla

Elon Musk would like you to focus on him announcing that the Tesla Semi truck will be revealed next month. Instead you should probably focus on the fact the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has ruled Tesla’s Autopilot software was partly to blame in the fatal crash last year. The Board cited the drivers’s “overreliance” and “lack of understanding” around Autopilot’s limitations, as well as the system’s driver monitoring.

Facebook isn’t making a car. “I come with very good news. We’re the only company in Silicon Valley that’s not building a car,” quipped Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg this week at the Frankfurt motor show, probably much to the relief of every automaker present. That we live in a world where this wouldn’t be an outlandish possibility is almost laughable in itself. I mean, I’m hoping this was a joke. Unless someone has actually heard rumours this might be true?

 

Poor PHP

How does a country’s wealth affect its coding habits? It’s impossible to say, but there is some correlation. According to a recent post from Stack Overflow, Android and PHP is more likely to be found in low-income countries such as Nepal, Pakistan, and Indonesia, while Python and R are more likely to be being used in high-come countries such as the US, Switzerland, and the UK.

 

Bitcoin

Another week, but no new record Bitcoin highs. Instead the cryptocurrency took a massive nosedive, sinking as low as $3,000 [although ‘low’ is a relative term at it’s still three times higher than compared to the start of the year]. The drop could be from a combination of JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon calling the cryptocurrency a “fraud” and China cracking down on exchanges hosted within the country. Or maybe it was the news that Namibian Central Bank says Bitcoin-based purchases are illegal. Who knows.

 

Monkey Business

The case of whether a monkey can own copyright has been settled, for now. Peta’s case that Naruto the macaque monkey owns the picture he took of himself using photographer David Slater’s camera was settled this week. Slater has agreed to donate 25% of any future proceeds from the picture to organisations dedicated to the protection of Naruto’s natural habitat. Peta called the result “groundbreaking” and hinted at further court battles in the name of animal rights.

 

Pagers: Still a thing apparently

I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone use a pager in real life. But apparently there are still around a million of them in use across the world, and they are still being manufactured. According to a new report, the UK’s NHS uses around 10% of the world’s pagers at a cost of £6.6 million ($9 million).

“There are nearly as many pagers in circulation as there are hospital beds,” according to the report. “There is a significant cost being paid in loss of efficiency and increased administrative support for the out-of-date communication channel.”

 

Michael Jackson Ma

This might be the most perfect video of a CEO’s terrible dancing ever.

Harks back to a simpler time, doesn’t it?

 

SEXY CYBORG SLASHER

There’s no shortage of AI fear-mongering headlines, but props to Dr. Nick Patterson, who managed to spawn headlines including “Hackers could order sex robots to KILL their owners”, “Your future sex robot could be hacked and programmed to murder you”, and “SEX ROBOT ARMIES”. The Australian researcher after telling the Daily Star that ‘hacking into a sex robot could even be easier than gaining access to someone’s laptop or phone.’

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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect. Writes about all manner of tech from driverless cars, AI, and Green IT to Cloudy stuff, security, and IoT. Dislikes autoplay ads/videos and garbage written about 'milliennials'.  

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