News Roundup: Apple Source code leaked because one employee’s friends asked for it

News Roundup: Apple Source code leaked because one employee’s friends asked for it

A roundup of the week’s technology news including Java EE’s rename, Apple Watch sales, and robotic Winter Olympics.

 

Apple source spillage; ask and ye shall receive

The recent leak of source code for Apple’s iBoot code for iOS 9 was all down to a ‘low level’ worker egged on by friends.

According to Motherboard, a “low-level Apple employee with friends in the jailbreaking community” took the code in 2016 while working at the company’s Cupertino headquarters. The report says this worker’s friends encouraged him to leak the code, and that he apparently took not only the iBoot code but “all sorts of Apple internal tools and whatnot,” that have not as yet been released.

The code was never meant to leave the original circle of friends it was shared with. 

“I personally never wanted that code to see the light of day,” said one of the leaker’s anonymous friends. “Not out of greed but because of fear of the legal firestorm that would ensue.”

 

Amazon sets its sights on owning logistics and healthcare

Is Amazon about to launch its own delivery service to compete with UPS and FedEx? According to the WSJ, the tech conglomerate is to launch its end-to-end “Shipping with Amazon” program in LA in the ‘coming weeks’. The service will see Amazon handle pick up and shipping on behalf of its sellers. Incumbents such as UPS and FedEx saw their share price drop on the news.

And just weeks after announcing its plans to shakeup healthcare in the US, Jeff Bezos & co. are looking to become a major provider of medical supplies to the health-care industry. Previous reports have suggested Amazon is also looking at entering the pharmacy market.

 

Security

Security headlines of the week:

  • Researchers have found new ways to exploit the Meltdown and Spectre CPU vulnerabilities, dubbed MeltdownPrime and SpectrePrime.
  • The Equifax breach leaked more information on customers than previously thought.
  • The NSA was in contact with Russian hackers to see what stolen NSA information they had.
  • The directors of the CIA, FBI, and NSA all say don’t use Huawei or ZTE phones because they might spy on you.
  • There’s a dating site that matches people on their choice of password.

 

M&A

Google has acquired LogMeIn’s Xively business, Oracle has snapped up Zenedge, VMWare has bought CloudCoreo, Citrix has got its hands on Cedexis, OpenText has purchased Hightail (previously known as YouSendIt), Fitbit has snaffled Twine Health, Equinix as taken over the Infomart Dallas, Carbonite has paid out for Dell’s Mozy unit, BitPesa has splashed out for TransferZero, and General Dynamics has coughed up for CSRA.

Investors Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason aren’t happy about the Xerox and Fuji deal, saying it “dramatically undervalues Xerox and disproportionately favors Fuji.”

Nokia is reviewing its Digital Health business – aka the bulk of its 2016 Withings acquisition – which “may or may not result in any transaction or other changes.”

Snapchat nearly acqi-hired the team behind anonymous sharing app Secret. Secret shut down in 2015.

 

Google spreads its Assistant

Cortana and Siri have native embedded support on their respective desk/laptop Operating Systems, while HP, Lenovo, Asus, and Acer all plan to integrate Alexa into their devices this year.

So far, however, a built-in Google Assistant has been limited to the Pixelbook, but this may soon change. XDA has found code in the latest Chrome OS build that would allow any Chromebook manufacturers to enable Google Assistant. This feature is hidden and turned off by default, and there’s been no announcement from the search giant.

On the subject of virtual assistants, this parody video of what Siri would have been like in the 1980s is pretty funny.

 

Who watches the watchmakers

The Apple Watch is now shipping more units than the entire Swiss watch industry. According to Statista, Apple’s smartwatch shifted 8 million units compared to the traditional time-keeper industry’s 6.8 million during Q4 of last year. Considering the multiple thousands of dollars some of those nice mechanical pieces go for, the Swiss industry is probably still making more money, and will definitely still work after the next WatchOS update.

Infographic: Apple Shipped More Watches Than Switzerland in Q4 2017 | Statista

 

Rename Java to Boaty McBoatface

Though Oracle has announced it plans to give control of Java Enterprise Edition over to the Open Source community, the deal comes with strings attached. The big red giant has said Java EE’s new stewards the Eclipse Foundation must rename the product.

Although there was hope Oracle would allow the project to retain the Java name, the company was pretty definitive in its ‘no’.

“The Java EE and javax.* names leverage the Java trademark, and indicate that the source of these technologies is Oracle and community processes managed by Oracle,” said Will Lyons, senior director of product management for WebLogic. “As a critical identifier of the source of products to our users, we must continue to reserve use of such names using the Java trademark to serving that fundamental source identifying function.”

In a post announcing a vote for the name change, Eclipse Foundation director of open source projects Wayne Beaton was clear that although they wanted input from the community for the new monicker, “We’re not going to choose Boaty McBoatface or the like.”

The mundane alternatives you can vote for are ‘Jakarta EE’ or ‘Enterprise Profile’.

 

In other important Open Source news, designs for Microsoft Azure mascot Brady the ninja sloth are available on GitHub.

https://open.microsoft.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Brady-blog-1024x325.png

 

Cryptocrazy

Is the cryptocurrency mining craze getting out of hand? One publication has announced if you use an ad-blocker on its site they will use your device to mine crypto; a team of scientists were caught mining crypto at a nuclear warhead facility; and crypto-mining malware was recently found on a water utility industrial network. The demand for mining hardware is so high its causing a shortage of new hardware for scientists at SETI. If we miss communications from aliens, it’s basically Bitcoin’s fault.

All this mining takes up a lot of energy. A local energy firm in Iceland is claiming electricity use at Bitcoin mining data centres is likely to soon exceed that of all Iceland's homes. Smari McCarthy of Iceland's Pirate Party has suggested the country should be taxing the profits of Bitcoin mines. Is it about time crypto went green for its energy requirements?

 

Winter Olympics. For Robots

So the robot dogs from Boston Dynamics can now open doors for each other. Big whoop. But can they ski?

Down the road from this year’s Winer Olympics, the “Edge of Robot: Ski Robot Challenge,” saw eight robotics teams test robots designed to ski down a slope. Much like the DARPA walking challenges of old, the results were excellent to watch. It’s the padded jackets and unnecessary ski poles which make it.

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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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