Unconcerned China hacks the iCloud

Unconcerned China hacks the iCloud

Apple was temporarily enthused that their iPhone 6 was going on sale in China since this has been a reasonable marketplace for them in the past. Then it was reported that China state-supported hackers were actively implementing a so-called man-in-the-middle attack against Apple's iCloud which would give them access to people in China trying to connect to the iCloud.com server. This attack replaces the certificate used by the customer and allows monitoring of user names, passwords and activity.

The 360 Secure Browser by Chinese company Qihoo will not report this but those using Firefox and Chrome will be warned that something is not right about the connection. Some have suggested this is a way of limiting access to news about the student protests in Hong Kong since there have also been blocks on Flickr and the OneDrive cloud since the rallies started. This latest attack was timed to coincide with the iPhone 6 release.

In other Apple news, Macs are now outselling their tablets in revenue terms and phone sales are also doing well. Overall profit figures are good. The interesting news here is that Macs, or essentially a PC, outsold iPads and also outperformed global PC sales figures. So the idea that desktop computers are dead or dying may indeed be a little premature.

Are you one of those nasty internet trolls? If so and you live in the UK then your free typing time could be limited as new legislation there is poised to introduce harsher penalties for those posting malicious comments online. Up to two years in jail is the new proposal and that would be, of course, without computer access. There is also legislation to come down just as hard on revenge postings of photos of ex-lovers and partners.

Samsung has a new Chromebook out, this one running on an Intel CPU. This is not particularly newsworthy except many in more recent times have been ARM based and Samsung even makes their own ARM CPUs in the Exynos line. The new model, XE500C12-K01US, however runs on a dual-core Intel Celeron N2840 clocked at 2.16GHz, burstable up to 2.58GHz. This is not as powerful as earlier models but it is less expensive and is not an ARM processor.

There is one more entrant into the marketplace that wants a share of your wrist. Microsoft have announced they are throwing their hat into the ever-widening ring and will have a device out in the coming weeks putting it out ahead of Apple but well behind dozens of others. They claim the device has a two-day battery life which is just sad compared to a regular wrist watch but good compared to the others in the marketplace. Let's hope they do a little better than the doomed wrist-based units, Microsoft Spot, that was released in 2003. If you haven't heard of them, don't be surprised as the whole plan was downplayed after it did not go well.

There is an Easter Egg in the latest version of Android 5.0, or Lollipop. It is a version of the Flappy Bird game. I'll leave it for you to figure out how to activate it, or you can just Google it.

If your solid state drive (SSD) is too small then Kingston has a new model for you: a budget level 960GB model V310. It has a read/write speed of around 500/450MBs. The reliability figures are also good at 2728TB TWB (total bytes written). The price tag seems a little steep for a "budget" model, however, and the Samsung and Crucial equivalents are far less expensive.

Is your router or firewall misconfigured? According to Jon Hart, a senior security researcher at Rapid7, many devices in homes and smaller offices are not configured correctly allowing hackers to penetrate your network because of bad NAT settings. Poor configuration allows public internet requests. If you know how to, check that your device has all NAT-PMP traffic as "prohibited on untrusted network interfaces". You can find out more here at community.rapid7.com.

A new version of Windows 10 Technical Preview build 9860 is out, with an estimated 7,000 changes. One big addition is a notification box that has been borrowed from the Windows Phone. It is a bit rough around the design edges, but will be improved during further releases. The overall UI has changed again, mostly because Microsoft has not figured out what the final look and feel should be.

Finally for this week, Galaxy phones and tablets from Samsung have become the first consumer-based products to be accepted by the US National Security Agency (NSA) for classified document storage. The secret is Knox, the mobile security app from Samsung that is secure enough for the NSA, so that means it is secure enough for any US government agency. This should translate into sales for Samsung and annoy Apple.

James Hein is an IT professional of over 30 years’ standing. You can contact him at jclhein@gmail.com

James Hein

IT professional

An IT professional of over 30 years’ standing. He has a column in Bangkok Post tech pages and has been writing without skipping a beat every week all these years.

Email : jclhein@gmail.com

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