Apple users targeted in first known Mac ransomware campaign

Apple users targeted in first known Mac ransomware campaign

Jim Finkle reports for Reuters:

Hackers infected Macs through a tainted copy of a popular program known as Transmission, which is used to transfer data through the BitTorrent peer-to-peer file sharing network, Palo Alto said on a blog posted on Sunday afternoon.

The cynical part of me wonders whether this is a clever move by one or more media companies to discourage the use of BitTorrent clients.

I know, maybe I need to order a tin-foil hat. But when even Kanye is pirating stuff it’s really time to bust out some innovative new tactics.

Apple has learned nothing from Microsoft’s Surface

Apple has learned nothing from Microsoft’s Surface – The Verge

iPad sales are indeed down, but it does not follow from that fact that iPad use is down. This Time article did the yeoman’s work of aggregating some data about iPad sales. The bottom line is that in the five years since the iPad’s 2010 launch, Apple has sold more than 258 million of the tablets. That’s more iPads in the wild than people living in Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Russia, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Egypt, Germany, Iran, Turkey, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Thailand, France, United Kingdom, or Italy (thanks Wolfram|Alpha).

My dad has an Android tablet and a Windows PC. Since he got the tablet (which, interestingly from a marketing perspective, he insists on calling an iPad) he does nothing on the PC except pay bills, and that’s primarily because most of the apps you use to pay bills on mobile devices are, to put it mildly, user-hostile antichrists of design and experience.

He is a sample of one, but my dad isn’t even your typical cutting edge older gentleman. For example, he was on Aol dial-up until sometime around 2013, and refuses to use a non-clamshell mobile phone. So his taking so quickly to using a tablet implies to me that the replacement of PCs by iPads and other tablets may be closer than Tom Warren of The Verge thinks, although still far off.

I don’t see my dad using an iPad Pro though because most of his use is on the couch as a second screen. I suspect that the second screen use case coupled with the price point will dampen iPad Pro sales outside of the geek and artist demographics.

Hackers Can Silently Control Siri From 16 Feet Away

Hackers Can Silently Control Siri From 16 Feet Away

Well this is concerning:

A pair of researchers at ANSSI, a French government agency devoted to information security, have shown that they can use radio waves to silently trigger voice commands on any Android phone or iPhone that has Google Now or Siri enabled, if it also has a pair of headphones with a microphone plugged into its jack. Their clever hack uses those headphones’ cord as an antenna, exploiting its wire to convert surreptitious electromagnetic waves into electrical signals that appear to the phone’s operating system to be audio coming from the user’s microphone. Without speaking a word, a hacker could use that radio attack to tell Siri or Google Now to make calls and send texts, dial the hacker’s number to turn the phone into an eavesdropping device, send the phone’s browser to a malware site, or send spam and phishing messages via email, Facebook, or Twitter.

You can disable Siri whenever your iOS device is locked by going to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode > Allow Access When Locked and toggling the Siri switch to the “off” (as in not green) position. This doesn’t guarantee a hack like the one deascribed above won’t work on your device, but it does guarantee you’ll see Siri doing something weird and can thus be alerted to the hackery.

Google’s alleged gender-based pay disparity

Ex-Googler says she exposed company-wide pay inequality with crowdsourced spreadsheet

Kristen V. Brown wrote for Fusion about Googler Erica Joy’s recent salary spreadsheet. Google had no response to her request for comment, which is the worst kind of response to something like this. Apple released, deliberately, a dismal diversity report (read: majority male, majority white) last year, and Tim Cook took responsibility for fixing it.

If there is a pay disparity problem at Google, or even the illusion of a pay disparity problem, Google PR needs to be on top of this story. The only time silence is ever okay is when you’re prepping a statement that will include unequivocal evidence that there is no disparity.

Monster sues their way out of Apple’s licensed accessories program

Apple Revokes Monster’s Authority to Make Licensed Accessories

Daisuke Wakabayashi writes at The Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Tognotti said he told Apple that the move would significantly disrupt Monster’s business and that the two companies had worked well for years, with Monster paying Apple more than $12 million in licensing fees since 2008. Monster said roughly 900 of its more than 4,000 products were made through the MFi program.

Lawyers are paid to be good at chess. Monster’s counsel should have seen this coming and advised executives that they should pursue their lawsuit against Apple only if the potential upside would vastly outweigh the likely downside of a licensing termination.

Photo of Monster’s HQ courtesy Wikipedia user Coolcaesar

Apple under federal anti-competition scrutiny, again

Apple under federal anti-competition scrutiny, again

Micah Singleton writes for The Verge:

Sources also indicated that Apple offered to pay YouTube’s music licensing fee to Universal Music Group if the label stopped allowing its songs on YouTube. Apple is seemingly trying to clear a path before its streaming service launches, which is expected to debut at WWDC in June. If Apple convinces the labels to stop licensing freemium services from Spotify and YouTube, it could take out a significant portion of business from its two largest music competitors.

I dislike hyperbole, but the fact that Apple would even engage in behavior that is capable of misperception as anti-competitive is shocking.

Image credit: “Apple Headquarters in Cupertino” by Joe Ravi. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Tim Cook: Pro-discrimination ‘religious freedom’ laws are dangerous

Tim Cook: Pro-discrimination ‘religious freedom’ laws are dangerous

Tim Cook, in an op-ed at the Washington Post:

Our message, to people around the country and around the world, is this: Apple is open. Open to everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love. Regardless of what the law might allow in Indiana or Arkansas, we will never tolerate discrimination.

I admire the visible positions Cook is taking on more and more issues these days.

Tim Cook will lend his name to Alabama LGBTQ bill

Tim Cook will lend his name to Alabama LGBTQ bill