Archive for January 10, 2018

Urban Armor Gear Signs World Class Athletes To Team Roster

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 10, 2018 by itnerd

Urban Armor Gear announced their latest partnerships with six new brand ambassadors. The new team will help promote UAG’s mission of reliable tech protection while sharing the athletes adventures. The crew includes Gold Medalist Snowboarder Jamie Anderson, World Surf League Championship Tour competitor Tatiana Weston-Webb, Freestyle Motocross legend Nate Adams, IndyCar driver J.R. Hilderbrand, Supercross/Motocross Racer Justin Bogle, and Professional Wakeboarder Melissa Marquardt.

Though they hail from different sports, one thing remains the same. Their equipment needs to be durable and tough. UAG is bringing the same standard of dependable equipment to their athletes personal lives through ultimate tech protection.

Whether it be carving down the snowy slopes of Colorado or racing on the dusty motocross tracks in Nevada, UAG is guaranteed to provide protection from the rigors of an active lifestyle.

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#Fail: Another Apple Password Bug In High Sierra…. This Time It’s The App Store That’s Affected

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 10, 2018 by itnerd

You have to wonder if Apple even QA’s their products anymore. I say that because after this rather spectacularly bad password bug comes another one. From MacRumors:

A bug report submitted on Open Radar this week reveals a security vulnerability in the current version of macOS High Sierra that allows the App Store menu in System Preferences to be unlocked with any password. 

The ramifications of this bug are clear:

The security vulnerability means that anyone with administrator-level access to your Mac could unlock the App Store preferences and enable or disable settings to automatically install macOS updates, app updates, system data files, and, ironically, even security updates that would fix a bug like this one. 

Now if you read the MacRumors article, you’ll see the steps to reproduce this on 10.13.2 which is the latest version of High Sierra. You’ll also note that this doesn’t work on 10.13.3 which is the upcoming version of High Serra that is currently in beta. That implies that this is already fixed.

But what is clear is that clearly Apple has once again shown that it’s QA processes suck. Bugs like these should be caught really early on in the testing process and should never make it out the door to customers. The fact that this is the second time that this has happened in a short amount of time says to me that Apple has a real problem on their hands and Apple users may want to brace for more of these type of things in the future as Apple can’t seem to get its act together.

AT&T Backs Out Of Huawei Deal Over Concerns Of “Chinese Espionage”

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 10, 2018 by itnerd

Imagine you’re Chinese phone maker Huawei for a second. You fly into Vegas for CES, and you’re all set to announce that you’re partnering with AT&T to sell phones in the US. But at the very last minute you find out that the deal is off because  AT&T pulled out of the deal at the last minute. And according to Reuters politicians nixed the deal citing security concerns:

AT&T was pressured to drop the deal after members of the U.S. Senate and House intelligence committees sent a letter on Dec. 20 to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) citing concerns about Huawei’s plans to launch consumer products through a major U.S. telecom carrier.

The letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, which was signed by 18 lawmakers, noted concerns about Chinese companies in the U.S. telecommunications industry.

The letter notes the committee’s concerns “about Chinese espionage in general, and Huawei’s role in that espionage in particular.” A copy of the letter was seen by Reuters.

This isn’t the first time that Huawei has been involved in something like this as accusations of spying for China have been in the air for years. Take this example from 2013. But because of these latest accusations, Huawei has gone to selling their phones “only through open channels” meaning not through US carriers. They also rebuff the security concerns:

Huawei’s Washington-based spokesman William Plummer said on Tuesday that “privacy and security are always our first priority.”

“We are compliant with the world’s most stringent privacy protection frameworks and requirements and have gained the trust of over 150 million customers in the past year alone,” Plummer said in an email.

Huawei faces an uphill battle. Besides the PR related issues, not a lot of Americans buy phones through “open channels”. Instead they buy them through carriers. Thus not having a carrier deal really limits their growth in the US. Until they can completely address these spying accusations, they’re likely not to be a challenger in the US market.

Feds Want Answers When It Comes To Intel’s CEO Stock Dump Prior To Spectre & Meltdown Disclosure

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 10, 2018 by itnerd

If you’re Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, the optics of this just don’t look good. Apparently he sold stock right before the company disclosed the Meltdown and Spectre security flaws. The sale earned Krzanich $20 million US. Now some Senators want some answers:

News reports that more than $20 million in share sales by Krzanich were scheduled in October of last year before the company made public that its processors were vulnerable to hackers are “troubling,” Senators Jack Reed and John Kennedy wrote in Tuesday letters to the Securities Exchange Commission and the Justice Department. Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, and Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican, are members of the Senate Banking Committee.

“These reports are troubling not only because of the risk to nearly all phones and computers, but also because these reports raise concerns of potential insider trading,” the senators wrote. “If you uncover such violations through your examinations, we expect you to enforce our laws to the fullest extent possible.”

Now Intel says that the stock sale was pre-arranged. But like I said, the optics suck. And in an election year, that’s not good for the chipmaker and its CEO. I’m pretty sure that this story is going to have legs and you’ll be reading a lot about it in the weeks and months ahead.

US Government Wants Answers From Apple When It Comes To “Batterygate”

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 10, 2018 by itnerd

It seems that Apple’s problems in terms of the “Batterygate” scandal just got worse. Now we have members of the US government asking Apple some tough questions:

Chair of the Senate commerce committee, Senator John Thune, has written to Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, questioning the company’s handling of iPhone slowdown and consumers.

“Apple’s proposed solutions have prompted additional criticism from some customers, particularly its decision not to provide free replacement batteries,” Thune said, reported the Wall Street Journal, requesting answers by 23 January.

And:

Thune questioned how Apple tracked and handled consumer complaints regarding slow iPhone performance, and whether Apple would offer rebates to customers who bought full-price battery replacements following the company’s discounting of the service from $79 to $29 (£25 in the UK).

Here’s the danger for Apple. This could be the first step that ends up with Apple being the subject of the public flogging known as a Congressional Hearing. And that usually doesn’t end well for those who show up for those as politicians always want to make sure that they look tough so that the folks back home know that they’re doing their job. It also tends to be a PR disaster for those who show up. If I were Apple, I’d be circling the wagons right now.