Archive for November 23, 2021

BREAKING: Apple Sues The NSO Group

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 23, 2021 by itnerd

From the “I didn’t see that coming” department comes this press release that just got posted on Apple’s website where they announce that they are suing The NSO Group. You might know them as the purveyors of the Pegasus spyware that nation states have been using to spy on opponents, journalists, dissidents among other targets. Here’s why Apple is doing this:

Apple today filed a lawsuit against NSO Group and its parent company to hold it accountable for the surveillance and targeting of Apple users. The complaint provides new information on how NSO Group infected victims’ devices with its Pegasus spyware. To prevent further abuse and harm to its users, Apple is also seeking a permanent injunction to ban NSO Group from using any Apple software, services, or devices.

NSO Group creates sophisticated, state-sponsored surveillance technology that allows its highly targeted spyware to surveil its victims. These attacks are only aimed at a very small number of users, and they impact people across multiple platforms, including iOS and Android. Researchers and journalists have publicly documented a history of this spyware being abused to target journalists, activists, dissidents, academics, and government officials.

And on top of that, Apple is going to help the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab to fight The NSO Group:

Apple will also support the accomplished researchers at the Citizen Lab with pro-bono technical, threat intelligence, and engineering assistance to aid their independent research mission, and where appropriate, will offer the same assistance to other organizations doing critical work in this space.

While I applaud Apple in taking on The NSO Group in such a forceful manner, one wonders if this will have any effect. After all, The NSO Group has a business model that is purely around supplying spyware to states to do whatever they want with. A lawsuit like this may not change that. Which is why I hope that governments around the world take action against The NSO Group to make this business model unacceptable. But until that happens, I applaud Apple.

$100-million TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good celebrates one year of supporting new, responsible businesses 

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 23, 2021 by itnerd

Today, the TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good celebrates its one-year anniversary by announcing three new investments in purpose-driven companies across North America: GoodmylkNectar, and Gotcare. Within just 12 months, the $100-million fund has amplified TELUS’ commitment to social capitalism and invested in 10 exciting companies that are making a difference in communities.

As part of the anniversary celebration, the Pollinator Fund is also launching its inaugural impact report highlighting achievements and funding commitments over the last year.

The three new investments launched today include the following:

  • Goodmylk, based in California, is an alternative milk company that uses natural, high quality ingredients to create plant-based milk powders and concentrates designed to help sustain a healthy body and lifestyle.
  • Nectar, based in Montreal, is working to digitize the beekeeping industry with a solution that improves pollinator health and supports responsible agriculture while positively impacting the environment. 
  • Gotcare, based in Toronto, has developed a software solution to efficiently match homecare workers with patients in need, while simultaneously creating higher paying jobs for personal support workers. 

The TELUS Pollinator Fund has already invested in new start-up businesses including EliteGamingLIVE (EGL), Fresh City Farms, Pocket Naloxone, Raven Indigenous Capital Partners, Windmill Microlending, Tidal Vision, and Rhiza Capital.

With driving impact at its core, the Pollinator Fund invests in companies with the greatest potential to scale and generate financial returns, while also providing the support needed for mission-driven teams to create meaningful benefits for those they serve. The Pollinator Fund invests in early stage companies and provides strategic value such as connections and networking that leverage the strength of TELUS in its entirety – much more than just writing a cheque. The Pollinator Fund also supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals by investing in companies and founders that are advancing products and solutions to transform healthcare, caring for our planet, supporting responsible agriculture, and enabling inclusive communities.

Highlights over the last year include:

  • Nearly $20 million invested in new, responsible, and sustainable businesses
  • 60 per cent of investee businesses are based in Canada
  • Advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion: 
    • 50 per cent of portfolio companies are led by Indigenous and racialized people
    • 40 per cent of portfolio companies are led by women

The Pollinator Fund has already been recognized for excellence in social responsibility – not only through the investments across North America, but also by being awarded with theClean50 Awards Top Project award, and being named a finalist for the Reuters Business Awards for Social Impact. With a large base of portfolio companies already, and more to come, the future of social innovation through the Pollinator Fund for Good is promising. 

To learn more about the highlights of the fund and commitments made to date, read theTELUS Pollinator Fund for Good Impact report.

ServiceNow acquires DotWalk

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 23, 2021 by itnerd

ServiceNow today announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Solana Beach, CA-based DotWalk to help customers keep pace with technology maintenance by automating software application testing and achieving quick, seamless upgrades.

DotWalk’s system uses AI-powered regression testing to map business processes and create automated tests, enabling customers to validate application changes without having to rely on costly and scarce developer resources to write their own tests.

Running natively on ServiceNow’s automated test framework, DotWalk’s ability to take the upfront costs out of transitioning from manual to automated application testing will ultimately help ServiceNow customers absorb innovation and drive business value. 

ServiceNow completed the acquisition of DotWalk last week.

Guest Post: Package Delivery Fraud & Fake Charities Lead in Holiday Scams: Lookout Keeps You Safe During the Season

Posted in Commentary on November 23, 2021 by itnerd

By Hank Schless, Senior Manager of Security Solutions at Lookout

Every year thousands of people become victims of holiday scams. The Better Business Bureau recently released the top scams to be on guard against in the 2021 holiday season, including: 

>> Illegitimate Websites: cyber criminals set up fraudulent websites designed to collect personal information and direct payments.
>> Package Delivery Scams: scammers will often send text messages that look like they’re from a legitimate mail or package courier, like Fedex, and include a fake tracking link.
>> Fake Charities: hackers will often rush people into making a donation at year end, or trick them by thanking them for a donation they never paid for and then asking for payment. 

‘Tis the season for Lookout, the leader in delivering integrated Security, Privacy, and Identity Theft Protection solutions, to provide the steps that consumers can take to help stay safe while shopping online ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

  • Exercise caution when sharing personal information: Be especially wary of communication (emails, texts, and phone calls) asking you to update your password or account information. Look up the company’s phone number on your own and call the company directly.
  • Avoid paying for items with prepaid gift cards. In these scams, a merchant may ask you to send them a gift card number and PIN. Instead of using that gift card for your payment, the scammer will steal the funds, and you’ll never receive your item. Instead, use a credit card when shopping online and check your statement regularly. If you see a suspicious transaction, contact your credit card company to dispute the charge.
  • Stop before you click: if you are not certain that a message is from a legitimate source, avoid clicking on links or attachments in emails, on websites, or on social media.
  • Run advanced security protection on your mobile devices – like Lookout’s security, privacy & identity application – that automatically monitors and identifies scam URLs in email, text messages, and on the web and blocks you from threats that can do harm.

Lookout helps protect your digital information at every level – from the device you hold, to the apps and online services you use and the networks you connect to. Lookout also continuously monitors the internet to ensure what matters to you the most – such as social security and credit card numbers – aren’t exposed. And if anything happens, Lookout’s team of experts and a $1 million identity theft insurance policy are here to back you up.

All consumers can scan their email for FREE on Lookout’s website to learn about breaches that may have occurred & take action to secure their data.

Review: Spigen Rugged Armor AirPods Pro Case

Posted in Products with tags on November 23, 2021 by itnerd

I’ve had my AirPods Pro with MagSafe case for just under a week. And the number one complaint that I had since reviewing it is the case is super slippery. In fact, when I handed the AirPods Pro in the case to her to look it, it slipped out of her hand. Thus the possibility that the case would scratch or crack would be on the table. That told me that I had to put a case on the case to stop that from happening. That sounds counterintuitive. But there is an active market for AirPods and AirPods Pro cases. In my case, I chose the Spigen Rugged Armor AirPods Pro case.

It comes in three colours. Matte Black, Charcoal Grey, and Military Green. Each with a hint of carbon fibre. The Matte Black was the one for me. Here’s what you get in the box:

You get the top and lower half of this case, a piece of adhesive, a carabiner, and instructions that you won’t read as it’s pretty clear how to put them together. Before I do that, let me highlight something on the upper half of the case:

It has adhesive installed on it as I have to assume, opening and closing the case will be enough to have the upper half fly off the case if this adhesive wasn’t there. I didn’t use the optional adhesive for the lower half because it was quite snug fitting. Two minutes later, this was the result.

It’s made of thermoplastic polyurethane and has a rubber feel to it. So you’re not going to drop these. And if you do drop them, it will absorb the shock of hitting the ground. The only downside is that it does pick up dust as you can see here. It’s also doesn’t add any amount of bulk to the AirPods Pro. Which means that it can still live in your pockets just fine.

On the back you can see that it has a duplicate reset/pairing button on the back. And you will note that this case doesn’t cover the AirPods Pro case 100%. But there’s no way it could as it would not be able to hinge open. This shot also highlights the carbon fibre look that this case has.

Finally, you’ll note that this case doesn’t interfere with wireless charging as I tested that with this wireless charger. You can also see the slot for the Lightning port at the bottom if you want to plug a cable and charge that way. One thing that I will note is that the light on the front of the case can be hard to see at certain angles.

Do I have any gripes about this case? No. It does everything that I need a case for AirPods Pro to do without adding a lot of bulk. But at the same time adding a bit of style. I consider this worthy choice for those who want to protect their rather expensive AirPods Pro. I got these on Amazon for $22.99 CDN, which is a good price for the level of protection that this case provides.