Issue 757

Thursday, 1st November 2018

In This Issue


Chinese hackers stealing jet engine secrets & exploiting BGP to spy on US traffic

Chinese hackers are at it again, this time stealing aviation secrets and diverting US & Canadian internet traffic. The US DoJ has indicted a group of Chinese spies for (unfortunately routine) state-based corporate espionage via sophisticated phishing techniques targeted at US aerospace companies, which all began thanks to the hack of little ol' Aussie domain registrar, Melbourne IT. Totally not connected, but still related to China's cyber activities, is news that "researchers logged global BGP route announcements and discovered China Telecom publishing bogus routes that sucked up massive amounts of Canadian and US traffic and pushed it through Chinese listening posts". Wild stuff.

European Union to use "iBorderCtrl" AI at border crossings

The EU is starting a 6 month trial of iBorderCtrl, an "experimental" AI that "will have you upload photos of your passport, visa and proof of funds, and then use a webcam to answer basic questions from a personalized AI border agent. The virtual officer will use AI to detect the facial microexpressions that can reveal when someone is lying". It's only 76% accurate now, and the best the iBorderCtrl team reckons they'll get to is 85% - but it's designed to speed things up, not replace humans all together. If you pass the AI checks, in you go, but if you fail, you'll be secondary screened. Interesting about 85% success - the latest AI-backed border control system used in China claims to be 99.5% accurate!

Google employees to protest against their employer's lack of action on sexual harassment

Over 1,500 people are planning to protest against Google's lack of action on senior executives getting free passes and big payouts for sexually harassing co-workers. "We don’t want to feel that we're unequal or we’re not respected anymore," said Claire Stapleton, 33, a product marketing manager at Google's YouTube who helped call for the walkout. "Google's famous for its culture. But in reality we're not even meeting the basics of respect, justice and fairness for every single person here". Combine this with the outrage Google employees felt when it was revealed they were working on a secret Chinese censored version of Google, I'm not so fatalistic when it comes to Google ruining us all. There's still good people there, it's the out of touch upper management that needs some perspective.

Turmoil at electric car startup Faraday Future

Looks like much-hyped electric car maker Faraday Future, is Faraday Fucked. From The Verge, "investor trouble sparked two wild weeks of layoffs and salary cuts that quickly turned into furloughs and executive departures at the EV startup, and a co-founder calling the company effectively insolvent". Now today, the last founding Faraday Future exec has quit. In an email to all employees, he said that things are so bad at Faraday Future, he is setting up an emergency fund so staff that have had their hours reduced/put to zero can pay their bills and stuff like that. With all the chaos around Faraday Future, it seems pretty unlikely they'll get their factory sorted to build the FF91. Shame, as the FF91 looked cool as hell.

Dual screen and foldable smartphones are a thing now

It's a slow news days, so here's some info on two weird smartphones coming soon. The Nubia X has an LCD on the back, as well as the front of the device. That's right, both sides of the phone are screens. The front display covers 93.6% of the surface, making it almost nothing but display, which it can do because if you want to use the selfie camera, just flip the phone around where you've got two lenses with "normal" smartphones cameras - not the gimped selfie cameras. Nifty! Prob want a screen protector though. Even wilder than a smartphone with two displays, is a smartphone with one big display that folds. Forever hyped, but that could be a reality with the "FlexPai" device coming out in December. Check out a video of this foldable display in action.

Not News, But Still Cool

Use the eSIM in your new iPhone to get cheap global roaming via an app

You know how the new iPhones (XS, XS Max and XR) have "dual-SIM" support using eSIM? MyTruphone is one of the first apps I've seen that lets you use that 2nd SIM purely from the app alone. Download My Truphone, load up some credit and you can use the eSIM overseas, whilst keeping your primary SIM enabled. Perfect for traveling overseas whilst still needing to stay in touch with people back home. It also means no more SIM hunting, wasting precious holiday time. Just launch the app and away you go. Sure the pricing isn't anywhere near as good as a local SIM, but damn it's convenient. You can get it on the App Store now. I wish I was going overseas so I could try this out.

iPhones and helium do not mix

A dude working in an MRI scanning joint posted on Reddit a few weeks ago with a weird story of all the iOS devices in his facility suddenly shitting themselves. All the other electronics in the place are fine, it's only iPhones and iPads that suddenly stopped working. Extremely weird activity. It turns out that there was a new MRI machine getting installed and during that process, a heap of helium leaked out into the building's HVAC system, sending helium all around the place for hours. That helium fucked with a chip that Apple uses in basically all their products and it wasn't until the helium evaporated after a few days that iPhones and iPads starting working again.

Cheap Kindle, GoPro, DJI Spark, LG OLED, Amazon Echo & Sony camera cashback

That's it, see ya tomorrow!

The Grates - Major Dragger