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Apple to cut iPhone production in first quarter of 2017: report

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

The new iPhone 7 smartphone goes on sale inside an Apple Inc. store in Los Angeles, California, U.S., September 16, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

 

Apple Inc. will trim production of iPhones by about 10 percent in the January-March quarter of 2017, the Nikkei financial daily reported on Thursday, citing calculations based on data from suppliers.

The company had slashed output by 30 percent in January-March this year due to accumulated inventory, the paper said.

Apple’s shares were down 0.84 percent in midday trading, in line with the Nasdaq stock index.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the report. — Reuters

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Security flaws put virtually all phones, computers at risk

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, January 4th, 2018

FILE PHOTO – The Intel logo is shown at the E3 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California, U.S. June 13, 2017. REUTERS/ Mike Blake

FRANKFURT/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Security researchers on Wednesday disclosed a set of security flaws that they said could let hackers steal sensitive information from nearly every modern computing device containing chips from Intel Corp, Advanced Micro Devices Inc and ARM Holdings.

One of the bugs is specific to Intel but another affects laptops, desktop computers, smartphones, tablets and internet servers alike. Intel and ARM insisted that the issue was not a design flaw, but it will require users to download a patch and update their operating system to fix.

“Phones, PCs, everything are going to have some impact, but it’ll vary from product to product,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said in an interview with CNBC Wednesday afternoon.

Researchers with Alphabet Inc’s Google Project Zero, in conjunction with academic and industry researchers from several countries, discovered two flaws.

The first, called Meltdown, affects Intel chips and lets hackers bypass the hardware barrier between applications run by users and the computer’s memory, potentially letting hackers read a computer’s memory and steal passwords. The second, called Spectre, affects chips from Intel, AMD and ARM and lets hackers potentially trick otherwise error-free applications into giving up secret information.

The researchers said Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp had patches ready for users for desktop computers affected by Meltdown. Microsoft declined to comment and Apple did not immediately return requests for comment.

Daniel Gruss, one of the researchers at Graz University of Technology who discovered Meltdown, called it “probably one of the worst CPU bugs ever found” in an interview with Reuters.

Gruss said Meltdown was the more serious problem in the short term but could be decisively stopped with software patches. Spectre, the broader bug that applies to nearly all computing devices, is harder for hackers to take advantage of but less easily patched and will be a bigger problem in the long term, he said.

Speaking on CNBC, Intel’s Krzanich said Google researchers told Intel of the flaws “a while ago” and that Intel had been testing fixes that device makers who use its chips will push out next week. Before the problems became public, Google on its blog said Intel and others planned to disclose the issues on Jan. 9. Google said it informed the affected companies about the “Spectre” flaw on June 1, 2017 and reported the “Meltdown” flaw after the first flaw but before July 28, 2017.

The flaws were first reported by tech publication The Register. It also reported that the updates to fix the problems could causes Intel chips to operate 5 percent to 30 percent more slowly. (bit.ly/2CsRxkj)

Intel denied that the patches would bog down computers based on Intel chips.

“Intel has begun providing software and firmware updates to mitigate these exploits,” Intel said in a statement. “Contrary to some reports, any performance impacts are workload-dependent, and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time.”

ARM spokesman Phil Hughes said that patches had already been shared with the companies’ partners, which include many smartphone manufacturers.

“This method only works if a certain type of malicious code is already running on a device and could at worst result in small pieces of data being accessed from privileged memory,” Hughes said in an email.

AMD chips are also affected by at least one variant of a set of security flaws but that it can be patched with a software update. The company said it believes there “is near zero risk to AMD products at this time.”

Google said in a blog post that Android phones running the latest security updates are protected, as are its own Nexus and Pixel phones with the latest security updates. Gmail users do not need to take any additional action to protect themselves, but users of its Chromebooks, Chrome web browser and many of its Google Cloud services will need to install updates.

Amazon Web Services, a cloud computing service used by businesses, said that most of its internet servers were already patched and the rest were in the process of being patched.

The defect affects the so-called kernel memory on Intel x86 processor chips manufactured over the past decade, The Register reported citing unnamed programmers, allowing users of normal applications to discern the layout or content of protected areas on the chips.

That could make it possible for hackers to exploit other security bugs or, worse, expose secure information such as passwords, thus compromising individual computers or even entire server networks.

Dan Guido, chief executive of cyber security consulting firm Trail of Bits, said that businesses should quickly move to update vulnerable systems, saying he expects hackers to quickly develop code they can use to launch attacks that exploit the vulnerabilities. “Exploits for these bugs will be added to hacker’s standard toolkits,” said Guido.

Shares in Intel were down by 3.4 percent following the report but nudged back up 1.2 percent to $44.70 in after-hours trading while shares in AMD were up 1 percent to $11.77, shedding many of the gains they had made earlier in the day when reports suggested its chips were not affected.

It was not immediately clear whether Intel would face any significant financial liability arising from the reported flaw.

“The current Intel problem, if true, would likely not require CPU replacement in our opinion. However the situation is fluid,” Hans Mosesmann of Rosenblatt Securities in New York said in a note, adding it could hurt the company’s reputation.

Reporting by Douglas Busvine in Frankfurt and Stephen Nellis and Salvador Rodriguez in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Jim Finkle in Toronto and Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Henderson and Lisa Shumaker

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Apple faces lawsuits after saying it slows down aging iPhones

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

FILE PHOTO – A salesman checks a customer’s iPhone at a mobile phone store in New Delhi, India, July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File photo

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Apple Inc (AAPL.O) defrauded iPhone users by slowing devices without warning to compensate for poor battery performance, according to eight lawsuits filed in various federal courts in the week since the company opened up about the year-old software change.

The tweak may have led iPhone owners to misguided attempts to resolve issues over the last year, the lawsuits contend.

All the lawsuits – filed in U.S. District Courts in California, New York and Illinois – seek class-action to represent potentially millions of iPhone owners nationwide.

A similar case was lodged in an Israeli court on Monday, the newspaper Haaretz reported.

Apple did not respond to an email seeking comment on the filings.

The company acknowledged last week for the first time in detail that operating system updates released since “last year” for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone SE and iPhone 7 included a feature “to smooth out” power supply from batteries that are cold, old or low on charge.

Phones without the adjustment would shut down abruptly because of a precaution designed to prevent components from getting fried, Apple said.

The disclosure followed a Dec. 18 analysis by Primate Labs, which develops an iPhone performance measuring app, that identified blips in processing speed and concluded that a software change had to be behind them.

One of the lawsuits, filed Thursday in San Francisco, said that “the batteries’ inability to handle the demand created by processor speeds” without the software patch was a defect.

“Rather than curing the battery defect by providing a free battery replacement for all affected iPhones, Apple sought to mask the battery defect,” according to the complaint.

The plaintiff in that case is represented by attorney Jeffrey Fazio, who represented plaintiffs in a $53-million settlement with Apple in 2013 over its handling of iPhone warranty claims.

The problem now seen is that users over the last year could have blamed an aging computer processor for app crashes and sluggish performance – and chose to buy a new phone – when the true cause may have been a weak battery that could have been replaced for a fraction of the cost, some of the lawsuits state.

“If it turns out that consumers would have replaced their battery instead of buying new iPhones had they known the true nature of Apple’s upgrades, you might start to have a better case for some sort of misrepresentation or fraud,” said Rory Van Loo, a Boston University professor specializing in consumer technology law.

But Chris Hoofnagle, faculty director for the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, said in an email that Apple may not have done wrong.

“We still haven’t come to consumer protection norms” around aging products, Hoofnagle said. Pointing to a device with a security flaw as an example, he said, “the ethical approach could include degrading or even disabling functionality.”

The lawsuits seek unspecified damages in addition to, in some cases, reimbursement. A couple of the complaints seek court orders barring Apple from throttling iPhone computer speeds or requiring notification in future instances.

Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Leslie Adler

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Customs seizes P20-M worth of fake iPhones, Samsung

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

MANILA, Philippines — Officials of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) have already opened on January 12 the boxes from China which was named under consignee, Autumnway

The boxes contain an estimated 400 fake iPhones, 100 fake Samsung phones, fake Samsung powerbanks, other cellphone gadgets and even vape cigarettes.

There were also spare parts like LCD screens which can be used to make cellphones.

According to the Intellectual Property Rights Division (IPRD), the boxes were suspicious because the declared items in the document states office supplies, office equipment and furniture.

BOC is preparing for the cases to be filed against the consignee, broker and importer of the smuggled gadgets.

“It will be automatic seizure because of misdeclaration. We’ll file the necessary administrative charges against the broker and the importer…this is a criminal offense and it’s smuggling,” said Atty. Zsae Carrie de Guzman, chief of the IPRD.

“We have placed this shipment under surveillance for a week because we had derogatory information that the container contains cellphones,” added De Guzman.

Meanwhile, intelligence reports that are currently being verified by BOC say, more shipments are expected to arrive in the country containing various smuggled items.

For this reason, BOC is continuing to guard ports to ensure that no smuggled items will be sold in the market. — UNTV News and Rescue

WATCH: BOC Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon on Get it Straight with Daniel Razon

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