The Attack-of-the-Replacement-Parts Edition Friday, August 18, 2017

A Repair Shop Could Completely Hack Your Phone—and You Wouldn’t Know It, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

People with cracked touch screens or similar smartphone maladies have a new headache to consider: the possibility the replacement parts installed by repair shops contain secret hardware that completely hijacks the security of the device.

The concern arises out of research that shows how replacement screens—one put into a Huawei Nexus 6P and the other into an LG G Pad 7.0—can be used to surreptitiously log keyboard input and patterns, install malicious apps, and take pictures and e-mail them to the attacker. The booby-trapped screens also exploited operating system vulnerabilities that bypassed key security protections built into the phones.

Hollywood, Apple Are Said To Mull Rental Plan, Defying Theaters, by Anousha Sakoui, Bloomberg

Movie studios are considering whether to ignore the objections of cinema chains and forge ahead with a plan to offer digital rentals of films mere weeks after they appear in theaters, according to people familiar with the matter.

Some of the biggest proponents, including Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures, are pressing on in talks with Apple Inc. and Comcast Corp. on ways to push ahead with the project even without theater chains, the people said. After months of negotiations, the two sides have been unable to arrive at a mutually beneficial way to create a $30 to $50 premium movie-download product.

No More Frisbee, by Matt Gemmell

Just please acknowledge what’s actually going on. They built the thing, and it’s their business, and they made their own decision. They selected a type of customer, and maybe — just maybe — you’re self-selecting out of that group. That’s a thought to ponder.


Apple Just Released 6 Videos Showcasing New iPad Features In iOS 11, by Stan Schroeder, Mashable

A major new version of Apple's mobile operating system is coming and the company released six new videos showing how iOS 11 makes its iPad better.

Each video is about a minute long and focuses on one set of new features that will become available on iPads when iOS 11 is released in the fall.

Apple Releases iOS 11 And iPad How-To Videos, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Apple has published a series of three short videos to YouTube highlighting the marquee features of iOS 11 on the iPad. Each of the how-to videos is about one minute long and shows how to use a new feature.

Transmit 5 Review, by John Voorhees, MacStories

It’s Transmit’s ease of use that has always appealed to me the most. My day-to-day needs for an app like Transmit have been fairly light, so I appreciate that it’s simple and fast to set up a server and transfer files.


Apple And Aetna Met Last Week To Talk About The Apple Watch—here's What They Discussed, by Christina Farr, CNBC

The primary topic of discussion was Apple's health-tracking smartwatch -- Apple Watch -- and whether it could be used to improve health outcomes. Currently, Aetna is gathering feedback from its own employees, who are currently testing whether the watch can help them eat better and exercise more regularly.


Bishop recalled that a huge portion of the event involved discussions about data privacy.

"Both companies wanted to make sure that we knew what data is shared and what isn't," she said.

When Government Hides Decisions Behind Software, by Tom Simonite, Wired

In July, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Sharon Reardon considered whether to hold Lamonte Mims, a 19-year-old accused of violating his parole, in jail. One piece of evidence before her: the output of a software program called PSA that calculated the risk that Mims, who had previously been convicted of burglary, would commit a violent crime or skip court. Based on that result, another algorithm recommended that Mims could safely be released, and Reardon let him go. Five days later, police say, he robbed and murdered a 71-year old man.

On Monday, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office said staffers using the software had erroneously failed to enter Mims’ prior jail term. Had they done so, PSA would have recommended he be held, not released.

Mims’ case highlights how governments increasingly rely on mathematical formulas to inform decisions about criminal justice, child welfare, education and other arenas. Yet it’s often hard or impossible for citizens to see how these algorithms work and are being used.

Bottom of the Page

Given that so much of our private lives are captured -- knowingly and unkowingly -- by the mobile phones in our pockets, why would anyone trust third-parties to repair the phones? Security is the one important aspect that people who advocate for the right-to-repair never considers.


It seems, to me, that it will be inevitable many movie theatres will be closing down in the years ahead. There will be a few theatres left in each city to cater to the few movies that are made for the big screen, but movie studios will be adapting to make movies tailored for smaller screens. And when I say movie stuidios, they include Netflix, Amazon, and, perhaps, Apple. In the fight between studios and theatres, the studios definitely have the upperhand.

(Actually, the screens in living rooms are not that small, even when compared to movie theatres.)


In its heyday, we should now be hearing Microsoft pre-announcing the movies and TV shows that it is making for stream on Windows, Zunes, WebTVs, and other StreamForSure devices.


Thanks for reading.