Reddit Rolls Out Customizable News Tab to Most Users of its Official iOS App

Reddit has announced the rollout of its customizable News tab feature to most users of its iOS app. After limited alpha testing of the tab over the last few weeks, Reddit says it has acted on feedback and introduced enough improvements for the next beta phase of testing to reach a wider audience.

The News tab appears to the left of the Home and Popular tabs, and brings together content from community subreddits that frequently share and engage with news. Content is divided into topics like Politics, Sports, and Technology, and users can further customize them to show only the subtopics they’re most interested in.

You told us you wanted more granular news topics (not just Sports but Baseball specifically), so we’ve introduced subtopics for you to personalize your News tab and notifications. You all told us you want to be able to see how different communities are talking about the same story. So, we are developing a community pivot feature that will show you multiple threads from different communities on the same article.

Reddit says it has set guidelines for the communities that filter into the experience, as well as the post type (posts titles must reflect the article title, for example). The News tab is also coming to desktop later this summer, and Reddit plans to continue to expand the communities that appear in the News tab in the third quarter of this year.

The Reddit app is a free download available on the App Store for iPhone and iPad. [Direct Link]

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Security Researcher Discovers Method for Brute Forcing iPhone Passcode in iOS 11

A USB-based vulnerability that allows for the brute forcing of a passcode on an iOS device has been discovered by security researcher Matthew Hickey, reports ZDNet.

The method, which bypasses the 10-entry attempt that erases an iOS device when the setting is enabled, allows a hacker to plug an iPhone or iPad into a computer and send all passcodes, from 0000 to 9999, all at once, triggering an input routine that takes priority over anything else on the device. Hickey demos the hack in the video below.

“Instead of sending passcodes one at a time and waiting, send them all in one go,” he said.

“If you send your brute-force attack in one long string of inputs, it’ll process all of them, and bypass the erase data feature,” he explained.

All that’s required to use this brute force password cracking method is an iPhone or iPad that’s turned on and locked and a Lightning cable, according to Hickey. It works on iOS devices up to iOS 11.3.

Hickey’s iPhone cracking method takes between three and five seconds for each four-digit passcode, which means it’s slow and not as advanced as other passcode cracking methods employed by companies like Grayshift, which makes the GrayKey box. For this method to guess a six-digit passcode, Hickey says it would take weeks.

Apple in iOS 12 is introducing a new USB Restricted Mode that may put a stop to the vulnerability that Hickey has discovered, as well as vulnerabilities exploited by tools like the GrayKey Box.



With USB Restricted Mode, enabled by default on iOS devices running iOS 12, USB access to an iPhone or iPad is cut off if it’s been more than an hour since the device was last unlocked.

That means computers and other accessories can’t be used to access a locked iPhone if it’s been locked for over an hour, disabling access via a USB to Lightning cable.
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Bethesda Sues Warner Bros for Copying Fallout Shelter With New Westworld iOS Game

Warner Bros’ new Westworld game for mobile devices is a “blatant rip-off” of Bethesda game Fallout Shelter, according to a lawsuit Bethesda filed in a Maryland U.S. District Court this week.

At issue are the similarities between the two games. In Fallout Shelter, which was first released in 2015, you run an underground bunker in the Fallout universe, directing your bunker inhabitants to build and run new facilities, go out on expeditions, and more, with the ultimate goal of building up the bunker.



Westworld, based on the popular HBO show and released this week, uses a similar concept, with an underground Delos facility that players are required to build out to create AI hosts and satisfy guests in the park. The ultimate goal is to build up your underground Westworld facilities along with the above-ground park.



In the lawsuit, which was shared by Polygon, Bethesda accuses Warner Bros and game developer Behaviour Interactive of breach of contract, copyright infringement, unfair competition, and misappropriation of trade secrets. Behaviour Interactive worked on both Fallout Shelter and Westworld.

The Westworld game, says Bethesda, uses the same game design, art style, animations, and features as Fallout Shelter, in addition to stealing copyrighted computer code created for Fallout Shelter. As evidence for this, Bethesda claims Westworld has a unique bug that was also found in early builds of Fallout Shelter.

Fallout Shelter


According to Bethesda, Behaviour Interactive utilized its restricted access to Bethesda’s intellectual property, including copyrighted code, to reduce costs and development time to bring Westworld to market faster.

The Westworld game is a blatant rip-off of FALLOUT SHELTER. Working with the same copyrighted computer code used by FALLOUT SHELTER, Westworld has the same or highly similar game design, art style, animations, features and other gameplay elements as FALLOUT SHELTER, all of which are owned by Bethesda.

Behaviour’s breach of its contract with Bethesda is evidenced by the gameplay of Westworld, which uses the same copyrighted computer code created for Bethesda’s FALLOUT SHELTER game. Behaviour’s use of the computer code owned by Bethesda to develop Westworld even included the very same ‘bugs’ or defects present in the FALLOUT SHELTER code.

It’s impossible not to see the similarities between Fallout Shelter and Westworld, and as is pointed out in the lawsuit, several reviews and stories on the Westworld game that have come out over the last few months have noted those similarities. VentureBeat, for example, said in March that the “side-view user interface looks a lot like Fallout Shelter,” while ShackNews said “Westworld mobile is definitely taking a page out of the Fallout book,” during the same timeframe.

Westworld


In light of the alleged intellectual property theft, Bethesda has asked the court for a jury trial, statutory damages, and actual damages, along with restitution and lawyers fees and costs. The company is also asking for every version of the Westworld mobile game to be removed from distribution.

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Security, privacy experts weigh in on the ICE doxxing

In what appears to be the latest salvo in a new, wired form of protest, developer Sam Lavigne posted code that scrapes LinkedIn to find Immigration and Customs Enforcement employee accounts. His code, which basically a Python-based tool that scans LinkedIn for keywords, is gone from Github and Gitlab and Medium took down his original post. The CSV of the data is still available here and here and WikiLeaks has posted a mirror.

“I find it helpful to remember that as much as internet companies use data to spy on and exploit their users, we can at times reverse the story, and leverage those very same online platforms as a means to investigate or even undermine entrenched power structures. It’s a strange side effect of our reliance on private companies and semi-public platforms to mediate nearly all aspects of our lives. We don’t necessarily need to wait for the next Snowden-style revelation to scrutinize the powerful — so much is already hiding in plain sight,” said Lavigne.

Doxxing is the process of using publicly available information to target someone online for abuse. Because we can now find out anything on anyone for a few dollars – a search for “background check” brings up dozens of paid services that can get you names and addresses in a second – scraping public data on LinkedIn seems far easier and innocuous. That doesn’t make it legal.

“Recent efforts to outlaw doxxing at the national level (like the Online Safety Modernization Act of 2017) have stalled in committee, so it’s not strictly illegal,” said James Slaby, Security Expert at Acronis. “But LinkedIn and other social networks usually consider it a violation of their terms of service to scrape their data for personal use. The question of fairness is trickier: doxxing is often justified as a rare tool that the powerless can use against the powerful to call attention to perceived injustices.”

“The problem is that doxxing is a crude tool. The torrent of online ridicule, abuse and threats that can be heaped on doxxed targets by their political or ideological opponents can also rain down on unintended and undeserving targets: family members, friends, people with similar names or appearances,” he said.

The tool itself isn’t to blame. No one would fault a job seeker or salesperson who scraped LinkedIn for targeted employees of a specific company. That said, scraping and publicly shaming employees walks a thin line.

“In my opinion, the professor who developed this scraper tool isn’t breaking the law, as it’s perfectly legal to search the web for publicly available information,” said David Kennedy, CEO of TrustedSec. “This is known in the security space as ‘open source intelligence’ collection, and scrapers are just one way to do it. That said, it is concerning to see ICE agents doxxed in this way. I understand emotions are running high on both sides of this debate, but we don’t want to increase the physical security risks to our law enforcement officers.”

“The decision by Twitter, Github and Medium to block the dissemination of this information and tracking tool makes sense – in fact, law enforcement agents’ personal information is often protected. This isn’t going to go away anytime soon, it’s only going to become more aggressive, particularly as more people grow comfortable with using the darknet and the many available hacking tools for sale in these underground forums. Law enforcement agents need to take note of this, and be much more careful about what (and how often) they post online.”

Ultimately, doxxing is problematic. Because we place our information on public forums there should be nothing to stop anyone from finding and posting it. However, the expectation that people will use our information for good and not evil is swiftly eroding. Today, wrote one security researcher, David Kavanaugh, doxxing is becoming dangerous.

“Going after the people on the ground is like shooting the messenger . Decisions are made by leadership and those are the people we should be going after. Doxxing is akin to a personal attack. Change policy, don’t ruin more lives,” he said.

Apple Maps Vehicles Begin Collecting Street-Level Data in Japan

Apple Maps vehicles equipped with LiDAR sensors have begun collecting street-level data in Japan for the first time this month.



Apple will be surveying the Tokyo and Urayasu areas between June and October of this year, according to a new Apple Maps vehicles page created specifically for Japan, first spotted by Japanese blog Mac Otakara.

Japan is the 11th country where the vehicles are collecting data since the initiative began in 2015, alongside Croatia, France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

To date, Apple has periodically updated a list of locations where the vehicles will be collecting data on its U.S. website, including other countries, but Japan now has its own localized page, perhaps to satisfy local laws.

The verbiage on the page has suggested that Apple could be working on a feature similar to Google’s Street View for Apple Maps:

Apple is driving vehicles around the world to collect data which will be used to improve Apple Maps. Some of this data will be published in future Apple Maps updates.

We are committed to protecting your privacy while collecting this data. For example, we will blur faces and license plates on collected images prior to publication.

In 2015, Mark Gurman reported that Apple planned to launch a 3D street view feature, based on a combination of its existing Flyover mode with street-level data. He also said the data would help Apple shift to an in-house mapping database by 2018, reducing its reliance on third-party sources like TomTom.

By the sound of it, Apple’s mapping data could be used for advanced augmented reality applications, as part of a future update to ARKit.

Early speculation suggested the vehicles could be the basis of an Apple Car, but those rumors quieted down after the vans were labeled with Apple Maps decals, and because Apple has shifted towards testing self-driving software with Lexus 450h SUVs near its headquarters in California.

If you spot an Apple Maps vehicle in a location yet to be listed on Apple’s website, be sure to let us know at tips@macrumors.com.

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Mexico presidential campaigns ramp up spend on online ads

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s presidential candidates have declared spending 159 million pesos ($7.8 million) so far on web advertising including Facebook, YouTube and online media, more than a quarter of their campaign spend, the National Electoral Institute (INE) said.

Tim Cook Reaffirms Apple’s Commitment to Ireland After Tax Dispute and Abandoned Data Center Plans

Just weeks after Apple abandoned its plans to build a $1 billion data center in Ireland, and amid a major Irish tax dispute with the European Commission, Apple CEO Tim Cook ensures his company remains committed to the country.



In a recent interview with The Irish Times, Cook said Apple appreciated the support it received from the community who wanted the data center to be there, and reaffirmed Apple’s commitment to Ireland as a whole.

“We loved the community there. Fortunately we had great support from the community who wanted us there. That’s probably the biggest disappointment from our point of view; we felt we could have been in the community and made a lot of friends like we had in Cork and grown the relationship over time,” Cook said. “But we understand and respect the process.”

Of course, not all local residents wanted the data center there, as concerns were raised about its potential effects on local animals, flooding on a neighboring golf course, and its close proximity to a shut-down nuclear power plant.

Last October, Apple finally won approval for construction by the Irish High Court, after an appeal by two individuals against the decision was dismissed. However, the appellants decided to take their case to the country’s Supreme Court, resulting in Apple abandoning its plans just before the hearing was to occur.

“Despite our best efforts, delays in the approval process have forced us to make other plans and we will not be able to move forward with the data centre,” Apple said in a statement ahead of the Supreme Court heading on Thursday.

“While disappointing, this setback will not dampen our enthusiasm for future projects in Ireland as our business continues to grow,” the company said, citing plans to expand its European headquarters in County Cork where it employs over 6,000 people.

Cook added that Apple “didn’t come to Ireland for tax,” nearly two years after the European Commission ruled that the company received illegal aid from the country, ordering it to repay 13 billion euros to the country. Apple and Ireland are both appealing the ruling, as escrow payments begin for now.

“We came to Ireland in 1980 because we saw a community we thought we could grow, and could do a number of things to support the continent. We’ve stayed on course on that over almost four decades. It hasn’t been a straight line – life isn’t a straight line, things go up and down – but it’s always been in a trajectory that is increasing. I don’t anticipate that changing.”

Cook visited Ireland this week, where he met with the country’s head of government Leo Varadkar in Dublin, before heading to Cork, where Apple’s European headquarters are located. Apple recently expanded the campus with a new building that provides space for an additional 1,400 employees.



Apple’s recently updated European Job Creation page reveals that it now supports 1.7 million jobs across Europe, including around 1.5 million jobs attributable to the App Store ecosystem, some 17,000 of which are based in Ireland.

Apple’s website notes that it “has been based in Cork for over 35 years and now directly employs 6,000 people throughout Ireland supporting all aspects of the business.” The company also says its Irish team has “doubled in size over the last five years and includes over 80 different nationalities.”

All in all, this amounts to a good PR campaign for Apple, echoing much of what it said in its Message to the Apple Community in Europe a few years ago.

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AT&T Follows Time Warner Acquisition With Reveal of Live ‘WatchTV’ Service and New Unlimited Phone Plans

One week after completing its acquisition of Time Warner, AT&T today announced the impending launch of an all-new live TV service called “WatchTV,” which unsurprisingly includes many channels under the Time Warner umbrella (via Engadget). This appears to be the service not focused on sports that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said in April would be coming very soon.

The announcement came alongside AT&T’s reveal of two new unlimited wireless plans, called “AT&T Unlimited &More” and “AT&T Unlimited &More Premium.” WatchTV will be directly tied into these cellular plans, offering plan subscribers access to the TV service at no additional cost.



The service includes 30+ live channels, over 15,000 TV shows and movies on demand, and will be available on “virtually every” smartphone, tablet, browser, and streaming device. Subscribers to &More Premium will be able to add one of several premium services for no extra charge: HBO, SHOWTIME, Cinemax, Starz, Amazon Music Unlimited, Pandora Premium, or VRV.

Here’s the full list of channels available on WatchTV at launch:

  • A&E
  • AMC
  • Animal Planet
  • Audience
  • BBC World News
  • BBC America
  • Boomerang
  • Cartoon Network
  • CNN
  • Discovery
  • Food Network
  • FYI
  • Hallmark Channel
  • Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
  • HGTV
  • History
  • HLN
  • IFC
  • Investigation Discovery
  • Lifetime
  • Lifetime Movies
  • OWN
  • Sundance TV
  • TBS
  • TCM
  • TLC
  • TNT
  • TRU TV
  • Velocity
  • Viceland
  • WE TV

Channels coming soon after launch include:

  • BET
  • Comedy Central
  • MTV 2
  • Nicktoons
  • Teennick
  • VH1

The &More Premium plan (starting at $80/month for an individual line) offers WatchTV, a premium service add-on, 15GB of high-speed tethering, access to 1080p high definition video, and a $15 monthly credit to put towards DirecTV, DirecTV Now, or U-verse TV, similar to the carrier’s current unlimited plans. On the lower tier, &More (starting at $70/month) offers WatchTV, a $15 monthly credit to DirecTV Now, access to 480p video, and up to 4G LTE unlimited data.

AT&T didn’t give many other details about the new unlimited plans, but said that more information will be coming when they launch, which is expected sometime next week. Additionally, the company confirmed that WatchTV will be available as a $15/month standalone live TV streaming service for those not on an AT&T unlimited cellular plan, and those details will also come at a later time.

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