Apple deleted server supplier after finding infected firmware in Siri servers

A mid-2016 security incident led to Apple purging its data centers of servers built by Supermicro, including returning recently purchased systems, according to a report by The Information. Malware-infected firmware was reportedly detected in an internal development environment for Apple’s App Store, as well as some production servers handling queries through Apple’s Siri service.

An Apple spokesperson denied there was a security incident. However, Supermicro’s senior vice-president of technology,Tau Leng, told The Information that Apple had ended its relationship with Supermicro because of the compromised systems in the App Store development environment. Leng also confirmed Apple returned equipment that it had recently purchased. An anonymous source was cited as the source of the information regarding infected Siri servers.

Apple has used a variety of server hardware since the company got out of the server business itself, including servers from HP and storage from NetApp. A few years ago, Apple added Supermicro as a supplier for some of its development and data center computing infrastructure.

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Apple Cut Ties With Supplier Super Micro Computer Over Server Security Concerns

Apple cut ties with server supplier Super Micro Computer in 2016 after unearthing a potential security vulnerability in at least one of its data center servers, reports The Information.

The vulnerability in the server, which was part of Apple’s technical infrastructure powering its web-based services, was discovered in the early months of 2016. According to Super Micro senior vice president of technology Tau Leng, Apple ended its business relationship with Super Micro Computer shortly after uncovering the security issue.



Leng’s account of the incident makes it sound like Apple received bad firmware from an FTP site hosted by Super Micro that may have been infiltrated, which may have compromised the server.

According to Leng, when Apple was asked to provide the version number of the firmware it had downloaded after experiencing issues, Apple provided an invalid number. After that, Apple refused to provide more information to Super Micro.

Mr. Leng said Super Micro regularly provides firmware updates that data center customers like Apple can download from a private “FTP” site, hosted by Super Micro. He said the firmware updates come from outside chip manufacturers–in this case, a networking chip maker that he declined to name.

Sources who spoke to The Information said servers that handled Siri requests and App Store search functionality may have been compromised, but an Apple spokesperson said Apple did not receive bad firmware nor was any customer data stolen.

“Apple is deeply committed to protecting the privacy and security of our customers and the data we store,” the spokesperson told The Information. “We are constantly monitoring for any attacks on our systems, working closely with vendors and regularly checking equipment for malware.”

It’s not quite clear what caused the vulnerability that led to the end of the agreement between Super Micro and Apple, but Apple has since moved on to other server suppliers, increasing orders from ZT and purchasing servers from Inspur.
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Moov Fitness Coaching Tracker App Receives Major Update

Wearable activity tracking company Moov has issued a major update to its fitness coaching and tracking app, introducing high-intensity workouts and a design overhaul to make tracking data simpler to parse.

Version 4 of the Moov Coaching Tracker brings six new heart-rate based HIT circuit workouts that rely on body weight exercises, and two new high intensity running workouts. The workouts also introduce a new program overview screen that lets users preview the exercises involved before they commence interval training.



In addition, the new live workout screens have been redesigned to present a clearer picture of how users are performing during their workout, with more targeted advice on what they need to do to get the most benefit from the exercises.

New post-workout report cards also feature in the update, with greater granular data, clearer performance measures, and improved highlights.

The Moov Coach app is designed to work with the Moov Now fitness tracker, which senses both motion and 3D form in order to analyze the wearer’s movement, and gives tips to improve physical activities and workouts. It uses 9-axis sensors, including accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer to evaluate form.



Version 4 of the Moov Coach app also anticipates next week’s release of the company’s HR heart rate-tracking headband, Moov HR Sweat, which combined with the Moov Coaching features, guides wearers through their workouts move by move to keep them in their optimal heart rate zone.

Move Coaching Tracker is a free download for iPhone and iPad from the App Store. [Direct Link]
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Apple Speaks Out Against Trump Order to Rescind Protections for Transgender Students

Apple tonight spoke out on President Trump’s move to rescind Obama administration protections for transgender students, providing a statement to Axios. The protections had allowed transgender students to use bathrooms that corresponded to their gender identity.



The Cupertino company reiterated its commitment to equality, saying that everyone deserves a chance to be free from stigma and discrimination.

“Apple believes everyone deserves a chance to thrive in an environment free from stigma and discrimination. We support efforts toward greater acceptance, not less, and we strongly believe that transgender students should be treated as equals. We disagree with any effort to limit or rescind their rights and protections.”

This isn’t the first time Apple has spoken out against the actions of the Trump administration. In late January, CEO Tim Cook said that the immigration executive order was not a policy that Apple supported. Apple made its HR, legal and security teams available to employees who were affected and eventually joined nearly 100 firms filing a legal brief against the order.

Under Cook, Apple has had a history of speaking out in favor of equality. In March 2015, Cook spoke out against Indiana’s controversial “Religious Freedom” law, which allowed business owners to turn away LGBTQ customers by citing “religious freedom.” Cook also called on Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson to veto the bill.

Additionally, in 2013 both Cook and Apple came out in support of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act and released a statement of support after the Supreme Court gay marriage ruling.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.
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Crunch Report | Apple’s New Campus Will Open in April

Apple’s new campus will open in April, never-ending turnover at Twitter, Instagram adds a carousel feature and Snapdeal to lay off 500-600 people. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

Apple CEO Tim Cook Will Move His Office to Apple Park

Apple CEO Tim Cook plans to work out of Apple Park, the official name for Apple’s second spaceship-shaped campus, according to information obtained by The Chronicle.

Cook will presumably move his office from Apple’s Infinite Loop campus to Apple Park when it opens for employees in April of 2017. Apple announced its plans to open Apple Park in April in a press statement released this morning.



Apple Park will eventually house more than 12,000 employees, who will move to the campus over a period of six months. While Apple Park will open in a little over a month, smaller construction projects and landscaping will continue into the summer.



In addition to the main ring-shaped building, Apple Park includes a visitor’s center with a full Apple Store and cafe, a fitness center for employees, auxiliary research buildings, underground parking structures, a cafeteria, and a theater named “Steve Jobs Theater” after late Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

The entire campus is powered by 100 percent renewable energy and features huge swathes of greenery suitable for the California climate, with more than 9,000 native and drought-resistant trees.

First conceived in 2011 by Steve Jobs, Apple Park has been under construction since 2013 and is rumored to have cost Apple upwards of $5 billion.
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Apple’s new campus ‘Apple Park’ will open in April

apple-park-photo-1-building-trees This grand opening has been years in the making. Apple’s new campus now has a name and an opening date. It’ll be called Apple Park and the first employees will move in April 2017.
As 12,000 Apple employees are going to work there, the move isn’t going to an easy task. It’s going to take roughly six months to have everyone there. While April is the grand opening… Read More

Apple quietly bought iCloud.net domain, shuts down eponymous social network

screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-00-37-44 It looks like Apple has finally picked up one of the last remaining pieces of internet property linked to one of its key service brands: the iPhone and Mac giant has quietly taken over ownership of iCloud.net, TechCrunch has learned. Subsequent to that, the small-time Asian social network that existed at the site has informed its users that it will be shutting down by the end of this… Read More