The fallout isn’t over.
As if going from dot-com darling to afterthought wasn’t unfortunate enough, Yahoo today confirmed data of at least 500 million user accounts were stolen from its network in 2014 in what many are describing as the “biggest cyber breach ever.”
The internet company said cyber thieves may have gotten off with personal information, such as names, email addresses, phone numbers, birthdates, security questions and answers, and encrypted passwords. Payment and bank account information, on the other hand, don’t appear to have been compromised.
Yahoo also confirmed the breach was carried out by a “state-sponsored actor” who are no longer in its network. As to whom it was referring to — your guess is as good as mine, though it wouldn’t be unreasonable to suspect hackers in China, North Korea, or Russia could be behind the theft, which is starting to sound like the plot of a Mr. Robot episode.
Yahoo says it is working closely with law enforcement and has started notifying “potentially affected users.” On its website, the company urged all its users to change their passwords and security questions and use its two-factor authentication tool to secure their accounts. We encourage you to do the same post-haste. And while you’re at it, change your Flickr and Tumblr passwords as well because Yahoo owns both services.
It remains unclear when Yahoo learned about the breach and why it has gone radio silent about it until now, but it may have something to do with its on-going merger with Verizon Communications, which has agreed to buy its internet business for $4.8 billion in cash.
Not being upfront about the attack is one thing, but millions of users opting out of Yahoo services altogether could have a drastic impact on Yahoo’s market valuation and may prompt Verizon to adjust its offer. In a statement, the U.S. carrier said it “will evaluate as the investigation continues.”
[irp posts=”3603" name=”#TBT: RIP, Yahoo. You had a good run”]
Image credit: Insane Visions
Huawei’s phones can’t use microSD cards anymore
Another casualty of the ban
Everyone knows what happened to Huawei. As the week winds down, the Trump ban is dismantling the Chinese company piece by piece. Most notably, Google has stopped its business dealings with Huawei. Soon after, hardware company ARM ceased support for future Huawei chips. Huawei has lost considerable support on both hardware and software sides.
Now, the company has lost another major backer. Reported by Nikkei Asian Review, the SD Association has revoked Huawei’s membership status. As the name suggests, the trade group dictates the SD and microSD standards of the industry. The Chinese company cannot use the standard for future devices anymore. Fortunately, Huawei can still use the memory cards for existing phones.
However, the latest bridge-burning has drastically changed the company’s future. Given everything, Huawei’s future does not include Google, ARM, and microSD extensions, among others. All three components are major parts of today’s phones.
Fortunately, the loss of microSD support isn’t a deadly deal. Huawei can still use other standards for memory card extension. The company also has its own proprietary standard called the Nano Memory Card. Of course, proprietary hardware is almost always a turn-off. Despite cushioning the SD Association loss, the Nano Memory Card isn’t as appealing as the universally available microSD card.
In other news, Huawei has also “temporarily” lost access to the Wi-Fi Alliance. Much like the SD Association, the Wi-Fi Alliance dictates the connectivity standards of devices. Thankfully, Huawei can still use Wi-Fi in its devices. However, the company cannot participate in any discussions to shape Wi-Fi’s future.
Likewise, Huawei has voluntarily withdrawn from JEDEC, a trade group that defines semiconductor standards. As with the Wi-Fi Alliance, the company cannot contribute to any future discussions.
Fortunately, both restrictions don’t impact the company’s future as much. However, Huawei’s future is slowly moving away from industry standards. If the company hopes to survive, Huawei must develop its own proprietary hardware or find replacements elsewhere.
Philippines: Huawei ban ‘will have a little impact’ on the country
States the Philippines’ robust cybersecurity measures
Throughout the past few days, the Huawei debacle has devastated companies and consumers across the globe. Everyone is falling for the fear. Huawei’s long-standing suppliers have cut ties with the company. Huawei’s consumers are getting rid of their favored headsets. The wave has swept the whole world.
Naturally, the Philippines isn’t immune. Recently, smartphone retailers and resellers have started refusing Huawei devices from their stores. Local Huawei users can’t easily sell their devices to the second-hand market anymore.
However, an important question still stands. How much will the Huawei ban affect the Philippines?
Of course, the ban originates from Trump’s trade war against China. Among other reasons, the American government cites the company’s inherent cybersecurity risks as the prime motivator. Supposedly, Huawei’s telecommunications hardware can transmit valuable data to the Chinese government. Given the Philippines’ proximity to China, are we also at risk?
According to the Department of Information and Communications Technology, Huawei’s ban “will have a little impact in the Philippine telecommunications industry.” Shared through a Facebook post, the DICT assures users of the country’s robust cybersecurity measures. As of now, the department has not reported any cybersecurity breaches coming from Huawei equipment.
Likewise, shortly after the news broke, local telcos confirmed continued support for Huawei’s devices. According to the DICT, “they will diversify in their present and future procurements of equipment to make their networks more robust and future proof.” The department is also imposing strict rules on local telcos regarding network monitoring. The statement also quickly adds the imposition of the same rules on a potential third telco.
Is the DICT’s statement believable? For now, Huawei’s impact is still marginal at best. Companies and consumers are going on the perceived risk of the future. Right now, Huawei has not announced drastic changes to its products yet. Existing Huawei products still support Google.
Of course, cybersecurity is another issue. The risk will always exist when foreign companies control the telecommunications equipment of another country. At the very least, the DICT isn’t treating the whole debacle as a non-issue. Hopefully, the department’s promises are an optimistic sign for the country’s telecommunications industry.
Report: Huawei to lose support from ARM, hampering its own chipsets
Things are getting even worse
Despite Huawei’s gradual loss of support from US-based companies such as Google, Intel, and Broadcom, the Chinese manufacturer has faith in its ability to produce its own replacements. However, with the latest development, even that strategy may be facing a potentially catastrophic obstacle.
BBC has reported that chipset designer ARM informed employees to halt all business with Huawei. ARM is a vital resource for most mobile devices, because even though some brands like Samsung and Huawei can produce their own system-on-chip (SoC), the technologies need to be licensed from ARM before production.
Since ARM is based in the UK, this added blacklisting wasn’t seen as a possibility at first. Unfortunately, the company appears to be complying with the US’ trade ban, the reason being that its designs hold “US origin technology.”
Huawei’s semiconductor firm HiSilicon creates the Kirin processors found in the majority of the company’s smartphones and tablets. Most, if not all, require the ARM license. According to the same report, the upcoming Kirin 985 is clear of the ban, but anything after that will most likely have its production halted.
While Google and Huawei were given an additional 90 days to sort these issues out, no such order was given to ARM just yet, saying that the closed communication takes effect immediately. Huawei hasn’t given a statement about this as of writing.
Huawei is said to have enough components and licensing to last several months to a year of production, but that would only be a short-term solution. What lies ahead for Huawei may only get worse as more bad news rolls in.
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