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Facebook Messenger now comes with AR games

Another fun way to have a video chat with friends

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Facebook is rolling out an update for the Messenger app on iOS and Android devices with a brand-new feature. Now, you can play games powered by augmented reality (AR) technology with up to six friends on video chat. These games can be accessible through the video icon on your conversations with your friends.

The first of two games in the update is Don’t Smile. The challenge for the users is pretty straightforward: you smile, you lose. The twist here is that using AR, the loser’s face will be contorted into an exaggerated Joker smile for all your friends to see — like a staring contest.


The second game is Asteroids Attack, a team-based game that allows users to navigate a spaceship through rocks and powerups. In this game, AR detects head movement as a way of navigation.

The Messenger app has already incorporated a gaming feature among friends. Whether you activate the game via emoji or using third-party games installed within the app, you’ve had countless ways to play games with your friends through Messenger. With video chat being one of Messenger’s primary features, Facebook simply wants to add more fun to the whole experience.

Facebook promises to release more games in later updates. For now, the new games will not come with in-game ads, sponsored brands, or in-app purchases, but these are things the company will be looking into. They are considering partnerships with developers outside of Facebook for AR games, as well.

Apps

SIM card vulnerability puts your sensitive information at risk

It’s called the SIMjacker

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SIM cards are very important. However, a new SIM card vulnerability found out by AdaptiveMobile Security might be putting our information at risk. The Simjacker exploit, which was recently found out and still being investigated on, allows malicious hackers to steal sensitive information from your phone through a SIM card.

Mechanism of attack

Infographic explaining the attack using Simjacker vulnerability | Photo by Simjacker.com

How does the Simjacker vulnerability work?


First, a hacker sends a malicious code to your phone through SMS. Then, the malicious code is read directly by your SIM card. The code then causes the [email protected] browser to send sensitive information to an accomplice device through SMS.

According to the report pulished by AdaptiveMobile Security regarding the vulnerability, the [email protected] browser is found on most SIM cards even though its development was abandoned many years ago. [email protected] browser was never updated, so it carries the risk of sending sensitive information to hackers when exploited successfully.

Sensitive information retrieved and transmitted by the [email protected] browser include location and the IMEI of an exploited device. The IMEI is a shorthand for International Mobile Equipment Identity, which is a 15 digit number unique to your smartphone that has some information about your device including its brand and model. As such, hackers can determine your exact location if you have a compromised SIM card, regardless of what device you have.

And the worst part of the attack is that you have no way of knowing that it has already been done since it all happens within the SIM card.

Origin and scope of the attack

The purpose for carrying an attack varies. However, the report traces the origin to an unspecified private company that works with governments to monitor individuals. So, there is a real possibility that it has been used to spy on us. And rightly so, since specific individuals were targeted in a certain country.

The report also warned that over one billion smartphones across all continents could be at risk to the vulnerability — and you could be one of them.

Response to the attack

In response to the discovered vulnerability, industry association SIMalliance has already put up recommendations for network providers to secure their networks. At this point in time, you can’t do anything to secure yourself from the vulnerability, unless you decided to go SIM-free.

But as a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t just give your smartphone number like a free lunch. It also pays to update your smartphone once in a while, since some updates are designed to secure your phone from these kind of vulnerabilities and attacks.

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Apple TV+ launches with ridiculously low pricing

It’ll be free for a year for some users

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Apple has announced that it will begin streaming some of its original content for Apple TV+ starting November 1 for US$ 4.99. The subscription price is extremely affordable and meant to undercut rivals like Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney.

It will additionally be available through tv.apple.com on the web, select 2018, 2019 and newer Samsung smart TVs, and on Amazon Fire TV, LG, Roku, Sony and VIZIO platforms in the future.


Apple TV+ is expected to launch in over 100 countries, with up to six members to share one subscription at no extra cost. To lure more users, purchasing a new iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV in the coming weeks will get you a one year of subscription for free.

The service is launching with a panoply of star-filled titles, including Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon in The Morning Show and Hailee Steinfeld’s drama series Dickinson.

Apple named nine total titles that would be available at launch on Apple TV+. “All of these incredible shows for the price of a single movie rental,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said Tuesday on stage.

Though, critics say Apple’s offering isn’t actually comparable to the competition because they also have tonnes of licensed TV shows and movies. Focusing on original production is just a part of it and brands like Netflix have invested heavily in getting exclusive rights to many blockbuster creations.

Apple TV+ is in-line with the company’s attempt to monetize its virtual offerings. Instead of completely relying on hardware for revenue, Apple is slowly amping up its subscriptions models. Right now, other products include Apple Music, Apple News+, iCloud, and Apple Arcade.

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Facebook Dating is now live with Instagram integration

Hopefully, this doesn’t get awkward

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A few months back Facebook announced it’ll be releasing a matchmaking feature on its app. People who opt into Dating can create a profile that’s separate from their main Facebook profile with one tap and meet potential romantic partners among their friends of friends.

Then there’s a whole thing called “Secret Crush” where you can add up to nine Facebook friends or Instagram followers to a list, and if they secretly crush you back, you’ll both get notified.


Users of Instagram will also be able to integrate their posts directly into their “Facebook Dating” profile and give people the ability to add Instagram followers to “Secret Crush” lists. Eventually, the site will offer the ability for users to add Facebook and Instagram Stories to a dating profile.

Facebook’s blog post said the dating feature was designed to be “safe, inclusive and opt-in.” Users are able to report and block other users, and users are not allowed to send photos, links, payments or videos in messages. The feature is also restricted to users who are 18 and older.

And obviously, an algorithm will determine who you “may” like based on your previous activity. Critics have also pointed out that Facebook has a thin white line because users shouldn’t be too affected because of the service. Getting ignored by strangers is different, and getting ignored by one of your “friends” is different.

Modern tech-based brands are ruling the world and among the top is Tinder. The dating app is widely used and recognized. It was also the first one to come up with the infamous left or right swipe design. Other options include Ok Cupid, Bumble, and more.

For now, the matchmaking feature is limited to the US and we expect a gradual roll-out in other regions soon.

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