Enterprise

Former Twitter employees reportedly spied on users for Saudi Arabia

More than 6,000 accounts hacked

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Image source: Twitter

Absolutely no one is safe from drama these days. Facebook, Huawei, Blizzard; for the past year, these companies have found themselves on the receiving end of today’s negative headlines. Though a hotspot for its own controversies, Twitter is relatively steering clear from this year’s drama. In fact, the social media giant recently banned all political ads on its platform, inciting a round of applause from a lot of users.

Unfortunately, here’s a slight tarnish on Twitter’s relatively clean record. Announced today, two former Twitter employees have allegedly spied on numerous Twitter accounts for the Saudi Arabian government. All of the suspects are being (or have been) pursued by the American government.

According to the suit, one of the suspects, Ahmad Abouammo supposedly accessed only three accounts. However, another former employee, Ali Alzabarah, accessed over 6,000 accounts. Taking place between 2014 and 2015, the breach targeted individuals who were overtly critical of the Saudi Arabian government — including Jamal Khashoggi, a murdered Saudi Arabian journalist from last year.

“We will not allow U.S. companies or U.S. technology to become tools of foreign repression in violation of U.S. law,” said US Attorney David L. Anderson, according to The Washington Post. For the first time in a while, the American government is taking a strong stance against Saudi Arabia, a country controversially supported by US President Donald Trump.

In Twitter’s defense, the company is decrying the blatant invasion of privacy. According to a spokesman, Twitter’s sensitive data is accessed only by “a limited group of trained and vetted employees.” For what it’s worth, Twitter values the importance of dissenting opinions. “We understand the incredible risks faced by many who use Twitter to share their perspectives with the world and to hold those in power accountable. We have tools in place to protect their privacy and their ability to do their vital work.”

SEE ALSO: Twitter is finally getting a dark mode for Android!

Enterprise

Samsung’s phones are sending information to a Chinese company

But it’s not all bad, according to Samsung

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More than a week into 2020, the Chinese cybersecurity issue still proliferates. Today, the target is Samsung. A few days ago, Reddit presented a comprehensive thread on a concerning issue involving all Samsung smartphones.

Apparently, Samsung’s utility app — called Device Care — obtains one of its features from “a super shady Chinese data-mining/antivirus company called Qihoo 360.” As the name suggests, Qihoo 360 provides the app’s storage scanner. Further, as with most utility apps, Device Care is a mandatory, pre-installed app; you couldn’t delete it, even if you wanted to.

Allegedly, the antivirus provider has a less-than-stellar reputation, even in its own home turf. Among other things, it peddles obnoxious adware and actively hunts down other antivirus software in a device. Similarly, it has also been implicated in spyware cases in the past — including a controversy wherein the company sends user data to the Chinese government.

More than just Chinese fear, the Reddit user also tested the app for any communication with outside servers. Surprisingly enough, Device Care does establish communication with several Chinese servers. Unfortunately, the thread does not detail what information was transferred in the process.

Regardless, the information was enough to spark discussion especially among Western users who remain wary about Chinese involvement in their technology.

However, according to a statement from Samsung Members Korea, Device Care sends only information regarding suspected junk files to Qihoo 360. The app merely cross-references its information with Qihoo 360’s databases to confirm whether a file should be deleted or not.

Additionally, in a statement addressed to The Verge, the sent data includes only generic information such as phone model and OS version. “The storage optimization process, including the scanning and removal of junk files, is fully managed by Samsung’s device care solution,” the statement said.

Put simply, there’s nothing to be worried about. Unfortunately, Samsung’s statement will not quell the world’s fears against Chinese technology. Currently, China’s technology sector is still waging a defensive war against all front all over the world.

SEE ALSO: Samsung copies Apple’s logos for CES keynote

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CES 2020

Samsung copies Apple’s logos for CES keynote

Almost identical to FaceID and TouchID logos

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Image source: Samsung

These days, every smartphone maker has a feature that everyone else has. Everyone has bezel-less designs, multi-camera setups, and facial recognition software, for example. However, despite the industry’s tendency to share features with one another, every company has their own take or branding. It’s an unwritten rule that companies can have the same features as another, only if the branding is different.

Oddly enough, Samsung breached this rule recently. At a CES 2020 press conference, the company copied one of Apple’s most prized technologies in recent history. During the company’s talk on cybersecurity, the keynote presented its latest investments in the industry, including facial recognition software. However, in presenting the new information, Samsung used an all-too-familiar image: Apple’s FaceID logo.

More precisely, Samsung’s weird facsimile has thicker lines and tighter spacing. Regardless, the resemblance is damning. Of course, Samsung did not advertise or claim any involvement with Apple’s products. That said, the blunder is a big one, especially considering that both companies have engaged in copyright spats in the past.

Similarly, Samsung’s included graphic for fingerprint recognition is also remarkably similar to Apple’s TouchID.

Samsung has not clarified the blunder. On the other hand, Apple has also remained silent. If anything, Samsung’s mistake is a source of lighthearted amusement in this year’s CES event.

SEE ALSO: Samsung QLED 8K TV: Future-proof your TV viewing

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Enterprise

Vivo, OPPO, Xiaomi are working together for faster data transfers

Transfers can reach up to 20MB/s

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This year, the world is finally getting consumer-friendly 5G internet. After months of stalling, we are ready for the future.

Naturally, higher internet speeds come with larger file sizes. Why should you skimp on file sizes when you have the world’s most cutting-edge technology? Unfortunately, this can mean only one thing. Our devices are burdened with a game of catch-up: larger storages and faster transfer speeds.

Thankfully, storage capacities are already developing larger solutions. Likewise, albeit in a smaller capacity, we are on the cups of faster data transferring.

Particularly, Vivo, Xiaomi, and OPPO have formed an alliance for a higher standard in data transferring. Officially named the “Peer-to-Peer Transmission Alliance,” the deal will deliver seamless transferring without installing third-party software or ruining your monthly data allowance. According to a press release, transfer speeds can reach up to 20MB/s.

Transfers between the three brands will use two different technologies simultaneously: Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The devices will use Bluetooth to pair. After pairing, they will use Wi-Fi P2P to transfer the files. Additionally, both users can still use their devices while the transfer completes.

Of the three brands, OPPO and Vivo make the most sense. Both brands are under the same parent company. Xiaomi’s inclusion is surprising but welcome.

The new feature will roll out across Vivo products starting February in select markets. Unfortunately, no word yet on the other two brands and in specific devices or markets.

SEE ALSO: Vivo NEX 3 review: More now than next

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