News

Xiaomi gets in security camera issue, quickly responds

The service has been suspended

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Image source: Reddit | u/Dio-V

When you install a security camera in your home, you can usually expect one thing: complete surveillance over your abode. Coupled with a smart home system, you have a controllable security system from the luxury of a mobile device.

However, last year introduced an inevitable side effect of maintaining a smart home system: third parties snooping on your private life. Facebook, Google, and Apple have already stuck their fingers in the cookie jar. You’ll never know who’s watching or listening in.

Adding to this mire, Xiaomi is currently dipping into the same controversy. A Reddit user has reportedly walked in on a disturbing scene on their Google Nest Hub. As with every diligent smart home owner, the user installed a smart security camera — the Xiaomi Mijia — to their Nest Hub.

Image source: Reddit | u/Dio-V

Naturally, pulling up the camera feed on the system should open up only one thing: their own camera feed. Unfortunately, it didn’t go that way. Allegedly, instead of their own camera feed, the system pulled up random feeds from other people’s homes. The black-and-white feeds include empty living rooms, an infant sleeping in a crib, and an elderly man lounging on a couch. Even stranger, the feeds are glitchy, highlighting the situation’s weirdness.

A security camera spying on another security camera is a major security infraction. Even without a clear culprit yet, the situation adds to the mire surrounding invasive smart technology.

Xiaomi’s response

Being alerted on the matter, Xiaomi immediately looked into the issue and took action. Here’s the statement Xiaomi sent to GadgetMatch:

“Upon investigation, we have found out the issue was caused by a cache update on December 26, 2019, which was designed to improve camera streaming quality. This has only happened in extremely rare conditions. In this case, it happened during the integration between Mi Home Security Camera Basic 1080p and the Google Home Hub with a display screen under poor network conditions.

We have also found 1044 users were with such integrations and only a few with extremely poor network conditions might be affected. This issue will not happen if the camera is linked to the Xiaomi’s Mi Home app.

Xiaomi has communicated and fixed this issue with Google, and has also suspended this service until the root cause has been completely solved, to ensure that such issues will not happen again.”

It’s good to see companies reacting quickly on matters like this. Xiaomi has apologized and reiterates that they “always prioritized our users’ privacy and information security.”

SEE ALSO: How to identify counterfeit Xiaomi products


Editor’s Note: Xiaomi’s statement on the matter was added to this article on January 4, 2020

Enterprise

TikTok has collected user information illegally

They know who you are

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For months now, the US has hounded TikTok for potentially enabling Chinese cyber espionage. ByteDance, TikTok’s owner, is a Chinese company, making it a prime target for data collection. Of course, despite the numerous warnings, TikTok’s transgressions have only started appearing en masse recently. Today, a new conspiracy adds another drop to the overflowing bucket. Unfortunately, it’s a big one. Apparently, TikTok has collected user information illegally for over a year. TikTok knows who you are.

Reported by the Wall Street Journal, TikTok collected and sent valuable MAC addresses and advertising IDs to ByteDance until around November of last year. Of note, Google prohibits this questionable practice, banning apps that practice the method. However, TikTok applied a layer of encryption that hid the practice from the Play Store.

For the unfamiliar, MAC addresses are much more valuable than IP address. While IP addresses constantly change, MAC addresses are more difficult to alter. Most users will usually cycle through the lifespan of a device without giving their MAC addresses a second thought. However, the MAC address is an incredibly unique identifier for your device. Only you should ideally have that address. That said, TikTok’s sketchy collection tactic is much weightier than normal.

According to TikTok’s policies now, the platform does not collect these identifiers anymore. However, it doesn’t bode well for long-time TikTok users since last year. At its most docile, the practice likely facilitated advertising opportunities for the platform. However, it is still highly illegal to collect that data without permission. If anything, the report will give cybersecurity pundits more ammo against the already struggling company.

More than a week ago, Trump had already signed a ban against the app, giving the platform only until September 15 to divest its American assets over to an American corporation.

SEE ALSO: French privacy watchdog is now probing TikTok

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News

Huawei files patent for fullscreen fingerprint scanner

The future is fullscreen fingerprint

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The tech industry hopes to take under-display fingerprint scanners to the next level with impressive innovations.

Huawei recently filed a patent for an under-display fingerprint scanner that covers the entire screen. The filing shows multiple sensors will allow you to unlock your phone by pressing anywhere on the display.

Last last year, Qualcomm showed off its 3D Sonic Max tech featuring a larger area for the sensor but it’s nothing like what Huawei is developing.

Users can assign sensors to lock or unlock certain points on a screen. For example, setting a lock on the Image Gallery will require a fingerprint to access it. This should help keep personal information and data more secure.

To save on battery life, users will get the option to turn off sensors they don’t intend on using.

There’s currently no word on when the technology will roll out to devices in the future.

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Gaming

Hyper Scape is now available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One

Another exciting and unique battle royale game in the market

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Ubisoft wants to join in the fray with their own battle royale game. Much like already successful titles, this new battle royale is free-to-play and available across multiple devices. The combat formula is roughly the same, but this time anarchy is the name of the game. Time to enter the world of Hyper Scape!

Hyper Scape is a 100-person battle royale that adds a more modern twist. Instead of mountains, hills, small towns, and battered scenery, you will compete inside a technologically-advanced setting. With a vareity of weapons, Hacks, and Fusion techniques, you will outlast everyone in Neo Arcadia. The entire game will also feature innovate gameplay mechanics that will surely spice up all the fights.

Along with the new game, Ubisoft also announced its first Battle Pass with a ton of rewards to offer. It includes an unlockable new weapon in the Dragonfly, and a new Hack called Magnet. Apart from these, there will also be limited time modes for players to grind out the Battle Pass along with standard modes.

What the team is truly proud of is its integration to the streaming platform, Twitch. This is possible through the game’s Twitch extension called Kudos — an extension purchased through Twitch bits. Essentially, Kudos will allow players to support their favorite streamers and react to exciting gameplay. Furthermore, this feature even contributes to Battle Pass progression by watching Twitch streams.

Hyper Scape is available for the PC through UPlay, the PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

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