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AfterDawn: News

Apple will give special iPhones to researchers to hack them

Written by James Delahunty @ 22 Jul 2020 9:03

Apple will give special iPhones to researchers to hack them Apple is to loan unrestricted iPhones to security researchers to help them discover vulnerabilities that threaten their security.

Apple pays out bounties of up to $1 million to researchers who find bugs in their products' that could potentially be used for nefarious purposes. It has started to loan Security Research Devices (SRD) to researchers with a record of finding such vulnerabilities.

These SRD iPhones are not restricted in the way off-the-shelf iPhones are. They will provide full root shell access to the researchers and allow them to run their own commands and so forth. This can't typically be done on an iPhone. Some devices that are jailbroken can be probed in this way but jailbreaks are rarer with newer iOS devices.

To apply to receive one of these devices, a researcher must be an account holder in the Apple Developer program, have a track record of finding security bugs, and also reside in a region Apple is comfortable with.

Any bugs found in Apple's code must be reported to Apple as soon as possible, and problems with third-party software are to be reported to the appropriate vendor. Researchers who have an SRD iPhone cannot use it for personal reasons, and it must remain on the premises of the researcher.

AfterDawn: News

OnePlus unveils the $399 OnePlus Nord with six cameras

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 21 Jul 2020 10:30

OnePlus unveils the $399 OnePlus Nord with six cameras OnePlus has been teasing us with their affordable yet well-equipped smartphone for quite a while now, and here it is finally. The company unveiled OnePlus Nord which means a "New Beginning" for the company.

OnePlus has traditionally released two sets of smartphones every year for a while now, before that it was just a single phone each year. However, there was one exception in 2015, when the company tried making a more affordable version of their smartphone.

However, this OnePlus X was the only of its kind, until now.

While OnePlus Nord definitely seems like a spiritual successor to the OnePlus X, it actually isn't that at all. There are number of reasons they chose to not name the new phone OnePlus Z, as intially rumored.

Most importantly, unlike the X, OnePlus Nord is packed with features. This is due to the fact that OnePlus flagship phones have become more premium products with a much higher price tag that in 2015. Thus the more affordable phone is more expensive as well.

OnePlus Nord is equipped with a 5G-enabled Snadpragon 765G chipset, quad camera in the back, dual camera up front, and a 6.44 inch, 20:9 and 2400x1080 90 hz OLED (they call it Fluid AMOLED) screen.


AfterDawn: News

Free Netflix for 83 years? That's right, Netflix launches a game where you can win exactly that

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 17 Jul 2020 7:38

Free Netflix for 83 years? That's right, Netflix launches a game where you can win exactly that Netflix is launching a browser-based game today called The Old Guard. The player that achieves the high-score is entitled to a "immortal" Netflix subscription of of 1'000 months.

1'000 months is roughly 83 years, so it should last, if not your entire lifetime, pretty much into anyone's retirement. The game itself obviously advertises Netflix's similarly named movie, which in turn, is based on graphuc novel by Greg Rucka.

The game itself is a browser-based, top-down beat 'em up video game. Game will be available only for two days, launching on 17th of July, 2020 at 8pm PST and will close two days later, on 19th of July, 2020 at 8pm PST. Whoever has the highest score by end of the time period, wins the "immortal" Netflix subscription, worth appx. $9'000.

Game is available at

AfterDawn: News

Twitter investigating hack that targeted politicians, billionaires

Written by James Delahunty @ 15 Jul 2020 10:59

Twitter investigating hack that targeted politicians, billionaires Twitter is investigating a coordinated social engineering attack targeting its employees which resulted in high profile accounts being compromised.

A number of high-profile Twitter accounts with a lot of followers were seemingly compromised on Wednesday and used to advertise a cryptocurrency scam. Accounts belonging to former U.S. President Barack Obama, entertainer Kanye West, billionaire Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and others were caught in the event.

Each was used to tweet about a bogus giveaway. It promised that if any person sends $1,000 to a Bitcoin address, it will return $2,000, masked as a giveaway to the community due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to reports, the scammers involved received over $100,000 in transactions going by publicly available blockchain records.

Twitter responded to the incident promptly and stopped all verified accounts from tweeting at all. Later, it restored access to many of the accounts but for the time being, is keeping compromised accounts blocked.

So how did this happen? So far Twitter has determined that there has been a coordinated social engineering attack aimed at its employees. These employees were targeted because they had access to Twitter's internal systems and tools. A social engineering attack targets an unpatchable vulnerability in security systems; the human. It is essentially the act of tricking someone with access do what the attacker wants. For example, if Twitter employees were conned into believing an attacker was part of the company itself, they may have granted access or handed over sensitive information under false pretenses.


AfterDawn: News

Apple had to pay nearly a billion dollars to Samsung for missing display order target

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 14 Jul 2020 2:45

Apple had to pay nearly a billion dollars to Samsung for missing display order target As you might imagine, the technology industry has been suffering, although not as much as some other industries, ever since the COVID-19 hit the streets of Wuhan and the rest of the world.

For Apple this has meant the first ever virtual WWDC, iPhone production issues and plummeting sales.

While not selling expected amounts of iPhones translates straight into a bottom line of the quarterly reports, there are other not-so-direct implications too.

This is evident when DSCC has analyzed Samsung's Display division's quarterly guidance. Due to lower iPhone sales, Apple has ordered less of their high-end OLED displays – Samsung no longer makes LCD panels found in iPhone SE, iPhone XR, and iPhone 11 – but due to the contract Apple had to pay a fee for not ordering enough display panels.


AfterDawn: News

Apple's $500 million batterygate settlement up for grabs

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 14 Jul 2020 12:13

Apple's $500 million batterygate settlement up for grabs Apple, just like any other tech manufacturer, has had their problems with products be it Macs or iPhones. Usually they've been rectified with callbacks or updates but sometimes there's enough reason for a class-action lawsuit.

This was the case with the batterygate couple years back. Apple was caught slowing down customers' iPhones to preserve battery life without them knowing.

Cupertino's own conglomerate decided to release updates to allow users control the battery and power management, changed the options in further models, and even issued a battery replacement program that ended up being super popular.

However, this wasn't enough to satisfy everyone, and a class-action lawsuit continued to demand reparations for the issue.

Just this week the lawsuit has entered a new phase where customers can submit a claim to the settlement payment. A website has been created for those who have been wronged. You might be eligible for a settlement of $25 if:


AfterDawn: News

Nintendo and LEGO announce The LEGO NES Console

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 14 Jul 2020 9:37

Nintendo and LEGO announce The LEGO NES Console As the retro computing boom continues, this was probably something to be expected, somehow. LEGO and Nintendo have joined forces and created a gaming console made out of lego bricks.

The LEGO NES Console isn't a really functional gaming console, but a replica of the iconic Nintendo NES console, but made out of lego bricks. It aalso comes with a oöd-fashioned TV set, again, made out of bricks and, obviously, a game controller and Super Mario Bros. game. The TV set is equipped with a tiny crank. Rotating the crank will move a tiny Mario across the screen.

Nintendo The LEGO NES Console

The set goes for sale on 1st of August in all official LEGO stores across the globe and will also be available through LEGO's own online store. The set will then be released to other retail channels (toy stores, supermarkets and other online stores) at the beginning of 2021. The set costs appx $250 / €230, depending on region.


AfterDawn: News

Android hits 400 million devices in record time

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 13 Jul 2020 12:52

Android hits 400 million devices in record time Google has revealed that their latest Android version has surpassed 400 million devices. According to the company the adoption rate has been far superior to any of the previous versions.

For ages we've known that Google's perhaps the most resilient issues is the fact that Android users don't get software updates. The adoption rate of new OS versions and thus invaluable security updates is sad compared to the likes of iOS.

However, over the years there has been improvement. Android Pie was better adopted than Android Oreo and Android 10 has blown Android Pie out of the water.

The Android Developers blog post reveals that Android 10 got to 100 million users in 5 months, or 28 percent faster than Android Pie.

The first 280 or so days that was required for Android 10 to reach 400 million devices the predecessor only managed to get to around 280 million devices.

Ever since Android 8 Oreo, Google has been improving the adoption rate with Project Treble. Project Treble allows manufacturers to separate their customized part of the OS from the core OS that can therefore be updated more easily without the manufacturer having to release their updated code.


AfterDawn: News

Spotify has a new couples plan called Premium Duo

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 02 Jul 2020 11:07

Spotify has a new couples plan called Premium Duo If you have a significant other and you are sharing a music streaming service, especially Spotify with all kinds of algorithmic magic, you've definitely noticed some drawbacks.

On the other hand, if you both have the same service, there's probably quite a bit of overlap that makes it awfully uneconomical to have two plans. Well, turns out that Spotify has been thinking about rectifying these exact problems.

Cue Spotify Premium Duo.

Spotify's new couples plan, Premium Duo, offers two Premium accounts under the same umbrella. This allows them to enjoy the personalized and automized playlists separately but also to "unique benefits" as a couple at $12.99/mo. That's a three dollar premium compared to the regular Spotify Premium.

In addition to the custom playlists, users of course get access to the 50 million or so songs and an increasingly large catalog of podcasts, currently weighing in over 1 million podcasts and soon exclusively including the Joe Rogan Experience.


AfterDawn: News

Apple has worked overtime to cut three month iPhone delay

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 02 Jul 2020 10:47

Apple has worked overtime to cut three month iPhone delay The COVID-19 crisis has affected a lot of industries is numerous different ways. For airlines and hotels it's been destructive but even technology companies have had their issues.

While China got through the epidemic fairly quickly and restarted production only after a month of pause, two at most, the cooperation between manufacturing in China and product design in Europe and the US was more complicated.

Among the affected was Apple, whose production was stalled and the development teams couldn't visit factories to make sure everything is running as planned. Rumors as early as March had it that Apple is considering postponing the iPhone launch.

This, however, might not be the case anymore, Nikkei reports. After long hours after things have moved on, Apple has slowly managed to claw back time.

According to the paper, Apple was three months behind schedule at the thick of it, which could've meant that this would've been the first year since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 that the company can't bring a successor to the world's leading smartphone to the market.


AfterDawn: News

Discord becomes a place for more than just gamers

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 01 Jul 2020 10:54

Discord becomes a place for more than just gamers The introduction of chat room apps like Discord and Slack has made a huge impact on gaming communities and workplaces alike.

The former became the king of gamers overthrowing old-school programs that included the likes of TeamSpeak and Mumble. Offering more complex features and more thought-out interface it quickly became the de facto communications platform for gamers.

However, it has now saturated much of the market it wanted to capture, and thus is trying to explore new waters and conquer new lands.

The company says that it wants to be a communications platform for all kinds of daily conversing. Discord's new website claims it's "a new way to chat with your communities and friends."


AfterDawn: News

The iPhone 12 might not come with a charger or EarPods

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 01 Jul 2020 10:32

The iPhone 12 might not come with a charger or EarPods Upcoming iPhone launch is closing in, although it's yet unclear whether COVID-19 had effect on the release date, and much of the rumorsphere is focusing at this point in time on Apple's new smartphone. The latest of them claims that the company has made a first-of-a-kind decision: not to include a charger or EarPods.

Now, this is still only rumors, and one should take it with a grain of salt, but it does sound oddly Apple-like. Whether they are going to be asking an ungodly amount of money for such a simple and obligatory accessory or not, it's going to anger some folks.

There is an other side of the coin for this one too. Apple would be reducing waste quite a bit, one can imagine. After all, we've all got probably one too many wall chargers for our phones – even after populating nearly all sockets in our homes – and there's plenty of crappy wired headphones to go around.

This might also be a blessing in disguise, since Apple's chargers are often trash in terms of wattage. Perhaps you'll finally get a proper fast charger for your phone.


AfterDawn: News

Disney removing three Star Wars movies from the canon?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Jun 2020 3:51

Disney removing three Star Wars movies from the canon? The original Star Wars saga was considered among the best of what both science fiction and Hollywood cinema had to offer. However, the same can't be said from the mess it has become in the past 20 years.

While some might like even most of what Lucasfilm has produced in the new millenium, most would agree that the consistency of the originals just isn't there.

This isn't limited to the fans of the epic saga but there are creators among the Lucasfilm family that do not see eye-to-eye when it comes to the legacy they are creating.

Rumors from inside the studio tell that Disney is considering removing the last three Star Wars movies from the official saga. While they wouldn't be entire scrapped from the history, they would create an alternative timeline and thus keep open possibilities for other products of the franchise.

It's said that among the characters butting heads are Disney+ hit show The Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau and producer Kathleen Kennedy, whose been part of the latest Star Wars trilogy.

While the popularity of Star Wars franchise is still very much in tact, and The Mandalorian was a success among critics too, the box office figures went massively down from 2015 The Force Awakens towards last year's The Rise of Skywalker.


AfterDawn: News

Another next gen Xbox to be revealed in August

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Jun 2020 10:56

Another next gen Xbox to be revealed in August Sony finally unveiled their upcoming gaming console, two of them in fact, just couple weeks ago. The next generation PlayStation took people by surprise due to it's very futuristic design language, which sparked both admiration and obviously memes.

Pictures of Microsoft's next-gen console has been out and about for a while now, but there's been rumors of another one. Now those rumors have gathered more wind in their sails, as leak suggests the lite version of this year's Xbox is going to be unveiled in August.

While initially the plans, per Eurogamer, were to unveil Xbox Series S in June, at this point it is clear that it's not going to happen. In fact, the company has now moved the event to August, The Verge reports.

Xbox Series S is likely going to be a similar sibling to Xbox Series X (pictured) as the Digital Edition of PS5 is to its bigger brother. It's going to run the same games with similar performance but is going to be missing an optical drive and perhaps some RAM and storage space.


AfterDawn: News

WATCH: DVD player used to hack PS2

Written by James Delahunty @ 29 Jun 2020 4:00

WATCH: DVD player used to hack PS2 Two decades after the PlayStation 2 console was released, a working exploit targeting the DVD player functionality is demonstrated.

In its life on the market, the PS2 has been hacked in many ways. The most obvious and complete method of hacking a PS2 is through the use of a modchip, most of which have to be soldered to the mainboard of the unit. Outside of modifying the board, there were disc swapping tricks that required a console to be opened to interfere with disc sensors. There were also some softmod methods that either involved using a modified memory card, or tricks that required the HDD expansion bay (not present on slim consoles).

The holy grail for booting unsigned / unauthorized code on a PS2 would be a method that required no modification at the hardware level, just insert the disc and watch it boot.

Twenty years after the console was introduced, software engineer CTurt has developed such a method. In a blog post, CTurt goes into detail on how he has managed to develop FreeDVDBoot - an entry-point software exploit for the console. The exploit targets the PS2's DVD-Video functionality (all PS2's can play DVDs).


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