Category: News

Google is fixing a Chromecast bug that allowed hackers with too much free time to get your location

Google’s popular Chromecast and Home products suffer from a serious privacy flaw that would let hackers discover your location with incredible accuracy, well beyond the information they could learn from an internet service provider.

The good news is that Google will fix this issue via a software update that should be released in July, although Google decided back in May not to address it. Until then, the chances of hackers actually finding out your location are incredibly slim, if you’re internet-savvy enough not to fall for phishing schemes.

First discovered by Tripwire security firm researcher Craig Young, Googlers ignored the vulnerability until famous security blog Krebs on Security reached out to Google.

Young disclosed the attack in May, but the company closed the bug report with a “Status: Won’t Fix (Intended Behavior)” message.

Sure, for the attack to work, an attacker would have to dupe his or her victim to click on a fraudulent link, and then keep the victim on the link for about a minute. So if you’re careful about what kind of content you access while browsing the web, you’d be safe. Also, there are often far worse attacks that can be orchestrated if you get get someone to click the wrong link.

But some people fall for phishing schemes. And in case hackers obtain a victim’s accurate location, they may devise more complex attacks, and even impersonate authorities, such as the police or FBI, or IRS, and offer their access to one’s location as proof they’re a law enforcement agency. The victim would then be more likely to give in to the hacker’s demands.

According to Young, the attack relies on Google’s ability to map the world using Wi-Fi networks. A known Wi-Fi network would correspond to a specific address, and Google uses Wi-Fi tracking to provide accurate navigation information.

“The difference between this and a basic IP geolocation is the level of precision,” Young told Krebs on Security. “For example, if I geolocate my IP address right now, I get a location that is roughly 2 miles from my current location at work. For my home Internet connection, the IP geolocation is only accurate to about 3 miles. With my attack demo however, I’ve been consistently getting locations within about 10 meters of the device.”

For added peace of mind, you could add an extra layer of security to your IoT home, and just create a new Wi-Fi network for all your smart devices — check out Krebs full post on the matter at this link.

Trump might be endangering Apple’s sky-high profits

Apple is set to launch three new iPhones X successors this year, which will likely become instant hits with consumers, much like every other iPhone launch to date. The phones are expected to offer a similar design as the current iPhone X flagship, but pack improved hardware and run Apple’s recently unveiled iOS 12 right out of the box. Rumors say the flagship models might be cheaper than the iPhone X, while the LCD version should be even more affordable.

The worst thing about the iPhones of the near and distant future, however, might not be the notch design or the sky-high price. It’s actually the Donald Trump factor that might have a negative impact on your iPhone experience.

Apple is worried that the escalating trade war with China might have a negative impact on Appel’s business in the region, The New York Times reports.

Tim Cook reportedly met with Trump and members of his cabinet, advising the administration to understand that a trade war is terrible for the economy and Apple. In a meeting with Trump and Larry Kudlow, Cook praised the corporate tax rules the administration passed last year but said a trade war could negate them.

The tariffs that Trump wants to impose on goods from China would become a tax on consumers. The Apple exec also explain that the trade deficit is inflated because of flaws in the way it’s calculated.

The Trump administration told Cook that it would not place tariffs on iPhones, which are assembled entirely in China. That appears to be good news for consumers, but that’s not enough to put Apple’s worries to rest.

Even if Trump doesn’t impose tariffs on Apple, China may always decide to take various measures against Apple locally. Apple is the most successful US tech company operating in China, mainly thanks to Cook’s leadership, with annual revenues of around $50 billion.

But China could retaliate against Apple in response to Trump’s moves. Apple fears that “the Chinese-bureaucracy machine is going to kick in,” which could lead to unwanted issues like shipment delays, and increase scrutiny under the guise of national security concerns. China could also attack Apple in response to the way Chinese companies including ZTE and Huawei have been treated in the US recently, the report notes.

Apple believes that China may have retaliated against the company back in 2014 when Obama indicted five Chinese military hackers. Months later, Chinese regulators delayed the approval of the iPhone 6 citing security reviews.

Cook has been working both with China and the US, the report notes, to advance Apple’s interests. Apple is finding it easier to talk to the Trump administration than Obama’s, and Cook supposedly sees an opening on trade issues because there’s disagreement on China in the White House. Cook ultimately doesn’t believe that Chinese retaliation against Apple, or a trade war, will happen.