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Apple ‘deeply apologetic’ after phishing scam compromises some Apple IDs in China

Apple has issued an apology after a phishing scam hit some of its users in China, where the company says a “small number” of Apple IDs were improperly accessed and hackers even managed to use them to make purchases of as much as 2,000 yuan — the equivalent of $290. “We are deeply apologetic about the inconvenience caused to our customers by these phishing scams,” Apple offered in a statement shared in China today.

The iPhone maker hasn’t disclosed how much money in total was stolen, how many users it affected, and really any detailed look at what happened. One thing we do know, according to Apple, is that the victims hadn’t turned on two-factor authentication, something the company is now reminding all users to do.

News of the China hack comes against a backdrop of escalating U.S.-China trade tensions that are particularly risky for Apple, which assembles most of its products in the country. Also, per The Wall Street Journal, “China is a key market for Apple and the fraud is the latest challenge it is facing in an area where its share of the smartphone market has been treading water … The hacking incident received broad media coverage in China, including detailed reports by state broadcaster CCTV that included victims saying they lost money to App Store purchases they didn’t make. The broadcaster urged the companies to be more responsive.”

Alipay and WeChat Pay, prominent payment companies in China, announced last week that hackers had gotten into some users’ payment accounts, the paper continues. What’s more, many consumers in the country connect their Apple accounts to those payment systems — Alipay being the payments affiliate of Alibaba, while WeChat Pay is owned by Tencent.

Apple is increasingly having to address security and privacy concerns out of China these days, where the company has been, among other things, trying to get a lid on iMessage spam there and dealt with a glut of illegal gambling apps on the Chinese version of the iOS App Store. From 9to5Mac about the Apple ID hack: “If two-factor authentication is enabled, users must independently approve account access for new device logins. This greatly reduces the chance of phishing attacks ultimately working, as unknown login requests can simply be denied.

“Apple’s operating systems encourage users to upgrade their accounts to two-factor authentication security regularly. However, there is still a significant proportion of the Apple ID user base that has not enabled the feature.”

Google is making a huge change to its business model in response to the EU

Google is preparing for a major shift to its business model in response to a record-breaking EU fine this summer over the rules that Google binds Android handset makers to if they want access to the OS — rules that include requiring those handset manufacturers to set Google’s own search and web browsers as the default offerings.

Now, in response to the EU ruling, Google is saying it will shift for the first time away from giving away its Android OS for free to get it onto as many devices as possible. Google will now charge a licensing fee for Android device makers that want to deliver handsets pre-installed with apps like Gmail and YouTube within the EU. In another major change, per CNBCGoogle will also end restrictions on phone makers selling forked versions of Android.

“Previously,” CNBC notes, “Google tied together a suite of 11 different apps that phone makers would have to pre-install if they wanted to license its app store, Play. In July, the EU ruled that this bundling was anti-competitive — pushing consumers towards Google’s search engine and weakening rival app makers — though it only specifically called for Google to separate Chrome and Search from Play.”

This is what we reported earlier this summer would be the big thing to watch once the EU ruling came down. Everyone knew a mega-fine was coming, and since Google basically mints money thanks in part to its lucrative ad business there was no question it would be able to absorb any financial penalty. What was going to be especially interesting to look out for, we noted, was whether the EU fine would force any kind of change to the way the search giant does business. Indeed, it appears that’s coming to pass.
Details are still few about what the financial consequences of this move will be for Google, which is going to start selling a license for a package that includes Gmail, YouTube, Maps and the Google Play store. Google is also going to sell a separate license for Android device makers that want to use Google Search and Chrome but pair those with services from Google competitors. Among other things we don’t know at this point is how much those licenses will cost.

Here’s more from The New York Times about the backstory and what this all means: “By obligating handset makers to load the free apps along with the Android operating system, regulators said, Google had boxed out competitors. With the company now required to separate its services in Europe, handset manufacturers like Samsung and Huawei will now have more flexibility there to choose what applications they want to pre-install on phones.”

Android, the paper goes on to note, is the most widely used mobile operating system in the world. More than 80 percent of all smartphones run Android, as do more than 24,000 different kinds of devices.

“Using Android,” reports the NYT, “has allowed companies like Samsung to compete against Apple’s iPhone without having to make their own software. In providing Android free to any device maker to use and modify, Google helped make the software available everywhere — in phones, tablets, cars and refrigerators. But the company tied the use of the popular Play store, where customers can download more than one million apps made by outside developers, to requirements that device makers feature other, ad-driven services like Google’s search engine and web browser.”

Some device makers had complained to regulators in Europe that Google’s terms effectively boxed them out from producing successful devices that don’t rely heavily on Google applications. Now, presumably, they have more freedom to try to do so.

“Going forward, Android partners wishing to distribute Google apps may also build noncompatible, or forked, smartphones and tablets” in Europe, Google said in a company blog post today. “Second, device manufacturers will be able to license the Google mobile application suite separately from the Google Search App or the Chrome browser. Since the pre-installation of Google Search and Chrome together with our other apps helped us fund the development and free distribution of Android, we will introduce a new paid licensing agreement for smartphones and tablets shipped into the EEA. Android will remain free and open source.”

Former Google designer blasts Google+, says the initiative was a mess from the start

When Google last week announced that it was axing Google+ for consumers, my first reaction was utter shock and disbelief — mostly because I had completely forgotten that Google’s ill-fated attempt at a Facebook clone was even still around. Originally launched in 2011, Google+ was essentially Google’s effort to wade into social networking waters and geniunely compete with Facebook.

Despite Google’s vast amount of resources and engineering talent, Google+ was something of a joke right from the start. And though the search giant did all sorts of crafty things to boost the cumulative number of Google+ users, user engagement on the site never even came close to matching what Facebook managed to achieve. With Google+ now nothing more than a footnote in tech history, Morgan Knutson — a former designer on the Google+ team — published a wild and completely enthralling recap of his time working on the site. Put simply, Knutson explains why Google+ was a mess — bureaucratic and otherwise — from the start.

Knutson’s lengthy thread was first published on Twitter and was compiled into a single entry on Threader. The entire thing is captivating and well worth reading in its entirety, but we’ve selected a few notable excerpts below.

Interestingly, Knutson details how Google+ was given exceptionally favorable treatement because it was under purview of Vic Gundotra, a former Google executive with quite a bit of power and influence.

Google+ was situated in THE main building. 1900. A floor away from Larry’s office (CEO). If you were one of the 12,000+ people at google in MV who didn’t work on Plus, then you didn’t have access to these floors.

The CEO didn’t just have an office. The entire floor was his. We all had access to it and were encouraged to use it sparingly. A “war room” here and there.

We had access to “his” cafe too. A super fancy vegan cafe called “cloud” that wouldn’t be sustainable in the real world.

Why this exclusivity? What made this project so special? Why was it held so closely to Google’s chest? I’d find out later that the SVP of Plus used his clout to swing all of this.

His name was Vic Gundotra.

He was relatively charismatic. I remember him frequently flirting with the women on the team. Gave me a compounded horrible impression of him.

What’s more, Knutson relays how other teams at Google were incentivized to incorporate Google+ into their own services.

If your team, say on Gmail or Android, was to integrate Google+’s features then your team would be awarded a 1.5-3x multiplier on top of your yearly bonus. Your bonus was already something like 15% of your salary.

You read that correctly. A fuck ton of money to ruin the product you were building with bloated garbage that no one wanted 😂 No one really liked this. People drank the kool-aid though, but mostly because it was green and made of paper.

While you might think that a core initiative like Google+ coming from a company with as many resources as Google would be well managed and efficiently run, Knutson describes a working environment that is as chaotic as it is seemingly random and one where problems were seemingly solved by reflexively adding more and more engineers.

If you’re curious as to what it’s like to work on a monumental initiative at a huge tech company, you’ll definitely want to read Knutson’s full story.

7 paid iPhone apps you can download for free on October 16th

If you’re looking for new apps to fill up your iPhone or iPad and you don’t want to break the bank in the process, you’ve come to the right place. We dug through hundreds of apps on sale to find the seven best premium iOS apps that are available as free downloads for a limited time. Definitely check them out before these deals are done.

This post covers paid iPhone and iPad apps that have been made available for free for a limited time by their developers. BGR is not affiliated with any app developers. There is no way to tell how long they will be free. These sales could end an hour from now or a week from now — obviously, the only thing we can guarantee is that they were free at the time this post was written. If you click on a link and see a price listed next to an app instead of the word “get,” it is no longer free. The sale has ended. If you download the app anyway, you will be charged by Apple. Some apps may have additional in-app purchases. Subscribe to our RSS feed to be notified as soon as these posts are published and you’ll avoid missing the sales we cover.

Neptune – Security & System

Normally $0.99.

Are your sure your iPhone or iPad is fine?
Do you want to protect your iOS device and improve the performance?
To do so, you’re going to need Neptune – a powerful mobile security and system status app.

• WHAT IS NEPTUNE?
Neptune is a pioneer in iOS security matters: The application detects your device’s system and security state based on multiple test conditions. Neptune also provides system and general device information, such as memory usage, disk space, network details and detailed hardware information.

• KEY FEATURES
• System Status: Monitor usage and use of your device hardware
• Monitor Security: Check your iPhone or iPad for security.
• Remote: Monitor the security status of multiple devices from one point.
• Notifications: Neptune notifies you as soon as an operating system update is available.
• Datasheet: An overview of all system components such as: device identification, operating system, graphics unit, processor, memory, working memory, display and battery information.

• SUPPORT
If you have a question or request, please feel free to send us an e-mail or visit us on Twitter(@AppNeptune). We will respond to your query and if you encounter an issue, we will resolve it as soon as possible.

Download Neptune – Security & System

Up Rise

All in-app purchases for character upgrades are currently free.

Ascend through the various obstacles in this artistically elegant adventure. Dodge the enemies by swiping left and right. Enemies appear in all shapes, sizes and colours.

– Free to play (iAP to remove ads).
– 5 playable characters.
– Worldwide leaderboards.
– Enemies in various colours, shapes & sizes.

Download Up Rise

Backup Contacts + Restore

Normally $1.99.

This app is the best way to backup your contacts directly from your iPhone!

With one tap, you can backup all your contacts and send the backup file by message or email.

You can restore your contacts at any time either from the app or by opening the attached file sent by message or email.

Backup are made on your device only, they are not uploaded to any server

Key Features:

-Backup your contacts directly on your iPhone or iPad.
-Share backup by message or email
-Restore contacts directly from app
-Restore contacts on any device by opening the attached ,vcf file sent by message or email
-Choose contacts to restore

Download Backup Contacts + Restore

Fart Cat!

Normally $0.99.

It’s Fart Cat! – the fun for all ages arcade game featuring the finicky kitty with the means to defend his personal space! Help him achieve solitude with two fun and flatulent modes: Fart Cat! and FartCrAfT!

Sometimes cats just want to be left alone! The debut title from Summer Camp Studios, Fart Cat is a race to feed our feline hero enough food so he can launch an offensive (smelling) attack at his affectionate owner.

How to Play
1) Fart Cat will think of a food, and it’s your job to find it on the bottom of the screen and flick it up into his mouth!
2) Feed him as many foods as you can – but act fast! Fart Cat is finicky and may change his mind.
3) Don’t see your food available? Tap on Fart Cat’s belly to “refresh” your options with a solid *POOT*.
4) Once Fart Cat has enough fuel in his belly, tap away to launch a fart so big that it literally clears the room! Crank up the volume, Fart Cat’s owner can only stand so much!
5) Take too long and your game ends with a kindly pet on the head! Sorry for the inconvenience, Mr. Fart Cat!

PRO TIP – Go for the high score! Bonus points are awarded for completing a room quickly, streaks of correct foods fed, and for gobbling up any rare golden mice.

BONUS MODE – FartCrAfT
FartCrAfT gives you the chance to be a master chef of olfaction. Feed Fart Cat any combination of the five available ingredients (a mouse, stinky cheese, a fish head, a cheeseburger, and a stack of pancakes). Then tap his tummy to experience your unique creation!

*Featuring unique sounds for each fart!
*Discover all 32 fart recipes to receive the FartCrAfT chef hat!
*Hit the shuffle button to play through your unlocked farts!

Thanks for playing!

Download Fart Cat!

Document Scanner +

Normally $3.99.

Why keep stacks of papers lying around when you can just scan them and archive with Document Scanner +.

Stop worrying about misplacing or losing important documents, receipts or bills. Keep everything safely stored in the app.

Quick and easy to use: simply take a photo of a document or page and Document Scanner + will turn it into a scan. The picture you take doesn’t have to be ideal. Document Scanner + will automatically adjust colors, crop and optimize the image before saving it, just like a real scanner.

Features:

– quickly scan documents, notes, business cards or book pages
– auto crop, color adjust and optimization just like a regular scanner
– scans available in color, black and white or grayscale
– save in different formats like pdf or jpg
– send via email or share via 3rd party apps

Document Scanner + is great for work, school, and home use. Don’t waste time searching every drawer for some old receipts, notes or documents. Keep a cleaner workspace without all those papers lying around. Scan documents, notes, books and share them with colleagues in a matter of seconds. Create a handy digital archive of bills, notes or cooking recipes, instead of keeping heaps of papers!

____
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT SECURE CLOUD SUBSCRIPTION:

– The subscription gives access to the Secure Cloud feature which allows you to store and access documents synchronized with Secure Cloud across multiple devices.
– Subscription cost $0.99 per month.
– You’ll be billed at the end of the free trial automatically unless you cancel.
– The subscription will auto-renew unless you turn it off in your iTunes account.
– Payment will be charged to iTunes Account at confirmation of purchase.
– You can turn off auto-renew in iTunes.
– You can cancel up to 24 hours before the next period.

Download Document Scanner +

Minibudget Pro

Normally $1.99.

Establish a budget, record and manage your expenses by category.

“Shall we help to manage the couples dating spending(expenses)?” This was the idea that we started the Minibudget project.

Minibudget is a simple account book as household budget, subtract the expenses from the budget.
It can be used as build plans, managing budget, travel expenses, simple account book.

There is also “expected expenditure” feature to help more convenient use. You can simulate the dating and travel expenses in advance, and it can be used as a checklist when you go to shopping.

– Convenient manage the budget
– Manage spending by Category
– Check spending list more easily by graphs
– Intuitive user interface (Intuitive design)

We’ve been thinking how we give you the most easiest way to use in this universe and more intuitive user interface that gives you fun feelings.

Make your life more plentiful and richer.
We support your love.

Download Minibudget Pro

Dual Web Browser

Normally $9.99.

Do you want to use the browser to browse all kinds of information at the same time? Including: network, video, stock, virtual currency, news, translation … and so on.

Now this app is sure to meet your needs!

Dual browser in one display!
Browsing web becomes easier and more efficient!

Features:
1. Simultaneously display Dual Web browser.
2. Previous / Next page button.
3. Share Screen button.
4. Dual Window Extend Mode.
5. Previous / Next URL button.
6. URL Save button.
7. Lightweight UI design to reduce memory usage can increase performance.
8. This browser has an independent ability to display video on one of dual web browser.

Download Dual Web Browser

Samsung’s Android Pie beta program for the Galaxy S9 will start soon

Google released Android 9.0 Pie in early August, with only Pixel and Pixel 2 phones being eligible for the upgrade. Various other smartphone makers offered Pie betas at the same time and some of them will make Android 9.0 available to their customers soon. Samsung? Not so much. But the Korean Android device maker is preparing to release its customary beta program for Google’s latest operating system and we have good news and bad news about it.

The good news is that Samsung’s help pages for the Android Pie program have already gone up — here’s the FAQ section and here are the terms and conditions. Furthermore, xda-developers says that the Pie beta will launch by the end of the month.

The bad news is that, as was the case in previous years, the beta only works for Samsung’s first flagship of the year. That means only Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ owners will be able to try it once Samsung makes it available. Also, not all Galaxy S9 phone versions out there will run the beta initially, so you might have to wait a while until it’s rolled out in your market.

In the US, buyers who own an unlocked Galaxy S9, a T-Mobile S9, or a Sprint version of the handset will be able to run the Pie beta. What’s interesting is that Samsung insider Ice Universe posted a GIF animation on Twitter teasing Android Pie beta for the Galaxy Note 9:

https://twitter.com/UniverseIce/status/1052122292283531269

It’s unclear when the Note 9 will join the Pie beta program, however.

As for the final Pie release for the Galaxy S9, you should assume it’ll be sometime in early 2019. xda estimates that Samsung will drop about six updates spread out to every two weeks before the final release is out, and that the final Android 9 release will be available around late January.

One thing the new beta will include, aside from all the new tricks Google built into Android 9.0 this year, is the new Samsung Experience 10 user interface that leaked a few days ago. Here’s a video preview of it in action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzAOilfdQSo