Blog Archives

Supermicro CEO Joins Cook in Calling for Bloomberg to Retract Supply Chain Hack Story

Last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook called on Bloomberg to retract a highly controversial story suggesting Chinese spies planted microchips in the Supermicro server motherboards used in Apple’s data facilities, saying there was no truth to Bloomberg’s claims…

Apple CEO Tim Cook Calls on Bloomberg to Retract Supply Chain Hack Story: ‘There’s No Truth to This’

For the first time since Bloomberg published a highly controversial story suggesting Chinese spies planted microchips in Supermicro server motherboards Apple used in its iCloud facilities, Apple CEO Tim Cook has gone on the record to vehemently deny th…

China wants to put a big fake moon in orbit to reflect sunlight back down at night

The Moon is great, but apparently it’s just not enough for the city of Chengdu in China. Not satisfied with the meager light the Moon reflects back down to Earth at night, scientists in the region plan to launch a satellite that will actually reflect sunlight back down to Earth and turn night into day… sort of.

The satellite is effectively a giant mirror that will redirect sunlight back down on Chengdu even after the Sun sets. The spacecraft will be roughly eight times brighter than the Moon, according to the Chengdu Aerospace Science and  Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute, and should provide enough light that it will actually make street lights totally irrelevant for at least part of the city.

If this all sounds kind of bizarre that’s because it is. It really, really is. The group planning the satellite says the mirror will produce light over an area of between 5 and 50 miles. That’s, well, not a very specific, and it’s unclear from current reports just how long the satellite will last.

There’s also been some very real concern that the mirror’s never-ending glow could seriously impact natural cycles of animals. Scientists have long been critical of human light pollution and its ability to potentially throw off the day/night rhythm of animals, and the same could be true of this fake moon plan. Some experts who support the plan suggest that it’ll produce little more than a “twilight glow” that shouldn’t change how animals behave, but nobody will know for certain until the satellite is up and running.

The institute working on the satellite plans to have the fake moon deployed by 2020. There seems to be some conflicting information over just how bright the light will be — something bright enough to make street lights obsolete sure sounds like it’s brighter than a “glow” — so it’ll be interesting to see just how well the mirror works… or doesn’t.

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.”

Apple apologizes over Apple ID account hacks in China

The iPhone maker has issued an apology to its customers in China over the recent scams which have helped nefarious users hack into Apple ID accounts that weren’t protected with two-factor authentication.