RESEARCHERS WORKING with the Central Intelligence Agency have conducted a multi-year, sustained effort to break the security of Apple’s iPhones and iPads, according to top-secret documents obtained by The Intercept.
The security researchers presented their latest tactics and achievements at a secret annual gathering, called the “Jamboree,” where attendees discussed strategies for exploiting security flaws in household and commercial electronics. The conferences have spanned nearly a decade, with the first CIA-sponsored meeting taking place a year before the first iPhone was released. Continue reading »
AAPL stock surged exuberantly on news of a gold Macbook – ran Friday’s high stops… then started to tumble on the Apple Watch release, but things got really bad once the Christy Turlington cheesey infomercial kicked in:
Another quarter of leaks of ubiquitous US espionage in every corner of the world, and sure enough we get another quarter of China just saying no to spending any more money on companies which are, as far as Beijing is concerned, a natural extension of the NSA. According to Reuters, China has just dropped some of America’s leading technology brands from its approved state purchase lists, chief among them Cisco (which already was hammered a year ago due to the Snowden revelations), and everyone’s favorite $1 trillion market cap or bust cell phone maker, Apple. Continue reading »
Virtually all of AAPL’s cash growth in the December 31 quarter took place offshore, where its cash hoard rose from $137 billion to $158 billion (mostly thanks to the previously mentioned surge in Chinese iPhone purchases). How much of Apple’s cash is domestic? As the following chart shows, a paltry $20 billion of AAPL’s cash, or barely above 10%, is held domestically – one of the lowest levels in the past 4 years – and can be used for such corporate activities as stock buybacks and dividends.
It also means that total US debt to nominal GDP as of Sept 30, which was $17.555 trillion, is now 103%. Keep in mind this GDP number was artificially increased by about half a trillion dollars a year ago thanks to the “benefit” of R&D and intangibles. Without said definitional change, debt/GDP would now be about 106%.
It also means that total US debt has increased by 70% under Obama, from $10.625 trillion on January 21, 2009 to $18.005 trillion most recently.
And now we wait for the US to become Spain, and add the estimated “contribution” from hookers and blow to GDP, once again pushing the total debt/GDP ratio below the psychological 100% level.
With the apparent goal of ‘protecting civilians’ from ISIS and Syria’s al-Assad, the US and Turkey appear to be close to agreeing on the creation of a no-fly-zone along a portion of the Syrian border. As WSJ reports, U.S. and Turkish officials have narrowed their differences over a joint military mission in Syria that would give the U.S. and its coalition partners permission to use Turkish air bases to launch strike operations against Islamic State targets across northern Syria. The no-fly-zone would provide sanctuary to Western-backed opposition forces and refugees. As Bloomberg notes, this is a significant reversal of Obama’s earlier policy (fearing it would be a significant strain on the U.S. Air Force and put fliers in mortal danger) pushing US closer to outright proxy war with Russia via direct confrontation with al-Assad’s airforce.
NDCC war room. Computer simulation. Image by Defence Ministy
Russia is launching a new national defense facility, which is meant to monitor threats to national security in peacetime, but would take control of the entire country in case of war.
The new top-security, fortified facility in Moscow includes several large war rooms, a brand new supercomputer in the heart of a state-of-the-art data processing center, underground facilities, secret transport routes for emergency evacuation and a helicopter pad, which was deployed for the first time on Nov. 24 on the Moscow River. The Defense Ministry won’t disclose the price tag for the site, but it is estimated at the equivalent of several billion dollars.
ermany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) published a video report of immense implications – possibly the first national broadcaster in the West to admit that the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) is supplied not by “black market oil” or “hostage ransoms” but billions of dollars worth of supplies carried into Syria across NATO member Turkey’s borders via hundreds of trucks a day.
The report titled, “‘IS’ supply channels through Turkey,” confirms what has been reported by geopolitical analysts since at least as early as 2011 – that NATO member Turkey has allowed a torrent in supplies, fighters, and weapons to cross its borders unopposed to resupply ISIS positions inside of Syria.
In one surreal scene from the DW report, anti-Syria terrorists are seen walking across the border and literally shot dead just on the other side by Kurdish fighters.
Local residents and merchants interviewed by Germany’s DW admitted that commerce with Syria benefiting them had ended since the conflict began and that the supplies trucks carry as they stream across the border originates from “western Turkey.” The DW report does not elaborate on what “western Turkey” means, but it most likely refers to Ankara, various ports used by NATO, and of course NATO’s Incirlik Air Base.
Yesterday, when we commented on what was largely a pre-determined outcome of the Swiss gold referendum, we said that there still “is the question of what happens to the tension in the gold swap market: as noted last week, the 1 Month GOFO rate had tumbled to the most negative in over a decade. It was not clear if this collateral gold squeeze was the result of Swiss referendum overhang or due to other reasons. The market’s reaction on Monday should answer those questions.”
Well, a few hours ago we got the GOFO update for the “day after” and the answer is clear: it wasn’t fear of the Swiss referendum after all because the 1 Month GOFO just crashed even deeper into negative territory with the entire curve through 6M now red, and with 12 month GOFO just 0.6 bps away from negative for the first time. At this rate, tomorrow’s update will suggest that big institutions expect the gold swap shortage to persist through the end of 2015!
Also, judging by the gold reaction, which is about $50 from the overnight lows, someone else appears to have noticed that the rather shocking shortage of synthetic gold among institutions, which is finally seeping through into that whole “price discovery” process, where supply and demand actually matter.
Bottom line: whatever caused the record scramble for rehypothecated gold, it wasn’t fears about the outcome of the Swiss referendum. Something else spooked the precious metal a month ago, and as seen on the chart above, things have only gotten progressively worse since then.
As noted previously, total US debt is now over $18 trillion. Here is where it gets even more surreal: debt held by the public on January 20, 2009, Obama’s inauguration day, was $6.3 trillion. It is now $12.9 trillion, a 105% increase. And here, for your viewing pleasure, is Senator Barack Obama saying on July 3, 2008, that the $4 trillion in debt added by Bush was “irresponsible and unpatriotic”…
With a third of S&P 500 capital expenditure due from the imploding energy sector (and with over 20% of the high-yield market dominated by these names), paying attention to any inflection point in the US oil-producers is critical as they have been gung-ho “unequivocally good” expanders even as oil prices fell. However, as Reuters reports, new data suggests that the much-anticipated slowdown in shale country may have finally arrived – permits for new wells dropped 15% across 12 major shale formations last month, as one analysts warns, “the first domino is the price, which causes other dominos to fall.”
When a well paid NFL football lineman quits the game to raise food for the needy, that’s an unusually interesting story. After St. Louis Rams center Jason Brown decided to leave the game for good, his agent told him that he was making the biggest mistake of his life. Jason adamantly replied, “No I’m not. No I’m not.
The build-up of NATO forces in Eastern Europe is hostile and destabilizes the Baltic, once the safest region in Europe, a senior Russian diplomat charged. The alliance’s chief accused Moscow of conducting aggressive exercises close to NATO borders.
The trade of accusations between Russia and NATO continued on Monday ahead of a NATO ministerial meeting this week.
By bringing in more weapons to Eastern Europe, some of them with highly-destructive power, the North Atlantic alliance is undermining regional security, Russia’s deputy foreign minister told Interfax.
“What are NATO military commander in Europe Philip Breedlove and the likes of him doing? They are trying to shake up the most stable region in the world, which is Europe’s north. Those endless military exercises, rebasing of aircraft capable of delivering nuclear weapons to the Baltic nations. This is the reality, a very negative one,” he said.
Big news for the Right to Know movement! Awareness regarding the dangers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has mushroomed, forcing the world to finally put genetically spliced food under the microscope.Organizers announced in London on November 11 that they will be performing the world’s first ever comprehensive and independent study on the safety of GMOs and their associated pesticides. Referred to as “Factor GMO,” the project has already begun the preparatory phase, but the full-blown experiment is expected to launch in 2015.The $25 million study will be the first long-term combined GMO/pesticide safety study involving multi-generational, toxicology and carcinogenicity arms. “Neutral” scientists with reportedly NO ties to the biotech industry or anti-GMO movement will be monitoring 6,000 rats fed GM corn over a three-year period.
The most popular name for baby boys in the UK is Muhammad, according to a new chart for 2014 compiled by BabyCentre. The name, also spelled as Mohammed and often given after the Muslim prophet, has seen an enormous gain in popularity, jumping 27 ranks.
So you don’t indulge in sugar. You never take antibiotics. You eat a pretty good diet. Why are you still battling Candida?You may have to look no further than your mouth. If you have amalgam fillings – mercury fillings – the cause of your Candidiasis might be staring back at you.
Over 50 percent of the government’s elected Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) have been accused of misconduct and subsequently probed by the state’s policing watchdog, new figures reveal.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has investigated “44 referrals from police and crime commissioners” relating to potential impropriety on behalf of 23 separate police chiefs, a spokesman for the body said on Monday.
This figure amounts to more than half of the 41 PCCS who were officially elected in November 2012, he told RT.
Unless the scientific community and political leaders act soon, cold, dark days are ahead, because the evidence is clear that the earth is rapidly growing colder because of diminished solar activity, says author John L. Casey, former NASA consultant.
Trends indicate we could be headed for colder temperatures similar to those seen in the late 1700s and early 1800s when the sun went into a “solar minimum” — a phenomenon with significantly reduced solar activity, including solar flares and sunspots, says Casey.
In his new book “Dark Winter,” Casey posits that a 30-year period of cold has already begun. Frigid temperatures and the food shortages that inevitably result could lead to riots and chaos.
“All you have to do is trust natural cycles and follow the facts, and that leads you to the inevitable conclusion that the sun controls the climate, and that a new cold era has begun,” says Casey.
Is it any surprise oil prices are cratering? With global GDP expectations plumbing cycle lows, JPMorgan just confirmed the global slowdown is accelerating as their Global Manufacturing PMI printed 51.8 – its slowest level of ‘expansion’ since September 2013.New Orders fell to the lowest reading since July 2013 and New Export Orders to the lowest since June 2013.
For the 3rd month in a row, US Manufacturing PMI dropped from 4-year highs to 10-month lows. At 54.8, missing expectations of 55.0 (and down from 55.9) for the 5th month of the last 6 as extrapolated hopes fade into the usual cyclical un-decoupled collapse into year-end (but ignore NRF data). Sadly for the bullish decoupling meme, Markit notes, “the principal cause of the slowdown is a renewed downturn in export orders, which fell for the first time since January.” So, amid all of this doom, ISM then beat expectations, printing 58.7 vs 58.0 expectations (down slightly from October’s 59.0 print) led by – rather ironically – new export orders surging… US data has gone full China.
Thousands of people have resigned from the Lutheran Church in Finland, after the nation’s parliament approved a same-sex marriage law and the church’s archbishop expressed support for the vote, Finland’s Yle News reported.
Another day full of global macroeconomic disappointments is certain to send the S&P500 to all time-higherest records as 100,000 or so E-mini contracts exchange hands between central banks and Citadel’s algos.
As its recent 10-K confirmed, AAPL’s domestic cash – the amount of cash available for such corporate transactions as dividends and buybacks – had dropped to just $18.1 billion (and that is including the several billion in commercial paper issued in fiscal Q4), the lowest domestic cash hoard since March 2010, a time when AAPL’s offshore cash was a tiny $24 billion compared to the near record $137 billion last quarter! So knowing full well that a buyback a day keep the Icahnator away, AAPL, urgently looking to refill its domestic cash since its offshore cash remains untouchable (absent being taxed on its repatriation), did the only thing it could do: prepare to issue more bonds, which is what we forecast would happen a few weeks ago, and what the WSJ overnight confirmed is already in progress.
When Steve Jobs was running Apple, he was known to call journalists to either pat them on the back for a recent article or, more often than not, explain how they got it wrong. I was on the receiving end of a few of those calls. But nothing shocked me more than something Mr. Jobs said to me in late 2010 after he had finished chewing me out for something I had written about an iPad shortcoming.
“So, your kids must love the iPad?” I asked Mr. Jobs, trying to change the subject. The company’s first tablet was just hitting the shelves. “They haven’t used it,” he told me. “We limit how much technology our kids use at home.”
I’m sure I responded with a gasp and dumbfounded silence. I had imagined the Jobs’s household was like a nerd’s paradise: that the walls were giant touch screens, the dining table was made from tiles of iPads and that iPods were handed out to guests like chocolates on a pillow.
Nope, Mr. Jobs told me, not even close.
Since then, I’ve met a number of technology chief executives and venture capitalists who say similar things: they strictly limit their children’s screen time, often banning all gadgets on school nights, and allocating ascetic time limits on weekends.
I was perplexed by this parenting style. After all, most parents seem to take the opposite approach, letting their children bathe in the glow of tablets, smartphones and computers, day and night.
Yet these tech C.E.O.’s seem to know something that the rest of us don’t.Continue reading »
I’m the furthest thing in the world from a technology or security expert, but what I have learned in recent years is that a dedicated, sophisticated and well funded hacker can pretty much own your data no matter how many precautions you take. Nevertheless, the major technology companies on the planet shouldn’t go out of their way to make this as easy as possible.
In the wake of the theft of private images from several prominent celebrities, many people are rightly wondering whether how vulnerable their data is. The answer appears to be “very,” and if you use Apple, the following article from Slate may leave you seething with a sense of anger and betrayal.
“Where do multinationals pay taxes and how much?” Gaining insight from international tax experts, Backlight director Marije Meerman (‘Quants’ & ‘Money & Speed’), takes a look at tax havens, the people who live there and the routes along which tax is avoided globally.
Those routes go by resounding names like ‘Cayman Special’, ‘Double Irish’, and ‘Dutch Sandwich’. A financial world operates in the shadows surrounded by a high level of secrecy. A place where sizeable capital streams travel the world at the speed of light and avoid paying tax. The Tax Free Tour is an economic thriller mapping the systemic risk for governments and citizens alike. Is this the price we have to pay for globalised capitalism?
At the same time, the free online game “Taxodus” by Femke Herregraven is launched. In the game, the player can select the profile of a multinational and look for the global route to pay as little tax as possible.
research: William de Bruijn
camera: Jean Counet
montage: Bart van den Broek
geluid: Tim van Peppen, Benny Jansen, Joris van Ballegoijen
productie: Marie Schutgens
animaties: Bitcaves & Motoko
Following revelations of America’s National Security Agency’s global internet surveillance system, combined with a desire to enhance domestic production, China is beating a path towards unveiling its own operating systems in October.
The Chinese-made substitutes would first be introduced on desktop devices, later expanding to include smartphones and other hand-held devices, Ni Guangnan heads an official operating system development alliance established in March, Xinhau reported at the weekend.
“We hope to launch a Chinese-made desktop operating system by October supporting app stores,” Ni told the trade paper. Continue reading »
A highly skilled hacker who presented at the recent Hackers On Planet Earth (HOPE/X) conference in New York has dropped a massive bomb on the state of smartphone privacy. Jonathan Zdziarski, an active member in the iPhone development community who helped work on many early iOS “jailbreak” iterations, says Apple has deliberately engineered back door surveillance systems into the iPhone, allowing both the company and the government easy access to users’ personal data.
During his presentation, Zdziarski, who goes by the hacker alias “NerveGas,” showed detailed slides explaining how iOS is inherently insecure — on purpose. His investigation into the coding behind iOS revealed that the seemingly user-friendly system, which is used on hundreds of millions of Apple iPhones, contains a number of “undocumented high-value forensic services” and “suspicious design omissions,” both of which make it relatively easy for private data to be extracted from users’ phones. Continue reading »
With threats and promises over cyber-crimes fleeting back and forth between the US and China, it appears – through the ‘back-channel’ of the nation’s state broadcaster CCTV – China has stepped it up once again. As AFP reports, China has accused US technology giant Apple of threatening national security through its iPhone’s ability to track and time-stamp a user’s location. While not exactly a ‘new feature’ of the phones, the timing of China’s public lambasting reflects the escalating mutual distrust between the US and China over the extent of cyber-espionage.
First it was burgers, then waiters, traders, and recently earnings-report-writers; but now it’s iPhones. The endless pressure to raise minimum wages, demand bathroom breaks, expect to sleep, and tolerable breathing standards have finally culminated in China’s FoxConn – manufacturer of the iPhone – to use a ‘robot army’ to build the new model. As The Daily Mail reports, The firm has pledged to have a million robot workers by the end of the year – and CEO Terry Gou has revealed the robots, dubbed ‘Foxbots’, are in the final stages of testing.
Four major tech companies including Apple and Google have agreed to pay a total of $324 million to settle a lawsuit accusing them of conspiring to hold down salaries in Silicon Valley, sources familiar with the deal said, just weeks before a high profile trial had been scheduled to begin.
Tech workers filed a class action lawsuit against Apple Inc, Google Inc, Intel Inc and Adobe Systems Inc in 2011, alleging they conspired to refrain from soliciting one another’s employees in order to avert a salary war. They planned to ask for $3 billion in damages at trial, according to court filings. That could have tripled to $9 billion under antitrust law.
Security researcher Jacob Appelbaum revealed what he calls “wrist-slitting depressing” details about the National Security Agency’s spy programs at a computer conference in Germany on Monday where he presented previously unpublished NSA files.
Appelbaum is among the small group of experts, activists and journalists who have seen classified United States intelligence documents taken earlier this year by former contractor Edward Snowden, and previously he represented transparency group WikiLeaks at an American hacker conference in 2010. Those conditions alone should suffice in proving to most anybody that Appelbaum has been around more than his fair share of sensitive information, and during his presentation at the thirtieth annual Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg on Monday he spilled his guts about some of the shadiest spy tactics seen yet through leaked documents.
The troubled mobile phone maker BlackBerry still has at least one very loyal customer: U.S. President Barack Obama.
At a meeting with youth on Wednesday to promote his landmark healthcare law, Obama said he is not allowed to have Apple’s smart phone, the iPhone, for “security reasons,” though he still uses Apple’s tablet computer, the iPad.
The addition of MasterCard will help FIDO expand its standard to more types of transactions. The company’s experience handling the multitude of existing payments industry standards will also be valuable.
SAN FRANCISCO — MasterCard is joining the FIDO Alliance, signaling that the payment network is getting interested in using fingerprints and other biometric data to identify people for online payments.
MasterCard will be the first major payment network to join FIDO. The Alliance is developing an open industry standard for biometric data such as fingerprints to be used for identification online. The goal is to replace clunky passwords and take friction out of logging on and purchasing using mobile devices.
Apple’s new iPhone 5s smartphone has a fingerprint sensor, but the tech giant is not part of FIDO. However, Google is part of the Alliance, and devices running Google’s Android operating system will have fingerprint sensors by next year.