What is going on between Huawei and Google?

By Tom Wiggins for Stuff

You might have read that Google and Huawei have had a bit of a tiff this week.

You can’t really pin the blame on either of them. Donald Trump issued an executive order that meant US-based companies were restricted from doing business with Huawei unless they had a special licence, so Google had to limit the access Huawei phones had to its services.

That’s since been relaxed, but only for 90 days, so things could get ugly again before long. But what does it mean for your new P30 Pro? And does it put an end to your plans to pick up a foldable Mate X?

What is the problem?
America’s leader seems to have decided he doesn’t like Huawei because it’s from a country he has described as a “foreign adversary”.

Whether Trump’s reservations have any basis in reality or not, if the ban is upheld it means that American companies will not be allowed to trade with Huawei and it wouldn’t be able to base its OS on full-fat Android anymore. As the second-biggest manufacturer of smartphones in the world that could cause Huawei a significant headache.

What if you own a Huawei phone?
Huawei phones that have already been released have been certified to access the Play Store and receive updates for the current version of Android, so chances are things will carry on as normal whatever happens further down the line. That goes for Honor phones too.

If the US upholds its actions, though, future versions of the OS wouldn’t be certified for Huawei phones, meaning functionality would be severely restricted, and security updates could take a lot longer to come through.

What will Huawei use if not Android?
Android is open source, so Huawei will still be able to use the barebones of it no matter what, but it would mean apps such as Gmail, YouTube, Drive and Maps wouldn’t be pre-installed, and without access to the Play Store they wouldn’t be available for download later either. Some can be accessed through the phone’s web browser but that’s not the same and consumers would likely look elsewhere.

As a result, Huawei might opt to ditch Android altogether, but it’s already working on an alternative operating system of its own. That would require new versions of existing apps, although considering many use Android APIs to power things like notifications, without cooperation from Google significant changes would be needed even if Huawei were to stick with it.

Are others banning Huawei?
The ban has already starting to have a wider impact. EE has decided to leave Huawei’s Mate 20 X 5G handset out of its 5G launch line-up until it can be sure that it would be fully supported, while Vodafone has cancelled an event based around its own 5G rollout, although pricing and pre-order information will still be announced. Chip designer ARM, which most mobile processor manufacturers rely on, has also suspended its dealings with Huawei.

By Emma Beswick for EuroNews

Anonymous hackers have brought the US city of Baltimore to its knees by seizing control of government computers, demanding bitcoin in return for releasing their hold over the systems.

A ransomware attack was discovered on May 7, with the city taking down online systems and services in an effort to contain it.

While the attack took place two weeks ago, the city’s mayor, Bernard Young, is refusing to pay the requested sum, leaving officials unable to process parking tickets among other administrative functions.

He warned that it could take months for normal service to be resumed.

“Like any large enterprise, we have thousands of systems and applications. Our focus is getting critical services back online, and doing so in a manner that ensures we keep security as one of our top priorities throughout the process,” Young said in a statement.

The city’s emergency services have not been affected.

The hackers demanded 13 bitcoins — worth around R1,4-million — to remove the file-locking virus, according to a ransom note obtained by the Baltimore Sun.

“We’ve (been) watching you for days and we’ve worked on your systems to gain full access to your company and bypass all of your protections,” it read. “We won’t talk more, all we know is MONEY! … Hurry up! Tik Tak, Tik Tak, Tik Tak!”

The city remained unable to send or receive emails at the time of writing.

A similar cyber attack hit Atlanta last year, according to NBC, costing millions to recover damage, while Greenville in North Carolina was targetted in April.

As many as 25 local governments have been attacked by hackers this year, the media added, citing analysts.

 

 

Source: IOL

The introduction of MyWORLD has elevated African Bank to a digital retail bank, offering a variety of products including transactional banking, personal loans, savings and investments and insurance.

African Bank chief executive, Basani Maluleke said: “Our increased and diversified product offering, underpinned by our Omni-channel platform, will enable us to compete favourably against the established and emerging banks.”

African Bank’s research into what South Africans want from their transactional bank revealed that people would like to transact and save together with their family, friends and their community and as individuals.

MyWORLD offers people the unique ability to bank together through shared banking.

Up to five additional accounts can be opened under the main account – a total of six accounts, with no monthly account fees on any of the accounts.

“When we compare ourselves to the Solidarity Bank Charges Report methodology, MyWORLD is the cheapest transactional account in South Africa,” explains Maluleke.

When a Primary Account Holder opens a MyWORLD account, they get access to a Primary account and two types of pockets – a power pocket and a savings pocket.

A power pocket is unique in that it is the first pocket account in the industry to offer the user full transaction capability. It comes with its own account number, debit card and PIN and earns 5.5 percent interest per annum on positive balances.

“Our debit cards are personalised and embossed and are issued instantly on demand, in any African Bank branch — a first in South Africa,” said George Roussos, group executive of digital and transactional banking at African Bank.

The savings pocket allows the primary account holder to save at South Africa’s best interest rate of 6.5 percent interest per annum on any positive balance while enjoying immediate access to their funds.

A pocket user, who can be anyone that the primary account holder designates, can be added to both a savings pocket and a power pocket. User status allows the person full access to the pocket. The primary account holder can also decide who is responsible for the pay-as-you-use transaction fees on each pocket.

As an added extra, the primary account holder can add up to 10 members on any pocket. Member status allows the member to view the pocket and to deposit, but not to withdraw or transfer any funds. This functionality can be used by informal savings clubs, church groups and any collection of people wishing to save together for a shared trip or activity.

Another key differentiator is that MyWORLD operates on African Bank’s new omni-channel platform that allows accounts to be opened and managed seamlessly through all the Bank’s channels, including the website, app, cellphone, in the branches and through the contact centres.

A customer can open a MyWORLD account online or via the app without having to visit the branch and seamlessly complete the application in a branch or contact centre. The only requirement to come into branch is to generate and receive their MyWORLD debit card.

The final drawcard is value.

MyWORLD account holders only pay for what they use and a range of free transactions and low bank fees on other transactions are offered. All costs are transparently displayed.

Maluleke said: “MyWORLD provides exceptional value and convenience at the cheapest price compared to what is currently available from other South African banks. Its innovative features provide a mechanism to share banking in families, groups and in communities, which we believe will draw a very positive response from customers.”

By Zack Whittaker for Tech Crunch

Google says a small number of its enterprise customers mistakenly had their passwords stored on its systems in plaintext.

The search giant disclosed the exposure Tuesday but declined to say exactly how many enterprise customers were affected. “We recently notified a subset of our enterprise G Suite customers that some passwords were stored in our encrypted internal systems unhashed,” said Google vice president of engineering Suzanne Frey.

Passwords are typically scrambled using a hashing algorithm to prevent them from being read by humans. G Suite administrators are able to manually upload, set and recover new user passwords for company users, which helps in situations where new employees are on-boarded. But Google said it discovered in April that the way it implemented password setting and recovery for its enterprise offering in 2005 was faulty and improperly stored a copy of the password in plaintext.

Google has since removed the feature.

No consumer Gmail accounts were affected by the security lapse, said Frey.

“To be clear, these passwords remained in our secure encrypted infrastructure,” said Frey. “This issue has been fixed and we have seen no evidence of improper access to or misuse of the affected passwords.”

Google has more than 5 million enterprise customers using G Suite.

Google said it also discovered a second security lapse earlier this month as it was troubleshooting new G Suite customer sign-ups. The company said since January it was improperly storing “a subset” of unhashed G Suite passwords on its internal systems for up to two weeks. Those systems, Google said, were only accessible to a limited number of authorized Google staff, the company said.

“This issue has been fixed and, again, we have seen no evidence of improper access to or misuse of the affected passwords,” said Frey.

Google said it’s notified G Suite administrators to warn of the password security lapse, and will reset account passwords for those who have yet to change.

A spokesperson confirmed Google has informed data protection regulators of the exposure.

Google becomes the latest company to have admitted storing sensitive data in plaintext in the past year. Facebook said in March that “hundreds of millions” of Facebook and Instagram passwords were stored in plaintext. Twitter and GitHub also admitted similar security lapses last year.

 

 

WhatsApp is hacked

Source: BBC

WhatsApp has confirmed that a security flaw in the app let attackers install spy software on their targets’ smartphones.

That has left many of its 1.5-billion users wondering how safe the “simple and secure” messaging app really is.

On Wednesday, chip-maker Intel confirmed that new problems discovered with some of its processors could reveal secret information to attacks.

How trustworthy are apps and devices?

Was WhatsApp’s encryption broken? No. Messages on WhatsApp are end-to-end encrypted, meaning they are scrambled when they leave the sender’s device. The messages can be decrypted by the recipient’s device only.

That means law enforcement, service providers and cyber-criminals cannot read any messages they intercept as they travel across the internet.

However, there are some caveats.

Messages can be read before they are encrypted or after they are decrypted. That means any spyware dropped on the phone by an attacker could read the messages.

What is encryption?
On Tuesday, news site Bloomberg published an opinion article calling WhatsApp’s encryption “pointless”, given the security breach.

However, that viewpoint has been widely ridiculed by cyber-security experts.

“I don’t think it’s helpful to say end-to-end encryption is pointless just because a vulnerability is occasionally found,” said Dr Jessica Barker from the cyber-security company Cygenta.

“Encryption is a good thing that does offer us protection in most cases.”

Cyber-security is often a game of cat and mouse.

End-to-end encryption makes it much harder for attackers to read messages, even if they do eventually find a way to access some of them.

What about back-ups?
WhatsApp gives the option to back up chats to Google Drive or iCloud but those back-up copies are not protected by the end-to-end encryption.

An attacker could access old chats if they broke into a cloud storage account.

How to stay safe on WhatsApp
WhatsApp discovers ‘targeted’ surveillance attack
Of course, even if users decide not to back up chats, the people they message may still upload a copy to their cloud storage.

Should people stop using WhatsApp?
Ultimately, any app could contain a security vulnerability that leaves a phone open to attackers.

WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, which typically issues software fixes quickly.

Of course, even large companies can make mistakes and Facebook has had its share of data and privacy breaches over the years.

There is no guarantee a rival chat app would not experience a similar security lapse.

At least, following the disclosure of this flaw, WhatsApp is slightly more secure than it was a week ago.

Signal is an open-source project
Some rival chat apps are open-source projects, which means anybody can look at the code powering the app and suggest improvements.

“Open-source software has its value in that it be can tested more widely but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more secure,” said Dr Barker.

“Vulnerabilities can still be found with any tech, so it’s not the answer to our prayers.”

And if someone did decide to switch to a rival chat app, they would still have to convince their contacts to do the same. A chat app without friends is not much use.

Is any device ever safe?
In theory, any device or service could be hacked. In fact, security researchers often joyfully pile in on companies that claim their products are “unhackable”.

They quickly discover vulnerabilities and the embarrassed companies retract their claims.

If people are worried data may be stolen from their computer, one option is to “air gap” the device: disconnect it from the internet entirely.

That stops remote hackers accessing the machine – but even an air gap would not stop an attacker with physical access to the device.

Dr Barker stressed the importance of installing software updates for apps and operating systems.

“WhatsApp pushed out an update and consumers might not have realised that security fixes are often included in updates,” she told BBC News.

WhatsApp did not help the cause, however, by describing the latest update as adding “full-size stickers”, and not mentioning the security breach.

“People need to be made aware that updates are really important. The quicker we can update our apps, the more secure we are,” said Dr Barker.

As always, there are simple security steps to remember:

  • Install app and operating system security updates
  • Use a different password for every app or service
  • Where possible, enable two-step authentication to stop attackers logging in to accounts
  • Be careful about what apps you download
  • Do not click links in emails or messages you are not expecting

By Lucinda Shen for Fortune

As of Monday’s market close, those who bought into Uber at its IPO are down roughly $1.4 billion.

But very early investors, and now, the bankers that helped take the company to market are in the green. Uber shelled out $106.2 million to a bevy of underwriters led by Morgan Stanley, per filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The group also includes Goldman Sachs, BofA Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citigroup, and Allen & Company.

That comes as shares of Uber fell another 11% Monday—pulling its valuation down to $62 billion and representing a collective $1.4 billion loss for those who bought in at the company’s $45 IPO price. Assuming that Uber drivers took up all shares offered to them at the IPO price, they are collectively looking at paper losses of about $43.2 million.

On Friday, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi sought to calm his employees regarding Uber’s stock price.

“Like all periods of transition, there are ups and downs,” he wrote in a note to workers.”Remember that the Facebook and Amazon post-IPO trading was incredibly difficult for those companies. And look at how they have delivered since.”

In particular—Facebook’s IPO may echo strongly with that of Uber’s. That IPO too involved Morgan Stanley in the lead role. Following a lackluster first day of trading, the bank’s fees, as well as trades stemming from its role as the lead in the deal, were heavily scrutinized. A Massachusetts regulator later fined Morgan Stanley $5 million over the IPO, arguing the underwriter had selectively disclosed information to certain clients over others.

It remains to be seen whether similar investigations will follow Uber’s IPO. But for now, count the banks as one of the few parties that have profited from this deal.

By Lauren Feiner for CNBC

WeWork announced Wednesday it is creating a fund with $2.9-billion of total equity capital to buy stakes in buildings it rents from.

The company has previously been criticized for CEO Adam Neumann’s stake in buildings he rented to the company.
The fund, called ARK, will serve as WeWork’s “global real estate acquisition and management platform,” according to a press release.

WeWork has become a business with a multi-billion valuation by being a prolific tenant. Now, it is starting a nearly $3 billion fund to become a landlord, too.

WeWork, which recently renamed itself to The We Company, is creating ARK, a “global real estate acquisition and management platform,” to buy stakes in buildings in which it plans to lease a lot of space, the company announced Wednesday. It will begin with $2.9 billion of total equity capital.

“ARK will focus on acquiring, developing, and managing real estate assets in global gateway cities and high-growth secondary markets that will benefit from WeWork’s occupancy,” according to the release. It will use WeWork’s own technology and relationships to access real estate opportunities and will “immediately stabilise assets by executing a proven pre-packaged business plan and will apply The We Company’s holistic solutions for real estate owners, based on The We Company’s established capabilities in sourcing, building, filling, and operating properties.”

The fund could further complicate questions about WeWork’s allegiances, which were illuminated by a Wall Street Journal report in January that revealed CEO Adam Neumann has profited by leasing buildings he owns to WeWork. Under the new plan, Neumann will actually transfer some of his real estate holdings into the ARK fund, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

While this may provide better optics for the company, since ARK will be run independently from WeWork’s main business, ARK will still be under The We Company’s umbrella, according to Businessweek. A WeWork spokesperson declined to confirm or comment on the transfer of Neumann’s real estate holdings to CNBC.

But ARK also may provide a level of stability for WeWork and its investors, which is a key step as it prepares for a public offering. WeWork, like other recent tech IPOs, is still unprofitable. The company said it had a net loss of $1.9 billion on $1.8 billion in revenue in 2018, and a net loss of $933 million on $886 million in revenue in 2017, according to a presentation shared with CNBC in March. Lyft and Uber, which both recently debuted with losses, have fallen short of expectations in their brief tenures on the public market so far due to concern about their ability to close their margins in the future.

Naspers’s WeBuyCars deal may be blocked

By Nick Hedley for Business Day 

The Competition Commission says Naspers’s acquisition of local vehicle-purchasing service WeBuyCars should be blocked as it could lead to higher used-car prices in SA.

The commission has recommended to the Competition Tribunal that the deal be “prohibited”, it said on Wednesday.

A unit of Naspers, which owns the AutoTrader platform and OLX, wants to buy 60% of WeBuyCars. Naspers announced the deal in September 2018, saying it would invest R1.4bn in the company.

“We are very disappointed by the recommendation and respectfully disagree with the commission’s findings,” said Sjoerd Nikkelen, GM of OLX in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

“As a long-term investor in SA, we believe that the transaction, which will bring a R1.4bn investment into the country, will help stimulate the economy and provide more consumers with innovative and convenient models to buy and sell used cars,” Nikkelen said.

In the automotive segment, Naspers already has investments in Dubai-based companies Expat Wheels and WeCashAnyCar and in multinational used-car marketplace Frontier Car Group.

While the WeBuyCars deal “does not present any competitor overlap in SA”, as the Naspers group is not involved in buying and selling cars, “it was found that the Naspers group, through Frontier Car Group, has been anticipating entering the SA market for the wholesale and online buying of used cars in competition with WeBuyCars”, the commission said.

“These entry plans were thwarted directly as a result of the merger.”

As such, the deal could remove potential new competition in the form of Frontier Car Group.

The commission said another concern is that Naspers owns and operates online automotive advertising platforms including AutoTrader, which WeBuyCars uses to sell and purchase vehicles.

“It is the view of the commission that the merged entity will have the ability to leverage its significant AutoTrader position as well as the OLX platform to exclude rivals of WeBuyCars.”

The deal could result in the foreclosure of other traditional dealers, the commission said.

“Overall, the proposed transaction is likely to substantially prevent or lessen competition in the relevant markets and result in used-car customers paying higher prices in future than they would otherwise pay in a competitive environment.”

Naspers’s shares were down 1.37% to R3,304 on Wednesday, even after associate company Tencent reported better-than-expected results.

Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk said in 2018: “One of the reasons we’re so excited about WeBuyCars is we’ve done a similar transaction in the Emirates, and based on the lead generation we saw that business actually quadruple in size in a year. There’s enormous synergy between people who are selling a car and the [classifieds] model.”

Source: IOL

Embattled Tiso Blackstar has announced that it intends to close its Sunday World tabloid as revenue plummets and workers continue to strike.

Managing director Andy Gill yesterday sent out an internal communication to staff informing them that Sunday World employees had been notified about the company’s intentions.

Tiso Blackstar owns the Sunday Times, Financial Mail, Sowetan and Business Day, among other titles.

The company also shut down the print edition of The Times in 2017.

Gill said the company was “proposing a broad restructuring of its editorial operations as a result of the economic headwinds facing the business”.

He blamed looming job cuts and possible closure of the Sunday World on poor revenue.

Tiso Blackstar has also issued Section 189a notices to the editorial staff of the Sowetan, Daily Dispatch and The Herald, and editorial production staff in the business media stream.

“We are aware that the current situation is difficult, especially for those affected by restructuring, but it is important to consider the alternative future if we do not act now – one in which further title closures and widespread job losses become inevitable,” Gill said.

SA National Editors’ Forum chairperson Mahlatse Mahlase expressed concern over the looming job losses.

“The retrenchments come at a time when the industry has been shedding jobs at an alarming rate, which is very concerning.

“Newsrooms are becoming smaller, and that will always have an impact on the quality of journalism and diversity in the media,” she said.

The announcement comes at a time when some employees were on a strike which started last week after negotiations over pay, lack of bonuses and working conditions for journalists collapsed.

Yesterday, the employees picketed outside the group’s offices at The Hill on Empire Road in Johannesburg.

By Jan Vermeulen for MyBroadband 

Immigration systems were offline at Terminal B at OR Tambo International Airport on Sunday, causing huge delays for passengers.

Passengers boarding international flights were all funnelled through the security and passport control queues behind the check-in desks of Terminal A. The queue stretched out of Terminal A, all the way through a door that is usually kept closed, to Terminal B.

As travellers were checking the time and nervously watching the queue, airport staff started moving up and down the line searching for passengers who didn’t have long to make their flights.

There were a few staff who were not on an official assignment, however, but hunting for opportunity.

Three passengers and I were ushered to the next terminal by an airport staff member who said she was going to help us get to our flights.

“You need to tip me for helping you,” she said as we walked, and we laughed. It turned out I was the only one who thought it was a joke.

Our helper pushed us through the massive line of passengers towards the special processing area for crew and assisted passengers. When she was well ahead of us, one of the travellers with me said that she was serious about the “tip”.

“This is South Africa,” he said with a shrug.

OR Tambo chaos due to immigration downtime zoomed

Upon arriving at the crew and assisted passengers queue, the line was so congested that our helper was directed to use a special door that gives access to the front of the queue at the standard security check.

She pushed us into the normal security queue and said that she would meet us after we cleared passport control. This struck me as strange.

I walked through Duty Free and to the gate. A different staff member then said to me: “Hey, aren’t you flying to Madrid?”

“Yes,” I said, wondering whether checked-in passengers were already being called to board.

He started calling a name – the woman who had helped us get through immigration on time to make our flights.

“I want my tip,” she said.

“Tip?” I asked.

“Did you think I was doing it out of the kindness of my heart, helping you through?”

I was incredulous. “I thought you were getting us to our planes on time. Your job. I’m a frequent traveller and no one has ever asked for money to help get me through immigration on time.”

“This was your first time? So you’re not going to give me a tip?” she asked, angry.

“No. It’s very unusual,” I said.

“Well. Good luck.” she said.

As she walked away, she dialled a number and put her phone to her ear – and I was worried she would call in a favour to inconvenience me.

I was worried for nothing, however. I was able to board my flight without incident, and it even managed to depart on time – despite the problems at passport control.

As for my “helper” – the last I saw she was pacing around the Duty Free area, talking on her phone.

Airport responds
OR Tambo has issued a statement following this report, saying it would ensure that it cracked down on employees who ask passengers and airport visitors for tips.

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