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Microsoft DRM, Security, and Apple's Combustion Threat

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Security
  • You Don't Own What You've Bought: Microsoft's Books 'Will Stop Working'

    The latest in our forever ongoing series, recognizing in the digital age how you often no longer own what you've bought, thanks to DRM and copyright: this week, people with Microsoft ebooks will discover they're dead.

  • Security updates for Tuesday

    Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (firefox, firefox-developer-edition, libarchive, and vlc), CentOS (firefox, thunderbird, and vim), Debian (firefox-esr, openssl, and python-django), Fedora (glpi and xen), Mageia (thunderbird), openSUSE (ImageMagick, irssi, libheimdal, and phpMyAdmin), Red Hat (libssh2 and qemu-kvm), Scientific Linux (firefox, thunderbird, and vim), SUSE (389-ds, cf-cli, curl, dbus-1, dnsmasq, evolution, glib2, gnutls, graphviz, java-1_8_0-openjdk, and libxslt), and Ubuntu (python-django).

  • Kali Linux in the DigitalOcean Cloud

    DigitalOcean is a cloud provider similar to AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and many others. They offer instances, called “droplets”, with different Linux distributions such as Debian, Ubuntu, FreeBSD, etc. Similar to AWS, DigitalOcean has datacenters around the world and sometimes multiple datacenters in each country.

    However, one feature in particular sets them apart them from their competitors. A little while ago, they added support for custom images, which allows users to import virtual machine disks and use them as droplets. This is perfect for us as we can use our own version of Kali Linux in their cloud.

    While it might be possible to load the official Kali Linux virtual images, it wouldn’t be very efficient. Instead, we’ll build a lightweight Kali installation with the bare minimum to get it working.

  • Cybersecurity Experts Blocked 5 Million Attempted Hacks of IoT Cameras

    Trend Micro cybersecurity experts report that they blocked an astounding five-million hack attempts on IoT cameras. It’s quite frightening to think what may have happened if these experts weren’t hard at work.

  • Public Certificate Poisoning Can Break Some OpenPGP Implementations

    OpenPGP installations can grind to a halt and fail to verify the authenticity of downloaded packages as the keyserver network has been flooded with bogus extra signatures attesting ownership of a certificate.

    Vulnerabilities that allow this type of certificate spamming attack have been known for years and a timely fix or mitigation is nowhere in sight, neither from the keyserver network community nor the OpenPGP Working Group.

  • Report: Apple Discovers MacBook Air Logic Board Issue

                   

                     

    Not all 13-inch MacBook Air with Retina Display units from 2018 are believed to be affected by the logic board issue. The memo reportedly said that only units with certain serial numbers were affected; Apple plans to inform the owners of those devices via email. Affected units can be taken to Apple's retail stores or authorized repair shops until four years after their original purchase date, 9to5Mac said. 
     

                     

    It's not clear why Apple didn't publicly announce the replacement program.  

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  • Apple finds issue w/ logic board in some 2018 MacBook Airs, offers free repair

                   

                     

    Apple has confirmed in an internal document to repair staff that it’s identified an issue with the main logic board in what it says is a “very small number” of MacBook Air models. Apple Stores and authorized repair staff have been informed to replace the main logic board in affected machines at no cost to customers, according to the document obtained by 9to5Mac.  

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  • Apple Recalls 15-Inch MacBook Pro Laptop Computers Due to Fire Hazard

                   

                     

    The batteries in the recalled laptop computers can overheat, posing a fire hazard.  

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  • Apple recalls 432,000 MacBook Pro laptops for fire and burn risks

                   

                     

    Manufactured in China, the recalled computers had a retail price of $2,000 and more, and were sold at Apple and electronics stores nationwide, as well as online, from September 2015 through February 2017.  

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  • 2015 15" MacBook Pro Recall Applies to About 432,000 Units, Apple Received 26 Reports of Batteries Overheating

                   

                     

    Last week, Apple launched a worldwide recall and replacement program for select 2015 15-inch MacBook Pro units, sold primarily between September 2015 and February 2017, due to batteries that "may overheat and pose a fire safety risk." Apple will replace affected batteries free of charge.  

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  • 'Dangerous' Muslim Brotherhood fatwa app in Apple Store's top 100 downloads

                       

                         

    The Euro Fatwa app, which was launched in April, was created by the European Council for Fatwa and Research, a Dublin private foundation set up by Yusuf Al Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.
     

                         

    Touted as a guide to help Muslims adhere to Islam, critics including Germany’s security service, say the app is a radicalisation tool.  

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  • Jony Ive found Tim Cook's disinterest in design 'dispiriting'

                       

                         

    But more damagingly, the WSJ highlights that Ive was left "dispirited" by Tim Cook, in stark contrast to his close relationship with Steve Jobs. Cook, apparently "showed little interest in the product development process" according to the paper's sources. Ive was also left frustrated by the makeup of Apple's board of directors, which was filled with people with backgrounds outside of Apple's core business (the pun is ours, and very much intended). 
     

                         

    As well as these reports, Ive's own words have come back to haunt the company. Back in 2014, he told The Times he'd leave Apple if it stopped innovating. Awkward.  

>Microsoft's Ebook Apocalypse Shows the Dark Side of DRM

  • Microsoft's Ebook Apocalypse Shows the Dark Side of DRM

    Your iTunes movies, your Kindle books—they’re not really yours. You don’t own them. You’ve just bought a license that allows you to access them, one that can be revoked at any time. And while a handful of incidents have brought that reality into sharp relief over the years, none has quite the punch of Microsoft disappearing every single ebook from every one of its customers.

    Microsoft made the announcement in April that it would shutter the Microsoft Store’s books section for good. The company had made its foray into ebooks in 2017, as part of a Windows 10 Creators Update that sought to round out the software available to its Surface line. Relegated to Microsoft’s Edge browser, the digital bookstore never took off. As of April 2, it halted all ebook sales. And starting as soon as this week, it’s going to remove all purchased books from the libraries of those who bought them.

    Other companies have pulled a similar trick in smaller doses. Amazon, overcome by a fit of irony in 2009, memorably vanished copies of George Orwell’s 1984 from Kindles. The year before that, Walmart shut down its own ill-fated MP3 store, at first suggesting customers burn their purchases onto CDs to salvage them before offering a download solution. But this is not a tactical strike. There is no backup plan. This is The Langoliers. And because of digital rights management—the mechanism by which platforms retain control over the digital goods they sell—you have no recourse. Microsoft will refund customers in full for what they paid, plus an extra $25 if they made annotations or markups. But that provides only the coldest comfort.

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today's howtos

Security Leftovers

  • Security updates for Tuesday

    Security updates have been issued by Mageia (mysql-connector-java), openSUSE (chromium, curl, libqt4, and singularity), Red Hat (bash and kernel), SUSE (python-pip and python3), and Ubuntu (busybox, ceph, freeimage, libofx, libpam-tacplus, linux, linux-aws, linux-aws-hwe, linux-azure, linux-azure-4.15, linux-gcp, linux-gcp-4.15, linux-gke-4.15, linux-hwe, linux-oem, linux-oracle, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-oracle, novnc, and tnef).

  • Microsoft secures backend server that leaked Bing data [Ed: "No personal user data was leaked in the incident," says ZDNet about a Microsoft security incident, just because the liars from Microsoft said so. Did ZDNet check to verify? No. Reprinting lies.]

    Microsoft has suffered a rare cyber-security lapse earlier this month when the company's IT staff accidentally left one of Bing's backend servers exposed online.

  • No security audit done on Chinese smartphones- IT ministry

    Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, today clarified that it has not conducted any sort of study to check if Chinese-made smartphones used in India are sending sensitive data to their country of origin. “Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has not conducted any such study,” said Minister of State Sanjay Dhotre, in response to a question by Rajya Sabha MP Vivek Tankha. [...] While the Gnu Public License, which governs the Linux Operating System, requires anyone who makes changes to the code to disclose the changes publicly, such a requirement is not there for BSD, and therefore, for Android. Unlike GPL, the BSD license allows any company to take the code, alter it in any way they want, and not disclose the changes to anyone.

  • No, Moving Your SSH Port Isn’t Security by Obscurity

    In short, you just made it harder for the enemy to successfully attack you by giving them a resource problem. Sure, they can check under every rock in Central Park and eventually find the package, but you’ll be done with the mission by then.

    Obscurity doesn’t apply if people know the mechanism you’re using and they simply have a resource problem. Having a known defense but a hidden key is a well-established part of good security, and it has been for millennia.

GNU/Linux-Compatible Devices

  • Raspberry Pi turns retro radio into interactive storyteller
  • Microchip graphics toolkit for Linux-on-Arm

    Called Ensemble Graphics Toolkit, it is a no-cost and royalty-fre open-source C++ suite based on the permissive Apache 2.0 open-source license. It works with the company’s chips, system-in-package and system-on-module products. “By taking advantage of underlying hardware acceleration, including graphics controllers and video decoders when available, the toolkit provides a high-performance user experience on low and mid-range graphical displays up to XGA [1,024 x 768] resolution,” according to the company. “Ensemble Graphics Toolkit and Linux can be optimised for boot times of under three seconds from cold reset that is required for applications such as automotive dashboard clusters.”

  • Intel Rocket Lake and Xe DG1 GPU now have Linux support

    Intel has updated its Compute Runtime to support its upcoming Rocket Lake desktop processors and Intel DG1 graphics based on its Xe GPU architecture. Overall, this can be seen as a sign that things are moving at a steady pace with Intel’s 11th generation core CPUs and discrete graphics.

  • Work smarter and harder!

    We’re decided to focus on how an open source smart home office looks and runs with a bit of help from the Raspberry Pi. From setting up a low-overhead video conferencing system to collaborative document editing and sharing, to more mundane smart-home control options, this is what happens when we leave Jonni to his own devices at home for six months! Hopefully you’ll find something that will be of genuine use around your new working-from-home home office, or at least something for which use a spare Pi!