What I’ve Read This Week (March 29 2021 to April 4 2021)

Starting off with some malware analysis from Zimperium, this particular Android malware is quite sophisticated and thorough. The level of sophistication here and the fact that this app has never been on the Google Play Store suggests to me a well funded actor, possibly state funded malware designed to target specific people and not for wide distribution.

Ben Thompson writes about the latest Intel keynote from new CEO Pat Gelsinger. It’s interesting to see the directions Intel is going to start moving in from now on. The most interesting thing here is the explanation on what went wrong with Intel and the 7nm process. 7nm still won’t show up in Intel chips until 2023 till the earliest but at least we have some sort of a timeline here and a proper acknowledgement of Intel’s mistakes in this endeavour.

Brian Krebs reports on the latest Ubiquiti breach sourcing a unnamed whistleblower who alleges that the breach was much worse than was publicly announced and that Ubitquiti legal was insistent on minimizing their culpability into the reasons the breach happened. A Ubiquiti engineer’s LastPass account was apparently compromised which gave them root level (!) access to their AWS account, from there the attacker was able to infiltrate further. If any of the allegations are true, this is a shameful display not only of bad infosec practices but also of dishonesty to customers. I am considering my options on switching out the Ubiquiti gear in my home network because of this.

Casey Newton writes about the mess over at Medium. I’ll be quite frank, I have never been a fan of Medium as a platform. I’ve always been distrustful of their attempts to be the next big writing platform while not offering any significant benefit over a WordPress blog. It reeked of typical Silicon Valley “””disruption””” nonsense. Well, Casey’s reporting here shows that is indeed the case and that it is a company struggling to find a direction to move into and doesn’t have much in the way of an actual product or the desire to follow through on their existing attempts to create a space for journalism to thrive.

Douglas J. Leith writes a paper about the data that iOS and Android send to Apple and Google. This paper made the headlines in Ars Technica this week. I opted to link the actual paper instead but it makes for some interesting reading, especially as an iOS user myself. Especially concerning to me is the fact that iOS sends MAC addresses of nearby devices and the home gateway along with their GPS location to Apple.

Both iOS and Google Android transmit telemetry, despite the user explicitly opting out of this. When a SIM is inserted both iOS and Google Android send details to Apple/Google. iOS sends the MAC addresses of nearby devices, e.g. other handsets and the home gateway, to Apple together with their GPS location. Currently there are few, if any, realistic options for preventing this data sharing.

Douglas J. Leith, Mobile Handset Privacy: Measuring The Data iOS and Android Send to Apple And Google

Riccardo Mori writes a post looking at the past 20 years of macOS. My personal usage of macOS started with Snow Leopard so it was cool to see the way the operating system has evolved over the years from someone who has quite obviously used Macs a lot and has a lot of strong opinions. I found the opinions about the font changes especially amusing.

Sebastiaan de With reviews the cameras on the iPhones 12 after long term usage. He thoroughly demonstrates just how important the software decisions are when it comes to these cameras. Also loved seeing the way the LIDAR sensor works and how it impacts the iPhone 12 Pro’s photos.

Smart image processing, magical multi-frame combination, deep fusion, night mode: the best camera is the one that is not just on you, but gets out of the way. That takes a great photo, yet does this smart enough to make you feel like you actually took it. A camera that takes better photos but remains neutral — allowing the photographer the flexibility to edit it afterwards to make it fit their mood and artistic vision.

Sebastiaan de With, The Long Term iPhone 12 Camera Review

That’s all from me this week. See y’all next week!