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Cyber Researcher Pulls Public Talk on Hacking Apple’s Face ID

A cyber-security researcher cancelled a hacking conference briefing on how he said he could crack biometric facial recognition on Apple iPhones, at the request of his employer, which called the work “misleading.” The prospect that Face ID could be defeated is troubling because it is used to lock down functions on tens of millions of iPhones…

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Cyber Researcher Pulls Public Talk on Hacking Apple’s Face ID

A cyber-security researcher cancelled a hacking conference briefing on how he said he could crack biometric facial recognition on Apple iPhones, at the request of his employer, which called the work “misleading.”

The prospect that Face ID could be defeated is troubling because it is used to lock down functions on tens of millions of iPhones from banking and healthcare apps to emails, text messages and photos.

There is a one in 1 million chance a random person could unlock a Face ID, versus one in 50,000 chance that would happen with the iPhone’s fingerprint sensor, according to Apple.

Face ID has proven more secure than its predecessor, Touch ID, which uses fingerprint sensors to unlock iPhones. Touch ID was defeated within a few days of its 2013 launch.

China-based researcher Wish Wu was scheduled to present a talk entitled “Bypass Strong Face ID: Everyone Can Deceive Depth and IR Camera and Algorithms” at the Black Hat Asia hacking conference in Singapore in March. Wu told Reuters that his employer, Ant Financial, asked him to withdraw the talk from Black Hat, one of the largest and most prestigious organisers of hacking conferences.

Ant Financial’s Alipay payment system is compatible with facial recognition technologies including Face ID.

Nobody has publicly released details on a successful Face ID hack that others have been able to replicate since Apple introduced the feature in 2017 with the iPhone X, according to biometric security experts. The company has introduced three other Face ID phones: iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR.

Wu told Reuters that he agreed with the decision to withdraw his talk, saying he was only able to reproduce hacks on iPhone X under certain conditions, but that it did not work with iPhone XS and XS Max.

“In order to ensure the credibility and maturity of the research results, we decided to cancel the speech,” he told Reuters in a message on Twitter.

An Apple spokesman declined comment.

“The research on the face ID verification mechanism is incomplete and would be misleading if presented,” Ant Financial said in a statement.

Black Hat withdrew an abstract of the talk from its website in late December after Ant uncovered problems with the research.

The abstract claimed that Face ID could be hacked with an image printed on an ordinary black-and-white printer and some tape. The only other claim of a Face ID hack was in 2017 by a Vietnamese cyber-security company Bkav, which posted it on YouTube videos. Other researchers have not been able to replicate that attack.

Apple’s facial recognition uses a combination of cameras and special sensors to capture a three-dimensional scan of a face that allows it to identify spoofs with photographs or determine if the user is asleep or otherwise not looking at the phone.

It is rare for talks to be pulled from cyber-security conferences such as Black Hat, whose events are attended by professionals looking to understand emerging hacking threats.

Black Hat told Reuters it had accepted Wu’s talk because Wu convinced its review board he could pull off the hack.

“Black Hat accepted the talk after believing the hack could be replicated based on the materials provided by the researcher,” conference spokeswoman Kimberly Samra said.

Anil Jain, a Michigan State University computer science professor who is an expert on facial recognition, said he was surprised by Wu’s claim because Apple has invested heavily in “anti-spoofing” technology that makes such hacks very difficult.

© Thomson Reuters 2019

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iOS 14.1, iPadOS 14.1 Released With 10-Bit HDR Video Playback, Edit Support for Earlier Models

Apple has released iOS 14.1 and iPadOS 14.1 as the latest improvement-focussed updates for compatible iPhone and iPad models. The new updates come less than a month after the company rolled out iOS 14.0.1 and iPadOS 14.0.1 as the early bug fix releases post the debut of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14. Alongside various improvements…

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iOS 14.1, iPadOS 14.1 Released With 10-Bit HDR Video Playback, Edit Support for Earlier Models

Apple has released iOS 14.1 and iPadOS 14.1 as the latest improvement-focussed updates for compatible iPhone and iPad models. The new updates come less than a month after the company rolled out iOS 14.0.1 and iPadOS 14.0.1 as the early bug fix releases post the debut of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14. Alongside various improvements and bug fixes, the iOS 14.1 and iPadOS 14.1 bring 10-bit HDR video playback and edit support to existing iPhone and iPad models.What’s new in iOS 14.1As per the changelog provided by Apple, iOS 14.1 adds support for 10-bit HDR video playback and editing in the Photos app for the iPhone 8 and later models. It makes sense as the iPhone 12 series brings 10-bit HDR video recording and while enabling the same experience isn’t possible probably due to hardware limitations, existing iPhone users will now be able to watch and edit videos they receive from the latest iPhone models.Aside from the newly added 10-bit HDR video support, the update fixes the problem that was causing some widgets, folders, and icons to appear in reduced size on the home screen. It also addresses the issue where dragging widgets on the home screen could remove apps from folders. The update also fixes the issues where emails in Mail were sent from an incorrect alias and incoming calls were prevented from displaying region information.iOS 14.1 brings a list of improvements and bug fixes The iOS 14.1 update also brings a fix for the issue that was resulting in the lock screen emerging call button to overlap with the text input box when zoomed display mode was enabled alongside an alphanumeric passcode. Similarly, the update fixes the Calculator app for the issue that could prevent zeros from appearing on the screen. There is also a fix for the issue that was restricting users to download or add songs to their library while viewing an album or playlist.Apple has also resolved an issue that was temporarily reducing streaming video resolution at the start of playback. The update also addresses an issue in the Files app that could cause some MDM-managed cloud service providers to incorrectly display content as unavailable. Additionally, there are improvements towards Ubiquiti wireless access points’ compatibility.The latest iOS update also fixes a couple of problems related to the Apple Watch. In one case, some users were prevented from setting up a family member’s Apple Watch, while in the other one, the Apple Watch case material was displayed incorrectly in the Apple Watch app.That said, the iOS 14.1 update doesn’t address the known battery drain issue that was introduced with the release of iOS 14. Apple even acknowledged the issue publicly and provided a workaround — which was to restore your iPhone after completely erasing all its content stored.The release of iOS 14.1 comes just ahead of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro sale that is beginning in the US and other key markets from Friday, October 23. The new iPhone models are debuting in India on October 30, though. Apple is likely to ship the iPhone 12 series with iOS 14.1 out-of-the-box.What’s new in iPadOS 14.1Just like the iOS 14.1 update, iPadOS 14.1 also includes fixes for the issues related to widgets, folders, and icons on the home screen, Mail app, music library, video playback, and the Files app. It also brings 10-bit HDR video playback and editing support to the Photos app for the iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation) and later, iPad Pro 11‑inch, iPad Pro 10.5-inch, iPad Air (3rd generation) and later, and the iPad mini (5th generation). Moreover, the iPadOS 14.1 update comes on the heels of the iPad Air (2020) availability that is set alongside the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro sale. The new iPad Air is expected to ship running the latest iPadOS update.How to download iOS 14.1, iPadOS 14.1To download iOS 14.1 on your iPhone or iPod touch or iPadOS 14.1 on your iPad, make sure the device has a sufficient amount of battery and is connected to a Wi-Fi network. You can then begin the download process by going to Settings > General > Software Update. Moreover, the updates are available for all iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad models that are compatible with iOS 14 or iPadOS 14.Are iPhone 12 mini, HomePod mini the Perfect Apple Devices for India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Flipkart Big Billion Days Sale: Samsung Galaxy S20+, Galaxy Note 10+, Galaxy F41, More Receive Price Discounts

Samsung Galaxy S20+, Galaxy Note 10+, Galaxy Tab A 8.0, and Galaxy Watch are available on discounted prices under Flipkart’s Big Billion Days sale. The sale is currently live for Flipkart Plus members. Flipkart is also set to offer a Rs. 1,000 prepaid discount along with a 10 percent instant discount for SBI customers purchasing…

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Flipkart Big Billion Days Sale: Samsung Galaxy S20+, Galaxy Note 10+, Galaxy F41, More Receive Price Discounts

Samsung Galaxy S20+, Galaxy Note 10+, Galaxy Tab A 8.0, and Galaxy Watch are available on discounted prices under Flipkart’s Big Billion Days sale. The sale is currently live for Flipkart Plus members. Flipkart is also set to offer a Rs. 1,000 prepaid discount along with a 10 percent instant discount for SBI customers purchasing the newly launched Galaxy F41. Separately, Samsung is hosting a festive season sale through its online store in India to offer deals and discounts on various accessories, wearables, and smart TVs.Discounts on Samsung phonesFlipkart is offering the Samsung Galaxy S20+ at a discounted price of Rs. 49,999 as a part of its Big Billion Days sale. It’s a discount of Rs. 28,000 on its current price of Rs. 77,999. If you’re looking for a Galaxy Note model, Flipkart also has the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ at Rs. 54,999, down from its retail price of Rs. 85,000.Flipkart will also sell the Samsung Galaxy F41 during the sale. As mentioned, customers will get an additional Rs. 1,000 discount on prepaid transactions and SBI customers can avail another 10 percent discount on it.Discounts on Samsung Galaxy Watch and Tablet A 8.0In addition to smartphones, Flipkart’s sale brings the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 Wi-Fi only at Rs. 8,999 that normally retails at Rs. 9,999. Customers can also pick the Samsung Galaxy Watch 46mm Bluetooth variant at Rs. 11,990 — a discount of Rs. 8,000 on the current price of Rs. 19,990.Flipkart also has a Smart Upgrade Plan that lets customers purchase Samsung premium phones by paying 70 percent of their price. After a 12-month period, they will have the option to either upgrade to a new phone via Flipkart and return the initial phone purchased, or pay the 30 percent balance.The Flipkart Big Billion Days sale is currently live only for Flipkart Plus members. However, it will be available for regular customers starting Friday and will go on until October 21.Samsung is also hosting the festive sale through its online store in India that brings up to 40 percent discount on the Galaxy S20+, up to 60 percent discount on wireless chargers and JBL speakers, and up to 45 percent discount on various smart TVs including The Frame. There will also be up to 12.5 percent cashback for HDFC, ICICI, and SBI bank customers.The Samsung sale is live and will go on till November 16.Flipkart, Amazon have excellent iPhone 11, Galaxy S20+ sale offers, but will they have enough stock? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details.

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Microsoft Surface Pro X 2020 Now Available for Purchase in India, Pricing Starts at Rs. 1,49,999

Surface Pro X 2020 with Microsoft SQ2 processor and a new Platinum finish is now available for purchase in India. Microsoft launched the new Surface Pro X as its latest Windows-based tablet earlier this month. It can deliver up to 15 hours of battery life on a single charge and offer an improved performance over…

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Microsoft Surface Pro X 2020 Now Available for Purchase in India, Pricing Starts at Rs. 1,49,999

Surface Pro X 2020 with Microsoft SQ2 processor and a new Platinum finish is now available for purchase in India. Microsoft launched the new Surface Pro X as its latest Windows-based tablet earlier this month. It can deliver up to 15 hours of battery life on a single charge and offer an improved performance over the existing Surface Pro X that debuted in the Indian market in May. The updated Surface Pro X also retains the 13-inch display featured on the earlier model.Microsoft Surface Pro X 2020 price in India, availabilityThe Surface Pro X 2020 with 256GB storage carries a price tag of Rs. 1,49,999, while its 512GB variant is priced at Rs. 1,78,999. The tablet comes in Platinum and Black finishes and offers 4G LTE connectivity. In addition to the updated Microsoft Surface Pro X, Microsoft has also brought its Signature Keyboard in three new colour options – Platinum, Ice Blue, and Poppy Red. The Surface Pro X 2020 will be available through authorised resellers starting today. Online platforms including Amazon are yet to start selling the new model.Microsoft launched the updated Surface Pro X in India during its global debut a couple of weeks ago. The tablet went up for pre-orders in the country following the official launch.Microsoft Surface Pro X 2020 specificationsSurface Pro X 2020 runs on Windows 10 Home and features a 13-inch PixelSense display with a 2,880×1,920 pixels resolution. It is powered by Microsoft SQ2 processor that has been co-developed with Qualcomm, paired with Adreno 690 GPU and 16GB of LPDDR4x RAM. There is also a Qualcomm Snapdragon X24 LTE modem for 4G connectivity. The tablet comes with nanoSIM and eSIM slots.In addition to cellular connectivity, the new Surface Pro X comes with Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, GPS/ A-GPS/ GLONASS, and two USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 2 ports. There is also a Surface Connect port for charging as well as a pogo-pin connector for attaching the magnetic Signature Keyboard.The Surface Pro X includes an accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, and an ambient light sensor. It measures 287x208x7.3mm and weighs 774 grams.Is this the end of the Samsung Galaxy Note series as we know it? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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