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Apple says it is bricking iPhones with Error 53 for security reasons

bricks

You wouldn't expect a simple iOS update to completely kill your iPhone, but this is exactly what is happening. Users who took their handsets to a third party for repair and subsequently updated their software have run into error 53 and a bricked handset. Apple is not only aware of the problem, but says that it is intentional

As we learned the other day, the problem seems to arise for people who have had their home key (specifically) fixed by a non-Apple-authorized repairer. Apple has now admitted that when iOS detects the home key has been tinkered with, and says that Error 53 is a move to 'protect our customer' -- customers who will, presumably, think twice before upgrading to an iPhone 7.

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#RIPTwitter? What's with all the hoopla?

dead_bird

There have been changes aplenty at Twitter as the company fights to remain relevant in an increasingly crowded social marketplace. There have been rumors that the famous 140-character limit could be dropped, and we're already seeing Twitter dropping the requirement to be logged into an account in order to see conversations. Just like Facebook, Twitter has also experimented with changing the order in which content appears in users' timelines, and it seems like this is something that's due to spread to everyone.

The company could be on the verge of launching a new algorithm-powered timeline that displays tweets not in reverse chronological order, but based on what it thinks you might want to see. Before the change has even been implemented, there has already been something of a backlash, with many people suggesting this could be the death of Twitter. The hashtag #RIPTwitter quickly started trending and is home to vocal opposition to the change.

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Twitter tackles terrorists in targeted takedown

stop_terror

Having previously battled trolls, Twitter has now turned its attention to terrorists and their supporters. The site has closed down more than 125,000 accounts associated with terrorism since the middle of 2015, it announced in a statement.

Although a full breakdown of figures is not provided, Twitter says most of these accounts were related to ISIS. Having increased the size of its account review team, the site has reduced the time it takes to investigate accounts that are reported, and has also started to investigate 'accounts similar to those reported'.

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Firefox OS is leaving handsets but moving on to IoT

home automation

Have we heard enough about the Internet of Things yet, or is it only just the tip of the iceberg? There are more players in this game all the time, and the latest is Mozilla. Yes, the folks who produce the Firefox web browser, among other things.

The move isn't entirely new, the organization alluded to moving its operating system here already. To date Mozilla has been testing products to bring into the fold, and it is moving forward with its plans.

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Is Apple iPad Pro too big? [second in a series]

Apple iPad Pro and Rolling Stone

"Look up, waaaaaay up" is a phrase familiar to Canadians of a certain age, who watched "The Friendly Giant". The kids program aired from 1958 to 1985 on CBC, which our TV antenna grabbed from the local affiliate across the border in New Brunswick (I'm from Northern Maine). There's something about iPad Pro's enormity that makes it feel more like something the Giant would use.

My question this fine Friday: Is iPad Pro too big? For the majority of potential buyers, my answer is unequivocally yes. I don't see a product made for the majority. Whatever Apple's post-PC ambitions, iPad Pro is more a proof-of-concept for future laptop replacement. However, for the few -- creators looking for larger digital canvas -- iPad Pro offers much. For the many, the first version will work out the kinks, such as getting the app platform placed, for mass-market successors. Warning: Embracing the expansive tablet may make switching to something smaller nearly impossible. Size matters, and sometimes larger is better.

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Microsoft: Windows 10 will keep you safe, and this is how

Secure Windows 10

The reason Microsoft has given for pushing Windows 10 so aggressively is it wants to get users to a "safe place". Very altruistic. Although there’s no excuse for forcing users to upgrade in the manner that it has.

Still, there’s no questioning that Windows 10 is Microsoft’s safest operating system to date and to help sell the security benefits, the software giant has put together a web page detailing how the OS can protect you from modern security threats.

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Microsoft Azure IoT hub is now available -- here's what you need to know

Internet of things

Microsoft has released the latest component of its cloud IoT suite, the Azure IoT hub, which was first announced back in September.

Azure IoT Hub is designed to make it easy to connect IoT devices to the cloud as well as allowing bidirectional communication, with device to cloud telemetry and cloud to device commands.

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Heading to the Super Bowl? Stay away from these apps.

Super Bowl 50

Last year’s Super Bowl brought in over  114.5 million viewers worldwide, and chances are even more are gearing up to watch the big game this weekend (we’ll let you decide if it’s for the football or the commercials). While much of the focus should be on the big screen broadcasting the plays, it’s inevitable that viewers will pull their phones out of their pockets throughout the game. With 52 percent of smartphone owners reporting that they check their devices several times an hour or more frequently, and the Super Bowl typically lasts about four hours, it’s almost a given that you’ll be looking at your mobile device at some point during the game.

Social networking apps will probably take up the most time on the phone screen, as last year’s Super Bowl saw more than 28.4 million global tweets, making #SB49 the most tweeted Super Bowl ever. Facebook also boasted some impressive stats, with more than 65 million people posting about the game, including 55 million from the U.S. alone. During the final play of the game (which sealed the deal for a win for the Patriots), over 1.3 million unique people per minute were active on Super Bowl-related content.

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Industry's reaction to Europe's new EU-US Privacy Shield

Question

After months of negotiations, this week saw the European Commission (EC) announce a replacement to Safe Harbor after it was declared invalid in October 2015.

The new framework, dubbed the EU-US Privacy Shield, has been put in place to protect the rights of Europeans when their data is transferred to the United States and ensure legal certainty for businesses.

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How to boot a USB key in VirtualBox

VM.200.175

VirtualBox is an amazing virtualization tool, ideal for all kinds of software testing situations -- unless they involve booting from USB, where there’s no direct support at all.

There’s a workaround which will sort-of solve the problem, no additional software required, but it’s awkward and inflexible. Virtual Machine USB Boot is an interesting alternative, an open-source portable tool which makes it much easier to boot USB keys in both VirtualBox and QEMU.

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Dridex botnet hacked to deliver free antivirus software

NurseRobot

Widely used by cyber criminals to introduce malware onto systems, the Dridex banking trojan has been subject to a number of high profile investigations, and a takedown by US authorities last year.

These things don't stay dead for long, however, and Dridex is back in business. But in an interesting new twist it seems that the Dridex botnet has been hijacked to deliver the free Avira antivirus program rather than its more usual malicious payload.

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Windows 10 hits 18 percent usage share in the enterprise

windows_10_purple

Windows 10 is doing great. Despite various problems, security and privacy issues people have had with its virtual assistant Cortana, the adoption rate of Microsoft’s latest operating system has been quite impressive.

According to the latest studies done by Spiceworks, 18 percent of businesses are currently using Windows 10. The predictions are saying that 40 percent of businesses are expected to upgrade by July this year, when Windows 10 celebrates its first birthday. The operating system seems to be on good course, as the penetration has increased seven percent since October last year.

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New UK homes to get superfast broadband -- maybe

Tablet BYOD building

The UK government has today announced that it will work with Openreach -- BT's local access network business -- and the Home Builders Federation (HBF) on an agreement to deliver superfast broadband connectivity to new build properties in the UK.

The deal will mean that fibre-based broadband is offered to all new developments either for free or as part of a co-funded initiative.

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Mozilla kills Firefox OS 2.6 for smartphones but it lives on in smart TVs and connected devices

Firefox OS

Following on from the announcement that Firefox OS would no longer be developed for smartphones, Mozilla has explained the thinking behind the decision (failures on its part) and also revealed that Firefox OS will continue to live on in other devices.

The operating system is already used to power Panasonic SmartTVs, and this is set to continue. This will certainly come as good news to owners of such TVs, but Mozilla says that the OS stack will be used in a range of Connected Devices.

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Here's how to bypass the iOS lock screen passcode

iphone_in_hand

There are numerous ways to keep your smartphone safe from prying eyes, and a lock screen protected with a passcode is a popular choice. But a newly discovered vulnerability in iOS 8 and iOS 9 means that iPhones and iPads could be accessed by attackers.

The vulnerability was discovered by security analyst Benjamin Kunz Mejri and it has been assigned a Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) count of 6.0, as well as a 'high' severity rating. Apple has been aware of the issue since late last year, but has yet to issue a patch.

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