Mark Wyciślik-Wilson

Leaked internal documents show Apple will repair iPhones with third-party batteries

iPhone battery

If you opted to replace your iPhone battery on the cheap -- avoiding Apple and opting for a third-party instead -- on a subsequent trip to your nearest Genius Bar you will have found that you were ineligible for repairs.

It did not matter if your problem was in no way related to the battery, Apple took a hard line: if you had replaced the battery yourself, you were getting no further help. But leaked internal documents show that the company is softening. Genius Bar and Apple Authorized Service Provider technicians are now permitted to carry out work on phones with non-Apple batteries.

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Speed up Windows 10 with the Retpoline Spectre fix

Spectre logo on CPU

It's been a while since we heard much about Spectre, the speculative execution exploit that sent the security world into a frenzy. Cast your mind back a little while and you'll probably remember that the various fixes that were produced to mitigate against the exploits all had one thing in common -- they resulted in a performance hit.

To help address the reduced performance experienced on older AMD and Intel systems, a new mitigation technique called Retpoline was developed. This new Spectre patch is currently included in Insider builds of Windows 10, but you can install it and enable it right now -- regardless of whether you are signed up for the Insider program -- and enjoy a speed boost for your computer.

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Samsung teams up with Calm to bring mindfulness and meditation to the masses

In recent years, both Apple and Samsung have been expanding into health-related areas, bringing a range of wellbeing services to users. Now Samsung has announced that it is teaming up with popular sleep and meditation app, Calm.

The partnership means that users of Samsung Health will be able to take advantage of things like mindfulness and guided meditation, as well as sleep and relaxation tools.

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Facebook is adding a Tributes section to memorialized accounts of deceased users

Facebook love

When a Facebook user dies, it is possible to transform their profile into a memorialized account. Facebook describes this as a "place for friends and family to gather and share memories after a person has passed away".

Now the social network is rolling out a new feature for memorialized profiles: Tributes. This is essentially a new section that appears on the page of deceased users where friends and family can post new content about their loved ones.

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Alphabet startup Chronicle launches enterprise cybersecurity platform Backstory, and partners with Avast

Backstory

It is a year since Google's parent company Alphabet launched the cybersecurity outfit Chronicle. Now the startup has launched its first product, a security platform called Backstory.

Backstory is an enterprise-level cybersecurity and analytics platform; Chronicle describes it as "the first global security telemetry platform designed for a world that thinks in petabytes". Coinciding with the launch, Chronicle has teamed up with security firms Avast and Proofpoint.

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Google Project Zero reveals 'high severity' macOS vulnerability that Apple has failed to patch

Black and white Apple store logo

Google's Project Zero has gone public about a "high severity" flaw in the macOS kernel after Apple failed to patch it 90 days after being told about the problem.

A security researcher discovered a problem in XNU that means it is possible to perform malicious activities. The security bug related to copy-on-write (COW) behavior, enabling an attacker to manipulate filesystem images without the operating system being notified. Apple was informed of the vulnerability back in November, but has failed to release a patch.

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Sources: Huawei is on the verge of suing the US government

Huawei smartphone

The US has made no secret of the fact it does not trust Huawei, and the company's hardware has been shunned by the government over fears about Chinese espionage. There have also been calls for Huawei hardware to be barred from the US power grid.

The smartphone manufacturer has previously indicated that it is not willing to go down without a fight, and this threat could be about to be put into action. Huawei is said to be preparing to sue the US government, challenging last year's addition to the US National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), according to sources talking to the New York Times.

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If you've added your phone number to Facebook for 2FA security, it can be used to search for you

Facebook on mobile in pocket

Facebook has been encouraging users to enable two-factor authentication to boost the security of their accounts, but it turns out that there's a slightly sinister side to this feature.

You may well have opted to maintain an element of privacy by omitting personal information such as your address and phone number from your profile. But if you've used your mobile number to secure your account with 2FA, even if it is not visible to others, it can still be used to search for you -- and there is no way to opt out of this.

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Leak: OnePlus 7 could eliminate the notch with a pop-up camera

OnePlus 7

At MWC last month, OnePlus did not -- as many people had hoped -- show off the OnePlus 7, opting instead to give visitors a hands-off glimpse at a 5G prototype. But a new leak gives us an idea of what we might expect to see in the upcoming handset.

In a video, the OnePlus 7 is shown to have virtually no bezels, and a 6.5-inch screen is unencumbered by a notch or hole punch cut-out. This is thanks largely to the use of a camera that pops up out of the top of the handset.

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Twitter is testing a new option to let you hide replies to tweets

Twitter on iPhone

There are many demands made of Twitter, but perhaps the most frequently requested feature is an edit option. There's a chance that this will appear in time, but until then there are other concerns for Twitter users.

Abuse and trolling on Twitter -- like other social networks -- is rife, and anyone posting a tweet has to deal with the replies that it may generate... and the responses to those replies. It is already possible to block or mute respondents, but Twitter is currently testing a new tool -- the ability to hide replies.

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Microsoft welcomes new partners as it launches Microsoft Quantum Network

Glowing processor

Quantum computing is not necessarily the future of computing, but it's certainly a future and an important part of technological advancement. All of the big players from the world of technology are understandably eager to be at the forefront of what's happening, and Microsoft is no different.

This week, the company formally launched the Microsoft Quantum Network, a coalition of partners with a shared vision. The goal is "sharing knowledge and collaborating with the best quantum innovators" with a view to helping the progression of quantum computing.

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Microsoft announces it is killing off Microsoft Health Dashboard apps and services -- and giving refunds to Band owners

Microsoft Band

It is a while since Microsoft discontinued its Band fitness tracker, but for the last two years owners have still be able to synchronize data collected through the wearable. But now the company has announced that it plans to close down the Microsoft Band apps and Microsoft Health Dashboard website.

The shutdown date has been set for May 31. On this date, Android, iOS and Windows Phone apps will vanish from their respective stores, and the services will be terminated. Users have a limited time to export their data, and to soften the blow, some Band owners will be eligible for a refund of up to $175.

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Monero miner Coinhive is closing down because of the cryptocurrency 'crash'

Coinhive and Monero logos

Coinhive -- the controversial Monero mining service -- has announced that it is closing down.

The decision to shut up shop has been partly blamed on the dramatic drop in the value of the cryptocurrency. A huge slump in Monero's value, coupled with an impending hard fork of the cryptocurrency and an update to the mining algorithm, means that the service is no longer economically viable.

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How to enable the secret, hidden dark mode in Facebook Messenger [UPDATED]

Facebook Messenger dark mode

The love of dark mode options in apps and operating systems shows no sign of waning. While a large number of big-names have added dark modes, there are still plenty that need to jump on the bandwagon. One app that has held out is Facebook Messenger, but there is secret dark mode option that you can enable.

Probes into the Facebook Messenger app had already revealed that Facebook was working on darker hues, and it even rolled out to small number of users in the latter part of last year -- but not everyone. Now you can use a little trick to access dark mode in the Android and iOS versions of Messenger for yourself.

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Want to hack an iPhone? Cellebrite hacking tools are available on eBay

Lego man hacking iPhone

iPhones are renown for their security -- to the point that even law enforcement agencies have trouble accessing their contents. An Israeli firm, Cellebrite, became well-known when it transpired that hacking tools it made were used by the US government to crack locked iPhones… and now its hacking tools are available to buy on eBay.

For as little as $100-$1000, you can get your hands on a second-hand piece of Cellebrite equipment (a fraction of its usual selling price). For just a few Benjamins, you could get a Cellebrite UFED (Universal Forensic Extraction Device) and use it for whatever you might fancy.

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