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Countermeasure in Home Depot Data Breach: MacBooks, iPhones For Execs

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Home Depot shores up security with Macs and iPhones after data breach


As part of the cleanup from the Home Depot data breach, senior executives were issued “new, secure iPhones and MacBooks” after the breach was discovered to be the result of a Windows vulnerability. 9to5Mac reports on the specifics mentioned in a Wall Street Journal piece that breaks down the events leading to the largest retail breach on record (as of now).

Similar to the breach at Target, Home Depot was hacked by someone who stole a password from a vendor, which provided access to a system that wasn’t very well segregated from the rest of Home Depot’s network, allowing the hacker to gain access to “more secure” Home Depot data, including not just 56 million credit card accounts, but a bonus 53 million email addresses.

Specifically this access was obtained using a vulnerability in Windows, which Microsoft promptly released a patch for. However, since hackers were already inside, it did no good. Self-checkout lanes were targeted, and the malware installed on those remained there for five months.

For more information about the timeline of the hack and how it was discovered, check out the Wall Street Journal article about the conclusions from Home Depot, security personnel, and law enforcement.

The Mac Observer Spin

It’s interesting to me how this happened, and how one of the first steps taken to counteract the Windows vulnerability was to use a Mac. It was nice to get to read the breakdown of the findings and the timeline of the breach, sometimes with retailers that information doesn’t ever come out, so I’m glad to see it made a splash. I have nothing against Home Depot, but I hope with the advent of Apple Pay and “chip and sign” credit cards, Home Depot manages to hold on to this auspicious record for a very long time. I’d really like some time to recover from my breach fatigue.


iPhone 6 issues: Apple to change controller chip

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Users of Apple’s flagship handsets, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, are reporting performance and functionality defects. The issues are highly found in the 64GB and 128GB variants of both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus handsets.

According to industry sources, Business Korea reported that Apple has decided to stop using triple level cell NAND (TLC NAND) as the chips are reportedly causing functionality issues with 64GB and 128GB variants of both, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The problem has been cited with the controller IC of the TLC NAND chip.

Though TLC can store higher capacity (3 bits per cell) of data as compared to SLC (1 bit per cell) and MLC (1.5 bits per cell) chips, TLC is slower than the latter two, especially in reading and writing data.

The report stated that Apple is planning to switch to MLC chips in the 64GB and 128GB smartphones.

The present handsets, which have TLC NAND chips already shipped are in big question at present. Apple is planning to include a patch in the next software update for iOS (8.1.1) which should be able to address the functionality issues of the TLC chips.

iPhone’s 16GB handset smartphones are using MLC NAND chipsets, but apparently, since TLC reduces the overall cost, the higher capacity variants of the iPhone are using TLC chips.

A growing number of people, especially Korean consumers, are reporting performance drops with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models and are requesting for replacement handsets.

The report further stated that overseas IT media sources speculated that Apple could recall the iPhone 6 Plus 128GB handsets for a replacement. However, Apple has not confirmed anything about the same. 

iphone giveaway 2014 open

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Sony Xperia Z2 gets PS4 Remote Play, hi-res audio in Android device updates this week

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sony xperia z3

Android software updates are nice, but it’s even better when an upgrade turns your device into a remote PlayStation 4 screen. The Sony Xperia Z2 and Z2 tablet join the Z3 in letting you blast aliens or score touchdowns by connecting a PS4 controller.

Each week we gather up all the major software updates for the biggest devices; phones and tablets on U.S. carriers (and unlocked phones, of course), wearables, and round them all up so you don’t miss a thing.

Making sure your device installs the latest software is a good housekeeping practice, ensuring you have the latest features, close security holes, and squash those pesky bugs.


Xperia Z2, Z2 tablet: It’s a pretty massive update overall, bringing not only the Playstation gaming tools but many other Sony-specific features, all wrapped up in an Android 4.4.4 KitKat package.

With Remote Play, you can play nearly any game from your PS4 console with a supported mobile device when pairing it with a PlayStation DualShock 4 or DualShock 3 controller. The PS4 is essentially using screen mirroring to let you do this, which is a clever feature Sony can leverage as it tries to get astronger foothold in the U.S. market.

Sony’s update also includes “Hi-Res” audio support, which is supposed to step up audio quality. The devices also now talk to Sony’s SmartBand and SmartWatch wearables. You’ll also get several proprietary Sony apps and software tweaks.


Shield Portable: Nvidia hasn’t forgotten about its original portable gaming device. Upgrade version 99 fixes some battery issues and squashes several bugs, hopefully creating less hiccups for your gaming sessions.

The official changelog from Nvidia details the following:

  • Improves battery drain when Shield portable lid is closed
  • Updates the latest Shield hub app available on Google Play Store
  • Fixes a bug that does not allow videos to be played from Facebook, using Browser or Chrome, or on the YouTube app
  • Fixes a bug to enable support for 4K content in Console Mode

Shield Tablet: Usually we stick to updates here instead of promises, but we like the Shield Tablet so much it’s worth mentioning this one: Nvidia is promising it will get Android Lollipop this month, posting a video that teases how it will look and perform.


One: If you’re one of the half-million to snag a OnePlus One, be on the lookout for update 44S. It’s pegged to fix some issues with the touchscreen, WiFi, memory, and other irritations. That’s not all, as OnePlus reports the following are part of the 90MB file:

  • Resolved SSLv3 POODLE security issue
  • Updated touchscreen firmware
  • Fixed issues with memory causing screen artifacts
  • Fixed issues with random reboots and instability
  • Fixed issues with WiFi and modem crashes
  • Fixed issues with Filesystem
  • Fixed issues with “black bar” (a row lf black or corrupted pixels)
  • Fixed issues with persist partition corruption
  • Fixed issues with AT&T VoLTE

iPhone 6 Bending Solution

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