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Archive | March, 2012

Governments Are Paying $250,000 for an iOS Jailbreak

Posted on 25 March 2012 by Admin

The Grugg, a Bangkok-based security researcher who brokers exploit sales to governments, reveals that iOS jailbreak exploits can sell for $250,000 or more, reports Forbes.

Grugg takes a 15% commission on sales of these ‘zero-day’ exploits and recently arranged a large iOS deal which could have been worth even more.

He arranged the iOS deal last month, for instance, between a developer and a U.S. government contractor. In that case, as with all of his exploit sales, he won’t offer any other details about the buyer or the seller. Even with the $250,000 payout he elicited for that deal, he wonders if he could have gotten more. “I think I lowballed it,” he wrote to me at one point in the dealmaking process. “The client was too happy.”

The price assumes exclusive sale of the exploit and notably iOS exploits bring in the most money. Second highest is a Chrome exploit or Internet Explorer exploit. Check out the chart below for a breakdown.

For the Jailbreakme 3 iOS exploit created by the hacker Comex last year, the Grugq says he heard agencies would have been eager to pay $250,000 for exclusive use of the attack.

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New iPhone (iPhone 5,1) coming fall 2012 with LTE, similar sized screen

Posted on 25 March 2012 by Admin

The new iPhone will feature micro-dock connector, 4G LTE, a similar sized screen, and arrive in October, according to a iMore report.

First, the new iPhone will be 4G LTE compatible. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, considering the new iPad supports LTE and it’s hard to imagine Apple giving the iPad a feature like that and not passing it on to the iPhone. So look for that this fall.

Second is the timeframe. We’ve mentioned October 2012 as the current release schedule for iPhone 5,1 before and it sounds like that’s still the plan. The exact date almost certainly won’t be determined until it gets closer to launch, but the iPhone sounds locked to a fall cycle for the immediate future.

A new micro-dock connector would give Apple more space inside the device as would the new nano-SIM. That space could be used for more battery or to make the device smaller/thinner.

Apple’s timetable for the release of the new iPhone will likely be revealed based on whether iOS 6 is unveiled before or during WWDC. If it’s unveiled at WWDC a fall release of the iPhone would be likely.

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Welcome to the Sweet 2016 !

Posted on 21 March 2012 by Admin

With the Fix’s beloved Georgetown Hoyas bounced out of the NCAA tournament over the weekend, we went looking for a new way to scratch our bracket itch. As always, politics came to our rescue. Presidential politics, to be specific.

The NCAA has the Sweet 16. The Fix has the Sweet 2016. (It’s kind of like in “Coming to America”: “They’re McDonald’s… I’m McDowell’s. They got the Golden Arches, mine is the Golden Arcs.”.)

In our bracket we have seeded the top eight Democrats and top eight Republicans considered — by us — to be their party’s leading presidential candidates in 2016.

(Disclaimer: Yes, we know that if President Obama loses in November the Republican nomination race for president won’t be competitive in 2016. But for the purposes of this exercise — and because “Sweet 2016” sounds better than “Sweet 2020” — we are going with the idea that 2016 will be an open fight for both parties’ nominations. This contest is in no way a indication of how we think the 2012 presidential race will turn out.)

Here’s how the Sweet 2016 will work. Check out our bracket. Then vote in our first round matchups. Voting is open through Wednesday at 7 pm. We’ll tabulate the winners and then move on to the Elite Eight on Thursday. After narrowing the field to a Final Four on Monday, we’ll pick a winner on April 2, the day of the national championship game.

Get voting!


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Science or Spam? What’s the Big Idea?

Posted on 21 March 2012 by Admin

What’s the Big Idea?

Every second of every day, more data is being created than our minds can possibly process. Therein lies the great paradox of today’s knowledge economy. Is it all just sound and fury, or can the increased speed of information actually lead to greater knowledge?

To answer that question, we need both filters to block out the garbage and curators to point us in the right direction. That’s what we try to do here at Big Think, after all.

In order to accomplish this mission it is necessary to have clear benchmarks and common frames of reference. Science is one of them, and as James Lawrence Powell argued in an interview with Big Think (see the video below), science “should be one of the most respected human enterprises.” After all, science has a built-in spam filter called peer review.

And yet, peer-reviewed science journals are not designed for information to pass through quickly. We get our information on the go, in incomplete bursts, and we are all too susceptible to those who would profit by passing on falsehood as truth. For instance, Powell exposes a whole cottage industry of pseudo-scientists who cherry-pick data or even spread deliberate falsehoods in order to undermine the global scientific consensus on climate change in his book The Inquisition of Climate Science

So how do we develop the aptitude to separate garbage from knowledge? Powell says you need to be “your own spam filter.”

What’s the Significance?

How can you test your spam filter? James Powell says if there is consensus in the world science community on an issue like climate change but you hear one individual — be it Senator James Inhofe or Viscount Monckton of Brenchley — arguing that all the scientists are wrong, a bell should go off in your head. After all, Powell tells Big Think, ”it just doesn’t compute.”

And yet, it’s not always so easy as that.

For instance, take Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, who appears to ooze gravitas with his patrician accent and the logo on his presentation slides that closely resembles the portcullis emblem of the British House of Lords. The House of Lords has asked Monckton to stop pretending he is a member. And yet, as Powell notes, the seals are so small it is hard to tell they are not authentic. The smaller the spam, the easier it is to slip through the filter.

On the left is the portcullis emblem, the official seal of the House of Lords. On the right is the one used by Viscount Monckton of Brenchley.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Follow Daniel Honan on Twitter @Daniel Honan

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Does the new iPad use Retina graphics when running iPhone apps?

Posted on 21 March 2012 by Admin

On both the original iPad and the iPad 2, iPhone apps played on the tablet would appear rather pixelated in 2X mode — whether they had Retina graphics or not. This is why the jailbreak tweak RetinaPad became so popular.

But it looks like third-generation iPad owners won’t need the utility, as the new tablet appears to already use Retina graphics when running iPhone applications…

As noted by MacRumors, a thread started up yesterday in TouchArcade’s forums entitled “Big shocker, Retinapad app no longer needed for iPad 3rd gen.” The thread starter noticed that the new iPad seems to use Retina graphics when running iPhone 4/4S applications.

“You still get the “2X” option but once blown up, the text is not bad but the big boost is some of the games look spectacular. I just tested this with NBA Jam, which the iphone version looked like crap on my ipad 1, but looked great through retinapad when I had it jailbroken since it was tricked into loading the iphone 4′s retina enable graphic assets. Now, on my brand spankin’ new ipad third gen, it looks fantastic, without retinapad, just by enabling the 2X option at the bottom right of the screen.”

We’ve tested this out for ourselves, running both Instagram and Real Racing 2 iPhone apps on the new iPad. And I have to say, the games look great. I mean Real Racing 2 looks so good that I might not have to download the iPad-specific version.

We don’t have any concrete proof that the new iPad actually uses Retina graphics, but it sure looks like it to us.

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