FTC Looking to Block the Acquisition of “the Switzerland” of Microprocessors


…investigated five incidents in the past three months in which thieves have hidden AirTags on vehicles parked in public. Later, the thieves tracked down their targets to steal the cars at their leisure.Craig Peterson 


Show Notes
December 6 – December 21, 2021

Apple AirTags being used by thieves to track high-end cars to steal


This week, Canadian police announced that car thieves have been using AirTags to track vehicles they want to steal.

York Regional Police (which serves an area north of Toronto) revealed that it has investigated five incidents in the past three months in which thieves have hidden AirTags on vehicles parked in public. Later, the thieves tracked down their targets to steal the cars at their leisure.

Other Bluetooth-based trackers have been available for some time now, but the ubiquity of Apple devices (which communicate with AirTags via Apple’s Find My app) means it’s generally faster and more accurate to track something remotely via an AirTag than a rival device like a Tile. And while they undoubtedly make it easier for users to recover lost stuff, the tags are being exploited by criminals.

Apple did build some anti-stalking functions into AirTags—if your Apple device detects that you’re being followed by an unfamiliar device, it will alert you, as long as you’re running iOS 14.5 or newer.


FTC Looking to Block the Acquisition of “the Switzerland” of Microprocessors


“The FTC is suing to block the largest semiconductor chip merger in history to prevent a chip conglomerate from stifling the innovation pipeline for next-generation technologies,” Holly Vedova, director of the FTC’s competition bureau, said in a statement. “Tomorrow’s technologies depend on preserving today’s competitive, cutting-edge chip markets. This proposed deal would distort Arm’s incentives in chip markets and allow the combined firm to unfairly undermine Nvidia’s rivals.”

Much of the angst surrounding the acquisition stems from the fact that, for most of its history, Arm has been a relatively neutral player in the semiconductor world, offering access to its intellectual property to nearly anyone willing to pay the licensing fee. In the complaint, the FTC called Arm the “Switzerland” of the semiconductor industry. Customers fear that an Nvidia-controlled Arm would place them at the mercy of a competitor, while regulators are concerned that the acquisition would threaten to topple a massive, thriving ecosystem that depends on the architecture.


Microsoft Has Stepped Over-the-Line Again. Microsoft Edge will now warn users about the dangers of downloading Google Chrome


If you’re a Google Chrome user setting up a new Windows PC, the most important feature of Microsoft Edge is the ability to download Chrome. Microsoft is apparently aware of this behavior and is doing something about it: Neowin has spotted new Edge pop-ups that specifically try to dissuade users from downloading and installing Chrome.

These new prompts, spotted by Neowin, include messages like:

“Microsoft Edge runs on the same technology as Chrome, with the added trust of Microsoft.”

“That browser is so 2008! Do you know what’s new? Microsoft Edge.”

“‘I hate saving money,’ said no one ever. Microsoft Edge is the best browser for online shopping.”


Best ways to secure your information from breaches in 2022


Data breaches expose protected, sensitive, and confidential information to unauthorized individuals. The files are viewed and shared without the permission of the owner. Data breaches occur because of gaps in technology and user behavior online.

Anyone can be at risk of a data breach and even put others at risk if they are not protected. A good example is Apple, which suffered a breach in September 2021. Fortunately, Apple managed to patch the exploit a few days later.

In most cases, data breaches lead to the change of a course in an organization. It weakens an organization in unexpected ways. It’s costly to revert the damages caused, and the process may take a long period.

Worse still, the business may suffer permanent damages. Also, it can damage the reputation of those whose information is involved.


Cybercrime predictions for 2022: Deepfakes, cryptocurrencies, and misinformation


  • Fake news 2.0 and the return of misinformation campaigns
  • Cyberattacks targeting supply chains
  • The cyber ‘cold war’ intensifies
  • Data breaches are larger scale and more costly
  • Mobile malware attacks increase as more people use mobile wallets and payment platforms
  • Cryptocurrency becomes a focal point for cyberattacks globally
  • Deepfake technology weaponized

Globally in 2021, 1 out of every 61 organizations was being impacted by ransomware each week.


Apple will make fewer iPhones in response to weakening demand and supply


Apple planned to ship 90 million iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, or iPhone 13 Pro Max devices to consumers, but the company cut its production targets by 10 million phones due to part shortages. Consumers, meanwhile, have faced wait times on their iPhone 13 orders of two, three, or even four weeks since the phones’ September launch.

The demand shortfall could be attributed to any number of things and may be hard to definitively explain. On one hand, it’s possible that consumers saw the iPhone 13 as an inadequately major update over last year’s iPhone 12, which sold like hotcakes in what the business world calls a supercycle—a product launch window in which some factor or another like new features or external economic forces drives consumers to upgrade in greater numbers than usual. The iPhone 13 offered marked camera and battery life improvements over the iPhone 12, but little else.

On the other hand, the shortfall could also be because consumers have decided an iPhone 13 is not worth the effort to obtain, given the long waits. Or perhaps they’ve read rumors that next year’s model is expected to be a major redesign with substantial new features. Economic factors like new COVID-19 variants, inflation, and more might also contribute.


How Criminals Are Using Synthetic Identities for Fraud


The Federal Reserve defines synthetic identity fraud as a fraud attack in which cybercriminals combine real information with fabricated information, such as addresses, dates of birth, or names to build a fake identity that can be used to make purchases. Synthetic identity fraud cost US banks and financial institutions $20 billion in losses in 2020, compared with just $6 billion in 2016, according to the recent “2021 Synthetic Identity Fraud Report” from FiVerity.

Prior to and during the coronavirus pandemic, it has become easier for people to sign up for credit cards, apply for government benefits, and conduct other business online, making it easier for online criminals to create accounts without having to show up in person, says Bruno Farinelli, director of operations and analytics at ClearSale.


USB Devices: the Common Denominator in All Attacks on Air-Gapped Systems


Cyberattacks on air-gapped systems, including the sophisticated and dangerous 2010 Stuxnet attack that crippled a uranium enrichment facility, all have one thing in common: a USB stick.

A new ESET study of 17 malware frameworks that threat actors have used over the past decade to target air-gapped systems showed every one of them used a USB drive to introduce malware into the environment and extract data from there. The security vendor found that the best defense for organizations against attacks on air-gapped systems is to restrict USB use as much as possible and to monitor them closely in situations where the devices need to be used.



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