Weekly News Roundup 19/10/2015

Apple in patent trouble, a unique smartphone hack and blowing drones out of the sky.

Apple faces fines of up to US$400MĀ for patent infringement.
downloadThe Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) has successfully proven that Apple has infringed on a 1998 patent used to improve processor efficiency for Apple’s A7, A8 and A8X processors used in The iPhone 5s, 6 and 6Plus as well as several versions of the iPad.
WARF also sued Intel under the same patent infringement which was settled before the case went to trial in 2008 giving indications that Apple may find themselves at least reaching a settlement if they want to avoid losing the case in court.
In this case, I think this is the Patent system working as it should where researchers are compensated for their work that results in better technology for everyone when that technology is used by businesses.
Original story from Reuters.

New scary security flaw not as scary as we think but it is still clever.
RF_HackA pair of security researchers at ANSSI, a French Government Information Security Agency have used radio waves to silently trigger voice commands commonly used with smartphones to perform a number of tasks including make calls, send email or open a website with malicious code all done without anyone knowing.
The trick is that a radio signal is broadcast that is picked up by the microphone circuit in a phone’s headset.
The plan for world domination via Siri or Google Now voice commands falls flat in the practical implementation. The hitch is the power requirements. A portable system that fits into a backpack has a range of 2m while for a massive range of 5m would require enough batteries to fill a van.
Anyone concerned with this is advised to disable the use of voice commands from the lock screen until headsets are equipped with better shielding.
Original Story from Wired.com.

 

Anti-Drone Rifle blasts drones out of the sky with radio interference.
DronedefenderWith everyone feeling concerned about UAVs or Drones invading their privacy or going where they should not be going there has been cases where private drones have been blown out of the air (http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/07/31/428156902/dispute-emerges-over-drone-shot-down-by-kentucky-man) with traditional rifles and researchers have also found ways to hijack consumer drones (https://youtu.be/EHKV01YQX_w). Now Batelle has developed the DroneDefender. A package of electronics complete with a directional antenna that resembles a kind of electronic rifle. This rifle does not fire anything except for a blast of radio waves designed to interrupt GPS and RF signals used by many commercially available drones which forces the drones to take action to limit damage or loss by landing.
With the drone disabled, people on the ground are able to capture and deal with the offending drone and hopefully track down the operator.
Story from Engadget.