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PSA: Update WhatsApp as a single message can wipe out your group chats – 9to5Mac

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All users are advised to update WhatsApp, as older versions have a vulnerability that could see a single message wipe out your group chats …

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Security researchers from Check Point found a serious security flaw in the iOS and Android apps.

The defect would have enabled a bad actor to deliver a destructive group chat message that produces a swift and complete crash of the entire application for all members of the group chat. The crash is so severe that users are forced to uninstall and reinstall the application, in order to gain proper use of WhatsApp. Furthermore, the user would be unable to return to the group chat, which would lead to the loss of all group chat history, indefinitely. The group chat would then not be able to be restored after the crash occurs and would need to be deleted in order to stop the crash-loop.

Carrying out the attack would be relatively simply. An attacker would use a web browser debugging tool to edit a message to any group chat. That message would cause the app to crash for all members, and it would continue to crash each time anyone tried to open it.

Because the only way to recover would be to delete the app and all its data, then reinstall from scratch, all chat history in the group would be lost for all members.

Check Point followed the usual responsible disclosure process, advising WhatsApp of the details, and waiting for the company to issue an update to fix it before going public.

That has now been done, and you can protect yourself and your groups from this by ensuring you update WhatsApp to the latest version. Open the App Store app, tap your profile photo top-right and scroll down to see whether any updates are available. If there are none, you can check it has already been updated by scrolling down to WhatsApp in Recent Updates and ensuring you are on version 2.19.120 or later.

Check Point previously discovered a method for someone to fake responses from you in quoted replies, as well as a way to fool you into confusing private a public messages. The latter issue has fixed, but the way end-to-end encryption works with WhatsApp means it wouldn’t be practical to fix the quote-spoofing, says the company.

WhatsApp owner Facebook recently sued an Israeli company for a hack which allowed various governments to spy on more than 1,000 users before the company fixed the vulnerability.

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Apple acquires Scout FM app that transforms the podcast experience with smart stations – 9to5Mac

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Apple recently acquired the startup Scout FM, according to a Bloomberg report. The company offers an app that creates smart stations for podcast listeners, bringing a similar experience to radio stations.

An Apple spokesman confirmed the acquisition, but no further details were provided. The report mentions that Apple bought Scout FM earlier this year to enhance its own podcast platform amid growing competition from Spotify.

As we covered once here on 9to5Mac, Scout FM brings a different approach to the podcast experience. Instead of offering individual podcasts, the app creates smart podcast stations based on different topics, such as sports or technology.

Scout FM uses artificial intelligence to identify user preferences and suggest new relevant content. Prior to being removed from the App Store, the app was available for Apple devices and it was also compatible with CarPlay and Amazon Alexa.

Apple has been investing in its Podcasts platform with new features and the production of original shows, as Spotify has been increasingly growing with similar efforts. The company didn’t say how Scout FM will be incorporated into its Podcasts app, but we’ll probably see some new related features beginning next year.

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Epic, Spotify and other Apple critics form coalition to take on App Store rules – CNET

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Angela Lang/CNET

More than a dozen app makers and other companies have joined together to form the Coalition for App Fairness, a nonprofit group that’s taking aim at Apple and its App Store rules. Among the founding members are Spotify, Epic Games and Match Group, all of which have been vocal critics of the fees Apple charges developers. 

“As enforcers, regulators, and legislators around the world investigate Apple for its anti-competitive behavior, The Coalition for App Fairness will be the voice of app and game developers in the effort to protect consumer choice and create a level playing field for all,” said Horacio Gutierrez, head of global affairs at Spotify, in a release on Thursday.

The coalition comes as Apple is locked in a public battle with Fortnite developer Epic Games. Fortnite was kicked off both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store in August after Epic attempted to bypass the 30% fee Apple and Google charge developers. Epic countered by filing lawsuits against both companies. Apple earlier this month raised the stakes further by requesting monetary damages if it convinces a judge that it was within its rights to kick Fortnite off its more than 1.5 billion active iPhones and iPads.

Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment on the coalition. On Thursday, the company published several pages on its website highlighting the benefits of the App Store for users and developers. Apple says the pages provide context for its broader work to support its app store, which now counts more than 28 million developers worldwide, and 1.5 billion devices across 175 countries.

The App Store helps developers “from start to finish — to build, test, market, and distribute your products and grow your business,” says Apple’s site.

The Coalition for App Fairness also released a set of 10 App Store Principles that is says will help “protect the app economy” and ensure that the “benefits of digital technologies are shared by everyone.”

Here is the full list of coalition’s founding members: Basecamp, Blix, Blockchain.com, Deezer, Epic Games, the European Publishers Council, Match Group, News Media Europe, Prepear, Protonmail, SkyDemon, Spotify and Tile.


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Amazon's new Echo Show 10's screen follows you around the room – MobileSyrup

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Amazon has improved the Echo Show 10 in a few critical ways.

The first and most obvious change is a new design that looks like a screen attached to a cylinder speaker. What makes this interesting is that it can swivel in a 360-degree loop to follow the user around the room.

The Echo Show 10 also works as a Zigbee and Sidewalk hub, so it should allow people to connect a wide variety of smart home devices to it.

Since the screen features a 10-megapixel camera for video chatting, Amazon has repurposed it to be a security camera. That means when you are using your phone, you can look through the Echo Show’s camera to see what’s going on in the room it’s placed in.

Much like Facebook’s Portal smart devices, the camera on the Show 10 can also zoom in on users to crop and follow them around the room while they’re video chatting.

The Echo Show 10 starts at $329. The smart speaker’s release date has not been revealed.

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