Uber Being Probed by FBI Over ‘Hell’ Software to Interfere With Rivals

Uber Being Probed by FBI Over 'Hell' Software to Interfere With Rivals


  • FBI is looking into Uber’s illegal competition intefering software
  • Uber’s software was being used to track the Lyft drivers
  • The investigation is being led by the FBI’s New York office

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is probing to see if Uber Technologies had used software to illegally interfere with its competitors, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The investigation is focusing on Uber’s program that could track drivers working for rival service Lyft, the WSJ said, citing people familiar with the investigation.

The investigation is being led by the FBI’s New York office and the Manhattan US attorney’s office, the Journal said.

Separately, Uber will cease using diesel cars in London by the end of 2019 and the vast majority of rides will be in electric or hybrid vehicles by then, the taxi app said on Friday.

At the moment the company says around half of all the journey miles completed in the British capital are undertaken with greener vehicles on the firm’s standard low-cost UberX service, which lets customers book journeys on their smartphone.

Several carmakers have announced plans in recent months to electrify a large proportion of their new cars, with Volvo becoming the first major carmaker to set a date for phasing out vehicles powered solely by the internal combustion engine.

Britain will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040, replicating plans by France and cities such as Madrid, Mexico City and Athens.

Uber, which has about 40,000 London drivers, will only offer electric or hybrid models on UberX by the turn of the decade and plans to do the same by 2022 nationwide.


Cyber-security researchers warn of messenger apps with spy software

Sonic-spy infused apps have the ability to record audio, take photos with the device’s camera, make calls, send text messages and retrieve data from contacts and call logs. Photograph: iStock

Sonic-spy infused apps have the ability to record audio, take photos with the device’s camera, make calls, send text messages and retrieve data from contacts and call logs. Photograph: iStock

Cyber-security researchers have warned against using certain phone messenger applications because they have the capability to steal data from the devices they infect.

The researchers from SophosLabs, an IT security product company, have identified three cases of “‘sonic-spy” infused apps in Google Play, the official app store for Android devices.

According to Bill Brenner from Sophos, sonic-spy infused apps have the ability to record audio, take photos with the device’s camera, make calls, send text messages, and retrieve data from contacts and call logs.

Identified apps

Mr Brenner identified the apps that can hide their spying functionality as Soniac, Hulk Messenger, and Troy Chat. It is understood that Google removed the apps from its store after they were discovered.

“Google gets criticism when these things are found on Google Play but when they are found they generally take them down. They try to screen as much of this stuff as possible, but it’s difficult,” Mr Brenner told The Irish Times.

Asked how consumers come across this sort of app in the first place, Mr Brenner said: “When a person is downloading an app that turns out to be malicious, almost never are they aware that it’s malicious. Maybe they find an app that looks like a WhatsApp type of programme and they decide that they want it, or they find an app that looks like a good delivery conduit for music . . . and its typically unbeknownst to the user that there’s code baked into some of these apps that allow the bad guys to go through their contacts, get access to their camera, go through their text messages and ultimately getting into banking apps.”

Sonic-spy apps

Added to the three apps identified on Google’s platform, SophosLabs counted 3,240 sonic-spy apps in total, while some reports put the number as high as 4,000. “The average Android user isn’t going to know what techniques the malware used to reach their device’s doorstep, but they can do much to keep it from getting in,” Mr Brenner said.

He advised users to stick to Google Play, avoid apps with a poor reputation, and ensure the software on your phone is as up-to-date as possible.

Asked whether users of Apple’s IOS system could be affected by similar apps, Mr Brenner said that while there is malware designed to affect Apple users, it’s a lot harder to get apps into its app store than it is with Google.


Lenovo lines up new software and gadgets at Tech World Summit

Image result for Lenovo lines up new software and gadgets at Tech World Summit

The Chinese company unveiled AI-focused technology and gadgets at the show

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the glitzy, sometimes mysterious, aura around what the technology promises entices everybody, right from the tech bigwigs to scribes jostling for the latest byte or scoop about it. A recent example being Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg siding with the technology, saying it promises a lot, as opposed to Tesla chief Elon Musk, who had earlier warned about AI’s possible dangers.

Well, dangerous or not, companies are betting big on it; and that includes Chinese gadget maker Lenovo, which unveiled a host of AI-focused tech and gadgets at its Tech World 2017 Summit.

At a time when Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri are finding their way to power the smart home ecosystem, virtual assistants are hot property.

Lenovo unveiled its Context Aware Virtual Assistant (CAVA), which can read messages and understand their meaning, and give you suggestions based on them. It uses deep learning-based facial recognition and can analyse data from apps to give you suggestions based on the weather and traffic, for example.

Lenovo also unveiled a SmartVest, which uses 10 textile sensors to track heart activity, giving it the ability to record ECG in real time. It can also be used to monitor heart rate and detect cardiac problems.

SmartCast+ was another interesting device at the show, which is a smart speaker that is capable of recognising objects and noises. It also has a built-in projector, so it looks like Lenovo has a home entertainment kit rolled into one speaker, with this one.

Though these are still concepts, mostly, we eagerly await their commercial availability, given the buzz around them.


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