The new iPhone X will feature an advanced front camera that can build up 3D pictures of facesCREDIT:GETTY IMAGES
Apple has been urged to change the way in which iPhone apps are granted access to the phone’s camera after a security researcher demonstrated how apps can secretly record photos and videos without the user knowing.
Felix Krause, an Austrian developer who works for Google, built an app that was able to take pictures of its user every second and upload them, without notifying the user. He called it a “privacy loophole that can be abused by iOS apps”.
When an app wants to access the camera, for example to scan a credit card or take a profile picture during the set-up process, the iPhone user must give the app permission, in the same way that apps must ask to access the camera roll, location and contacts and to send notifications. Once allowed, it has to be turned off via the settings menu.
The system is similar to the permissions required by apps on Android. Google has recently deleted several apps that surreptitiously recorded users and masqueraded as legitimate apps.
But Krause said that once an app has been granted initial access, it can take photos and videos whenever it is opened up. Unlike on Mac computers, which have a small green light next to the camera when it is being used, there is no indication that an app is recording videos or taking photos, or when it sends them elsewhere.
The iPhone’s camera app permissions do not differentiate between the phone’s front and back camera. Allowing camera permissions can grant extra access in the latest version of iOS, which has a facial recognition engine that could allow apps to detect emotions.
The permissions system is not a bug or a flaw – it works in exactly the way Apple has designed it – but Krause said malicious apps could take advantage of it to surreptitiously record users.
He demonstrated this by building an app that took a photo of the person using it every second, and which also ran a facial recognition program to detect the person using it.
He warned that other apps could monitor users’ emotions as they scroll through a social network news feed, record what they are saying, or live stream video of them in the bathroom as they tap away at a smartphone game.
Krause said Apple should introduce a system of temporary permissions – one that allows apps to take a picture during the set-up process, but revokes it after a period of time – or to introduce a warning light or notification to the iPhone that tells people when they are being recorded.
There are few examples of apps being found to secretly record users – apart from those specifically designed for this such as Stealth Cam. The practice is banned by Apple’s App Store guidelines, which state that a “reasonably conspicuous audio, visual or other indicator must be displayed to the user as part of the Application to indicate that a Recording is taking place”.
Krause claimed it would be easy to hide the behaviour, allowing it to make it through Apple’s approval process.
Facebook users have often claimed that the social network is secretly listening to their conversations in an attempt to better target adverts, something that Facebook itself has denied.
Some privacy conscious users have taken to covering up the cameras on their computers in an attempt to prevent being spied on, including Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Krause recently demonstrated how malicious apps could steal a user’s iCloud password by appearing to be an official command. The developer works at Google but says his work on security is a hobby, in no way affiliated with his employer.
Every aspiring entrepreneur would love to be the next Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos, but most have no idea what really sets these guys apart from all the rest. Conventional wisdom has them looking for a painful problem, a very large opportunity, and minimal competitive barriers to entry. In reality, most great entrepreneurs find these necessary, but not sufficient for the big win.
They think outside the box, with a sometimes surprising set of strategies, as outlined in a new book, “Think Bigger,” by Michael Sonnenfeldt. He has collected in-the-trenches intelligence and lessons from his TIGER 21 group of over 500 entrepreneurs and executives around the world. Each has amassed $10 million or more in personal assets, and is willing to share their insights with others.
Sonnenfeldt presents a rich array of strategies in his forty lessons from the trenches, including the following paraphrased insights that I find often overlooked or even rejected, based on my years of experience mentoring entrepreneurs:
Experience at a first-rate company is really valuable. Good big companies provide the training, mentoring, and experience managing teams that entrepreneurs need, but can’t afford. In addition, you can learn much about business principles, and your own capabilities, from being surrounded by many intense, ambitious, and super-smart peers.
Entrepreneurship is rarely about just making money. The best entrepreneurs are committed to fixing a problem, or advancing a purpose, and making money is only used as a validation of their insight. Any money made is typically poured back into the cause, rather than relished for a high-class lifestyle or extravagances by the entrepreneur.
Self-control beats passion for long term satisfaction. Passion often leads to a need for instant gratification. Most successful entrepreneurs either learn or are born with the capacity to delay gratification for critical periods in their lives. Even after success, they use self-control to continue to live modestly, and plow their profits back into business.
Think twice before investing with friends and family. Some are so self-centered that they see family and friends as an easy source of capital. Smarter entrepreneurs know that nothing can bring more embarrassment, resentment, and peril to relationships with people you love and respect than losing their money. Don’t jeopardize key relationships.
You are never to smart or too old for a mentor. In case you think mentors are only for “wimps,” you should know that Bill Gates always revered the guidance he received from Warren Buffet on many corporate matters. Most successful business people, whether retired or still active, love to share the wisdom they gained from their own experience.
Entrepreneurial skills can limit investing success. Entrepreneurs and investors are different kinds of people, inside and out. Smart investors diversify their exposure across multiple assets; if any one of these fails, they are still in the game. A true entrepreneur makes one big bet on a new and untested asset, normally against conventional wisdom.
Apply business skills to solve social problems. Social entrepreneurship is on the rise, with the advent of Millennials and a total world view. Companies that pursue socially relevant goals as part of their mission have the potential to generate double-bottom-line results – a financial return as well as a social benefit. One plus one can now equal three.
Skip conservative – be optimistic, even delusional. The best entrepreneurs just believe they can make it happen – even though conventional logic would peg the risk as being off the charts. Professional investors dismiss founders who give “conservative” financial projections, and usually make less. Shoot for the moon – you may hit it.
Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you. Too many entrepreneurs have a tendency to overrate their personal skills and wisdom, and seek out people who won’t challenge them. The smartest ones acknowledge their weaknesses, and find people who complement their skills, from whom they can learn and delegate authority.
Resilience and determination generally beat IQ. We all know of successful businesses started by entrepreneurs who dropped out of school, while MBAs get no premium with investors. According to most experts, “street smarts” (experience) trump “book smarts” (intelligence) every time, especially if accompanied with a large dose of grit.
Whether you are already a seasoned entrepreneur, or just starting out, I recommend that you regularly strive to think bigger and outside the box, starting with the lessons from others who have been there and done that, and emerged successfully. We need you then to contribute to the next set of winning strategies for the next generation of entrepreneurs.
The government in Singapore is a firm backer of creative agencies – from attractive grants to working together to setting up centres of excellence – it has not shied away from broadcasting this fact.
Agencies too are happy. For them, the experience of working with the Singapore government is devoid of the usual hang-ups associated with the civil service, such as being slow or bureaucratic.
So is Singapore creative? Industry watchers believe it is. According to an industry insider, “Singaporeans were more traditional; creativity was not a preferred choice but rather something you pursued if you ‘failed’ to make it in the mainstream. The government is doing its best to push creativity by welcoming cultural, social and political diversity.”
That said, there is work being done to develop the key industries that drive creativity as well as spur innovation, most prominently from startups. And most of it is visible.
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What is Nibiru?Christians claim that the arrival of the planet will mark the apocalypse and could herald Jesus’ return, while other conspiracy theorists believe that it is a rogue planet which has yet to be detected by space officials – or has but they are covering it up to prevent widespread panic.
The mysterious object, otherwise known as Planet X, is allegedly due to enter the solar system in September 23 and will wreak havoc on our galactic neighbourhood.
Paranormal researchers believe Planet X is so large it would be able to counter the sun’s gravitational pull.
It is believed that it is difficult to spot due to the angle in which the huge mass is approaching Earth – towards the South Pole.
Planet X is supposedly heading to EarthAs the planet approaches it is expected to interfere with Earth, pulling it slightly off its axis, which would result in severe earthquakes and storms.
Christians such as David Meade have been analysing biblical texts and astronomical signs, and believe that Planet X will arrive on September 23, and herald the end of days.
Revelation 12:1 says: “A great sign appeared in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun with the moon under her feet and a crown of 12 stars on her head.
“And being with child, she cried out in her travail and was in anguish of delivery.”
Planet X is ‘at the edge of the solar system’
The ‘sign in the sky’ supposedly refers to the eclipse which took place on August 21.
Mr Meade explains: “The great sign of The Woman as described in revelation 12:1-2 forms and lasts for only a few hours. According to computer generated astronomical models, this sign has never before occurred in human history.
Bizarre moment ‘Planet X Nibiru is spotted from Earth
“It will occur once on September 23, 2017. It will never occur again. When it occurs, it places the Earth immediately before the time of the Sixth Seal of Revelation.
“During this time frame on September 23, 2017, the moon appears under the feet of the Constellation Virgo. The Sun appears to precisely clothe Virgo.”