tech

The booming business of encrypted tech serving the criminal underworld

Criminals have turned to supposedly secure encrypted smartphones rather than normal messaging services - PA
Criminals have turned to supposedly secure encrypted smartphones rather than normal messaging services – PA

For the astonished detectives it was like “getting the keys to Aladdin’s cave”. Over the last few years, senior arms dealers and drug traffickers across Europe had come to rely on EncroChat, a shadowy tech company selling hyper-secure smartphones offering “guaranteed anonymity”.

Assured of their safety, crooks discussed products and prices in exhaustive detail, without the usual codewords. EncroChat’s steep subscription fees, running to thousands of pounds every year, were an offer no self-respecting contraband logistics professional could afford to refuse.

That is why EncroChat’s systematic infiltration by British and European police forces, finally made public on Thursday after more than 740 arrests, was an intelligence coup equal to the Enigma breakthroughs of the Second World War. One underworld insider, speaking to Vice News, was eloquent in their brevity: “People are f—–.”

EncroChat is far

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Tech giants face new fines and break-ups under UK recommendations

Apps - Yui Mok/PA
Apps – Yui Mok/PA

Britain’s monopolies watchdog has called for new powers to stop Google and Facebook abusing their dominant position in online advertising, including being able to levy fresh fines on the tech firms and split out their operations. 

In recommendations for the Government, the UK’s competition watchdog said “existing laws are not suitable for effective regulation”, and urged a new “pro competition regulatory regime” be established.

It said a new regulatory body, termed a “digital markets unit”, should be able to enforce a code of conduct to stop Google and Facebook from being able to engage in “exploitative or exclusionary practices”. The group should be able to impose significant fines if companies fail to alter their behaviour. 

The Competition and Markets Authority recommended that the unit should be able to order Google to open up its data to allow rival search engines to compete against it, as well

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India TikTok Ban Threatens China’s Rise as Global Tech Power

(Bloomberg) — China over the past decade built an alternate online reality where Google and Facebook barely exist. Now its own tech corporations, from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to Tencent Holdings Ltd., are getting a taste of what a shutout feels like.

India’s unprecedented decision to ban 59 of China’s largest apps is a warning to the country’s tech giants, who for years thrived behind a government-imposed Great Firewall that kept out many of America’s best-known internet names. If India finds a way to carry out that threat, it may present a model for other countries from Europe to Southeast Asia that seek to curtail the pervasiveness of apps like ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok while safeguarding their citizens’ valuable data.

The surprise moratorium hit Chinese internet companies just as they were beginning to make headway in the world’s fastest-growing mobile arena, en route to going global and challenging American tech industry

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Tech employees are selling referrals online to job candidates for under $50 to help them get hired at Google, Facebook, and other industry giants

Rooftop Slushie was reportedly named after a character in HBO's "Silicon Valley" TV show depicting a strikingly accurate portrayal of the tech industry.
Rooftop Slushie was reportedly named after a character in HBO’s “Silicon Valley” TV show depicting a strikingly accurate portrayal of the tech industry.

Warner Bros/IMDb

  • A website is allowing prospective tech employees to anonymously purchase a job referral from existing tech workers for $20 to $50 apiece.

  • Rooftop Slushie, created by the makers of techie chat favorite Blind, has hosted 11,000 referral transactions since it was launched in 2019. Facebook and Google referrals are the most popular.

  • The “vendors” are established employees at companies like Amazon, Google, and Twitter who can become verified on the website and vet candidate submissions before accepting the deal.

  • The site’s product manager told One Zero that the service helps improve a skilled candidate’s chances of getting hired, but critics say paying for and accepting payment for a job referral is unethical.

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The hiring process in the tech

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Tech companies make money off your data. Shouldn’t you be paid, too?

Whenever you sign up for a new social media service or website, or download an app onto your phone or computer, you’ll typically see some long disclaimer written in legalese. You scroll through it quickly and click “I agree.”

This fine print is known as a privacy policy. It lays out (sometimes in the most convoluted way possible) how the site or app can use or share your data. The problem is, no one actually reads it. You just click “Yes” and hope for the best, since that’s the price you pay for a free website, app or social media network. It seems like a pretty sweet deal.

But that’s not the deal we’re getting.

Our phones and computers can track our every movement and action. Facebook and Google log every “like” or click on their sites. There are numerous ways our data are collected, used, shared and sold by

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Tech Players Consolidate Healthcare Presence, Apple Takes Lead

Apple AAPL is dominating the wearables market, courtesy of Apple Watch. The company’s focus on health features like ECG and fall detection in the Apple Watch Series 4 has been a game changer.

Moreover, on Jun 23, the iPhone-maker previewed watchOS 7 at its first-ever virtual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), delivering enhanced customization tools and new health and fitness features including sleep tracking, automatic handwashing detection, additional workout types including dance, and a new hearing health feature expanding insight into overall user well-being.

Moreover, the solid adoption of Apple Watch Series 5, has helped the iPhone maker strengthen its presence in the personal health monitor space. Notably, the smartwatch is based on watchOS 6, which comes with additional healthcare and fitness features like Cycle Tracking, the Noise app and Activity Trends.

This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company’s wide array of healthcare offerings in watchOS makes it a key differentiator in

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Britain offers to back down on ‘tech tax’ after US fury

Facebook under scrutiny
Facebook under scrutiny

The Government is offering to narrow the scope of its digital tax after the US threatened tariffs on nations that target its technology companies. 

The compromise “would considerably ease the task of achieving a consensus-based solution and make a political agreement within reach this year,” according to a letter sent from finance chiefs from the UK, France, Spain and Italy to US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The nations are offering up a “phased approach” to taxing “automated” digital technology companies, according to the letter, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.  

This suggests they would first look at search engines, social media networks and e-commerce and digital marketplaces like those offered by Amazon and eBay, which take a cut from sellers, but do not have a physical presence in the countries where the items are being sold, rather than consumer-facing businesses.  

US officials have warned that the digital tax could

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7 clever tech tricks you’ll use time and time again

Today’s tech is loaded with features most of us never use. Why? Simply stated, there’s no real user manual.

Maybe no one ever told you that you could unsend an email. Yes, really. But you need to set up the feature before you need to use it. Tap or click for steps on how to unsend an email.

Did you know you can skip the ads on YouTube? That is until YouTube realizes we’re all doing this trick. Tap or click here for the simple secret to bypass ads on YouTube.

I’ve got seven more pro tips up my sleeve to make your digital life better.

1. Use your smart speaker’s smarts

We all have things that we only need every once in a while. For me, it’s the annual hunt for the key to unlocking the pod that holds all my Christmas decorations. Now, the elusive key is always

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Make tech companies pay you for your data

Countless businesses collect, use, share and sell consumer data. The largest tech companies, like Facebook and Google, profit most. <span class="copyright">(Josh Edelson / AFP / Getty Images)</span>
Countless businesses collect, use, share and sell consumer data. The largest tech companies, like Facebook and Google, profit most. (Josh Edelson / AFP / Getty Images)

Whenever you sign up for a new social media service or website, or download an app onto your phone or computer, you’ll typically see some long disclaimer language written in legalese. You scroll through it quickly and click the “I agree” button.

This fine print is known as a privacy policy. It essentially lays out (sometimes in the most convoluted way possible) how the site or app can use or share your data. The problem is, no one actually reads the language. You just click “yes” and hope for the best, since that’s the price you pay for a free website or app or social media network. It seems like a pretty sweet deal. But that’s not the deal we’re getting.

Our phones and

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COVID-19 quarantines gave hackers time to perfect presidential election attacks: tech security CEO

Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince continues to warn that the coming presidential election may unleash hackers again just like in 2016 in a bid to influence the outcome.

The recent actions of these faceless bad actors look to be practicing their craft while quarantined at home because of COVID-19.

“I think as sports are canceled around the world, it’s getting hackers to spend more time focusing on how they can hack various things. And we see some versions of that, which are relatively harmless. For instance, we seen a big uptick in relatively unsophisticated attacks, which is actually similar to what we see when schools let out. I think there are a bunch of kids out there trying to test their chops if they can hack various systems. What has been concerning is especially over the last month, there has been a rise in nation states sponsored attacks targeting both political

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