Essential Apple Podcast 107: Chinese Reds Under The Bed & Other Scary Tales!

Recorded 7th October 2018

Well that was a week that was (as they say). Indonesia can’t catch a break as the earthquake not only caused a deadly tsunami but set off a volcanic eruption. Haiti was struck with an earthquake and South Korea by a typhoon. As if that wasn’t enough Bloomberg came out with a scary story about a hardware hack that has turned into a massive mystery. Microsoft pulled their Windows 10 update, Simon discovered a big downside to Apple News on Mac and A company’s data containing 212 million contact listings as well as nine billion data points related to companies and organisations wasn’t secured!

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On this week’s show:


  • @Spligosh on Twitter, and an occasional guest on Bart Busschots’ Let’s Talk Apple


  • The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies – Bloomberg
    • Statements From Amazon, Apple, Supermicro, and the Chinese Government – Bloomberg
  • Bloomberg stands by Chinese chip story as Apple, Amazon ratchet up denials – Ars Technica
  • Apple Insiders Say Nobody Internally Knows What’s Going On With Bloomberg’s China Hack Story – BuzzFeed
  • Department of Homeland Security Has ‘No Reason to Doubt’ Apple’s Denial of Supply Chain Compromise – MacRumors
  • UK cyber security agency backs Apple and Amazon denials over Chinese hacking – The Telegraph
  • Simon’s personal take: someone is totally off whack here… Personally I think the Bloomberg story smacks of FUD… Not one named source, not one “on the record” comment, not one piece of hard evidence. The whole thing smacks of Manchurian Candidate, reds under the bed, cold war era, conspiracy hysteria aimed at giving us all the heeby jeebies about China to me.. I don’t believe such a hardware hack is impossible, but it would be highly difficult to do and would have to be snuck in to the design very very early (you can’t just plug such a thing into a board like a piece of Lego). I am pretty sure that there would be much easier ways to exfiltrate data than via this almost James Bondian sort of plot.
    • Security researcher named in China spy chip story voices doubts – Cult of Mac


  • Well I have discovered a massive downside to Apple News on the Mac… Any links that are from Apple News only open in Apple News… and there seems to be no way to get to the original content – unlike on iOS where you can share out to Safari… pasting the link into Safari just offers to open it in Apple News (Cancel or Allow). The app can’t be modified or removed so now I’m forced onto a 3rd party browser to get the original – which is basically a poor experience.. I want it to work like on iOS… it brings you news and if you want to open the original you can. It NEEDS an open in Safari button! Feedback sent to Apple!!!
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook to Speak at European Data Protection Conference in Brussels Later This Month – MacRumors
    • Cook will give the keynote speech at “Debating Ethics: Dignity and Respect in Data Driven Life,” a public session of the conference set to take place on Wednesday
  • Open Season on Apple: Bloomberg and Others Take Aim – iPad Insight
    • Apple Loop: iPhone XS Fights Serious Problems, Apple Leaks AirPods 2, Tim Cook’s Arrogant Silence – Forbes Magazine
  • Apple tops Interbrand’s Best Global Brands list for sixth year running – AppleInsider
  • Apple’s A12 Bionic Chip Is Almost As Fast As “Best Desktop CPUs”: AnandTech – Fossbytes
  • iOS 12 now installed on 50% of active devices, outpacing iOS 11 adoption – 9to5 Mac


  • Apple and Facebook among tech firms lobbying against Australia’s encrypted data law – CNBC
  • New Zealand to order tourists to hand over phone password at border – The Independent
  • A Recent Startup Breach Exposed Billions of Data Points – Wired


  • Interest surges in Tim Berners-Lee’s Inrupt, a startup out to remake the web – CNET
  • Microsoft pulls the Windows 10 October 2018 Update as it investigates user files going missing – Windows Central
  • Hyperloop company unveils its full-scale 750-mph ‘passenger capsule’ – USA Today


For things that are not worth more than a flypast

  • Banksy artwork shreds itself after £1m sale at Sotheby’s – BBC News


  • NightOwl – toggle macOS Mojave’s dark mode. NightOwl is the perfect Menu Bar App for nocturnal people.

Nemo’s Hardware Store (35:45)

  • Grab On Grip Covers – Amazon $13 US. Don’t buy them from Amazon UK they are asking £50 to £100 UK on there!!! (not Grab On themselves)
  • In Gear Auto AutoXscape Tool – Amazon £45 UK or $50 US Note it is the “AutoXcape” there NOT “AutoXscape”

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