All posts in “Leaks”

The one iPhone 8 leak to rule them all

Image: Lili Sams/Mashable

For those who obsess about the iPhone, it was the mother lode.

After a long period without any substantive information (although plenty of whispers, speculation, and questionable photos), it finally happened: the biggest iPhone 8 leak so far. 

In what looks like an understandable but massive mistake, pre-release firmware for the Apple HomePod somehow got uploaded to a public server.

There’s a lot of interest in HomePod — the Apple “smart speaker” that’s meant for music and has Siri built-in. Apple plans to release it in December, so getting a look at the software four months early is definitely a big deal.

But that was just the beginning. The HomePod software actually included a lot of information about a new iPhone — what has generally been called the iPhone 8 — including details on the exact shape of its edge-to-edge screen, a new kind of biometric security that involves facial recognition, and other features.

One of the key people in deciphering the leak has been Guilherme Rambo, an iOS developer from Brazil. Rambo has been revealing the details he and others have discovered in the HomePod software on his Twitter feed, including references to something called “Pearl ID,” a virtual home button, and even an image of what the front of the iPhone 8 will supposedly look like (hint: get ready to hear the term “notch” a lot).

Rambo joins this week’s MashTalk podcast along with CNET Executive Editor and mobile analyst Roger Cheng and Mashable Senior Tech Correspondent Raymond Wong to fully unpack this huge leak, explore what this radically redesigned iPhone will mean (to users and Apple), and analyze the info to figure out what’s not in the leak.

You can subscribe to MashTalk on iTunes or Google Play, and we’d appreciate it if you could leave a review. Feel free to hit us with questions and comments by tweeting to @mashtalk or adding the #MashTalk hashtag. We welcome all feedback.

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Apple’s internal presentation about its fight to stop leakers was, wait for it, leaked

Apple is working to plug up all its leaks.
Apple is working to plug up all its leaks.

Image: Lennihan/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Apple reportedly uses an intensely secretive corporate culture, a screening system more thorough than the TSA’s, and a crack team of investigators with ties to the FBI and NSA to prevent leaks about its products from getting out.

Still, some secrets slip out, which is exactly how we know about these extreme measures. 

A recording of an internal briefing about Apple’s efforts, aptly named “Stopping Leakers: Keeping Confidential at Apple,” was itself leaked to The Outline earlier this month. 

The hour-long presentation, which was reportedly given to about 100 employees, revealed new details about the programs Apple has put in place to discourage its employees from sharing confidential information with the outside world.   

The briefing was bookended with video presentations featuring Apple employees discussing how the leaks affect their work, calling the breaches “gut-wrenching” and demonizing leakers as those willing to let everyone else in the company down.

Many leaks in the past have come from Apple’s manufacturing partners in China, where low-wage workers could earn as much for selling one secret as they could in several months or even a year on the assembly line, so there’s an intense focus on screening the workers to prevent anyone from smuggling out parts of the supply chain. Those physical leaks are typically housings — the metal backs of the iPhone.

The presenters claimed Apple’s 40 factories process 2.7 million workers a day, which is more than the TSA’s 1.8 million peak volume of screenings. The system has been effective, however: The presenters said, in 2016, four of the 65 million housings Apple produced were stolen which is a one in 16 million loss ratio. 

More leaks came from Apple’s HQ in Cupertino than China, which could explain why the briefing was held in the first place. Two US-based leakers in particular were singled out as having provided information to “bloggers,” serving as cautionary tales to the audience.   

Leaks in Cupertino and abroad are the focus of Apple’s Global Security team. The force is broken out into multiple groups, like the New Product Security (NPS), which works to prevent leaks before they happen, and the investigations team, which doggedly tracks the sources, even after the damage is done.

Some of the members of these teams boast backgrounds at the highest levels of the military, national security, and intelligence organizations; the report claims some of the Apple employees have ties to the FBI, the Secret Service, the NSA, the DIA, and the Department of State.  

Why does Apple care so much?

Apple’s focus on secrecy is as much a part of the company’s DNA as its emphasis on design and its commitment to “think different,” so it should come as no surprise that the company goes to extraordinary lengths to keep its work under wraps.

It also shouldn’t come as a surprise that those efforts are now out in the public, highlighting Apple’s constant battle to stay ahead of those who would expose the company to the curious world hungry for inside info about the next One More Thing. Tim Cook recently blamed leaks on a dip in iPhone sales directly, as the torrent of rumors flooding the news cycle about the iPhone 8 has incited speculation on a massive scale, as market analysts prep for an impending “super cycle” of upgrades.    

When we reached out to Apple’s reps for comment about the report, they declined to provide any statement. Unsurprisingly, it goes against the company’s PR policy to comment on rumors and speculation about its inner workings. 

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Nearly 200 million voters exposed in GOP data leak, proving all political parties are susceptible to being hacked

Image: Shutterstock / Barbara Kalbfleisch

Registered U.S. voters dating back more than a decade have been exposed in what’s believed to be the largest leak of voter information in history.

A data analytics contractor hired by the Republican National Committee (RNC) left databases containing information about 198 million potential voters open to the public for download without a password, according to a ZDNet report.

The leak helps prove that any political party is susceptible to cybersecurity vulnerabilities, despite the GOP’s insistence that it ran a more secure 2016 presidential campaign than the rival Democratic National Committee (DNC).

The exposed databases belonged to the contractor Deep Root Analytics and contained about 25 terabytes on an Amazon S3 storage server that could be viewed without requiring a user to be logged in. In theory, this means that anyone knowing where to look could have viewed, downloaded, and have potentially used the information for malicious purposes.

The RNC worked closely with Deep Root Analytics during the 2016 election and paid the company $983,000 between January 2015 and November 2016, according to an AdAge report.

The RNC’s remarkably bad security was first discovered by researcher Chris Vickery of the security firm UpGuard. The security firm responsibly disclosed the vulnerability to the RNC, and the server was secured last week prior to making the news public today.

This vast exposure of voter information highlights the growing risk of data-driven campaigning used by both the DNC and RNC. The data in this case contained models about voters positions on different issues, including how likely it is that they voted for Obama in 2012 and whether they were likely to agree with Trump’s “America First” foreign policy talking point. 

The leak has essentially exposed more than half of the U.S. population, trouncing the second-largest leak of voter information, the 2016 exposure of 93.4 million Mexican voters.

Perhaps the worst part about all of this is there’s very little voters can do to ensure their information is stored privately and securely. Mashable has reached out to the RNC and Deep Root Analytics for comment, and will update when we hear back.

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This could be our first look at the iPhone 8’s glorious edge-to-edge screen

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Apple’s completely packed WWDC product announcements provided a brief moment of distractio, but we’re now back to our regularly scheduled programming of iPhone 8 leaks.

The newest iPhone 8 leaks show what appear to be the first images of Apple’s next flagship.

First published to Imgur and then shared on Reddit, the images reveal a front-facing glass panel indicating an edge-to-edge display, a glass back panel with a cutout for the vertically-aligned dual cameras, and a part for the rear cameras with integrated LED flash and microphone.

The second image in the album shows the purported iPhone 8 panel (the two parts farthest to the right) next to what could be the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus rear panels on the left.

“I have a friend in the industry who just sent me these. He said the Chinese manufacturers got these last week,” says the caption. “Big surprise for the iPhone 7s/7s Plus—supposedly it’s getting wireless charging as well!”

While both panels match up with a handful of previous rumors, there’s still a strong possibility that it’s an elaborate fake or prototype part that was scrapped. 

One thing that’s throwing us off is the claim the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus will get wireless charging. While noted KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed it’d be the case earlier this year, newer reports have walked the rumor back.

Fake or not, the iPhone 8’s edge-to-edge display could still look very similar.

Prominent mobile leaker and concept artist Benjamin Geskin, who has released a swath of iPhone 8 leaks in recent months, claims the iPhone 8’s display will stretch from corner to corner with a cutout for the earpiece, FaceTime camera, and other sensors. You can see his concept below.

This year’s new iPhone is expected to be one of Apple’s biggest yet, considering this year’s the iPhone’s 10th anniversary.

Based on previous rumors, we’re expecting the iPhone 8 (or “X” or “Edition”) to be slightly larger than the 4.7-inch iPhone 7. The key difference, however, will be the move to an edge-to-edge display that fits a larger a 5.8-inch OLED screen.

Apple will reportedly ditch the aluminum design it’s used since the iPhone 6 and return to a “glass sandwich” design last seen on the iPhone 4S, with glass on the backside to allow wireless charging and stainless steel for the frame.

The iPhone 8’s also expected to get rid of the home button/Touch ID fingerprint sensor and move that underneath the display. If Apple pulls it off, it will certainly set it apart from the Samsung Galaxy S8, which also has no home button, but has a fingerprint sensor in the worst possible position on the back of the phone.

What’s real and what’s fake? As always, it’s important to take all these leaks with a huge grain of salt. It’s only real when Apple announces it, and that’s likely not going to happen for another few  months. So sit tight, enjoy and your current smartphone, and chill because there’s still some waiting to do.

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OnePlus 5 might beat the iPhone 7 Plus by unapologetically copying it

The now discontinued OnePlus 3T (pictured) will be replaced by the OnePlus 5.
The now discontinued OnePlus 3T (pictured) will be replaced by the OnePlus 5.

Image:  BRITTANY HERBERT/MASHABLE

The wait for the OnePlus 5 is almost over.

The smartphone startup that’s taken the world by storm will officially unveil its next flagship Android phone on June 20 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time during a live online keynote.

Sounds good, but a new leak might have just spoiled everything.

Android Police, which has a solid track record with leaks, published what it claims is a press image of the front and back of the OnePlus 5. Needless to say, it looks like a blatant copy of the iPhone 7 Plus.

Noted phone leaker Evan Blass also says the image is the real deal. SlashLeaks also posted the same image with profile views and the bottom half of the phone.

Yep, it looks just like the iPhone 7 Plus. The similarities are uncanny. 

Dual cameras with bump in the corner? Check. Microphone and dual-LED flash outside of the camera module in the same exact positions? Check. If you look closer at the purported OnePlus 5 image, you’ll even see a similar antenna band. 

Save for different locations for the power button, the notification mute switch, volume rocker, and the OnePlus logo in place of the Apple logo, the two phones look like long-lost twins.

The iPhone 7 Plus

The iPhone 7 Plus

Image: lili sams/mashable

Reactions to the leak have been both positive and negative. The obvious uproar is that it’s an iPhone ripoff, and OnePlus should be ashamed of itself if this is indeed the final design. On the other hand, some fans don’t seem to mind having an iPhone that runs Android. After all, lots of people think Google’s Pixel/Pixel XL look like iPhones (at least from the front) and are fine with that.

It’s easy to mock OnePlus’s lack of originality (again, if this is the final design), but they wouldn’t be the first to blatantly copy the iPhone. YouTuber SuperSaf reminded me Oppo’s R11 looks like an iPhone 7 Plus clone, too:

Yeah, it’s unbelievable how obvious the cloning is, but at the same time, phones have also pretty much reached peak industrial design. 

We could sit here pointing fingers, but at the end of the day OnePlus will have last year’s design for its 2017 flagship. Phones like the Galaxy S8 and LG G6 have long edge-to-edge displays that set them apart (for now), and Apple’s likely to follow with the iPhone 8. Other phones like the Essential Phone are even more daring with edge-to-edge screens on three sides.

As for what to expect inside of the phone? We might know a few things. 

OnePlus has teased some of the OnePlus 5’s features over the last few weeks, and it’s shaping up to be quite the device.

We know the phone will come with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835 chip (same one in the Galaxy S8), some potential new colors, and it’ll likely have a headphone jack.

Though the rest of the phone’s specs haven’t been confirmed, a comprehensive (and unconfirmed) leak in May claims it’ll come with a 5.5-inch Quad HD resolution screen, 8GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot, a 4,000 milliamp-hour (mAh) battery, and dual cameras on the back.

We’ll have to wait a few weeks (unless it leaks out by then) to find out when the phone will be available in the U.S. and Europe. Fans in India, however, might want to start marking their calendars; Evan Blass says the OnePlus 5 will launch on June 22 and sold exclusively on Amazon India.

Let the countdown to June 20 begin.

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