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Security company Bitglass has tracked data travelling the murky recesses of the hidden Internet, or dark web, noting that the information was shared across five different continents and 22 countries in less than two weeks.
As part of a tracking experiment last month, the data protection specialist placed 1,568 fake names, social security numbers, credit card numbers, addresses and phone numbers on an Excel spreadsheet. Bitglass then used its proxy technology to mark the spreadsheet with a digital watermark, which contacts the company’s server when the file is opened, recording information such as IP address, geographic information and the device used to view the file.
The document was placed on seven ‘dark web’ sites believed to be frequented by cybercriminals, as well as the file sharing site DropBox. Bitglass discovered that, within just 12 days, the data was accessed from five continents and 22 countries, including the U.S., U.K., Nigeria, France, and Russia. The spreadsheet, which was accessed most often from Nigeria, Russia, and Brazil, was viewed 1,081 times, and downloaded 47 times.
Bitglass CEO Nat Kausik told FoxNews.com that two particular “cliques” of people accessed and shared the data – one in Nigeria and the other in Russia. “They were probably trying to figure out whether it was real or not, or maybe they sold it on,” he said, noting that a social security number is worth about $50 a head on the dark web.
The darker recesses of the web continue to pose massive technology challenges to law enforcement. Last year, for example, a Brazilian police investigation cracked a high-tech child porn ring buried deep inside a dark web or “darknet” – private networks built from connections between trusted peers using unconventional protocols. Dark webs typically run on the fortress-like Tor network.
Tor, which stands for ‘The onion router,’ started out as a military project, but now functions largely as a highly clandestine civilian network.
“What we were trying to find out was ‘how liquid is the data once it has been breached?’” Kausik told FoxNews.com. “What we have learnt is that there is a pretty liquid market for this.”
Say you snap a photo for Instagram and the colors aren't quite as impressive as you wanted — and not even filters are helping. In the past, you might have abandoned the photo, but now there's a new possible solution.
Instagram on Tuesday began rolling out a new color tool, which lets you tint the highlights or shadows in your photo with different colors. You can choose from yellow, orange, red, pink, blue, purple, cyan, or green.
In its example images, Instagram shows how you can enhance an otherwise lackluster sunset photo, making the sky look more red or giving the landscape a purpleish tint.
Besides that, Instagram is also getting a new fade tool, which lets you "bring a quiet tone to your photos by softening colors" — perfect for when you want to convey a sort of melancholy or vintage look.
Fade and color are available now on Instagram for Android (version 6.19.0) and should arrive on iOS "in a few days," Instagram said.
And that's not all. The Facebook-owned photo-sharing app is also adding a new feature called Post Notifications, which aims to help you keep track of your favorite Instagrammers. The optional setting lets you to receive notifications when specific people you follow post to Instagram, so you never miss a photo from your favorites.
To enable the notifications, navigate to a friend's profile and tap the three dots in the top right corner. From there, you'll see an option to "Turn on Post Notifications." This feature is available today on Android and iOS.
Apple has stolen the No. 1 spot in smartphone sales in urban China from local rival Xiaomi, according to market researcher Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.
For the three months that ended in February, Apple's iPhone 6 was the top selling phone in urban China with a market share of 10.2 percent, up from 9.5 percent for the prior three months. The iPhone 6 Plus was the third best-selling phone just behind Xiaomi's Android-based RedMi Note in second place. With the two new iPhones as well as older models selling robustly in China, Apple jumped to the top spot with 27.6 percent market share overall, Kantar said Wednesday.
As the world's largest smartphone market with almost 520 million users, China is prime territory for Apple and other mobile phone vendors. Apple aggressively pursued deals with China's three major mobile carriers, including top carrier China Mobile, to bring the iPhone to the country. China-based smartphone rivals, such as Xiaomi, have typically held the upper hand by offering high-quality phones at low prices. So Apple's rise in China is a clear sign of the appeal of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
"There has been a strong appetite for Apple's products in urban China seen since the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and this has continued into Chinese New Year," Kantar Worldpanel research chief Carolina Milanesi said in a statement. "China Mobile's subscribers accounted for 59 percent of the 27.6 percent volume share recorded by iOS in the latest period."
Apple also made some headway against Android in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. Over the three months ended in February, Apple's smartphone market share climbed by 2.9 points in those five countries, while Android's share fell by the same amount. Still, Google's Android OS by far remained the dominant platform with a 67.6 percent share compared with Apple's 20.9 percent.
"In Great Britain, as Samsung prepared the channel for the arrival of the new flagships Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, sales of the Galaxy S5 grew slightly over the previous period and captured 8.7 percent of smartphone sales, keeping this model as the second best selling smartphone after the iPhone 6," according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Europe business unit director Dominic Sunnebo.Consumers who chose the iPhone 6 cited such factors as the phone's reliability and durability and its attractive design. Those who opted for the Galaxy S5 pointed to its reliability and durability as well but also said it was a good deal based on the contract.
In the United States, Apple's smartphone share inched down to 38.8 percent for the three months that ended in February, compared with 39.3 percent during the same period last year. But the iPhone 6 was still the best selling iPhone across the US. Buyers of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 mentioned screen size as the No. 1 factor, followed closely by 4G LTE support. Among those who went for the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, 70 percent cited screen size as the top reason.
Recent reports from sources close to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) suggest that there will be both an iPhone 6S this year, and an apple iPhone 7 next year. With potentially nine months separating the two releases, consumers will have a serious decision to make regarding which one of the two Apple handsets to purchase.
When will there be an iPhone 7?
So the first question is when the iPhone 7 will actually be released. Sources close to Apple have been suggesting in the last few days that this is likely to be sometime between March and June in 2016. But this could be an optimistic estimation if Apple attempts to make the iPhone 7 a revolutionary device, and it could even be that there is a full 12 months between the release of the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 7.
Another possibility is that the analyst community has got the whole issue completely wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time that this has occurred, but it is possible that the iPhone 7 will instead come in 2015, and would not be revolutionary device which has been predicted.
It is difficult to precisely assess the likelihood of this, with leaks certainly pointing towards the fact that there will be an iPhone 6s in 2015 which will be an upgraded version of the existing Phone 6. Of course, it goes without saying that at some point there will be an iPhone 7, and at this time it looks as if 2016 is a likely date for this. But it would not be at all surprising if the iPhone 7 is significantly delayed, as Apple has a reputation for ensuring that devices are completed to its utter satisfaction before they are released.
Thus, consumers interested in either of the iPhone models should bear in mind that an entire year gap between the two is not only possible, but it could be suggested that it is even likely.
How will the iPhone 7 attract consumers?
iPhone 7 has been linked with a massive portfolio of new features, some of which are entirely speculative and unlikely to see the light of day, and others which would seem to be extremely probable.
What can be said is that the iPhone 7 would need to be a very significant departure from the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6 predecessor if Apple is to justify delaying it for a significant period of time. The corporation was to some degree criticized for producing an iPhone 6 which was little more than an upgrade of the iPhone 5s, despite the implication that this iteration would be a new generation of the series.
So if Apple makes the bold move of delaying the iPhone 7 until possibly even Q4 in 2016, it will need to deliver something truly outstanding and demonstrably different from the iPhone 6s.
This could mean that some of the more outlandish ideas being linked with the smartphone may even be implemented. Ultimately, we could be looking at nearly an 18-month period until the iPhone 7 is released, and this would give Apple the opportunity to arm the iPhone 7 with certain features which look to be logistically impossible at the moment.
Possible differences between iPhone 6s and iPhone 7
This will be largely dependent upon the functionality which Apple decides to include in the iPhone 6s. For example, wireless charging will almost certainly be part of the iPhone 7, although it may be too early for this feature to figure in the iPhone 6s. But at the same time, there will be pressure for Apple to produce a smartphone with this functionality this year, as Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) has already included wireless charging in the Galaxy S6.
Additionally, we know that, for example, Apple has already had a patent approved for a form of curved screen technology. This was strongly anticipated to appear in an iPhone series device during 2015, but Apple may now hold this back for the iPhone 7.
Another long rumored feature of the iPhone series which has yet to actually materialize is sapphire glass protection. This was expected to be a feature of the iPhone 6, but ultimately Apple seemingly decided against this. Analysts had predicted that sapphire glass would be included in the iPhone during 2015, but again Apple might delay this both to enable the iPhone 7 to be a significant departure from the earlier upgrade, and also to allow the consumer electronics giant to sort out all logistical issues.
It has also been suggested that Apple will vastly upgrade the camera included in the iPhone series in the near future. The corporation has been linked with producing both a unique periscope device for the iPhone series, as well as a dual-lens professional quality snapper. Again, it was assumed that either of these potential cameras could appear in the iPhone series this year, but Apple may instead choose to include them as part of the iPhone 7 release.
We can expect to see some new features in the iPhone 6s, but more ambitious functionality may be preserved ahead of an iPhone 7 release in 2016.
iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 – pricing
If Apple does decide to release an iPhone 6s this year, and bring out an iPhone 7 during 2016, then it seems quite probable that the iPhone 6s will experience a price freeze. Effectively, this will be a beefed up and upgraded spec version of the iPhone 6, with the next-generation iPhone really emanating when the iPhone 7 is released. Apple may be in an extremely strong position commercially, but it surely couldn’t ask for consumers to pay extra for something that is essentially an upgrade.
The iPhone 7 could be significantly more expensive than the iPhone 6S, but Apple will undoubtedly try to keep expense down to a bare minimum. We can possibly expect to see it cost $100 more on non-contract terms than the existing iPhone 6 did when it was released.
Apple is battling the clock anyway with only six months until the next iPhone release is due, so we can perhaps expect this to be a conservative device. Consumers wanting an iPhone that blows them away might have to wait until the release of the iPhone 7. But Apple fans should also bear in mind that the iPhone 6s will probably be a world-class handset thatoffers excellent value for money.
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