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Apple Issues Global Warning on Spyware Attacks to iPhone Users

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In a recent development, Apple has issued threat notifications to iPhone users across 92 countries, cautioning them about potential targeting by mercenary spyware attacks. The alerts, sent out on Wednesday at 12pm Pacific Time, were aimed at individuals whose devices may have been compromised remotely by malicious entities. Although the notifications did not reveal the identity of the attackers or specify the countries affected, they underscored the severity of the situation.

The warning message, as reviewed by TechCrunch, informed recipients that Apple had detected attempts to compromise their iPhones through mercenary spyware tactics. Emphasizing the personalized nature of the attacks, Apple urged affected users to take the threat seriously despite the inherent difficulty in achieving absolute certainty in such matters.

This isn’t the first time Apple has taken action against such threats. The company has a track record of issuing similar notifications globally, having done so in over 150 countries since 2021, as documented on its support page. Notably, Apple previously alerted journalists and politicians in India about similar spyware risks, a move that gained prominence after Amnesty International uncovered the presence of NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware on iPhones belonging to prominent figures in the country.

The timing of these alerts coincides with heightened concerns over election interference and state-sponsored cyber activities. While tech firms have been vocal about such threats, Apple’s notifications refrained from explicitly mentioning the current geopolitical context.

In its communication to affected users, Apple refrained from attributing the attacks to specific state actors, opting instead to label them as “mercenary spyware attacks.” The company stressed the sophistication of such operations, highlighting their rarity and complexity compared to conventional cybercriminal activities.

Apple relies on internal threat intelligence and investigative efforts to detect and respond to such attacks. Despite the challenges inherent in identifying these threats definitively, the company’s notifications are intended to provide users with high-confidence alerts necessitating prompt action.

In addition to advising affected users to seek expert assistance, Apple offered general security recommendations for all iPhone users. These include keeping devices updated with the latest software, using strong passcodes and authentication measures, installing apps only from trusted sources, and practicing caution when interacting with unknown links or attachments.

Crucially, Apple reiterated that its threat notifications would never prompt users to take actions like clicking on links, installing apps, or divulging sensitive information via email or phone calls. By empowering users with information and best practices, Apple aims to bolster the resilience of its ecosystem against evolving cyber threats.

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Asus Introduces Vivobook S15: The First Copilot Plus PC with Advanced AI-Driven Snapdragon Processors

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Asus has announced its first Copilot Plus PC, the Vivobook S15 (S5507), following Microsoft’s latest Windows event. This new laptop features Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X-series processors, aiming to elevate performance and enhance AI-driven applications.

Advanced Processing Power

The Vivobook S15 will be available with either a 12-core Snapdragon X Elite processor or a 10-core Snapdragon X Plus processor. The X Elite serves as the base model, offering a slower integrated GPU and no dual-core boost. Asus claims that these ARM-based chips will significantly improve existing features and enable new AI-driven workloads with 45 TOPS of neural processing power.

Display and Design

The new Vivobook S15 retains the OLED display of its Intel-based predecessor, featuring:

  • 15.6-inch screen
  • 2880 x 1620 resolution
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • 600 nits peak HDR brightness

This version also boasts a thinner chassis and narrower display bezels, enhancing its sleek design.

Memory, Storage, and Connectivity

Both configurations support up to 32GB of onboard memory and 1TB of PCIe 4.0 SSD storage. The Vivobook S15 includes a variety of ports:

  • Two USB-A ports
  • Two USB 4.0 Type-C ports
  • One HDMI 2.1 port
  • Audio/mic combo jack
  • MicroSD card reader

Connectivity features include Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.4.

AI-Driven Features

Asus introduces the StoryCube app with the Vivobook S15, leveraging AI to sort, edit, manage, and export RAW photo and video files efficiently. The powerful NPU in the Snapdragon processors also promises to enhance other AI workloads in applications like Windows Studio Effects and Cocreator.

Target Audience

The Vivobook S15 is designed for digital artists, graphic designers, and other visual creatives, providing a budget-friendly alternative to Asus’s ProArt series. While some Vivobook models feature standalone GPUs, most, including this new model, rely on integrated graphics. The Snapdragon X series is Qualcomm’s response to Apple’s M-series chips, though its true performance will be gauged once the laptops ship.

Availability and Pricing

The Vivobook S15 with a Snapdragon X Elite processor is available for pre-order now, with shipping starting June 18th. The 32GB/1TB version, priced at $1,399, will be available exclusively at Costco. A 16GB/1TB version will be offered at $1,299 through multiple retailers. The Snapdragon X Plus model is expected later this year, though pricing details are yet to be announced.

Asus’s new Vivobook S15, with its powerful Snapdragon processors and AI capabilities, marks a significant advancement in laptop technology. This launch positions Asus to compete more effectively in a market currently dominated by Intel and Apple, offering powerful yet affordable options for creative professionals.

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Vivo To Unveil Y200 Series with Y200t and Y200 GT

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Vivo, a prominent player in the smartphone market, continues to strengthen its lineup with the introduction of two new additions to its Y200 series – the Vivo Y200t and Y200 GT. These latest offerings are poised to capture the attention of consumers seeking a balance between performance and affordability in the competitive mid-range segment.

Vivo Y200t: Balancing Budget and Performance

The Vivo Y200t is positioned as a budget-friendly option without compromising on essential features. It boasts a generous 6.72-inch LCD display with Full HD+ resolution and an impressive 120Hz refresh rate, ensuring smooth visuals for an enhanced user experience. Under the hood, the device is powered by the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 chipset, providing reliable performance for everyday tasks and multitasking.

Users can choose between configurations with 8 GB or 12 GB of RAM, paired with storage options ranging from 128 GB to 512 GB, ensuring ample space for apps, media, and more. One of the standout features of the Y200t is its substantial 6,000 mAh battery, coupled with 44W fast-charging support, delivering convenience and peace of mind for users on the go.

In the camera department, the Y200t sports a modest setup, featuring a 50 MP primary camera and a 2 MP depth sensor, along with an 8 MP front-facing camera for selfies and video calls. Running on OriginOS 4 based on Android 14, the device also includes an in-display fingerprint scanner for added security.

Vivo Y200 GT: Elevating the Mid-Range Experience

On the other hand, the Vivo Y200 GT caters to consumers looking for a premium mid-range offering with enhanced specifications. Essentially a rebranded iQOO Z9, it features a stunning 6.78-inch AMOLED display with Full HD+ resolution and an impressive 144Hz refresh rate, delivering vibrant colors and smooth visuals.

Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7 Gen 3 chipset, paired with either 8 GB or 12 GB of RAM and up to 512 GB of internal storage, the Y200 GT offers robust performance for demanding tasks and gaming. Despite its sleek design, it houses the same 6,000 mAh battery found in the Y200t but offers an even faster 80W fast-charging technology, ensuring minimal downtime.

In terms of imaging capabilities, the Y200 GT boasts a 50 MP primary camera with a Sony LYT-600 sensor, complemented by a 2 MP depth sensor and optical image stabilization (OIS). For selfie enthusiasts, it features a 16 MP front-facing camera, capturing stunning self-portraits and video calls with ease.

Both smartphones run on OriginOS 4 based on Android 14 and feature an in-display fingerprint scanner for added security. Available in black and blue color options, the Y200t and Y200 GT are set to go on open sale in China starting May 24, offering consumers a compelling choice in the mid-range smartphone segment.

With their blend of performance, features, and affordability, the Vivo Y200t and Y200 GT are poised to make waves in the competitive smartphone market, catering to the diverse needs of consumers seeking value and innovation in their mobile devices.

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TikTok Tests 60-Minute Video Uploads

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TikTok has begun testing the ability for users to upload 60-minute videos, the company confirmed to TechCrunch on Thursday. This new feature is currently available to a limited group of users in select markets, with no immediate plans for a broader rollout.

First identified by social media consultant Matt Navarra, this development signifies a major shift from TikTok’s original format. Initially, the app allowed only 15-second videos. Over the years, however, TikTok has gradually increased this limit. While the platform gained popularity through its short-form video format, it has been gradually adopting longer content to challenge YouTube, one of its main competitors.

TikTok’s motivation for extending the video length stems from creator feedback. The company notes that while creators can currently link multipart stories, there is a demand for longer, uninterrupted content. Creators want more time for cooking demonstrations, beauty tutorials, educational lessons, comedic sketches, and other types of content.

The 60-minute video upload feature aims to provide creators with the flexibility to experiment with new or expanded content types. By enabling longer videos, TikTok hopes to attract creators who traditionally post on YouTube, encouraging them to share their content on TikTok as well.

This extended time limit could also introduce new content forms to the platform, such as full episodes of TV shows. Last year, Peacock released the first episode of “Killing It” on TikTok in five parts. With the 60-minute limit, such episodes could be uploaded in one piece, eliminating the need for fragmentation.

Many networks already leverage YouTube by uploading the first episodes of TV shows to attract viewers. The increased upload limit on TikTok could entice them to do the same on this platform. Networks are already engaging with audiences on TikTok, and the new feature could encourage them to share more extensive content.

While longer videos might not appeal to all TikTok users, the company has been enhancing the viewing experience for long-form content. TikTok has been testing a horizontal full-screen mode and video-scrubbing thumbnails. Additionally, a feature rolled out last year allows users to fast-forward videos by holding down the right side of the screen.

As with any experimental feature, it remains uncertain when or if TikTok will make the 60-minute video upload option widely available.

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