Tech Digest daily roundup: Brit pleads guilty to 2020 Twitter hack


A British national extradited to the US
last month has pleaded guilty in New York to a role in one of the biggest hacks in social media history. The July 2020 Twitter hack affected over 130 accounts including those of Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Joseph James O’Connor, 23, known as PlugwalkJoe, pleaded guilty to hacking charges carrying a total maximum sentence of over 70 years in prison. The hacking was part of a large-scale Bitcoin scam. O’Connor, who was extradited from Spain, hijacked numerous Twitter accounts and sent out tweets asking followers to send Bitcoin to an account, promising to double their money. BBC

Google and WhatsApp have confirmed they are aware of a bug that makes it appear as if WhatsApp is accessing phones’ microphones unnecessarily on some Android devices. The issue first cropped up a month ago, but gained new attention after a Twitter engineer tweeted about it in a post that was boosted by Elon Musk. An image shared by Twitter engineer Foad Dabiri appeared to show that the microphone had been repeatedly running in the background while he wasn’t using the app. He tweeted a screenshot from Android’s Privacy Dashboard, which tracks how often apps access a device’s microphone and camera. Engadget 


Vodafone’s talks to merge its UK business with that of Chinese-owned rival Three face an “extremely difficult” conclusion amid calls for any deal to be investigated on national security grounds. Three’s owner CK Hutchison, controlled by 94-year-old Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing, and FTSE-listed Vodafone hope to push through a merger of their UK mobile units in a deal valuing the combined business at about £15bn. While City sources have speculated that the tie-up is imminent, Frank John Sixt, finance chief at CK Hutchison, warned the talks faced late hurdles. Telegraph 

Apple Inc on Monday failed to convince a U.S. appeals court that security startup Corellium Inc infringed its copyrights by simulating its iOS operating system to help researchers find security flaws in Apple devices. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Corellium lawfully recreated Apple’s system under the U.S. copyright doctrine of fair use, furthering scientific progress by aiding important security research. Economic Times 

AI could harm the health of millions and pose an existential threat to humanity, doctors and public health experts have said as they called for a halt to the development of artificial general intelligence until it is regulated. Artificial intelligence has the potential to revolutionise healthcare by improving diagnosis of diseases, finding better ways to treat patients and extending care to more people. But the development of artificial intelligence also has the potential to produce negative health impacts, according to health professionals from the UK, US, Australia, Costa Rica and Malaysia writing in the journal BMJ Global Health. The Guardian 

British outsourcing company Capita (CPI.L) warned it would take a £15 million to £20 million ($25 million) hit after its systems were hacked in a cyber incident earlier this year. Capita, which provides business support services to government and companies, said in a statement on Wednesday the incident had compromised some data from less than 0.1% of its server estate and it was taking steps to recover and secure its systems. The cost of the incident was a result of specialist professional fees plus investment to reinforce its cyber protections. Reuters 

Chris Price
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