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How police have obtained iPhone, iPad tracking logs

peakipad
© cnet
A peek at location data stored on an iPhone.
Law enforcement agencies have known since at least last year that an iPhone or iPad surreptitiously records its owner's approximate location, and have used that geolocation data to aid criminal investigations.

Apple has never publicized the undocumented feature buried deep within the software that operates iPhones and iPads, which became the topic of criticism this week after a researcher at a conference in Santa Clara, Calif., described in detail how it works. Apple had acknowledged to Congress last year only that "cell tower and Wi-Fi access point information" is "intermittently" collected and "transmitted to Apple" every 12 hours.

Cell Phone

No, iPhone location tracking isn't harmless and here's why

Secret Apple database already being tapped by cops

It didn't take long for the blogosphere to pooh pooh research presented on Wednesday that detailed a file in Apple iPhones and iPads unknown to the vast majority of its users that stored a long list of their time-stamped locations, sometimes with alarming detail.

On Thursday, a forensics expert who sells software to law enforcement agencies gave a first-hand account why scrutiny of the location-tracking database is crucial. We'll get to that in a moment. But first, let's take a sampling of the rampant naysaying.

The most common criticism was that the contents of the SQLite file, which is stored on the phone and on any computer backups, were wildly imprecise. Blogger and web developer Will Clarke, for instance, used the researchers' freely available software to map the coordinates gathered by his own iPhone during a recent round-trip bike tour he took from Philadelphia to New Jersey. When he compared the results to the actual route, he found that "almost all the points were way off."

Laptop

Stuxnet-like attacks beckon as 50 new Scada threats discovered

Cyber criminals appear to be ramping up their interest in industrial control systems after research from application security management firm Idappcom found 52 new threats in March targeted at supervisory control and data acquisition (Scada) systems of the sort hit by the infamous Stuxnet worm.

Tony Haywood, chief technology officer at Idappcom, told V3.co.uk that hackers could be going for the systems as they are typically less well defended than more mainstream public facing IT systems.

War Whore

Pentagon: Robot War Over Libya Begins in 3, 2, 1 ...

drones
© Wired
Moammar Gadhafi's forces are killing Libyan civilians and pushing back rebel forces, NATO air strikes be damned. So it's time to send in the drones.

Thursday marks the end of U.S. strike missions in Libya. In a press conference, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Gen. James Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced that armed Predator drones have been approved for use in Libya. They flew for the first time on Thursday, but "the weather wasn't good enough, so we had to bring them back," Cartwright said.

Laptop

Son of Kaspersky Lab's CEO 'kidnapped'

Held for €3m ransom, says unconfirmed report

The 20-year-old son of Kaspersky Lab's CEO has reportedly gone missing, with kidnappers said to be demanding €3m for his release.

According to Lifenews.ru (via Google Translate), Ivan Kaspersky - the son of Eugene Kaspersky with his ex-wife Natalya Kaspersky - disappeared two days ago. Since then the police, Russian secret service and the Criminal Investigation Department have all been searching for him.

It has been reported that his father, who had been attending the InfoSec event in London, flew to Moscow where Ivan is understood to have been abducted while on his way to work.

However, Kaspersky Lab hasn't confirmed the news report, which was picked up by the BBC today.

Eugene Kaspersky, who founded the anti-virus software company, is considered to be one of the wealthiest men in Russia and was recently ranked just outside the Forbes' 100 rich-list in that country.

His personal fortune is said to be around €800m. Kaspersky's ex-wife Natalya is chairwoman of the firm.

Bad Guys

Iran: US, Israel assist drug dealers

Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar
© unknown
Iran's Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar
Iran's Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar says Israel and US intelligence agency (CIA) have taken up a campaign to push Iranian youth towards drug addiction.

"The Zionists and CIA agents in the region assist drug dealers at Iran's joint borders with Afghanistan," Mohammad-Najjar said on Thursday.

"These [so-called] advocates of human rights have undertaken the task of investing in the production of industrial drugs from traditional ones and supplying them to Iran's market," IRNA quoted Mohammad-Najjar as saying.

The Iranian minister said Afghanistan is one of the major centers of producing drugs, and Iran's enemies assist drug dealers in exporting narcotics.

Rocket

US drone strike kills 25 in Pakistan

Image
© unknown
At least 25 people have been killed in yet another unauthorized US drone attack on the tribal village of Miranshah in northwestern Pakistan.

Officials reported that the non-UN-sanctioned attack by a US drone took place at 4:30 a.m. (2030 GMT) Friday, a Press TV correspondent reported.

The drone fired six missiles at a house destroying it completely. The death toll may rise as rescue operation is underway to get people from the collapsed building.

The US drone continued flying over the area after the attack, creating panic among the local residents. Miranshah attack raised the number of US drone strikes in North Waziristan Agency to 21 in 2011.

Reports indicate that the unmanned drone strikes in Pakistan's northwest tribal belt have claimed the lives of more than 1,180 people in 2010 alone.

USA

US: Nevada Sen. Ensign Announces Resignation as Successor is Viewed

Image
© Dep/The Associated Press
In this Aug. 17, 2010 photo, U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., participates in the Tahoe Summit at the Sand Harbor State Park near Incline Village, Nev. Ensign announced he will resign amid an ethics investigation. Ensign said Thursday, April 21, 2011, he will send Vice President Joe Biden a letter Friday making the resignation official.
Nevada Sen. John Ensign announced Thursday he will resign amid an ethics probe, while Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) is likely to be appointed as his successor, sources tell Fox News.

Heller and Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) both recently just jumped into the Senate contest. If Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) appoints Heller, it could give him an advantage in the state's 2012 Senate election.

Heller's district is the largest and most rural in Nevada, where the tea party has strong support.

Ensign insisted he's done nothing wrong, but said he could no longer subject his family and constituents to further investigation.

He said in a statement that he will send Vice President Joe Biden a letter Friday making the resignation official.

Arrow Up

Gold soars to new record

Gold Chart
© Toronto Star
Gold prices reached new highs Wednesday, as investors fretted over stern warnings on U.S. debt and growing inflation risks in China and India.

The same forces pushed up prices for silver, oil, and other commodities, as well as the Canadian dollar, as the U.S. greenback fell sharply.

Spot gold rose to an all-time high of $1,505.70 (U.S.) an ounce.

The precious metal has hit new records for four straight days, aided in large part by Monday's threat of a downgrade to the United States' triple-A credit rating and lingering euro zone debt worries that have depressed the dollar.

Investors typically flock to gold as a hedge against inflation and uncertainty. Both China and India reported higher than expected inflation last week.

Silver also surged above $45 (U.S.) for the first time since 1980 Wednesday.

Bad Guys

How a big US bank laundered billions from Mexico's murderous drug gangs

soldier guards marijuana
© Arias/AP
A soldier guards marijuana that is being incinerated in Tijuana, Mexico. Photograph: Guillermo

As the violence spread, billions of dollars of cartel cash began to seep into the global financial system. But a special investigation by the Observer reveals how the increasingly frantic warnings of one London whistleblower were ignored

On 10 April 2006, a DC-9 jet landed in the port city of Ciudad del Carmen, on the Gulf of Mexico, as the sun was setting. Mexican soldiers, waiting to intercept it, found 128 cases packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100m. But something else - more important and far-reaching - was discovered in the paper trail behind the purchase of the plane by the Sinaloa narco-trafficking cartel.

During a 22-month investigation by agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and others, it emerged that the cocaine smugglers had bought the plane with money they had laundered through one of the biggest banks in the United States: Wachovia, now part of the giant Wells Fargo.