Hackers targeted NASA computers, successfully gained access to employee credentials, and took control of systems at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, CNN reported on Friday. Paul K. Martin, the agency’s inspector general, cited one case in a report issued this week in which intruders from China-based IP addresses gained “full system access” to change or delete sensitive files and user accounts for “mission-critical” systems at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “In other words, the attackers had full functional control over these networks,” Martin said. In an earlier attack, hackers stole credentials of roughly 150 NASA employees. The agency reported that it was targeted with 47 “advanced persistent threats” in 2011, 13 of which successfully compromised NASA’s computers. Read on for more. More →
Microsoft is reportedly in talks to partner with Chinese retailer Suning in an effort to distribute Windows Phones throughout the country. Suning has more than 700 stores in China and Microsoft is rumored to have agreed to give the retailer first dibs on Windows Phone and upcoming Windows 8 devices, Chinese news source QQ Finance reported recently. The deal may be imminent although it remains unclear which Windows Phone models will be sold in the country. It is also unclear how vendors are involved with the talks. Microsoft currently has a small slice of the smartphone operating system market but a big push in China could help drive momentum as it continues to battle Android and iOS for consumer interest. Research firms IDC and Gartner both predict that Windows Phone will have the second largest operating system share by 2015. Pyramid Research has even suggested the OS will surpass Android’s global share by 2013 driven by Microsoft’s new partnership with Nokia. More →
Authorities with China’s Administration for Industry and Commerce have uncovered 22 additional fake Apple Store outlets in Kunming, the largest city in the Yunnan Province, Reuters reported on Thursday. Kunming is where a blog named BirdAbroad first revealed the existence of unofficial Apple Stores that posed as the real deal. In late July Chinese officials closed down two of the stores for lacking business licenses, but allowed others to remain open because they have licenses to trade and sell genuine Apple products. Now, the stores are being forced to remove Apple’s official logo after Apple China accused them of violating its trademark. The Administration for Industry and Commerce will setup a hotline in an effort to catch more illegal stores. More →
Chinese trade officials have raided and shut down two of five fake Apple Stores in Kunming, BBC News reported on Monday. The two stores weren’t closed for impersonating an Apple Store, instead both were shuttered for lacking business licenses. Travel blog BirdAbroad brought attention to the fake stores last week when it detailed one convincing shop in Kunming that sold real Apple products. That shop has not been closed because it “has a license to trade and is selling genuine Apple products,” BBC News said. Several of the store’s employees believe that they work for a real Apple Store. The Cupertino-based company has yet to respond to the growing number of illegitimate outlets. More →
A personal travel blog titled BirdAbroad recently published a story and photos detailing fake Apple Stores that have started to pop up in China. A few such stores exist in Kunming, the largest city in the Yunnan Province, and employees have faked the real Apple Store atmosphere so well that a number of Chinese residents believe the stores are legitimate outlets. Several of the customers are now furious after hearing the truth. “When I heard the news I rushed here immediately to get the receipt, I am so upset,” a near teary-eyed customer surnamed Wang told Reuters. “With a store this big, it looks so believable who would have thought it was fake?” Wang reportedly bought an iPhone 3G and a 13-inch MacBook Pro last month for a total of $2,170, but was not issued a receipt. “Where’s my receipt, you promised me my receipt last month!” Wang yelled at the store’s employees, before “being whisked away to an upstairs room,” Reuters said. Members of the staff, who are outfitted with blue shirts and Apple name tags, believe that they are real Apple employees. The Wall Street Journal was able to reach one Kungming staff member by phone. “It doesn’t make much of a difference for us whether we’re authorized or not,” the staffer said. “I just care that what I sell every day are authentic Apple products, and that our customers don’t come back to me to complain about the quality of the products.” Apple has yet to respond to the reports. Read on for a few more images of the fake Kunming store taken by BirdAbroad. More →
Microsoft has struck a deal to provide English search results in Baidu, China’s most popular search engine. According to The Wall Street Journal, Microsoft anticipates that the Bing-labeled English search results will help expand its Bing brand in China. Baidu also hopes that the partnership will help its efforts to expand its search engine to the global market. Chinese users typically use Google for English search results, however, the Chinese government has blocked that search engine — and other Google services, such as the newly launched Google+ — from time to time. Baidu will begin implementing Bing results later this year, although neither company provided an exact date as to when that functionality would be added.
On Wednesday hackers based in China broke into hundreds of Gmail accounts, including those of journalists, Chinese political activists, U.S. government officials, and government employees from South Korea. Given the aforementioned targets and recent revelations that China has a branch of its military focused on cyber activities, it may seem like China’s government had a role in the attack. On Thursday, however, China denied any involvement in the the breach, according to The Wall Street Journal. Hong Lei, a spokesman for the Chinese government, said that the accusations were “unacceptable” and that any allegation suggesting that “the Chinese government supports hacking activity is entirely a fabrication.” More →
The Apple iPad 2 was greeted by crowds during its debut in China on Friday morning, according to AppleInsider. Customers began lining up at about 5pm local time on Thursday, and there were hundreds of people in line by the time the store opened. Those who waited in line were allowed to leave to take one hour breaks, but anyone who spent longer was sent to the back of the queue. Scalpers also reportedly took to the streets offering the device at a relatively small markup. Chinese customers appeared to prefer the white iPad 2 over the black one, according to AppleInsider. We saw similar crowds during the U.S. debut at the New York City 5th Avenue Apple Store, where customers also started waiting in line up to 24-hours ahead of time for the device. Apple has yet to disclose its sales of the iPad 2 specifically, although it did sell 4.69 million units during the second quarter, down from the 7.33 million units it sold the quarter prior. More →
Chinese website ifanr has been kind enough to snap several non-blurry candids of the 7-inch Samsung tablet known as the Galaxy Tab. The device is pictured running Android 2.2, although no build number was listed, and other specs reported by the website include: 1024 x 600 AMOLED display (they didn’t say “Super AMOLED,” but we’re assuming it will be), PowerVR SGX 540 graphics processor, 3.2 megapixel rear-facing camera, front-facing VGA camera, 3G (no bands listed), GPS, and Wi-Fi b/g/n. The device also appears to use some sort of 30-pin proprietary connector (similar to the Dell Streak and Apple iDevices). What do you think of the GalTab? More images after the break. More →
After weeks of negotiations and public statements, the tension between Google and China has reached a crescendo and sources familiar with the situation are relaying the rumor that Google may be closing the Chinese branch of its search engine in the next few weeks. The possibility of Google operating without censorship in China was stifled last Friday when Li Yizhong, Minister of Industry and IT, confirmed China’s position that Google’s plan to operate without filtering was “unfriendly”, “irresponsible” and warned that Google would “bear the consequences of its decision” to open up the Internet to the Chinese people. With China apparently unwilling to budge, Google is now at a crossroads and must decide whether its 36% market share is worth sacrificing in the name of Internet freedom. More →
It doesn’t get any better than being able to do stuff with your phone just by talking into it, and now Google is bringing that experience to Nokia S60 devices. For those of you with iPhones and BlackBerrys, you’re probably already pretty familiar with this feature available on the Google Mobile App. While it might not have as dominant a share in the U.S. as it does globally, Symbian devices are still number one worldwide. So, it only makes sense that this extremely convenient feature is added to the popular OS. After all, many S60 devices don’t have full QWERTY keyboards, so searching by manual input is still a pain in the rear. In addition to making its voice features available to S60, Google Mobile App now recognizes and supports Mandarin Chinese, which is the most spoken language in the world. Hit the jump for a video demo.
At this point in the game, it appears as though the question isn’t will the iPods touch and nono get a camera? – it’s when? Chinese accessories manufacturers have cooked up more cases for the iPod duo than we can count on our fingers and toes. Surely they aren’t making these for impending knockoffs, one would presume. The accessories also jive with the news we reported earlier this month about Apple’s tremendous order of cameras. We don’t typically say pictures don’t lie, but the sheer volume of the iPod accessories pictured is either overwhelming evidence of a camera-equipped iPod series or a major manufacturing malfunction in China. Take your pick. Hit the jump for more shots.
If you’re the type who doesn’t mind picking up slightly-less-than-new products from eBay or Craigslist, Apple has the online store for you! Except it’s only in China. In a country where many Apple products are sold on the black market, Apple has decided to take on pirates and scammers by launching a used product section on its site where discounts of up to 22 percent can be found. That’s not a bad deal in a place where it can cost an arm and a leg to pick up an iPhone. We’re not sure what kind of warranties are being offered with these sales but it can presumably be expected to rival the refurbished goods that Apple sells elsewhere. The next time you’re on an extended vacation in beautiful, breezy Beijing, it looks like you can look forward to picking up some refurb’d Apple gear on the cheap.