Asus routers allow strangers to access your files

It’s 2014, so security issues are the norm rather than the exception, but the latest news that Asus left the door wide open on many of its routers is extremely disturbing.

The fact that anybody with your IP address will be able to login anonymously to your attached storage device is bad enough, it’s much worse that a list of almost 13,000 IP addresses of people who are using these vulnerable routers was published online. In simpler terms, that means your home address has been published online, and your front door isn’t locked.

Going through the file listings of other IP addresses I see insanely personal items like whole backups of laptops, family photos, porn collections, and tax documents. Anyone that has the list of IP addresses can potentially download any of those files. I wrote some python to walk through the list of IP addresses and check to see if logging in anonymously is still possible. I’m not bothering to look at anything just see if ftp.login() works and recording the statistics. The numbers are not reassuring. The code is also on pastebin for those who want to run it and help report the numbers.

So far the incidents that have surfaced due to this security issue haven’t been too serious, but it could be a lot worse if someone decided that it’d be a good idea to create a script to access the files of the affected users and delete all the files, or insert some sort of malware.

To make things worse, it took Asus a long time to finally release a patch. Patching the vulnerability is the first step, but the question is how many folks out there who own the affected routers are aware of the issue and know how to patch their routers?

Asus really botched this one badly.

HTC blames Nvidia for delay in One X update to Kitkat

Ars Technica reports on HTC blaming Nvidia for Kitkat update delays. This comes after HTC published a webpage last month to explain the delay in the update to Android 4.4.

Apparently, the outcry from One X owners was loud enough that HTC is “actively exploring” the possibility of a KitKat upgrade. Without support from Nvidia, though, the One X+ and international One X will remain stuck on Android 4.2. When asked why certain Tegra 3-based products like the 2012 Nexus 7 could support Android 4.4 but the One X+ couldn’t, the team blamed slight differences in the various Tegra 3 SoCs.

It’ll be interesting to see what Nvidia has to say about these “slight differences”.

Microsoft vs Microsoft

Ben Thompson writes about Microsoft’s business model.

Farhad Manjoo named Apple, Google and Amazon as companies that he recommend relying on because of their business models.

Microsoft’s chief spokesperson Frank X Shaw was annoyed by Microsoft’s omission from the recommendations:

And with a cross-platform connected ecosystem that spans the workplace to the living room featuring best in class products like Office, Skype and Xbox, we’re a pretty safe bet too.

Microsoft’s chief of marketing Tami Reller gave a very different insight as to how the company makes its decisions:

If that wasn’t clear enough, Reller pointed out that changes to Office’s platforms would be a business decision, not one based on customer requests.

“We come at it from that angle, which is ‘What businesses do we need to drive forward?,’” said Reller. “That’s how we will make the decision [to go cross-platform]. It really ends up being business by business, product by product. There’s no sweeping one decision.”

Ben concludes:

So to summarize, Office is not available everywhere, and probably won’t be anytime soon, because Microsoft has a devices business to prop up. Oh, and Microsoft’s business needs are a priority over user needs. Tell me, Frank, how is that a safe bet?

It might be too late to jump into the device business and the purchase of Nokia is a last-ditch attempt to turn things around. Meanwhile, Microsoft is losing ground in their services as mobile continues to grow rapidly.

Bringing Microsoft Office to iOS might stop the slide long enough for Microsoft to find its feet as a service and device company with its Nokia devices. Time is running out for Microsoft as consumers have already shifted to iOS solutions, Google Drive for iOS, and most recently Apple’s iWork for iOS.

Mozilla plans to sell ads in Firefox

John Gruber comments on Mozilla’s plan to sell ads in Firefox.

Now go to Mozilla’s own weblog, where they announced this with the headline “Publisher Transformation with Users at the Center”. What a pile of obtuse horseshit. If you want to sell ads, sell ads. Own it. Don’t try to coat it with a layer of frosting and tell me it’s a fucking cupcake.

I can’t agree more with what he said. Why would they want to avoid being upfront about it? Trying to spin it to make it sound user-centric just makes them look desperate to please their users.

iOS dominates enterprise market in Q4 2013

MacRumors reports on the iOS domination of mobile device activations in Q4 2013.

73% of all enterprise mobile device activations:

iOS devices accounted for 73 percent of all enterprise mobile device activations and grabbed the top ten spots for most popular devices in the fourth quarter of 2013, reports Good Technology in its Mobility Index Report for Q4 2013.

50% of enterprise smartphone activations:

The device usage report from these enterprise users shows that the iPhone made up 54 percent of total device activations, while Android smartphones followed with just over 20 percent.

91% of enterprise tablet activations:

The iPad maintains a strong hold on tablet activations, claiming 91.4 percent of enterprise tablet activations in Q4 2013, while Android accounted for the remaining 8.6 percent. The iPad was most popular in Financial Services and in Business and Professional Services, with the two sectors accounting for 60 percent of all Q4 iPad activations.

And people still say that the iPad is a content consumption device and has no place in enterprise.

New Android OEM licensing terms leak shows how “open” Android is

Ars Technica reports on the leaked Android OEM licensing terms.

Companies are not allowed to fork Android:

The agreement places a company-wide ban on Android forks, saying OEMs are forbidden from taking “any actions that may cause or result in the fragmentation of Android” and specifically disallows distributing or encouraging a third party to distribute “a software development kit derived from Android.” Google has full control over the countries its apps are released in and distribution methods used to distribute the apps. This allows Google to restrict its apps to the Play Store and will keep them out of competing stores like Amazon and Samsung. Google also stipulates that the Google apps must be distributed free of charge, and they cannot be modified, reverse engineered, or used to make a derivative work, and ads are not allowed to be placed in, on, or around Google’s apps.

Google must be the default search engine:

Google also says “all other Google Applications will be placed no more than one level below the Phone Top”—meaning the app drawer is fine—and requires that Google be set as the default search engine for “all Web search access points on the Device.”

The irony:

We’ll close with the most ironic clause in the 13-page agreement: “Open Devices. The parties will create an open environment for the Devices by making all Android Products and Android Application Programming Interfaces available and open on the Devices and will take no action to limit or restrict the Android platform.”

Windows 8 sells 100 million fewer cpies than Windows 7 at 15 months

The Next Web reports on Windows 8 selling 100 million copies less than Windows 7 after 15 months from launch.

Windows 7 launched on October 22, 2009. In October 2010, Microsoft revealed that it had sold over 240 million Windows 7 licenses in the operating system’s first year, and in January 2011 that number grew to 300 million at the 15-month mark.

Windows 8 launched on October 26, 2012. In February 2014, Microsoft revealed that it had sold over 200 million Windows 8 licenses in the operating system’s 15 months. No matter how you slice it, that’s not good news for the company.

John Gruber nailed it with this comment:

Almost bad enough for the CEO to lose his job. Oh, wait.

He also astutely picked up on how both versions sold in similar quantities in the first six months

Apple and Samsung dominate mobile profits

Investors.com reported on the mobile market in Q4 of 2013.

Apple and Samsung continue to soak up all the industry’s profits, McCourt says. Apple claimed 87.4% of phone earnings before interest and taxes in the fourth quarter, he said. Samsung took in 32.2% of industry profits. Because their combined earnings were higher than the industry’s total earnings as a result of many vendors losing money in Q4, Apple and Samsung mathematically accounted for more than 100% of the industry’s earnings.

Based on the reported figures, Apple and Samsung took in about 120% of the profits. The competitors are making huge losses.

Apple passing Microsoft

Benedict Evans reports on how Apple sold more computers than Windows PC sold globablly in Q4 2013.

This is a pretty good illustration of the scale of mobile: Apple limits itself only to the high end of the mobile market but still sells more units than the whole PC industry.

It is also significant to note the shift towards mobile computing.

The iTunes empire

Horace Dediu writes on how big iTunes is.

On a yearly basis iTunes/Software/Services is nearly half of Google’s core business and growing slightly faster.

The iTunes “empire” of content and services would be ranked as number 130 in the Fortune 500 ranking of companies (slightly below Alcoa and above Eli Lilly).