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China suspected of cyberattack on Apple – The Hill

The Chinese government may be behind a hack on Apple’s cloud storage service, just as the company launches its newest phone in China.

Over the weekend, many users in the country inadvertently began giving passwords and sensitive data to hackers that may be working for the Chinese government, security analysts said.

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Analysts at GreatFire, a website that monitors blocked websites in China, reported that “Chinese authorities are now staging a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack on Apple’s iCloud,” referring to a type of cyberattack in which a hacker jumps in between a person and the website they are visiting, relaying messages back in forth but also picking up their data. 

Responding to the attacks on Tuesday, Apple acknowledged the intrusions and unveiled a new guide for people to verify that they are securely connected to the iCloud storage service.

“Apple is deeply committed to protecting our customers’ privacy and security,” the company said on its new page. “We’re aware of intermittent organized network attacks using insecure certificates to obtain user information, and we take this very seriously.” 

The company did not indicate whether or not it believed the Chinese government was behind the hack. A spokesperson declined to comment further.

The new attack comes just as Apple releases its new operating system and as the iPhone 6 is unveiled in China.

The new iPhones are automatically encrypted to prevent anyone from accessing data without a password — a feature that has earned criticism from the FBI and other U.S. officials.

Many Apple devices automatically back up their messages, photos and contacts to the iCloud server, however, so access to that connection could give a hacker access to much of their data. 

In order to protect their data, users should heed any warnings they receive from websites about digital certificates, Apple said on Tuesday, and not enter passwords at potentially unsafe sites.

Analysts have previously accused China of launching attacks against Google, Yahoo and other major tech companies.

The Chinese government has denied that it is behind the attack.

A foreign ministry spokesman told reporters that the government was “resolutely opposed” to hacking, and the state-owned Internet provider claimed the allegation was “untrue and unfounded,” according to the BBC.  

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Toyota breaks away from car industry servicing scheme – Cars Guide

Toyota breaks away from the new servicing code of practice as Ricky Muir asks the car industry to review its decision.

Australia’s biggest car maker, Toyota, has broken ranks with the industry’s new vehicle servicing code of practice and will make technical data and recall information available to independent repairers.

Toyota’s decision to open its books to local mechanics means that 20,000 independent repairers nationally can get up-to-date access to online workshop manuals for 2.6 million Toyota across Australia. Other brands are yet to follow.

The breakaway comes as Senator Ricky Muir has asked car companies to reconsider the new voluntary code on servicing announced by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI).

“I encourage the FCAI to take another look at this,” said Senator Muir.

“I believe all consumers should have a choice of repairer and I would not like to see vehicles being poorly maintained because of a lack of up-to-date service data for those who can’t afford routine maintenance at a dealership,” said Senator Muir.

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Senator Muir said he appreciates “the skills, knowledge and technology” of the 1500 new car dealership service centres, but also believes the 20,000 independent workshops nationally also need access to “up-to-date service data to compete on a level playing field”.

As reported exclusively by News Corp Australia, the FCAI has blocked local mechanics from getting access to the most up-to-date maintenance data and diagnostics units — even though it is compulsory for car makers in Europe and North America to share the most complete information and appropriate tools with independent repairers for a fee.

News Corp Australia has been told by several independent mechanics that when they log into overseas websites to diagnose a car, in some cases the repair information is blocked once an Australian vehicle identifying number is provided.

The Australian Automobile Association has also made fresh claims that sections of the new servicing code may contravene consumer law.

“We have serious concerns that a number of sections in this code do not meet the basic elements of consumer law in Australia,”said AAA spokesman James Goodwin.

In one example, if a customer is not happy with the repair work done by an independent mechanic, and it goes to an independent review, the local mechanic is outnumbered by three representatives from the car industry, the dealer and the car maker.

The code, as it is currently worded, also means an independent repairer “to the maximum extent permitted by law…does not have any rights of recourse against any OEM (car manufacturer) or party supplying the repair information or special tools”.

The code allows limited access to workshop manuals, but the AAA is concerned it does not give independent repairers enough access to detailed data, and the important updates that fall outside safety recalls.

The Federal Minister for small business, Bruce Billson, is due to meet with the car industry and independent repairers over the next month — but the car industry is preparing for a fight.

One senior car company executive, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the industry would not be “bullied” into changing the servicing code of practice and said it was possible to have their parent companies hold the rights to repair information overseas, so they can be out of the reach of Australian laws.

“There are serious unresolved issues,” said the senior car company executive from a leading brand. “We’re not perfect but how do we know an independent repairer has done the work properly? What if that repair work affects something under warranty. Who’s going to foot the bill? Are they prepared to stand by their repairs?”

When contacted by News Corp Australia yesterday, all of the Top 10 brands except Toyota said they either stood by the new code of practice for vehicle servicing, or were reviewing it.

Toyota has been the top-selling vehicle brand for the past 11 years and has more cars on Australian roads than any other.

“We understand that not all of our customers can visit a Toyota or Lexus dealer, which is why our repair manuals are made available to independent repairers,” said Toyota Australia spokeswoman Beck Angel.

As is the case in Europe and North America, independent repairers in Australia must pay a fee to access Toyota’s information — in this case, approximately $2000 a year.

Toyota also goes a step further, though, by providing smaller workshops with information about vehicle recalls, although the recall work must be done by a Toyota dealer.

Toyota’s breakaway comes even though it was the first brand to offer capped price servicing in Australia, in an attempt to keep customers coming back to its national network of 200 dealership service departments.

Toyota introduced capped price servicing in 2008 but now all of the Top 10 brands — and some European marques — also offer fixed price certainty on routine services.

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