#WhatTheTech

Written by:
Lucie Sadler
Date Posted:
6 March 2020

We’ve handpicked some tech/security-related news stories from the past week, in case you missed them.

Apple coughs up over iPhone slowdown
Apple has faced fierce criticism for several years over the battery life of its landmark product.

This week saw the end of the long-running class-action case in the US, where Apple will have to pay out up to $500m to affected users (depending on the number of claims made). Apple has denied any bad practice but settled the case due to the continuing cost of legal fees.  

In December 2017, Apple confirmed that they slowed down some older models of the iPhone. They said that the slowdown actually lengthened the phones’ lifespan, due to the batteries ageing. Critics felt that Apple was deliberately slowing down devices as new models were launched to make users buy new batteries or replacement phones. 

Apple offered cut-price battery replacements to users worldwide which seemed to fix the problem, but did prompt US legal action and investigations by European countries. 

US owners of iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, and SE devices are all entitled to a payment of $25 each.

Surf’s up
There is some unsettling news for users of voice assistants, as researchers have demonstrated how smartphones can be secretly activated to make calls, take photos and even read back messages.

A US-Chinese university team have dubbed the attack ‘SurfingAttack’, and have shown how voice systems are susceptible to signal injection at inaudible frequencies. The ‘commands’ that activate the voice assistants are ultrasonic waves that are inaudible to humans.

The method of activation provides attackers with a crafty method to hijack devices. The ultrasonic commands can even be sent through glass or solid wood (like a table) at short distances. All hackers need to do is place a piezoelectric disc to the underside of the table and use a laptop to generate voice commands, which are transmitted to the disc using wifi or Bluetooth. 

The team of researchers tested the method on 17 different smartphone models including Apple, Google, Samsung and Huawei, and successfully deployed SurfingAttack on 15 of them.

Is it time to ditch the voice assistant on your phone?

BMW teases long-awaited Electric i4
German car giant, BMW, has unveiled the latest concept version in its range of electric cars. Due for release in 2021, the battery-powered i4 proves that luxury and environmentally conscious can go hand in hand, with the car having the potential to rival the Tesla Model 3.

The i4 will be available with up to 523bhp coming from a single electric motor and can sprint to 62mph in less than 4sec, which is faster than most versions of the Tesla Model 3. 

The silence that comes with driving the i4 doesn’t sit well with everyone though, with so many drivers accustomed to the sound of conventional petrol and diesel engines. 

BMW hired Hollywood film composer, Hans Zimmer, to help to create sounds for the electric car that would resonate with drivers. The ‘ready-to-drive’ and ‘start-stop’ sounds for all-electric BMW models will be a standard feature worldwide from July 2020. 

The Concept i4 also sports BMW’s new two-dimensional logo design without the iconic black circle surrounding the letters, which is currently being used on the BMW website and marketing channels.

Is remote working the future?
With the Coronavirus continuing to halt production and affecting businesses around the world, millions of workers are now being told to work remotely to stop the spread of the virus.

Companies such as Amazon, Twitter and Microsoft have asked their staff to work from home to test the company’s ability to function should a major outbreak occur in their workforce. Many companies are also taking precautionary measures such as stopping non-essential business travel, cancelling events and withdrawing from conferences. 

Keeping a business functional whilst the workforce is spread out in multiple locations can present several challenges. New practices and security measures must be adopted, as well as having reliable and functional technology to enable workers to carry on with their everyday tasks. Cloud technology has been vital in helping people to access systems, documents and to collaborate on work projects.

Most industries have reportedly been able to continue to operate as normal using remote desktop software and other SaaS products. Several companies have had such a positive reaction to the work-from-home policy that it could become a more regular feature in the future!

We’ll be back soon with more tech news!

Rating: 5.0/5. From 1 vote.
Please wait...

Recommended Videos

Find out why Safestore adopted Hyve as their hosting provider

Case Studies


Hyve are 100% carbon neutral. We use carbon offsetting to balance out the release of carbon dioxide from our offices and infrastructure.