China Suggests Setting Rules for Cyberwar Games
Today in international tech news: China continues to deny hacking but is now pushing for international cooperation on cyberespionage; Samsung tops the Chinese smartphone market for the first time; Iran takes out VPNs; and Germans put Android phones in the deep freeze.
As it continues to deny accusations that its army is involved in serial computer hacking, China is now also asking for worldwide rules and cooperation on Web-based espionage.
On Saturday China again invoked the ambiguity of espionage rules and definitions as it continues to deflect the Mandiant report. Foreign minister Yang Jiechi spoke with the media during an annual session of the National People's Congress.
In addition to pointing out the flimsy nature of international espionage laws, China has also claimed that computers located in the U.S. have conducted attacks on China.
[Source: The New York Times]
Samsung Hoists Its Flag in Chinese Market
Samsung, the world's top seller of Android-power smartphones, has for the first time reached the No. 1 spot in China's smartphone market.
Samsung smartphone sales tripled in China in 2012, according to figures released by Strategy Analytics. The South Korean phone giant reportedly sold 30 million smartphones during the year, claiming a 17.7 percent market share -- an increase over 11 million smartphones sold and a 12.4 percent share in 2011.
Lenovo is second with a 13.2 percent market share, up 4 percent from 2011, while Apple has 11 percent share and homegrown Huawei has 9.9 percent of the market.
An interesting backdrop to this report is recent news that Chinese authorities are irked that Android so thoroughly dominates the Chinese smartphone market.
[Source: The Next Web]
Iran Taking out VPNs
Authorities in Iran have blocked most VPNs, or virtual private networks, a widely-used tool to circumvent Internet filters.
Iran -- like other less-than-open societies -- uses filters to prevent citizens from accessing sites deemed offensive or criminal. Citizens, in turn, often use VPNs to skirt the blockades and access the Web.
VPNs work by providing encrypted links to private networks based in countries with less oppressive Internet regulations, allowing the computer to act as though it, too, is based in that second country.
Iran will have a national election in June, which could be the reason for blocking VPNs -- especially given the controversy surrounding the 2009 election, which prompted widespread protests. There were reportedly disruptions to email service and Internet access in Iran ahead of last year's parliamentary elections.
Iran is not alone. China is among countries that have also taken the extra step of not only blocking a variety of websites, but also blocking the VPNs that people use to circumvent the authority's version of what the Internet should be.
A Chilling Way to Unlock Android Encryption
Researchers in Germany have found a way to thwart Google's encryption system for Android phones -- freeze them.
Google introduced a scrambling system, "Ice Cream Sandwich," to protect data. Yet researchers from Friedrich-Alexander University, -- whose methods make it sound as though they were bored -- say they have found a way around the system.
The researchers put Android phones in the freezer for about an hour. Then, by quickly connecting and disconnecting the battery, the handset became vulnerable, thereby allowing the researchers to start the phone with their own software. This made the data on the device vulnerable.