Browsing all articles from November, 2019

Here’s how Meenakshi Sheshadri looks now

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Nov
17

Refrain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks, name calling or inciting hatred against any community. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines by marking them offensive. Let’s work together to keep the conversation civil.

What the newly released Checkra1n jailbreak means for iDevice security

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Nov
17
What the newly released Checkra1n jailbreak means for iDevice security

It has been a week since the release of Checkra1n, the world’s first jailbreak for devices running Apple’s iOS 13. Because jailbreaks are so powerful and by definition disable a host of protections built into the OS, many people have rightly been eyeing Checkra1n—and the Checkm8 exploit it relies on—cautiously. What follows is a list of pros and cons for readers to ponder, with a particular emphasis on security.

The good

First, Checkra1n is extremely reliable and robust, particularly for a tool that’s still in beta mode. It jailbreaks a variety of older iDevices quickly and reliably. It also installs an SSH server and other utilities, a bonus that makes the tool ideal for researchers and hobbyists who want to dig into the internals of their devices.

“I expected it to be a little rougher around the edges for the first release,” Ryan Stortz, an iOS security expert and principal security researcher at the firm Trail of Bits, said in an interview. “It’s really nice to be able to install a new developer beta on your development iPhone and have all your tooling work out of the box. It makes testing Apple’s updates much much easier.”

Another benefit of Checkra1n is that it promises to work reliably on a wide array of hardware. Those models include devices from the iPhone 5s all the way to the iPhone X running iOS 12.3 or later. (At the moment, the Checkra1n beta doesn’t support the iPad Air 2, first generation iPad Pro, and fifth generation iPad. Users may also experience problems when running this beta on the iPhone 5s, iPad mini 2, and iPad mini 3. These incompatibilities will likely be fixed in time, as new Checkra1n updates become available.)

Also significant, Checkm8-based jailbreaks will work permanently on these devices. Unlike most jailbreaks, which exploit vulnerabilities in iOS, Checkm8 targets a flaw in the Boot ROM, which is the first code that runs when an iDevice is turned on. This code is burned into the hardware itself and can’t be patched. This is the reason Checkra1n will work with every new release of iOS over the lifetime of a vulnerable phone.

This means that people can continue to enjoy the benefits and security fixes available in new iOS releases without losing the ability to jailbreak their devices (new versions of iOS inevitably fix jailbreaking vulnerabilities). This is a far cry from jailbreaks over the past decade that forced users to run outdated versions of iOS. The last time a jailbreak targeted the Boot ROM was in 2010 when hacker George Hotz (aka Geohot) developed one for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4.

Checkra1n is also helpful because it makes it painfully obvious it has been used. A large Checkra1n logo displays during bootup. And the home screen will include the Cydia and Checkra1n apps, neither of which appear when an iDevice runs normally.

And like all Checkm8-based jailbreaks, Checkra1n requires physical access to the vulnerable device and a reboot, which means user data and Touch ID and Face ID are inaccessible until the next time a PIN is entered to unlock the device. This means that remote exploits aren’t possible.

The bad

Checkm8-based jailbreaks, including Checkra1n, come with some notable limitations that many jailbreaking enthusiasts consider deal-breakers. First, Checkm8 doesn’t work on iDevices introduced in the past two years, specifically those with A12 and A13 CPUs. That limits the jailbreak to older devices, most of which—but not all—are no longer sold in retail outlets.

The other major limitation is that Checkm8-based jailbreaks are “tethered,” meaning they don’t survive a reboot. Each time the device is restarted, it must first be connected to a Mac—eventually Windows versions of Checkra1n are expected—and jailbroken all over again. Untethered jailbreaks, by contrast, are much more popular because they allow iDevices to boot normally, without being connected to a computer each time.

Another drawback to any jailbreak is that it’s an inevitably risky thing, since it unbinds an iDevice from the protections and quality assurances Apple has painstakingly built into iOS over more than a decade. Apple warns here that jailbreaking can “cause security vulnerabilities, instability, shortened battery life, and other issues.” The stakes are raised further by the beta status of Checkra1n. The Checkra1n website warns: “This release is an early beta preview and as such should not be installed on a primary device. We strongly recommend proceeding with caution.”

Then there are the risks of error by inexperienced users who are drawn to Checkra1n’s reliability, robustness, and its promise to work—on older devices, anyway—in perpetuity.

“The biggest threat from Checkra1n is how easily a non-technical user can jailbreak their device, which then leaves it vulnerable to additional attacks,” Christoph Hebeisen, head of security research at mobile security provider Lookout, said. One protection that Checkra1n deactivates is the iOS sandbox, which cordons off sensitive parts of iOS from the apps it runs. The risk is heightened by the ability of jailbroken devices to run any app. Normally iPhones and iPads can run only apps that are available in the App Store, which vets submissions for security and stability before allowing them in.

One other warning: the site checkrain[.]com is an imposter site that installs a malicious profile onto the end-user device. Readers should steer clear.

The (more subtly) bad

There’s a more subtle threat posed by Checkra1n’s ease in almost completely unpairing a device from the protections that have made iOS arguably the world’s most secure OS. As noted earlier, it would be hard for someone to use this jailbreak maliciously against someone else. But Stortz, the iOS security expert at Trail of Bits, said that Checkra1n’s release demonstrates just how powerful it could be should its capabilities fall into the wrong hands.

“The threat is more real now because a sophisticated exploit is available to everyone,” he said. He went on to theorize cases of attackers reverse-engineering Checkra1n and combining its jailbreaking capabilities with rootkits or other malicious code. All attackers might need to use this malicious Checkra1n-derived jailbreak is very brief access to an iDevice. This type of attack could covertly steal text messages, login credentials, cryptographic keys, and all kinds of other sensitive data. These attacks would be particularly effective against iPhones and iPads that don’t use fingerprints or face scans for unlocking. He explained:

Checkm8 allows someone to undermine the trust of the iOS secure boot chain. Checkra1n makes it easy to do. It’s true that checkra1n puts a nice logo on it and installs development tools, but that doesn’t need to happen. Someone will modify checkra1n to remove the logo and install a rootkit instead. [In that scenario] having a PIN-only passcode is a poor choice. You’ll pick up your phone [after Checkra1n is surreptitiously installed] and unlock it, allowing the rootkit full access to your personal data.

It has been possible to create this type of malicious jailbreak since late September, when the Checkm8 exploit became public. But that kind of attack required huge amounts of time and skill. Now, Stortz said, “no one would do that when Checkra1n exists and is so well done.”

The take-away from the sort of scenario Stortz hypothesizes is this: for journalists, dissidents, and other high-value targets who use iOS devices and can afford to, it’s best to use hardware that has an A12 or higher CPU. An iDevice introduced in the past two years will ensure that it’s safe from Checkra1n-derived attacks at border crossings, in hotel rooms, or in other situations that involve brief separations.

For iOS users who can’t afford a newer iPhone or iPad, using Touch ID or Face ID can lower the chances of malicious jailbreaks since users can be tipped off that something is amiss if the iDevice unexpectedly requires a PIN. And whenever the device has been out of the user’s control, even briefly—or users suspect anything else is amiss—they should reboot it.

This level of scrutiny is probably overkill for most users of vulnerable iPhones and iPads. Unfortunately, for users belonging to more targeted groups, these precautions are a natural consequence of a post-Checkra1n era.

Whats Popular Today Sat 16 Nov

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Nov
16

Prince Andrew

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Yuvraj Singh claims 100-ball cricket could spark ‘revolution’ like T20

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Nov
16

Yuvraj Singh, the former India allrounder, has declared his belief that 100-ball cricket could have an impact on the game similar to the creation Twenty20.

The Hundred is set to be launched in England next year, with the ECB deciding to promote a new format as part of its bid to attract fresh audiences. Although Yuvraj is not due to be involved – only one Indian player, Harbhajan Singh, entered the draft and he subsequently withdrew – he praised it as an exciting concept that may come “close to a revolution like T20”.

Yuvraj, who retired from international cricket and the IPL in June, is currently participating in the Abu Dhabi T10, which got underway on Friday. Speaking to Maratha Arabians media, he suggested that 100-ball cricket was of interest to him.

“I think the new 100-ball format will be an exciting format, because it’s not T10, it’s not T20, it’s about 100 balls,” he said. “That I feel could be an exciting format, close to a revolution like T20 – but we have to wait and watch.”

While Eoin Morgan, England’s limited-overs captain who is also playing in Abu Dhabi, has described T10 as cricket’s perfect vehicle for Olympic inclusion, Yuvraj said the Hundred could also be an option.

“If the tournament [Olympics] is over about two weeks, I think 100-ball would be perfect,” he said. “If the tournament is, say, ten days, then obviously T10 would be perfect. Depending on the time frame of the Olympics. I think an Olympic gold is very prestigious, so it has to be something in which an athlete should be able to bounce back in situations, so you have to decide that.”

As for the merits of 10-over cricket, Yuvraj said he was uncertain about whether it would spread further, because “you don’t have any time to get set and get going”. Yuvraj made 6 off 6 balls in Maratha Arabians’ defeat against Northern Warriors as the T10 league opened for its third edition.

“It’s definitely an exciting tournament but I’m not sure, in terms of pacing yourself in a match – 50-over, Test match, T20 also you have time to pace yourself, but in T10 you don’t have time,” he said. “So I’m not sure, is it going to expand or is it not? T10 in Abu Dhabi and Dubai has been very popular, and the crowds have been huge, so I’m sure it’s something to look at.”

Hundreds of pro-China protesters rally amid Hong Kong chaos

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Nov
16

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hundreds of pro-China protesters rallied in Hong Kong on Saturday to denounce increasingly violent anti-government unrest in the Chinese-ruled city and support the police who have become a prime target of attack.

The former British colony has been embroiled in more than five months of demonstrations, with pro-democracy protesters angry at perceived Communist Party meddling in a city guaranteed its freedoms when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Protesters are also furious at perceived police brutality, a charge police deny.

Waving Chinese and Hong Kong flags, pro-China protesters gathered by the city’s legislature and police headquarters. Some held up posters stating “Police we stand with you,” while others chanted “Support the police.”

Pro-China protesters have gathered before, but in far smaller numbers than those angry at Communist Party rulers in Beijing.

Saturday’s crowd was a mix of young and elderly, some of whom had brought their children along to the rally.

“From the bottom of our hearts, we believe it is the correct thing to support the police in fighting the rioters for Hong Kong citizens,” said a 49-year-old housewife surnamed Kong.

“A lot of people keep silent, afraid of the rioters. It’s time for all the people who are silent to step up and say that’s enough.”

Anti-China students and activists have barricaded at least five campuses in the last week, stockpiling petrol bombs, catapults, bows and arrows and other weapons.

Police have kept their distance for more than two days, but many observers are afraid of what happens if and when they move in.

A 70-year-old street cleaner died on Thursday after being hit on the head by one of several bricks police said had been thrown by “masked rioters”. On Monday, police blamed a “rioter” for dousing a man in petrol and setting him on fire. The victim is in critical condition.

On the same day, police shot a protester in the abdomen. He was in stable condition.

Many pro-police protesters laid white flowers outside the government office to pay their respects to the cleaner. Others applauded and cheered the police, some bowing and giving thumbs up as they walked past riot police on duty.

Joe Lam, a 34-year-old who referred to the protesters as “cockroaches” said he supported democracy and participated in the 2014 Umbrella Movement but condemned the violence in recent months.

“In 2014, we were peaceful and occupying to raise awareness. Now, it’s ‘if you don’t agree with me, you are against me and I will throw Molotov cocktails at you’.”

“NOT EFFECTIVE”

Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule under a “one country, two systems” formula guaranteeing its colonial-era freedoms. Protesters’ demands include full democracy and an independent investigation into perceived police brutality.

China denies interfering and has blamed Western countries for stirring up trouble. Police say they are acting with restraint in the face of potentially deadly attacks.

Hong Kong universities, in a joint statement, said they regretted the fact that “the government response had so far not been effective”.

“However, any demand that universities can simply fix the problem is disconnected from reality: these complicated and challenging situations … are reflections of Hong Kong-wide disagreement, and the government must take the lead with swift and concrete action.”

Authorities said on Saturday that a key highway blocked by anti-government protesters on Friday had reopened after the government had cleared debris and petrol bombs on the road.

The Tolo highway, which runs along the side of the leafy campus of Chinese University, was partially opened by protesters on Friday but then shut again during the evening rush hour, exposing splits in a movement that has been largely leaderless.

Some train services which had been suspended earlier in the week were gradually resuming, the city’s metro operator MTR Corp (0066.HK) said on Saturday.

At some of China’s military garrisons across the city there were signs of ongoing activity. At the sprawling Tam Mei barracks in the rural New Territories over one hundred troops in khaki fatigues were marching.

Around half a dozen armoured personnel vehicles were being serviced and scrubbed by troops in green T-shirts. Trucks also rumbled past the perimeter fence that were filled with troops.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has stayed in the barracks since 1997, but China has warned that any attempt at independence for Hong Kong will be crushed.

Slideshow (9 Images)

Later on Saturday, LGBT activists were due to hold a pride rally rather than the annual march that the city typically sees.

Police earlier this week rejected the group’s application to hold a march, citing security concerns.

Reporting by Sarah Wu, James Pomfret, Greg Torode, Twinnie Siu and Jessie Pang; Writing by Nick Macfie and Farah Master; Editing by Kim Coghill

Times Aishwarya twinned with daughter Aaradhya

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Nov
16

Refrain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks, name calling or inciting hatred against any community. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines by marking them offensive. Let’s work together to keep the conversation civil.

Just-Released Checkra1n iPhone Jailbreak Stirs Security Concerns

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Nov
16

With the checkra1n iPhone jailbreak now available, security experts are urging mobile-device managers to keep on their toes as the powerful new tool becomes available to hackers and iPhone users who may recklessly use it.

Jailbreaking is the process of hacking these devices to bypass DRM restrictions, allowing users to run unauthorized and custom software, and to make other tweaks to iOS.

The security concerns around checkra1n are multifaceted. One risk factor is users jailbreaking their own iOS devices, making them susceptible to rogue or unstable apps downloaded from outside of Apple’s curated App Store.

For a minority of high-value targets, the concern is that if the target lost temporarily physical control of their phone, an adversary could jailbreak their iPhone and plant malicious software onto the handset.

“Checkra1n is unprecedented in potential impact, with millions of devices at risk as a result of the extensive device and iOS targets,” warned Christopher Cinnamo, senior vice president of product management at Zimperium, in a company blog post.

In this context, a jailbreak is a method to escape Apple’s limitations on what apps and code can run on the iPhone. Jailbreaks are useful for those wanting to install custom code, add features or perform security research outside the purview of the Apple ecosystem.

Who is Vulnerable?

Last Friday, checkra1n was officially released and promoted as an easy way to jailbreak iOS devices. The tool is based on the BootROM exploit called checkm8, released in September by a hacker that goes by the name axi0mX. Checkm8 is billed as a “permanent unpatchable BootROM exploit” for any iOS device running A5 to A11 chips, or iOS versions from iOS 12.3 through the latest version of iOS, 13.2.2.

However, to call the jailbreak “permanent” is a bit of a misnomer.

“The device will be ‘un-jailbroken’ by a reboot,” noted Christoph Hebeisen, head of security research at Lookout.

He noted that while the jailbreak will not survive past a device reboot, an attacker could persist on the device by sideloading an app on it. Once a rogue app is installed on the iOS device the attacker would have a permanent foothold on the handset for further exploitation.

“It is permanent in the sense that the jailbreak will continue working for the life of the device no matter what version of iOS it is running,” Hebeisen added.

That said, for an adversary to jailbreak a target’s phone without their knowledge is an unwieldy process. The prerequisites for a third-party jailbreak is access to an unlocked iPhone, and tethering the device to a macOS computer running the exploit code.

Despite the difficult attack window, Hebeisen believes the checkra1n jailbreak represents a real threat.

“[An attack] can happen with device theft or when a device must be handed over for inspection while crossing international borders. For example, a few months ago it was reported that Chinese border guards put secret surveillance app on tourists’ phones,” Hebeisen stated. 

Unfixable Chips

The jailbreak also gains permanence via flaws in the chips that range from A5 (designed by Apple and manufactured by Samsung) through A11 (designed by Apple and manufactured by TSMC). The attack leverages the fact the chips’ BootROM is read-only memory (ROM) that holds startup (or boot-up) instructions for iPhones. Because the memory is read-only, the exploited vulnerability can’t be patched via a security update.

“The checkra1n hack works differently from the typical iPhone jailbreak methods we’ve seen over the years,” wrote Alex Anstett, marketing manager with Wandera, in a company blog post. “While most jailbreaks exploit vulnerabilities in the iOS software, checkra1n is a BootROM exploit that targets a security flaw in the code that runs on iOS devices during boot up, making this jailbreak unpatchable.”

Security firms believe the biggest risk factor is employees that jailbreak their own iOS devices and unwittingly put themselves and the companies they work for at risk.

“[Checkra1n] poses a significant compliance risk to a company as unauthorized modifications to iOS cause that device to fall out of compliance with internal and external parameters,” Lookout’s Hebeisen told Threatpost. “In highly regulated industries such as finance, healthcare and manufacturing, this can damage a company’s reputation and worse, lead to risky compliance violations.”

Post-Jailbreak Protection

Given that the jailbreak can be repeated indefinitely on a single device, it’s recommended that if a user loses physical access to their iOS device, they should reboot the device.

“Organizations should consider putting a standardized policy or process in place for any device that was out of a user’s control for a certain amount of time,” wrote Lookout. “This process should include resetting the device password, cycling multi-factor authentication (MFA) tokens, and/or blocking access to corporate apps and infrastructure for a certain amount of time.”

Mobile security vendors also suggest mobile device management teams use one of the myriad of tools that offer jailbreak detection.

Is MFA enough to protect modern enterprises in the peak era of data breaches? How can you truly secure consumer accounts? Prevent account takeover? Find out: Catch our free Threatpost webinar, “Trends in Fortune 1000 Breach Exposure” to hear advice from breach expert Chip Witt of SpyCloud. Click here to register.

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Whats Popular Today Fri 15 Nov

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Nov
15

Celine Dion Courage

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Bulls vs Bucks

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Knicks

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KKR release Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa; RCB let go of several overseas names

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Nov
15

Chris Lynn, Jaydev Unadkat, Robin Uthappa, Shimron Hetmyer, Chris Morris, Mohit Sharma and Colin Ingram are some of the high-value players that IPL franchises have released as they prepare for the 2020 auction, scheduled for December 19 in Kolkata.

Royal Challengers Bangalore released some big overseas names such as Marcus Stoinis, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Colin de Grandhomme and Tim Southee apart from Hetmyer. Sunrisers Hyderabad let go of a few big names too, including Yusuf Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan and Martin Guptill.

List of players released

Chennai Super Kings: Chaitanya Bishnoi, David Willey, Dhruv Shorey, Mohit Sharma, Sam Billings, Scott Kuggeleijn

Delhi Capitals: Ankush Bains, B Ayyappa, Chris Morris, Colin Ingram, Colin Munro, Hanuma Vihari, Jalaj Saxena, Manjot Kalra, Nathu Singh

More to follow…

Hong Kong and China condemn attack on justice secretary as protests paralyse city

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Nov
15

HONG KONG (Reuters) – The Chinese and Hong Kong governments condemned on Friday an attack by a “violent mob” on the city’s justice secretary in London, the first direct altercation between demonstrators and a government minister during months of often violent protests.

Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng, who was in London to promote Hong Kong as a dispute resolution and deal-making hub, was targeted by a group of protesters who shouted “murderer” and “shameful”.

A statement by the Hong Kong government said Cheng suffered “serious bodily harm” but gave no details.

The Chinese embassy in the UK said Cheng was pushed to the ground and sustained a hand injury.

“(Cheng) was besieged and attacked by dozens of anti-China and pro-independence activists,” the Chinese embassy said in a statement. The incident showed that the “violent and lawless perpetrators” were now taking their violence abroad, it said.

China has lodged a formal complaint with Britain and urged British authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam also strongly condemned the attack.

The former British colony’s government said in a separate statement: “The secretary denounces all forms of violence and radicalism depriving others’ legitimate rights in the pretext of pursuing their political ideals, which would never be in the interest of Hong Kong and any civilised society.”

The incident came amid escalating violence in Chinese-ruled Hong Kong, where a student protester died earlier this month after falling from a parking lot during demonstrations.

A 70-year-old street cleaner, who videos on social media showed had been hit in the head by a brick thrown by “masked rioters”, died on Thursday, authorities said.

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department expressed profound sadness on Friday at the death of its worker and said it was providing assistance to his family.

Anti-government protesters paralysed parts of Hong Kong for a fifth day on Friday, forcing schools to close and blocking some highways as students built barricades in university campuses and authorities struggled to tame the violence.

Protesters used barriers and other debris to block the Cross-Harbour Tunnel that links Hong Kong island to Kowloon district, leading to severe traffic congestion. The government once again urged employers to adopt flexible working arrangements amid the chaos.

The protests escalated in June over a now-scrapped extradition bill that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial. They have since evolved into calls for greater democracy, among other demands.

Cheng, the embattled Lam’s chief legal adviser, played a key role in pushing forward the proposed extradition bill that ignited the protests.

The months-long protests have plunged Hong Kong into its biggest political crisis in decades and pose the gravest popular challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012. Xi said in Brazil on Thursday stopping violence was the most urgent task for Hong Kong.

‘PEOPLE HEARTBROKEN’

Flash mobs again protested at lunch time in the heart of the financial hub and also in the eastern district of Tai Koo, where office workers wearing now-banned face masks chanted “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time”.

“Things that happened in these few months have made people heartbroken,” said a 31-year-old office assistant who gave her name as Nicole.

“The government only came out to condemn rioters … They have never thought why so many rioters have emerged in our city and why ordinary citizens support them,” she said.

Thousands of students remain hunkered down at several universities, surrounded by piles of food, bricks, petrol bombs, catapults and other homemade weapons.

Police said the prestigious Chinese University had “become a manufacturing base for petrol bombs” and the students’ actions were “another step closer to terrorism”.

Around 4,000 people, aged between 12 and 83, have been arrested since the unrest escalated in June.

The demonstrations have paralysed parts of the city and battered the retail and tourism sectors, with widespread disruptions across the financial centre and no end in sight to the violence and vandalism.

Video footage of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army garrison headquarters near Hong Kong’s Central business district on Friday showed more than a dozen troops conducting what appeared to be anti-riot drills against fake protesters carrying black umbrellas.

The anti-government protests have taken a heavy toll and Hong Kong was expected to confirm on Friday it had fallen into recession for the first time in a decade amid concerns the economy could be in even worse shape than feared.

Alibaba Group Chairman Daniel Zhang, however, said Hong Kong’s future is “bright” as the e-commerce giant kicked off a retail campaign for its secondary listing in the city.

Many in Hong Kong are angry at what they see as China stifling freedoms guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” formula put in place when Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

China denies interfering in Hong Kong and has blamed Western countries, including Britain and the United States, for stirring up trouble.

A congressional advisory body urged the U.S. Congress on Thursday to enact legislation that would suspend the special economic status Hong Kong enjoys under U.S. law if China deploys security forces to crush the protests.

Slideshow (13 Images)

The Hong Kong administration reiterated that foreign governments should not interfere in the city’s internal affairs.

(Refiles to correct typographical error in cross-head)

Reporting by Donny Kwok, Felix Tam and Twinnie Siu; Writing by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Paul Tait

Don’t miss this old letter by Jr AB to Sr AB!

Posted Posted by Admin in News     Comments Comments Off on Don’t miss this old letter by Jr AB to Sr AB!
Nov
15

Refrain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks, name calling or inciting hatred against any community. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines by marking them offensive. Let’s work together to keep the conversation civil.

Just-Released Checkra1n iPhone Jailbreak Stirs Security Concerns

Posted Posted by Admin in News     Comments Comments Off on Just-Released Checkra1n iPhone Jailbreak Stirs Security Concerns
Nov
15

With the checkra1n iPhone jailbreak now available, security experts are urging mobile-device managers to keep on their toes as the powerful new tool becomes available to hackers and iPhone users who may recklessly use it.

Jailbreaking is the process of hacking these devices to bypass DRM restrictions, allowing users to run unauthorized and custom software, and to make other tweaks to iOS.

The security concerns around Checkra1n are multifaceted. One risk factor is users jailbreaking their own iOS devices, making them susceptible to rogue or unstable apps downloaded from outside of Apple’s curated App Store.

For a minority of high-value targets, the concern is that if the target lost temporarily physical control of their phone, an adversary could jailbreak their iPhone and plant malicious software onto the handset.

“Checkra1n is unprecedented in potential impact, with millions of devices at risk as a result of the extensive device and iOS targets,” warned Christopher Cinnamo, senior vice president of product management at Zimperium, in a company blog post.

In this context, a jailbreak is a method to escape Apple’s limitations on what apps and code can run on the iPhone. Jailbreaks are useful for those wanting to install custom code, add features or perform security research outside the purview of the Apple ecosystem.

Who is Vulnerable?

Last Friday, checkra1n was officially released and promoted as an easy way to jailbreak iOS devices. The tool is based on the BootROM exploit called checkm8, released in September by a hacker that goes by the name axi0mX. Checkm8 is billed as a “permanent unpatchable BootROM exploit” for any iOS device running A5 to A11 chips, or iOS versions from iOS 12.3 through the latest version of iOS, 13.2.2.

However, to call the jailbreak “permanent” is a bit of a misnomer.

“The device will be ‘un-jailbroken’ by a reboot,” noted Christoph Hebeisen, head of security research at Lookout.

He noted that while the jailbreak will not survive past a device reboot, an attacker could persist on the device by sideloading an app on it. Once a rogue app is installed on the iOS device the attacker would have a permanent foothold on the handset for further exploitation.

“It is permanent in the sense that the jailbreak will continue working for the life of the device no matter what version of iOS it is running,” Hebeisen added.

That said, for an adversary to jailbreak a target’s phone without their knowledge is an unwieldy process. The prerequisites for a third-party jailbreak is access to an unlocked iPhone, and tethering the device to a macOS computer running the exploit code.

Despite the difficult attack window, Hebeisen believes the checkra1n jailbreak represents a real threat.

“[An attack] can happen with device theft or when a device must be handed over for inspection while crossing international borders. For example, a few months ago it was reported that Chinese border guards put secret surveillance app on tourists’ phones,” Hebeisen stated. 

Unfixable Chips

The jailbreak also gains permanence via flaws in the chips that range from A5 (designed by Apple and manufactured by Samsung) through A11 (designed by Apple and manufactured by TSMC). The attack leverages the fact the chips’ BootROM is read-only memory (ROM) that holds startup (or boot-up) instructions for iPhones. Because the memory is read-only, the exploited vulnerability can’t be patched via a security update.

“The checkra1n hack works differently from the typical iPhone jailbreak methods we’ve seen over the years,” wrote Alex Anstett, marketing manager with Wandera, in a company blog post. “While most jailbreaks exploit vulnerabilities in the iOS software, checkra1n is a BootROM exploit that targets a security flaw in the code that runs on iOS devices during boot up, making this jailbreak unpatchable.”

Security firms believe the biggest risk factor is employees that jailbreak their own iOS devices and unwittingly put themselves and the companies they work for at risk.

“[Checkra1n] poses a significant compliance risk to a company as unauthorized modifications to iOS cause that device to fall out of compliance with internal and external parameters,” Lookout’s Hebeisen told Threatpost. “In highly regulated industries such as finance, healthcare and manufacturing, this can damage a company’s reputation and worse, lead to risky compliance violations.”

Post-Jailbreak Protection

Given that the jailbreak can be repeated indefinitely on a single device, it’s recommended that if a user loses physical access to their iOS device, they should reboot the device.

“Organizations should consider putting a standardized policy or process in place for any device that was out of a user’s control for a certain amount of time,” wrote Lookout. “This process should include resetting the device password, cycling multi-factor authentication (MFA) tokens, and/or blocking access to corporate apps and infrastructure for a certain amount of time.”

Mobile security vendors also suggest mobile device management teams use one of the myriad of tools that offer jailbreak detection.

Is MFA enough to protect modern enterprises in the peak era of data breaches? How can you truly secure consumer accounts? Prevent account takeover? Find out: Catch our free Threatpost webinar, “Trends in Fortune 1000 Breach Exposure” to hear advice from breach expert Chip Witt of SpyCloud. Click here to register.

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Whats Popular Today Thu 14 Nov

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Ajinkya Rahane moves from Rajasthan Royals to Delhi Capitals

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Nov
14

Ajinkya Rahane has been traded from Rajasthan Royals and will play for Delhi Capitals in IPL 2020. The move was confirmed by the IPL and both franchises on Thursday, the final day of the trading window. Rahane has become the second high-profile player to be acquired by the Capitals in the trading window after R Ashwin, and he’ll join a line-up that is already top-heavy, with the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw and Shreyas Iyer in the top order, with Rishabh Pant to follow.

Rahane is the Royals’ most capped player and has played 106 matches for the franchise, with 100 matches coming in the IPL and six in the Champions League T20. He has represented them since 2011, with the exception of the 2016 and 2017 seasons when the team was suspended. He is also the Royals’ leading run-getter, having scored 3098 runs for them overall, at an average of 35.60 and a strike rate of 122.30. In the IPL, he has scored 2810 runs for the Royals at an average of 34.26 and a strike rate of 122.65.

As part of the trade, the legspinning duo of Mayank Markande and Rahul Tewatia will move from the Capitals to the Royals. That also makes Markande the first player to be traded twice between seasons – having gone to the Capitals from Mumbai Indians earlier.

“Rahul and Mayank are both extremely talented cricketers with a bright future ahead of them. I am confident they will excel at Rajasthan Royals,” Delhi Capitals co-owner Parth Jindal said on the occasion. “I am also extremely honoured to welcome one of India’s most stellar and consistent batsmen, Ajinkya Rahane, to the DC family. When the franchise underwent a revamp last year, a decision was made to keep Indian players at its core. The result was there for everyone to see, with the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Ishant Sharma performing brilliantly for us, and complimenting the youth that DC has in Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer and Prithvi Shaw, among others.

That thought process has continued for us this time around as well, as is evident in the signing of Ravichandran Ashwin, followed by that of Ajinkya Rahane. I am sure Rahane’s wealth of experience, and familiarity with the conditions will help Delhi Capitals go a long way in IPL 2020.”

More to follow…

Trump impeachment hearings focus on Ukraine pressure campaign in first day

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Nov
14

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, testifying on Wednesday in the first televised hearing of the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, linked him more directly to a pressure campaign on Ukraine to conduct investigations that would benefit him politically.

William Taylor was one of two career diplomats who testified before the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee as a crucial new phase began in the impeachment inquiry, which threatens Trump’s presidency even as he seeks re-election in 2020.

Both Taylor and George Kent testified about the pressure Trump and allies applied to get Ukraine to investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden over his son’s business dealings in Ukraine.

Their testimony was calm and forceful, but it was not clear whether it would help Democrats break through a partisan divide and convince more Americans that the Republican president has committed misdeeds worthy of ousting him from office.

In a disclosure that drew the most attention, Taylor, acting ambassador to Ukraine, pointed to Trump’s keen interest in getting the eastern European ally to investigate Biden, a former vice president, and reiterated his understanding that $391 million in U.S. security aid was withheld from Kiev unless it cooperated.

Taylor said a member of his staff overheard a July 26 phone call between Trump and Gordon Sondland, a former Trump political donor appointed as a senior diplomat, in which Trump asked about those investigations and Sondland told him the Ukrainians were ready to proceed.

After that conversation – which occurred a day after Trump had asked Ukraine’s president during a phone call to conduct the investigations – the staff member asked Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, what Trump thought about Ukraine, Taylor said.

“Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for,” Taylor testified, referring to Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Asked by Adam Schiff, the committee’s Democratic chairman, if that meant Trump cared more about the investigations than about Ukraine, Taylor said: “Yes, sir.”

Taylor, who was appointed by Trump in June, also said withholding military aid from Ukraine, which has been locked in conflict with Russia since Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014, undermined U.S. strategic interests.

“It was counterproductive to all of what we had been trying to do. It was illogical … It was crazy,” he said.

At a White House news conference with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan after the hearing ended, Trump said he knew “nothing” about the call with Sondland that Taylor said his aide overheard.

“It’s the first time I heard it,” said Trump, who has denied any wrongdoing.

David Holmes, a Taylor aide subpoenaed to testify behind closed doors on Friday in the impeachment inquiry, is the staffer who overheard the call that Sondland made to Trump from Ukraine, said a person familiar with the issue.

Republican lawmakers called Taylor’s account hearsay and noted Ukraine’s president has not said he felt pressured by Trump.

HISTORIC SESSION

With a potential television audience of tens of millions looking on, Schiff opened the historic session – the first impeachment drama in two decades – in an ornate hearing room packed with journalists, lawmakers and members of the public. The contentious hearing lasted 5-1/2 hours.

Schiff and other Democrats accused Trump of abusing his power while the panel’s senior Republican, Devin Nunes, denied that Trump and his aides improperly pressured Ukraine to dig up dirt on Biden, a leading contender for the Democratic nomination for the 2020 election.

Taylor and Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, detailed the evidence they saw that U.S. security aid – as well as a meeting with Trump at the White House – was withheld from Ukraine as leverage over Kiev.

“The questions presented by this impeachment inquiry are whether President Trump sought to exploit that ally’s vulnerability and invite Ukraine’s interference in our elections,” Schiff said. “Our answer to these questions will affect not only the future of this presidency, but the future of the presidency itself.”

Schiff added: “If this is not impeachable conduct, what is?”

This week’s sessions, where Americans are hearing directly for the first time from people involved in events that sparked the congressional inquiry, may pave the way for the Democratic-led House to approve articles of impeachment – formal charges – against Trump.

That would lead to a trial in the Senate on whether to convict Trump of those charges and remove him from office. Republicans control the Senate and have shown little support for Trump’s removal.

The inquiry is being conducted as the 2020 presidential campaign gathers steam. Opinion polls show Democrats strongly back impeachment and Republicans strongly oppose, leaving both parties appealing to a small sliver of the public – independents and others who have not made up their minds.

During his news conference with Erdogan, Trump said he had been too busy to watch the hearing. “I hear it’s a joke,” he said. “This is a sham and shouldn’t be allowed.”

Nunes accused Democrats of conducting a “carefully orchestrated smear campaign” and said they had combined with the media and “partisan bureaucrats” to try to overturn the results of the 2016 election won by Trump.

He hewed to the Republican strategy of arguing Trump did nothing wrong in asking Ukraine’s new president to investigate Biden, calling it “an impeachment process in search of a crime.”

The focus of the inquiry is on the July 25 telephone call in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to open a corruption investigation into Biden and his son Hunter, and into a discredited theory that Ukraine, not Russia, meddled in the 2016 U.S. election. Hunter Biden had been a board member for a Ukrainian energy company called Burisma.

Democrats say Trump abused his power by withholding the security aid to Ukraine – a vulnerable U.S. ally facing Russian aggression – as leverage to pressure Kiev into conducting the investigations.

The money, approved by the U.S. Congress to help Ukraine combat Russia-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country, was later provided to Ukraine.

‘STAR WITNESS’

Both witnesses remained calm and unflappable throughout the marathon session. Taylor said at the outset: “I am not here to take one side or the other, or to advocate for any particular outcome of these proceedings.”

Republican Jim Jordan, a forceful Trump ally, told Taylor: “You’re their star witness,” referring to the Democrats.

“I don’t consider myself a star witness for anything,” Taylor responded.

Taylor, a former U.S. Army officer, previously served as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and is now the chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Kiev. Kent oversees Ukraine policy at the State Department.

“I do not believe the United States should ask other countries to engage in selective, politically associated investigations or prosecutions against opponents of those in power, because such selective actions undermine the rule of law regardless of the country,” Kent said.

Taylor said he found two channels of U.S. policy toward Ukraine – one regular and one “highly irregular” – and recounted how a Trump meeting with the Ukrainian president was improperly conditioned on Kiev agreeing to investigate Burisma and the debunked notion of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election.

Slideshow (17 Images)

Taylor said he became aware that a hold on the security aid was contingent on Ukraine opening the investigations, which was alarming to him because it entailed “security assistance to a country at war.”

Trump has derided some of the current and former U.S. officials who have appeared before committees as “Never Trumpers” – a term referring to Republican opponents of the president whom he has called “human scum.”

Asked during the hearing whether they are “never Trumpers,” Taylor responded: “No, Sir,” and Kent noted he had worked as a diplomat under presidents of both parties.

Reporting by Matt Spetalnick, Patricia Zengerle and Karen Freifeld; Additional reporting by Richard Cowan, Susan Cornwell, David Morgan, Jonathan Landay, Doina Chiacu, Lisa Lambert, Susan Heavey and Jan Wolfe; Writing by Matt Spetalnick and John Whitesides; Editing by Scott Malone, Will Dunham, Peter Cooney and Gerry Doyle

SRK kick-starts shooting for ‘Brahmastra’

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Nov
14

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Checkra1n is the first public jailbreak tool compatible with iOS 13

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Nov
13

Developer and hacker Axi0mX announced back in September a new exploit called “checkm8” that offers the possibility to jailbreak almost every Apple A-series CPU up to A11 Bionic chip. Today they’re releasing Checkra1n, the first public jailbreak tool compatible with iPhone and iPad running iOS 13.

If you’re not used to jailbreaking, it generally refers to the removal of iOS software restrictions on Apple devices to install apps outside the App Store and even modify the entire system.

The “checkm8” method used by Checkra1n is considered “unpatchable” since it’s based on a hardware exploit. That means Apple can’t simply patch it with a software update, and that’s the reason the tool is compatible with the latest iOS 13 update now available to the public. More specifically, the new tool is capable of jailbreaking on almost every Apple device between iPhone 5s and iPhone X running iOS 12.3 and later.

For now, Checkra1n is available as a beta version, so there are a few concerns about the process. The tool is not compatible with some older iPad models, which include the iPad Air 2, 1st generation iPad Pro, and 5th generation iPad. iPhone 5s, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, and the original iPad Air are supported, but some users may experience issues with these devices.

It uses a semi-tethered method, which requires a computer to reload system modifications at every reboot. Untethered jailbreaks are most desired as they can boot without a computer like normal iPhones.

The app needed to run the jailbreak process is only available for macOS at this time. The team is working on versions for Windows and Linux, which will be added in a later release.

Check out the official Checkra1n guides for more information about the process.

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Australia’s best national team counts down to T20 World Cup

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Nov
13

6:57 AM ET

Australia’s world beating women’s team have been dubbed the country’s best national side in any sport as they enter the final 100 days before the start of a T20 World Cup that is hoped will be crowned with a crowd of more than 90,000 for the final at the MCG in March next year.

As T20 world champions at four of the six tournaments and at least finalists in every event since 2010, Australia have a record the envy of all other national sporting combinations, be it the men’s cricket team, the Socceroos, the Wallabies (rugby union), Boomers (men’s basketball), Opals (women’s basketball), Diamonds (netball), Kookaburras (men’s hockey) or Hockeyroos (women’s).

In February and March they will in many ways be seeking a moment to recognise this greatness on home soil, but also to break another barrier for women’s sport in terms of audience size and connection to the Australian public. Australia’s new head of national teams, Ben Oliver, had little hesitation labelling them the best national side down under.

“The Australian women’s team are currently leading the way and they’re inspirational in the way that they’re playing the game,” Oliver told ESPNcricinfo. “So from that perspective absolutely delighted with the way they’re leading the game globally, but also I think leading sport in Australia and so we should be incredibly proud of our players and our team.

“We’ve got an exciting opportunity in the T20 World Cup coming up in Australia and I’m very hopeful our team will do well in that tournament and really inspire a new generation of girls to take up the game.”

On Wednesday it was also revealed that the global pop star Katy Perry would headline entertainment at the final, an event that the side captained by Meg Lanning will be making no apologies about being ruthless in getting to. Having debuted for Australia as far back as 2011, Lanning can see the looming event not only as a likely high point of many careers, but also as a chance to underline how steady, far-sighted investment in the women’s program and a proactive move towards full professionalism can pay dividends for other sports also.

“I hope it is going to be the moment of our careers,” Lanning said in Perth. “It’s something you look forward to, playing in front of 93,000 at the MCG, I’ve been in the crowd watching big games, but to think potentially we could be out in the middle with all those fans there, it’s certainly a very exciting prospect.

“It has always seemed a long way away, but it’s certainly coming up very quickly. A home World Cup is an opportunity we don’t get very often at all, and we’re obviously in a good spot in Australian cricket, we’ve had some success the last few months, but World Cups are extremely hard to win and we know we’re going to put in a lot of hard work to get the result that we want. But hopefully it’s a great event, it’s being built up massively, we’re excited to be a part of it.

“I’ve been playing cricket for Australia now for close to 10 years and it’s moved along very quickly, and to think there could be massive crowds and we’ll be playing in front of them is very exciting, the group’s looking forward to it, and I think it just shows where women’s cricket and women’s sport is at. It has become a part of Australia, it’s not just men’s sport anymore, it’s part of the landscape and hopefully this World Cup shows that.”

There has been plenty of recent focus on upon what looks to be a growing gap between Australia’s women and the rest of the world, and it is a leading position that Oliver, having inherited this year, is not eager to relinquish.

“I feel very fortunate to come in at a time where we’ve got this real opportunity in the game to lead a real shift in sport and women’s sport across the country and our Australian team’s doing that,” he said. “In response to that, what I’m sensing is some of the other countries globally are also inspired by that in a strange way and are also starting to really look at how they can develop their women’s teams and programs.

“I don’t think we should ever be complacent about where we sit, and we shouldn’t be apologetic about leading the way and trying to inspire future generations of girls to take up the game and take it to a place it’s never been. I’m very mindful the Australian team is leading the way at the moment, but I suspect some other countries globally will increasingly be very organised around their women’s teams and programs.”

Australia orders evacuations as firefighters struggle to contain bushfires

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Nov
13

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian officials ordered people in several communities, including a major tourist destination, to evacuate immediately on Wednesday as firefighters struggled to contain more than 150 bushfires raging across the east coast.

While cooler weather overnight brought some relief for firefighters in New South Wales (NSW) state, attention shifted to its northern neighbour, Queensland, where hot, dry and windy conditions brought severe fire danger.

Authorities issued a “leave immediately” warning, the highest level, for several areas including Noosa, a beachside holiday destination 150 km (93 miles) north of Brisbane, the state capital of Queensland.

“Conditions are now very dangerous and firefighters may soon be unable to prevent the fire advancing,” Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) said.

“The fire may pose a threat to all lives directly in its path.”

Noosa Mayor Tony Wellington told Reuters many of the residents in the affected north, accessible only by ferry or via the beach, had got out this week.

But he added that winds were picking up, making things particularly tricky.

“There are plenty of crews battling the fire, including two helicopters,” he said.

The blaze in Noosa is one of more than 80 fires across Queensland, leaving firefighters stretched.

QFES said one its water-bombing helicopters crashed while battling a fire in Pechey, west of Brisbane, though the pilot escaped with minor injuries.

Bushfires are common in Australia’s hot, dry summers, but the ferocity and early arrival of the fires in the southern spring this year has caught many by surprise.

The blazes have claimed three lives and destroyed about 2.5 million acres (1 million hectares) of farmland and bush, fuelled by extremely dry conditions after three years of drought, which experts say has been exacerbated by climate change.

‘OUT OF WATER’

The hot and windy conditions are set to spike again next week.

“We will not have all these fires contained before then,” NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told reporters in Sydney. “We will not have all these fires contained and locked up for many, many weeks.”

“Unfortunately, what we need is rain … and there is certainly nothing in the forecast for the foreseeable future that’s going to make any discernible difference to the conditions.”

Some 300 homes have been destroyed in NSW in recent days, Fitzsimmons said, as flames stretched from the state’s north coast to within metres of homes in Greater Sydney.

No deaths were reported on Tuesday as warning systems and evacuation plans appeared to save lives in the face of what officials said was the greatest threat in at least a decade.

“It was just chewing up everything,” Karen Weston told Australian Broadcasting Corp from an evacuation centre of a fire near Taree on the mid-north coast. “I’ve survived two other bushfires before this but never anything like this.”

Academy award winning actor Russell Crowe tweeted photos and video footage on Wednesday of firefighters using helicopters to waterbomb his property near Nana Glen, an rural community some 580 km (360 miles) north of Sydney.

Crowe said the property had “lost a couple of buildings”, some fires were still burning and “we are out of water”.

The fires have sparked increasingly acrimonious debate over climate and fire-prevention policies, with the ruling conservative Liberal Party and the minor opposition Australian Greens exchanging barbs.

Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce was among those who have suggested that climate activists were at least partly responsible for the fires by lobbying to reduce so-called back burns, fires deliberately lit to clear dry undergrowth.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, meanwhile, said linking the fires to the government’s support of the coal industry was “the ravings of some pure, enlightened and woke capital city greenies”.

Slideshow (7 Images)

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has declined to comment on climate change during the crisis, has called for moderation in the debate.

For a graphic on Australia’s bushfires:

here

Reporting by Colin Packham and Sonali Paul; Editing by Stephen Coates and Jane Wardell

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