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Tech Times: Compiled by Kareem LaTouche and Stephanie Lyew

Published:Saturday | September 26, 2015 | 11:06 PMKareem LaTouche and Stephanie Lyew

Tech Times

Compiled by Kareem LaTouche and Stephanie Lyew

WeChat and other iOS apps infected after developers turn to tainted programs


App developers who downloaded key Apple software from somewhere other than the company's App Store inadvertently stuck viruses into several big-name apps, mostly in China.

The iPhone, iPod and iPad apps laden with malicious code allow hackers to send people to counterfeit websites, where usernames and passwords could be harvested, or access data that are being copied and pasted.

Messaging app WeChat, Chinese ride-hailing app Didi Kuaidi and contacts app CamCard were among those affected, cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks reported last week. Apple acknowledged the issue over the weekend, putting the blame on unauthorized copies of its free app development program Xcode. The incident highlights the risks of unofficial app stores and the Internet system in China.

Chinese software developers might have searched the Web for Xcode after deciding that the App Store download was taking too long, Palo Alto Networks said.

Apple only recently began storing data on servers in China, a move that makes accessing photos, movies and documents much quicker for the millions of people in China who are taking up the iPhone. Apple didn't immediately say whether it also stores apps in China, but generally downloads are slow because of China's distance from the company's servers and the country's extra firewalls.

Installing the modified versions of Xcode floating around online would have been simple -- just requiring a quick security setting change. But as apps built using the fake versions reached the App Store, malicious code secretly passed within them, potentially affecting hundreds of millions of consumers.

A security researcher compared bypassing the official app store to jaywalking.

"Most of the time, everything turns out fine," Tod Beardsley, security research manager at Rapid7, said in a prepared statement. "It's not that developers are dumb and don't know the risks; they simply consider the risk extremely unlikely, and if it's slightly more convenient to ignore one or two security best practices, they will proceed accordingly."

Facebook now supports 360-degree video

By Tracey Lien

Facebook videos are about to get more interactive. The social network announced last Wednesday it now supports 360-degree videos.

Facebook users now can both upload 360-degree videos to the platform, and interact with them in web browsers by dragging the video around with their mouse, or on Android devices by dragging or tilting the screen (the feature will come to iPhone in the coming months).

The feature will launch with partners that include Disney, GoPro and Saturday Night Live, who will have exclusive 360-degree videos in Facebook's news feed.

360-degree video is a relatively new form of media, and camera makers have only recently started making 360-degree cameras for consumers. Camera enthusiasts have long experimented with home-brewed, multicamera rigs that capture footage from all angles, but often faced the problem of not having a platform on which to upload and share their videos.

YouTube tried to solve the problem earlier this year when it announced its support for 360-degree videos, and now Facebook is offering its own solution.

The move makes sense for the social network, particularly because it owns virtual reality headset and content maker Oculus VR, for which 360-degree video is a pillar. The Oculus Rift headset is expected to launch in 2016.

All About The Bass

Recently Tech Times was invited to the launch of a new line of audio systems by PANASONIC that is now available to the Jamaican public, but this week we got the full hands on review of the PANASONIC MAX8000 for you folks. This audio system is geared towards persons that want more than a stereo system and wish to dabble in hosting small parties. Let's see if it has what it takes to keep the party going.

Features 8 OUT 10

First let's start with features that the MAX8000 has; and what a list this is. The MAX8000 is the highest model you can get in the new line of Panasonic stereo systems. Therefore one should expect that it comes with all the bells and whistles that you can imagine. Some of the features are as follows:

* Bluetooth - Allows you to connect you Smartphone or tablet and play songs from it.

* NFC (Near Field Communication) - Allows you to pair two devices by touching them.

* PANASONIC Max Juke APP - An app that allows you to transfer MP3's from your mobile device to the built in storage of the audio systems.

* USB Ports - Each system comes with a port so you can easily play MP3's from a flash drive.

* Illuminating Speakers for a disco like feeling

* The ability to record from USB to USB.

* AIRQUAKE Bass - this offers an overwhelming bass and resonates a large area so everyone in a reasonable radius can also feel the bass.

So, with all these features why did this device get 8 out of 10 in features category? The simple reason is that the MAX8000 doesn't have any means of scratching or looping the MP3's or CD's that you'll be playing. This is an essential feature that should be at the disposal of the entertaining DJ.

Sound Quality 10 out of 10

I have seen the MAX8000 demo already, but having that volume controls cracked at the half way point in your own environment is a another story. This audio system plays well at any volume. This is the new stamp of quality in my books for audio. At max volume the MAX8000 has solid bass, mids, and highs. I actual got at call from a community member two blocks away to turn it down. So, get your permit before testing this beast out.

Design and Durability 8 out 10

The fact that the MAX8000 has such a big and powerful sound; it's easy to compare and mistake it for a full on sound system that should be used in a street dance. Truth be told, it could keep a small to mid-size street dance, but the design and durability would prevent you from doing that. Firstly, the cables for the speakers are too fragile for regular connecting and disconnecting. It seem like they would break after a week of moderate use. Not to mention the cables are short (by sound system standards) and are unique; so it would be difficult to replace them after they have been damaged. The good news though is that as a household audio system the MAX8000 is the best and most powerful system you can buy off the shelf in Jamaica.

Final Thoughts

If you are a music lover there is no doubt you will appreciate the sound that the Panasonic MAX8000 has, but keep in mind that it's not built for the road. So be cautious if you are taking this beast outside... it might get sick.

Writer: Payton H. Wilmott