Infected Apps and Hyperloops

You know how, when you go to download something, and you get a warning that you might be downloading malicious software?  Maybe it makes you think twice about going through with the process (and if it doesn’t, uhhh).  Turns out, however, such a warning was not enough for some mobile app developers in China.  Opting, apparently, for speed over safety, several of them downloaded a counterfeit version of software development tool, called Xcode, that Apple provides to developers creating apps for iOS.  Though normally available on their website for free, the speed of downloading from Apple in China can often be a test of patience, and it is believed that this is why the hackers were able to convince the developers to download the software from their own servers instead of going through the proper channel.  As a result, 39 iPhone and iPad apps were infected with malware, including the popular Chinese messaging app WeChat.  But they were all vectors from their creation.

After security researches from Palo Alto Networks and Chinese e-commerce leviathan Alibaba discovered the corrupted apps, Apple promptly removed them from the store.  Investigation continues, although it is not thought that the hackers stole any personal customer information of money.

In completely unrelated news, mentioned for sheer interest and the fact that it was in the news lately: Hyperloop Technologies, a transit startup headed by early Uber backer Shervin Pishevar and former SpaceX engineer Brogan BamBrogan, recently tapped Cisco vet Rob Lloyd to be the company’s first CEO.  Inspired by the vision of Tesla and SpaceX CEO, and real life Tony Stark, Elon Musk, who first detailed the system for Pishevar in 2013, it’s a futuristic innovation effort straight out of a sci fi author’s brain.  Hyperloop aims to create real tubular transit systems that can move people and things in pods at nearly the speed of sound through vacuum-like, low pressure tubes, reducing the time a trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles takes from eight hours to a half hour.  The company believes this new transportation network will be part a market worth $154 trillion in the future.  “This is a very disruptive opportunity. In fact, it’s bigger than networking,” Lloyd claims.  That’s more lucrative than the Internet of Things, something he would be familiar with from his time at Cisco.

Their current plans are to have a two mile test loop ready for demonstration to potential partners and governments around the world by 2016-2017.  Personally, I thought we should have had nationwide high-speed rail systems in 2015 anyway (President Obama’s plans faced legislative roadblocks), and this seems like a step beyond even that.

While Hyperloop might face similar troubles with implementing infrastructure in the U.S., they’re certainly dreaming big.  Well, anything is possible, even finding water on Mars.

By: Jonathan Weicher