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So long to security? ‘GrayKey’ box picks the locks on Apple’s iPhones

AMD is Ryzen

Computer chipmaker AMD has announced a new slate of desktop CPUs that have Intel in their sights, and they’re coming out next week. It’s Friday, April 13th, and despite this being a day noted for its bad luck (and slasher movies), gamers and other users of high-horsepower chips should be feeling lucky instead.

The new Ryzen CPUs – so far, four have been announced – are packing either six or eight cores with speeds that top out at 4.3ghz in boost mode. The new top-of-the-line Ryzen 7 2700X gets a power boost over last year’s model of course, but it’ll only set you back $329. Plus, all the newly announced models come with a Wraith cooling system in the box. Quick note for you PC builders out there, though: To get the most out of the new silicon, AMD is also launching a new motherboard, but the new chips will still work with many popular current boards as well.

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If you’re a Gmail user, you’ve probably heard that a big redesign is about to drop, and some new features are coming to light. Tech Crunch says a tipster has shown them examples of “self-destructing” or “self-erasing” emails along with some new features designed around email security. Users can send emails in “confidential mode” and set expiration dates, along with prohibiting things like forwarding, copy/paste actions, download and print options. However, it looks like they aren’t immune to the old screen-cap trick.

It appears that some of the new features, while present now apparently for some beta users, are not quite ready for public release. The Gmail makeover should roll out to users in the near future, although no exact date has been specified by Google.

Time for a dumb phone?

After the San Bernardino terror attack and the subsequent battle over unlocking one of the attacker’s iPhones, Apple made it clear they did not want to build a “back door” into the iPhones’ security features. Law enforcement then went out into the tech world and quickly found someone who could crack the phone – a Israeli company called Cellebrite.

Once the phone was unlocked, it seemed, the controversy died down. But now, law enforcement agencies are apparently snapping up a new iPhone cracking solution from an American company, Grayshift, and it’s called the “GrayKey” device. Agencies can use the device 300 times for $15,000, and it apparently requires an internet connection. But there’s also a $30,000 “offline” version that gives agencies unlimited usage. Cyber security firm Malwarebytes details how the device works, and says the small GreyKey box poses “serious  security concerns,” especially the offline model, which is small enough to be pocketed.

Once out in the wild, it would no doubt fetch a pretty penny from nefarious actors. It could also be reverse-engineered and copied. Malwarebytes says the GrayKey device apparently works on all current iPhone models, and while there hasn’t been any public statement so far about the device from Apple, we can probably assume they are working to close the door on the GrayKey machine’s abilities.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.

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