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This Week in Technology: Apple, Amazon, and More


Apple Starts Selling Locally Produced iPhones In India

Apple started producing and selling its popular iPhone XR in India. This comes as Apple attempts to expand into the world’s second-largest smartphone market. In addition, the company outsourced the production to Taipei-based contract manufacturer Foxconn. Because of this, Apple can avoid expensive levies on imports. Plus, it can fulfill local sourcing norms for opening its own stores in India.

iPhone XR boxes with an “Assembled in India” tag appeared in many of the country’s electronic product retailers on Monday. It came with a price tag of 49,900 Indian rupees ($704) for the 64 GB version. Recently, Apple slashed prices of the XR due to fierce competition with local smartphones. Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request to comment.

Apps Can Spy On Amazon Echo And Google Home

Berlin-based Security Research Labs developed 8 “smart-spies” apps for the Amazon Echo and Google Home, which they promoted as a way to deliver horoscopes and generate random numbers. However, once approved, they updated the software to eavesdrop and steal passwords from Echo and Home users. Then, they alerted the US companies, who immediately blocked the software.

“Smart spies undermine the assumption that voice apps are only active as long as they are in dialogue with the user,” Karsten Nohl, SRL’s chief scientist, said. The apps activated when users asked the device to use “My Lucky”. Then, if the user said “I” or other similar words, their speech would be transcribed and sent to SLR. This occurred even if the user said “goodbye” to their device.

Avast Targeted By Cyber Security Attack

Czech-based Avast said they detected a network attack on the company. Czech counterintelligence service BIS also said the origin is China. “Everything from data analysis so far suggests that the attack came from China, with the intention to take control of the popular optimization tool CCleaner, and through that also users’ computers,” BIS said in a statement.

Man Loses £4,000 In Call Center Scam

A British man lost £4,000($5,189) in a call center scam. Originally, he had signed up for a computer security program, costing him about £556 a month. However, he soon realized that it was a scam, costing him the £4,000. Indian police have now shut two call centers and arrested seven people suspected of involvement in the scam.

China’s Next Commercial Rockets To Make Test Flights

China plans to launch test flights for the next two space rockets meant for commercial use in 2020 and 2021. The release of the flight schedule comes two months after the China Rocket Co’s first reusable rocket, the Smart Dragon-1, delivered three satellites into orbit. They say reusable designs enable frequent launches and low costs.