August 21, 2018

Link: SIM Hijacking to Steal Instagram ☍

Motherboard’s Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai (via Adam Tinworth):

Want to make some extra money? Start a business hacking Instagram accounts:

In the buzzing underground market for stolen social media and gaming handles, a short, unique username can go for between $500 and $5,000, according to people involved in the trade and a review of listings on a popular marketplace. Several hackers involved in the market claimed that the Instagram account @t, for example, recently sold for around $40,000 worth of Bitcoin.

Besides gaining access for top-notch Instagram handles to re-sell, the same methods also allow access to all sorts of things:

First, criminals call a cell phone carrier’s tech support number pretending to be their target. They explain to the company’s employee that they “lost” their SIM card, requesting their phone number be transferred, or ported, to a new SIM card that the hackers themselves already own. With a bit of social engineering—perhaps by providing the victim’s Social Security Number or home address (which is often available from one of the many data breaches that have happened in the last few years)—the criminals convince the employee that they really are who they claim to be, at which point the employee ports the phone number to the new SIM card.

This allows access to many things that allows password resets and two-factor authentication via SMS. I’d recommend removing your phone number from things it doesn’t need to be associated with and keeping your fingers-crossed that your carrier has your back. The read is lengthy, but excellent.

August 16, 2018

“We know some of you don’t like this more focused approach. There are good reasons you love the various Twitter apps you have used over the years, and we’re grateful for the developers who build them.”

Link: The Landowner and the Apartments ☍

Nick Heer shares a little story:

Over ten years ago, there was this big piece of land that was carefully landscaped and prepared by the landowners for lots of people to use. We could take up any spot on that land that we would like. Forward-thinking as they were, the landowner built in various hookups for utilities and amenities. It was nice.

August 15, 2018

Link: Verizon and AT&T Have Vastly Different Ideas About Phone Cases ☍

Ashley Carman for The Verge:

Verizon has already overhauled 200 stores with a focus on cases and accessories. In these “Next Gen” stores, as they’re called, customers are able to touch and see cases outside their packaging in displays Verizon has designed to resemble “best-sellers at your local bookstore.”

Why the huge investment? Verizon needs people to buy phone cases because selling the actual phones results in little profit, according to analysts who spoke with The Verge. The company has to diversify its revenue lines, and cases are an easy cash opportunity. “Cases are a part of every phone launch, and [every phone] has to have phone cases, regardless of priority and size,” [Verizon phone case product manager Helena] Elicerio says.

The whole article is a fascinating look at how Verizon and AT&T are handling their case sales and marketing, especially in the face of literally everyone else selling cases. Somehow, the idea of testing accessories for Verizon actually sounds like it might be a really fun job.

Link: The Apple Pay Coffee Discount ☍

Mike Pomranz for Extra Crispy:

If you happened to be wandering around San Francisco’s Castro District last week, you may have seen some pretty damn good deals… like a $5 Réveille coffee for just $1. But this deal came with a twist: You could only get it if you paid with Apple Pay. Otherwise, full price for you.[…]

But for those interested in raging against the future, it’s important to know that an employee at Café Réveille confirmed by phone that the deal wasn’t the coffee shop’s idea. Instead, he said that he believed it was sponsored by Apple and the payment-processing company Square. Additionally, he said the concept wasn’t just tied to Réveille: “I think they were doing it at a lot of stores in the Castro,” he added.

The promotion has ended, but it’s an interesting move that these have been popping up. Apple has been doing promotions like this in a few isolated areas, and Square seems to be pushing NFC payments, too. My big gripe is that Apple seems to be targeting their backyard—areas in California that probably already have decent use of Apple Pay. I’d love to see some wider-reaching in-person promotions, especially in areas like the Midwest, where there are quite a few places that have the capabilities, but mindshare is still very low.