The Department of Justice unsealed a case against 34-year-old Muhammad Fahd yesterday, alleging that the man bribed AT&T call-center employees to unlock cell phones fraudulently. The multi-year scheme resulted in employees receiving more than $1 million in payouts and over two million unlocked phones.
The alleged conspiracy involved AT&T employees using their credentials to install malware and unauthorized hardware. With access to the company’s systems, Fahd was able to unlock handsets well before they were paid off and eligible to leave the carrier’s network.
Fahd was officially arrested in Hong Kong at the request of the U.S. back in February 2018 and was extradited this past Friday. He is facing 14 charges which include conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to violate the Travel Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, two counts of intentional damage to a protected computer, and more. [CNET]
In Other News
- Windows Update Patched a Year-Old Vulnerability in Intel CPUs: Bitdefender found a vulnerability in almost every Intel CPU since 2012 that would allow attackers to abuse speculative execution and open a side channel. Doing so would leak encryption keys, passwords, and other sensitive data. A year after being alerted to the problem, Microsoft quietly rolled out a patch in last month’s Windows update that changed how the CPU speculatively accesses memory. [Ars Technica]
- Disney+ to Be Bundled with Hulu and ESPN+ for $13 a Month: Disney will be directly entering the video streaming market this November when it launches Disney+. The service, set to cost $6.99 a month, will be home to original Disney movies and TV shows. To sweeten the deal, executives yesterday unveiled that it will be bundling Disney+, Hulu (with ads), and ESPN+ for just $12.99 a month. This price point matches Netflix’s most popular plan and offers more value for those interested in all three services. [Reuters]
- Samsung Is Set to Unveil the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus: After months of rumors and leaks, Samsung is hosting its annual Unpacked event to announce the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus. Sticking with tradition, these handsets will likely include large displays starting at 6.3-inches and a built-in S Pen. Unfortunately, it’s believed that the South Korean company will be dropping the phone’s headphone jack. The event kicks off later today, August 7, at 4 PM ET / 1 PM PT. [Review Geek]
Back in April, a privately funded Israeli spacecraft called Beresheet crashed into the Moon’s surface after attempting a soft landing. On the craft was an unspecified number of Tardigrades, an animal that can survive the vacuum of space and temperatures as high as 150C and as low as almost absolute zero.
According to the co-founder of the Arch Mission Foundation, the Tardigrades likely survived the crash and could still be alive.
The “water bears” were dehydrated for the voyage before being sent to the moon. Unlike most creatures, Tardigrades don’t die from this process. Instead, the almost millimeter long animal enters into a state called cryptobiosis where they tuck in their head and legs, secrete trehalose which encapsulates the body like a cocoon, and slows their metabolism by 99.9 percent. It’s believed that if the Tardigrades were reintroduced to water, they would come out of their mummified state. [BBC News]