Cybernews podcast #39: the most important news of the week #19

The Cybernews podcast is here to guide you through the most important tech and cybersecurity news of the week.

First up, the Rabbit R1. The best-selling orange AI device, available for $200, turned out to be just an Android app. It’s also not very good.

After a two-year hiatus, Apple finally released new and updated iPads. Still hanging on to one of those?

Plus, there's an unexpected twist in the case of the infamous LockBit cybercrime gang.

And finally, we're here to talk about our own quite unique experiment with both Apple and Android phones. Did you know that even when you don’t use your smartphone, it contacts servers in countries like Russia and China?

What happened with the Rabbit R1?

Thus, in January, the Rabbit R1 orange pocket device, now selling for $200, was first introduced, promising to simply make users’ lives easier by using AI to perform various tasks, from booking flights to ordering food. Well, as it turns out, it’s just an Android App. Jesse Lyu, founder of Rabbit, is doing his best to refute the claims.

And there’s more. Hundreds of thousands of people preordered the R1 based on promises and demos but it doesn’t really do what the creators were boasting about.

The reviews aren’t great at all – it doesn’t report the weather properly, it misidentifies things (dog toy for tomato, dorito for taco, and so on.)

At least it’s quite cheap – but hey, some actual smartphones aren’t that expensive, either.

Apple’s iPad is back

Apple unveiled new iPads this Tuesday – the iPad Pro and iPad Air – along with accessories after two years of hiatus. The iPad Pro is the thinnest device made by the company and the first Apple tablet with an OLED screen and M4 chip, while the iPad Air comes in two sizes for the first time.

Along with the question of who even buys iPads these days there’s been a mayhem on social media around the iPad’s video ad, "Crush!" It didn’t sit well with some viewers, who got quite angry after seeing musical instruments, art supplies, books, and photography equipment being crushed to make the new iPad model. Sonny & Cher’s "All I Ever Need Is You" was playing in the background.

Is LockBit done for?

LockBit, the prominent ransomware gang, has been terrorizing major companies worldwide since late 2019. These crooks have executed nearly 1,500 attacks. Since they accounted for over 40% of all publicly announced ransomware victims over the last 12 months, no wonder law enforcement has been doing its best – we hope – to catch the gangsters.

This week, the leadership identity of the LockBit ransomware group has been officially unveiled by international law enforcement.

The Department of Justice unsealed an indictment charging Russian national Dmitry Yuryevich Khoroshev as the creator, administrator, and developer of the LockBit ransomware group. There’s a $10,000,000 reward for information that could lead to Khoroshev’s arrest and conviction.

Is it the end of LockBit terror? We think so. Unfortunately, however, ransomware is here to stay.

100 app experiment

Your iPhone does not go to sleep with you – it buzzes with activity, accessing your data and sensors and beaming back and forth mostly with Apple, but sometimes also reaching out to servers in Russia.

Our senior journalist, Ernestas Naprys, has tested both Android and Apple devices by installing the 100 most popular apps on them and leaving them to lie idly.

It turns out that even unused apps can raise some privacy and security issues as they are still able to access data and sensors and beam information over the internet.

More from Cybernews:

Teardown of Huawei's new flagships points to progress China has made

Amazon launches its Bedrock Studio preview

Everyone's mad at Apple iPad's ad

Samsung unveils 114-inch TV for $130,000 and also comes with a smaller TV

Neuralink’s brain implant runs into problems, but patient is safe

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