Apple Online Services in China Shut Down by Government: Report

Today's topics include a report that the Chinese government shut down Apple’s online services, users of Windows 10 can now use the Universal Windows Platform of Skype to make group calls, an FCC commissioner shares her plan to expand WiFi access and a cyber-crime ring steals millions of credit cards.

Government regulators in China without warning shut down Apple's online iBooks Store and iTunes Movies service, which had opened about six months ago, leaving Apple working with the communist government to try to restart the services.

The shuttering of the Apple services came despite permission that the government previously granted Apple when the services began there last year.

China is Apple's second-largest global market behind the United States, and the company said it hopes to make books and movies available again to its customers in China as soon as possible.

Members of the Microsoft Windows Insider early-access program can now communicate as a group using the Universal Windows Platform version of Skype.

UWP apps are code-once affairs that can run on a variety of Windows device types with little to no modification of the underlying code.

The updated Skype UWP Preview app, available in the Windows Store app marketplace, now enables users to make group video and audio calls and conduct group chats.

To help users recover a little more gracefully from typos and auto-correct errors in chat messages, now Skype allows users to edit or delete messages.

Users can also now classify any person or group as a favorite. Soon, a mobile version of the app will synchronize conversations across Windows PCs and smartphones.

Federal Communications Commission member Jessica Rosenworcel recently announced plans to begin testing radio frequencies formerly allocated for the auto industry to expand access to WiFi.

Rosenworcel told a group of industry representatives that the 5.9GHz band is “our best near shot for having more WiFi” and called for tests to ensure that it can be effectively used for this purpose.

Rosenworcel was speaking at the WiFi Now conference held in Tysons, Va. The conference featured looks at some innovations in WiFi as well as new ways to monetize this primarily free service.

Modern cyber-crime is often conducted by well-organized groups, with sophisticated tactics and the potential to perpetrate credit card fraud at scale. Security firm FireEye issued a new report on April 20 detailing the operations of one such financial cyber-crime group, which it dubbed FIN6.

The full scope of how damaging the exploitation can be is discussed in the report in the context of one particular campaign executed by FIN6 in which approximately 20 million credit cards were compromised.

FireEye estimates that the market value of the stolen card data could potentially have been $400 million.

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