Android bug puts millions of phones at risk

Checkpoint Software Technologies and its team of researchers have discovered a set of four vulnerabilities that could potentially give attacker access to a phone’s data in tens of millions of Android devices.

The vulnerabilities, known as QuadRooter, were discovered while looking at software which operates on chipsets made by US firm Qualcomm.

Qualcomm is a US telecommunications equipment company and controls 65 per cent of the LTE modem baseband market.

The defect was discovered in software that deals with graphics and in code which communicates information between chipset components. Michael Shaulov, head of mobility product management at Checkpoint, says that the problems were revealed after a six month effort to reverse engineer Qalcomm’s code.

The bugs in the software can easily be triggered using an app, which would go by undetected during installation.

Affected devices include handsets such as Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung S7 Edge, Google Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Nexus 6P, LG G4, LG G5, LG V10, OnePlus One, OnePlus 2, OnePlus 3 and many more.

In response to the information provided by Checkpoint, Qaulcomm has created software patches and has also started manufacturing chipsets with the bug-free version. The patches have also been distributed to phone makers and operators. However, there are no clear figures on how many phones have been updated.

Checkpoint has created a free app called QuadRooter Scanner, which checks if your phone is at risk.

While there is no current evidence of these vulnerabilities being used, Shaulov says that its only a matter of time.

“It’s always a race as to who finds the bug first, whether it’s the good guys or the bad.”

53 dead as blast hits Quetta Civil Hospital after lawyer’s killing

QUETTA: At least 53 people were killed in a suicide bombing inside the Civil Hospital on Monday, hospital officials said. Many others were injured in the attack.

There was no claim of responsibility for the blast, which occurred at the gates of the building housing the emergency ward. Bomb Disposal Squad officials confirmed the explosion was a suicide bombing.

“The blast took place after a number of lawyers and some journalists had gathered at the hospital following the death of the president of the Balochistan Bar Association in a separate shooting incident this morning,” said Balochistan Home Secretary Akbar Harifal.


What we know so far

  • Loud explosion inside Quetta’s Civil Hospital
  • At least 53 people killed, many injured
  • Attack may have been carried out by suicide bomber
  • Blast followed killing of senior lawyer in Quetta
  • CM Balochistan says RAW behind terrorism in Quetta

Condemning the attack, Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri told local TV channel Geo News that Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) was behind terror incidents in Quetta.

The CM shared this statement with the media before initial investigations into the blast were completed, and before the nature of the blast was confirmed.

The bomber struck as more than 100 mourners, mostly lawyers and journalists, crowded into the emergency department to accompany the body of Advocate Bilal Anwar Kasi, Faridullah, a journalist who was among the wounded, told Reuters.

Most of the dead are lawyers.—DawnNews.
Most of the dead are lawyers.—DawnNews.

Noor Ahmed, the hospital’s deputy chief surgeon for victims of violent crime, said they were treating about 50 wounded in the bombing.

“I can confirm that so far, 53 people have been killed in today’s bombing at our hospital,” said Ahmed.

According to senior police official Zahoor Ahmed Afridi, most of the dead were lawyers. Several lawyers including the former president of Balochistan Bar Association Baz Mohammad Kakar were reported injured.

Journalists present at the premises also came in the line of fire and the cameraman for DawnNews was severely injured in the explosion. Shahzad Khan, a cameraman associated with Aaj TV, was killed in the blast.

An emergency was declared in hospitals across Quetta and several injured were shifted to other hospitals for treatment.

“This was a security lapse,” Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti said, adding that he was personally investigating the attack. He said the hospital had not received any threats in the past.

Following the blast in Quetta, Inspector General (IG) police A.D. Khawaja issued a high security alert across Sindh.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the blast in Quetta and expressed his “deep grief and anguish over the loss of precious human lives” in the attack.

“No one will be allowed to disturb the peace in the province that has been restored thanks to the countless sacrifices by the security forces, police and the people of Balochistan,” he said in a statement.

Lawyers targeted

Lawyers have been targeted several times in the last few months in Balochistan.

  • A lawyer, Jahanzeb Alvi, was shot dead by unknown armed men in the Brewery road area of Quetta last week on Aug 3.

  • Advocate Bilal Kasi, who himself was shot dead on the morning of Monday’s blast, had strongly condemned the murder of Advocate Alvi and announced two days’ boycott of courts proceedings.

  • The principal of University of Balochistan’s law college, Barrister Amanullah Achakzai, was also shot dead by unknown assailants on Spini Road here in June.

Balochistan has been experiencing incidents of violence and targeted killings for over a decade. More than 1,400 incidents targeting the minority Shia and Hazara community have taken place in the province during the past 15 years.

The largest province of the country by area, is home to a low-level insurgency by ethnic Baloch separatists. Al Qaeda-linked and sectarian militants also operate in the region. The province shares borders with Afghanistan and Iran.

Facebook safety check

—Facebook
—Facebook

Social networking site Facebook activated its “safety check” feature after the blast in Quetta.

The feature allows people to mark themselves or others ‘safe’ in any incident or catastrophe, and let their loved ones know about their state.

Volunteers use a stretcher to move an injured lawyer after the explosion.— AFP
Volunteers use a stretcher to move an injured lawyer after the explosion.— AFP
Lawyers and local media personnel carry a bed to move the body of a news cameraman after the explosion.— AFP
Lawyers and local media personnel carry a bed to move the body of a news cameraman after the explosion.— AFP

Google executive quits self-driving car project

Chris Urmson, who was instrumental in building Google’s self-driving car project, said on Friday he is leaving the team after seven and a half years.

Alphabet Inc’s Google had named Urmson chief technical officer of the project after it hired former Hyundai executive John Krafcik to be chief executive of the project.

Urmson, who joined the project when it was launched and has been a public face of Google’s autonomous vehicle efforts, testified before a US Senate panel on autonomous cars in March.

Krafcik confirmed Urmson’s departure in a tweet on Friday afternoon.

Urmson, in a blog post late Friday, said he was “ready for a fresh challenge.” He said he was not sure what he would do next.

“Going to take some time and get some perspective from outside of Google,” he wrote in a text message to Reuters.

Urmson told Reuters earlier this year that self-driving cars are coming. “I’ve gone from hoping this would happen to thinking it might happen to knowing it will happen,” Urmson said.

Google self-driving car project spokesman Johnny Luu confirmed Urmson’s departure and praised him.

“Seven years ago, the idea that a car could drive itself wasn’t much more than an idea. Chris has been a vital force for the project, helping the team move from a research phase to a point where this life-saving technology will soon become a reality,” Luu said.

Google’s project has had other significant departures, even as it has hired dozens of new employees. Earlier this year, Anthony Levandowski, who was product manager for Google’s self-driving car program, left the project to co-found a startup with two other former Google employees.

Google’s self-driving car project is expected to become a standalone company this year. In July, the project appointed its first general counsel.

Google has logged more than 1.8 million miles of autonomous driving in testing in Texas, California, Arizona and Washington state. It has said it has no timetable for making self-driving vehicles available to the public.

Officials have said Google is preparing to make its self-driving car unit a separate company. The program is now part of its X research laboratory unit.

“The self-driving car project is in the middle of graduating from X and this is sort of a gradual process,” Astro Teller, who heads the X program, told NBC News in April.

In May, Google and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said they had agreed to work together to build a fleet of nearly 100 self-driving minivans, the first time a Silicon Valley firm had teamed up with a traditional car maker to develop an autonomous vehicle.

In March, Reuters reported Google’s self-driving car team was expanding and hiring more people with automotive industry expertise, underscoring the company’s determination to move the division past the experimental stage.

Punjab govt intends to amend Code of Criminal Procedure

LAHORE: The Punjab government intends to have the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1898, amended so as to change the procedure of registration of criminal cases and submission of challans in courts for trial.

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has reportedly approved the amendments in a meeting held here a few days ago, official sources confirmed here on Sunday.

It is the federal government that has the constitutional right to amend the CrPC. And, official sources said, the required changes in the CrPC could not legally and constitutionally affect cases already registered or being tried by the courts of law.


‘Move to save time and money’


According to some high placed sources, the first suggestion is to amend Section 154 of the CrPC to provide for powers to the SHO to conduct initial inquiry to discard fabricated and false FIRs prior to registration of cases.

At present police are bound to register cases after the lodging of the FIRs. This involves useless investigation and prosecution in courts which officials say is just a waste of time and money.

The second proposed amended is in Section 173 of the CrPC. It aims at allowing prosecutors to assess challans before their submission in courts for indictment of accused to find out whether they contain sufficient evidence for punishment, or not. In case of lack of sufficient evidence, the prosecutor will have the authority not to pursue the case.

Sources said the prosecutor would apply the code of conduct prepared by the prosecution department in January this year to check whether the challan was fit for prosecution or not. This would again prevent prosecuting cases not fit for trial, saving time and money of the courts, police, prosecution department and of the litigants.

They said an appeal against the decision of prosecutor would lay with the prosecutor general, or the affected party could avail the right to file a writ.

They said the law, home, and prosecution departments were considering what would be the legal status of the cases to be declared not fit for prosecution, or who would have the powers to quash them.

The government also intends to have Sections 161 and 162 of the CrPC amended to allow recording of the audio/video statements of the prosecution witnesses, and Section 510 to make DNA reports admissible evidence.

LOVE OF THE HOLY PROPHET-(saw) OUR CLAIM AND CONDUCT

His Eminence
Shaikh Silsilah Naqshbandiah Owaisiah,

Ameer Muhammad Akram Awan 

Every Muslim holds a rational as well as an emotional relationship with the holy Prophet-saws. Our Prophet is both a guide and a symbol of human excellence in thought and practice, and therefore he is the most beloved for all Muslims. But, love has its own decorum and obligations. By far, the most important of such obligations is total surrender to the will of the beloved. There is no scope either for artificiality or superficiality. Although many Muslims may claim their allegiance to the Prophet’s message, an honest evaluation of our belief and conduct reminds us that we woefully fall short of our claim. Think about a Muslim; he claims his allegiance to Allah and His Messenger-saw, but bows his head before every idol that he comes across and his heart is the seat of idol worship. These are the idols that he has carved himself and represent his low desires, baseless customs and innovations. This is evident from his divergence from the way of Allah’s Messenger-saw. A Muslim of today has degenerated into idol worship yet regards himself as the adherent of Allah and His Messenger-saw. According to a Hadith, ‘He, who has no love for the Messenger’s way is not among the Muslims.’ Also, according to the Quran, He, who follows the Messenger, follows Allah.

But, it requires a sincere heart to understand the implication of this statement. Unfor­tunately, out hearts have hardened and readily accept everything but truth. Our thoughts, actions, inner and our outer self are in no way a remote reflection of our love for Allah and His Messenger-saw; love basically implies sincere obedience. According to the holy Prophet-saw there is a lump of flesh in the human body, if it is in order, the entire body re­mains in order; if that organ is in disorder, the whole body would be in disorder… and that lump is the heart. It is therefore necessary that we organise sessions in which we re­mind ourselves of our duty to Allah and His Messenger-saw, so that we revive our dead hearts and re-invigorate them to receive Allah’s Message, which is the sole purpose of our love for the holy Prophet-saw.

Allah’s complete and final Message has been conveyed to us through the Quran and the Sunnah. It is our duty to revive our knowledge of Allah’s Message as exemplified by the holy Prophet-saw. It is really strange that while the knowledge of Allah’s Message is available to one and all, we find an appalling diversity in our actions. How can our actions be different, when we are all beneficiaries of the same source of knowledge and guidance? It may be so because of our lack of sincerity and devotion in acquiring the true knowledge and translating it into practice. Although rain is equally beneficial to all regions of the earth, but practically that does not happen. The effect of rain on a region depends on the region’s natural ability to absorb the rain and benefit from it. An arid ter­rain remains barren despite rain, as a closed heart remains void despite the guidance of Allah. It is true that we have made our hearts barren and unavailable for knowledge to enter them. Allah speaks of such people in the Quran: Allah has put a seal on their hearts, on their ears, and on their eyes is a cover. This is because of our wilful ignorance and negligence.

Most of us were blessed to be born with the light of Faith, in Muslim homes, but our aversion to the path of Allah, as defined by the Sunnah of the holy Prophet-saw, has pushed us into ignorance. Consequently, in the guise of Prophet’s Sunnah we have inno­vated unfounded customs and traditions that are diametrically opposite to the Sunnah itself. There is no scope of innovation after the holy Prophet-saw has clarified every matter through his personal example. It is therefore, our duty to revive the true Sunnah of our Prophet-saw and give up innovations. This is the only way to secure the best in both worlds. Our waking and sleep, friendship and enmity, all affairs whether domestic or social, should be subservient to the Will of Allah. This is in fact the real success and honour, the glory of which cannot be perceived by our limited intellect.

But if we introspect ourselves and look at our way of life, it is full of hypocrisy; we are hardly Muslims. With our declining faith and decaying conduct, we now take pride in imitating un-Islamic practices and customs. Our lifestyle, dress and habits, everything is but Islamic. The most deplorable fact is, we have not only deviated from the Islamic way, but take pride in following the way of disbelievers. Love for the un-Islamic code is so strong that people are on the constant lookout to find new ways which bring them even closer to the disbelievers. While we do everything that is un-Islamic, we do not want to give up our claim of Islam; here lies our hypocrisy. Such an attitude, though self damag­ing and self-deceiving, is caused by a false notion that it is wrong to forsake one’s cultural heritage.

The Quran appeals to rationale and reason, and mentions that faith and guidance reside within the heart. Those who fill their hearts with avarice and covet worldly pleas­ures, may not damage their physical health, but their hearts surely begin to decay and die. This is because of their lack of respect for Allah’s Commands and disregard of obliga­tions to Him. It is due to their submission to the Devil and his enticement. This fact is highlighted by the Quran: Allah is the Friend of those who believe, He leads them to light out of darkness. Those who disbelieve, their guide is Shaitan, who leads them to darkness out of light.

During the lifetime of the holy Prophet-saw, there were people who rejected the truth after hearing it directly from him and chose to remain disbelievers. We are no better than those wretched people. We take pride in claiming Islam by our tongue, but our actions belie our claims. Why are people so paradoxical in their thoughts and actions? Their thoughts are morbid; their reasoning is confused; they hear but their hearing is impaired to perceive the truth. These signs signify the decay of heart. Due to the deviation from truth and disobedience to Allah, the heart is blotted away, bit by bit, until it becomes im­pervious to truth and is completely sealed off.

Every person has a direct relationship with his Lord. This relationship is implicit and confidential and no one else can discern it. Every good or bad deed is recorded very accu­rately and nothing is neglected. On the Day of Judgement, when every person is judged either to be rewarded with Paradise or punished in Hell, Allah’s Mercy will allow the holy Prophet-saw to intercede and take out from the Hell every soul that had possessed even an iota of faith in Allah and His Messenger-saw. However, there is a category of people about whom Allah advised His Prophet-saw not to care. No effort to bring them to the right path could avail them. Allah says that He had sealed the hearts of those people because of their callousness and wilful rejection of truth. It is in this state of the heart when facts appear as fiction, and truth appears as falsehood. There is no one else to blame but the rejecters of truth themselves.

To the lovers of truth, recitation of the Quran, in the proper way, evokes a feeling of closeness with truth and time seems to stop. The universe is drawn into a point and the votary experiences sublime bliss in his obedience to Allah and His Messenger-saw. Revival of the heart is very crucial to a Muslim because if the heart is not suffused with Truth, it allows lowly desires to set in. But, how carelessly are we allowing our hearts to decrease their capacity of accepting and retaining the truth. We have gone so far that we denounce the significance of Islamic injunctions. We do read the Quran, but we do it as if we were reading a book of fiction; this certainly affects our conducts. Our hearts may not be totally dead, but they cannot be considered as alive, because they have lost their capa­bility to recognise and firmly reinstate the truth.

The love for Allah is strongly emphasised in the Quran: Say, if you love Allah, follow me (the Messenger of Allah), then Allah will love you. It is mentioned in Hadith: ‘No one among you can be a true believer, unless he regards me dearer than his father, sons and entire mankind.’ This implies that unless one loves the holy Prophet-saw more than every one else, one will not realise the truth of the Message conveyed by him-saw. If someone loves his father, sons or friends more than the holy Prophet-saw, one is likely to place the advice of others over the Prophet’s Message. The absolute love to be given to the holy Prophet-saw is for the reason that he conveys to us the absolute Truth.

It is time we bind ourselves in the love of Allah through our devotion to the message brought to us by our beloved Prophet Muhammad-saw. Let the love of Allah be the guid­ing factor in our lives and in all our deeds. Let our hearts be filled with Allah’s pure love and our lives be governed by the example set by His Prophet-saw for us. Let us seek the bounties of this world and learn to harness the resources and the forces of nature for our benefit. But this pursuit should only bring us closer to Allah and His Messenger-saw. Let not the glamour of the worldly pleasures obscure the Truth from us.

Click : About Ameer Muhammad Akram Awan.