Apple World Today News Update: March 30, 2018

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It's the last day of March, the day before a holiday weekend, and the first weekend of Major League Baseball for 2018. We'll end the week with three stories:

  • Drones were used to help 26 smugglers move almost $80 million worth of refurbished iPhones from Hong Kong to Shenzhen
  • MyFitnessPal reported a huge data breach affecting 150 million users; if you've ever used MyFitnessPal, change your password immediately
  • macOS 10.13.4 brings external GPU support to the Mac platform for the first time, and we tell you which eGPU chassis are approved for use

The text version of the podcast can be read below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below. Apple News readers need to visit Apple World Today in order to listen to the podcast.

Text Version

This is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update podcast for Friday, March 30, 2018.

Drones are increasingly being used for a number of tasks, some good, and some downright criminal. Customs officials in the Chinese tech hub of Shenzhen reportedly nabbed a group of criminals who were used drones to help smuggle $79.8 million worth of refurbished iPhones from Hong Kong to Shenzhen. 26 suspects were arrested after they used the drones to install a pair of 660 foot long cables between Hong Kong and the mainland to transport the refurbed iPhones. The crew operated after midnight and could also use the cables installed by the drones to transport small bags that could carry ten or more iPhones each. The gang could smuggle as many as 15,000 phones across the border in one night. China manufactures more drones than any other country in the world, and the country is now struggling with regulating the devices. Shenzhen customs said that it would start monitoring high-tech smuggling more closely, and might include drones in the hunt for smuggling.

Are you a user of Under Armour’s MyFitnessPal nutrition logging service? If so, you’ve probably been hacked. MyFitnessPal announced a huge data breach that impacts 150 million users. Hackers made away with user names, email addresses, and hashed passwords. The majority of the passwords were encrypted with the hashing function bcrypt that is used to secure passwords, and that hashing function is well known to hackers. No government-issued identifiers or payment card information was affected, as MyFitnessPal either doesn’t collect the data or stores it in a separate system. The company is asking everyone who has used the service to change their account password immediately.

macOS 10.13.4 was released yesterday afternoon, and probably the biggest change to High Sierra is that the new version brings official external graphics processing unit (or eGPU) support to the Mac. The company has recommended specific enclosures, chassis, and cards to use, and those who were hoping to use Nvidia GPU cards are out of luck as Apple is only recommending AMD video cards at this time. The recommended Thunderbolt 3 chassis are the OWC Mercury Helios FX3, PowerColor Devil Box, Sapphire Gear Box, and the Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 350W, 550W3 and 650W3. Apple notes that users who have MacBook Pros need to make sure that the chassis is supplying sufficient power to run the graphics card and charge the computer. Apple says that eGPUs will work with most of the following types of apps: Pro applications designed to utilize multiple GPUs, 3D games when an external monitor is attached directly to the eGPU, Vr applications when the VR headset is attached directly to the eGPU, and Pro applications and 3D games that accelerate the built-in display of an iMac or MacBook Pro.

That’s all the news for today - join me Monday afternoon for another edition of the AWT News Update. Have a blessed Easter weekend and happy Passover.