Last month ET News published claims that Samsung was having trouble producing Galaxy S5 cameras putting the device’s April 11th launch in jeopardy. Samsung states that’s not true. The Korean publication stood by its claims, refusing to change the story when requested by Samsung.
Samsung is now suing for 300 million KRW – about $284,000. The lawsuit was confirmed to TechCrunch by a Samsung representative.
I will say this about the Electronic Times—they aren’t sitting back and taking it. Since Samsung issued its demand for a correction, the paper has been firing back with a flood of articles criticizing Samsung, reports Pressian. So much so that Samsung is accusing the paper of using articles as a weapon. The Electronic Times, meanwhile, is accusing Samsung of using its economic power to “tame” the media.
Now, I have no idea whether the report in the Electronic Times was true or not. That said, Pressian and Media Today note that rather than take its case to the Press Arbitration Commission, the usual practice in cases like this, Samsung chose to launch a lawsuit straight away just two weeks after the store was printed. If true, this might lead some to suspect there’s something else going on here, even if Samsung has legitimate cause for complaint with the Electronic Times.
Now, as somebody who a) likes Samsung products, b) views Samsung as a symbol of Korean drive and ingenuity and therefore wants them to succeed but c) is simultaneously scared shitless of the company because of stuff like this, I’d caution Samsung that in terms of PR, lawsuits of this sort often cause more harm than good. As Media Today notes, Samsung launched the lawsuit because it was worried the Electronic Times’ report would spread and impact sales. Since the lawsuit, however, the foreign press—including FOX News—and big tech bloggers have picked up the story. This is probably NOT the effect Samsung intended. To make matters worse, a story at AppleInsider compares the Korean electronics giant rather unfavorably to the Cupertino Fruit Company, which—assuming the report is true—almost never sues newspapers/blogs despite the countless groundless rumors that accompany the release of just about every iPhone model.
Samsung Galaxy devices running proprietary Android versions come with a back-door that provides remote access to the data stored on the device.
In particular, the proprietary software that is in charge of handling the communications with the modem, using the Samsung IPC protocol, implements a class of requests known as RFS commands, that allows the modem to perform remote I/O operations on the phone’s storage. As the modem is running proprietary software, it is likely that it offers over-the-air remote control, that could then be used to issue the incriminated RFS messages and access the phone’s file system.
Considering the DPRKs threat to cause mayhem in South Korea, there is one way that could be used by them to attack the economy here and the latest tool is the point-of-sale cash register that are in so many businesses everywhere.
Unlike other attempts to raid data servers in one location, infected POS machines can be turned into a gigantic botnet that collects credit information. The economic harm from this one episode has attracted the attention of the Secret Service as well (link).
The sophistication of this newer type of botnet is notable:
. . . (the newer botnet software is) much more advanced. It allows attackers to corral large numbers of PoS devices into a single botnet. The interface makes it easy to monitor the activities of infected machines in real time and to issue granular commands. In short, they are to PoS terminals what ZeuS, Citadel, and other banking trojans are to online bank accounts. The code helping to streamline the process has been dubbed StarDust. It’s a major revision of Dexter, a previously discovered piece of malware targeting PoS devices that has already been fingered in other real-world payment card swindles. (link)
This means that after infecting a large number of POS registers, the network can operate in coordinated attacks and can be very difficult to shutdown. Apparently the latest strains of this software (V2 Stardust & V3 Revolution) have ties to Russian criminal networks and is for sale too.
If this sort of attack is used to attack the many under-protected POS machines in South Korea – the source of so many botnets already – what would happen if a concerted effort by the DPRK hackers to take down the entire South Korean economy by coordinated botnet attacks on local business, banks, etc. were attempted?
On Dec. 2 Canadian Richard Wygand posted a YouTube video alleging that his Galaxy S4 was dangerously defective. In the video Wygand says, “I just plugged it in to charge it. Went to sleep, woke up to smoke and a little bit of burning.”
Samsung didn’t take too kindly to the allegations and demanded Wygand pull the video down. They should’ve figured he would post another video about the company’s demands.
(Wygand) said that in order to receive a “similar model” replacement phone, Samsung allegedly asked that he first sign a legal document that would require him to remove his videos from YouTube, remain silent about the agreement and surrender any possible future claims against the company.
Both videos have gone viral and well, there has to be some head scratching going on somewhere. You can read the rest here and see both videos.
Upon the advice of Michael Froman, the United States trade representative and the president’s adviser on international trade issues, the Obama administration has vetoed a federal commission’s ban that would have forced Apple to stop selling some iPhones and iPads in the United States next week due to an infringement on a Samsung-held patent related to transmission of data over cellular networks.
This is the first time since 1987 an administration has vetoed an international Trade Commission ban.
(Mr. Froman) wrote in his decision issued on Saturday that it was based in part on the “effect on competitive conditions in the U.S. economy and the effect on U.S. consumers.” . . . Mr. Froman said his decision did not mean that Samsung was “not entitled to a remedy. On the contrary, the patent owner may continue to pursue its rights through the courts.”
Susan Kohn Ross, an international trade lawyer for Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, said the administration’s veto announced on Saturday will effectively remove a major bargaining chip for Samsung that could have disrupted Apple’s manufacturing facilities for making iPhones and iPads.
As per the comments section on this report file on the NYTimes, one comment summarizes nicely:
Samsung copied Apple products and then tried to use patents in an illegal way to avoid the consequences: if they get away with this, they can force Apple to ignore the copying or else get products banned.
The Samsung patents at issue here are part of a wireless standard — you’re required to use their invention to connect to some networks. In order to be included in the standard, Samsung promised to license them in a fair and non-discriminatory manner. But for Apple, which used wireless chips from companies that had already paid the licensing fees, Samsung demanded enormous additional fees.
This exact issue has already been litigated in several courts around the world, and this practice has never been allowed. In fact, Samsung faces a potential fine of billions of dollars in Europe for doing this.
All of the other big technology companies support Apple in this matter, since allowing what Samsung has done would wreck the whole standards system.
Police are investigating more than 50 file-sharing enthusiasts as part of a crackdown against online piracy, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said Thursday.
Authorities so far have booked 12 operators of some of the country’s largest peer-to-peer file sharing websites and 41 of their biggest customers, who have each uploaded more than 1,000 ”seed’’ files to these websites in the five months through May.
They also raided the offices of 26 hosting companies, looking for servers connected to copyright infringement as they clamp down harder on the unlawful movement of movies, music and games. This is the nation’s first strike targeted at ”torrenting.’’
Seeing how the government hasn’t moved to block sites like Pirate Bay and Kickass Torrents, it seems to me they are primarily concerned—at least for now—with blocking copyright infringements of Korean content.
On Saturday, following Samsung Taiwan’s admission that it had paid anonymous posters to trash a competitor’s products on Taiwanese social media sites, I posted a story about the growing suspicion among Apple (AAPL) investors that Samsung was engaged in a similar campaign against Apple — and that it might be affecting the company’s share price.
The post drew more that the usual number of comments. Twenty six hours later, we’re up to 343 messages and counting. Some readers supported the thesis. Some ridiculed it. Some attacked Apple. Some attacked me.
That kind of thing comes with the territory, although not usually in such numbers or with such vehemence. But what happened at about 2 a.m. EST — Sunday afternoon in Seoul, South Korea — was new.
In the space of a few hours, more than a thousand votes were cast on the DISQUS feedback system, voting down any comment remotely anti-Samsung and voting up anything — no matter how inane, in-artful or wrong — that disparaged Apple, the thesis, or me.
Sounds more like the work of Samsung fanboys or patriotic netizens than Samsung itself, but I suppose anything is possible.
Personally, I think Seoul Village might have it right:
@philiped had your story touched a nerve at the top of Samsung HQ, you’d probably see more lawyers than corporate trolls.@rjkoehler
In particular, the quite like how the list of Uriminzokkiri’s 9,001 members got leaked. On it are apparently a large number of South Koreans, and South Korea’s diligent netizens have been busy trying to figure out who they are. They claim to have found members of the United Progressive Party, an official from the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, a university professor, a teacher with the Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union, a reporter, a former university students association president, and an airline pilot.
Police caution that people could have registered under false names, so just because they’re on the list doesn’t mean it’s actually them.
A prosecutor told the Chosun Ilbo that while they did conduct an investigation on about 70 people connected to a locally opened pro-North Korean cyber cafe in 2010, they’ve never seen a list as big as this one.
In principle, joining Uriminzokkiri in South Korea is illegal (the site is, in fact, blocked), so if you’re on the list, you can be punished. Practically speaking, however, The Man is unlikely to punish you if you can demonstrate you needed to join it for work reasons. If you can’t—and especially if you posted stuff to the site or reposted its material—you’re likely to face punishment.
Some progressive figures, meanwhile, are calling the release of the list a violation of communication and privacy laws. Which, to be frank, it most certainly is.
UPDATE: See the Anonymous statement at the end of this article.
Though there is talk as in the editorials of one newspaper about cybersecurity:
Cybersecurity is a totally new security concept without public and private sector divides, not to mention a critical absence of national borders. The government also must devise a detailed . . . blah, blah, blah
and the Financial Supervisory Service started a special probe the other day into banks and financial institutions to “find out what caused last week’s network paralysis”, one salient and interesting fact remains – especially on the heels of the attack on banks and various institutions in South Korea – that, as of the last quarter of 2012, South Korea led the ranking of countries most infected by malware (57.30 percent of infected PCs).
Maybe it is time for a sea-change in South Korea, regarding how badly personal computers are kept. Attacks like the massive on-going one that has occurred recently against spamhaus could only happen because the average users of computers do not know about security though everyone has a lock on their door. South Korea could at least teach people better safety habits and promote better software that is not so obviously compromised since it is the average user’s infected computer that becomes an unwitting tool at the hacker’s fingertips.
Cheong Wa Dae is trying to figure out what’s up, but the broadcasters have already told police they think it’s North Korea screwing with them. Police cyber terrorism personnel have been rushed to the broadcasters to investigate.
UPDATE: ZDNet Korea has got more. They think it’s a DDoS attack launched by malware believed to be North Korean in origin. The malware was discovered a year ago, but it’s really spread recently, particular through websites visited by military folk. MARMOT’S NOTE: Protect yourself from North Korean aggression. Install Linux.
UPDATE: The government is now saying the malware—spread through a Patch Management System—destroyed PCs’ Master Boot Record (MBR). The networks are actually OK, but those affected can’t boot their computers. They also say this attack happened only in Korea.
As if it could be any other way, the just-announced Samsung Galaxy S 4 is Samsung’s, and perhaps even Android’s, best phone yet. In fact, it very well may be the best smartphone on the market, period.
And take this, Fruitboys!
Samsung is riding high on the success of the Galaxy S III and from what I’ve seen, the Galaxy S 4 is a worthy successor with innovative features packed into a familiar housing. It’s a bit of a shame that Samsung announced the phone without giving a price or release date, but at this point, with Samsung the global sales and innovation leader in smartphones, it can do pretty much whatever it wants.