Micro Files

<strong>Facebook Messenger tops iTunes apps amid security concerns</strong>

The <em>Toronto Sun</em> reported that Facebook Messenger has topped the iTunes free app charts. The app, now mandatory for mobile Facebook users as the original Facebook app no longer supports messages, has been downloaded more than 500,000 times on Google Play, reports <em>CBC</em>.

Jonathan Zdziarski, a self-proclaimed forensics researcher, hacker, and reverse engineer, otherwise known as an expert in iOS security, posted several tweets highlighting&nbsp; tidbits of code he found as he disassembled Facebook Messenger.

One tweet, dated Sept. 9, read, &ldquo;Messenger appears to have more spyware type code in it than I&rsquo;ve seen in products intended specifically for enterprise surveillance.&rdquo;

Another, written on the same date, stated, &ldquo;Messenger even gathers data on how much time you spend using it in the foreground, vs. background time.&rdquo; Immediately after, Zdziarski tweeted &ldquo;Messenger even gathers data on what orientation you&rsquo;re holding your phone in most often.&rdquo;

He did address people&rsquo;s concerns in a Sept. 11 tweet. &ldquo;I spent a few hours looking at Messenger and found some things that rub me wrong. If you feel comfortable using it, by all means use it,&rdquo; he advised users.

<strong>BlackBerry asks techies to &ldquo;Save the Date&rdquo; for launch of BlackBerry Passport</strong>

BlackBerry will launch its newest phone, the BlackBerry Passport in three cities simultaneously &ndash; Toronto, London, and Dubai &ndash; Sept. 24, the <em>National Post</em> reports.

BlackBerry&rsquo;s last offerings were in January 2014 with the arrival of the Z10 and Q10, the Z10 being the first phone from BlackBerry to not feature a physical keyboard.

The new Passport features a square design with a 1:1 display aspect ratio. BlackBerry claims that the Passport device would be a sort of phablet (a size of device between a phone and tablet much like the Galaxy Note and iPhone6 Plus). BlackBerry aims to target the &ldquo;working professional&rdquo; with this new phone and cites its increased width as a pro compared to other offerings on the market.

<strong>NASA accepts Boeing, SpaceX bids to build &ldquo;space taxis&rdquo;</strong>

NASA&rsquo;s dependence on Russia for shuttle rides to the International Space Station will soon end after they accepted a $4.2 billion bid from Boeing and a $2.6 billion bid from SpaceX, <em>Reuters</em> reports.

Support for NASA to get an American solution has been mounting since Russia&rsquo;s annexation of Crimea soured American-Russian relations.

SpaceX, run by Canadian Elon Musk of Tesla Motors fame, and Boeing will transport astronauts in seven-person capsules.

Kathy Leuders, manager for NASA&rsquo;s Commercial Crew program, said that both Boeing and SpaceX should be ready for flights beginning in 2017.


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