TIME cell phones

Researchers Find Flaws That Means Anyone Can Listen to Your Cell Phone Calls

Flaws found in global cell network means spies can hack your phone

Security flaws discovered by German researchers could allow hackers to listen in on private phone calls and intercept text messages en masse, the Washington Post reports.

The weaknesses in the global cellular network are to be reported at a hacker conference in Hamburg this month, by Tobias Engel, founder of Sternraute, and Karsten Nohl, chief scientist for Security Research Labs.

The Post reports that these experts believe that SS7, the global network that allows cellular carriers worldwide to route calls and messages to each other, have “serious vulnerabilities that undermine the privacy of the world’s billions of cellular customers.” Researchers in Germany have discovered that hackers with an in-depth knowledge of SS7’s different features would be able to exploit certain functions to listen to private calls and intercept text messages.

One way that hackers could intercept calls would be to exploit cellular carriers forwarding function — which allows a user to have his calls directed to another number — by redirecting “calls to themselves, for listening or recording, and then onward to the intended recipient of a call. Once that system was in place, the hackers could eavesdrop on all incoming and outgoing calls indefinitely, from anywhere in the world.”

Despite mobile carriers working to secure data, the Post reports that the weaknesses in SS7 have left millions vulnerable:

These vulnerabilities continue to exist even as cellular carriers invest billions of dollars to upgrade to advanced 3G technology aimed, in part, at securing communications against unauthorized eavesdropping. But even as individual carriers harden their systems, they still must communicate with each other over SS7, leaving them open to any of thousands of companies worldwide with access to the network. That means that a single carrier in Congo or Kazakhstan, for example, could be used to hack into cellular networks in the United States, Europe or anywhere else.

It’s unclear how much, if any, data has been intercepted due to these vulnerabilities, but as Engel told the Post, “I doubt we are the first ones in the world who realize how open the SS7 network is.”

[Washington Post]

TIME technology

Most American Kids Are Now Growing Up In a Home Without a Landline

The domination of mobile technology continues

Bad news for Luddites and nostalgics: for the first time ever, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the majority of American children live in homes without landlines.

According to the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), 52.1 percent of all children — more than 38 million children — were living in a home with only cell phones, which is a five percentage point increase from the second half of 2013, reports Market Watch. Around 103 million adults — or 43.1 percent — had only wireless phones in their homes.

The decline in landlines could also spell trouble for the CDC. The survey was conducted because the NHIS tracks how many households are using cell phones and how many are using landlines, in order to determine how the CDC carries out its telephone surveys. According to the co-author of the report, Stephen Blumberg, associate director for science in the division of health interview statistics at the National Center for Health Statistics, mobile phones present a challenge when conducting surveys by telephone. Blumberg noted that mobile numbers cannot be electronically dialed, unlike landlines, which increases the “manpower” needed to conduct surveys. What’s more, cell phone numbers are not registered and it’s nearly impossible to determine which individual owns which number.

[Market Watch]

TIME celebrities

Minecraft Creator Outbids Beyonce For Beverly Hills Mansion

Tommy Lee, fiancee Sofia Toufa and Markus "Notch" Persson party at XS nightclub in Las Vegas
Skrillex and Markus Persson, right, at XS nightclub in Las Vegas on Sept. 19, 2014. Danny Mahoney—Splash/Corbis

The Swedish billionaire is now the owner of a fully-furnished 23,000 square-foot mansion

Markus Persson, the creator of Minecraft, has won a bidding war for what’s been described as the most expensive home ever in Beverly Hills. For the price of $70 million, Persson outbid superstars like Jay-Z and Beyonce, reports Mashable.

The 23,000 square-foot mansion includes an infinity pool with iPad-controlled fountains, 15 bathrooms, an 18-seat movie theater, three high-definition televisions that can screen panoramic views of Los Angeles from the roof, vodka and tequila bars, a replica of James Dean’s motorcycle, cases of Dom Perignon and two dozen Roberto Cavalli place settings.

The sale was handled by the John Aaroe Group and on the real estate firm’s blog, realtor Katia De Los Reyes writes, “Marcus fell in love with the house, its sleek contemporary design and its spectacular panoramic views that sweep from downtown LA to the Pacific Ocean. The fact that the house also was completely furnished in such great style was another major selling point for him.”

Persson sold his company Mojang — which launched the extremely popular Minecraft in 2009 — to Microsoft for $2.5 billion earlier this year. On Thursday he tweeted a snap of himself enjoying his new pad:

[Mashable]

TIME Music

Sam Smith Is The First Singer To Sell a Million Albums on Both Sides of the Atlantic This Year

Z100's Jingle Ball 2014 Presented By Goldfish Puffs - Show
Sam Smith performs onstage during iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2014 at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 12, 2014 in New York City. Mike Coppola—Getty Images

The British singer's debut was the first album to hit the milestone in both the U.S. and the U.K.

British crooner Sam Smith’s album, In The Lonely Hour, passed the one million sales mark in the U.K. this week, which makes the debut the first album to sell a million copies in both the U.K. and the U.S. in 2014.

Upon hearing the news from the Official Charts Company (OCC), 22-year-old Smith said, “Thank you so much to every single person who has purchased my album.”

Other acts that have hit the one million sales mark include Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift, though neither act hit the milestone on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Guardian notes that 2014 was a year that initially saw sluggish music sales, but with “almost 35% of all albums are sold in the Christmas rush,” the last few weeks have seen a few artists — such as Smith — to thrive.

[Guardian]

TIME disability

Watch This Woman Take Her First Steps in Ten Years

With the help of a motorized exoskeleton, journalist Nikki Fox was able to stand and walk on her own

Journalist Nikki Fox, who serves as a disability correspondent for BBC News, was born with muscular dystrophy and hadn’t taken a step on her own in ten years. But in the video above, Fox was able to briefly walk again with the help of a device known as an exoskeleton, which was strapped to her body. The motorised robotic equipment, which she was able to control herself, allowed her to stand and take slow steps, without the aid of another person.

“My legs hadn’t been that straight since 1995,” Fox told the BBC. “What was quite unbelievable was how I felt afterwards. Standing for half an hour would usually be quite tough but it wasn’t.”

[BBC]

TIME Music

Madonna Calls New Album Leak ‘A Form of Terrorism’

56th GRAMMY Awards - Arrivals
Singer Madonna arrives at the 56th GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on January 26, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Axelle/Bauer—FilmMagic

The pop star took to social media to blast hackers

Madonna did not respond well to the news that eleven songs from her upcoming album had been leaked. The album, which was still without an official title or release date, was leaked earlier this week, prompting the pop star to vent on social media.

“This is artistic rape!! These are early leaked demos, half of which won’t even make it on my album,” Madonna wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post on Wednesday. “The other half have changed and evolved.” She continued: “This is a form of terrorism. Wtf!!!! Why do people want to destroy artistic process??? Why steal? Why not give me the opportunity to finish and give you my very best?”

She also posted a less angry message to Instagram, thanking fans for their “loyalty”:

[Billboard]

TIME Music

Taylor Swift Says Other Artists Thanked Her For Pulling Her Music From Spotify

49th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards - Arrivals
Singer/songwriter Taylor Swift attends the 49th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 6, 2014 in Las Vegas. Jason Merritt—Getty Images

The 25-year-old pop star says she made the right decision

Taylor Swift may have caused waves when she pulled her catalogue of music — including this year’s album 1989 — from the streaming service Spotify, but there was one group who applauded the decision: other musicians.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Swift explains that she was surprised by the media-storm over her decision, though she ultimately realized she’d made the right choice. “I didn’t think that it would be shocking to anyone,” Swift told THR. “With as many ways as artists are personalizing their musical distribution, it didn’t occur to me that this would be anything that anyone would talk about. But I could never have expected so many text messages, emails and phone calls from other artists, writers and producers saying thank you.”

She doesn’t elaborate if one of those artists was Kendrick Lamar — whom Swift wishes she “was best friends with” — though their mutual admiration for one another is well-documented.

[THR]

TIME faith

Meet the Church of England’s First Ever Female Bishop

Reverend Libby Lane poses for pictures during a photo call following the announcement naming her first woman bishop by The Church of England, after a historic change in its rules, in Stockport, northwest England, on Dec. 17, 2014.
Reverend Libby Lane poses for pictures during a photo call following the announcement naming her first woman bishop by The Church of England, after a historic change in its rules, in Stockport, northwest England, on Dec. 17, 2014. Paul Ellis—AFP/Getty Images

In a historic move, Reverend Libby Lane is the first woman in England to be named a bishop

The Church of England’s stained-glass ceiling has been smashed at last.

On Wednesday, the Rev. Elizabeth Lane was named as the first female bishop in the Church of England, just a month after the church made a change to its canon law to allow female bishops. Beginning on Jan. 26, Lane will serve as Bishop of Stockport, an assistant bishop in the Diocese of Chester.

The Church of England first allowed female priests in 1992 and the battle to have female bishops began shortly after. Female bishops are already common in the Anglican churches in Canada, the U.S. and Australia, but in the Church of England traditionalists argued that only men should serve in the role of bishops, claiming it was sanctioned by scripture. Others argued that allowing female bishops was ethical and necessary to keep the church relevant. In July, the church’s legislative body, known as the General Synod, voted to allow female bishops and formally enacted a change to canon law in late November.

So who is the woman who will be the Church of England’s first female bishop?

Lane — who goes by “Libby” — was ordained as a deacon in 1993 and a priest in 1994 after being educated at the University of Oxford and trained for ministry at Cranmer Hall, a theological college at Durham University in north-east England. Since 2010 she has been the Dean of Women in Ministry for the diocese of Chester, a post created to support other women within the church. As a bishop’s selection advisor since 2003, she has spent the last ten years making recommendations to the church about candidates offering themselves for ordination.

Speaking at a town hall on Wednesday in Stockport, Lane said that it was a “remarkable day for me and a historic day for the Church.” She continued: “On this historic day as the Church of England announces the first woman nominated to be bishop I am very conscious of all those who have gone before me, women and men, who for decades have looked forward to this moment.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has backed the push for women bishops. He issued a statement about Lane’s appointment on Wednesday, saying: “Her Christ-centered life, calmness and clear determination to serve the Church and the community make her a wonderful choice. She will be bishop in a diocese that has been outstanding in its development of people, and she will make a major contribution.”

Lane’s appointment, which was approved by the Queen, was also endorsed by the U.K.’s Prime Minister David Cameron, who congratulated Lane in a statement on Wednesday, saying: “This is an historic appointment and an important step forward for the Church towards greater equality in its senior positions.”

While Lane’s appointment is being lauded as a moment of progress, the church still has a way to go until it reaches gender equality. As the Guardian reports: “About half of female clergy are unpaid. They are also less likely to hold senior positions… [and] only three of the 44 English cathedrals are run by women today and the overwhelming majority of female clergy are not running their own parishes.”

But having a woman bishop is a significant first step. For her part, Lane seems to believe her new role could lead to further appointments for women, telling the Telegraph: “Today I pray will not be simply about one woman called up a new ministry in the church but much more than that, an opportunity to acknowledge all that has gone before and to look ahead to what is still to be done.” It’s that resolve to look to the future that allows other women to believe Lane won’t be the Church of England’s only female bishop.

TIME movies

Jamie Dornan Reveals He Visited Sex Dungeon to Prepare For Fifty Shades of Grey

Jamie Dornan attends the GQ Men of the Year awards at The Royal Opera House on Sept. 2, 2014 in London.
Jamie Dornan attends the GQ Men of the Year awards at The Royal Opera House on Sept. 2, 2014 in London. Mike Marsland—WireImage/Getty Images

The Northern Irish actor says he visited S&M sex clubs to prepare for his role as Christian Grey

In the upcoming February issue of Elle UK, Jamie Dornan reveals that he took his upcoming role in Fifty Shades of Grey very seriously. The Northern Irish actor, who will play a billionaire who is into BDSM in the film adaptation of the best-selling book, said he even visited sex dungeons to get into character.

“I went there, they offered me a beer, and they did…whatever they were into. I saw a dominant with one of his two submissives,” he told ELLE about the experience. “I was like: ‘Come on guys I know I’m not paying for this but I am expecting a show.’ It was an interesting evening. Then going back to my wife and newborn baby afterwards… I had a long shower before touching either of them.”

Presumably Dornan will also be drawing on his previous acting experience for the role. (The actor also plays a sadistic serial killer on the British drama The Fall.) “There are a couple of classic knots I know now,” Dornan told The Guardian earlier this year. “I’ve put them to good use far too many times recently. In fact I’d like to do a job where I don’t have to tie women to beds.”

Though Dornan doesn’t seem personally comfortable with the world of his character, at least fans can be assured that he’s well prepared.

[Elle UK]

Read next: Meet Christian Grey’s Family in New ‘Fifty Shades’ Photos

TIME Pakistan

This Is What the World Had to Say About the Peshawar School Attack

An attack on a school in Pakistan has left more than 131 dead, most of them children

World leaders and prominent politicians and diplomats united to condemn the actions of the Taliban who’ve claimed responsibility for the attack on a Peshawar school on Tuesday that left more than 131 people dead, mostly school children. Six Taliban gunmen attacked the school and were eventually killed by Pakistani security forces.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Shari, released a statement saying, “The government together with the army has started [a military operation called] Zarb-e-Azb and it will continue until the terrorism is rooted out from our land. We also have had discussions with Afghanistan that they and we together fight this terrorism, and this fight will continue. No one should have any doubt about it.” Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s president Ashraf Ghani released a statement that said, “The killing of innocent children is contrary to Islam.”

India’s prime minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to condemn the attack:

And Kailash Satyarthi, the Indian child rights activist who shared this year’s Nobel Peace Prize with Malala Yousafzai, also tweeted:

The U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Richard Olson, said in a statement, “The United States strongly condemns senseless and inhumane attacks on innocent students and educators, and stands in solidarity with the people of Pakistan, and all who fight the menace of terrorism. Few have suffered more at the hands of terrorists and extremists than the people of Pakistan.”

Government leaders, prominent figures and celebrities from around the globe also took to social media to condemn the attacks:

Malala Yousafzai, the teenager who was shot in the head by the Taliban for championing girls education in 2012, also joined the condemnation of the attack. The 17-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner, released a statement saying:

“I am heartbroken by this senseless and cold-blooded act of terror in Peshawar that is unfolding before us. Innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this. I condemn these atrocious and cowardly acts and stand united with the government and armed forces of Pakistan whose efforts so far to address this horrific event are commendable. I, along with millions of others around the world, mourn these children, my brothers and sisters – but we will never be defeated.”

Malala now lives in Birmingham, England.

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