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State-sponsored Flame malware hits Middle East
Two years after Stuxnet infected Iranian nuclear facilities and damaged the country's ongoing nuclear program, malware called Flame was next to cause damage and disruption. Dubbed 'Flame' due to referenced words in fragments of code analyzed by Kaspersky Lab, the Russian antivirus and online security firm found the malware to be the "most complex threat" ever discovered. According to Kaspersky, the state-sponsored malware "redefines… cyberwar and cyberespionage."
Flame targeted machines in Iran, the Palestinian-controlled West Bank, Sudan, Syria, and others in the region, and was far more sophisticated than Stuxnet in a number of ways. Instead of just targeting the physical infrastructure of the network, it was designed to steal data and collect audio and video content from webcams and microphones.
Who or what was behind Flame remains unknown. While speculation remains rife around the circumstances of Stuxnet and similar state-sponsored malware attacks, some words in the code suggests an English-speaking country may have been behind the attack.
Microsoft's Windows chief out, Apple's iOS chief (also) out
Within the space of a month, Microsoft let its Windows president Steven Sinofsky walk, while Apple replaced its iOS chief Scott Forstall -- both for similar, yet different reasons: they weren't playing nicely with the rest of their respective companies.
Sinofsky, who led the division that built Windows 8, left the company as part of a mutual agreement. Forstall, who headed up the unit that develops the software for the popular iPhone and iPad devices -- was all but pushed out of the company. He will stick around at Apple to advise chief executive Tim Cook until 2013, but will then be set free into the wider world.
It was Forstall's final decision to evict Google from the top-floor executive suite at Apple HQ and replace the mapping app with Apple's own in-house service. That program was beyond a flop. It was riddled with errors and deluged with criticism from both the media and end-users alike.
Apple v. Samsung ends in $1bn damages; U.K. court takes a different turn
The biggest trial of the year was between the two mobile super-giants: Apple v. Samsung. It ended with Samsung having to pay more than $1 billion in damages to the iPhone and iPad maker after its products were found to have "copied" the iPad's rounded rectangle design.
However, the U.K. case took an entirely different turn: Apple lost, and Samsung prevailed. Apple was forced to put a notice on its Web site and in newspaper advertisements to 'apologize.' When it ran a statement on its Web site, Apple embellished the statement with additional, non-court sanctioned comments, which landed the firm in even more trouble. It then had to formally -- and clearly -- apologize a second time around, and eat a boatload of humble pie.
But the Apple v. Samsung news wheel continues to spin, and though the trial is over, there are plenty more nooks and crannies that the litigious companies can find themselves in, in the near future.