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Two in hospital after getting infections spread by tick bites 

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two in hospital after getting infections spread by tick bites

Two people are in hospital in England after being diagnosed with rare infections spread by a tick bite, 

Health officials confirmed a case of babesiosis, caused by a parasite that infects red blood cells, and a likely case of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE), which affects the central nervous system. 

This is the first record of a UK-acquired case of babesiosis and the second case of TBE being acquired in the UK, Public Health England (PHE) said. 

PHE officials have revealed that cases of the infections are rare and the risk of being infected remains very low in the UK. 

Both patients have been transferred to hospital where they are receiving appropriate treatment and are expected to make a full recovery, PHE said. 

The B. venatorum parasite is spread by ticks (stock image) and was found on sheep in the Scottish Highlands

The B. venatorum parasite is spread by ticks (stock image) and was found on sheep in the Scottish Highlands

The B. venatorum parasite is spread by ticks (stock image) and was found on sheep in the Scottish Highlands

‘It is important to emphasise that cases of babesiosis and TBE in England are rare and the risk of being infected remains very low,’ said Dr Katherine Russell, consultant in the emerging infections and zoonoses team at PHE.

PHE has surveyed sites in Devon close to where the person with babesiosis lives, collecting and testing hundreds of ticks.

All have tested negative for the parasite that causes babesiosis.

PHE also tested deer blood samples from Hampshire in areas near where the person with probable TBE lives and they have shown evidence of likely TBE virus infection, which matches similar results found in 2019. 

There's a vaccine for TBE, although it is not available on the NHS. It costs about £65 per injection

There's a vaccine for TBE, although it is not available on the NHS. It costs about £65 per injection

There’s a vaccine for TBE, although it is not available on the NHS. It costs about £65 per injection

Babesiosis is caused by microscopic parasites that infect red blood cells and is transmitted mainly by ticks. 

The ticks become infected by feeding on infected cattle, roe deer and rodents, which are the main reservoirs for this parasite, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

‘While most infections pass by without symptoms, some people may become sick and present with flu-like symptoms like fever, chills, muscle ache, fatigue and jaundice – yellowing of the skin due to a bile disorder,’ ECDC said.  

‘Severe cases, affecting the kidneys or the lungs, may occur and lead to death.’ 

TBE, meanwhile, attacks the central nervous system and can result in long-term neurological symptoms and even death. 

It’s caused by the Flavivirus genus of virus and is transmitted by the bite of infected ticks, found in woodland habitats. 

Around two-thirds of people with TBE infections will have no symptoms, and, for those who develop symptoms, there are often two phases.

The first is associated with flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache and fatigue, which can then progress to a more serious second phase which involves the central nervous system, which can lead to meningitis, encephalitis and paralysis. 

Ticks that spread TBE can be found in most of Europe – including parts of England, Russia, China and Japan.  

There’s a vaccine for TBE, although it is not available on the NHS. 

No vaccine is available to protect people against babesiosis, however, making prevention tips all the more important.  

PHE said the public needs to ‘be tick aware’ and take precautions such as keeping to footpaths, avoiding long grass while outdoors and wearing appropriate clothing.

The public should also consider the use of repellents containing diethyl toluamide (Deet) and making it a habit to carry out a ‘tick check’. 

If anyone has been bitten by a tick, it should be removed as soon as possible using fine-tipped tweezers or a tick removal tool. 

How to remove a tick: Use tweezers or a tick-removal tool to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible (pictured), then slowly pull the tick upwards without crushing or breaking its body. Make sure all traces of the insect are gone then wash the wound

How to remove a tick: Use tweezers or a tick-removal tool to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible (pictured), then slowly pull the tick upwards without crushing or breaking its body. Make sure all traces of the insect are gone then wash the wound

How to remove a tick: Use tweezers or a tick-removal tool to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible (pictured), then slowly pull the tick upwards without crushing or breaking its body. Make sure all traces of the insect are gone then wash the wound

‘Ticks are most active between spring and autumn, so it is sensible to take some precautions to avoid being bitten when enjoying the outdoors,’ said Dr Russell.

‘Seek medical advice if you start to feel unwell after a tick bite.’

Lyme disease, a bacterial infection spread by ticks, remains the most common tick-borne infection in England, PHE said. 

Many people with early symptoms of Lyme disease develop a circular red skin rash around a bite. 

WHAT IS LYME DISEASE?

Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria that is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks.

The most common symptoms of the disease are fever, headache, fatigue and a skin rash called erythema migrans.

The disease can typically be treated by several weeks of oral antibiotics.

But if left untreated, the infection can spread to the joints, heart and nervous symptoms and be deadly.  

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU ARE INFECTED?

During the first three to 30 days of infection, these symptoms may occur:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Erythema migrans (EM) rash 

The rash occurs in approximately 80 per cent of infected people.

It can expand to up to 12 inches (30 cm), eventually clearing and giving off the appearance of a target or a ‘bull’s-eye’.

Later symptoms of Lyme disease include:

  • Severe headaches and neck stiffness
  • Additional rashes
  • Arthritis with joint pain and swelling
  • Facial or Bell’s palsy
  • Heart palpitations
  • Problems with short-term memory
  • Nerve pain 

Source: CDC

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Apple boss Tim Cook is tough leader ‘who leaves team in tears’ 

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apple boss tim cook is tough leader who leaves team in tears

Despite his friendly, gentle demeanour, Apple’s chief executive officer Tim Cook has been described as a tough leader who has been known to ‘leave his staff in tears’.

A new profile of the billionaire Apple boss describes a man who leads his staff ‘through interrogation’, according to contacts cited by the Wall Street Journal

Cook succeeded Apple co-founder Steve Jobs as CEO in 2011, six weeks before the latter’s death from cancer.

Since that time, Apple’s market value has soared from $348 billion to $1.9 trillion, but the ‘cautious and tactical’ leader has had to be ruthless behind the scenes.

Cook reached billionaire status earlier this month, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Middle managers today screen staff before meetings with Apple CEO Tim Cook (pictured) to make sure they're well prepared

Middle managers today screen staff before meetings with Apple CEO Tim Cook (pictured) to make sure they're well prepared

Middle managers today screen staff before meetings with Apple CEO Tim Cook (pictured) to make sure they’re well prepared

As the WSJ reports, in Apple’s headquarters, middle managers screen their staff before meetings with Cook ‘to make sure they’re knowledgeable’, while, first-timers are ‘advised not to speak’. 

‘It’s about protecting your team and protecting him. You don’t waste his time,’ said one of the WSJ’s sources, described as ‘a longtime lieutenant’. 

‘People have left crying.’ 

If Cook senses someone is insufficiently prepared, he loses patience, says ‘next’, and flips a page of the meeting agenda, this person said.    

Apple CEO Tim Cook presents the keynote address during Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California on June 3, 2019

Apple CEO Tim Cook presents the keynote address during Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California on June 3, 2019

Apple CEO Tim Cook presents the keynote address during Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California on June 3, 2019

TIM COOK’S WORKING DAY 

In a 2015 interview, Cook revealed his average working day – which still leaves little time for socialising.

He gets up at 3:45am every morning and begins to check his email, goes to the gym at 5am and to work at 6:30am, already fully briefed and with the day ahead planned out.

He goes to bed early: by 9:30pm or sometimes 10pm. 

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While Cook has created a more relaxed workplace than Jobs – who was known as an uncompromising boss with a fiery temper – Cook has been similarly demanding and detail-oriented.   

The ‘humble workaholic’ has a ‘singular commitment’ to Apple who keeps his calendar clear of personal events, rising at 4am to review global sales data every day.

Any of his free time is dedicated to exercising in a gym away from Apple Park, the company’s 2.8 million square foot headquarters, to ensure privacy from staff. 

Cook holds Friday night meetings with operations and finance staff – an event that’s been nicknamed ‘date night with Tim’ because it stretches hours into the evening.    

Joe O’Sullivan, a former Apple operations executive, said Cook’s first meeting with staff the day he arrived in 1998 lasted 11 hours.

Fast forward to today and staff still face meetings with Cook with a good deal of trepidation.  

Tim Cook (left) with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs (right). Cook previously said 'His spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple'

Tim Cook (left) with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs (right). Cook previously said 'His spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple'

Tim Cook (left) with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs (right). Cook previously said ‘His spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple’

O’Sullivan said: ‘The first question is: “Joe, how many units did we produce today?” “It was 10,000.” “What was the yield?” “98 per cent.” Then he’d say: “OK, so 98 per cent, explain how the 2 per cent failed?” You’d think, “F***, I don’t know”. 

‘It drives a level of detail so everyone becomes Cook-like.’ 

Chris Deaver, who spent four years in human resources working with Apple’s research and development operations, nicknamed Cook the ‘processor’, due to his tendency to carefully consider new information and act accordingly.  

‘He likes to listen a lot. Time and patience are his favourite warriors.’ 

Cook was picked by Jobs to succeed him in part because the former operations chief ran a division ‘devoid of drama and focused on collaboration’.

Part of Apple’s recent success has been down to Cook creating his own leadership style rather than trying to emulate Jobs. 

‘I knew what I needed to do was not to mimic him,’ Cook told ESPN in 2017.

‘I would fail miserably at that, and I think this is largely the case for many people who take a baton from someone larger than life. 

‘You have to chart your own course – you have to be the best version of yourself.’ 

Cook, who is openly gay, has also aligned the company’s values towards acceptance, diversity and human rights since he took over. 

Last week, Cook said he is ‘personally committed’ to improving the number of female and black leaders in Apple’s senior ranks. 

Cook, left, reacts as President Donald Trump speaks during the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board's first meeting in March 2019. Trump describes Cook as a friend

Cook, left, reacts as President Donald Trump speaks during the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board's first meeting in March 2019. Trump describes Cook as a friend

Cook, left, reacts as President Donald Trump speaks during the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board’s first meeting in March 2019. Trump describes Cook as a friend

Cook has a good relationship with US President Donald Trump, who has called the CEO a ‘friend’.

In one televised meeting between the two, Trump called him ‘Tim Apple’ – a moment that quickly became viral.

The Apple boss later jokingly changed his name on Twitter to Tim followed by a picture of the Apple logo.

Cook reached billionaire status only last week as the Cupertino, California-based firm nears $2 trillion in value. 

However, Cook isn’t even in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index’s top 500 and has nowhere near the personal wealth of the likes of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who is listed with a net work of $186 billion. 

According to Bloomberg, the majority of Cook’s wealth has come from equity awards he’s received since joining Apple in 1998. 

Cook has previously said that he plans to give most of his fortune away and has already gifted millions of dollars worth of Apple shares, Bloomberg said. 

THE TRILLION DOLLAR RISE OF APPLE

The company's journey to the summit of the technology industry has been a rocky one, having seen Jobs (pictured right in 1976) leave the firm in the mid-1980s after his pet project, the first Macintosh computer, struggled and he attempted to oust then chief executive John Sculley. Wozniak is pictured left  

The company's journey to the summit of the technology industry has been a rocky one, having seen Jobs (pictured right in 1976) leave the firm in the mid-1980s after his pet project, the first Macintosh computer, struggled and he attempted to oust then chief executive John Sculley. Wozniak is pictured left  

The company’s journey to the summit of the technology industry has been a rocky one, having seen Jobs (pictured right in 1976) leave the firm in the mid-1980s after his pet project, the first Macintosh computer, struggled and he attempted to oust then chief executive John Sculley. Wozniak is pictured left  

1976: Founders Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne created the company on April 1 1976 as they set about selling computer kits to hobbyists, each of which was built by Wozniak.

The first product was the Apple I. 

1977: Apple released the Apple II in June, which was the first PC made for the mass market. 

1981: Jobs became chairman.  

1984: The Macintosh was introduced during an ad break for the Super Bowl and later officially unveiled during a launch event. It was discontinued a year later and Jobs left the firm.

1987: Apple released the Macintosh II, the first colour Mac.

1997: Apple announces it will acquire NeXT software in a $400 million deal that involves Jobs returning to Apple as interim CEO. He officially took the role in 2000.  

2001: Apple introduced iTunes, OS X and the first-generation iPod.

The first iPod MP3 music player was released on October 23, 2001, at an event in Cupertino and was able to hold up to 1,000 songs.

Steve Jobs unveils Apple Computer Corporation's new Macintosh February 6, 1984 in California.

Steve Jobs unveils Apple Computer Corporation's new Macintosh February 6, 1984 in California.

Steve Jobs unveils Apple Computer Corporation’s new Macintosh February 6, 1984 in California.

The then Chief Executive Officer of Apple, Steve Jobs, with the iPhone

The then Chief Executive Officer of Apple, Steve Jobs, with the iPhone

The then Chief Executive Officer of Apple, Steve Jobs, with the iPhone

2007: Apple unveils the iPhone. 

2010: The first iPad was unveiled.

2011: Jobs resigned in 2011 due to illness, handing the CEO title to Tim Cook. Job died in October from pancreatic cancer.

2014: Apple unveiled the Apple Watch. It also unveiled its first larger iPhones – the 6 and 6 Plus. 

2015: After purchasing Beats from Dr Dre, Apple launched Apple Music to compete with Spotify and other music streaming services. 

Apple CEO Steve Jobs speaks at an Apple event at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs speaks at an Apple event at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs speaks at an Apple event at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

2016: Apple returned to its roots and announced the 4-inch iPhone SE. Meanwhile, the firm is embroiled in a legal battle with the FBI, involving the agency demanding access to the locked phone used by Syed Farook, who died in a shootout after carrying out a deadly December attack in San Bernardino, California with his wife. The court order was dropped on March 28 after the FBI said a third party was able to unlock the device.  

2017: Apple introduces the iPhone X, which removes the home button to make way for a futuristic edge-to-edge screen design and a new FaceID system that uses advanced sensors and lasers to unlock phones with just the owner’s face.    

2018: In a first for the company, Apple introduces new features in its latest operating system, iOS 12, that encourage users to manage and spend less time on their devices. The move was spawned by a strongly worded letter from shareholders that urged the firm to address the growing problem of smartphone addiction among kids and teenagers. 

2019: In January, Apple reports its first decline in revenues and profits in a decade. CEO Tim Cook partly blamed steep declines in revenue from China.

2020: In March, Apple closes all its bricks and mortar retail stores outside of China in response to coronavirus. 

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Over one BILLION Android phones may be at risk of 400 ‘Achilles’ vulnerabilities

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over one billion android phones may be at risk of 400 achilles vulnerabilities

Security researches warn over one billion Android phones are at risk of becoming a spying tool for hackers.

The team found 400 vulnerabilities in Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips, which are staples in the smartphones.

The flaws, collectively called ‘Achilles,’ lets cybercriminals access photos, videos, location data and other sensitive details on the handset.

First uncovered by the firm Check Point, experts say users only need to install what seems like a benign app, but is actual riddled with malware that lets hackers launch their attack.

Security researches warn over one billion Android phones are at risk of becoming a spying tool for hackers. The team found 400 vulnerabilities in Qualcomm's Snapdragon chips, which are staples in the smartphones

Security researches warn over one billion Android phones are at risk of becoming a spying tool for hackers. The team found 400 vulnerabilities in Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips, which are staples in the smartphones

Yaniv Balmas, head of cyber research at Check Point, said: ‘You can be spied on. You can lose all your data.’

‘If such vulnerabilities are found and used by malicious actors, it will find millions of mobile phone users with almost no way to protect themselves for a very long time.’

Check Point has shared its findings with Qualcomm and affected smartphone vendors, but has not posted the vulnerabilities to the public so as not to provide any opportunities to hackers.

Snapdragon system-on-a-chip products can be found on leading phone products by Google, Samsung, Xiaomi, LG, and OnePlus.

Snapdragon system-on-a-chip products can be found on leading phone products by Google, Samsung (pictured), Xiaomi, LG, and OnePlus

Snapdragon system-on-a-chip products can be found on leading phone products by Google, Samsung (pictured), Xiaomi, LG, and OnePlus

However, iPhone users are safe from Achilles, as Apple provides its own processors.

Qualcomm said it is addressing the vulnerabilities; issuing a new compiler and a new software development kit. But it is up to phone vendors to distribute patches for each model phone carrying the affected processor.

‘For vendors, it means they will need to recompile each and every DSP application they use, test them, and fix any issues [that] may occur,’ said Balmas. ‘Then they need to ship these fixes to all devices in the market.’

Snapdragon chips are used in a range of smartphones, wearables, automobile systems and other devices. 

Electronic developers have long welcomed the technology for its speed and performance abilities, power capabilities, 5G support, graphics handling and embedded fingerprint reading capacity.

However, security experts have closely watched these digital signal processors (DSP) due to possible flaws because technical specs are usually closely guarded by manufacturers.

‘While DSP chips provide a relatively economical solution that allows mobile phones to provide end users with more functionality and enable innovative features, they do come with a cost,’ researchers from Check Point state in a report posted online. 

‘These chips introduce new attack surfaces and weak points to these mobile devices.’ 

The flaws, collectively called 'Achilles,' lets cybercriminals access photos, videos, location data and other sensitive details on the handset

The flaws, collectively called ‘Achilles,’ lets cybercriminals access photos, videos, location data and other sensitive details on the handset

‘DSP chips are much more vulnerable to risks as they are being managed as ‘Black Boxes’ since it can be very complex for anyone other than their manufacturer to review their design, functionality or code.’

‘Our research managed to break these limits and we were able to have a very close look at the chip’s internal design and implementation in a relatively convenient way,’ Balmas said.

‘Since such research is very rare, it can explain why we found so many vulnerable code sections.’

Qualcomm said it has no evidence the vulnerabilities are ‘currently being exploited,’ but urged customers ‘to update their devices as patches become available and to only install applications from trusted locations, such as the Google Play Store.’

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Over one BILLION Android phones may be vulnerable to 400 ‘Achilles’ flaws

Published

on

By

over one billion android phones may be vulnerable to 400 achilles flaws

Security researches warn over one billion Android phones are at risk of becoming a spying tool for hackers.

The team found 400 vulnerabilities in Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips, which are staples in the smartphones.

The flaws, collectively called ‘Achilles,’ lets cybercriminals access photos, videos, location data and other sensitive details on the handset.

First uncovered by the firm Check Point, experts say users only need to install what seems like a benign app, but is actual riddled with malware that lets hackers launch their attack.

Security researches warn over one billion Android phones are at risk of becoming a spying tool for hackers. The team found 400 vulnerabilities in Qualcomm's Snapdragon chips, which are staples in the smartphones

Security researches warn over one billion Android phones are at risk of becoming a spying tool for hackers. The team found 400 vulnerabilities in Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips, which are staples in the smartphones

Yaniv Balmas, head of cyber research at Check Point, said: ‘You can be spied on. You can lose all your data.’

‘If such vulnerabilities are found and used by malicious actors, it will find millions of mobile phone users with almost no way to protect themselves for a very long time.’

Check Point has shared its findings with Qualcomm and affected smartphone vendors, but has not posted the vulnerabilities to the public so as not to provide any opportunities to hackers.

Snapdragon system-on-a-chip products can be found on leading phone products by Google, Samsung, Xiaomi, LG, and OnePlus.

Snapdragon system-on-a-chip products can be found on leading phone products by Google, Samsung (pictured), Xiaomi, LG, and OnePlus

Snapdragon system-on-a-chip products can be found on leading phone products by Google, Samsung (pictured), Xiaomi, LG, and OnePlus

However, iPhone users are safe from Achilles, as Apple provides its own processors.

Qualcomm said it is addressing the vulnerabilities; issuing a new compiler and a new software development kit. But it is up to phone vendors to distribute patches for each model phone carrying the affected processor.

‘For vendors, it means they will need to recompile each and every DSP application they use, test them, and fix any issues [that] may occur,’ said Balmas. ‘Then they need to ship these fixes to all devices in the market.’

Snapdragon chips are used in a range of smartphones, wearables, automobile systems and other devices. 

Electronic developers have long welcomed the technology for its speed and performance abilities, power capabilities, 5G support, graphics handling and embedded fingerprint reading capacity.

However, security experts have closely watched these digital signal processors (DSP) due to possible flaws because technical specs are usually closely guarded by manufacturers.

‘While DSP chips provide a relatively economical solution that allows mobile phones to provide end users with more functionality and enable innovative features, they do come with a cost,’ researchers from Check Point state in a report posted online. 

‘These chips introduce new attack surfaces and weak points to these mobile devices.’ 

The flaws, collectively called 'Achilles,' lets cybercriminals access photos, videos, location data and other sensitive details on the handset

The flaws, collectively called ‘Achilles,’ lets cybercriminals access photos, videos, location data and other sensitive details on the handset

‘DSP chips are much more vulnerable to risks as they are being managed as ‘Black Boxes’ since it can be very complex for anyone other than their manufacturer to review their design, functionality or code.’

‘Our research managed to break these limits and we were able to have a very close look at the chip’s internal design and implementation in a relatively convenient way,’ Balmas said.

‘Since such research is very rare, it can explain why we found so many vulnerable code sections.’

Qualcomm said it has no evidence the vulnerabilities are ‘currently being exploited,’ but urged customers ‘to update their devices as patches become available and to only install applications from trusted locations, such as the Google Play Store.’

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