THE NEWS WRAP: Australian spies part of international spook alliance to hack smartphones

Kye White /

Australia’s spy agencies, along with those of the United States, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom planned to hijack the Google and Samsung app stores to implant spyware on phones.


A top secret document, obtained by CBC News shows The Five Eyes intelligence alliance exploited weaknesses in UC Browser and planned to hack into smartphones via links to Google and Samsung app stores.


The goal of tapping into UC Browser, a popular app in China and India that’s growing in North America, was to collect data on suspected terrorists and other intelligence targets.


Obvious Ventures closes its first fund

Obvious Ventures, the venture capital firm co-founded by Twitter’s Evan Williams, has closed its first fund, raising $123,456,789, Venture Beat reports.


The firm is looking to fund big for-profit, socially positive businesses. Co-founder James Joaquin points to the example of Beyond Meat, a company that makes products with the same taste and texture as chicken or beef, but made entirely from plants.


“We’re not doing philanthropy. We’re not doing social impact investing. We’re doing early stage venture. Our thesis is that the best returns are going to come from these world positive companies,” he says.


Future of the iPad

Apple is working on a number of significant iPad hardware and software updates, 9to5Mac reports.


These include a dual-app viewing mode, 12-inch iPads, and support for multi-user logins. The split-screen viewing mode is expected to be introduced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June.



The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.34 to 18,285.74. The Australian dollar is trading at US79 cents.


Do you know more on this story or have a tip of your own? Raising capital or launching a startup? Let us know. Follow StartupSmart on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Kye White

Kye began his career at a Fairfax daily on the North-West Coast of Tasmania. He has since taken his belongings, and keen interest in technology, to Melbourne. He has a bachelor of Arts majoring in Political Science from the University of Tasmania and a Graduate Diploma in Journalism from RMIT University.

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