In late September 2016, leaders in the House of Representatives met behind closed doors for briefings on a closely held investigation into a group of computer technicians working on Capitol Hill.
Investigators with the Inspector General’s Office had been quietly tracking the five IT workers’ digital footprints for months. They were alarmed by what they saw. The employees appeared to be accessing congressional servers without authorization, an indication that they “could be reading and/or removing information,” according to documents distributed at the previously unreported private briefings.
For some who listened to the findings, the fact that the employees were born in Pakistan set off alarms about national security, according to two participants who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Others thought it more likely that the IT workers, naturalized U.S. citizens, were bending rules on network access to share job duties — violations of House protocol, perhaps, but not espionage.
Since then, the story of the House IT workers — brothers Imran Awan, Abid Awan and Jamal Awan, as well as Imran Awan’s wife, Hina Alvi, and friend Rao Abbas — has become a lightning rod charged by the convergence of politics, cybersecurity and fears of foreign intrusion.
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It has attracted unfounded conspiracy theories and intrigue. Far-right news organizations seized on it as a potential coverup of an espionage ring that plundered national secrets and might have been responsible for the campaign hacking of the Democratic National Committee, a breach that intelligence agencies have linked to Russia. President Trump has fanned its embers from his Twitter account, reposting an article that claimed the mainstream media were ignoring a scandal “engulfing” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida Democrat who was slow to fire Imran Awan after news of the investigation broke.
The NYPD said they received a complaint about the alleged theft of computers on Aug. 24. The computers were purchased from Compulink via a district email address. Compulink officials said they complained to police when they didn’t receive payment for the computers.
According to a copy of the criminal complaint released Wednesday against Cucina, she told police she allowed a third party to use the district’s email to purchase the computers “in exchange for $2,000.”
Cucina was represented at her arraignment by the Legal Aid Society, which generally does not comment on its cases.
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“There are many other issues we’re investigating right now in other departments” within the district, said schools Superintendent Shimon Waronker, who took office in June. “More is going to come.”
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The Apple Watch could previously only load data over a Bluetooth connection with an iPhone, and limited data (Siri, iMessages, and smart home control) over Wi-Fi.
Now, the Apple Watch Series 3 will be able to download data on its own, without being tethered to an iPhone or a Wi-Fi network — that is, if you sign up for an additional data plan with a cell provider (for now, AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile are the first US carriers at launch). The number on your watch will be the same number as your iPhone, and third party apps like WeChat will work as well.
The display itself acts as the antenna — and there’s an embedded electronic SIM card in the device’s hardware. The watch’s form factor is largely the same, which means bands bought for previous Apple Watches will be compatible with the new device. Only the side dial (called the “digital crown”), which now has a red accent, looks different.
There’s an option to turn cellular connectivity on and off, as well as add cellular-related information (or “complications”), like connection strength and ability to make/receive calls, to your watch face.
However, according to Apple's specs, LTE connectivity reduces battery life significantly.
Talk time is three hours connected to the iPhone, and just one hour over LTE. With the GPS and heart rate sensor on during an outdoor workout, the battery life is five hours without LTE, and four hours with LTE. The company's 18 hours all-day battery life claim includes four hours of LTE connection and 14 hours of Bluetooth connection to the iPhone.
Like Series 2, the watch features built-in GPS and waterproofness up to 50 meters deep, as well as an OLED Retina display.
WatchOS 4 is the new software shipping with the Apple Watch Series 3, though the update will also be available to older versions of the Apple Watch on September 19.
It includes new watch faces, including a Siri-based version that proactively displays information it thinks you need (eg. traffic info, reminders, and airline tickets from Apple Wallet). The Workout app has a new high intensity interval training (HIIT) mode, enhanced pool swim tracking, and the ability to exchange information with certain gym equipment. When you start a new workout in watchOS 4, the watch will also turn on Do Not Disturb simultaneously, so it doesn’t buzz during your workout class.
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There’s better Apple Music integration, too (personalized playlists like New Music Mix are auto-synced). Person-to-person Apple Pay (launching with iOS 11 for phones and tablets) is also available on the watch.
You can preorder the watch on Sept. 15, which starts at $329 for the non-cellular version and $399 for cellular in a variety of colors and finishes. Both ship Sept. 22.
Apple made progress towards a more independent smartwatch with last year’s fitness-focused and newly swim-proof Apple Watch Series 2, which added GPS, so runners, cyclists, and swimmers could track their routes. But the ability to connect to an LTE network may finally fulfill the smartwatch’s original promise: to be a computer on your wrist. The original Apple Watch was too reliant on the iPhone to add any additional benefit for many users. The second-generation watch was more palatable for those interested in health and fitness, but it still wasn’t the device for those who’d rather wear their phones than carry it.