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Go read this hilarious story from the person who found Tony Abbott’s passport number

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On March 22nd, former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott did something seemingly innocuous: he posted a picture of his boarding pass to Instagram. That post was the beginning of a convoluted six-month saga for hacker Alex Hope.

In a blog post, Hope details how they were sent Abbott’s post by a friend and asked if it would be possible to “hack this man” with only the information on the boarding pass. Upon realizing they were indeed able to find personal information, most notably Abbott’s passport number, on the airline website, their task quickly devolved into a black hole of emails, phone calls, and frantic Google searches for definitions of cybercrimes.

Hope, clearly a master of internet-age storytelling, divides each act with headings like “what have i done,” “calling 1300 CYBERONE,” and “Let’s call the Prime Minister’s office I guess?” Interspersed throughout are blurred screenshots, memes, clickable footnotes, and tongue-in-cheek references to Chrome’s Inspect Element being a mighty hacking tool.

The flow of events after the initial discovery are organized into a timeline based on Hope’s personal checklist: “figure out whether i have done a crime, notify someone (tony abbott?) that this happened, get permission to publish this here blog post, tell qantas about the security issue so they can fix it.”

Alerting the Australian government about this security issue proved to be surprisingly difficult. Hope tried online contact forms, various emails, and even called the current prime minister’s office in a desperate search for any relevant contact information. Eventually, they went on a journey through several layers of personal assistants before reaching Abbott himself.

Reflecting on their conversation with Abbott, during which Abbott asked how he might learn about computers, Hope writes, “We are dumb babies learning to use a spoon for the first time, except if you do it wrong some clown writes a blog post about you.” I, too, am some clown set loose on the internet, writing to tell you to go get the full experience at mango dot pdf dot zone.

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Microsoft’s new Xbox iOS app now lets you stream Xbox One games to your iPhone or iPad

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Microsoft’s Xbox app update for iOS and iPadOS is now live, allowing Xbox One owners to stream games to their devices. A new Xbox app is available in the App Store that includes a remote play feature, which lets Xbox One console owners stream their games to an iPhone or iPad.

Remote play is different to Microsoft’s xCloud service, which streams games directly from servers instead of your own Xbox One console. This Xbox remote play feature will only connect to your own Xbox console, not to xCloud. It’s similar to Sony’s own PS4 Remote Play feature that’s also available on Android and iOS.

This app also supports the ability to access an Xbox console over Wi-Fi, or even an LTE or 5G connection, too. The Xbox app will let you take control of your home Xbox, and you can also remotely start your console outside of your home. The Xbox will start up without a sound or the Xbox light at the front, and when you disconnect, it goes back into standby after a brief period of inactivity.

A new Xbox app arrived on Android recently, and this updated iPhone version includes the same new design and features. It also compliments the new Xbox Series X and Series S consoles, allowing players to quickly download or share game clips and screenshots. You can even manage console space and delete games from the app.

This new Xbox app is also a lot speedier than the previous iOS version, and its design matches the new dashboard and UI across Xbox in general. This new design is all ready for Microsoft’s launch of the Xbox Series X / S consoles on November 10th.

Microsoft’s updated Xbox app doesn’t change the xCloud situation, unfortunately. Apple extended an olive branch to allow services like Stadia and xCloud recently, but it included a big catch that would mean Microsoft would have to individually submit hundreds of games as separate apps using its streaming tech. Microsoft wasn’t amused by Apple’s new rules.

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Daily Crunch: Pakistan un-bans TikTok

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TikTok returns to Pakistan, Apple launches a music-focused streaming station and SpaceX launches more Starlink satellites. This is your Daily Crunch for October 19, 2020.

The big story: Pakistan un-bans TikTok

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority blocked the video app 11 days ago, over what it described as “immoral,” “obscene” and “vulgar” videos. The authority said today that it’s lifting the ban after negotiating with TikTok management.

“The restoration of TikTok is strictly subject to the condition that the platform will not be used for the spread of vulgarity/indecent content & societal values will not be abused,” it continued.

This isn’t the first time this year the country tried to crack down on digital content. Pakistan announced new internet censorship rules this year, but rescinded them after Facebook, Google and Twitter threatened to leave the country.

The tech giants

Apple launches a US-only music video station, Apple Music TV —  The new music video station offers a free, 24-hour live stream of popular music videos and other music content.

Google Cloud launches Lending DocAI, its first dedicated mortgage industry tool — The tool is meant to help mortgage companies speed up the process of evaluating a borrower’s income and asset documents.

Facebook introduces a new Messenger API with support for Instagram — The update means businesses will be able to integrate Instagram messaging into the applications and workflows they’re already using in-house to manage their Facebook conversations.

Startups, funding and venture capital

SpaceX successfully launches 60 more Starlink satellites, bringing total delivered to orbit to more than 800 — That makes 835 Starlink satellites launched thus far, though not all of those are operational.

Singapore tech-based real estate agency Propseller raises $1.2M seed round — Propseller combines a tech platform with in-house agents to close transactions more quickly.

Ready Set Raise, an accelerator for women built by women, announces third class — Ready Set Raise has changed its programming to be more focused on a “realistic fundraising process” vetted by hundreds of women.

Advice and analysis for Extra Crunch

Are VCs cutting checks in the closing days of the 2020 election? — Several investors told TechCrunch they were split about how they’re making these decisions.

Disney+ UX teardown: Wins, fails and fixes — With the help of Built for Mars founder and UX expert Peter Ramsey, we highlight some of the things Disney+ gets right and things that should be fixed.

Late-stage deals made Q3 2020 a standout VC quarter for US-based startups — Investors backed a record 88 megarounds of $100 million or more.

(Reminder: Extra Crunch is our subscription membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

US charges Russian hackers blamed for Ukraine power outages and the NotPetya ransomware attack — Prosecutors said the group of hackers, who work for the Russian GRU, are behind the “most disruptive and destructive series of computer attacks ever attributed to a single group.”

Stitcher’s podcasts arrive on Pandora with acquisition’s completion — SiriusXM today completed its previously announced $325 million acquisition of podcast platform Stitcher from E.W. Scripps, and has now launched Stitcher’s podcasts on Pandora.

Original Content podcast: It’s hard to resist the silliness of ‘Emily in Paris’ — The show’s Paris is a fantasy, but it’s a fantasy that we’re happy to visit.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.

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Google discontinues its Google Nest Secure alarm system

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Google has discontinued its Google Nest Secure alarm system, the company first confirmed to Android Police. And sure enough, if you visit the Nest Secure’s page on the Google Store right now, there’s a big button right at the top that says the product is no longer available.

“Google Nest will no longer be producing Nest Secure, however we will continue to support our security users in all the same ways,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge.

Google introduced the Google Nest Secure system in 2017. It was designed to be modular, relying on a small hockey puck-shaped device with a keypad called the Nest Guard as the central hub, sensors around the house called Nest Detects, and NFC key fobs to arm and disarm the system. It also connects to the Nest mobile app so you can get alerts and arm and disarm the system remotely. The Nest Secure system launched at $499, but Google dropped the price to $399 less than a year later.

However, the Nest Guard also had a secret, on-device microphone that buyers didn’t know about until Google added Google Assistant support to the device in February 2019. (A few months later, Google released a set of plain-English privacy commitments about its Nest devices.)

Google isn’t totally out of smart home security, though. It still sells video doorbells, security cameras, smoke alarms, and more. And the company announced a $450 million investment in security company ADT in August, saying that Nest devices will “become the cornerstone of ADT’s smart home offering” as part of that announcement.

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