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  1. Your Apple iCloud account may be open to attacks. Worried about hackers destroying your iCloud music, pictures, and documents? Here are three things you should do right now. Maybe the London-based hacker group -- which goes by the name "Turkish Crime Family" -- doesn't have access to 250-million Apple iCloud account names and passwords. But they do have access to some indeterminate number of accounts, and that's more than enough reason to exercise caution: Protect your iCloud password and data today or risk losing it tomorrow. Here's how to do it. Back up vulnerable data First, you need to back up your iCloud data. Yes, I know Apple's idea was you could use iCloud to back up your Apple device data, and that's fine, but it's iCloud itself we're worried about today. For your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, the easiest way to do this is to back up your device's files to your Mac or PC with an iTunes backup. Plug your device into your Mac or PC with iTunes on. In iTunes' top left-hand corner, under the play controls, there's a tiny phone icon. Click here and it will take you to your device's menu. Click on Summary in the left-hand column. You will be presented with three boxes. Choose Select Backups. Choose to automatically or manually back-up your device. If you choose automatic, every time you plug your gadget in, iTunes will start to back it up. Backing up your Apple device locally, and not just to iCloud, is a good idea The only problem here is that iTunes doesn't back everything up. For example, it won't back up your Apple Pay information and settings, photos already on iCloud, or purchased iTunes and App Stores content. So, to be safe, you really must change and secure your password. Change your passwords Apple could help here -- and not just by paying off the Turkish Crime Family. Other major sites -- like Amazon, Netflix, and LinkedIn -- buy cracked password lists, and use one-way hashing matches to check for existing passwords. They then reset vulnerable passwords and ask users to switch passwords. Apple hasn't done that, but it should consider doing it, given just how large the threat appears to be. Since Apple isn't doing this, it's up to you. One thing that has always annoyed me is that Apple talks as if your Apple ID and iCloud ID are different. They're not. They're the same, and they use the same password. To change your Apple ID password, sign in to your Apple ID account page with any web browser and follow the instructions to reset your password. I changed mine using Google Chrome from a Mint Linux system. Your new Apple ID password must contain at least eight characters, a number, an uppercase letter, and a lowercase letter. You also can't use spaces, the same character three times in a row, your Apple ID, or a password you've used in the last year. Whatever you do, do NOT use dumb passwords such as "abcdefgh," "qwerty," or "password." The easiest way to create a secure password that won't try your memory is to use passphrases instead of passwords. Instead of working your nerves into a frenzy trying to memorize what the cat wrote when he jumped on the keyboard (e.g. "sdf9usdf"), use an easy-to-remember but nonsensical phrase instead. For example, "Plump/Trotting Pups:" or "UNC?Win!Duke?Lose!" or "AC!DC!Tesla!Edison?" These are easy to recall and hard for crackers to break. Once you've changed your password, you'll need to change it on all your Apple devices. Then, you're going to want to add another layer of protection: Two-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA Apple's 2FA is clunky, but it still does a great job of protecting your account. For additional protection, turn on Apple's two-factor authentication. When you activate 2FA, you can access your account only from trusted devices such as your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. When you want to sign in to a new device for the first time, you'll need to provide two pieces of information. These are your Apple ID password and the six-digit verification code that's automatically displayed on your trusted devices. To use Apple 2FA, you'll also need a trusted phone number so you can receive verification codes. To add a trusted phone number, take the following steps: Go to your Apple ID account page Sign in with your Apple ID Go to the Security section and click Edit Click Add a Trusted Phone Number and enter the phone number Now, you're ready for 2FA. For a trusted device, you need an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 9 and later, or you need a Mac running OS X El Capitan or later that you've already signed into with 2FA. To turn on Apple 2FA, take the following steps. On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 9 or later: Go to Settings > iCloud > tap your Apple ID Tap Password & Security Tap Turn on Two-Factor Authentication On your Mac with OS X El Capitan or later: Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > iCloud > Account Details Click Security Click Turn on Two-Factor Authentication Yes, this can be a lot of work. On the other hand, how much work would it take you to replace your important photos, music, books, or documents if your Apple iCloud account goes up in smoke? Take the time, do it now. You'll be glad you did. Source
  2. Apple has received a ransom threat from a hacking group claiming to have access to data for up to 800 million iCloud accounts. The hackers, said to be a London-based group called the "Turkish Crime Family," have threatened to reset passwords and remotely wipe the iPhones of millions of iCloud users if Apple fails to hand over a total of US$700,000. They have given the company an ultimatum to respond by April 7. Apple reportedly has denied that the group succeeded in hacking its systems, maintaining that it obtained the email addresses and passwords from previously compromised third-party services. Apple is working with law enforcement on the threats. The data set in the iCloud hack matches the data found in the 2012 hack of 117 million accounts on LinkedIn, according to some published reports. However, the Turkish Crime Family strongly denied that in a message to TechNewsWorld on Friday. Correcting the Message The initial reports of a ransom demand of just $75,000 were incorrect, the group said in response to our email query. It actually demanded $100,000 for each of its seven members, plus "extra stuff from Apple that are worth more to us than money," which it promised Apple it would keep secret. The group also told TechNewsWorld that the only member based in London is Kerem Albayrek, who is facing charges related to listing a hacked Yahoo database for sale. It claimed that its iCloud ransom demands were in part to spread awareness of Albayrek, as well as of Karim Baratov, a Canadian resident charged earlier this month, along with a second hacker and two Russian FSB agents, in the 2014 breach of 500 million Yahoo account holders. The group told TechNewsWorld that it showed Apple scan logs that contain 800 million iCloud accounts, and that Apple claimed the data had come from outside sources. The group said it planned to launch a website that would list iCloud user names, last names, dates of birth and a captcha of their current location from an iCloud app. The site will not disclose passwords initially, the group said, but it would do so "most probably in the future." Shaking Down Apple The Turkish Crime Family threat should be taken seriously, said Pierluigi Paganini, a cybersecurity analyst and member of the Cyber Group G7 2017 Summit in Italy. "I consider the threat is credible, even if it is quite impossible to know the exact number of iCloud credentials in the hands of hackers," he told TechNewsWorld. The group is known in the hacking underground for the sale of stolen databases, Paganini said. The group reportedly has approached several media outlets directly; it told TechNewsWorld that it had been in contact with five. However, it is unlikely that the group's efforts to stir public pressure against Apple will be effective, noted Mark Nunnikhoven, vice president for cloud research at Trend Micro, in an online post. Apple is too large and has too many resources to give in to public pressure, he pointed out. The group's demands are similar to a shakedown in the physical world, in which criminals demand monthly payments to "protect" a business, Nunnikhoven noted. "In the digital world, the pressures that make victims pay (e.g. keeping your store in one piece) don't apply," Nunnikhoven wrote. "With iCloud accounts, Apple has the ultimate safety valve ... they control the infrastructure behind the accounts," he added. "Which removes most of the pressure points criminals could use." There is no evidence of state involvement in this cyberthreat, Nunnikhoven told TechNewsWorld. However, there is "mounting evidence that this is a group whose eyes are bigger than their stomachs," he suggested. "Selling credentials on the underground is rather commonplace. Attempting to extort one of the biggest companies on the planet with poor quality data is quite another." Credible Threat A report in ZDNet appeared to lend credence to some of the hacking group's claims, however. The group provided 54 credentials to the publication, which were verified as authentic based on a check of the password reset function. Most of the accounts were outdated, but 10 people did confirm to the publication that the obtained passwords were legitimate and that they since had changed them. Those 10 people were living in the UK, and had UK mobile numbers. Trend Micro is urging iCloud users to protect their accounts by using two-factor authentication, and also to use a password manager. A password manager helps users create unique passwords for every account and stores them remotely so that hackers cannot access one or two accounts and thereby gain access to many more. The FBI declined to comment for this story. Apple officials did not respond to our request to comment, and a Yahoo spokesperson was not immediately available. Source
  3. New Vault 7 leaks show CIA can install persistent malware on OS X and iOS devices A new trove of documents belonging to Wikileak’s Vault 7 leaks, dubbed “Dark Matter” reveal that Apple devices including Macs and iPhones have been compromised by the CIA. They are affected by firmware malware meaning that even a re-installation of the operating system will not fix the device. The CIA’s Embedded Development Branch (EDB) have created several tools for exploiting Apple devices, these include: Sonic Screwdriver – allows an attacker to boot its malware from peripheral devices such as a USB stick. DarkSeaSkies – is an “implant” that persists in the EFI firmware of MacBook Air computers. It consists of “DarkMatter”, “SeaPea” and “NightSkies” which affect EFI, kernel-space, and user-space respectively. Triton – macOS malware. Dark Mallet – Triton infector. DerStake – EFI-persistent version of Triton. The documents show that DerStake was at version 1.4 as of 2013, but other documents show that as of 2016, the CIA was working on DerStake 2.0. According to Wikileaks, NightSkies can infect Apple iPhones, the organisation said what’s noteworthy is that NightSkies has been able to infect iPhones since 2008. The CIA documents say NightSkies is a “beacon/loader/implant tool”. It is “expressly designed” to be physically installed onto factory fresh iPhones meaning the CIA has been intercepting the iPhone supply chain of its targets since at least 2008. "Dark Matter" is just the latest release of documents from the wider Vault 7 leaks, more CIA documents are expected in the future. Main Source: Wikileaks Source
  4. Apple animation for Siri Apple’s Siri is one of the most advanced virtual assistants out there, with the capacity to speak in more than 20 languages and pull up relevant information for its users. But Siri also has some safety features built-in, which have been abused by some users. There’s a prank that requires iPhone users to say “108” to Siri and place phone calls to emergency services. Apparently, the number prompts Siri to dial 911, or the emergency phone number in whichever country the user is at the time. 108 is India’s emergency number, but Apple embedded numerous such numbers into Siri as to protect users and make it easier for them to stay safe. The numbers embedded into Siri redirect users to emergency services in the countries where they’re currently residing. For example, saying 911 into Siri while in the UK would dial the 999 emergency service number in the country. Emergency lines could be tied up The Harris County Sheriff’s Office and Texas NENA warned iPhone users against testing the 108 command into Siri. “This viral prank is becoming increasingly popular on social media, with various speculation as to what the command does. The command, in fact, will instruct Siri to call emergency services, which could potentially tie up emergency lines.” The warning does suggest that the command is becoming an issue for emergency services, as it could potentially tie up emergency lines and delay legitimate 911 calls. It’s worth mentioning that the command does offer users a few seconds to hit the cancel button, before an operator picks up the call. However, pranksters who share the trick encourage others to close their eyes and wait 5 seconds before looking at their phone. 5 seconds is plenty of time for someone to pick up the call and treat it like a genuine emergency. Still, the command could be used in legitimate emergency situations, by simply activating Siri and saying the 108 number out loud. The Sheriff’s Office aims to raise awareness and discourage people from abusing the command. Source
  5. Apple dismisses new WikiLeaks revelations Apple says those exploits the CIA used to hack into iPhones and Macs were fixed years ago. Following the new release of CIA classified documents by the WikiLeaks, Apple adopted the same stance it did after the first round of revelations, saying that it had already fixed the bugs mentioned there. The documents, which WikiLeaks say come from the CIA, detail a number of methods for compromising and breaking into Apple devices if an agent can get his or her hands on the device. "We have preliminarily assessed the Wikileaks disclosures from this morning. Based on our initial analysis, the alleged iPhone vulnerability affected iPhone 3G only and was fixed in 2009 when iPhone 3GS was released. Additionally, our preliminary assessment shows the alleged Mac vulnerabilities were previously fixed in all Macs launched after 2013," Apple said on the matter. The Wikileaks poke The company also took the time to poke WikiLeaks a bit. Although it admits they have not negotiated any deals for information via WikiLeaks, Apple does say it has given them instructions to submit any information they wish via their normal process under standard terms. So far, no details were shared with them. This comes after Julian Assange said WikiLeaks would cooperate with tech companies to fix any security problems mentioned by the files, imposing a few conditions, however, like the companies having to release a patch within 90 days. Companies have been somewhat reluctant to make deals with WikiLeaks, especially since there are concerns regarding the source of the CIA files and whether writing patches based on them is a good idea under the circumstances. That being said, it's not exactly a surprise that the CIA has developed various techniques to get into people's phones. The Wiki files today discuss methods that require agents having physical access to the device. With enough time on one's hands, getting into a locked device, even an iPhone isn't impossible, although it's extremely difficult. If you'll remember, the CIA had a row with Apple last year over the decryption of the iPhone of the San Bernardino's shooter. Apple said it couldn't open the phone even if it wanted to, and the CIA eventually found another way in, a technique they are refusing to share with the public despite being sued over it. Their answer was, in short, that they're still using it and they can't share their secret cracking ways. Source
  6. Police officers push back demonstrators as they protest against US President Donald Trump in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2017. Court papers say data is being extracted from 100 locked phones seized during arrests at anti-Trump protests. Prosecutors are trying to pull data from 100 locked phones seized during arrests made in Washington, DC on Inauguration Day, according to court papers filed Wednesday. Prosecutors said they have search warrants to extract data from the phones, which were seized by law enforcement officers on January 20 from 214 individuals arrested on felony rioting charges related to demonstrations protesting the inauguration of Donald Trump, according to a BuzzFeed report. The filing suggests that even though the phones are locked prosecutors have successfully copied data from them, although it doesn't describe their methods. Prosecutors said in the filing they expect to "produce all of the data from the searched [phones] in the next several weeks." Wednesday's filing comes amid a mounting war of words between tech companies and policy makers, who contend that terrorist groups are benefiting from encryption, the technology that jumbles communications and files so that only the intended recipient can read them. Tech companies have become increasingly diligent about including encryption in products and services in the wake of revelations about US government surveillance programs from documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Apple's iPhone was at the center of a legal back-and-forth between the government and Apple last year after the December 2015 attack that left 14 people dead. The government wanted Apple to write new software that would unlock the phone and make its data readable, but Apple refused, saying that weakening the encryption would potentially leave other iPhone users at risk. In a surprise revelation in March 2016, the Department of Justice said an unnamed outside party helped agents break into an iPhone 5C that was used by shooter Syed Farook. However, the agency wouldn't disclose exactly how the hacker got into the phone. The data extracted from protesters' phones includes personal information irrelevant to the charges, so prosecutors are seeking a court order that would prohibit defense lawyers from copying or reproducing information unless it's relevant to the defense of their client. Representatives for the US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, which filed the papers Wednesday in the DC Superior Court, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Source
  7. Apple hinting towards new hardware being released today Apple recently announced that it will be closing its Apple Store today, and customers won’t be able to place orders for Apple products from 3 a.m. to 8 a.m. Eastern. The company didn’t reveal the reason for the scheduled maintenance downtime, but it did hint towards new products being released. The Apple Store is currently down, but the message that appears when accessing it reads “We’ve got something special in store for you. And we can’t wait for you to see it. Please check back soon.” This does hint towards new products being added and made available to users once the store returns to service. An official announcement has yet to be made; a press release will most likely be issued later today. Apple could introduce a 128GB iPhone SE, aside from new iPads Recent rumors stated that Apple is working on a series of new iPads, which would be released in the near future. One of such iPads will be the highly anticipated 10.5-inch iPad Pro model with a very thin-bezel display and overall size just slightly larger than the current 9.7-inch iPad Pro. However, reports have pointed that this iPad might arrive during an event in April, when Apple will also open its new Apple Park campus. Aside from this, Apple is also said to release a revamped 12.9-inch iPad Pro and a 9.7-inch variant, while the latter product would replace iPad Air 2 as Apple’s enterprise tablet. The Cupertino company is said to introduce a new variant of iPhone SE, one that would have 128GB of internal storage. iPhone SE isn’t at the forefront of Apple products, but the phone released last year does have a solid user base consisted of customers who enjoy smaller iPhones, but with powerful capabilities. There’s also talk of a red color variant for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, as well as new Apple Watch bands, but the latter solely wouldn’t justify a scheduled downtime for the Apple Store. Source
  8. Tim Cook and his Microsoft Surface Microsoft and Apple are fierce rivals in a wide variety of product categories, and more recently, the companies have started competing against each other in 2-in-1s as well, even though Cupertino originally downplayed this new form factor. Apple CEO Tim Cook himself laughed off the Surface, saying that putting a keyboard on a tablet is just like mixing a toaster and a refrigerator, but it looks like that he who laughs last, laughs best. Cook was one of the tech executives that attended the China Development Forum 2017 in China this week to discuss a series of topics with officials and media representatives, and as part of the gear he received to remain connected during the event, there was also a Microsoft Surface Pro 4. As you can see in the photo here, the Surface Pro 4 was the device provided to Tim Cook as well, although there’s no other picture that can be used as evidence that he even touched the keyboard. New Surface on the way Truth be told, we’re pretty sure Tim Cook is no strange of the Surface Pro, and he truly knows its capabilities, but it’s very clear that he would rather not be seen using a product developed by a rival company when he needs to promote his own. Adoption of iPad Pro for such events, however, isn’t quite impressive, and Surface models, or Windows 10 devices in general, are far more popular among event organizers looking to provide attendees with an easy and efficient way of working or staying connecting for various purposes. For what it’s worth, rumor has it that Microsoft is getting ready to unveil a new generation of toasters + refrigerators, with the Surface Book 2 said to be redesigned to get closer to a traditional laptop approach. Microsoft could give up on the hinge and even on the touchscreen for a regular laptop running Windows 10. Source
  9. He's for a big world Commentary: In a speech in China, Apple's CEO says that although globalization hasn't been good for everyone, isolation isn't good for a country's people. America is entering a new era of so-called economic nationalism. This seems to involve putting America first, drifting away from some alliances, and not funding Meals on Wheels. Not everyone has yet embraced this new national go-it-alone spirit. Apple's Tim Cook, for example, believes it has its downsides. As The Wall Street Journal reports, Cook gave a speech in China on Saturday, one that trumpeted a different world order. He said globalism "in general is great for the world." Some might say that in general it's great for Apple to make its products cheaply in China and sell them at a huge margin in the US and elsewhere. But back to Cook. He clearly seems worried about any movement away from globalization. "I think the worst thing would be to -- because it didn't help everyone --is to say it's bad and do less of that," he said. "I think the reality is you can see that countries in the world...that isolate themselves -- it's not good for their people." Yes, it's easy to believe that the people, of, say, North Korea aren't quite as happy as the people of, say, Denmark. Indeed, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel said during a White House press conference Friday: "It's always better to talk to one another than about one another." In that same press conference, President Donald Trump insisted: "I'm not an isolationist. I'm a free trader but I'm also a fair trader." Ah, if only the whole world could agree on what is fair. For Cook's Apple, as for many global companies, the ability to take advantage of worldwide free trade is vital. Indeed, during his visit to China, Apple pledged that it would invest $500 million in two new research centers there. Trumpists might wonder how many jobs this might take away from America. Neither the White House nor Apple responded to a request for comment. Companies such as Apple are now as firmly entrenched in politics as the government is in business. Sadly, everyone will have their own partisan way of calculating which country benefits most and how. Soon, we'll all be tired of winning. We just won't be sure how much we've won and how we've won it. Source
  10. Windows XP installed on an iPhone 7 They say Apple is working hard to lock down iOS and restrict users from doing anything that could affect system stability or security. And while nobody can deny this, there still are ways to do things that you wouldn’t normally believe to be possible on a mobile phone, including installing old desktop operating systems. Such as Windows XP, that is. YouTuber Hacking Jules posted a video showing Windows XP running on an iPhone 7 as part of a project whose purpose can’t be anything else than proving that it’s possible. At first glance, the video seems to be real, and the uploader has even included some iPhone information, such iOS version and settings, to prove it’s not fake. Windows XP on an iPhone? I don’t think so In case you’re wondering how come that’s possible to run Windows XP on an iPhone, it’s all thanks to emulation software, in this case iBox, which is available on GitHub. Doing it, however, is not as easy as you’d be tempted to believe and getting Windows XP up and running takes more time than expected, despite the powerful hardware, mostly because of the old tech without support for an iPhone. As you can see in the video below, Windows XP does boot on the iPhone, though it takes quite a lot of time, but performance is painfully slow to say the least. Of course, the mouse is controlled with touch, but this doesn’t seem too accurate either, and it makes sense given the fact that the screen space is so small. In the end, this project shows that it’s possible to run old Windows on an iPhone, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you can actually make it your daily driver. If you do love the idea of having a Windows phone, there’s no better time to get one, as HP is paying up to $600 for an iPhone 7 when buying the company’s Elite X3 with Windows 10 Mobile. Source
  11. Keep charging phones away from bathrooms A UK man plugged his iPhone into an outlet via an extension cord and appears to have rested the charger on his chest in the bath. Richard Bull was found dead in the bathtub. His wife found him with severe burns to his body at their home in London. As the Daily Mail reports, when police arrived at the scene they found an extension cord leading into the bathroom from the hallway. "We found an iPhone plugged into the extension cable and then the charger element in the bath," PC Craig Pattinson told an inquiry into Bull's death. He added: "The extension cable was on the floor and it appeared as though he had his phone charger on his chest and the part between the phone charger and the cable had made contact with the water." The inquest concluded that 32-year-old Bull's death was caused accidental electrocution. However, the coroner, a public official who investigates suspicious, sudden or violent deaths, said he was extremely concerned that people didn't realize that phones were as dangerous near water as, say, hairdryers. The coroner, Dr. Sean Cummings, told the inquiry: "They should attach warnings. I intend to write a report later to the makers of the phone." Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. The Mail quoted Bull's brother Andrew as saying: "I live in the US and they say it can't happen, and that there is not enough electricity. But in the UK it is enough. You don't think there is enough electricity but there is." Source
  12. Smartphone OS sales share The latest Kantar World Panel report reveals market trends in the past period, providing an insight into smartphone OS sales. The study shows that iOS continued to grow in most regions, except for Japan, Spain and Urban China. On the other hand, Android grew in the US, and accounted for 74.3% of smartphone sales, an increase from 72.9% in the three months ending January 2016. iOS recorded a share of 22.7%, while iPhone 7 remained the top-selling smartphone in major European countries. Newly announced Nokia 3, 5 and 6 smartphones are said to leave a mark in European markets, especially since Nokia accounted for 6% of phone sales in EU5 at the start of 2016. It was the fourth largest brand in Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Android dominates the market in Asia with 83.2% of smartphone sold, after increasing 9.3% during the three months period ending January 2017, while Huawei continued to account for over a quarter of smartphone sales at 26.6% for the three months ending January 2017. Apple is the second largest smartphone seller in Asia with 16.6%, but continues to experience year-on-year decline resulted from increased competition from local manufacturers. 70% of the US market is dominated by Apple and Samsung The numbers are quite different in the US, where Android accounts for 56.4% of smartphone sales, down 1.8% from a year earlier. iOS’ share is 42% of sales, up 2.9% year-on-year, while 70% of the US domestic market is dominated by Apple and Samsung, with LG being the third largest manufacturer and accounting for 11.1% of sales. The report mentions that Android and iOS will soon be the only two smartphone ecosystems moving forward, while phone manufacturers will have to adapt in order to remain competitive on the market. In addition, no other mobile OS has the capacity to challenge Android and iOS, and the situation won’t change in the near future. Source
  13. Google gets some big names in its corner Tech companies are joining forces to fight against the FBI's desire to get its hands on people's emails. Apple, Amazon, Cisco, and Microsoft have all filed an amicus brief in support of Google. Silicon Valley giants have known for years how difficult it is to fight against the government, especially when it wants to get its hands on the data of your users. This time, they're working together to back Google who was ordered by a court to hand over emails in response to an FBI search warrant. In this particular situation, the court said it doesn't matter if Google has the emails stored on data centers that are not on the territory of the United States. “When a warrant seeks email content from a foreign data center, that invasion of privacy occurs outside the United States — in the place where the customers’ private communications are stored, and where they are accessed, and copied for the benefit of law enforcement, without the customer’s consent,” reads the brief filed by the tech giants Apple, Amazon, Cisco, and Microsoft. There's a flip side They believe that granting access to the FBI only creates a precedent for other countries to demand emails sent and received by US citizens, stored on US soil, by using the same methods. This, of course, would be severely frowned upon by those very same courts that are now ordering Google to supply the FBI with data on its customers stored in foreign data centers. "Our sister nations clearly view US warrants directing service providers to access, copy, and transmit to the United States data stored on servers located within their territory as an extraterritorial act on the part of the US government," the file further reads. Google has previously said that it would battle against the court order and it seems that it has decided to bring in backup. In a similar situation, the court sided with Microsoft, which is probably part of the reason the company decided to join in on the matter. There's also the fact that all these companies face the same difficulties when fighting against the government's overreach and that such a decision could be used as precedent in cases against themselves. Source
  14. iOS 10.3 Public Beta 6 released Apple released today the sixth Beta builds of the upcoming iOS 10.3 and macOS Sierra 10.12.4 operating systems to registered developers and public beta testers who want to get an early taste of the new features. We already covered the features coming to the macOS 10.12.4 Sierra and iOS 10.3 operating systems, so you should be aware of them by now. These new Beta releases don't add any new features and are here only to polish the final builds, which should be out in the coming weeks. Tagged as builds 14E5273a and 16E189a, the iOS 10.3 Beta 6 and macOS 10.12.4 Sierra Beta 6 updates bring small bug fixes, but Apple mentioned nothing about them in the release notes, which have not been modified since last week's Beta 5 /Public Beta 5 versions. Also, if you're wondering, Apple hasn't released new Betas of the forthcoming watchOS 3.2 and tvOS 10.2 operating systems, nor the Xcode 8.3 IDE, which remain at Beta 5 and Beta 4 milestones respectively. Final iOS 10.3 and macOS Sierra 10.12.4 releases coming soon That's right, Beta 6 is usually one of the last steps in the development cycle of a new iOS or macOS release, which means that we should expect to see the final iOS 10.3 and macOS Sierra 10.12.4 as soon as next week. However, Apple doesn't publish a release schedule for new versions of its operating systems and apps, so there's no exact date. Until then, we recommend that you update your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac devices to today's iOS 10.3 and macOS Sierra 10.12.4 Beta 6 / Public Beta 6 builds, which you can install via the iOS OTA (Over-the-Air) update system or Mac App Store. Once again, please try to keep in mind that these are pre-release versions. Registered developers can run the Sierra Developer Beta Access utility to download and install the latest macOS 10.12.4 Sierra Beta release on their computers, but we do not encourage users to update their Macs to a Beta version, especially if they want to have a very stable macOS experience. Source
  15. A new report into U.S. consumers’ attitude to the collection of personal data has highlighted the disconnect between commercial claims that web users are happy to trade privacy in exchange for ‘benefits’ like discounts. On the contrary, it asserts that a large majority of web users are not at all happy, but rather feel powerless to stop their data being harvested and used by marketers. The report authors’ argue it’s this sense of resignation that is resulting in data tradeoffs taking place — rather than consumers performing careful cost-benefit analysis to weigh up the pros and cons of giving up their data (as marketers try to claim). They also found that where consumers were most informed about marketing practices they were also more likely to be resigned to not being able to do anything to prevent their data being harvested. “Rather than feeling able to make choices, Americans believe it is futile to manage what companies can learn about them. Our study reveals that more than half do not want to lose control over their information but also believe this loss of control has already happened,” the authors write. By misrepresenting the American people and championing the tradeoff argument, marketers give policymakers false justifications for allowing the collection and use of all kinds of consumer data often in ways that the public find objectionable. Moreover, the futility we found, combined with a broad public fear about what companies can do with the data, portends serious difficulties not just for individuals but also — over time — for the institution of consumer commerce.” “It is not difficult to predict widespread social tensions, and concerns about democratic access to the marketplace, if Americans continue to be resigned to a lack of control over how, when, and what marketers learn about them,” they add. The report, entitled The Tradeoff Fallacy: How marketers are misrepresenting American consumers and opening them up to exploitation, is authored by three academics from the University of Pennsylvania, and is based on a representative national cell phone and wireline phone survey of more than 1,500 Americans age 18 and older who use the internet or email “at least occasionally”. Key findings on American consumers include that — 91% disagree (77% of them strongly) that “If companies give me a discount, it is a fair exchange for them to collect information about me without my knowing” 71% disagree (53% of them strongly) that “It’s fair for an online or physical store to monitor what I’m doing online when I’m there, in exchange for letting me use the store’s wireless internet, or Wi-Fi, without charge.” 55% disagree (38% of them strongly) that “It’s okay if a store where I shop uses information it has about me to create a picture of me that improves the services they provide for me.” The authors go on to note that “only about 4% agree or agree strongly” with all three of the above propositions. And even with a broader definition of “a belief in tradeoffs” they found just a fifth (21%) were comfortably accepting of the idea. So the survey found very much a minority of consumers are happy with current data tradeoffs. The report also flags up that large numbers (often a majority) of U.S. consumers are unaware of how their purchase and usage data can be sold on or shared with third parties without their permission or knowledge — in many instances falsely believing they have greater data protection rights than they are in fact afforded by law. Examples the report notes include — 49% of American adults who use the Internet believe (incorrectly) that by law a supermarket must obtain a person’s permission before selling information about that person’s food purchases to other companies. 69% do not know that a pharmacy does not legally need a person’s permission to sell information about the over-the-counter drugs that person buys. 65% do not know that the statement “When a website has a privacy policy, it means the site will not share my information with other websites and companies without my permission” is false. 55% do not know it is legal for an online store to charge different people different prices at the same time of day. 62% do not know that price-comparison sites like Expedia or Orbitz are not legally required to include the lowest travel prices Data-mining in the spotlight One thing is clear: the great lie about online privacy is unraveling. The obfuscated commercial collection of vast amounts of personal data in exchange for ‘free’ services is gradually being revealed for what it is: a heist of unprecedented scale. Behind the bland, intellectually dishonest facade that claims there’s ‘nothing to see here’ gigantic data-mining apparatus have been manoeuvered into place, atop vast mountains of stolen personal data. Stolen because it has never been made clear to consumers what is being taken, and how that information is being used. How can you consent to something you don’t know or understand? Informed consent requires transparency and an ability to control what happens. Both of which are systematically undermined by companies whose business models require that vast amounts of personal data be shoveled ceaselessly into their engines. This is why regulators are increasingly focusing attention on the likes of Google and Facebook. And why companies with different business models, such as hardware maker Apple, are joining the chorus of condemnation. Cloud-based technology companies large and small have exploited and encouraged consumer ignorance, concealing their data-mining algorithms and processes inside proprietary black boxes labeled ‘commercially confidential’. The larger entities spend big on pumping out a steady stream of marketing misdirection — distracting their users with shiny new things, or proffering up hollow reassurances about how they don’t sell your personal data. Make no mistake: this is equivocation. Google sells access to its surveillance intelligence on who users are via its ad-targeting apparatus — so it doesn’t need to sell actual data. Its intelligence on web users’ habits and routines and likes and dislikes is far more lucrative than handing over the digits of anyone’s phone number. (The company is also moving in the direction of becoming an online marketplace in its own right — by adding a buy button directly to mobile search results. So it’s intending to capture, process and convert more transactions itself — directly choreographing users’ commercial activity.) These platforms also work to instill a feeling of impotence in users in various subtle ways, burying privacy settings within labyrinthine submenus. And technical information in unreadable terms and conditions. Doing everything they can to fog rather than fess up to the reality of the gigantic tradeoff lurking in the background. Yet slowly, but slowly this sophisticated surveillance apparatus is being dragged into the light. The privacy costs involved for consumers who pay for ‘free’ services by consenting to invasive surveillance of what they say, where they go, who they know, what they like, what they watch, what they buy, have never been made clear by the companies involved in big data mining. But costs are becoming more apparent, as glimpses of the extent of commercial tracking activities leak out. And as more questions are asked the discrepancy between the claim that there’s ‘nothing to see here’ vs the reality of sleepless surveillance apparatus peering over your shoulder, logging your pulse rate, reading your messages, noting what you look at, for how long and what you do next — and doing so to optimize the lifting of money out of your wallet — then the true consumer cost of ‘free’ becomes more visible than it has ever been. The tradeoff lie is unraveling, as the scale and implications of the data heist are starting to be processed. One clear tipping point here is NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden who, two years ago, risked life and liberty to reveal how the U.S. government (and many other governments) were involved in a massive, illegal logging of citizens’ digital communications. The documents he released also showed how commercial technology platforms had been appropriated and drawn into this secretive state surveillance complex. Once governments were implicated, it was only a matter of time before the big Internet platforms, with their mirror data-capturing apparatus, would face questions. Snowden’s revelations have had various reforming political implications for surveillance in the U.S. and Europe. Tech companies have also been forced to take public stances — either to loudly defend user privacy, or be implicated by silence and inaction. Another catalyst for increasing privacy concerns is the Internet of Things. A physical network of connected objects blinking and pinging notifications is itself a partial reveal of the extent of the digital surveillance apparatus that has been developed behind commercially closed doors. Modern consumer electronics are hermetically sealed black boxes engineered to conceal complexity. But the complexities of hooking all these ‘smart’ sensornet objects together, and placing so many data-sucking tentacles on display, in increasingly personal places (the home, the body) — starts to make surveillance infrastructure and its implications uncomfortably visible. Plus this time it’s manifestly personal. It’s in your home and on your person — which adds to a growing feeling of being creeped out and spied upon. And as more and more studies highlight consumer concern about how personal data is being harvested and processed, regulators are also taking notice — and turning up the heat. One response to growing consumer concerns about personal data came this week with Google launching a centralized dashboard for users to access (some) privacy settings. It’s far from perfect, and contains plentiful misdirection about the company’s motives, but it’s telling that this ad-fueled behemoth feels the need to be more pro-active in its presentation of its attitude and approach to user privacy. Radical transparency The Tradeoff report authors include a section at the end with suggestions for improving transparency around marketing processes, calling for “initiatives that will give members of the public the right and ability to learn what companies know about them, how they profile them, and what data lead to what personalized offers” — and for getting consumers “excited about using that right and ability”. Among their suggestions to boost transparency and corporate openness are — Public interest organizations and government agencies developing clear definitions of transparency that reflect consumer concerns, and then systematically calling out companies regarding how well or badly they are doing based on these values, in order to help consumers ‘vote with their wallets’ Activities to “dissect and report on the implications of privacy policies” — perhaps aided by crowdsourced initiatives — so that complex legalize is interpreted and implications explained for a consumer audience, again allowing for good practice to be praised (and vice versa) Advocating for consumers to gain access to the personal profiles companies create on them in order for them to understand how their data is being used “As long as the algorithms companies implement to analyze and predict the future behaviors of individuals are hidden from public view, the potential for unwanted marketer exploitation of individuals’ data remains high. We therefore ought to consider it an individual’s right to access the profiles and scores companies use to create every personalized message and discount the individual receives,” the report adds. “Companies will push back that giving out this information will expose trade secrets. We argue there are ways to carry this out while keeping their trade secrets intact.” They’re not the only ones calling for algorithms to be pulled into view either — back in April the French Senate backed calls for Google to reveal the workings of its search ranking algorithms. In that instance the focus is commercial competition to ensure a level playing field, rather than user privacy per se, but it’s clear that more questions are being asked about the power of proprietary algorithms and the hidden hierarchies they create. Startups should absolutely see the debunking of the myth that consumers are happy to trade privacy for free services as a fresh opportunity for disruption — to build services that stand out because they aren’t predicated on the assumption that consumers can and should be tricked into handing over data and having their privacy undermined on the sly. Services that stand upon a futureproofed foundation where operational transparency inculcates user trust — setting these businesses up for bona fide data exchanges, rather than shadowy tradeoffs. By Natasha Lomas https://techcrunch.com/2015/06/06/the-online-privacy-lie-is-unraveling/
  16. Linux users should be safe thanks to frequent updates The Linux Foundation has come out to speak about the Vault 7 revelations via WikiLeaks regarding CIA's hacking powers which extend to Linux devices, claiming that thanks to the open-source nature of Linux, the operating system is constantly updated with new security fixes, likely covering all those vulnerabilities the CIA may have discovered and exploited. "Linux is a very widely used operating system, with a huge installed base all around the world, so it is not surprising that state agencies from many countries would target Linux along with the many closed source platforms that they have sought to compromise," Nicko van Someren, CTO at the Linux Foundation told the Inquirer. "Linux is an incredibly active open source project. Thousands of professional developers and volunteers - including many of the most talented in the world - are constantly contributing improvements and fixes to the project. This allows the kernel team to release updates every few days - one of the fastest release cycles in the industry. Rapid release cycles enable the open source community to fix vulnerabilities and release those fixes to users fasters," he added. Apple has likely fixed everything too Linux isn't the only company to come up with a response to the WikiLeaks trove of documents regarding the CIA's hacking tools. Apple has also come forward saying that it has fixes many of the vulnerabilities referenced in the Wiki files. Apple's spokesperson expresses the company's commitment to safeguarding their customers' privacy and security. "While our initial analysis indicates that many of the issues leaked today were already patched in the latest iOS, we will continue work to rapidly address any identified vulnerabilities. We always urge customers to download the latest iOS to make sure they have the most recent security updates," the company said. Apple added that about 80% of users are running the latest version of iOS, so they should be quite protected. Unless, of course, CIA found another zero-day vulnerability in there too, or one that was left unpatched because Apple didn't know about. That, however, is the problem with just about any type of software. The documents exposed by WikiLeaks include charts detailing iOS exploits that would allow the CIA to turn iPhones into spying gear, and, in some cases, to even control the devices. According to the same files, the CIA developed some of the exploits, while others were purchased or copied. The same was done in regards to Android vulnerabilities, which Google addressed already. With opening Vault 7, WikiLeaks tried to shock the world with what the CIA can do and how extensive its operations are. However, that's the CIA's job so it shouldn't really surprise anyone that it has developed malware and viruses and exploits based on zero-day vulnerabilities to get the job done. What should upset everyone, however, is that they've taken advantage of these zero-day vulnerabilities instead of informing tech companies about them in order to protect billions of users, something they've been asked repeatedly. After all, if the CIA hackers could find the bug, others could too and those individuals may not be after tapping the phone of a few select targets. Source
  17. PowerVR Furian Imagination Technology recently announced PowerVR Furian, which is the company’s next-generation GPU that delivers significant improvements in graphics performance and power efficiency. The new technology could arrive to future iPhones. PowerVR Furian will offer 70-90% improvement in real-world gaming performance by density and 35% better performance. Fill rate will improve by 80% compared to similar Series7XT Plus graphics processing units, which are based on the current PowerVR architecture. An iPhone with PowerVR Furian could have lower power consumption and longer battery life, a criteria on the wishlist of many smartphone users. PowerVR Furian was created to address “a new class of emerging applications, with a focus on efficient scalability that will extend to multiple generations of PowerVR IP cores. We’re excited to start rolling out the first 8XT IP cores based on Furian. These cores will further cement the leadership of PowerVR at the high end of mobile performance,” said Mark Dickinson, EVP PowerVR business unit, Imagination. The first GPUs based on PowerVR Furian will arrive in mid 2017 Imagination Technologies revealed that the first graphic processing units will arrive in mid 2017, which means that they won’t be featured on the anniversary iPhone Edition. The technology has already been licensed to manufacturers and should be incorporated in mobile devices by the end of next year. Apple equipped its iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus with custom versions of Series7XT Plus, while many other iPhone models featured PowerVR Rogue architecture. It’s safe to say that the new PowerVR Furian technology will appear on future iPhones. Upcoming devices will be able to support 4K graphics, higher-resolution gaming, machine learning apps and improved augmented/virtual reality capabilities. Furthermore, Apple has been a stakeholder in Imagination Technologies, and the companies have worked closely together over the years with Apple being close to acquiring the company last year, but decided otherwise. Source
  18. Research shows use of Apple devices collapses in the US Microsoft and Google both experienced substantial increases in the education sector, while Cupertino-based rival Apple hit a new low last year, according to a new report. Futuresource Consulting says in a research that Google is the leading choice in the classroom in the United States, while Microsoft’s Windows has become the runner-up. At the same time, Apple’s devices have turned from leaders to one of the last choices, losing ground lately due to the lack of innovations. Specifically, the research shows that, in the United States, Chromebooks are the number one choice with no less than 58 percent share, while Windows comes second with 22 percent. iOS fell to third place with 14 percent, down from 19 percent, while Linux is the last one with 5 percent. Chromebooks experienced the biggest change versus 2015, as it managed to improve shipments by 8 percent. A total of 12.6 million devices were sold to schools in 2016, and more than half of them were Chromebooks, the research indicates. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, Windows is the dominating choice here with 65 percent, while Android is second with 17 percent. iOS is third with 9 percent, followed by Chrome OS with 6 percent. Microsoft and Google likely to continue growth Both Microsoft and Google are expected to grow in education, mostly as a result of investments in 2-in-1s and the growing number of OEMs building devices that come with detachable keyboards. 2-in-1 devices have become Microsoft’s own obsession, as the Redmond-based software giant itself pioneered this product category with its own Surface lineup. These devices bring a series of advantages for customers in the education sectors, as they can be used as both tablets and laptops, having a detachable keyboard and touchscreen. “Both Microsoft and Google (and their respective partners) have announced a wide range of 2-in-1 products designed specifically for education and are expected to sell for under $300. The 2-in-1 form factor is ideal for education, providing schools with flexibility in usage,” the research reads. Apple is also investing in 2-in-1s, but the bigger price point seems to significantly affect adoption in schools, so it’ll be interesting to see how Cupertino tackles the growth of Google and Microsoft in this industry. Source: Microsoft and Google Defeat Apple in Schools As iPads and MacBooks Hit New Low
  19. Apple chief calls on governments and technology companies to crack down on misinformation in public discourse Apple CEO Tim Cook is urging governments and technology firms like his own to help stem the spread of falsehoods Fake news is “killing people’s minds”, Tim Cook, the head of Apple, has said. The technology boss said firms such as his own needed to create tools that would help stem the spread of falsehoods, without impinging on freedom of speech. Cook also called for governments to lead information campaigns to crack down on fake news in an interview with a British national newspaper. The scourge of falsehoods in mainstream political discourse came to the fore during recent campaigns, during which supporters of each side were accused of promoting misinformation for political gain. “We are going through this period of time right here where unfortunately some of the people that are winning are the people that spend their time trying to get the most clicks, not tell the most truth,” Cook told the Daily Telegraph. “It’s killing people’s minds, in a way.” He said: “All of us technology companies need to create some tools that help diminish the volume of fake news. We must try to squeeze this without stepping on freedom of speech and of the press, but we must also help the reader. Too many of us are just in the ‘complain’ category right now and haven’t figured out what to do.” He said that a crackdown would mean that “truthful, reliable, non-sensational, deep news outlets will win”, adding: “The [rise of fake news] is a short-term thing. I don’t believe that people want that.” While instances were seen among supporters of both sides of the recent US election battle, Donald Trump’s campaign was seen by many as a particular beneficiary of fake news reports. And the US president’s team has been caught sending aides out to insist that a huge crowd had attended his inauguration, when the evidence showed a relatively modest audience was there. Trump’s spokesman, Sean Spicer, insisted that the event had attracted “the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration ” and Trump said he believed the crowd went “all the way back to the Washington Monument”. Images from the moment Trump was taking the oath showed the crowd was relatively small and went nowhere near as far back down Washington’s National Mall as the monument. Other evidence suggested a relatively small crowd in attendance. Senior aide Kellyanne Conway later characterised the Trump administration’s falsehoods as “alternative facts”. Fake anti-Trump stories during the election included one in which it was falsely claimed that he had groped the drag queen and television presenter RuPaul. Hillary Clinton was scrutin ised over her claim that there was “no evidence” her emails had been hacked because the FBI director, James Comey, had concluded it was likely they had been. A study by economists at Stanford University and New York University published two months after November’s US presidential election found that in the run-up to the vote, fake anti-Clinton stories had been shared 30 million times on Facebook, while those favouring her were shared eight million times. It said: “The average American saw and remembered 0.92 pro-Trump fake news stories and 0.23 pro-Clinton fake news stories, with just over half of those who recalled seeing fake news stories believing them.” But it called into question the power of fake news reports spread on social media to alter the outcome of the election, saying that, “for fake news to have changed the outcome of the election, a single fake article would need to have had the same persuasive effect as 36 television campaign ads”. Nevertheless, Cook demanded action to decrease the reach of fake news. “We need the modern version of a public service announcement campaign. It can be done quickly, if there is a will.” He added: “It has to be ingrained in the schools, it has to be ingrained in the public. There has to be a massive campaign. We have to think through every demographic... It’s almost as if a new course is required for the modern kid, for the digital kid. “In some ways kids will be the easiest to educate. At least before a certain age, they are very much in listen and understand [mode], and they then push their parents to act. We saw this with environmental issues: kids learning at school and coming home and saying why do you have this plastic bottle? Why are you throwing it away?” By Kevin Rawlinson https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/feb/11/fake-news-is-killing-peoples-minds-says-apple-boss-tim-cook
  20. If you think clearing your web browsing history on your iPhone or Mac is going to make your online habits permanently disappear, you'd be wrong. Very wrong. According to the CEO of Russian hacking tool creator Elcomsoft, Apple is storing Safari histories in the iCloud going back more than a year, possibly much longer, even where the user has asked for them to be wiped from memory. Customers check out the new Apple iPhone 7 at the Apple Store at the Grove in Los Angeles on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016 If you think clearing your web browsing history on your iPhone or Mac is going to make your online habits permanently disappear, you'd be wrong. Very wrong. According to the CEO of Russian hacking tool creator Elcomsoft, Apple is storing Safari histories in the iCloud going back more than a year, possibly much longer, even where the user has asked for them to be wiped from memory. Elcomsoft chief Vladimir Katalov told FORBES the iPhone maker kept a separate iCloud record, titled "tombstone," in which deleted web visits were stored, ostensibly for syncing across devices. Katalov told me he came across the issue "by accident" when he was looking through the Safari history on his own iPhone. When he took Elcomsoft's Phone Breaker software to extract data from the linked iCloud account, he found "deleted" records going back a year. (Apple calls them "cleared" in Safari, not "deleted"). "We have found that they stay in the cloud, probably forever," Katalov claimed. Your reporter tried clearing his Safari (version 10.0.2 on Mac OS X) history and then ran the Phone Breaker tool on his iCloud account. It returned nearly 7,000 "deleted" records going back to 27 November 2015. They were accompanied by a visit count as well as the date and time the history item was deleted. There were also Google searches, the full terms of which were visible in the Elcomsoft control panel. Fresh Safari activity that I hadn't cleared was given the status "actual." FORBES also had an iOS forensics expert validate Katalov's claims. The expert, who asked to remain anonymous, found the Elcomsoft Phone Breaker tool recovered 125,203 browsing history records going back to the same 2015 date, even though the Safari cache had been cleared. The expert also found Notes they'd supposedly deleted, but the Notes went back only a short period, less than 30 days, indicating Apple was purging them regularly. It's unclear just how or why Apple is storing cleared browsing history for such a long period. It would appear to be a design issue rather than anything suspicious, and is likely to do with the syncing mechanism between iOS, Mac OS X and Apple servers. Consumer cloud services like iCloud, by their nature, require records of delete requests to remain accessible for stretches of time, as users may have devices turned off that need to come alive again before they can sync and remove the browsing history. The fact that Apple didn't hide the deleted records indicates it wasn't a purposeful data retention effort, but an oversight, according to the forensics expert. Effective encryption and a different design would help hide the information from both Apple and probing tools like Elcomsoft's Phone Breaker, the source added. Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said companies had to be very careful to follow best practice and delete users' data when requested. "Overall, assuming this was a mistake, it's a reminder that storing and retention of data is the default as a technical matter," Stanley said. Not that he appears that bothered. "Money is not the main thing we work for," said Katalov, in our email correspondence. "But we are still going good. There are enough features in our products that are quite useful for many customers, from consumers to law enforcement, that do not rely on vulnerabilities. And finally, quite a lot of research is in progress - we will always find something new." Elcomsoft is best known not for aiding any law enforcement activity, but for a salacious episode in the history of Apple hacks: reports alleged it was used by snoops who stole celebrities' nude pictures stored in the iCloud. The so-called "Fappening" attacks saw images belonging to the likes of Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton leaked online, and the perpetrators sentenced to prison. Apple in patch mode... and an easy fix Apple declined to comment on Elcomsoft's findings. But a source with knowledge of the matter told me Apple has updated iOS and Safari to make it harder. Starting with Safari 9.1 and iOS 9.3, when users delete browsing history, the URLs are turned into hashes -- that's when plaintext is represented by a collection of digits and letters after being put through an algorithm. That goes some way to stopping any potential snoops looking at the data, though it hasn't prevented Elcomsoft's tool from grabbing the information from the latest versions of Safari. Expect Apple to continue plugging holes that Elcomsoft finds, though, as it has done with other recent public disclosures by Katalov. In cases such as this, the user won't need to do a thing, as the fixes will be done on Apple's servers. Nevertheless, as the Cupertino giant recommends, using the most recent software versions will keep customers' safer from privacy invasions. In the meantime, it's possible to turn Safari syncing off to avoid the problem altogether. Apple has a good guide about how to turn iCloud features on and off here. UPDATE Shortly after publication, FORBES was contacted by Katalov and another source, who claimed that their old records were disappearing. It appears, they said, that Apple is purging. There was no update from Apple, however. By Thomas Fox-Brewster https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2017/02/09/apple-safari-web-history-deleted-stored-icloud/
  21. Apple appears to have disabled a tool that helps buyers of pre-owned iOS devices check to see if the devices have been lost or stolen. Find My iPhone Activation Lock— which can disable stolen a iPhone, iPad, iPod or Apple Watch— previously included a feature that let people find out whether the lock had been activated by typing in the device's serial number online. That option, accessed from an iCloud page, appears to have disappeared over the weekend, according to MacRumors. As of Monday afternoon, the website that previously displayed the Activation Lock checker (icloud.com/activationlock) resulted in an error. And as MacRumors notes, the reference to the status checker appears to have been removed from the Activation Lock support page. The page still offers advice to prospective owners of used iOS devices, including a warning not to "take ownership of any used iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch until it's been erased." Unless the seller of a pre-owned device provided its serial number to the prospective buyer in advance, however, the activation lock checker would have been of little use as verification that the device was not stolen. Still, it's unclear why Apple removed the functionality. A company spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Introduced with iOS 7 as a way to deter theft, Activation Lock has frequently served as a target for hackers. In 2014, a team of hackers published a workaround that requires users to plug a bricked device into their computer and alter the "hosts" file inside. The iPhone or iPad is then tricked into connecting to the hacked server, which unlocks the gadget. Another loophole involving the iOS Wi-Fi login system was discovered last month. Source
  22. How to Opt Out of iOS Beta Updates and Reinstall iOS 10.2.1 on Your iPhone/iPad The tutorial also applies to iPod touch devices iOS 10.2.1 is the first point release to the iOS 10.2 series. It received a total of four Beta/Public Beta versions during its entire development cycle since mid-December last year. The last one was seeded only ten days ago. Like many of us running the iOS 10.2.1 Public Beta 4 release, it turns out you'll not receive the final version of iOS 10.2.1, which some will say it's identical with the last Beta, but what if your device is not working properly and you are still experiencing bugs. For example, we found out that, since we've installed the last Public Beta versions of iOS 10.2.1 on our iPhone 6 device, some applications were very slow to load and not so responsive like they used to be. Also, we noticed major battery drains. Removing the iOS Public Beta profile If you're experiencing the same issues on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch device, it's time to refresh it by reinstalling the operating system. First off, make sure that you have a recent iCloud backup, or at least a local backup in iTunes. It's time to remove the Public Beta profile (you can always reinstall it at a later time if you still want to use upcoming Beta versions), so open the Settings app, go to General, scroll down to the Profile section and click it. Then, remove the iOS Beta profile by pressing the red "Delete Profile" button. Restoring the device and reinstalling iOS Connect your device to your personal computer, where the latest version of iTunes needs to be installed (make sure you have the latest version installed, 12.5.5 at the moment of writing). With the device connected to your PC, enter DFU mode. Entering DFU Mode is as simple as pressing and holding both the Power and Home buttons on your device until you see the Apple logo on the screen. Release the Power button but keep holding the Home one until the "Connect to iTunes" logo appears. iTunes will soon offer you the option to "Restore and Update" the device. Click the "Restore and Update" button and the application will tell you that iOS 10.2.1 is available. Click OK and let it download the update. Once iTunes completes downloading iOS 10.2.1 from Apple's servers, it will soon begin installing it on your device. You don't have to do anything at this point, just don't touch anything and make sure your computer has enough battery or that it's plugged in. Reset and erase the device to restore it from a backup Just before iOS 10.2.1 finishes installing, iTunes will display a message saying "Congratulations, your iPhone has been unlocked. To set up and sync this iPhone, click Continue." Click the "Continue" button and iTunes will immediately detect your device. At this point, you need to set up your device by pressing the Home button. Choose your preferred language and region. On the next screen, you'll have to connect to your Wi-Fi network. Then, enable the location services, or simply don't. It doesn't matter, because we're going to reset and erase the device anyway, so there's no need to set up Touch ID now. When you reach the home screen, open the Settings app, go to the Reset section and press on "Erase All Content and Settings." Erase your device, which will bring you to the setup screen again. So, this time, make sure that you set up everything correctly, including Touch ID, location services, etc., and, after entering your Apple ID, you can finally choose to restore from a backup. Select the restore method you want (we prefer the iCloud backup) and let your device restore the backup, which can take a few good minutes. Once everything is restored, you can unlock your device and access the home screen. Most of the apps will continue to download and install in the background, so you'll have to wait a little longer for everthing to be exactly like it was before you've started all this. Congratulations, you refreshed your device and have the final iOS 10.2.1 installed, too. Source
  23. Mozilla: The Internet Is Unhealthy And Urgently Needs Your Help Mozilla argues that the internet's decentralized design is under threat by a few key players, including Google, Facebook, Apple, Tencent, Alibaba and Amazon, monopolizing messaging, commerce, and search. Can the internet as we know it survive the many efforts to dominate and control it, asks Firefox maker Mozilla. Much of the internet is in a perilous state, and we, its citizens, all need to help save it, says Mark Surman, executive director of Firefox maker the Mozilla Foundation. We may be in awe of the web's rise over the past 30 years, but Surman highlights numerous signs that the internet is dangerously unhealthy, from last year's Mirai botnet attacks, to market concentration, government surveillance and censorship, data breaches, and policies that smother innovation. "I wonder whether this precious public resource can remain safe, secure and dependable. Can it survive?" Surman asks. "These questions are even more critical now that we move into an age where the internet starts to wrap around us, quite literally," he adds, pointing to the Internet of Things, autonomous systems, and artificial intelligence. In this world, we don't use a computer, "we live inside it", he adds. "How [the internet] works -- and whether it's healthy -- has a direct impact on our happiness, our privacy, our pocketbooks, our economies and democracies." Surman's call to action coincides with nonprofit Mozilla's first 'prototype' of the Internet Health Report, which looks at healthy and unhealthy trends that are shaping the internet. Its five key areas include open innovation, digital inclusion, decentralization, privacy and security, and web literacy. Mozilla will launch the first report after October, once it has incorporated feedback on the prototype. That there are over 1.1 billion websites today, running on mostly open-source software, is a positive sign for open innovation. However, Mozilla says the internet is "constantly dodging bullets" from bad policy, such as outdated copyright laws, secretly negotiated trade agreements, and restrictive digital-rights management. Similarly, while mobile has helped put more than three billion people online today, there were 56 internet shutdowns last year, up from 15 shutdowns in 2015, it notes. Mozilla fears the internet's decentralized design, while flourishing and protected by laws, is under threat by a few key players, including Facebook, Google, Apple, Tencent, Alibaba and Amazon, monopolizing messaging, commerce and search. "While these companies provide hugely valuable services to billions of people, they are also consolidating control over human communication and wealth at a level never before seen in history," it says. Mozilla approves of the wider adoption of encryption today on the web and in communications but highlights the emergence of new surveillance laws, such as the UK's so-called Snooper's Charter. It also cites as a concern the Mirai malware behind last year's DDoS attacks, which abused unsecured webcams and other IoT devices, and is calling for safety standards, rules and accountability measures. The report also draws attention to the policy focus on web literacy in the context of learning how to code or use a computer, which ignores other literacy skills, such as the ability to spot fake news, and separate ads from search results. Source Alternate Source - 1: Mozilla’s First Internet Health Report Tackles Security, Privacy Alternate Source - 2: Mozilla Wants Infosec Activism To Be The Next Green Movement
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