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  1. A California judge has ruled that American cops can’t force people to unlock a mobile phone with their face or finger. The ruling goes further to protect people’s private lives from government searches than any before and is being hailed as a potentially landmark decision. Previously, U.S. judges had ruled that police were allowed to force unlock devices like Apple’s iPhone with biometrics, such as fingerprints, faces or irises. That was despite the fact feds weren’t permitted to force a suspect to divulge a passcode. But according to a ruling uncovered by Forbes, all logins are equal. The order came from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in the denial of a search warrant for an unspecified property in Oakland. The warrant was filed as part of an investigation into a Facebook extortion crime, in which a victim was asked to pay up or have an “embarassing” video of them publicly released. The cops had some suspects in mind and wanted to raid their property. In doing so, the feds also wanted to open up any phone on the premises via facial recognition, a fingerprint or an iris. While the judge agreed that investigators had shown probable cause to search the property, they didn’t have the right to open all devices inside by forcing unlocks with biometric features. On the one hand, magistrate judge Kandis Westmore ruled the request was “overbroad” as it was “neither limited to a particular person nor a particular device.” But in a more significant part of the ruling, Judge Westmore declared that the government did not have the right, even with a warrant, to force suspects to incriminate themselves by unlocking their devices with their biological features. Previously, courts had decided biometric features, unlike passcodes, were not “testimonial.” That was because a suspect would have to willingly and verbally give up a passcode, which is not the case with biometrics. A password was therefore deemed testimony, but body parts were not, and so not granted Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination. That created a paradox: How could a passcode be treated differently to a finger or face, when any of the three could be used to unlock a device and expose a user’s private life? And that’s just what Westmore focused on in her ruling. Declaring that “technology is outpacing the law,” the judge wrote that fingerprints and face scans were not the same as “physical evidence” when considered in a context where those body features would be used to unlock a phone. “If a person cannot be compelled to provide a passcode because it is a testimonial communication, a person cannot be compelled to provide one’s finger, thumb, iris, face, or other biometric feature to unlock that same device,” the judge wrote. “The undersigned finds that a biometric feature is analogous to the 20 nonverbal, physiological responses elicited during a polygraph test, which are used to determine guilt or innocence, and are considered testimonial.” There were other ways the government could get access to relevant data in the Facebook extortion case “that do not trample on the Fifth Amendment,” Westmore added. They could, for instance, ask Facebook to provide Messenger communications, she suggested. Facebook has been willing to hand over such messages in a significant number of previous cases Forbes has reviewed. Law finally catching up with tech? Over recent years, the government has drawn criticism for its smartphone searches. In 2016, Forbes uncovered a search warrant not dissimilar to the one in California. Again in the Golden State, the feds wanted to go onto a premises and force unlock devices with fingerprints, regardless of what phones or who was inside. Andrew Crocker, senior staff attorney at the digital rights nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the latest California ruling went a step further than he’d seen other courts go. In particular, Westmore observed alphanumeric passcodes and biometrics served the same purpose in unlocking phones. “While that’s a fairly novel conclusion, it’s important that courts are beginning to look at these issues on their own terms,” Crocker told Forbes. “In its recent decisions, the Supreme Court has made clear that digital searches raise serious privacy concerns that did not exist in the age of physical searches—a full forensic search of a cellphone reveals far more than a patdown of a suspect’s pockets during an arrest for example.” The magistrate judge decision could, of course, be overturned by a district court judge, as happened in Illinois in 2017 with a similar ruling. The best advice for anyone concerned about government overreach into their smartphones: Stick to a strong alphanumeric passcode that you won’t be compelled to disclose. Source
  2. The AchieVer

    iPhone 11 Could Feature Wi-Fi 6 Support

    Apple’s 2019 iPhone may not feature significant upgrades in terms of design, but the real magic could happen under the hood if all the recent rumors are anything to be believed. Most recently, Barclays analysts projected that the next iPhone family could come with support for Wi-Fi 6, thus providing faster wireless connectivity by using the latest generation technology. Wi-Fi 6 (ax) was announced in late 2018, and it is expected that the standard would be adopted by devices launching this year, including flagship products from Apple and Samsung. As far as the South Korean firm goes, for instance, the analysts believe the Galaxy series could use it too, so we expect both the Galaxy S10 launching next month and the Galaxy Note 10 due in the summer to include support for the tech. Needless to say, iPhones coming with Wi-Fi 6 tech is just a guess for now, and confirmation would only be offered in September when the new models are projected to be unveiled.5G support on new iPhones?A report that made the rounds earlier this week indicated that the 2019 iPhone project is already in an advanced stage and Apple is no longer expected to make any significant changes. The new generation is likely to include three different models, all of them based on the existing versions. There will be a successor to each 2018 iPhone, with the 2019 iPhone XR to use a dual-camera system. The iPhone XS Max will also be upgraded to three cameras on the back. One particular question that isn’t yet answered concerns the 5G support. While reports that made the rounds in late 2018 indicated that Apple could wait until 2020 to bring this feature to its devices, more recently it has been speculated that the company is already in talks with Samsung and MediaTek over 5G modem chips for 2019 iPhones. The two could join Intel into providing new iPhones with 5G capabilities, though for now, it’s not exactly clear if the talks are on the table for the 2019 products or the ones coming next year. Source
  3. Hardware security key maker Yubico has a new product in the works to give iPhones the same authentication technology available today to Android phones and to Windows and Mac personal computers. Previewed at the CES show this week, the YubiKey for Lightning supports Apple's proprietary iPhone and iPad port on one end and the USB-C port common on Android phones and PCs. By tapping into logon standards such as FIDO 2, WebAuthn, and U2F, hardware security keys provide extra security in addition to passwords -- or sometimes with no password at all. Hardware security keys are an important development in the quest to keep accounts secure from hackers and identity thieves. The new YubiKey for Lightning should help iPhone owners keep up with modern practices. Passwords are plagued with shortcomings -- chiefly that the ones easiest to remember and type are the most vulnerable -- and even stronger protections like one-time codes sent by text message are increasingly vulnerable. Google credits its security keys for thwarting phishing attacks against its employees. To use the keys, from companies like Yubico and Feitian, you insert the key into your device's USB port during logon and push a button. You might have to use them in conjunction with a second authentication factor like passwords, fingerprints or face recognition. Some of Yubico's keys work wirelessly, too, with NFC (near-field communication) radio technology. Even though newer iPhones support NFC, though, there are limits that hobbled YubiKey abilities. The Lightning-enabled model should get around those, Yubico said. The product should be a boon to anyone using hardware keys to protect accounts like Gmail, Microsoft Outlook and Office 365, Dropbox, Twitter, Facebook, Github, LastPass, 1Password and Dashlane. Source
  4. New cameras to compete with Android handsets Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge Apple is reportedly planning to release three new iPhones later this year. The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple will introduce a successor to the iPhone XR with an LCD display, alongside two other handsets. The high-end 2019 iPhone. presumably the largest of the three, is also rumored to include a triple camera system at the rear, in an effort that’s clearly designed to compete with the latest crop of Android handsets that include multiple cameras. Renders of a triple camera iPhone leaked last week, with OnLeaks claiming Apple will introduce such a system later this year. It’s not clear what an additional camera at the rear of an iPhone will enable, but the rumors have emerged after reports that Sony is boosting its 3D camera output for chips that will power rear-facing 3D cameras on smartphones in 2019. View image on Twitter Apple is also reportedly considering going OLED-only for its 2020 iPhone models, according to the WSJ. Such a move would likely raise the overall selling price of Apple’s iPhones next year, amidst concerns over iPhone sales in China and other developing markets. Apple recently warned it could miss $9 billion in iPhone sales in the recent quarter due to weaker demand. source
  5. Data provided by Mixpanel shows that iPhone XS Max is the most popular 2018 iPhone, with its adoption rate exceeding the one of both iPhone XS and iPhone XR. The January 10 numbers show that iPhone XS Max has a share of 3.36%, while iPhone XS is the runner-up with 2.97%, while iPhone XR is third with 2.74%. The data only concerns iPhones launched in 2018, right now, iPhone X is the leading model with 11.30%. Very important to note is that the numbers vary a lot from one day to another, but every time, the iPhone XS Max remains the leading 2018 model. On January 9, it was the top choice with 3.70%, followed by iPhone XR with 3.08%. iPhone XS was only third with 2.90%. Certainly, these figures are fairly surprising, especially because one of the main complaints these days is that 2018 iPhones are too expensive.iPhone XS Max, the most expensive 2018 iPhoneHowever, iPhone XS Max is the most expensive of them all, with the top-of-the-range model reaching $1,450 in the United States. Apple CEO Tim Cook said earlier this month that the weaker demand for the new iPhones is mostly a result of the growing tension between the United States and China on import taxes. Cook also blamed the battery replacement program that came to an end on December 31, explaining that with a new battery, some existing iPhone owners delay the upgrade to a new iPhone. While Cook suggested that pricing isn’t an issue, Apple today offered Chinese vendors a price cut for all 2017 and 2018 iPhone models in an attempt to counter the declining sales. It’s not yet clear if similar discounts would expand to other markets, so for now, iPhones remain just as expensive as before for most customers across the world. Source
  6. The 2018 iPhone generation landed on the market only a few months ago, but Apple is already planning in advance, and according to one leakster, some pretty big changes are prepared for 2020. Twitter user Ice Universe, who has until now provided several accurate scoops on unreleased mobile products, says that Apple may launch an iPhone with a hole in its display in 2020, technically embracing the same solution that others are working on right now, including rival Samsung. Apple adopting this design idea is both good news and bad news. First of all, it shows that sooner or later, Apple may give up on the notch and focus on features that are more important for users. For instance, drilling holes in the display would basically kill off the notch because the front-facing parts, like the 3D sensing cameras, can just be embedded into the glass. Additionally, it also allows for other technology to make its way to the iPhone, like the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and it helps the company improve the available screen estate without design gimmicks like a notch.One more notched iPhoneOn the other hand, Apple doing this next year means we’ll have to stick with a notch for at least one more generation. The cited source claims there’s a good chance Apple would launch the 2019 iPhone with a notch, though some upgrades are prepared this time too, including a possible return of Touch ID. The notch has become a love it or hate it kind of thing, and it has actually generated mixed reactions from customers across the world. However, it has also evolved to be a trend that others are embracing too, including brands like Huawei and Motorola. For now, it’s still recommended to receive these rumors with a healthy dose of skepticism, especially because anything can change overnight if Apple wants it. The 2020 iPhone is likely still on the drawing board, so it could take a while until the first accurate leaks make the rounds. Source
  7. China, battery replacement and fewer carrier subsidies blamed Apple isn't selling as many iPhones as it had previously forecast, according to revised first quarter projections, and it's a big enough shortfall to lower its revenue estimates by billions of dollars. The company lowered its guidance by $9 billion (about £$7.14b, AU$12.9b), going from a projected high of $93 billion (about £74b, AU$133b) to a new estimate of $84 billion (about £67b, AU$120b). The blame? "Lower than anticipated iPhone revenue, primarily in Greater China," according to a letter by Apple CEO Tim Cook. He cited the slowing of the Chinese economy and US-China trade tensions. Apple stock was briefly halted and the share price fell over 10 points in after hours trading. If there's any good news, it's that Cook noted that categories outside of the iPhone, including Mac, iPad wearables and services, actually grew by 19%. Other reason for iPhone weakness It's not all China. Other factors for weak iPhone performance include the strength of the US dollar and Apple's temporarily price cut for its replacement battery service in older iPhones. That deal ended on December 31. Cook also cited the fact that there are fewer carrier subsidies in a CNBC interview. In the US, for example, a new iPhone isn't $199 on contract anymore. That changed a while ago, but it's just hitting some new upgraders for the first time. "There aren't as many subsidies as their used to be from a carrier point of view," said Cook. "That didn't all happen yesterday, but if you were out of the market for two to three years and you come back, it looks like that to you." The next official Apple earning conference call is expected to happen toward the end of this month, on Tuesday, January 29. We'll have the final numbers and more words from Cook and company then. Source
  8. Alright, so the update to iOS 12.1.2 broke cellular data connectivity on various iPhone models around the globe. But those affected can still get their daily Twitter fix via Wi-Fi, right? Uh, not so fast. According to Forbes, it appears that the iOS 12.1.2 update also prevents several iPhone users from connecting to a Wi-Fi signal. One Twitter user had a workaround for the loss of Wi-Fi connectivity. He says that disabling Wi-Fi calling and changing the settings from voice and data to data only might help. If your iPhone has lost Wi-Fi connectivity, it doesn't hurt to give this a try. You might recall that one of the reasons why Apple rushed out iOS 12.1.2 was to exterminate a bug that prevented iPhone users in Turkey from connecting to cellular data (the other reason had to do with the Chinese sales ban). Ironically, the update spread the problem in Turkey to iPhone users throughout the world, broke Wi-Fi connectivity for some, and certain iPhone owners now have seen their expensive handset turn into a paperweight. More bad new for some iPhone users who installed iOS 12.1.2 There is potentially some good or bad news on the way. Apple is beta testing iOS 12.1.3, but iPhone owners might be a little worried about what the next iOS update will do to their phone. Source
  9. To celebrate Christmas, Digiarty is launching a grand Christmas giveaway to offer their an ultimate iPhone iPad manager for Mac Macx MediaTrans V6.4 for free ($59.95 valued). Everyone is welcome to get a fully licensed copy for free with no strings attached! First come first served! With full GPU acceleration, Macx MediaTrans is the best way to transfer photo, video & music between iPhone iPad and Mac. New!! MacX MediaTrans features end-to-end encryption to safeguard your media files with the highest level of security! Check here: http://bit.ly/2QQnCKX How to get: Simply go to the campaign page, submit an email address and click "Get License Code" button, and then a window will pop up to show the details. At the same time, a zip file including license code & setup of the program is automatically downloaded. Please note that the giveaway version doesn't support a free upgrade. What's more: Digiarty is holding the Christmas Campaign NOW!-- Enter to Win iPhone XR、Apple Watch and Portable Charger!! Don't miss this Super Sweepstakes! ! http://bit.ly/2QQnhYH Be the first one to faster backup iPhone data with Macx MediaTrans!
  10. A report by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners found that in the 30 days after the iPhone XR was released, 16 percent of U.S. iPhone buyers upgraded from Android phones. The report comes after speculation that demand for the iPhone is weakening as suppliers have cut their outlook and Apple announced that it will no longer disclose unit sales. The most affordable new model, the iPhone XR, made up 32 percent of iPhone sales in the U.S. in the 30 days after its release, the report found. VCG | Visual China Group | Getty Images Apple chief design officer Jony Ive and Apple CEO Tim Cook inspect iPhone XR. Apple's latest iPhone models are attracting more Android users to the brand than in previous years, a new report by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners found. Signs have pointed to relatively weak demand overall for the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR, like lowered guidance by some of Apple's key suppliers and the company's announcement that it will no longer disclose unit sales for the iPhone. The report found that 16 percent of iPhone buyers upgraded from an Android phone in the 30-day period after the launch of the iPhone XR. After the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus were released in September 2017, 12 percent of iPhone buyers upgraded from an Android phone, and when the iPhone X was released in November 2017, that number was 11 percent. "It appears that iPhone XR did serve to attract current Android users," Mike Levin, CIRP co-founder and partner, said in a statement in a press release. "Of course, Apple doesn't just state plainly its launch strategy. But, based on the pricing and features, we can infer that Apple positioned the iPhone XR to appeal to potential operating systems switchers from Android." CIRP's report found that nearly a third of iPhone buyers in the U.S. flocked to its cheapest new model, the XR, which starts at $749. In the 30 days after its launch in October 2018, CIRP found that XR sales made up 32 percent of total iPhone sales in the U.S. During the same 30-day period after the XR release, sales for the the iPhone XS and XS Max accounted for 35 percent of U.S. iPhone sales combined. In an interview with CNET last month, Apple's vice president of product marketing, Greg Joswiak, said the iPhone XR had "been our most popular iPhone each and every day since the day it became available." This share of XR sales tracks with that of previous models in their first month on the market, CIRP said, acknowledging that it can't make an exact comparison since this year Apple launched its more cheaper model second, diverting from previous launch strategies. Source
  11. Only a week after a Chinese court banned the import and sale of older iPhone models due to a Qualcomm injunction, the same fate has befallen the iPhone 7and iPhone 8 in Germany. Qualcomm’s ongoing feud with Apple is wide-ranging in its nature and has raged on for over two years, but recent complaints are in relation to the tech giant allegedly stealing the chipset manufacturer’s intellectual property. Apple is working on an appeal to the German court’s decision but, in the meantime, has suspended sales of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 from all 15 of the company's stores in the country. They can be sold by third-party retailers, however, and all other models are unaffected. Qualcomm alleges Apple shared modem secrets with Intel The Chinese ban was in relation to photo editing and touchscreen multi-tasking patents but, because Apple responded quickly and removed the offending features from iOS, sales of the older devices were subsequently resumed. source In the case of the German ban, however, it is the iPhone’s power saving functionality that is in violation, so it’s unclear whether Apple will be able to fix the issue with a software or firmware update in order to continue sales of the units. Considering this is the second country in as many weeks to enact Qualcomm's injunction wishes, it's possible we'll see Apple's older handsets pulled from shelves in other regions in the coming months.
  12. The best iPhone leaks this year have come directly from Apple - and on too many occasions for it to be a coincidence. Now, with stalling iPhone sales resulting in significant price cuts and legal battles pushing legally motivated iOS updates, Apple AAPL +1.28% is at it again changing the narrative by subtly teasing a red-hot new iPhone upgrade… Picked up by the ever-alert Patently Apple, Apple has quietly filed a patent detailing the return of Touch ID and how it would work alongside Face ID in new iPhones. What’s more, this is Touch ID unlike anything iPhone users have experienced before. Apple iPhone XI conceptCONCEPT CREATOR Taking inspiration from rivals, Apple shows-off work to build Touch ID into the display of iPhones. For example, Apple’s patent demonstrates it operating as a backup to Face ID for unlocking iPhones but it can also operate as a standalone authentication method itself. “[T]oday's report does in fact show interfaces confirming that dual biometrics could be coming to future iPhones”, confirms Patently Apple and the news also means that where there was once smoke, it is beginning to look a lot like fire. Why? Because this is Apple’s second leak detailing an in-display Touch ID iPhone in a month. Earlier in December, Apple also filed new iPhone Touch ID patents devised by engineer Dale Setlak, who joined from Authentec, the company Apple bought in 2012 to acquire the technology behind Touch ID. Interestingly, one quirk of the latest patents is Apple illustrates them using an iPhone 6-style phone, but don’t be fooled. The company often uses older models as it’s a simple way to avoid revealing future designs. And here’s the kicker: the patents show Apple initially filed them privately almost a year ago, so this tech is well down the road. Qualcomm's '3D sonic sensor' is an in-display ultrasonic fingerprint reader coming to smartphones in 2019QUALCOMM But why would the return of Touch ID be so useful? In short: convenience and security. First, there are undoubtedly times when unlocking a phone with a fingerprint is more convenient than holding it up to your face. Second, the real strength of biometric security is not in isolation but combination. Simultaneous verification with both fingerprint and face is extremely strong and with Apple already revealing plans to promote iPhones are potential passport and ID document replacements, such an upgrade would be essential. Needless to say, until Tim Cook is holding up such an iPhone on stage things can change. But right now combining the industry’s best facial recognition with a (presumably ultrasonic-based) in-display Touch ID display is a win-win. Moreover, with Apple’s 2019 iPhones missing 5G and sporting conservative next-generation designs, the rebirth of Touch ID might just be the headline feature needed to reignite customer interest… source
  13. Following the release of iOS 12.1.1 on December 5 and iOS 12.1.2 on December 17, Apple has stopped signing iOS 12.1, the previous version of iOS that was available to consumers. iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch owners who have upgraded to iOS 12.1.1 or 12.1.2 will no longer be able to downgrade to iOS 12.1. iOS 12.1.1, available for all iOS devices, introduced expanded eSIM support, a redesigned FaceTime interface, and Haptic Touch for notifications on the iPhone XR, among other features. iOS 12.1.2, available only for the iPhone, introduces eSIM bug fixes and may include software tweaks in China to remove patented Qualcomm functionality. Apple routinely stops signing older versions of software updates after new releases come out in order to encourage customers to keep their operating systems up to date. iOS 12.1.1 and iOS 12.1.2 are now the only versions of iOS that can be installed on iPhones and iPads. source
  14. The United States International Trade Commission will not be blocking imports of the iPhone in the ongoing Apple v. Qualcomm case, reports Reuters. Qualcomm had asked the ITC to ban imports of the AT&T and T-Mobile iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X models that use chips from Intel, citing multiple patent violations. Qualcomm did not ask for a ban on iPhones that use Qualcomm LTE chips, with the reasoning that a more limited exclusion order was more likely to be granted. An ITC judge said on Friday that while Apple's iPhones infringe on a patent related to power management technology, a ban will not be put in place. The judge cited "public interest factors" as one of the reasons why the court ruled against Qualcomm. Neither Apple nor Qualcomm have commented on the decision as of yet, but it marks a major victory for Apple in its months-long legal battle with Qualcomm. The two companies have been embroiled in an increasingly tense legal feud that kicked off in January 2017. Qualcomm and Apple have filed several more than a dozen lawsuits against one another since then. Apple has accused Qualcomm of charging unfair royalties for "technologies they have nothing to do with," while Qualcomm claims that its inventions form the "very core" of modern mobile communication. Earlier this week, Qualcomm further escalated the dispute by accusing Apple of providing confidential trade information and trade secrets stolen from Qualcomm to Intel. Source
  15. At first it looked liked he found a way to try as many passcodes as he wanted without destroying data. But it turned out the passcodes he tested weren't always counted. A hacker thought he found a way to by bypass the iOS passcode entry limit. A security researcher thought he had figured out a way to bypass the passcode lock limit on an iPhone or iPad, ZDNet reported. But it turned out the passcodes he tested weren't always counted. "The recent report about a passcode bypass on iPhone was in error, and a result of incorrect testing," Apple said Saturday in an emailed statement. Since the 2014 release of iOS 8, all iPhones and iPads have come with device encryption protected by a four- or six-digit passcode. If the wrong passcode is entered too many times, the device gets wiped, explained ZDNet's Zack Whittaker. But Hacker House co-founder Matthew Hickey figured out a way "to bypass the 10-time limit and enter as many codes as he wants -- even on iOS 11.3," Whittaker wrote. (See video below for Hickey's demo.) Hickey "explained that when an iPhone or iPad is plugged in and a would-be-hacker sends keyboard inputs, it triggers an interrupt request, which takes priority over anything else on the device," Whittaker wrote. "Instead of sending passcodes one at a time and waiting, send them all in one go," Hickey told ZDNet. "If you send your brute-force attack in one long string of inputs, it'll process all of them, and bypass the erase data feature." But Hickey tweeted later Saturday that not all tested passcodes "go to the [secure enclave processor] in some instances -- due to pocket dialing [or] overly fast inputs -- so although it 'looks' like pins are being tested they aren't always sent and so they don't count, the devices register less counts than visible." And in a message to Whittaker Saturday, Hickey added: "I went back to double check all code and testing ... When I sent codes to the phone, it appears that 20 or more are entered but in reality its only ever sending four or five pins to be checked." Update at 9:10 p.m PT: Adds Apple refuting Hickey's report and Hickey tweeting and commenting to ZDNet about how passcodes weren't being counted. Source
  16. Apple's attempt to prevent hackers (and law enforcement) from cracking your iPhone may have a glaring flaw. Security researchers at ElcomSoft claim to have found a loophole in the new USB Restricted Mode, which rolled out Monday as part of iOS 11.4.1. USB Restricted Mode is designed to thwart iPhone-cracking tools that work by connecting to the device's Lightning port. It operates like this: if an iPhone or iPad is not unlocked after one hour, data access through the Lightning port will shut down. iOS USB Restricted ModeUnfortunately, USB Restricted Mode doesn't appear to be perfect; a $39 USB adapter can easily defeat it, according to ElcomSoft researcher Oleg Afonin. "What we discovered is that iOS will reset the USB Restrictive Mode countdown timer even if one connects the iPhone to an untrusted USB accessory, one that has never been paired to the iPhone before," Afonin wrote in a Monday blog post. Most USB accessories, such as Apple's Lightning-to-USB 3 Camera Adapter, can disable the countdown timer, he claims. However, the loophole has a limitation; it only works on iPhones or iPads that have yet to cross the one-hour threshold. Even so, the vulnerability could give enough leeway for a hacker or law enforcement to crack an iPhone. People are constantly using their mobile devices throughout the day, Afonin notes. So it wouldn't be hard for police officers to seize an iPhone when it's been recently unlocked, and connect it to a Lightning adapter, preventing the USB Restricted Mode from fully activating, he says. So far, Apple hasn't commented on the reported vulnerability. But Afonin notes that the Lightning port's communication protocol was designed to be open, not to stifle access between USB accessories. Whether Apple can quickly patch the problem remains unclear. But Afonin offered a potential solution. "Theoretically, iOS could remember which devices were connected to the iPhone, and only allow those accessories to establish connectivity without requiring an unlock," he wrote in his blog post. For more information on the USB Restricted Mode and how to toggle it on or off, Apple has a guide here. Source
  17. A security researcher has figured out how to brute force a passcode on any up-to-date iPhone or iPad, bypassing the software's security mechanisms. Since iOS 8 rolled out in 2014, all iPhones and iPads have come with device encryption. Often protected by a four- or six-digit passcode, a hardware and software combination has made it nearly impossible to break into an iPhone or iPad without cooperation from the device owner. And if the wrong passcode is entered too many times, the device gets wiped. But Matthew Hickey, a security researcher and co-founder of cybersecurity firm Hacker House, found a way to bypass the 10-time limit and enter as many codes as he wants -- even on iOS 11.3. "An attacker just needs a turned on, locked phone and a Lightning cable," Hickey told ZDNet. Normally, iPhones and iPads are limited in how many times a passcode can be entered each minute. Newer Apple devices contain a "secure enclave," a part of the hardware that can't be modified, which protects the device from brute-force attacks, like entering as many passcodes as possible. The secure enclave keeps count of how many incorrect passcode attempts have been entered and gets slower at responding with each failed attempt. Hickey found a way around that. He explained that when an iPhone or iPad is plugged in and a would-be-hacker sends keyboard inputs, it triggers an interrupt request, which takes priority over anything else on the device. An attacker can send all the passcodes in one go by enumerating each code from 0000 to 9999 in one string with no spaces. Because this doesn't give the software any breaks, the keyboard input routine takes priority over the device's data-erasing feature, he explained. That means the attack works only after the device is booted up, said Hickey, because there are more routines running. Hickey's exploit would be another black eye for the iPhone and iPad maker, which has been in a cat and mouse chase with the makers of one recently revealed phone unlocking tool. Little is publicly known about the company or its flagship product, but the $15,000 box allows law enforcement to break any iOS device's passcode, giving police full access to a device's file system -- messages, photos, call logs, browsing history, keychain, and user passwords, and more. That's thought to have been one of the reasons why Apple is rolling out a new feature called USB Restricted Mode in its upcoming iOS 12 update, which is said to make it far more difficult for police or hackers to get access to a person's device -- and their data. The new feature will effectively prevent anyone from using the USB cable for anything other than charging the device if someone hasn't unlocked the device with a passcode within the last hour. Hickey's attack is slow -- running about one passcode between three and five seconds each or over a hundred four-digit codes in an hour -- and may not stand up against Apple's incoming feature. His attack can work against six-digit passcodes -- iOS 11's default passcode length -- but would take weeks to complete. Hickey emailed Apple details of the bug, but he said it was "not a difficult bug to identify." A spokesperson for Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. "I suspect others will find it -- or have already found it," he said. Source Video
  18. Apple is trying to drag the U.S.'s antiquated system for handling 911 calls into the 21st century. If it lives up to Apple's promise, the iPhone's next operating system will automatically deliver quicker and more reliable information pinpointing the location of 911 calls to about 6,300 emergency response centers in the U.S. Apple is trying to solve a problem caused by the technological mismatch between a 50-year-old system built for landlines and today's increasingly sophisticated smartphones. An estimated 80 percent of roughly 240 million emergency calls in the U.S. this year will come from mobile phones, most of which are capable of precisely tracking where their users are. Emergency calling centers, however, don't get that detailed location information from mobile 911 calls. Instead, they get the location of the cellular tower transmitting the call, and must rely on other methods to figure out where the caller is. That can take up precious time and often isn't very accurate, especially when calls come from inside a building. Emergency responders are sometimes dispatched a mile or more away from a caller's location. Apple's upcoming 911 feature relies on technology from RapidSOS, a New York startup. The approach developed by Apple and RapidSOS sends location data from an iPhone to a "clearinghouse" accessible to emergency calling centers. Only the 911 calling centers will be able to see the data during the call, and none of it can be used for non-emergency purposes, according to Apple. Individual call centers will each have to embrace the technology required to communicate with the RapidSOS clearinghouse. Some centers already have the compatible software, according to Apple, but others will have to install upgrades to their existing software. Apple expects calling centers for large metropolitan areas to upgrade more quickly than those in rural areas. Tom Wheeler, a former chairman for the Federal Communications Commission, believes Apple's new approach for locating 911 calls will set a new industry standard. "This is going to save a lot of lives," said Wheeler, now a visiting professor at Harvard University. He said he hopes other phone makers will follow Apple's lead. The planned changes were announced Monday in Nashville, Tennessee during a 911 convention. They'll be part of iOS 12, the next version of Apple's iPhone software, which the company will release in September as a free update. Source (POSTER COMMENT: Since this is designed to work with 911 calls it will also work in reverse. If 911 calls a phone number then its exact location will be given to the 911 operator. A system police can use to track down suspects more precisely.)
  19. Apple has been fined US $6.6 million after remotely disabling iPhones that had been repaired independently. Regulators ruled it was wrong to claim the phone owners have violated their repair warranties. The ruling came in a court case brought by the Australian Competitor and Consumer Commission. It's similar to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) but with a more emphasis on protecting consumer rights. The case stemmed from a 2016 software update that disabled "unidentified" touch sensors, a part of the phone screen. With the sensor disabled, it became impossible to use the phone as it effectively no longer had a touchscreen. This was a major problem for anyone who had had their phone screen replaced by a third-party repairer who hadn't sourced the screen from Apple itself. At the time Apple said the move was a necessary security measure to protect customers from a "fraudulent Touch ID sensor" being used. Customers Were Misled Apple told at least 275 customers in Australia affected by these problems that they were no longer eligible for a remedy such as repair, replacement or refund. (Source: gov.au) In it's ruling, the court pointed out that Australian law did not allow Apple to void its legal obligations regarding faulty devices simply because a third party had carried out a repair. That meant it had misled the customers by telling them they were ineligible for a remedy and it's these misleading statements that broke consumer law. Apple will have to pay a fine of nine million Australian dollars. It has also agreed to put clearer information about warranty rights on its website and train its staff better to avoid making misleading statements. (Source: theregister.co.uk) Refurbished Replacements Unacceptable The court also ordered that if customers are entitled to a replacement because their phone develops a fault under warranty, they should get a new handset where available, rather than a refurbished unit. Source The situation on third-party repairs and warranties in the US is somewhat more complicated and varies from state to state. Several states have considered or implemented a "right to repair" law that guarantees customers can get devices repaired by a third party without voiding a warranty.
  20. This patent battle between Apple and Samsung is the lawsuit that just won’t go away. Since 2011, the two smartphone giants have been fighting over five patents due to the claim that Samsung infringed on Apple’s intellectual property when it made a handful of devices including the original Galaxy S 4G, the Galaxy S2, and the Droid Charge. In earlier hearings, the court had already determined Samsung did infringe on two of the utility patents in question, which was determined by the jury in the most recent trial to be worth a fine of $5.3 million. However, the more contentious part of the lawsuit involves the three design patents (1, 2, 3) in question, which describe a device with a black front, rounded rectangular corners, similarly curved surrounding bezels, and a colorful grid of icons. Originally, Apple was seeking damages of $1.05 billion, though that number had been reduced down to $399 million back in 2015. In the end, the jury ended up splitting the difference by ruling that Samsung needs to pay Apple $533.3 million in damages for violating the three design patents—that’s on top of the $5.3 million for violating two utility patents, bringing the total to about $539 million. However, instead of adding clarity to the debate, this ruling, issued on Thursday in the U.S. District Court for Northern California, only seems to make things more confusing, as the colorful grid of icons Apple sued Samsung for is one of the most common features found in smartphones today, regardless of whether a phone comes from Apple, Samsung, or an entirely different manufacturer. But potentially the worst part about all this is that even after seven years, it doesn’t seem this recent decision will actually put this issue to rest. As Samsung told Cnet, “Today’s decision flies in the face of a unanimous Supreme Court ruling in favor of Samsung on the scope of design patent damages. We will consider all options to obtain an outcome that does not hinder creativity and fair competition for all companies and consumers.” Source
  21. Towards the end of last year, some evidence came to light claiming that Apple may have been slowing down older models of the iPhone, according to Geekbench results. The following day, Apple confirmed that it had released "a feature" for the iPhone 6, 6s, and SE in order to "smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down" in instances where a high amount of current was demanded. It then came as no surprise that the company ended up being sued and soon offered discounted battery replacements to try and manage the fallout. While customers could now obtain battery replacements for the iPhone 6 or later for $29 instead of the usual $79 until the end of 2018, this was of no consolation for customers who had already paid for out-of-warranty before the offer's availability. Now, it seems that Apple is attempting to make amends for this situation. According to a support document spotted on the Apple website, customers will receive a $50 refund if they had a battery replacement undertaken for their devices at an Apple authorized service location. The Cupertino giant began notifying eligible customers yesterday, an exercise that will continue until July 27, 2018, with advice on how to avail themselves of the reimbursement. However, customers who miss out on the communication and believe they are entitled to the partial refund can contact Apple directly by the end of this year. The news comes after Apple added the ability to check the battery health of an iPhone in iOS 11.3almost two months ago, enabling device owners to be better informed about device throttling due to a diminishing charge capacity. Source
  22. Collective action seeking up to £3.2bn for claims Google bypassed privacy settings of Apple’s Safari browser The collective action is being led by former Which? director Richard Lloyd over claims Google bypassed the privacy settings of Apple’s Safari browser on iPhones . Google is being sued in the high court for as much as £3.2bn for the alleged “clandestine tracking and collation” of personal information from 4.4 million iPhone users in the UK. The collective action is being led by former Which? director Richard Lloyd over claims Google bypassed the privacy settings of Apple’s Safari browser on iPhones between August 2011 and February 2012 in order to divide people into categories for advertisers. At the opening of an expected two-day hearing in London on Monday, lawyers for Lloyd’s campaign group Google You Owe Us told the court information collected by Google included race, physical and mental heath, political leanings, sexuality, social class, financial, shopping habits and location data. Hugh Tomlinson QC, representing Lloyd, said information was then “aggregated” and users were put into groups such as “football lovers” or “current affairs enthusiasts” for the targeting of advertising. Tomlinson said the data was gathered through “clandestine tracking and collation” of browsing on the iPhone, known as the “Safari Workaround” – an activity he said was exposed by a PhD researcher in 2012. Tomlinson said Google has already paid $39.5m to settle claims in the US relating to the practice. Google was fined $22.5m for the practice by the US Federal Trade Commission in 2012 and forced to pay $17m to 37 US states. Speaking ahead of the hearing, Lloyd said: “I believe that what Google did was quite simply against the law. “Their actions have affected millions in England and Wales and we’ll be asking the judge to ensure they are held to account in our courts.” The campaign group hopes to win at least £1bn in compensation for an estimated 4.4 million iPhone users. Court filings show Google You Owe Us could be seeking as much as £3.2bn, meaning claimants could receive £750 per individual if successful. Google contends the type of “representative action” being brought against it by Lloyd is unsuitable and should not go ahead. The company’s lawyers said there is no suggestion the Safari Workaround resulted in any information being disclosed to third parties. They also said it is not possible to identify those who may have been affected and the claim has no prospect of success. Anthony White QC, for Google, said the purpose of Lloyd’s claim was to “pursue a campaign for accountability and retribution” against the company, rather than seek compensation for affected individuals. He said: “The court should not permit a single person to co-opt the data protection rights of millions of individuals for the purpose of advancing a personal ‘campaign’ agenda and should not allow them to place the onus on individuals who do not wish to be associated with that campaign to take positive steps to actively disassociate themselves from it.” Tom Price, communications director for Google UK said: “The privacy and security of our users is extremely important to us. This case relates to events that took place over six years ago and that we addressed at the time. “We believe it has no merit and should be dismissed. We’ve filed evidence in support of that view and look forward to making our case in Court.” Source
  23. A group of 26 suspects were arrested in China for smuggling almost USD $80 million worth of smartphones into Southern China from Hong Kong. Suspects were able to transport upwards of 15,000 devices in a single night, which were mostly refurbished iPhones, (according to the Chinese Customs’ report) across the border that divides Hong Kong from mainland China. Drones were used to run 200-meter (660-foot) lines across the border and small bags, which held up to 10 smartphones each, were quickly carried through these lines. The criminals ran their operations after midnight to avoid being caught. This is definitely a new kind of crime and the Legal Daily reports that it might be China’s first cross-border smuggling crime performed with drones. Shenzhen Customs, the city adjacent to the Hong Kong – China border, said it will closely monitor new types of smuggling with high-tech devices and enhance its monitoring capabilities with high-resolution monitors and drones to detect future smuggling activity. Gsmarena.com
  24. Grayshift is a cyber security firm that creates advanced technological solutions for local, state, and federal governments. This firm has created a solution which allows for a government body to plug in any iPhone and it will unlock the phone. The part of this technology that makes it very appealing for governments is the price model. Grayshift has created two different pricing models for agencies. One way is to buy the tool at full price for an unlimited amount of unlocks which would set an agency back $30,000. The other more economical solution for agencies is the same tool connected to the internet with a limitation of 300 devices costs $15,000 which comes down to $50 per device. According to the US government's public federal procurement data system, the State Department had a purchase order from Grayshift for a little over $15,000 indicating that they purchased the online 300 device unlocking tool. The listing is vague with the category listed as "computer and computer peripheral equipment". Motherboard has confirmed that the Grayshift in the State Department listing is the same as the one from the Indiana State Police purchase order of a GrayKey. You can see a screenshot of the State Department's purchase order below. Grayshift does not have much competition in this space either as the only other known company to do something similar is Cellebrite who's pricing is much higher with the tool costing $200,000 or $5,000 per device. This is a significantly higher price than the one that is offered by Grayshift making it the preferred firm of agency's purely based on price. Modmy.com
  25. Apple launched the iPhone X at $999, and some people jokingly said that it should be made of gold for that price. The Russian luxury company Caviar took the statement to heart and had been introducing various versions of the flagship, including one with a meteorite-coated body and a variant with over 300 precious stones. The latest product by Caviar is called iPhone X Putin Golden Age and celebrates Vladimir Putin’s win at the Russian elections last week where over 76% of the citizens voted for him. Instead of having a fancy sticker or a bumper case, Caviar has rebuilt the entire back. This variant has the face of Vladimir Putin in the center, instead of Apple’s logo. Below the portrait is placed an embossed logo of the Russian Federation and the back panel is completed by Kremlin in 3D, and a quote that is translated as “We are ready for the brightest future and we will get there”. The coating of iPhone X’s back is 24K pure gold, including the rim and the buttons. There are 76 units of the phone, each of them marked with its serial number on the side. The number celebrates the 76% vote. Caviar says the phone is a symbol of triumph and the unity of the Russian people as one team, “just like the President said”. You better be seated now as we get to the price. The 64 GB version costs RUB269,000 or over €3,800/$4,600. You can also get the 256 GB iPhone X, but it will cost you RUB284,000 that translates to around €4,000 оr nearly $5,000. The phone comes with 1-year warranty, and at least the delivery is free. Gsmarena.com