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Apple Security Roundup

In the past week, many high-profile tech companies in Silicon Valley have been hit by hackers. Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest were victims, as were Microsoft and Tumblr, among others. Apple was no exception, falling prey to an exploit in Java software that was used as a browser plugin.  The hackers, who are believed to be based in China, infected Macs belonging to some Apple workers when they visited a website for iPhone software developers.  As of last Tuesday, Apple had released a Java update for OS X to seal the security breach.

On the same day, the folks in Cupertino released an update to iOS 6 – iOS 6.1.2, which fixes the Exchange bug that was affecting networks and battery life. Apple’s release notes state that the update “fixes an Exchange calendar bug that could result in increased network activity and reduced battery life.” However, this update doesn’t address the lock screen exploit that was discovered in iOS 6.1.1, and allows unauthorized users to access a device with a few keystrokes on the Emergency Call screen of a locked iPhone.

As for the lock screen exploit, Apple has released iOS 6.1.3 beta 2 to developers for testing.  No word when it will go live to iOS users, however.

 

 
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Google Glass or Apple iWatch

Published on February 20, 2013 by in Commentary

Which to choose Google Glass or iWatchThere seems to be a lot of talk about the Google Glass and Apple iWatch.  Many are wondering if they are going to be real products, but I think the real question is… Which would you rather have or would you want both?

I think the Google Glass is a great concept, having all the information at the tip of your eye and without any keyboards, just using your voice.    Imagine being at the store and trying to compare prices without having pull out your smart phone and taking a picture of the item and or bar code.  One of the wow factors is that you wont forget a name anymore… with the Glass all the info will be right there.  But what happens when its raining?  Will Google make it waterproof or at least water-resistant?   Wonder if there will be any studies done regarding viewing things at such close range at high-resolution and with that one eye… will it strain it?   Makes you wonder doesn’t it… what other things can you guys think of that can be pros and cons of the Google Glass.

Now the iWatch is something that is another great concept.  Although no word of Apple inc actually producing one but rumor has it that they are looking into it.  An iWatch can be great but what if I already have a nice time piece that I sent a ton of money on and like to wear?  I guess I could sell it to get the iWatch.    Joking aside, the iWatch sounds like it will be a great extension to your iPhone.   No more having to reach in your pocket to get quick information or see text or who is calling, etc.    One concern I had would be battery life.  Would this device need to be charged daily?

With so many unknowns about the 2 devices, I don’t know which I would  go with. Which one would you choose?

 
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iPhone is not made by Apple… at least not in Brazil

Published on February 15, 2013 by in Apple, iPhone, News
iPhone not made by Apple

In Brazil the iPhone is not made by Apple

Apple has done a great job marketing the iPhone and almost everyone knows what it is, a smart phone manufactured by Apple Inc.   Well in Brazil the iPhone is not made by Apple and is not running iOS.  The Brazilian iPhone comes unlocked and runs on Android, not iOS, but wait there’s more… it’s got a 700Mhz processor, 5MP rear camera, 0.3MP front camera and can support 2 SIM cards… all this for around $300!

Who makes this phone you ask?  IGB Eletronica does and they have had the IPHONE name since the 1998.  Yep, the guys in Cupertino are not happy about this and of course have their lawyers all over it.  Too bad the chances of securing that name rights are going to be on the slim side.   So what else could they do… well money talks and we all know Apple Inc has some deep pockets.

The Apple version of the iPhone has been selling in Brazil and will not stop; they just might not be able to call it the iPhone.  What would you guys call it instead?

 
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iOS 6.1 Passcode Exploit Allows Users To Bypass Lock Screen

As if the “cellular performance and reliability” and Exchange server issues weren’t enough for users of iOS 6.1, there’s now word of an exploit that allows anyone with physical access to your hardware to access your phone app, listen to your voicemails, view or edit contacts and even look through photos.  A video detailing the process for bypassing a user’s 4-digit lock code was posted at the end of January by YouTube user videosdebarraquito. It was then picked up by The Verge, which posted its own cleaned-up version of the video.

PC Mag showed both videos on its site, but reported that they were unable to duplicate the exploit after multiple attempts.  It’s worth noting that each video showed an iPhone that appeared to be using a non-US carrier/network, as evidenced by the use of “112” as an emergency number.  It’s unclear to me whether this exploit will work on iPhones in the US.  That said, it appears to be similar to an exploit that showed up in iOS 4.1 a couple of years ago, and was patched in iOS 4.2

Apple has acknowledged the exploit in a statement to CNET: “Apple takes user security very seriously. We are aware of this issue, and will deliver a fix in a future software update.” The company has also published an article to its knowledge base about the Exchange activity issue, advising users how to avoid it until a software update can be pushed out. However, it is unknown when such a software patch will be available, or how users can secure their devices beyond the standard lock screen.  As always, best practice is to make sure that your phone is only in the physical possession of people you know and trust – or better yet, just your own possession, until such time as this bug has been squashed for good.

 
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iOS 6.1.1 Update Released for iPhone 4S

Published on February 13, 2013 by in Apple, iPhone, News

Apple released an iOS software update specifically for iPhone 4S users on Monday. The supplemental update, which brings iPhone 4S models from 6.1 to 6.1.1, “fixes an issue that could impact cellular performance and reliability for iPhone 4S,” according to Apple’s release notes for the update.  iOS 6.1.1 didn’t go out to users of other iOS devices, such as iPads and iPod touches, or to newer iPhone models.

iOS 6.1 was released in January of this year, bringing 4G LTE support for more carriers on Apple’s newest devices. It also included a feature that allowed users to buy movie tickets from Fandango after finding showtimes with Siri.  iTunes Match subscribers also regained the ability to download individual songs from iCloud. There were other changes in iOS 6.1, including improvements to Safari, new boarding pass functionality in Apple’s Passbook program, and tweaks to music playback controls from the lock screen.

Despite quick adoption of iOS 6.1 (nearly a quarter of iOS users tracked by Onswipe had installed it within 36 hours of its release) – or perhaps because of it – the update to Apple’s mobile OS has presented headaches to numerous corporate IT departments and at least one major wireless carrier. Vodafone advised its subscribers not to update to 6.1 because of “difficulty in connecting to the network to make or receive calls or texts or to connect to the Internet.” iOS 6.1 also had issues with accessing Exchange servers, which resulted in many companies outright blocking devices running it from accessing their servers at all.  It remains to be seen if iOS 6.1.1 will fix the corporate IT issue, but it seems unlikely that enterprise-level snafus would be left unaddressed for too long.

 
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