Facebook Messenger starts testing end-to-end encryption with Secret Conversations

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 8, 2016

The Guardian reported more than a month ago that Facebook would be rolling out end-to-end encryption for chats in Messenger. Friday, the social networking firm announced that it’s begun testing the new feature, dubbed Secret Conversations.

An opt-in feature, the new option within the mobile Messenger app for iOS and Android was designed to better support conversations about sensitive topics with end-to-end encryption. Read More

 

macOS Sierra preview: Auto Unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 7, 2016

Auto Unlock, a new feature in macOS Sierra, gives you instant access to your Mac when you’re wearing an Apple Watch. As its marketing name suggest, Auto Unlock is seamless. You simply wake your Mac from sleep while wearing your watch, and boom—just like that, you’re logged in and ready to go, no password typing required. Here’s our entertaining video walkthrough of Auto Unlock and a detailed overview of the feature for those interested in its inner workings and intricacies. Read More

 

Has Apple gone mad? More iOS 10 parts left unencrypted in beta 2

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 6, 2016

As you know, security experts were baffled realizing that the iOS 10 kernel in beta 1 was not encrypted. Apple argued it was no big deal because the kernel contained no user data so the company had left it unencrypted intentionally in order to increase general system performance, in their own words.

But Apple didn’t stop there.

As first discovered by prominent jailbreak developer and iPhone hacker, MuscleNerd, iOS 10 beta 2 actually leaves more parts of the operating system unencrypted.

What’s going on here? Read More

 

iOS 10 tidbit: unlocking iPhone and iPad without launching Home screen

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 5, 2016

As we wrote before, iOS 10 changes the way unlocking your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch works. For starters, iOS 10 does away with the familiar slide-to-unlock gesture so instead of “Slide to Unlock”, which now takes you to a dedicated widgets screen, you get to see a new “Press Home to unlock” message on the Lock screen.

As a result, unlocking a Touch ID-outfitted iOS device now requires you to press the Home button rather than rest your finger on it, like in prior editions of the software. But as it turns out, iOS 10 gives users another, previously unavailable option for unlocking their device without automatically launching the Home screen. Read More

 

Clearing your search history from the Instagram app

By Anthony Bouchard on Jul 5, 2016

Instagram users who search for things frequently leave a trail behind that shows everything they’ve searched for, and to some who are used to hiding their tracks, this could be considered a privacy concern.

If you want to clear your search history from the Instagram app on your iPhone or iPod touch, then follow along as we take you through the simple steps to do so in this tutorial. Read More

 

Apple likes the fact that the prices for iPhone vulnerabilities are high

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 4, 2016

In order to gain access to San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone 5c beyond the Lock screen, the United States government eventually had to pay through the nose to a third-party to exploit a little-known iOS vulnerability and break into the device. According to FBI director James Comey, the agency paid at least $1.3 million for the hack.

Analyzing the black market for so-called zero-day iPhone vulnerabilities, a top Apple security engineer is actually pleased by the fact that they command steep prices because it means they’re rare and difficult to pull off, Business Insider reported Monday. Read More

 

New Chinese regulations would have Apple track App Store users and developers

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 28, 2016

After ordering an iPhone 6 sales ban over alleged copyright infringement and shuttering the iBooks Store and iTunes Movies, Chinese regulators are now applying increased pressure on foreign technology companies doing business in the world’s most populous market of 1.35 billion people.

According to Bloomberg, firms like Apple that operate app stores in the country will be forced to track the identities of users and developers with real-name registration in case they violate the country’s stringent censorship laws. Read More

 

A closer look at Differential Privacy in iOS 10 and macOS Sierra

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 25, 2016

Making Apple services even smarter and more personalized entails processing troves of information because intelligence is driven by big data. The fact that iOS 9’s proactive features don’t tap into the cloud has served Apple well thus far. But since Google Assistant came to light, people have been wondering if Apple can compete without resorting to raw data collection Google is infamous for.

iOS 10 and macOS Sierra represent Apple’s refined approach to privacy, which revolves around new techniques collectively known as Differential Privacy. An en vogue statistical method, Differential Privacy helps Apple deliver smarter services without compromising privacy of their users.

It’s a relatively unproven technique with lots of potential which hasn’t been used to boost Apple’s services before iOS 10 and macOS Sierra. Here’s a closer look at Differential Privacy, how it powers intelligence and proactiveness and why it should serve Apple better than Google’s bulk data collection and analysis. Read More

 

Apple confirms its new Differential Privacy feature will be opt-in only

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 24, 2016

iOS 10 and macOS Sierra tap into an interesting technology, called Differential Privacy, which makes possible data collection from a large number of users without compromising individual user’s security and privacy. Re/code has now learned from Apple that Differential Privacy will be opt-in only, meaning privacy-minded folks won’t be required to use the feature unless they specifically want to.

Bottom line: Apple won’t collect your data to make its services a lot smarter unless you specifically let it. Read More

 

Apple explains why iOS 10 kernel is unencrypted

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 23, 2016

Following the discovery by MIT Technology Review that the kernel in iOS 10 beta is unencrypted, Apple has gone on the record to explain why that’s the case. Speaking with Dave Mark of The Loop, an Apple spokesperson has officially confirmed that the decision was intentional.

Now, some security experts speculated that leaving the iOS 10 kernel unencrypted would aid anyone, nefarious users included, looking for security weaknesses in the iOS software.

Apple explains why such fears are unfounded. Read More

 

iOS 10 beta kernel is unencrypted, but why?

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 22, 2016

MIT Technology Review has discovered that the kernel in iOS 10 beta is unencrypted, making it a lot easier for technology-minded users, jailbreak developers and the like to take a peek under iOS’s hood and pinpoint any potential vulnerabilities.

For those wondering, kernels in all prior iOS betas used to be encrypted. Is this a bold move meant to help strengthen security in iOS 10 or will this decision actually introduce further security risks and open new attack vectors for hackers to exploit? Read More

 

iOS 10 tidbit: apps now must seek permission before accessing your music library

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 15, 2016

Apple has made some changes to how iOS handles apps that wish to access users’ music libraries, with iOS 10 now requiring your explicit permission before any app is allowed to interact with your music.

This new safeguard increases your privacy while ensuring that no app can silently analyze what’s in your music library without you knowing it. Additionally, it makes it more difficult, if not downright impossible, for apps to potentially upload your music library to the cloud in order build a profile of your musical tastes for advertising purposes. Read More

 

Facebook Messenger said to be rolling out opt-in encryption in the coming months

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 1, 2016

After WhatsApp and Viber both introduced end-to-end encryption last month, Facebook Messenger will become the next major messaging app to roll out this essential security feature, reports The Guardian.

Although end-to-end encryption on Messenger will be framed as an optional feature that users will need to manually enable, it will ensure that the contents of communications are hidden from eavesdroppers and that the identities of the participants are concealed. Read More

 

Apple brings back security expert Jon Callas following FBI dispute

By Cody Lee on May 24, 2016

Apple this month brought back software engineer and top expert in practical cryptography Jon Callas, reports Reuters. The move follows Apple’s high-profile battle with the FBI, and amidst a growing war between governments and tech firms over encryption.

Callas worked at Apple in the ’90s, and again between 2009 and 2011, when he designed encryption to protect data stored on Mac computers. He rejoined the company in May, to help add more powerful security features to its wide range of consumer products. Read More

 

Chinese government hopes Apple can provide “secure user experience”

By Christian Zibreg on May 19, 2016

Earlier in the week, Apple’s boss Tim Cook embarked on a charm offensive in China in an attempt to appease the government and its agencies, which have already forced the iPhone maker to shut down the iBooks and iTunes Movie stores in the massive 1.35 billion people market.

As noted by Reuters, in meeting with Cook in Beijing, head of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) underscored the importance of strong security of Apple’s products for the Chinese consumer. Read More

 

Apple’s new Touch ID rule requires you to enter passcode more often than before

By Christian Zibreg on May 19, 2016

Has your iPhone or iPad been asking you to enter your passcode after you wake up, even though you normally used to unlock it with Touch ID?

You’re not alone. As first discovered by MacWorld’s Glenn Fleishman, this is the result of a new Touch ID rule which Apple quietly implemented since iOS 9 was released. Read More

 

Uber app now lets you track family members

By Christian Zibreg on May 18, 2016

Ride-sharing service Uber today announced an interesting new feature for its mobile application on the App Store, introducing a Find My Friends-like feature that permits you to track family members on the map. Called Trip Tracker, this new feature provides automatic notifications and the ability to follow along on the map whenever someone is riding under your Family Profile. Trip Tracker and Family Profile features are available worldwide starting today. Read More

 

How to stop your iPhone from counting your steps and tracking fitness activity

By Sébastien Page on May 18, 2016

Newer iPhones come with a chip called a motion coprocessor which gathers data from the accelerometers, gyroscopes and compasses of the device to precisely measure motion and fitness data such as body motion, step count, stairs climbed, and more. Most people, including yours truly, do appreciate the data collected as it’s particularly helpful if you want to use your iPhone as a step counter and pedometer, for instance. Others are creeped out by this feature.

If you belong to the latter group of people, then I will show you a quick and easy way to stop your iPhone from tracking your steps and other fitness activity. Read More

 

Apple just shot down an app that could detect iPhone malware

By Christian Zibreg on May 16, 2016

Stefan Esser’s iPhone app, called System and Security Info, can no longer be downloaded from the App Store, as first noted by The Next Web. Esser’s software let iPhone users know if their device had malware that could be used to spy on them, and could detect a jailbreak, too.

The app was removed from the App Store earlier this morning. Esser was basically told that detecting weaknesses in a user’s device could lead to “potentially inaccurate and misleading diagnostic functionality for iOS devices.” Read More

 
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