Apple Will Release a Special iPhone for Security Research Purposes

Apple will release a special modified iPhone for research purposes only. With new software installed within its operating system, this modified iPhone is set to be a part of Apple’s bug-bounty program. While Apple’s bug-bounty program was initially introduced in 2016, this is the first time such iPhones will be used for this service.  

These new iPhones will be included in Apple’s iOS Security Research Device Program and will only available to the security research team. The program supplies security researchers with this uniquely modified iPhone to which these analysts will use to help with making security-related improvements. This would make it easier for ‘experienced bug hunters’ to work on Apple products. 

These modified iPhones will have “advanced debugging capabilities and a root shell, among other modifications designed to make the software more open and accessible for researchers,” says Lisa Eadicicco of Business Insider

In August, Apple announced that the new Research Device Program is one of many updates in their bug-bounty program. They have yet to announce how many applications they will accept into this program. Apple will pay a $1 million reward to researchers who find flaws and to whoever could take control of a device with no user interaction involved. The company will expand their bug-bounty program, so it will include most of Apple’s products, such as the Apple Watch, Mac computers, and their Apple TV, in addition to the current iOS.

Cybercriminals Impersonate These Well-Known Companies in Phishing Emails

Suspicious emails coming through to your mailbox? Does the email claim to be from Microsoft and need your login information to fix an unfounded issue? Cybercriminals increasingly send victims emails such as these, impersonating large-scale companies to appear legitimate, and it’s not only Microsoft impersonations. From Facebook to Amazon, to Paypal and Netflix, it’s a good idea to double check where those emails are actually coming from.

Cybersecurity company Vade Secure conducted an analysis of companies that were most impersonated and found that Microsoft was one of the most used brands in phishing schemes, with an increase of 15.5% since the previous year. Due to the popularity in Outlook mail and Office365, Microsoft is a widely popular impersonation target. With businesses and corporations relying on Office365 for keeping restricted and sensitive files, hackers look for any means necessary to get their hands on such valuable information. Access to Office365 accounts can also open more doors for targeting other users to gain access to more accounts. 

Illegitimate emails claiming to be from Microsoft ask users to log in via a link provided by the hacker and open up a spoof page that mirrors the actual website, prompting users to input their login credentials and submitting it to the cybercriminal.

Paypal comes out as the second most common company to be used in phishing schemes, as the brand is easily recognizable by many. While Paypal still remains a popular choice in targeting victims with fake emails, malicious URL targeting has been declining.

The third most popular company to be used in a phishing attack is Facebook, as Vade Secure tracked a 176% increase in fake URL use to target users’ social media accounts. The social network acts as a perfect opportunity for hackers to send phishing messages to victims’ friends. Facebook access can particularly be harmful if victims have third party applications connected, to which cybercriminals can also access. 

The report further lists other brands like Netflix, Bank of America, and Apple that are also used in these emails. Amazon is now the eighth most popular brand for phishing use by hackers, and its use has grown over 400% in just a year, this likely due to the popularity in Amazon Prime Day and the extensive number of shoppers on the site. 

Phishing attacks are continuously utilized by hackers due to the cheap and easy way it reaches a mass of users. If you receive any such suspicious emails in your inbox, mark it as spam immediately. If you are ever unsure about your account, log in through the company’s official site instead of clicking on malicious email links.

iPhone Settings Changes That Will Help Your Battery Life Last Longer

Our iPhone batteries never last long enough because we rely on it for nearly everything. From searching up places to eat, to ordering an Uber, to relying on our device for hours of scrolling through social media – we never have enough battery life that lasts for an entire day. To combat quick battery drainage, there are small adjustments you can make to your phone just from a few Settings adjustments! Switching to Low Power Mode, turning off your location services, turning off automatic downloads, lowering your screen brightness and disabling push notifications all help you save more power to get the most use out of your phone. 

Another modification you can make to your iPhone is limiting the Background Refresh feature. With this feature you have the option to turn it off or only use Wi-Fi. To do this you would first go into your Settings, and then tap on General, and click on Background App Refresh. You could also pick and choose which apps you want to refresh instead of having all of them refresh automatically. To do this, just follow the same steps as above, but instead of clicking the Background App Refresh, start scrolling down to see the apps that are on your iPhone and turn off/on the ones you want!

To check which apps take up most of your battery life, you would go to your Settings app, then click on Battery, and then scroll down to the subsection where it states Battery usage by app. This shows you the percentage of the apps you use and how much of your battery life each app is eating up.

A few other small tips to help with your phone’s battery are: 

  • Enabling airplane mode in areas with poor reception
  • Using Wi-Fi instead of cellular internet when you have access to it (However, be wary of Unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Avoid conducting online business that involves inputting personal or sensitive information when on public Wi-Fi).
  • Turning off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you are not using it 
  • Turning off your Location Services

Zoom Conference App Vulnerability Allowed Unauthorized Access to Mac Users’ Video Cameras

 

A researcher, Jonathan Leitschuh, claimed that Zoom users that use Apple’s Mac computers were left unprotected and could have had their computer camera hacked. This application glitch allowed any user to force other users into joining Zoom calls, turning on their camera without permission. Leitschuh, the one who discovered this flaw, stated in his blog, “This vulnerability leverages the amazingly simple Zoom feature where you can just send anyone a meeting link… and when they open that link in their browser their Zoom client is magically opened on their local machine.”

Leitschuh discovered how to expose the flaw by switching the Participants option from “Off” to “On.” When he notified the public about this vulnerability, users on social media put it to the test – and it was a frightening success. In addition, even if a user deletes Zoom from their Mac, a hacker could reinstall it. As a quick and temporary fix to this issue, users can go into their Zoom settings and click on “Turn off my video when joining a meeting.” 

Leitschuh gave Zoom a 90 day window to repair this issue. Over 40 million people who use Zoom are exposed to potential invasion of privacy. He was not convinced with the quick fix Zoom came up with. The company commented that the issue is still ongoing, however, on Tuesday, they stated that had begun to fix this matter. 

Apple recently released a silent update to patch the vulnerability on users’ Zoom apps. The update is deployed without the need for user interaction and effectively stops the possibility of web servers activating a user’s video camera without permission.

5 Ways to Help Improve Your Mac’s Performance

 

Image Source: iStock.com / Emevil

Overtime, the chances your Apple Mac computer is running slow is very high. This tends to happen overtime with Mac computers due to multiple reasons, one of which could be information overload. Here are five possible reasons and ways you can improve your computer’s speed.

  • Not updating often

If you don’t update your computer for a long period of time, then your computer might get slower. By clicking on the App Store application and checking for updates once or twice a week, you can help improve your computer’s speed.

  • Full hard-drive

Another reason your computer could be running slow is if your hard-drive is nearly full. Using too much storage slows down a Mac computer and could also cause other issues as well. To help prevent this, you could click on the About the Mac that is an option when clicking on the Apple icon on the top left corner. Then, click on Storage. If you notice your hard-drive is nearly full, then click on Manage and it will help you clear out space by giving you the tools and information on you which applications take up the most room on your disk. Another solution would be using an external hard drive.

  • Mac has not been restarted in a while

We tend to leave our Macs on with multiple tabs open and we don’t turn them off for a long time. Restarting your computer will help with this, but don’t forget to save everything. You can give your computer restart by clicking the Restart under the Apple icon on the top left corner.

  • Multiple apps open at once

Having too many apps open and using them all at once could be one of the reasons your computer is slowing down. To close unnecessary apps, just right click on the icon on the bottom of the screen and click Quit. You could also use your Mac’s Activity Monitor, which will let you know what’s using the most memory. However, if you are unsure of what some of the tools/applications in there are, then you should probably leave it alone.

  • Overloaded cache

Having your cache pile up could also slow down your Mac. Even if it gives you faster internet, it begins to gather files and slows down your computer completely. To help clear your cache, here is an article on it.

If none of these work for you, then you might need to take it to Apple’s Genius Bar or have a professional look at it. There are many reasons as to why your Mac will slow down. It could even be just from age.

iOS 13 Features iPhone Users Can Look Forward To

Image Source: Apple.com

This year’s WWDC Conference showcased Apple’s newest features for the upcoming iOS 13 update set for release this Fall. A bunch of new tools are on the way, including a dark mode, swipe-able keyboard for easy texting, photos application redesign and plenty more.

Here are some updates all iPhone users can look forward to with the new iOS 13 software:

DARK MODE

One exciting feature – dark mode for iPhone – will allow users to switch to a visually appealing dark aesthetic that’ll be great for using your phone during nighttime. Dark mode appears to be implemented across the entire iOS system as demonstrated in apps such as music, photos, maps, and calendar.

Image Source: Apple.com

SWIPE-TO-TEXT KEYBOARD

iPhone users are well aware that swiping for text writing was essentially nonexistent…until now. Apple unveiled the swipe-able keyboard, calling it “QuickPath Typing”, which is said to work just as well as regular keyboard tapping. The QuickPath typing feature also comes with spelling suggestions as well.

Image Source: Apple.com

PHOTOS AND CAMERA APPLICATIONS

Apple’s iOS update also brings new features of photo editing to its photos application, allowing iPhone users to change light intensity in portrait lighting, for example. Other editing features include vignette, vibrance, and noise reduction. Users can also change video orientation if a video was shot incorrectly.

Photos will also organize your images in a more easy-to-find design: by sorting photos by year, month, and date. As you scroll through your photos, live photo captures and videos also play.

FIND MY

Apple has combined two of its applications – Find My Friends and Find My Phone – into its new application named Find My. If a user loses his/her offline device, a secure Bluetooth beacon may be used to locate a missing or stolen phone.

SIGN IN WITH APPLE

Apple is adding a privacy feature – Sign-in with Apple – for apps that ask you to log in using an account. The purpose of this feature is to block any third party applications from accessing or tracking user data. Authentication of user credentials during app logins will be done through Face ID check through using Sign-in with Apple. Users also have the option of hiding their email address and instead using Apple’s randomly generated email that will forward information to your actual email address, thereby limiting any application’s access to your real email.

Apple also added a feature to block location tracking via WiFi and Bluetooth.

SIRI VOICE UPDATE

The newest iOS promises a more natural sounding Siri voice assistant, as Apple has used AI to smooth out Siri’s voice responses with less speech gaps.

To view more iOS 13 features, check out Apple’s iOS 13 preview page here.

Foldable iPhones Could Be Apple’s Next Project

Apple’s recently published patent application has sparked some interest from iPhone enthusiasts. The patent images reveal blueprint images of an iPhone drawn with a folding mechanism concept. Apple’s patented design was filed last October, and while there is no official announcement of a foldable iPhone in the making, the patent’s images reveal that the company has also been thinking of its own take on the folding phone trend.

Image Source: Apple

Foldable phones have been a project many companies have been undertaking, such as Royole and their Flexpai phone, Xiaomi with their double folding prototype, and the recently released Samsung Galaxy Fold that’ll cost consumers a hefty price of $1980.

In a series of images provided within the published patent, Apple’s folding design relies upon use of hinge mechanisms either allowing the depicted device to fold in half or in thirds. Apple’s patent states how “[i]t would be desirable to be able to use [the] flexible display technology to provide improved electronic devices.”

This released patent information indicates that perhaps foldable iPhones may indeed be a device in development, although Apple has yet to confirm this. Back in March of 2018, CNBC had released a report that revealed how Apple was planning on releasing its own foldable phone in 2020.

Apple Apologized for Their Bug that Allowed Others to Overhear on Group FaceTime

This past week, Apple notified the public that their Group FaceTime application had issues when people were added into a FaceTime call. Due to this issue, users were able to overhear and see others while the call was still going through, even if the the call had not been accepted yet.

The bug affected many people, and the consequences of this seem to be quite severe, as investigations were called upon Apple’s significant privacy flaw. This comes at a relatively humiliating time, especially after Apple had recently lobbied their privacy credentials.

Soon after the bug was discovered, the company released a statement saying:”We sincerely apologize to our customers who were affected and all who were concerned about this security issue. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we complete this process.”

Apple officials announced a new software update release for iPhones, which will enable the Group FaceTime feature again. The iOS update–version 12.1.4–was released today, and can easily be downloaded through the General tab under the Settings application.

When the bug was first publicized, Apple removed FaceTime’s Group feature until the issue was resolved. According to the public, the bug was there long before the issue was announced.

Apple lastly stated, “We take the security of our products extremely seriously and we are committed to continuing to earn the trust Apple customers place in us.”

12 Apps You Should Download on Your iPhone in 2019

Choosing which applications to download from Apple’s App Store could be a frustrating and daunting task since there are about two million apps available. Luckily, we’ve narrowed it down to a list of 12 useful applications you can download for free today on your Apple iPhone!

1. Citizen: Ever wanted to know what’s going on around your neighborhood? This app shows you where there are crimes near you. It alerts you with emergencies and keeps you informed with crime and safety notification updates.

2. Duolingo: Ever wanted to learn a new language? Duolingo makes it fun and easy! Every lesson is personalized to your level of mastery, and you can even have a conversation with a brainy bot. 

3. Google Duo: Always wanted to FaceTime a friend, but they don’t have an iPhone to do so? The Google Duo app allows you to video chat with non-iPhone users.

 

4. Foursquare City Guide: This application helps you find the best places to eat, drink, and shop nearby. You can keep track of all the places you’ve visited or bookmark them for later!

 

5. Google Keep: Ever had something on your mind and wanted to jot it down really quickly? Google Keep helps you jot down notes and make lists. It provides many types of note-taking tools without the need for pen and paper.

6. Google Photos: Need more storage for your photos? This app provides unlimited space to upload your photos. It also offers automatic backup and sync for your photos.

7. Libby: Need help finding and renting books? With this app, you are able to rent books from a library nearby.

8. Marco Polo: Marco Polo is an entertaining video chat application that allows you to use filters and doodles. It makes video chatting amusing!

9. Mindbody: If you’re ever looking for fitness classes near you, Mindbody can help you find classes for yoga, boxing, cycling, etc. This app can also help you locate any wellness services–like spas and salons–nearby!

10. MTB Project: For those who need to find more biking trails to explore on, this app helps you both locate and navigate on trails while you are either hiking or biking. MTB Project works even when you’re offline.

11. MyFitnessPal: This app helps count daily calorie intake. It tracks your diet and motivates its application users to exercise.

12. Shazam: Have you ever heard a song in a department store and wanted to find out what song it is? This application helps you identify the song that you are hearing. Just click on the Shazam homepage, and the app will identify the song in about 10 seconds.

Apple Set to Launch Magazine Subscription Service

In a reporting by Bloomberg, Apple is set to launch its own magazine subscription service via its Apple News app. Back in spring, Apple had made a business deal to acquire Texture, a virtual newsstand, and now plans to utilize it for its own news application as a premium product.

According to Bloomberg’s report, Apple has been speaking with The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times in striking a deal for the news sources to join its subscription service launch. Publishers are facing the offer with unease, as Apple intends to offer its users a $9.99/month plan for access to all its acquired magazine resources, ultimately stripping away the publishers’ sources of revenue from its own subscription plans. Instead of Apple incorporating all magazines with its own subscription plan, publishers favor a more fair system to which each can implement its own paywall.

In a counterargument through their negotiation, Apple suggested that all revenue made from its news app subscriptions will counteract lost revenue that would have otherwise been generated through publishers’ own paywalling means.

“Texture today offers access to more than 200 magazines, including Vanity Fair, EW, GQ, Vogue, Forbes, Time, People, Rolling Stone, Cosmopolitan, Sports Illustrated and many others, including Bloomberg Businessweek,” TechCrunch writer Sarah Perez reports.

We have yet to see if The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are to join Apple’s upgraded news app launch, set to arrive by early next year.