Tag Archives: Apple

IKEA releases its line of wireless charging furniture

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The IKEA Wireless Charging furniture collection, includes bedside tables, floor-and table lamps, desks and simple charging pads. Credit: IKEA

IKEA has launched its Wireless Charging collection of furniture, which has built-in Qi-enabled wireless chargers for compatible mobile phones.

In addition to offering bedside tables, floor- and table lamps, desks and simple charging pads, IKEA is also selling a DIY kit that lets users embed wireless chargers into furniture of their choice.

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The furniture, and other items in IKEA’s wireless charging collection, ranges in price from $9.99 to $119.

The Wireless Charging collection will be rolled out globally, with U.S. stores seeing availability beginning in late spring, IKEA said today in a statement.

“With smartphones becoming such a natural part of our lives, we wanted the charging part to become a natural part of our homes,” Holly Harraway, IKEA’s lighting sales leader, said.

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The furniture uses the most popular wireless charging specification, Qi, which is supported by brands such as Samsung and Energizer and has gotten an extension to its specification allowing it to charge devices at short distances

Users can check whether their mobile phone is compatible with the Qi standard at the Wireless Power Consortium’s this website.

The WPC with its Qi specification is up against two other industry organizations with their own wireless charging protocols: the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) and the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP).

To see more information and more photos follow this link to Computerworld for the full story.

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Wikipedia has been visualized as an interactive galaxy powered by WebGL

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Wikipedia is an almost boundless source of information — as close to a true compendium of human knowledge as we’ve ever come. It’s not very pretty, though, is it? Page after page of black text on a white background, and enough hyperlinks to suck you into a never ending vortex of related articles. Rendering Wikipedia as a nebula is more befitting its true nature, don’t you think? I just so happens there’s a Chrome experiment that does just that, and it’s called WikiGalaxy.

This Wikipedia visualization was created by French computer science student Owen Cornec. Each “star” in WikiGalaxy is a single article on Wikipedia. Highly related articles are placed close to each other in space with connections between them. So if you click on one point of light, you’ll see the text of the article in the left info panel. Over on the right are all the linked articles, which show up on the map as lines connecting the points of light. It’s interesting to see how wide-ranging some of the articles are. The beams of light might be confined to a little corner of the virtual galaxy on one article, then a neighboring page has its tendrils of influence creeping all the way across the map. To get a better feel of your meandering, you can enable the history path, which connects all the articles you’ve clicked on with a green line, winding through the stars.

The map view is the default mode, but you can also dive into fly mode for a more interactive experience. This places you in the middle of the galactic disc, surrounded by articles. The arrow keys move forward, back and side to side. The movement control is good enough, but anyone who has played a 4X game will be missing mouse zoom in map view. It just seems like you should be able to zoom in any out more quickly, and the buttons toward the upper left don’t quite cut it.

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So it’s neat for poking around Wikipedia in a superficial way, but what about reading articles? The preview pane on the left is okay for getting the gist, but you can click on the title for a full page version. You can read through a whole article in this view, but the lack of links and busted table formatting make it less than ideal for in-depth research. Hey, it’s still Wikipedia in galaxy form. What more do you want? If you would like to simply enjoy the interface and click around, there’s a button up top to turn off the UI and get all those boxes out of the way. The beta version only has 100,000 articles, but that’s still a sizeable galaxy.

Cornec’s next project will be to color-code the different article categories so you’ll be able to tell what sort of article each star represents without clicking on it. More stars should be added along the way too. While this is a Chrome experiment running WebGL and HTML5, WikiGalaxy should work in most modern browsers. However, it might not play as nicely with Chrome on Macs. You can blame either Google or Apple for that — take your pick.

For more information and the original story follow the source link below.

Source: Extreme Tech

Which Smartwatch are you most looking forward to?

Samsung Gear S
Samsung Gear S

Are you going to be one that jumps in on the Smartwatch craze? If so choice one of the below watches you are most looking forward to as they are all soon to release. Or if you already have a Smartwatch go ahead and put it down.

Asus Zenwatch
Asus Zenwatch
LG G Watch R
LG G Watch R
Apple Watch
Apple Watch

Backdoors and surveillance mechanisms in iOS devices

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This paper is actually half a year old – give or take – but it’s gotten a lot of attention recently due to, well, the fact that he has uploaded a PowerPoint from a talk about these matters, which is obviously a little bit more accessible than a proper scientific journal article.

For instance, despite Apple’s claims of not being able to read your encrypted iMessages, there’s this:

“In October 2013, Quarkslab exposed design flaws in Apple’s iMessage protocol demonstrating that Apple does, despite its vehement denial, have the technical capability to intercept private iMessage traffic if they so desired, or were coerced to under a court order. The iMessage protocol is touted to use end-to-end encryption, however Quarkslab revealed in their research that the asymmetric keys generated to perform this encryption are exchanged through key directory servers centrally managed by Apple, which allow for substitute keys to be injected to allow eavesdropping to be performed. Similarly, the group revealed that certificate pinning, a very common and easy-to-implement certificate chain security mechanism, was not implemented in iMessage, potentially allowing malicious parties to perform MiTM attacks against iMessage in the same fashion.”

There are also several services in iOS that facilitate organisations like the NSA, yet these features have no reason to be there. They are not referenced by any (known) Apple software, do not require developer mode (so they’re not debugging tools or anything), and are available on every single iOS device.

One example of these services is a packet sniffer, com.apple.pcapd, which “dumps network traffic and HTTP request/response data traveling into and out of the device” and “can be targeted via WiFi for remote monitoring”. It runs on every iOS device. Then there’s com.apple.mobile.file_relay, which “completely bypasses Apple’s backup encryption for end-user security”, “has evolved considerably, even in iOS 7, to expose much personal data”, and is “very intentionally placed and intended to dump data from the device by request”.

This second one, especially, only gave relatively limited access in iOS 2.x, but in iOS 7 has grown to give access to pretty much everything, down to “a complete metadata disk sparseimage of the iOS file system, sans actual content”, meaning time stamps, file names, names of all installed applications and their documents, configured email accounts, and lot more. As you can see, the exposed information goes quite deep.

Apple is a company that continuously claims it cares about security and your privacy, but yet they actively make it easy to get to all your personal data. There’s a massive contradiction between Apple’s marketing fluff on the one hand, and the reality of the access iOS provides to your personal data on the other – down to outright lies about Apple not being able to read your iMessages.

Those of us who aren’t corporate cheerleaders are not surprised by this in the slightest – Apple, Microsoft, Google, they’re all the same – but I still encounter people online every day who seem to believe the marketing nonsense Apple puts out. People, it doesn’t get much clearer than this: Apple does not care about your privacy any more or less than its competitors.

Source: OS News

Note: this is not mentioned in the original article but is definitely worth noting that there is at least one company put there that cares about your privacy and always has and is the leader in security. That’s BlackBerry of course, they should be recognized for how great they are and they continually get over looked unless it is for something negative. BlackBerry for life! Best mobile OS is BlackBerry 10, period.

These paintings require a smartphone to be viewed properly

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Too many people seem to think they can’t see an artwork properly unless it’s viewed through a smartphone lens. The formerly contemplative, tech-free spaces of art galleries and museums have become hubs of annoying photo-snapping and Instagramming adults.

Brooklyn-based conceptual artist J. Robert Feld finds this alarming. “People rush through a museum, like a scavenger hunt, capturing images in their devices, as if that’s an appropriate substitute for pausing and contemplating the work,” he tells Co.Design.

To explore our phone-induced disconnection, Feld created a painting series that requires that you view it through a smartphone camera–in order to see it properly. In Mondrian Inverted: The Viewer Is Not Present, Feld faithfully reproduced Dutch painter Piet Mondrian’s abstract geometric compositions–but inverted their color schemes. White stripes turn black; red becomes teal; deep blues become ochre. The inverted paintings look oddly familiar but somehow off. But when you look at them through the inverted color function on your iPhone or Android phone, the colors flip back, and the composition appears as Mondrian originally painted it.

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“The paintings themselves aren’t the work: The act of looking through the phone and seeing the painting appear more real and recognizable on the screen than on the wall in front of you is the concept of the series,” Feld says. This sense of hyperreality, something we’ve all experienced when staring at screens, is what Feld intentionally incorporates into painting. He’s making a point, of course, about our disconcertingly slight and double-time way of seeing. “The experience of looking through the smartphone is more pleasurable than simply looking at the painting directly,” Feld says. The concept might seem gimmicky at first, but it’s a wry comment on the device addiction that we all to some extent suffer from.

But why Mondrian? Feld chose Mondrian because of its universal appeal and familiarity. And although Mondrian died virtually unknown and penniless, his style–characterized by primary colors wedged in by black lines on an X and Y-axis–is universally recognizable to the art-touring masses. “It’s the Helvetica of modern art,” Feld says. “You don’t need an MFA to understand what I’m conveying; you just need a smartphone.”

Here’s how to invert the paintings in the slide show above:

To invert on iOS: Settings > General > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut > Invert Colors.

To invert on a Mac: System Preferences > Accessibility >Display > Invert Colors.

For more photos follow the source link below.

Source: Fast Company

Third-party chargers, Lightning cables reportedly damage iPhone power management IC

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An iPhone 5 logic board with U2 power management IC circled in blue. | Source: mendmyi

An iOS device repair company in the UK reports third-party charging accessories are causing damage to a critical power management component in Apple’s iPhone 5, rendering the handset inoperable.

After seeing a rash of iPhone 5 handsets come in with battery charging issues, repair firm mendmyi was able to isolate the problem to unofficial USB adapters and USB-to-Lightning cables, the company reported on its blog earlier this week.

The theory is third-party charging accessories do not properly regulate electrical current flowing into the handset, which either burns out or renders inoperable a power distribution IC labeled “U2.” Located just beneath Apple’s A6 SoC on the iPhone’s logic board, the IC routes power to the battery and integrated charging controller, the sleep/wake button and controls certain USB functions.

Users affected by the issue may see iPhone battery levels remain at one percent while charging, unexpected shutdowns and partial or complete failure to power up when connected to a power source.

It is unclear if the problem is limited to the iPhone 5, but in theory cheap third-party products like USB adapters could potentially damage the sensitive circuitry of any iPhone model as they may not be built to acceptable tolerances and are thus unable to properly regulate voltage and current. As evidenced by Apple’s recent recall of European market 5-watt power adapters, even the world’s largest tech company runs into problems with manufacturing power regulating accessories.

Apple previously issued a warning to Chinese iPhone users last July asking that they use only official power adapters like those supplied with the device. The notice was issued after two people were electrocuted, one fatally, by iPhones connected to “counterfeit” adapters.

According to mendmyi, damaged U2 ICs can be replaced and the company charges 66 pounds, or roughly $112, for the service.

Source: Apple Insider

BlackBerry’s ultra-secure chat gives each message its own security key

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Chat systems like BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) are typically very secure, since they’re encrypted end-to-end. However, they still have a glaring flaw: if intruders do crack the code, they can see everything you’ve said. That’s where BlackBerry’s soon-to-launch BBM Protected comes in. As the company showed at its BlackBerry Experience Washington event (CrackBerry’s video is below), the new service makes it extremely difficult to spy on an entire conversation. Each message has its own random encryption key; even a very clever data thief would only get one tidbit at a time, so it could take ages to piece together a full chat.

BBM Protected will only be available for corporate-controlled BlackBerry devices when it launches as part of an enterprise suite in June, although that will include anything running the now-ancient BlackBerry OS 6 or higher. The chat client won’t be available for personal phones running BlackBerry Balance until early fall, while Android and iOS users will have to wait until late fall or early winter. All the same, it might be worth holding out if you’re really, truly worried that someone is watching your private discussions.

Source: Engadget

EA Games hackers get Apple ID, Origin passwords and payment info

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If you’ve been prompted to enter your Apple ID login, payment and security credentials via an EA Games subdomain recently, change your passwords immediately.

Same goes if you’ve logged in at an EA Origin subdomain within the past week: change your passwords and connected accounts ASAP.

Security auditor Netcraft announced yesterday it has discovered a slick Apple ID phishing scam running smoothly on an EA server, and a second phishing scam posing as an EA Origin login page. EA Origin is a popular games platform with an estimated 9.3 million users.

EA told press it patched the vulnerability later that night – but did not comment on the second compromise posing as an Origin site, also discovered by Netcraft and reported to be still in operation.

About the Apple phishing compromise EA told BBC last night, “We found it, we have isolated it, and we are making sure such attempts are no longer possible.”

Netcraft said EA’s server compromise could have been avoided with security updates on a known issue with EA’s 2008 version of WebCalendar 1.2.0. which was running on the server.

Netcraft said, “It is likely that one of these vulnerabilities was used to compromise the server, as the phishing content is located in the same directory as the WebCalendar application.”

It is unknown how long the phishing operation had been running, or how many Apple accounts were compromised.

For more information and the complete story click the source link below.

Source: ZD Net

Study finds most mobile apps put your security and privacy at risk

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A report from HP claims apps lack security defenses, fail to encrypt data, and compromise personal information.

The average smartphone user has 26 apps installed. If recent research conducted by HP is any indication, approximately, well, all of them, come with privacy or security concerns of some sort.

The HP study focused purely on custom business apps, but there’s no reason to believe the issue doesn’t extend to commercial apps you find in the Apple App Store or Google Play. Many apps have access to data or permission to perform functions they shouldn’t.

If you want to play a game like Angry Birds, there’s no reason that it needs to have access to your contacts, and A a weather app probably doesn’t need to be able to send email on your behalf. The security risks in apps go beyond permissions, though. There are issues in how the apps integrate with core functions of the mobile operating system, as well as how they interact with and share information with one another.

In the HP study, 97 percent of the apps contained some sort of privacy issue. HP also found that 86 percent of the apps lack basic security defenses, and 75 percent fail to properly encrypt data. Assuming similar percentages across the hundreds of thousands of consumer apps in the app stores, it’s likely that you have a few security or privacy concerns floating around your smartphone or tablet.

But this isn’t about malicious apps designed to steal your data. It’s mostly a function of lazy coding. Developers write apps that access everything because it’s easier than writing more specific code, and it also paves the way for any future enhancements that might actually need it.

In a BYOD scenario these security and privacy risks are exaggerated for both the employer and the employee. In most cases, the line between business and personal is not clearly defined, and apps can easily blur that line and put both company and personal data at risk. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that apps are impulse purchases for many users, thanks to low prices and easy installation.

The mobile operating systems have improved in terms notifying users about the permissions an app is requesting and providing the user with more control to allow or block access to specific functions. But the system still puts too much burden on the user, both to know those controls exist and how to use them, as well as to understand the implications and security concerns of the apps.

The better solution is for developers to build security and privacy into the apps from square one. Developers should be aware of the potential implications of how their apps access data and interact with other apps, and design them to be secure by default.

Via: Network World

Apple iOS apps subject to man-in-the-middle attacks

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HTTP Request Hijacking attack said to be simple to do against Apple IOS apps

Network World – Many Apple iOS applications are vulnerable to a man-in-the-middle attack that can result in permanent manipulation by the attacker, according to start-up Skycure, which released its research findings on this today during the RSA Europe conference.

Skycure CTO Yair Amit says many mobile iOS apps are vulnerable to a “very simple attack that relies on the 301 HTTP Response, a permanent re-direction.” If an Apple iOS app can cache these so-called 301 HTTP Re-Direct Response requests — and many popular iOS apps do, according to Skycure — then the app is vulnerable to being repeatedly hijacked via re-direction to the attacker’s server.

While this general type of man-in-the-middle attack has been known on the Web for many years, for mobile applications the result is worse in that it “persistently changes the URL” of the server and lets the attacker take dynamic control over the app, says Amit. In the information that Skycure is publishing today, the company notes the impact of the attack is basically that instead of loading data from the real site that the user wants to visit, the attacker can make the app permanently load the data from the attacker’s site.

Skycure isn’t releasing the names of the vulnerable iOS apps because this issue hasn’t necessarily been fixed. Amit says according to Skycure’s research, a significant portion of apps available through the official Apple App Store could be attacked this way. The problem is not a vulnerability in iOS itself but a coding weakness on the part of the developer.

Skycure says “HTTP Request Hijacking” of Apple iOS mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads starts with a man-in-the-middle attack, which would typically commence in a public WiFi zone, such as in a coffee shop.  While a type of attack like this has been known to happen on the Web between computer-based Web browsers and Web servers for quite some time, the way a similar attack works on mobile devices hasn’t yet been subject to much scrutiny, says Amit.

He adds the implication of such an attack on news or financial information received through iOS devices is troubling.
“In a mobile application, it changes the application,” he says, adding “there’s no easy way to remove the problem.” But Skycure believes there are a number of steps that app developers can take to remediate or mitigate against it.

Among them are making sure the app doesn’t cache a 301 HTTP Re-Direct Response for re-direction. Another is to make sure the mobile device interacts with a designated server via an encrypted protocol, such as HTTPS, instead of HTTP. “If you want your application to behave differently with a server, just release an update,” he suggests. Making changes to apps to correct for this may be somewhat disruptive to the end-user, he adds.

The HTTP Request Hijacking attack on iOS that Skycure has identified may also exist in Android or other mobile-device platforms, but Skycure currently puts its focus primarily on Apple iOS. Skycure believes one danger in this type of man-in-the-middle attack on mobile devices is that it is much less visible to the victimized end-user than the more traditional computer-based form of the attack.

Source: Network World