Posts tagged with: security
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    While it was fairly easy to overlook some of Google’s lower-key I/O 2016 announcements and demos of experimental technologies not yet ready for primetime during the actual jam-packed conference, now that the event is in the past we almost have to talk about things like Project Soli and Abacus. Abacus, as some of you might recall, is the provisional name given to an Android security-modifying initiative that’s both captivating and controversial, getting its first public showing at last year’s I/O, and evolving greatly in the past 12 months. In fact, this “project” is so close to ...

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    Encryption is a very thorny, controversial issue these days, mostly due to Apple’s lengthy clash with the FBI, but Google couldn’t just sit on the sidelines and leave the newest iteration of Android (dessert name pending) vulnerable to intruders. Instead, Android N picks up file-based rather than block-level encryption, as well as seamless updates downloaded in the background no longer needing approval and bothering you with pesky prompt messages. Essentially, Big G thinks it knows what’s best for your (Nexus) devices, and will work on pushing security patches faster and smoother ...

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    Eric Kay, Director of Engineering, announced a new messaging app called Allo. It focuses on letting you express yourself in a messaging situation while making it secure and smart with the Google Assistant. You connect with your phone contacts and talk with your friends through texts, lots of custom-made stickers and a little something called "WhisperShout". It's a slider feature that can shrink or grow how your message will appear in the conversation — sorta like how you can hold the Like button to blow up a thumbs up in a Facebook Messenger convo. Google Inbox's Smart Reply feature has ...

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    It's a little disconcerting that we might be seeing Windows Hello finally working with fingerprint sensors right around the time when Windows 10 Mobile's first product with a fingerprint sensor is scheduled to launch. Of course, Microsoft has had some nastier spills, but when you're talking about a monster the HP Elite x3, you'd wish these things came together a little more in advance. But, according to a presentation at a Windows Hardware Engineering Community (WinHEC) obtained by the /r/windowsphone subreddit, fingerprint reader support is coming for Windows Hello on Windows 10 Mobile ...

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    When not busy trying to force Apple’s hand to needlessly undermine its own mobile OS encryption and device security, the US government occasionally gets a half-decent idea of actually acting in the service of the people. Case in point, a joint FTC/FCC examination of the way smartphone and tablet manufacturers, as well as wireless operators stateside, look for, identify and ultimately address vulnerabilities in products designed by them or supported on their networks. Though the two independent government agencies are in this together, the Federal Trade Commission aims to “better ...

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    Chalk another loss up for Apple. And the FBI. Around the same time that the agency ordered the iPhone manufacturer to assist in decrypting an iPhone 5c that belonged to a gunman in the San Bernardino shootings, Los Angeles police were able to source a "forensic cellphone expert" to crack into an iPhone 5s that belonged to the wife of actor Michael Jace. He's accused of murdering her back in May of 2014. In a search warrant obtained and reviewed by The Los Angeles Times, investigators wanted to support their claim that both husband and wife, April, were arguing "about their relationship". ...

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    We're in the age of big data breaches and we're used to them. Target, T-Mobile and now, a bunch of email accounts. A Russian hacker was said to have been able to rack up the names and credentials of more than 272 million email accounts and would be willing to give it all away to those wanted them for just 50 roubles. That's about $1. Alex Holden, founder and chief information security officer of Hold Security, informed Reuters about the trove. He said that the hacker was prepared to give away a far bigger cache of 1.17 billion credentials. But of the 272 million that Holden was able to ...

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    The iPhone belonging to a confessed drug dealer in Brooklyn has been cracked into. But it wasn't opened with the zero-day exploit that the FBI purchased supposedly from a gray hat hacker. Someone else just knew the passcode for the iPhone. Prosecutors in the case said that an unidentified person turned in the code. The Justice Department had been requesting for Apple's assistance in opening up the iPhone, running iOS 7, for months. This case pre-dates the San Bernadino debacle that brought the nation face-first into a public debate about privacy, security and encryption. The drug dealer ...

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    Update: The podcast is up now and will be sent out at 3pm Eastern on Friday. The HTC 10 makes us wonder if any phone can really be perfect. Galaxy Note 6 rumors are building steam. What might we see on Samsung's next phablet? With the flagship phone market maturing, we'll take a look at why people are waiting longer to upgrade their phones? We've been hard at work covering news stories and producing the next generation of phone reviews. We recently started a new series of videos delving deeper into camera performance and phone comparisons, and of course we'll be tackling your questions and ...

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    For many Android users, 2015 will go down in history as a sad year for the platform’s vulnerability protection, due mostly to a collection of mischievous software bugs known as Stagefright. But that’s all behind us now, and at least according to Google’s second Android security annual report, the remote code execution and privilege escalation troubles may have made the ecosystem stronger than before. Of course, there’s no mention of Stagefright in this latest “overview of new security protections introduced in 2015”, but it can’t be a coincidence the probability of an ...

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    From what we've been told, it seems that Apple had a fairly unsatisfying talk about how highly it puts security in front of its customers. Sure, there may have been some interesting new methods to show off here, but if we're to go by the conclusions one commentator who was at the technical briefing on Friday made, we may have something to chew over. Tech.pinions's Ben Bajarin made some observations from his attendance at the technical briefing. First off, a couple of carrots for us factoid chasers: iPhone users typically unlock their devices 80 times a day with heavier users unlocking ...

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    Update: The podcast will be on your podcatchers starting at 3am Eastern on April 16. Enjoy! The HTC 10 is taking the Android world by storm. Can this one phone turn the tides for HTC? Our LG G5 coverage is in full swing, and everything you want to know about this phone will be answered. Lastly, another "backdoor" encryption bill is headed to congress, what might this mean for consumer tech? We've been hard at work covering news stories and producing the next generation of phone reviews. We recently started a new series of videos delving deeper into camera performance and phone comparisons, ...

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    In addition to setting a dangerous precedent, compromising decades of diligent work in the service of user privacy protection, and possibly building a master key for all of the world’s iPhones that could always fall into the wrong hands, Apple’s supporters in its FBI deadlock also argued there was probably nothing relevant on Syed Farook’s handheld. Nothing about a supposed third San Bernardino assailant, nothing about other planned attacks or living terrorists affiliated with the two killed on December 2, 2015. And now, CBS News claims to have heard from a “law enforcement ...

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    In addition to being the most popular smartphone vendor around the globe by a landslide, and producing the two devices consumers and experts appear to agree are the best of the best, Samsung today adds another important gold medal to its increasingly crowded trophy room. This one’s a little unexpected, which probably makes the win that much sweeter, as we all tend to associate BlackBerry or Apple’s names first and foremost with top-drawer mobile security, impenetrable encryption, and data protection. But surprise, surprise, market research firm Gartner ranked Samsung Knox number one in ...

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    Apple might never get to find out exactly how law enforcement managed to elude its “impenetrable” iOS encryption on an iPhone 5c owned by a San Bernardino shooter at the time of the heinous 2015 attack, but another important piece of the unlocking puzzle may have just been uncovered. Forget everything you thought you knew about the nature and authors of the cyber-intrusion, as “people familiar with the matter” tell The Washington Post it was actually “professional hackers who discovered and brought to the bureau at least one previously unknown software flaw.” No Israeli ...

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    Oh, how it must sting that Apple needs law enforcement cooperation now, after so many adamant refusals of its own assistance in a very delicate and complex terrorist attack investigation! But hands down the most ironic thing about this point of Cupertino’s FBI dispute is the intelligence service can’t be compelled to disclose the hacking technique used on Syed Farook’s iPhone 5c. Tim Cook could always sue, which would be even more ironic, and argue a so-called “Vulnerabilities Equities Process” applies here. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly an official or legal act, but rather ...

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    All’s well that ends well. But has the colossal Apple – FBI squabble on delicate matters like device encryption, data protection and counter-terrorism efforts really ended well for both parties involved? At least one? Not exactly, and ultimately, this long, contested battle will probably go down in the history books as a tie. On one hand, the Cupertino-based tech giant stood its ground against the US Department of Justice, and evaded any definitive laws passed in Congress forcing it to comply with court orders in cases of private information extraction from iDevices. On the other, law ...

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    Tim Cook’s defense against the FBI in the now infamous San Bernardino iPhone 5c unlocking case has been as simple as it was reasonable from the get-go. There’s no way to decrypt just one phone without making sure the resulting “backdoor” wouldn’t be used on many other devices, and causing a precedent for law enforcement to then seek similar “assistance” in less serious investigations feels like a very bad idea. But while Apple avoided to make this argument for obvious reasons, there’s also the question of whether its encryption methods are truly impenetrable. Some security ...

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    The past couple of weeks have brought many software changes to Nexus devices, starting with the now traditional monthly security patches, then a long overdue bundle of stability and performance improvements designed specifically for the 5X and 6P. Unfortunately, something apparently messed up the two’s fingerprint scanners as well, and a system vulnerability rated as critical prompted Google to pull an unprecedented move. Repairing the flaw couldn’t wait until next month, so “supplemental Nexus updates are being created and will be released within a few days.” Just to be clear, ...

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    If Apple’s recent tussle with the FBI, US Department of Justice and other government organizations has made you more aware of mobile security, everyone’s go-to freemium password management service developer comes bearing good news today. Seeing as how over 90 percent of Android phones in use worldwide forgo basic encryption features, it’s always a good idea to add an extra layer of protection in case anyone cracks your various access passcodes to the device itself, email clients, financial apps and so on. Even on iOS, two-step verification is a safe measure of combatting privacy ...

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    If you perhaps wondered why US law enforcement insists so many iPhones seized in serious crime investigations be unlocked by Apple, with little to no mention of similar requests for Android handhelds, it turns out it’s not because iGear is more popular among criminals. Granted, government-funded institutions like the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health tend to distribute iPhones as work equipment to their employees, which indirectly led to the huge controversy regarding the Syed Farooq-owned 5c. Yes, the FBI’s access to data stored on the infamous device could have been ...

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    While Apple’s legal battles with the FBI, San Bernardino County, NYPD and US Department of Justice remain at a standstill, the tech giant’s many declared allies might be looking to take further action against potential government snooping on people’s private data and e-conversations. The world’s most popular messaging application in particular will reportedly add voice call encryption before long to a set of security features that already includes end-to-end text protection. WhatsApp would thus become essentially impenetrable from the ground up, and unless crystal clear laws are ...

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    As a presidential candidate that prides himself on “telling it like it is”, as well as his ‘uge dingus, Donald Trump has sure been caught lying a lot lately. Trump University is under scrutiny, and so was the Republican front-runner’s knowledge of David Duke and the former KKK Grand Wizard’s anti-Semitic views in recent weeks. On a much lighter note, Tim Cook should probably be relieved to hear the controversial but surging politician couldn’t stay away from his iPhone for more than a few weeks. Remember the Apple boycott he randomly pleaded for during a rally back in February ...

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    The FBI, San Bernardino County District Attorney, the local Police Department and all their highly-placed politician supporters have never been able to provide a very compelling argument for why a specific iPhone 5c owned by a terrorist needs to be decrypted. Until Friday, that is, when San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan made a fairly solid case for the unlocking of the device for the sake of clarity. Clarity regarding the number of December 2, 2015 assailants. According to Burguan, “the majority” of surviving witnesses testified to seeing or hearing only two Inland Regional ...

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    While owners of low-cost Fire tablets aren’t routinely characterized as extremely tech-savvy, and Amazon’s argument for ditching full disk encryption probably held up, the timing of the security-shrinking move wasn’t the wisest. Even if no one actually uses the feature, it feels weird to just give it up voluntarily, without so much as a heads up, when other companies’ execs are literally risking their freedom to protect it on every single iDevice around. But ultimately, Amazon appears to have listened to the voice of reason (and public scrutiny), yielding to the numerous security ...

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