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Tom Briant

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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Roundup

The WIRED Guide for Upgrading Your Apple Gadgets

I ditched my 16GB iPhone 6 for the 64GB version and I'm kicking myself for not doing it sooner

All 16 Gb filled up after taking only 37 photos.

I doubt I'll ever get to 64GB. I doubt I'll ever hit 40 or even 30GB of storage.

I made 2 tweaks to my sister's 2009 iMac and now it runs like a brand new machine

How to make your old MacBook Pro run like new again

Cool video.

Looks like the guy missed a screw while putting it back together.

Apple Pay stung by low-tech fraudsters

The Apple Pay system itself hasn't been penetrated by hackers. Rather, fraudsters are entering stolen card data into phones, which can then be used to make purchases without a physical card being present.

The fraud, however, isn’t in Apple Pay: it’s in the verification process by which banks allow a card added to an iPhone to be enrolled in Apple Pay. That process is entirely controlled by the banks.

What the fraud truly is? Identity theft involving a hole in bank security procedures that will rapidly close as training and other processes improve.

"Apple Pay is great," says Gartner distinguished analyst Avivah Litan. "It’s the bank processes for identity-proofing that are weak."

In other words, Apple Pay fraud has nothing to do with Apple -- nor its encryption, nor its tokenization protocol -- and everything to do with the banks that provision payment cards/tokens.

"The problem for Apple," says Litan, "is that consumers see Apple Pay and the banks as one and the same entity."

An Apple spokesman said on Tuesday that the company plans to release a fix next week to mitigate the newly uncovered 'Freak' security flaw affecting Safari browsers on its iOS and OS X operating systems for mobile devices and Macs.

A group of nine researchers discovered that they could force web browsers to use a form of encryption that was intentionally weakened to comply with U.S. government regulations that ban American companies from exporting the strongest encryption standards, according to the paper.

Once they caused the site to use the weaker encryption standard, they were then able to break the encryption within a few hours. That could allow hackers to steal data and potentially launch attacks on the sites themselves by taking over elements on a page, the newspaper reported.

Should Apple and Google users freak out about the FREAK security flaw?

"This bug is the legacy of kind of the very first attempt to build backdoors into encryption systems," Green says. "Now we're having this renewed debate about encryption back doors. Fifteen years from now, are we going to be hearing about an unintended consequence of some encryption back door?"

Time for all Windows users to FREAK out over encryption bug

Apple’s OS X Gatekeeper Leaves Hole Open for Malware and Adware - Here’s How to Protect Your Mac

Apple introduced Gatekeeper in OS X Lion as a way to ensure users don't unintentionally run apps or installers from unknown sources. However, if someone is willing to personally (or professionally) identify themselves to Apple, then Gatekeeper will allow their signed apps to run on OS X, regardless of what those apps will do to your system. The reality is that this leaves too much room for malware and adware, including the example I found below.

For the purposes of Gatekeeper, Apple verifies the identity of the developer, but not their intent. It's up to you to ensure that the applications you install and run on your Mac come from the people you think they came from...

How to end your online password nightmare

All the password managers do the same basic thing, with different user interfaces, bell and whistles, and price points (head to PCMag or WSJ for a good overview).

They will suck up the passwords stored in your browser and elsewhere and keep them in a super-encrypted vault that is unlocked by one master password. Whenever you change a password or enter a new one, they'll remember those, too.

Since you'll have to remember only one master password, it will be easy for you to create unique and complex passwords for every site.

The author of this article uses 1Password.

Protect yourself from tax identity theft

Data Security Is Becoming the Sparkle in Bitcoin

As Bitcoin's price has declined over the last year, critics have been quick to declare the virtual currency dead. Bitcoin's true value, though, might be not in the currency itself but in the engine that makes it possible.

Underlying Bitcoin - created as a way to make payments directly, anonymously and outside government control - is the block chain, a decentralized database that is driven by cryptography.

Explaining how the block chain works can tangle the tongues of even those who are most enthusiastic about Bitcoin.

"Our entire system of contracts is based on a trusted third party," said Naveed Sherwani, the chief executive of PeerNova. But with the block chain, he added, "there is no third party anymore."

With the rise of the block chain has come a fundamental question: Should technology replace human discretion? Some experts, even those who study cryptocurrency, are skeptical.

"It's not just one human you're getting rid of, but the entire economic, legal and social structure that reinforces the idea of property," Professor Narayanan said.

The car of the future may ownerless as well as driverless

Since its launch in 2008, most of the public discussion about bitcoin has focused on its potential as a new digital currency that allows people to make online payments without going through banks or other financial middlemen. 

But the past year has also seen growing interest in a host of non-currency applications for bitcoin's core technology. Innovators are devising all manner of ideas to "decentralize" commercial and social activity: "smart contracts" that function without lawyers; stock exchanges without central clearinghouses; financial record-keeping systems that can be verified without an auditor; even tamper-proof voting systems that automatically guarantee one-person-one-vote. 

These ideas treat bitcoin's all-important "blockchain" ledger, a fully verifiable public database that's maintained by thousands of independent computers, as a "platform" on which to build secondary programs that strip out costly middlemen from people's exchanges.

Customers are fleeing Samsung for the iPhone

How Samsung won and then lost the smartphone war

for all the criticism Samsung got along the way for copying Apple, it did prove that the world was hungry for something the iPhone didn’t have yet — smartphones with giant screens.

Samsung was the only company other than Apple making a profit in mobile, and it seemed to be closing in on Apple’s dominance, prompting The Wall Street Journal to publish its famous “Has Apple Lost Its Cool To Samsung?” headline in January 2013.

But it only took another year for things to come crashing down. Profits tumbled in 2014

Competition from new players like Xiaomi and a renewed Apple were central to the decline, but corporate turmoil at Samsung, including a rift between the company's South Korean headquarters and its suddenly successful US group, also played a major role.

“I think it’s always dangerous when you don’t know why you’ve won,” Thompson said in an interview. “One of the reasons Samsung succeeded is they pivoted in ways Nokia and others didn’t. They were able to leverage everything they already had, but weren’t able to sustain it because there wasn’t anything special about their phones. Samsung got crushed on the high end by Apple and the low end by Xiaomi in China.”

Why Samsung's most gorgeous Galaxy phones yet will leave you with mixed feelings

How Samsung's new Galaxy S 6 phones compare against the iPhone and their biggest Android rivals

Curt Schilling destroys 2 dudes who were harassing his daughter on Twitter

A woman who was threatened with death (and worse) for a year explains how to protect against online harassment

13 podcasts that will make you smarter

Six reasons you should invest in the Wearables Revolution

Wearables are a can't-miss growth market. The same kids (and adults) today who take selfies with their smartphones to post on SnapChat and Facebook are going to be doing 10 times more of that, and most of it in real time using wearables.

anything that gets people posting more and easier and consuming more to and from the net is only going to grow exponentially.

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