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Tom Briant

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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up

90% of Macs will be able to run OS X El Capitan (video)

Apple said that iOS 9 will run on all the devices able to run 2014's iOS 8, meaning that a larger chunk of the iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches now in use should be able to upgrade this fall than in years past.

El Cap will run on the same Macs as now run 2014's Yosemite, 2013's Mavericks, 2012's Mountain Lion and 2011's Lion, according to reports of the newest OS X's system requirements, which have been confirmed by Computerworld with developers, who asked for anonymity.

OS X 10.11 will run on iMacs from the mid-2007 model on; on 13-in. MacBooks from late 2008 (aluminum case) and early 2009 (plastic case) forward; MacBook Pro notebooks from mid-2009 and later (13-in.) and late-2007 and after (15-in., discontinued 17-in.) and on; MacBook Air laptops from late 2008 and later; Mac Mini desktops from mid-2009 and after; and the much beefier Mac Pro desktops from early 2008 and forward.

Mac owners can determine the age of their machine by selecting "About This Mac" from the Apple menu.

A tiny update to the cursor in Apple's latest Mac OS solves an annoying problem every computer user can relate to

19 iPhone-only apps that will make your Android friends jealous

The 11 best iPhone apps and games, according to Apple

Apple finally introduces split-screen multitasking on the iPad - here's what it looks like

There’s good news and bad news for the millions of iPad owners around the world.

The good news is that the iPad is getting a bunch of great new features that finally allow you to multitask e.g., use two different apps at the same time).

But the bad news is that the new features may not work on your iPad unless it's one of the newest models.

Former Apple employee reveals his best tips for getting the most out of your Genius Bar visit

Good tips.

Here's how your iPhone home screen has changed through the years

Your iPhone will now tell you who a mystery caller might be so that you can stop ignoring unknown numbers

while Mr. Cook raised awareness for digital privacy, his speech glossed over two main issues. For one, he neglected to mention that Apple also collects a great deal of data about how we use technology. While it has more protections for that data than many rivals, the company plainly states in its privacy policy that it does use private data in many ways, including to build and market its own products, and to build its own advertising network.

Mr. Cook also failed to fairly explore the substantial benefits that free, ad-supported services have brought to consumers worldwide.

Nuala O’Connor, the president and chief executive of the Center for Democracy and Technology, a tech-focused think tank said "The first and main thing is, does the customer know what’s happening to them?” She argued that if companies were transparent and honest about how they use people’s data, customers could freely weigh the benefits and costs of online services.

es, there are downsides to the ad-supported tech industry, and, yes, privacy advocates and tech insiders like Mr. Cook should continue to push the entire industry to more stringently protect our data. But it would be insane to argue that we haven’t seen benefits in return for this data.

it is also worth noting that Google and Facebook do not actually sell people’s data to advertisers, as Mr. Cook suggested they did in his EPIC speech.

Americans don't mind being spied upon, just not by the NSA

Americans have a strange idea about privacy. It's not OK for the government to collect phone records to defend the nation against terrorism. But it's fine for Google, North Korea, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield to amass all kinds of personal records about ordinary Americans that go far beyond records of "call details."

Google knows more about you than does the NSA.

So do health insurance companies.

It is remarkable how much private and intimate information Americans broadcast about themselves when they are talking on cell phones in public places. The same people who object to the NSA collecting "call details" think nothing of talking about their latest raise or marital spat in loud voices in the presence of other people.

NSA extends internet spying to search for hackers: report

The report, based on documents provided by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor, said the agency can hunt for Internet traffic that contains malware or flows to suspicious internet addresses. While the Justice Department allowed the NSA to monitor only addresses that it could tie to foreign governments, the agency sought to target hackers even if it could not establish any links to foreign powers. This program has never been publicly disclosed.

A very good defense of why PEOPLE should use encryption

Here's the real problem with attacking encryption: The crooks vastly outnumber the terrorists -- in fact, they do so by thousands to one.  Encryption at-rest and during transport is the only means by which you as an ordinary individual can keep your data out of the hands of the bad guys.

My email or other communications are none of your damn business, in short.  Yet the fact remains that the bad guys do like to pfish and organizeddata attacks take place from China and Russia, along with their offshoots, every single day.

Law enforcement may be unhappy that they're unable to listen in whenever they want (with or without so-called "appropriate safeguards") but the threat from bad guys aimed at me is not terrorism, it is common criminals and organized groups in nations that our government gives most-favored nation status to who attempt to steal and exploit data on all of us.

The only defense that I and others, including most-particularly corporations that hold and correlate data these crooks would love to get their hands on, is strong, effectively-unbreakable encryption. It would be nice if this was not true but it is true and no amount of wishcasting will change that.

You're probably not using this technology on a routine basis but you damn well should be and so should everyone else.  Further, we should all be outraged and drive firms out of business that don't take appropriate measures to protect your data -- and that's a huge percentage of them in the present day as evidenced by the breaches that make the daily news.

I do not want Google to have all my data and what Android has become is a tracking device that Google uses; there is no such thing as "free" and Android's price is your privacy.

People are seriously talking about whether Apple's new ad blocking technology for iPhone will destroy the web

People are freaking out about Apple's new ad blocking technology. The company plans to let iPhone users who update to iOS 9 (the new iPhone operating system) block all ads seen through the phone's Safari web browser.

One Wall Street analyst wrote yesterday, "In a worst case scenario, this is Apple against the entire mobile publisher and advertiser ecosystem."

The only person not freaking out is Brian Pitz, an analyst at Jefferies. He wrote this note to investors in Criteo, suggesting that everyone calm the heck down:
This will not be all-out ad blocking on Apple devices.  Apple users will have many options.

Apple steps up security with native two-factor and 6-digit passcodes in iOS 9

Apple now suggests you set a six-digit passcode instead of a four-digit one; and two-factor authentication becomes a built-in part of iOS (and OS X) rather than an afterthought.

If the same cracking routine could work with a new version of iOS, then the upper bound of cracking would be from 6 seconds to...nearly seven months.

A change on Apple's web site causes speculation that Apple is planning to stop selling iPods.

iOS flaw tricks you into giving up your iCloud password

Successful hack attacks often happen not because of tricky coding, but plain old "social engineering" -- ie, conning people. A Github researcher called "jansoucek" has discovered an iOS exploit that works on that principal to steal people's iCloud passwords.

More sophisticated folks might be suspicious, since there are differences between a real iCloud log-in and the fake one.  Still, if you weren't thinking for a second or didn't realize those things, a baddie could nab your password and seize control without you realizing a thing.

5 Best Open Source Graphics Programs

The celebrity nude-photo investigation reveals a broader problem with catching hackers.

The FBI investigation of the stolen photos centers on a single IP address,, registered to Herrera through his AT&T subscription. The address was used to access 572 unique iCloud accounts 3,263 times between May 31, 2013, and Aug. 31, 2014. During that same period, a computer connected to Herrera’s IP address attempted 4,980 password resets related to 1,987 different iCloud accounts.

These numbers raise two related questions: How could Herrera—or whoever was connecting from his IP address—have failed to mask that address? And how could Apple have failed to notice an IP address logging into hundreds of accounts and attempting thousands of password resets?

Both the criminal and Apple could have done a much better job at their respective goals.

New net neutrality rules will take effect Friday June 12, 2015

Nothing will stop the new net neutrality rules from taking effect. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has just tossed out the telecom industry's request to block key net neutrality regulations.

Police set up safe havens for online transactions

Concerned about robberies, scams and killings tied to purchases arranged through Craigslist and other online marketplaces, police and sheriff’s departments nationwide are carving out areas of their stations for people to complete transactions.

The areas, sometimes dubbed “safe zones” or “safe havens,” deter criminals by virtue of their location on law-enforcement property that is under constant video surveillance, supporters say. Skeptics, however, are concerned that departments are opening themselves to liability if a transaction goes awry.

A 30-year-old Commodore Amiga computer controls the air conditioning and heat for 19 public schools in Michigan, and it's been running day and night since 1985

Why can’t they just replace it? They would have to install an entirely new system, which would run the school district between $1.5 and $2 million. But it might be replaced in November, when a $175 million bond proposal comes up to voters.

We may be witnessing 'the worst breach of personally identifying information ever'

A government workers' union announced Thursday that the personnel data of every single federal employee was stolen when hackers breached the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in December.

The AP also reports that hackers may have accessed security clearance information for intelligence and military personnel, specifically, SF86 forms which detail sensitive background information.

Federal employees and contractors who want government-security clearance have to disclose virtually every aspect of their lives via an SF 86 questionnaire, which is then stored on OPM's largely unencrypted database.

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