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Sunday, March 6, 2016

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for March 6, 2016

Apple’s new Twitter account has already helped thousands of users in its first day

Apple revealed a new Twitter account, @AppleSupport, which responds to technical questions from users and tweets out tips and tutorials.

On its first day, Apple Support has over 121,000 followers, and has tweeted over 2,200 times directly to Apple users with instructions for how to fix their problems.

This voice assistant app blows Siri out of the water

Keyvan Mohajer is pulling out the stops to show off the power of Hound, a voice recognition assistant his company SoundHound has been quietly building for the last 9 years.

The 20 best smartphones in the world

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S are in first and second place.

5 clever iPhone tricks only power users know about

A Mac user asks
"I have an iPhone and an iMac and somehow when the phone rings, so does the computer. Any idea how to turn off the computer component so just the iPhone rings?”

iOS 9.3 Will Kindly Alert You If Your Work-Issued iPhone Is Being Monitored

This functionality is only enabled if an employer has its iPhones registered through Apple's Device Enrollment Program.

Even though Apple is giving you fair warning which activities are being monitored, it still doesn’t give the user the ability to turn off said functionality.

Oculus founder explains why Macs can't do virtual reality

Oculus software needs the best graphics cards to work well.

Apple doesn’t use the best graphics cards in the Macs they make.
However, the cards that Apple does use are good enough for most users.

40 great websites where you can learn something new every day

Archaeology’s Information Revolution
In the near future, every archaeological artifact could be digitally connected to every other artifact.

The dream of an uncensorable online marketplace just took a major step closer to reality

OpenBazaar has been in the works in some form since 2014, when it was conceived by controversial bitcoin developer Amir Taaki.

The vision is an online peer-to-peer market, in the vein of eBay or Etsy — but unlike eBay, transactions will take place using bitcoin, and the entire site will be decentralised across the network of people accessing it, making it impossible to close down.

There's now a functioning version of OpenBazaar running on the "testnet." This is a kind of open beta that anyone can download and run, but it uses "testnet bitcoin" — a "fake" version of the digital currency for running tests — that doesn't have any real value.

It means the developer team can test out the software with a larger audience and iron out the bugs without any real risk.

Apple, want to show you really care? Protect us from everyday hacking

Apple's App Store Terms and Conditions clearly absolves it from any responsibility for a hack, breach, or data loss stemming from the use of any apps you purchase from it.

In light of this, it's hard to make a case then that Apple is always looking out us. Can't Apple do better in protecting us from hackers?

Before we discuss that, let's pause to recognize that this is a problem not just with Apple but also every other major technology company, from Google to Facebook to Amazon, each of which is vying to become your gateway to the Internet.

most IoT gadgets are created by companies that have little to no information security experience, or that are simply negligent. Many have been shown to have serious vulnerabilities, and we have already seen successful breaches into everything from "smart" toys to thermostats.

It is one thing for Apple to take a stance against government intrusions into our privacy, but it is another to do something to better protect our data from hackers.

Everything You Need to Know About Apple vs. the FBI, Explained

Audio discussion

Former heads of NSA and Homeland Security unlikely Apple supporters in encryption battle

At a panel discussion today at the RSA conference in San Francisco, Apple found two unlikely allies when the former heads of the NSA and Homeland Security threw their support behind encryption technologies.

Michael Chertoff, who was the head of Homeland Security under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and who helped author the USA Patriot Act, and former NSA head Mike McConnell both expressed strong support for encryption technology.

He believes that trust fuels the Internet’s economic engine and that weakening that trust puts those economic benefits at risk. “If you lose trust, you get to a tipping point where people flee to something else,” he said. As that happens, we could inadvertently fragment the internet as different countries go their own way in the name of privacy.

Forget Apple's fight with the FBI – our privacy catastrophe has only just begun

Like climate change, the privacy catastrophes of the next two decades are already inevitable.  That’s because of how much of our personal information we have already given to corporations and government.

The problem we face is preventing the much worse catastrophes of the following the decades. 

And as computers are integrated into the buildings and vehicles and cities we inhabit, as they penetrate our bodies, the potential harms from breaches will become worse.

Tech Giants Agree: The FBI’s Case Against Apple Is a Joke

Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Yahoo, etc., made clear just how outdated the All Writs Act of 1789 is:

That was fifty years before the telegraph originated and almost a century before Alexander Graham Bell made the first telephone call… Now, 200 years later, the government endeavors to reinterpret the All Writs Act as an open-ended source of new powers.

Why Forcing Apple to Write and Sign Code Violates the First Amendment

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed an amicus brief in support of Apple's fight against a court order compelling the company to create specific software to enable the government to break into an iPhone.

Beware of iOS hiding your email messages

This article describes an interesting bug that this author experienced.

His iOS device indicated that there were E-mails on it, but would not display them.
The problem was intermittent.

Amazon quietly removed encryption from its Fire devices

Amazon is one of several companies that’s backing Apple in its fight with the FBI over encryption.

And yet ... Fire OS 5, Amazon's latest update to its Fire operating system (OS), removed the ability to encrypt data.

Amazon reverses course, decides to bring back encryption for Fire devices

Amazon has decided to bring encryption back to its Fire devices after customers and privacy advocates complained about the latest Fire operating system (OS) update, which removed the ability to encrypt data.

How Hackers Recruit New Talent

Attack against TLS shows the pitfalls of weakening encryption

The field of cryptography escaped the military domain in the 1970s and reached the general public through the works of pioneers like Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman, and ever since, the government has tried to keep it under control and limit its usefulness in one way or another.

This gave birth to so-called "export-grade" encryption algorithms that have been integrated into cryptographic libraries and have survived to this day. While these algorithms are no longer used in practice, researchers found that the mere support for them in TLS (Transport Layer Security) libraries and server configurations endanger Web communications encrypted with modern standards.

another team of researchers announced a third attack.

The attack is possible because of a fundamental weakness in the SSLv2 protocol that also relates to export-grade cryptography.

John McAfee reveals how to hack the iPhone without Apple's help

"There is only one way for a non-Apple employee to do this, without the help of Apple," McAfee said. "That is to decap the A6 chip, which is the processor chip inside the iPhone."

McAfee said that if the FBI wanted, it could literally strip the iPhone hardware apart and access the phone's chip. On this chip is a unique identifier, called a UID, which pairs up with the passcode to create the phone's encryption key.

If the FBI tried running a supercomputer right now to guess the unlock code, it would be up against a nearly-infinite number of possibilities. But if they had the UID, that number would come down to something more manageable.

"Then we've got it down to, I don't know, four or five trillion possibilities," McAfee said. "Good God, a supercomputer will give us an answer in five minutes.”

It's a solution that others in the technical community have been discussing recently.

it's extremely risky. If at any point in de-capping the chip and probing it an error is made, the chip could be destroyed and access to the phone's memory would be completely lost.

The method only applies to the shooter's version of the iPhone, the 5C. Apple implemented a major update to 5S and newer iPhones with its A7 chip featuring a "secure enclave" that theoretically can't be cracked into even if Apple wanted to.

Billboards can track your location, and privacy advocates don't like it

The next time you see a billboard on the side of the road, it may also be scanning you.

A geolocation-tracking feature on billboards owned by Clear Channel Outdoor gives the company new ways to target advertising and measure its effectiveness. The service has caught the eye of privacy advocates, who worry that the so-called Radar tracker will be able to collect massive amounts of information from smartphones in cars driving past.

Cryptography Pioneers Win Million-Dollar Turing Award

The Association of Computing Machinery on Tuesday named Whitfield Diffie and Martin E. Hellman recipients of the 2015 ACM A.M. Turing Award for their contributions to modern cryptography.

Their invention of public key cryptography and digital signatures revolutionized computer security, the organization said.

The award, considered the Nobel Prize of computing, includes a US$1 million prize, with financial support provided by Google.

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