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Tom Briant

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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Senior Correspondent Arnold Woodworth's Weekly Web Wrap-up for May 19th 2017 (This is tom's fault, not Arnolds!)

15 things you didn't know your iPhone headphones could do
Try to remember all these tricks after you read the article.
The new iPad review: This is the best couch computer ever
Apple's newest iPad reminded me that for iPhone users, a big tablet that does the same things can be a huge luxury. Browsing the web, playing games, and checking social media is all more pleasant with a bigger screen.
I paid $329 for mine.
I couldn't be happier with my purchase. It can't do anything new compared with other iPads, but it's a great value, and it's clear Apple has refined the iPad over the past seven years to be a great tablet for most people.
For nearly everybody, Apple's newest iPad is the best value if you know you want an iPad.
A little-known service makes it easy to get money for old Apple gadgets you don't want anymore
If you'd rather get some money for your out-of-date gadgets instead, you should consider using Gazelle.

Gazelle is a trade-in service that removes a lot of the friction from selling your tech online.
Refurbished iPhones: What to check before buying a second-hand iPhone
1. Ask for an original receipt or a proof of purchase
2. Check the IMEI number
3. Check the seller’s return policy
4. Check for an iCloud account, reset and setup the iPhone
5. Always meet in a public place that’s safe
This article also has a few ideas on the best placed to buy a used iPhone.
Could the Apple iPad Pro and Apple Pencil FINALLY make one of the most annoying bits of technology redundant?
I’ve been fiddling with Apple’s iPad Pro for a few months now and I’m glad to report it has shown me we are stepping ever closer to an era where you may never have to print anything ever again.

The iPad Pro has one key accessory that – I hope – might finally stop me having to struggle with a printer ever again: the Apple Pencil.
24 apps you need on your phone right now
10 Essential Apple Watch Apps
Surprise: Google Reveals Apple's iOS Market Share Is 65% to 230% Bigger Than We Thought
"There are now 2 billion monthly active Android devices globally," Google VP Dave Burke wrote.
Over a year ago, Apple announced that there were more than one billion iOS devices in active use.
If generally-accepted sales statistics suggest 10 to 20% iOS market share in global devices sold, these activity statisticssuggest 33% global market share in devices used.
Apple Extends Warranty For This Problem-Plagued Product
Problems with a popular accessory for iPad Pro tablets has prompted Apple to extend the free warranty for it.
The extended warranty is for Apple's Smart Keyboard device that people can connect to their iPad Pro tablets.
Apple admits multiple faults with iPad Pro Smart Keyboard

Because of problems with sticking/repeating/unresponsive keys, connectivity and other ’functional’ issues, Cupertino will now provide free repairs for three years after purchase.

The new policy affects the Smart Keyboard for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro from late 2015 and the Smart Keyboard for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro from early 2016.

Apple will fix busted iPad Pro Smart Keyboards for up to three years
Apple's Smart Keyboards are a key selling point for both the 12.9-inch and 9.7-inch iPad Pros, as they're official first-party accessories that help to differentiate the devices from the cheaper tablets in the lineup. If you bought one, good news: Apple will now repair most problems with both sizes of Smart Keyboard for up to three years from the date of their release.
iPhone Bug:
Some users experience rapid battery drain after upgrading to iOS 10.3.2
This bug only seems to affect iPhones. Not a single complaint that I have read so far has mentioned these problems occurring on an iPad or iPod touch. Is it a renaissance of the 30% Bug which Apple claimed it has quashed in iOS 10.2.1?
As such my upgrade advice still stands: iOS 10.3.2 is an important update because it patches numerous security flaws, many of which are now public knowledge following its release and this makes them far more dangerous.
Some people think Google's virtual assistant beats Siri in reliability and capability. That may be true on Google's own devices, like the Pixel smartphone, but the Assistant is hobbled on the iPhone.
HTC U11 vs. Apple iPhone 7 Plus: Can Android Champ Beat Apple’s Flagship?
The author’s verdict?
He says the overall winner is the HTC U11.
Third-Party Apps Will Need App-Specific Passwords for iCloud Access From June 15
App-specific passwords are set to become a mandatory requirement for third-party apps that access iCloud user data, according to an Apple Support email.
The policy change basically means that users who want to continue using third-party apps with their iCloud account will have to enable two-factor authentication and generate individual passwords for each app.
How to use iCloud
iCloud Drive: How to See the Status of Uploads
WhatsApp conversations backed up in Apple’s iCloud are now protected by encryption.
WhatsApp conversations are protected by end-to-end encryption, a technique that scrambles content and ensures that nobody but the sender and the intended recipient can decipher it.
Before the update, WhatsApp conversations backed up by iPhone owners using iCloud were stored in readable form.

Though iCloud accounts were encrypted, cyber criminals and authorities could have potentially accessed a WhatsApp user’s private messages by hacking or issuing a court order to Apple, which hold the decryption keys.

That avenue is now blocked by a second layer of protection.
WhatsApp Quietly Boosted Its iCloud Encryption -- FBI Contractors Think They Can Already Break It
Forbes only learned about the most recent improvement last week after a supplier of mobile and cloud hacking tools, Oxygen Forensics, claimed to have added a feature that allowed the company to circumvent the added encryption.
A balance, if such a thing exists, between privacy and security is far from being found.
The news emerged after a company called Oxygen Forensics claimed to be able to get around the security measure, though only if it has access to a SIM card with the same mobile number as that of the targeted user. 
WhatsApp quietly added encryption to iCloud backups
WhatsApp has quietly beefed up the security of an iCloud backup feature for users of its messaging service — potentially closing a loophole that could enable otherwise end-to-end encrypted messages to become accessible in a readable form. Such as via a subpoena of Apple, which holds the encryption keys for iCloud, or by a hacker otherwise gaining access to a WhatsApp user’s iCloud account.
A third party company which supplies mobile and cloud hacking tools claimed to be able to circumvent the security measure.
Baltimore Police on Tuesday released an image of a burglary suspect after it and other "selfies" taken by the man on a stolen iPad were automatically uploaded to the victim's iCloud account.
Police had released the image to identify the suspect. They later said they had done so, thanking the public on Twitter for "all the tips."
New Apple iCloud Phishing Scam Targets Local Consumers
Local consumers reported receiving phone calls and multiple messages from “Mollie” claiming that there was a problem with their Apple iCloud account. Consumers were instructed to call back so that Tech Support could help troubleshoot and repair the problem.
Thankfully the consumers were savvy and did not fall for the scam.
To learn more about the FTC crackdown, go to FTC Tech Support Crackdown.
'Your iCloud ID has been deactivated' - another text message scam which is trying to catch you out

Scammers are reportedly sending text messages to users requesting their personal information. It begins with a personalised text from a number purporting to be "iSupport" and warns owners their iCloud account has been deactivated.
An app designed by a pilot helped me get over my crippling fear of flying

When I first heard about SkyGuru, an app designed by a professional pilot to help calm down nervous flyers, I was skeptical. It's an app, how useful could it be?

How Google Took Over the Classroom
“Between the fall of 2012 and now, Google went from an interesting possibility to the dominant way that schools around the country” teach students to find information, create documents and turn them in, said Hal Friedlander, former chief information officer for the New York City Department of Education.
Google, and the tech economy, is at the center of one of the great debates that has raged in American education for more than a century: whether the purpose of public schools is to turn out knowledgeable citizens or skilled workers.
Chatfield Senior High School in Littleton, Colo., sent out a notice urging seniors to “make sure” they convert their school account “to a personal Gmail account.”

That doesn’t sit well with some parents. They warn that Google could profit by using personal details from their children’s school email to build more powerful marketing profiles of them as young adults.
“Unless we know what is collected, why it is collected, how it is used and a review of it is possible, we can never understand with certainty how this information could be used to help or hurt a kid,” said Bill Fitzgerald of Common Sense Media, a children’s advocacy group, who vets the security and privacy of classroom apps.
Mr. Bout of Google said that the tech company had “always taken the compliance needs of our education users seriously.” He added that “even early versions” of the company’s agreements for its education apps had “addressed” the federal education privacy law.
A Russian security software company is raising eyebrows among officials in the US
Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Director Vincent Stewart on May 11 told a Senate committee that "we are tracking Kaspersky and their software."

He added there is "as far as I know, no Kaspersky software on [DIA] networks," although it was possible it was being used by intelligence contractors.

Kaspersky Lab products are widely used in US homes, businesses, and government agencies. The company has contracts with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and segments of the Defense Department.
How gaming in the classroom prepares children for life in a surveillance state
This increase in mass surveillance is also happening in the classroom – through the use of online games that keep score and report back to the teacher in real time about a pupil’s behaviour and abilities.

“Gamification” in schools teaches children that they should expect their every move to be watched, rated and possibly shared publicly. It makes a lack of privacy appear normal and prepares young people to accept mass surveillance in their adult lives.
If surveillance cameras are to be kept in line, the rules will have to keep pace with technology
It has been said that Britain has more surveillance cameras than any other country in the world. This proliferation of CCTV cameras led the government to establish a surveillance camera commissioner responsible for overseeing their governance – the only country in the world to do so.
The global ransomware attack has made $49,000 — but the attackers will have a hard time claiming it
computers around the world were hit with a devastating piece of ransomware, malicious software that encrypts the victim's data then demands a bounty — $300 in this case — to unlock it.

With the help of a leaked software exploit developed by the National Security Agency, a US intelligence agency, the ransomware spread to at least 150 countries, wreaking havoc on Britain's National Health Service — where it shut down hospitals and cancelled operations — and the Spanish telecommunications giant Telefónica.
So has the unknown attacker just made a cool fifty grand? Not necessarily. Information-security professionals across the globe are watching the three wallets like hawks, and law-enforcement officials are likely motivated to get to the bottom of the attack because of its sheer scale.
The WannaCry attack has, in a strange way, been TOO successful.
Had it been just another moderately effective ransomware campaign, it might have flown under the radar. It certainly wouldn't be receiving the global coverage this weekend's attack has. But once it started forcing children's ambulances to get redirected, it changed the game.
The UK government stopped funding Windows XP support to try and force people to upgrade
Organisations around the world were hit with ransomware, nicknamed WannaCry, which encrypted their information and then demanded payment in exchange for decryption.

In the UK, the NHS was particularly badly hit, with at least 48 organisations affected. Hospitals turned non-urgent cases away, cancelled patient operations, and doctors had to work using pen and paper rather than online systems. This chaos continued over the weekend and into Monday morning.
The NHS did have one safeguard — the UK government was still paying Microsoft for extended security support after the cut-off date. That means it still had vital security updates and patches to avoid being hacked.

Until 2015, that is, when the government decided to stop paying for that support.
Some people feel the government is to blame for that decision, because that resulted in the NHS' systems being more vulnerable.
James Stewart told Business Insider the group felt continuing to pay for Windows XP support would have been "pulling a rug over the problem.”
There is no one body that is responsible for technical standards across the NHS, according to Stewart, which is why it's hard to pin the blame on one individual or organisation.
Microsoft publicly attacked the US government for 'stockpiling' exploits after a massive global cyberattack
Microsoft has criticised the US government following a massive ransomware cyberattack that hit computers around the world Friday, after it emerged that the malware made use of a software exploited developed by the NSA.

Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, Brad Smith, wrote a strongly worded statement that read in part: "This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem ... Repeatedly, exploits in the hands of governments have leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage.”
He once again called for a "Digital Geneva Convention" that would regulate how software vulnerabilities and cyberweapons be handled globally, specifically one that would force governments to disclose vulnerabilities in a responsible manner.
The need for urgent collective action to keep people safe online: Lessons from last week’s cyberattack
this attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem. This is an emerging pattern in 2017. We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the CIA show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world. Repeatedly, exploits in the hands of governments have leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage.
Repeatedly, exploits in the hands of governments have leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage. An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen. And this most recent attack represents a completely unintended but disconcerting link between the two most serious forms of cybersecurity threats in the world today – nation-state action and organized criminal action.
We need governments to consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits.
Fears Google Hire could allow employers to see your entire search history
Technology website Axios reports the tool is currently under testing, and that it will let employers post job listings, and accept and manage applications.
It was apparently developed by Google’s enterprise and cloud division, headed up by Diane Greene, whose start-up was acquired by Google in 2015.
The login page is currently live, however as the service hasn’t officially been announced it’s not yet possible to actually check the website out.
Just make sure when it does go live, you don’t do any X-rated browsing.

How to Protect Your Privacy as More Apps Harvest Your Data
If you’ve lost trust in a company, make the cleanest break possible: Delete your account.
Robocalls Flooding Your Cellphone? Here’s How to Stop Them
Rule No. 1
The most simple and effective remedy is to not answer numbers you don’t know, Mr. Quilici said.
Turn the tables
And then there is the Jolly Roger Telephone Company, which turns the tables on telemarketers. This program allows a customer to put the phone on mute and patch telemarketing calls to a robot, which understands speech patterns and inflections and works to keep the caller engaged.
Amazon has introduced a "new" Echo device.
If I see one of these in your house I know for a fact that you're stupid -- and I'm immediately leaving, never to return.

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