Contestants at Pwn2Own take down Safari, but said OS X security is better than other systems

As usual, the annual Pwn2Own contest featured many hackers targeting the latest operating systems and browsers from the major vendors, including Apple. Threatpost reports that the “Keen Team” focused Safari on Thursday and exploited it with relative ease.

The team took home a $40,000 bounty for their efforts on Safari, as well as a share in a $75,000 prize for co-engineering a zero-day Flash exploit. They say they will donate some of their winnings towards charities representing missing Malaysian Airplane passengers.

The group say that for Safari, they used two different exploit vectors. One vulnerability was a heap overflow in WebKit that enabled arbitrary code execution. The team then used this opening to use another exploit to bypass the application sandbox and run code as if it was user privileged.

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iOS 7.1 makes everything faster — including your battery drain

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iOS 7.1 may have only been released this week, but it’s already got it’s own “gate”-worthy issue: battery life is abysmal. Reports on Twitter and Apple’s support discussion forums indicate that users are seeing significant drain on their batteries after installing the new update.

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iOS 8: Apple works to further push iCloud as the future of the file system

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When Apple introduced both iOS and iCloud, its goal was to eliminate the classic file system found in Mac OS X and make synchronization so seamless between devices that it “just works.” Nearly three years after iCloud’s introduction, Apple is still moving closer to this goal. The company is working on a pair of new iCloud applications for iOS as well as improved tools for developers to build iCloud-infused applications, according to sources with knowledge of these initiatives…

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iOS 8: Apple considers moving iTunes Radio to its own app to boost usage

iTunesRadioIn an effort to boost usage of its new streaming music service that launched alongside iOS 7 last fall, Apple is considering changes to iTunes Radio. The Cupertino company is now testing iTunes Radio as a standalone application with iOS 8, according to sources briefed on the plans. iTunes Radio first arrived as a feature within the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch operating system’s Music application. As a tab in the already-existing Music app, iTunes Radio has not received a promoted presence on iOS, and this likely has deterred growth for the service in terms of advertising revenue and usage…

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Will Apple extend sapphire screens to iPads, even at a cost to its margins? [Poll]

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While it’s not yet certain that the iPhone 6 screen will get a sapphire layer, that’s certainly the way things look at present – providing a screen that is pretty much impervious to scratches (though no more resistant to breakage).

The problem with sapphire is it’s about ten times as expensive as Gorilla Glass. There have been vague suggestions that new manufacturing techniques might narrow the gap, but it still seems likely that Apple will have to sacrifice a bit of margin to introduce the material.

That’s likely a cost the company can afford, given the marketing benefit of an effectively scratchproof screen. But will we also see sapphire screens on iPads … ?  Read more

iOS 8: Apple polishes Maps data, adds public transit directions service

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Apple is readying an upgraded version of its iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch Maps application for the next major release of iOS in an effort to battle Google for mobile maps supremacy, according to sources briefed on the plans. Apple CEO Tim Cook, Senior Vice Presidents Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi, and Maps head Patrice Gautier are using the new app to move toward fulfilling a promise to users that the iOS Maps application will eventually live up to the “incredibly high standard” of Apple’s customers…

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