Chinese government apparently phishing iCloud account info with man-in-the-middle attack (Update: Apple confirms)

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Update: Apple is aware of the attack, via CNBC. As expected, Apple’s own servers were not compromised.

Although unconfirmed, GreatFire is reporting that Apple is now the subject of Chinese government hacking attempts. According to the report, the government is using the institutional firewall to redirect traffic directed at iCloud.com to a fake page that resembles the iCloud.com interface almost perfectly.

Like other phishing attacks, this page is pretending to be Apple’s portal but instead intercepts entered usernames and passwords for other means. Although some browsers in China are set up to warn users about these kind of man-in-the-middle attacks, many don’t and (assumedly) many citizens disregard the warnings as the site appears quite genuine otherwise.

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Sparrow to charge for push notifications with yearly subscriptions

The last we heard, iOS email client Sparrow said push notifications were coming “with or without” Apple. Apple has decided not to extend the privilege of VOIP apps to Sparrow, which, due to latency issues, are allowed to keep an open network connection in the background for processes like notifications. The alternative forces non-VOIP, third-party apps—such as Sparrow– to send push notifications from its own servers. The company initially said it would not implement push notifications due to security and cost concerns, but confirmed in a blog post today, while announcing Sparrow v1.2, that it will soon offer push through a yearly subscription:

 
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Apple reportedly assembled anti-counterfeit team in 2008 to combat fakes

CNN is reporting that recent Wikileaks cables have revealed that Apple assembled an anti-counterfeit team in 2008 to combat counterfeited iPhones and iPod touches. Apple’s early plans to attack Chinese counterfeits were to go after retailers and street vendors, work with police to raid manufacturing facilities, and to go after online retailers.

The technology giant eventually organized a team in March 2008 to curtail the explosion of knockoff iPods and iPhones, according to an electronic memo from the Beijing embassy dated September 2008.

Counterfeiting Apple products has been a huge issue in recent years. Most recently, fake Apple stores have opened up selling almost identical products to Chinese consumers. We attribute the high amount of counterfeit sales to the scarce availability of stores in this region. As of now Apple only has 4 stores, but a new Hong Kong store is on its way — which we’ve heard is coming along nicely.

Apple’s efforts to combat counterfeits has slowed down recently, as more and more appear due to the upcoming iPhone 5. Apple reportedly isn’t getting any help from the Chinese government either, as CNN notes after the break:

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iOS 5 beta 2 adds additional support for Chinese email services



iOS 5 includes support for China’s QQ, 163.com, and 126.com email services – in the same way that the mobile operating system for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch supports services like MobileMe and GMail. As Apple attempts to make a bigger impact on the Chinese market, adding new support for mainstream Chinese services is critical. Apple COO Tim Cook was recently spotted meeting with China Mobile executives ahead of a rumored deal to bring the iPhone to the world’s largest carrier. Read more