Department of Justice: iPhone encryption will lead to the death of a child

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Apple and the government have long been engaged in a bitter war of words over encryption and security practices employed in Apple’s iOS devices, but a new Wall Street Journal report indicates that the Department of Justice is really starting to take the rhetoric to the next level.

According to the Journal, a DOJ official actually told Apple executives during a meeting last month that in the future the Cupertino company could eventually be directly responsible for the death of a child. Read more

Apple ordered to pay $23.6 million after losing lawsuit over wireless messaging

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Bloomberg reports that a federal jury has found Apple guilty of infringing on six patents related to outdated pager technology from the 1990s. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas has ordered Apple to pay a $23.6 million settlement for violating six patents owned by plaintiff Mobile Telecommunications Technologies LLC in the case. Read more

Apple introduces tool for deregistering iMessage, even if you no longer have an iPhone

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Apple has added a page to its website for deregistering and turning off iMessage for users that have switched from an iPhone to an Android device or other non-Apple smartphone. The new web-based tool arrives after Apple faced a lawsuit over Android users having undelivered text messages from other iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users still using iMessage. Read more

EFF: Apple’s iMessage most secure “mass-market” messaging, lacks complete protection from targeted surveillance

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today released a report examining three dozen messaging services and ranking them based on what it deemed are seven “security best practices.” While Apple scored the best among what the EFF called “mass-market options”, it didn’t do as well when compared to all 36 messaging services included in the report. Specifically, EFF noted Apple’s iMessage and FaceTime services failed to offer “complete protection against sophisticated, targeted forms of surveillance.” Read more

Yosemite & iOS 8 How-to: Set up and use SMS Relay

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Now that iOS 8.1 is out, with iOS 8.1 running on your iPhone, you can set up SMS Relay. This is one of the features of Continuity, which further integrates and connects your Mac and iOS devices, running Yosemite and iOS 8.1. Continuity also includes Handoff, iPhone Cellular Calls, Instant Hotspot, and AirDrop.

With iMessage, when you are messaging people using Apple devices they appear in blue bubbles. Those messages sync onto all of your Apple devices so that way you can text someone from your Mac, iPad or iPod Touch. Previously, the people you texted in green bubbles were not using iMessage because they were not on Apple devices. Those conversations were not syncing over to your Mac, iPad or iPod Touch, which forced you to respond back to them only on your iPhone. Now with SMS Relay, your non-Apple using friends’ messages will sync to your Mac, iPad or iPod Touch while all connected to the same Wi-Fi Network, so you can respond from whichever device you prefer.

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BlackBerry goes on the offensive, claims five ways BBM trumps Apple’s iMessage

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Earlier this week a report from Wired noted security company Cloudmark’s claim that iMessage is host to nearly a third of all mobile spam messages due in part to email addresses being attached in many cases to accounts. In our coverage we noted that you can manually report such messages in addition to certain workarounds to avoid being bothered.

BlackBerry, however, is taking this report as an opportunity to remind you it still has a messaging service, BlackBerry Messenger, which it says is a more secure alternative to iMessage. In a recent blog post (via BGR), the handset maker goes on to list five reasons why its messaging platform is better than iMessage: Read more

iMessage “being taken over by spammers,” accounts for almost a third of mobile spam

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Security company Cloudmark claims that almost a third of mobile spam messages are now being sent via iMessage thanks to the ease with which they can be sent from a Mac, reports Wired.

Thanks to one particularly aggressive campaign from a junk mailer, [iMessage spam] accounts for more than 30 percent of all mobile spam messages […]

“It’s almost like a spammer’s dream,” says Cloudmark’s Tom Landesman. “With four lines of code, using Applescripts, you can tell your Mac to send message to whoever they want.”

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Apple releases iOS 7.1.2 with iBeacon, Mail attachment, third-party accessory fixes & Apple TV OS 6.2

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Apple has released iOS 7.1.2 to end users today over-the-air with the following changes:

• Improves iBeacon connectivity and stability
• Fixes a bug with data transfer for some 3rd party accessories, including bar code scanners
• Corrects an issue with data protection class of Mail attachments

The update is available over-the-air or via iTunes for the latest iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. The fix for Mail addresses a well-publicized security problem regarding attachments. Apple has also released OS X 10.9.4 with various bug fixes and security enhancements.

The build number is 11D257 and it comes in at approximately 30 MB over-the-air on the iPad and 32 MB on the iPhone. The update is approximately 1.4GB for a complete download via iTunes.

In addition, Apple has released Apple TV software version 6.2 (build number 11D257c) without any major changes. The update addresses stability and performance issues:

  • Includes general performance and stability improvements.

Download links below:

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Apple: We’ll ‘soon’ begin encrypting iCloud email in transit between providers

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Following the publication of an NPR article detailing the security of major email services, Apple has informed the network that it is working on an update to its iCloud Mail service that encrypts emails in transit from other providers. As of right now, iCloud emails are solely encrypted in transit from one iCloud email account to another, but an email sent from iCloud to Gmail or Yahoo (as examples) or vice versa is not currently encrypted. This is what will change:

Apple encrypts e-mail from its customers to iCloud. However, Apple is one of the few global email providers based in the U.S. that is not encrypting any of its customers’ email in transit between providers. After we published, the company told us this would soon change. This affects users of me.com and mac.com email addresses.

The enhancement will come into effect “soon,” but Apple is not more specific than that on the timeframe. While the quote above oddly does not specify icloud.com addresses, that newer Apple email domain likely falls into the same category as me.com and mac.com. The lack of end-to-end iCloud Mail encryption with Gmail, for example, is shown on Google’s data protection transparency website:

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Skype for iPhone gets ground-up redesign; top designer talks future iPad & iOS 8 updates

A few years ago, Skype was the rockstar of the messaging world, but now with smartphones and mobile messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and iMessage, Skype’s iPhone feature-set and application have begun to stagnate. However, the Skype development team has not been standing still. The Microsoft-owned company is revealing today that it is nearing the launch of a completely revamped Skype application for the iPhone and iPod touch. I met with lead Skype designer Guilherme Schneider last week for an exclusive preview and an interview regarding the new software, and the application certainly seems impressive…

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