iOS 9 lets app developers make ad blockers for Safari

Ad blocking extensions have been possible on Safari for Mac for a long time, but plugin architecture for Safari on iOS is much more limited. With iOS 9, Apple has added a special case of extension for ad blockers. Apps can now include ‘content blocker’ extensions that define resources (like images and scripts) for Safari to not load. For the first time, this architecture makes ad blockers a real possibility for iOS developers to make and iOS customers to install and use.

The inclusion of such a feature at this time is interesting. Apple is also pushing its own news solution in iOS 9 with the News app, which will include ads but not be affected by the content blocking extensions as they only apply to Safari. There is also clearly the potential for Safari ad blockers to hurt Google, which seems to be a common trend with Apple’s announcements recently…

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Millions of British Safari users able to sue Google over secretly-dropped cookies

cookies

UK Safari users have been given the go-ahead to sue Google for continuing to drop cookies on their devices even after they had refused permission through their browser settings.

It was revealed in 2012 that Google bypassed the setting in Safari which instructed sites not to drop cookies, enabling it to deliver personalized ads. The FTC in the US fined the company $22.5M for the practice, with millions more in additional fines levied by 38 US states. There was no government action in the UK, but a group of British iPhone users took Google to court, seeking compensation for breaching their privacy.

Google had attempted to have the case dismissed, claiming that there was no case to answer as the plaintiffs had not suffered any financial harm, but the UK’s Court of Appeal has rejected this argument, allowing the case to proceed …

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Unscrupulous website adverts again redirecting some users to App Store from Safari

Update: Some of the websites shown in the video cannot be explained by the hypothesis posted below about adverts redirecting to the App Store. The large amount of corroboration by readers about this happening to them suggests there is a mechanism, somewhere along the line, causing a real problem.

Website advertisement companies have found a way to circumvent the protections introduced in iOS 8 to stop users from being kicked to the App Store because of certain cleverly-coded JavaScript advertisements.

I am now experiencing this myself, and it makes browsing on the iPhone unusable. Browsing to websites such as Reddit and Reuters and others now automatically open the App Store. In many cases, there is no way for me to read the actual content on the pages. You can see this happen in the video above.

This flared up as a serious issue last year, when users found they were being taken to random App Store pages without granting any kind of permission…

In iOS 8 beta 2, Apple supposedly had remedied the issue: “Safari now blocks ads from automatically redirecting to the App Store without user interaction.”. However, it seems that ad companies have now managed to work around these safeguards. Read more

Security flaw places Mac, iOS & Android users at risk from hacking on some major websites

freak

Cryptographers have discovered that a security flaw dating back to the ’90s is placing OS X, iOS and Android users at risk from hacking attacks when visiting some major websites, including American Express, Airtel, Bloomberg, Business Insider, Groupon, Marriott and many more.

The FREAK exploit allows an attacker to force a website to use lower-grade encryption for HTTPS connections, which can be cracked within a few hours when using a small botnet of just 75 computers. Once cracked, attackers would be able to hack the website as well as steal personal data from those visiting the site …  Read more

Parallels Access gains new file manager, iPhone 6 support & web version

iPhone_6_Plus_AppSwitcher

Parallels Access today received a significant version 2.5 update with support for the iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus, a new file managing system, improved audio controls, and a new web browser-based version. Parallels Access, as we covered upon its launch for the iPhone last year, is a robust remote computing application that allows you to view and control multiple Macs or Windows PCs via an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Android device.

Besides support for the larger, higher-resolution iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus displays, this new version introduces an improved file management system. The new file picker leverages the new tools in iOS 8 to better work with other applications like Dropbox and Google Drive. Parallels shares the list of enhancements to the feature:

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Microsoft begins inviting users to Skype for Web beta

skype

We told you Microsoft released a redesigned version of Skype for the Mac earlier last month, and today Microsoft says the communication software is starting to roll out as a service on the Web. Skype for Web will allow users to chat, video call, and manage contacts from a web browser without having to download the Skype app. Microsoft is currently offering Skype for Web as a beta to select users. Read more

App developer warns not to enter personal info using in-app browsers due to security issue

App developer Craig Hockenberry has published an article today titled “in-app browsers considered harmful” warning both devs and users of security issues related to apps that take advantage of the feature. “Would it surprise you to know that every one of those apps could eavesdrop on your typing? Even when it’s in a secure login screen with a password field?” Read more

Talking Schmidt: Google’s executive chairman challenges Tim Cook on privacy citing Chrome’s ‘incognito mode’

Key Speakers At Global Investment Conference

In his letter on privacy shared last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook contrasted the business model of Apple against that of its competitors while strongly taking a shot at Google, Gmail, and Android without actually naming the company and services. The infinitely entertaining executive chairman of Google and former Apple board member Eric Schmidt was recently asked by ABC News about Cook’s open letter on the company and privacy.

In short, Schmidt, who is making the media rounds to promote his upcoming book How Google Works, said Cook’s description of Google and privacy is incorrect, which you would expect from the Google chairman. But his first shot at debunking Cook’s claim was sort of out of left field (okay, as you also might expect): Read more

Early reviews confirm the iPhone 6 Plus has the same 1GB RAM as the 4.7-inch model (Updated)

RAM

Early reviews confirm that the iPhone 6 Plus has the same 1GB RAM as the iPhone 6. It had been suggested by some that the 5.5-inch model might have a higher spec, with 2GB RAM.

They reveal that both models of the iPhone 6 have identical specs bar the display, battery and optical stabilisation in the camera of the larger model (the 4.7-inch model having only electronic stabilisation) …  Read more

Report claims next-gen iPad Air will double RAM amount to 2GB

iPad Air

A new report from Asian site TechNews.tw claims information from the Apply supply chain points to the next generation iPad Air doubling up on RAM from 1GB to 2GB. The additional memory would benefit system performance, especially during multitasking, when more memory-intesive tasks like browsing multiple websites in Safari and using other apps requires more RAM to function smoothly.

While most of the parts and component leaks out of the supply chain have centered around the next generation iPhone, which is expected to debut at an Apple event next month, the new report that the next generation iPad Air will double its memory follows a Bloomberg report earlier this month that new iPads with an anti-reflective coating over the display have entered production. Read more