Google and other ad companies have been tricking iOS Safari into accepting ad cookies, regardless of security settings

Internet giant Google found itself in a middle of a potential public relations nightmare following a Wall Street Journal article this morning. Tentatively titled “Google’s iPhone Tracking,” the article asserts that “Google Inc. and other advertising companies have been bypassing the privacy settings of millions of people using Apple Inc.’s Web browser on their iPhones and computers” to follow iPhone users even after they explicitly set Safari’s privacy controls to disable such tracking. According to authors Julia Angwin and Jennifer Valentino-Devries, Google used “special computer code that tricks Apple’s Safari Web-browsing software into letting them monitor many users.” Google apparently disabled the problematic code after the newspaper contacted the Mountain View, Calif.-based Company.

Stanford researcher Jonathan Mayer discovered that although mobile Safari’s default setting blocks cookies from third parties and advertisers, Google and advertising companies Media Innovation Group, Vibrant Media, and Gannett PointRoll fooled mobile Safari into thinking “a person was submitting an invisible form to Google,” letting them in turn install a tracking cookie on users’ iPhones and PCs without consent.

Once a cookie installed, a Safari glitch allowed subsequent cookies to attach. Both Google and Apple issued statements following this morning’s report…

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Mac OS 10.7.3 released, includes Safari 5.1.3

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Apple just released Mac OS 10.7.3 via Software update and manual download.  Apple released some peripheral downloads today as well:

Release notes are as follows: Read more

Apple releases OS X Lion 10.7.3 build 11D46 with no known issues ahead of public release

Apple seeded its registered developers last night with a new version of Mac OS X Lion 10.7.3. The software carries a build number of 11D46 and arrives just a week following the 11D42 build. It has no known issues, indicating that public release is around the corner. Developers are asked to focus on iCloud Document Storage, Address Book, iCal, Mail, Spotlight and Safari. The Delta update weighs in at 996.98MB and combo update is a 1.26GB download. The OS X Lion Server 10.7.3 build 11D46 is also available for download (Delta:1GB, Combo: 1.34GB, Server Admin Tools: 202.59MB). Additional build notes after the break.

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Amazon launches iPad Kindle Store on the web, feels like a native app

Amazon today launched touch-optimized Kindle Store for iPad as a standalone web app accessed through the iOS Safari browser. You may remember that the online retail giant released Kindle Cloud Reader in August —also a web app that works great on Apple’s tablet, but this is an entirely different experience. Available on the iPad at www.amazon.com/iPadKindleStore, the web interface totally feels like a native app. It is smooth, natural and supports familiar touch gestures, like swiping left and right to brows the store’s virtual shelves. The design calls for big cover images, large buttons and elegant typeface that’s easy on the eyes, unlike some other HTML5 web apps that feel cluttered on a 9.7-inch screen and cause eye strain…

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Apple releases OS X 10.7.3 build 11D36 to developers

Apple released OS X 10.7.3 build 11D36 to developers this evening, and it is available on the Developer Center. Apple asked developers to focus on iCloud Document Storage, Address Book, iCal, Mail, Spotlight, and Safari. The delta update of this build tops out at 986 MB and the combo update weighs in at 1.25 GB. The OS X 10.7.3 should roll out to Lion users in the coming weeks, so sit tight.

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Apple releases Safari 5.1.2, brings bug fixes

Apple has released Safari 5.1.2 to users this afternoon, available by direct download or by hitting up Software Update. The update is relatively minor, but brings along bug fixes that address issues of stability, extensive memory usage, fixing webpages that were flashing white, and now allows PDFs to be displayed within web content. Go ahead and download!

Improve stability
Address issues that could cause hangs and excessive memory usage
Address issues that could cause webpages to flash white
Allow PDFs to be displayed within web content

New iOS security exploit lets apps read users’ information by executing unsigned code

Security expert Charlie Miller has found a flaw in code signing on iOS devices (via Forbes) that allows developers to sneak malware apps onto the App Store without Apple’s detection. The malware can then be used to read user’s contacts, make the phone vibrate or sound a ringtone, steal user’s photos, and more whenever the developer chooses. Sketchy!

To shed more light on the exploit Miller is giving a talk at the SysCan conference in Taiwan next week, but he does a good job in showing it off in the video above. Miller isn’t a novice to iOS and Mac security by any means. In 2008 Miller broke into the MacBook Air in two minutes through Safari and more.

Users would definitely be taken by surprise, seeing as we’re all pretty comfortable with how secure Apple keeps the App Store with the company’s review process. Sadly, it looks like any app could be used to harm users. For now, we suggest you keep away from lesser-known apps and developers until Apple issues a fix for the exploit.

Miller’s app has been both removed from the App Store and his developer account has been closed. At any rate, this was definitely a nice find.

Google: 2/3rds of our mobile search comes from Apple’s iOS

As part of the Senate Judiciary hearings today, former FTC official (and new Google employee) Susan Creighton, testified under oath today that Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! all bid to become the default search engine on iOS’s Mobile Safari Web Browser. As we know, Google won, and as we can infer, Apple gets some revenue from Google for making it its default search engine. As we know from Apple being Apple, the quality of the search results was probably as big a part of the decision as the relatively small bits of revenue.

But as part of the testimony, Creighton said briefly (before she was cut off) that 2/3rds of mobile search comes from Apple iOS devices. That’s pretty interesting considering the share of Android devices in the market. But not altogether surprising considering the web browser market share which includes those millions and millions of iPads.

Video at 2:24.00 (during very interesting testimony around Apple picking Google as default search)

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Kindle goes cloud with Kindle Cloud Reader, works great on the iPad

Screenshot of web app courtesy of @drbuk

As reported by TechCrunch, Amazon has released a new Kindle Cloud Reader service. The service allows users of both Macs and PCs running either Safari or Google Chrome to read their Kindle books online. Better yet, the service works on iPad’s Mobile Safari. A feature that owners of WiFi-only iPads will enjoy is page caching for offline reading.

Notably, this is a great solution for Amazon to work around Apple’s in-app-purchase requirements for applications that offer purchases. In fact, what better way to spur Web innovation than to force people out of the store?  Good job Apple!

Full Press release follows:

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Safari posts stronger gains than Google’s Chrome in July

Although Chrome controls one-fifth of the global web browsing market and has overtaken Firefox as the second most-used browser in the UK, Google’s browser has been growing slower in absolute terms than Apple’s Safari in the month of July. In July, Chrome added .34 percentage points of market share for a 13.45 percent web usage share. In the same period, Safari grew .57 percentage points for a 8.05 percent web usage share in July, per latest Net Applications metrics. Apple’s and Google’s browser were the only ones growing (with the exception of the Other category), while Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Mozilla’s Firefox ceded market share and had 52.81 and 21.48 percent web usage share.

A big factor: Apple just revamped its consumer MacBook Airs and Mac Minis as well as refreshing the Mac OS with Lion.

Of course, the numbers are not representative of the whole market because Net Applications derives stats from some 40,000 participating web sites, but they’re a good and fairly accurate indication of market trends.

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Apple issues JailbreakMe-unfriendly iOS 4.3.4

Apple released iOS 4.3.4 (build 8K2) fixing a PDF exploit which makes possible wireless jailbreaking by visiting the JailbreakMe.com web-tool  in mobile Safari. The exploit could also be used to inject and execute any code on iOS devices. The iOS 4.3.4 download is now available through iTunes for the iPhone 4, 3GS, iPad 1 and 2 and third- and fourth-generation iPod touch. Verizon iPhone users will get the same fix via the iOS 4.2.9 update (build 8E501). Contents of the Verizon iPhone firmware update is outlined in this support document (here for iOS 4.3.4 for all other devices).

Stand-alone downloads below:

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