Roberto Escobar Sues Apple for $2.6B Over iPhone Security

· Andrew Orr · Link

Generic image of lawsuit

Roberto Escobar, brother of Pablo Escobar, is suing Apple for US$2.6 billion. He claims someone hacked his iPhone and found his email through FaceTime. As a way to fight the company he’s also launching a limited edition iPhone 11 Pro 256GB, gold plated, for US$499.

According to the lawsuit, obtained by TMZ, Pablo’s brother bought an iPhone X back in April 2018, and he claims the security promise fell horribly flat. One year after buying the X, Roberto claims he got a life-threatening letter from someone named Diego, who said he found Roberto’s address through FaceTime.

In the suit, Roberto says he conducted his own investigation after receiving the letter, and found his iPhone had been compromised due to a FaceTime vulnerability.

Go to Settings > FaceTime. You can choose which address and phone number you let people contact you with, if you have multiple numbers and emails associated with your Apple ID. This won’t stop people from obtaining your address elsewhere.

Apple Updates Schoolwork, Classroom Apps

· Andrew Orr · Link

Apple classroom app Icon

Apple updated its apps for education—Schoolwork and Classroom—with new features and a new design for Schoolwork. Version 3.2 for Classroom:

Automatically access classes set up through Apple School Manager by signing into your device with a Managed Apple ID; Use AirPlay to project class details to Apple TV when inviting students to join a teacher-created class; Easily adjust the size of students’ screens by pinching to zoom in or out.

Leaked Version of iOS 14 Has Been Circulating Since February

· Andrew Orr · Link

Apple lock logo

A report from Motherboard today finds that a leaked version of iOS 14 has been circulating around the hacking and security community since at least February. Sources claim someone bought a development iPhone 11 running iOS 14 from a Chinese vendor in December 2019.

“That sucks,” said a current Apple employee, who didn’t have knowledge of the leak. Another current Apple employee told Motherboard that they spoke to other employees referencing the leaks. Both employees asked to remain anonymous as they were not allowed to talk to the press. A source in the cybersecurity industry said, his team has this leaked version of iOS 14, and they are studying it.

Like Will Strafach, I too feel bad for whomever Apple rains fire upon.

The Care19 Contact Tracing App Gives Your Location Data to Foursquare

· Andrew Orr · Link

Image of person holding phone

Care19, a contact tracing app used by North and South Dakota, violates its own privacy policy. Notably, the creator of the app, ProudCrowd, made sure that location data from the app is shared with Foursquare, although it claims it’s not used for commercial purposes. It’s a violation of its privacy policy because users are told their location data is private:

This location data is private to you and is stored securely on ProudCrowd, LLC servers. It will not be shared with anyone including government entities or third parties, unless you consent or ProudCrowd is compelled under federal regulations.

Some Online College Exams Don’t Support Apple’s HEIC Format

· Andrew Orr · Link

Camera lens

Apple’s HEIC photo format isn’t widely supported and that causes problems when students upload photos during online exams.

But the testing portal doesn’t support the default format on iOS devices and some newer Android phones, HEIC files. HEIC files are smaller than JPEGs and other formats, thus allowing you to store a lot more photos on an iPhone. Basically, only Apple (and, more recently, Samsung) use the HEIC format — most other websites and platforms don’t support it. Even popular Silicon Valley-based services, such as Slack, don’t treat HEICs the same way as standard JPEGs.

I wish more websites would support HEIC/HEIF. It should be a no-brainer since the file size is smaller than JPG and supports a wider color gamut.

‘Mythic Quest: Quarantine’ Was Shot With 40 iPhones

· Andrew Orr · Link

Mythic Quest Quarantine Logo

Hollywood Reporter talked with Rob McElhenney, creator and star of Mythic Quest, about the newest quarantine episode.

McElhenney pitched the idea to his bosses at Apple, who were immediately on board. To pull it off, he told a team in Cupertino, California, that the production would need 40 new iPhones and 20 sets of earbuds later that week.

“This was a Monday, and I said, ‘If we have them by Friday, I think we could pull this off. Is that possible?'” he recounts by phone. “There was a rep on the call who didn’t skip a beat. She said, ‘I already have them tracked down. They’re in L.A. and I can have them to you by this afternoon.'”

AT&T Advised to Discontinue Misleading ‘5Ge’ Moniker

· Andrew Orr · Link

AT&T logo

A panel of the National Advertising Review Board is recommending that AT&T stop its “5G Evolution” label for its network. If you’re at AT&T customer and notice a “5G E” label on your iPhone, that is what this is referring to. (Hint: It’s not actually 5G).

The NARB Panel agreed with NAD’s analysis and concluded that the term “Evolution” is not likely to alert consumers to the fact that the service is not 5G […] AT&T stated that it “respectfully disagrees with the reasoning and result reached by the Panel majority,” […] As a supporter of the self-regulatory process, it will comply with the NARB’s decision.

No comment from me is needed, other than surprise that AT&T is capable of self-regulating

Apple TV+: Why Purchasing Old Movies And Shows Might Not be The Answer

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Oprah Winfrey Announcing Her Involvement with Apple TV+

Apple is reportedly looking to purchase a catalog of older movies and series to bolster its Apple TV+ offering. As we discussed on the Daily Observations podcast on Tuesday, this is going to be difficult and might not even work. Luke Filopwicz expressed a similar view on iMore.

The great thing about Apple TV+ having only original content (especially brand-new content) is that it allowed Apple to launch its programming in every country that could access Apple TV+. Licensed content doesn’t let you do that without some headaches…. The best thing that could happen for Apple is if they somehow produce a mega-hit show — think Game of Thrones level of fandom — that becomes part of popular culture. Of course, doing that is pretty damn hard and every other network and streaming service is trying to do the exact same thing.

In Update to Privacy Policy, Twitter Gives More Data to Advertisers

· Andrew Orr · Link

Twitter logo

Twitter updated its privacy policy on Monday to reflect that more of your data will be shared with advertisers.

To help us understand if these ads are effective, we share device-level data, like IP address, with our advertising partners. We don’t share things like your name, email, phone number, or Twitter username.

To help mobile app advertisers understand if the ads they run on Twitter are effective, Twitter shares some device-level data, like which ads your device may have seen or clicked on, with them. We don’t share your name, email, phone number, or Twitter username.

It doesn’t matter if they don’t share details like your phone number if it gets leaked anyway.

Please Don’t Disable FileVault Encryption Like Logitech Wants

· Andrew Orr · Link

Logitech logo

Logitech has a support article that mentions problems customers may have with Bluetooth mice and keyboards not reconnecting under certain conditions (Brought to my attention from Reddit).

If your Bluetooth mouse or keyboard does not reconnect after a reboot at the login screen and only reconnects after the login, this might be related to FileVault encryption. When FileVault is enabled, Bluetooth mice and keyboards will only re-connect after login.

One of the potential solutions is to disable FileVault. I personally think this is a terrible idea. FileVault encryption is an important security and privacy feature. I don’t know if the bug lies with macOS or Logitech, but my potential solution is to ditch the product instead of disabling your hard disk encryption.

Google Fi Introduces eSIM Support for New iPhone Customers

· Andrew Orr · Link

Google Fi logo

First introduced last month, Google Fi is rolling out eSIM support for new iPhone customers.

This capability is tied to version 2.5 of the Google Fi companion app, which rolled out yesterday. The release notes mention how “You can now activate Fi via eSIM on select iPhone devices.”

The official help document still notes how “iOS eSIM activation only works for new users who sign up for Google Fi.”

Find the Google Fi app here.

How Sundar Pichai is Managing Google Through a Pandemic

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Top tech CEOs are not exactly renowned for giving long, insightful, interviews. But hey, we live in strange times, so Google boss Sundar Pichai has sat down with The Verge‘s Nilay Patel and Dieter Bohn and discussed guiding his company through a pandemic.

I think the irony of the Google Meet team working remotely to make and iterate the product to get it to where they wanted it to be was very interesting to see. Javier has a very, very long commute, and one of his biggest concerns was the commute when he was joining. He’s doing it all virtually now. But it is an important moment. Many schools, many organizations already use Google Meet. So we are doubling down. Obviously, COVID has blurred the lines between consumer and enterprise, and people are using products in all kinds of contexts. And so definitely, we are using it as an opportunity to make Google Meet and Google Chat, scale it up and make it more available.

Ubisoft Sues Apple Over ‘Rainbow Six: Siege’ Copyright

· Andrew Orr · Link


Ubisoft is suing Apple and Google over a Chinese game it calls “a near carbon copy” of its game Rainbow Six: Siege.’

It says it has raised the issue with both Apple and Google, which both take a cut of sales on their respective app stores.

“But rather than take any measures to stop or curtail the infringement… Google and Apple instead decided that it would be more profitable to collect their revenue share from AF2 and continue their unlawful distribution,” Ubisoft says in its court filing.

Do they expect the App Store review team to be able to spot copyright  infringement related to a company that is definitely not their own company, Apple?

iPhone Hacking Company GrayKey Reinvents the Keylogger

· Andrew Orr · Link

Enter your passcode

A report from NBCNews mentions a tool from GrayKey called Hide UI, and until now has been kept secret from the public.

But another tool, previously unknown to the public, doesn’t have to crack the code that people use to unlock their phones. It just has to log the code as the user types it in.

Software called Hide UI, created by Grayshift, a company that makes iPhone-cracking devices for law enforcement, can track a suspect’s passcode when it’s entered into a phone, according to two people in law enforcement, who asked not to be named out of fear of violating non-disclosure agreements.

This is called a keylogger, and it is neither new nor revolutionary. It would be cheaper for police to use pen and paper to write down a suspect’s passcode, although there is that pesky fifth amendment.

What Will The Next Ten Years of Apple Design Look Like?

· Andrew Orr · Link

Graphic design studio With mac products

“The next decade of Apple design has nothing to do with its most popular product of all time (so far)” is a weird stance to take. Author Sophie Charara seems to only make two points in favor of her argument.

Lisa Jackson […] has said that Hankey and her colleagues “ask tough questions” on sustainability; critics are looking for substantive progress that will require Apple’s new design chiefs to adapt some core principles while maintaining their aesthetic standards.

One possible cultural challenger to the new Apple duo is Ivy Ross […] Ross is a proponent of softer colour palettes and warmer materials, as seen in Google’s Pixel and Home product lines, and believes that aesthetics are less about making devices look pretty than “enlivening your senses”.

Apple critics always looking for the next big thing are not and have never been a source of design inspiration. I wouldn’t look to Google for that either. The final sentence: “And we haven’t seen the end of Jony Ive’s contributions just yet: Tim Cook says that Apple will be one of LoveFrom’s primary clients.”

Facebook Bought Giphy. What Does That Mean for Privacy?

· Andrew Orr · Link

Facebook logo

Facebook announced today that it’s acquiring Giphy for an alleged sum of US$400 million.

Facebook characterized the acquisition—reportedly worth $400 million—as a way to help its millions of users “better express themselves.” […] Facebook says it will not collect information specific to individual people using Giphy’s API, but it will get valuable data about usage patterns across the web.

I definitely don’t believe them when they say that won’t collect individual data. That is Facebook’s raison d’être. This is exactly like its usage of the Onavo VPN spyware: Collect data on how people use GIFs everywhere, especially on competitor’s platforms. Mark Zuckerberg is furiously trying to beat Snapchat into submission. They rejected him once and he’s been out for blood ever since. GIFs may sound like a stretch when it comes to data collection, but keep in mind that web beacons exist.

Meditation App ‘Headspace’ Offers Free Year of Premium Content

· Andrew Orr · Link

Headspace logo

Headspace is offering Americans a free year of premium access of the full library of guided meditations and courses.

“The current state of unemployment in the US has become an alarming crisis,” the company website said. “To help those affected, we’re offering a full year of Headspace Plus for free. Discover meditation and mindfulness tools to help you feel less stressed, more resilient, and kinder to yourself.”

Nice move. Self-care is important.

Crusader Kings III Release Date on Macs Set for September 1

· Andrew Orr · Link

Crusader kings 3

Paradox Development Studio announced the Crusader Kings III release date today. It comes to Mac, Linux, and Windows on September 1.

The new title focuses more on your ruling family’s personality, complete with character lifestyles and traits (acting against them can lead to stress or even breakdowns), earning Renown to boost your reputation and inducing Dread to keep people in line. Dynasties can split into individual houses, blackmail is an option, skilled fighters can become knights, and you can set Tenets and Doctrines for religions that deviate from the original.

Zerodium Pauses Purchases of iOS Exploits

· Andrew Orr · Link

Image of locks to suggest security and encryption

Zerodium is temporarily suspending its purchasing of iOS exploits due to a high number of submissions, with the CEO saying ”iOS security is f**ked.”

Zerodium is an exploit acquisition platform that pays researchers for zero-day security vulnerabilities and then sells them to institutional customers like government organizations and law enforcement agencies. The company focuses on high-risk vulnerabilities, normally offering between $100,000 and $2 million per fully functional iOS exploit.

A Great Way to Get out of Another Zoom Meeting

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Zoom login

Everyone is fed up of Zoom meetings now, right? Well, LifeHacker found one smart kid who came up with an ingenious way to get out of them.

Reddit). If you want to skip out on a Zoom meeting, or at least give the impression that connection difficulties are making it impossible for you to attend, do two things. First, get your fingers positioned over the ALT + V and ALT + A keys to turn off your webcam and audio, respectively. (Command + Shift + V and Command + Shift + A on your Mac.) Then, right-click on yourself and select “Rename,” if it’s available. Once you’re ready to “depart” the meeting, replace your name with “Reconnecting…” but don’t click OK just yet. Hit ALT + V and then ALT + A to drop your video and audio, and then click on OK to change your name. With luck, it’ll all appear pretty seamless—your mic and webcam suddenly cut out, and you’re now struggling to “reconnect” with great difficulty.