Apple Thwarts Sensor Fingerprinting With iOS 12.2

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A study called “SensorID: Sensor Calibration Fingerprinting for Smartphones” examined sensor fingerprinting techniques against smartphones. It found that Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) are inaccurate in small ways that make them unique. But Apple thwarted this technique in iOS 12.2 and used the researchers’ suggestion to add random noise to the analog-to-digital converter output and removing default access to motion sensors in Safari.

We demonstrate that our approach is very likely to produce globally unique fingerprints for iOS devices, with an estimated 67 bits of entropy in the fingerprint for iPhone 6S devices. In addition, we find that the accelerometer of Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 devices can also be fingerprinted by our approach.

Updated Apple Devices Display 'Not Secure' in Safari

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If you’ve updated to iOS 12.2 and/or macOS 14.4, you’ve probably seen a ‘Not Secure’ message in the Safari address bar. OSXDaily explains.

By seeing the ‘Not Secure” Safari message on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac you are simply being informed by Safari that the website or webpage being visited is using HTTP rather than HTTPS, or perhaps that HTTPS is misconfigured at some technical level.

Ironically, as the article points out OSXDaily is itself not secure.

iOS 12.2 Fixes 51 Security Vulnerabilities

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iOS 12.2 patches 51 security vulnerabilities, which is a huge incentive to update if nothing else announced yesterday was enticing.

The list of patches covers a wide variety of bugs an adversary could potentially manipulate to obtain effects like denial-of-service, privilege escalation, and information disclosure to gaining root privileges, overwriting arbitrary files, or executing code of the attacker’s choice.

iOS 12.2 Improves Audio Message Quality

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In the latest iOS 12.2 beta Apple has improved audio message quality by switching to a different codec for files.

Details on the improvement in audio quality were shared on Twitter this morning, and we confirmed the change on our own devices. Apple previously used the .AMR file format for its audio messages, but in the beta, has swapped over to .CAF.

The Opus codec, coming in a 24000 Hz, is a big increase from the old AMR codec at 8000 Hz. Opus is used by other messaging services like WhatsApp, Telegram, and WebRTC.

iOS 12.2 Beta 5 Now Available

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Apple released the fifth developer beta of of iOS 12.2, as well as watchOS 5.2, tvOS 12.2, and macOS 10.14.4 Monday. 9to5 Mac took a look at what we’ve seen in the beta versions released so far and what else is new. iOS 12.2 features focussed on Apple Home smart TV support, and also included Animoji, and the release of  Apple News in Canada.

iOS 12.2 and the related software updates largely focus on supporting smart TVs that work with Apple’s Home app. Other changes include new Animoji characters includuing the new shark, owl, giraffe, and warthog options — plus a few more changes. iOS 12.2 beta 2 also includes changes to the AirPlay icon in Control Center plus AT&T ‘5G E’ in certain markets on certain iPhones and iPads.

iOS 12.2 Will Remove 'Do Not Track' Option

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In the next update of iOS and macOS Apple will remove the Do Not Track option from Safari. This is okay.

Removed support for the expired Do Not Track standard to prevent potential use as a fingerprinting variable.

Before I see a headline from Forbes titled “iOS 12.2 Has a Nasty Surprise” let me say that removing Do Not Track is good. It never did anything anyway because obeying it was completely voluntary. Which of course means that every website ignored it. And now it can be used to fingerprint your browser. Good riddance.

Features Coming in iOS 12.2, Like Apple News in Canada

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The first iOS 12.2 developer beta was released today, and we got a sneak peak into the features that will be coming.

Apple today released the first beta of iOS 12.2 for developers, and while it doesn’t bring as many new changes as we might have hoped for in a 12.x update, there are still quite a few minor tweaks to be aware of.

Some updates coming include Apple News for Canadian users, HomeKit TV Support, Safari search arrows, and more.