Mobile Security Among the Big Players

  Researchers from the University of California Riverside and the University of Michigan had a 92 percent hacking rate of smartphone apps that compromised Android, Apple iOS, Microsoft and Windows OS. The researchers managed to hack into Gmail, Chase Bank and H&R Block apps while Amazon proved more difficult to compromise. Meanwhile researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology explain that smartphones newer than the iPhone 4 have refined accelerometers that can read vibrations from typing on your laptop to figure out what you’re typing with 80 percent accuracy. If someone swipes your phone, they can potentially gain access to sensitive passwords and private information. Smartphone hacking isn’t a new concept, but luckily security measures continue to rapidly evolve. For example, the Sony Xperia comes with location-tracking capabilities and the ability to lock down your phone if it goes missing. When you’re choosing your next smartphone, you need to keep your security in mind. Here’s how some of the major players in the industry are stepping up their security game: Apple iOS Apple’s iOS is considered one of the safest, spyware-proof operating systems. Gamma Group’s FinSpy software was used to hack calls and personal data from various smartphones. It managed to sneak into Androids and BlackBerry operating systems, but couldn’t gain access to iOS unless it was in jailbroken mode. Silent OS Silent OS came into the public’s radar when the new Blackphone hit the market. The Android smartphone features a built-in, industrial-grade encryption and protects everything from voice to IMs to media. Silent OS also created Spaces, which helps you set up and manage self-contained areas to protect your personal information. It also features a remote wipe setting to control your device in case it goes missing or gets stolen. And, unlike other app stores, its privacy-focused Silent Store outlines all of the app permissions to you upfront in clear language. This way you know exactly what you’re downloading and how your information is used. In the landscape of smartphone operating systems and security,...

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Apple Confirms Changes to HomeKit at WWDC

From the outside, it may appear that HomeKit, Apple’s smart home solution, has progressed slowly since its initial unveiling at last year’s Worldwide Developer Conference event. The reality of the fact, however, is much different – in the “smart” home industry, it’s been an out-and-out battle between tech behemoths to improve upon the concept of smoothly connecting every digital aspect of the residential space. As additional HomeKit-enabled hardware options expand, Apple continues to charge forward as a powerful force in the home automation market. What is HomeKit? At the 2014 WWDC, the tech behemoth announced its decision to enter the smart home spotlight. HomeKit was introduced to the world as a framework which would simplify the current state of home automation – as one of the major global players in cellular device manufacturing and perhaps the most historically innovative tech-trendsetter, an efficient iOS-based system for home control would be truly game-changing. The “HomeKit” is essentially a common language which allows smart devices from any manufacturer to communicate and work together. With HomeKit, Apple hopes to leverage its success in other tech markets to bring a comprehensive home platform to its legions of loyal consumers. When using HomeKit, every component of the home – room, device, function, etc – has its own name to be therefore stored and recognized by Siri. Siri will then recognize and delegate the command when you audibly speak it. For example, if you want your washing machine to come alive and start the wash, you would name the appliance “washing machine” and the function “wash.” Siri can control all aspects of a HomeKit-enabled residence, so long as you have appropriately designated the names, it’s capable of “triggering” a series of actions or pre-set responses. HomeKit can also sort home products by “scene” or even by “zone”, turning off and on only certain appliances based on their designating grouping. You can even employ Siri’s voice assistant component, and saying things like “Siri, I’m cold” might prompt it to lower the blinds...

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Recall: Important Notice for Beats Pill XL Customers

C UPERTINO, California—June 3, 2015—Apple® today announced a voluntary recall of Beats Pill® XL speakers, including a refund for customers. Apple has determined that, in rare cases, the battery in the Beats Pill XL may overheat and pose a fire safety risk. The recall does not affect any other Beats or Apple products. Because customer safety is the company’s top priority, Apple is asking customers to stop using their Beats Pill XL speakers. Customers who purchased a Beats Pill XL speaker should visit http://www.apple.com/support/beats-pillxl-recall/ for details about how to return their product to Apple, and how to receive an Apple Store® credit or electronic payment of $325. The Beats Pill XL can be identified by the Beats “b” logo on the speaker grille and the words “beats pill XL” on the handle. The product is sold in five colors: black, metallic sky, pink, titanium and white. The Beats Pill XL was introduced by Beats by Dre in November 2013. Apple acquired Beats in 2014. Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with...

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Hands On: Skinomi Tempered Glass Screen Protector for Apple Watch 38mm

Any time I get a new phone, one of the first things I do is make sure I get protection for my phone as well. After all, I’m a klutz. While phones are very commonplace, they also cost a good chunk of change if you break them and have to replace them before your renewal period. I felt the same way about the Apple Watch. It costs enough that I definitely didn’t want to risk it, no matter what they said about the strength of the glass or the casing, so before my watch ever arrived, I was out their searching the web for the best solutions to keep my new toy safe and protected. There are already actual cases out their to put the watch in, but I felt this would be too bulky. Plus, I think the Apple Watch is gorgeous and I didn’t want to hide any of it, just protect it. So I opted to look at screen protectors and leave the rest of it naked. The tempered glass worked pretty well on my phone so I thought it would be the best option and protection for my Apple Watch. After perusing the various options on Amazon, I selected the Skinomi Tech Glass for the 38mm Apple Watch. When it arrived, I opened it up and laid out all the items to make sure I could get it on without a fuss. Skinomi’s kit included an alcohol prep pad (not listed in the instructions, btw), a microfiber cleaning cloth, a dirt clean film, a plastic card (for smoothing out bubbles), and the screen protector itself. The instructions were simple and it took me less than 30 seconds to properly install it. Considering the small size of the screen, it was much easier to get centered with less bubbling than you have with a phone. It was smaller on the screen that I expected, not covering nearly as much as I thought it would, but it felt solid. I tested out...

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4 Ways to Boost Your Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is a tricky beast. It doesn’t matter if you’re at home or bringing a mobile hotspot on the road, honing in on the perfect signal can sometimes be difficult and even maddening. The latest wireless routers are designed to power even large homes, but walls, floors, interference, and a whole laundry list of other things can get in the way. Consider these four tips to achieve full bars and get the maximum signal wherever you are. Find a Good Router The first step is to buy a good router (buy a good modem first if you haven’t already). Brand is somewhat important — Cisco and Apple are usually very reliable — but what you’re really looking for is the type of signal it produces. And it’s not just the signal coming from the router, you need need to make sure your devices (laptop, tablet, smartphone) can receive the signal your router is putting out. The newest routers use a signal called 802.11ac, which is capable of transfer speeds up to 1.2Gbps (that’s fast). But if your devices aren’t new enough to speak with that signal, those same routers also use 802.11n, which is only slightly slower but more compatible with older tech. A good router should cost no more than $200 (like the Apple Airport Extreme). Put It in a Good Spot This is free but does require some creativity. Some routers may be ugly but you shouldn’t hide them. Stuffing routers behind a desk or TV stand blocks the signal and severely limits the range in your home. Make sure the router is out in the open and free from major obstructions. If possible, find a high place like the attic or upstairs. Wi-Fi signal travels down better than it travels up. Consider Your Mobile Options We need Wi-Fi on the road too. We often rely on our smartphones as mobile hotspots and they do a pretty good job. Now that unlimited data is ancient history… carriers don’t charge extra for using...

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