Apple adding transition encryption to boost iCloud email service security

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 16th, 2014, 12:36
Category: iCloud, News, security

apple-icloud-logo-1

Apple looks to be overhauling its iCloud email service security by including end-to-end encryption for messages sent from me.com and icloud.com, according to new data from Google’s Gmail transparency effort and The Unofficial Apple Weblog.

The report suggests that at least 95 percent of the messages sent to Gmail from users of iCloud mail is now encrypted, just one month after Apple initially promised that such a change would be forthcoming.

Apple is using industry-standard Transport Layer Security, or TLS, infrastructure for the encryption. With TLS, both sending and receiving servers as well as the email messages themselves can be verified for authenticity, nearly eliminating the possibility of email being unknowingly intercepted by a third party.

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Is Apple doing anything about iCloud breach?!

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 27th, 2014, 08:16
Category: Apple, Hack, iCloud, iOS, iPhone, security

icloud-iconUnfortunately, Apple has not acknowledged the supposed hack into the iCloud systems, and rarely comments publicly on such matters, so we’ll just have to hope they are working towards protecting users’ accounts. The incursion was claimed by two hackers going by the handles AquaXetine and MerrukTechnolog, who form Team DoulCi (derived by spelling “iCloud” backwards-ish). The hack exploits an iCloud security flaw that allows someone to bypass Apple’s Activation Lock system to unlock a lost or stolen iPhone. By utilizing the DoulCi web site, and making a simple change to a file on your computer, the iPhone can be fooled into thinking DoulCi’s site is actually Apple’s iCloud servers.

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Online version of iWork gets some improvements

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 22nd, 2014, 08:56
Category: Apple, Apps, Features, iCloud, Software

 

iWork iCloud app icons

It looks like Apple has been giving the iWork apps on iCloud some new features. The entire list, including those made to iWork for the Mac, and the iOS apps can be found here. Many of the updates apply to all three apps, rather than specific functionality change to each.  Document handling, text formatting, and collaboration seem to be areas of focus. A few examples are;

  • Add passwords and share password-protected documents
  • Export documents to ePUB format
  • Print your documents directly from the Tools menu
  • Collaborate with up to 100 people at the same time
  • See cursors and selections for everyone in a document
  • Watch images and shapes animate as your collaborators move them around
  • Almost 200 new fonts
  • More color options in the format panel
  • Folders
  • Edit documents up to 1 GB in size
  • Support for Retina display

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Dropbox offers 1 GB of space for linking to Mailbox app

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 18th, 2013, 08:13
Category: iCloud, iOS, iPad, iPhone, Software

07-mailbox_icon-300x300Dropbox sent out an email to users with an offer for more space. In celebration of their addition of iCloud and Yahoo email accounts, linking your Dropbox account with the Mailbox app for iPhone and iPad will award you an additional 1 GB of storage space on your Dropbox account. Here is the text from the Dropbox email;

“Great news! In case you haven’t heard, we’re offering 1GB of additional space to users who link their Dropbox account to Mailbox.

What’s Mailbox?
Mailbox is the newest member of the Dropbox family. It’s a redesigned email inbox for a world on the go. Mailbox uses swipe gestures and “snoozes” to help you focus on the messages that need your attention now. And today Mailbox added support for Yahoo and iCloud email accounts!

How do I get more space?
Download Mailbox here if you haven’t already, then go into Mailbox Settings and select Dropbox to link your Dropbox account. Voilà — 1GB of space will be added to your account.”

Until now, Mailbox was a Gmail-only client, which may have turned off users of other email systems, iCloud in particular. Now it remains to be seen if Mailbox can compete with the likes of Molto and Boxer, who have attempted to fill the gap while Mailbox has lagged behind in it’s support for iCloud.

AOL to discontinue iCloud account support for its Alto webmail service come December 2nd

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, October 10th, 2013, 06:42
Category: iCloud, News, Software

aollogo

If you weren’t enchanted with AOL before, then this won’t help win you over.

According to 9to5Mac, AOL has informed applicable users that it will be dropping support for accessing email from Apple’s iCloud service from its recently launched Alto webmail client. Alto is a web-based mail client that intelligently sorts and integrates email from services such as iCloud, Gmail, Yahoo, and AOL. AOL has informed iCloud users who have logged into Alto that support for iCloud will be dropped on December 2nd via the following e-mail:

“Thanks for using Alto to read and send mail from your @iCloud, @me or @mac account. We’ve been honored to host those accounts and get great, positive feedback on the experience from users like you. But we’re sad to say that Alto will no longer support iCloud accounts as of December 2, 2013. We sincerely regret the frustration this will cause.”

iCloud accounts will automatically be disabled in Alto on that date, but users can begin the process early by removing iCloud accounts from Alto manually. All iCloud accounts, no matter if the domain is @icloud.com, @me.com, or @mac.com will no longer be supported. AOL has not shared why it is dropping support for Apple’s email service, and AOL does not appear to be dropping support for any other provider.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple informs former MobileMe users that their extra 2 GB of iCloud storage space has expired

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 1st, 2013, 06:20
Category: iCloud, News, Software

Not only did the U.S. government enter a shutdown today, so did your complimentary iCloud storage.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple has sent out emails informing iCloud users their complimentary iCloud storage has expired. The complimentary iCloud storage was a free extra 20 GB of storage for MobileMe members. Now all those members will be downgraded to the free 5 GB of iCloud storage all iCloud members get.

While any free storage is generally a good deal, Apple’s complimentary 5 GB now has to weigh against the 7 GB Microsoft has been offering with its SkyDrive service, although it still readily trumps Dropbox’s free 2 GB of storage space.

Still, it had to happen sometime…

Apple cites iCloud e-mail problems as fixed, despite user complaints

Posted by:
Date: Friday, September 14th, 2012, 09:01
Category: iCloud, News

They hammered away at iCloud for a bit and with any luck, the e-mail outage has been resolved.

Per CNET, Apple’s iCloud services are now being reported as fully operational again according to the iCloud status page, but some problems may linger for users.

For the past few days, a large number of iCloud users had been hit with an outage that prevented them from using their e-mail accounts. In some cases the problem resulted in delayed e-mail messages that would arrive hours after being sent, but in other cases no mail would get through at all.
When the problem happened Apple did not offer much information on what was causing the outage, and only mentioned in a terse status update on its Web site that about 1-2 percent of users were affected and that the company would be fixing the problem ASAP.

Efforts to fix the problem from the user end generated stories such as this:
“The Apple tech I spoke with had me delete my account on my iPad and then reinstall it which did nothing more than make me lose all my previous emails that I had already received. I have a case number and a direct contact to that technician but he is allowing all his calls go to voicemail and not returning any calls. I am so deeply disappointed in the service they are providing. Their lack of communication is seriously hurting my business.”

Even for those who did not touch their computer’s settings, Apple has claimed e-mails that did not arrive over the past few days should begin to do so once the problems were addressed. However, even though messages are beginning to arrive, some users are noticing other problems such as garbled messages in their e-mail inboxes that have dates of 12/31/1969 and illegible subject lines or no apparent content to them at all.

These issues have a number of the approximate 2-3 million affected users concerned that they may not be properly receiving messages sent to them during the outage.

Restoring the Mail folder in the user library to that before you made any changes to your account should restore your account as it was, allowing it to receive messages sent over the past few days during the iCloud outage.

If when you first noticed this problem you attempted to correct it by deleting your previous e-mail settings and have lost messages from doing so, you might be able to retrieve them from a Time Machine backup. To do this, quit Mail if it is running and then in the Finder choose “Go to Folder” from the Go menu. Enter ~/Library in the path field that appears, and when the library folder opens, invoke the Time Machine interface. Locate the backup from before you made your modifications, and then restore the Mail folder from this backup instance. After doing this, exit Time Machine and re-launch Mail, and both your previous messages should be in your inbox along with new ones received now that the outage has been addressed.

If you are concerned about not having received e-mails sent to you during the outage, then you might consider sending an e-mail to your contacts informing them of the outage and requesting they re-send any messages from the past few days. The service being online and operational means once users tackle any residual problems on their end they should be able to continue using the e-mail service without problems.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and please let us know if the iCloud e-mail fix did or didn’t work for you.

iCloud e-mail woes extend into second day, Apple citing only 1.1% of users currently affected

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 12th, 2012, 08:21
Category: iCloud, News

Well, this is a bit embarrassing, especially only a few hours before an anticipated slew of new product announcements today…

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple’s iCloud email outage continues into its second day, the company’s status site claiming that only 1.1 percent of iCloud users are affected. Since Tuesday morning, iCloud mail connectivity has been iffy or entirely absent for some subscribers, and Apple’s not commenting aside from the “we’re working on it” notice.

Oddly enough, the discussions board seems to be weighted toward non-US users having issues.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if your iCloud email has been down or iffy, please let us know in the comments.

Apple making changes with iCloud Notes and Reminders, adding more comprehensive Lost My iPhone feature in forthcoming updates

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 11th, 2012, 06:27
Category: iCloud, News, Software

Some upcoming iCloud features could prove incredibly useful and interesting.

Per AppleInsider, the upcoming iCloud Notes and Reminders apps are virtually identical to their iOS and OS X Mountain Lion siblings. The new Reminders web app offers a cloud-based version of events synced with iOS mobile devices and desktop Macs, although it does not support location based reminders (simply ignoring any “geofence” reminder settings triggered to go out when entering or leaving a particular location).

Notes gets a similar web treatment, although unlike its iOS and OS X counterparts, there’s no way to change the default font from Noteworthy. Notes on the web also reflects the stitched leather binding of its iOS counterpart rather than the plainer version in OS X.

In addition to the two new apps, iCloud Mail and Calendar are both getting minor updates. The new Mail adds support for VIP inboxes introduced in Mountain Lion’s Mail this summer.

Mail also uses iOS style scroll bars that are skinnier and translucent, in strange contrast to iCloud’s Calendar app, which continues to use a standard scroll bars with a full gutter and arrow buttons.

The only apparent change in Calendars is the removal of the Reminders list, which is now its own app. Similarly, the iCloud Contacts app hasn’t changed at all, so it retains the odd “bookmark” control for accessing contact groups that Apple has removed from both the OS X and iOS 6 versions of the app.

Also left apparently unchanged is Apple’s support for saving and accessing iWork documents from the web. Overall, the company’s web strategy for iCloud seems very conservative, given that both Google and now Microsoft have made web versions of their office apps a prominent part of their software strategy.

One final feature Apple has added to iCloud’s web portfolio is a new “Lost Mode” within Find My iPhone. The new feature is an enhancement over the previous version, which only offers to lock the device and optionally send it a message.

If your iOS 6 device goes missing, you can click on Lost Mode and the app prompts you to enter a phone number and message, locks the device remotely and will track the device every time it moves, reporting changes in location via email updates. It will also draw each location change on the map, showing a trail of where the device has shown up.

Devices that haven’t yet upgraded to iOS 6, along with Macs registered to use iCloud’s Find My Mac, continue to support the old Lock feature, without updates or live tracking.

Notably, Apple is still using Google Maps within iCloud rather than its own Maps that will launch with the new iOS 6 update later this week. The company may transition over to its own map services at some point.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

How-To: Remote lock, remote wipe and restore data to a Mac via iCloud

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, August 14th, 2012, 06:11
Category: How-To, iCloud, News

You might want to take a gander at this.

Following last week’s news that Wired journalist Mat Honan had his Mac remotely wiped as part of a devastating attack by hackers, a lot of interest has been focused on how to both remotely wipe your Mac’s data via iCloud as well as restore your data via iCloud.

Jim Tanous has stepped up to the plate over at the Mac Observer and offered a useful step by step guide as to how to remote lock, remote wipe and restore data to your Mac as well as recover data from a damaged hard drive.

Take a look, see what you think and be careful out there.