WireLurker security paper released, discusses potential next generation of OS X, iOS malware

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Date: Friday, November 7th, 2014, 02:30
Category: iOS, News, security

trojanhorse

Not that you should be entirely paranoid about malware on your OS X and iOS devices, but a little caution couldn’t hurt.

Per Palo Alto Networks, a new paper has been published on WireLurker, a family of malware targeting both Mac OS and iOS systems for the past six months. It’s believed that WireLurker could herald in a new generation of malware on Apple’s desktop and mobile platforms given the following characteristics:
- It is only the second known malware family that attacks iOS devices through OS X via USB.

- It is the first malware to automate generation of malicious iOS applications, through binary file replacement.

- It is the first known malware that can infect installed iOS applications similar to a traditional virus.

- It is the first in-the-wild malware to install third-party applications on non-jailbroken iOS devices through enterprise provisioning.

WireLurker was used to trojanize 467 OS X applications on the Maiyadi App Store, a third-party Mac application store in China. In the past six months, these 467 infected applications were downloaded over 356,104 times and may have impacted hundreds of thousands of users.

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Google Maps to see significant update, new features, OpenTable and Uber support over next few days

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Date: Thursday, November 6th, 2014, 08:36
Category: iOS, News, Software

Google-Maps-Logo

Over the next few days, Google Maps will receive a significant update and start sporting some neat new features.

Per the company’s blog entry, Google Maps will start displaying the following changes in its user interface:

- Bold colors and textures to match the Material Design style being used in many of Google’s applications.

- A new info layer at the top of the screen showing you photos, reviews, and more.

- OpenTable support in the U.S. to reserve a table at nearby restaurants.

- Uber support, including pickup times, prices and walking and transit directions.

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Swype receives iOS 8 update, support for 20 additional languages, other changes

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Date: Thursday, November 6th, 2014, 06:56
Category: iOS, Software

swypelogo

Nuance Communications announced on Tuesday that its popular Swype keyboard for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users with iOS 8 is now available in more than 20 languages. Other new features include new intuitive emoji support, as well as new keyboard layouts. And iPad users can now access all available Swype themes. Swype’s pioneering continuous touch technology has changed the way people input text on smartphones, and was the top paid third-party keyboard within 24 hours of launching on the App Store.

The new version includes the following fixes and changes:

- Expanded Language Support: In addition to English, French, Italian, German and Spanish, Swype is now available in more than 20 languages, including Czech, Danish, Dutch, UK English, Finnish, Greek, Hinglish, Hungarian, Irish, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Swedish, and Turkish.
Intuitive Emoji Input: Stoked about the upcoming game this weekend? When you message your friends about your excitement, Swype will now automatically suggest the right emoji. Swype will predict emojis based on the words you enter – so if you’re feeling happy, confused, tenacious or satisfied, Swype’s got just the right emoji for you.

- New Keyboard Layouts: Swype now features QWERTY, QWERTZ and AZERTY keyboard layouts for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users running iOS 8, as well as a new layout specifically designed for iPad – making it easier than ever to Swype however you hold it.

- Additionally, iPad users now can enjoy all Swype’s themes – free.

Swype retails for US$0.99 and requires iOS 8.0 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

CurrentC exclusivity contract at MCX merchants to expire in matter of months

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 5th, 2014, 11:34
Category: iOS, iPhone, News, retail

currentc

The conflict between MCX’s CurrentC and Apple Pay may be short lived, as an exclusivity agreement that has caused some merchants involved in the MCX consortium — notably drug store chain CVS — to abruptly pull support for NFC-based payment systems, including Apple Pay and Google Wallet, is set to expire in “months,” according to a new report.

Per Re/code, the consortium, which is made up of a number of major retailers including CVS, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart, instituted the exclusivity contract to provide “breathing room” for the development of the CurrentC ecosystem, said MCX CEO Dekkers Davidson. That contract is set to expire in “months, not years,” Dekkers added.

Confirmation of the exclusivity agreement comes one week after the arrangement was first uncovered, following reports that CVS had disabled NFC terminals in its stores to prevent customers’ use of Apple Pay.
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Apple Pay fans tears down CurrentC’s App Store rating, MCX suggests possible switch to NFC technology

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Date: Thursday, October 30th, 2014, 11:53
Category: Finance, iOS, News, Software

currentc

The most recent volley in the NFC payment war between Apple Pay and the MCX consortium’s CurrentC mobile payment service has been fired.

And it has a lot to do with app reviews.

Per 9to5Mac, a number of users have expressed their displeasure with the CurrentC app, at the time of writing, the app having accumulated 2,856 1-star reviews against a total of just 30 reviews giving it 2 stars or more …

The movement to boycott merchants who are members of the MCX consortium also seems to be growing in popularity, gaining a Boycott MCX website with a full list of members. When you click on the name of a consortium member (CVS Pharmacy in the example shown below), a list of competing stores who accept or plan to accept Apple Pay is displayed.

Having been criticized for its clunky use of QR codes, MCX said yesterday that CurrentC may “pivot to NFC over time.” The company had earlier said that it was “entirely possible” that it would do a U-turn on its current exclusivity requirement and allow merchants to accept both CurrentC and Apple Pay at some point in the future, though no certainty or timeframe was offered.

MCX CEO Dekkers Davidson also expanded on yesterday’s less than convincing assurances about data security, saying that the recent hack “does not impact the rollout of CurrentC at all” – that the company expected attacks and will “deal with them.”

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Hours after citing capable security, CurrentC announces unauthorized access of users’ email accounts

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, October 29th, 2014, 16:35
Category: Finance, iOS, News, security, Uncategorized

currentc

Hubris, anyone?

Just hours after publishing a blog post answering some questions about its upcoming CurrentC mobile payments system and touting the security of its cloud-based storage of sensitive information, the company behind the effort, Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) has alerted users of unauthorized access to their email addresses.

Per MacRumors, the company released the following statement:

Thank you for your interest in CurrentC. You are receiving this message because you are either a participant in our pilot program or requested information about CurrentC. Within the last 36 hours, we learned that unauthorized third parties obtained the e-mail addresses of some of you. Based on investigations conducted by MCX security personnel, only these e-mail addresses were involved and no other information.

Details on the unauthorized access have not been disclosed, but reporter Nick Arnott of iMore took some time earlier this week took a look at some of the personal information being collected by MCX and CurrentC and noted that he could ping CurrentC’s systems to look for valid registered email addresses on the system. While he did not find valid addresses, the system appeared capable of returning a substantial amount of personal information about such accounts.

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Microsoft releases updated Office 365 APIs, iOS SDKs to development community

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Date: Wednesday, October 29th, 2014, 11:48
Category: iOS, News, Software

office365ios

Not that the competition between Apple and Microsoft will ever truly go away, but this could herald in slightly better relations between the two companies, especially given how long it took Microsoft Office to come to iOS.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Microsoft has released a new series of tools for developers looking to improve integration between their apps and the company’s Office 365 service. For iOS users and developers, the main point of interest will be the new 365 APIs for mail, files, calendar, and contacts. There is currently more than 400 petabytes of data stored via Office 365, and these news tools will allow developers to access that information from their own apps.

These API’s will provide better options for connecting apps to users who need to use Office 365. Microsoft hopes to see travel reservation apps that connect to your 365 calendar and sales automation apps that integrate with your mail and files to save and send receipts.

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MCX responds to Apple Pay blocking controversy with questionable responses to issues at hand

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Date: Wednesday, October 29th, 2014, 11:46
Category: Finance, iOS, iPhone, News, security, Software

applepayicon

The most recent shot in the NFC payment wars has been fired.

And it kind of made MCX look like a bunch of jerks.

Per 9to5Mac, MCX, the retailer consortium behind the CurrentC mobile payment system, has responded to the controversy over its members being required to block Apple Pay or face fines with some unconvincing ‘assurances.’

The first sign of trouble between MCX and Apple Pay was when CVS disabled NFC functionality from its payment terminals. When Rite Aid joined in, consumers responded by threatening to boycott MCX members.

In a blog post which MCX says is designed to “set the record straight,” as it were, MCX responded to some of the recent concerns levied against it.

Responding to the fines issue, the company offered the following comment:

Importantly, if a merchant decides to stop working with MCX, there are no fines.

Nobody has suggested there are. What has been suggested–and which MCX has not denied–is that members are fined if they accept other forms of mobile payment, like Apple Pay, alongside CurrentC.

The consortium gets off to a marginally better start on privacy, with a statement that consumers “can choose to limit the information they share through our privacy dashboard, which means they will have the ability turn off location based services and opt out of marketing communications in our app.” However, that does nothing to limit the storage of other sensitive information, nor to address claims that merchants will share purchasing data amongst themselves.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook cites over one million Apple Pay subscriptions in first 72 hours

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 28th, 2014, 15:48
Category: Finance, iOS, iPhone, News

applepayicon

Apple may have gotten a pretty quick leg up in the NFC market.

Per AppleInsider and the Wall Street Journal, Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a recent interview today, stated that Apple Pay received more than one million registrations within the first 72 hours.

“The early ramp [of Apple Pay] looks fantastic,” Cook said in an interview with WSJ managing editor Gerry Baker.

Cook referred to recent revelations that Merchant Consumer Exchange retailers like Rite Aid and CVS are now blocking Apple Pay, characterizing the situation as a “skirmish” that will ultimately be decided by consumers “over the long arc of time.”

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CVS, Rite Aid refusing to accept Apple Pay system, lend support to current CurrentC payment system

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Date: Monday, October 27th, 2014, 16:32
Category: Finance, iOS, iPhone, Software

applepayicon

Call it a trade blockade of sorts, but you might not be able to use Apple Pay to purchase items at CVS or Rite Aid for a while.

Per the New York Times and 9to5Mac, Rite Aid has joined CVS in disabling Apple Pay as a payment method in its stores. Like CVS, Rite Aid is a member of the Merchant Customer eXchange (MCX) consortium promoting a rival mobile payment service, CurrentC.

Consumers are responding by threatening to boycott stores which disable Apple Pay, with more than 2,000 comments across several Reddit threads on the topic. Android users are joining in, as disabling NFC also blocks alternative mobile payment services offered by higher-end Android handsets.

As with CVS, Apple Pay initially worked in Rite Aid stores, indicating that the company has made a deliberate decision to switch off support.

While Apple has declined to comment, MasterCard said that it was the wrong decision.

“We think consumers should have the ability to pay any way they want,” said Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer at MasterCard.

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