O'Grady's PowerPage » firmware

Uncovered documents point towards CIA-sponsored program to break iOS device encryption, install backdoors

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, March 10th, 2015, 09:45
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, security, Software

cialogo

When the CIA sponsors a full-on “jamboree” focused on breaking the security found in the iPhone and iPad, there’s something to be said for that.

According to recently obtained top-secret documents, security researchers were gathered at a CIA-sponsored “Jamboree” event wherein attendees discussed strategies for exploiting security flaws in household and commercial electronics. The conferences have spanned nearly a decade, with the first CIA-sponsored meeting taking place a year before the first iPhone was released.

By targeting essential security keys used to encrypt data stored on Apple’s devices, the researchers sought to thwart the company’s attempts to provide mobile security to hundreds of millions of Apple customers across the globe. Studying both “physical” and “non-invasive” techniques, U.S. government-sponsored research has been aimed at discovering ways to decrypt and ultimately penetrate Apple’s encrypted firmware. This could enable spies to plant malicious code on Apple devices and seek out potential vulnerabilities in other parts of the iPhone and iPad currently masked by encryption.

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Apple quietly adds HomeKit support for third-gen Apple TV units

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 24th, 2014, 12:21
Category: Apple TV, iOS, News, Software

Apple_TV_2nd_Generation

It wasn’t a huge update, but it’s interesting.

According to Forbes, Apple released an Apple TV update allowing for third generation units of the media device to support HomeKit, Apple’s protocol for allowing connected home gadgets to connect safely and easily in iOS.

The update means that Apple TV could be the hub that unifies the fragmented smart home industry, allowing you to turn on your lights or unlock your door from an iPhone remotely using Apple TV as a bridge device. Apple TV has both Bluetooth low energy and Wi-Fi wireless technologies, both of which Apple has made clear are the primary technologies that connected devices will communicate in the iOS environment. Apple TV is a device that is always on in your home, making it ideal as a hub to communicate with smart devices.

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Apple posts new MacBook Air EFI update 2.9.1

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 30th, 2014, 18:36
Category: Announcement, App Store, Apple, Installation, Mac, MacBook Air, OS X, Software

MBA_EFI_291

As we reported last week, there were numerous problems with the MacBook Air firmware update released earlier in the week. Users reported symptoms as innocuous as the update simply not being applied, to preventing the laptop from rebooting. In most cases, performing multiple SMC resets on the computer fixed the booting problem, but the update was still not installed. A few users found that even though the System Information application reported that the firmware was not updated, afterwards their MacBook Airs began suffering some of the problems that the 2.9 update was supposed to fix. Some of the symptoms included trouble reconnecting to wifi networks, fans unnecessarily running at full speed, and issues with sleeping and waking the computer.

Let than a day after the reports began flooding in, Apple removed the update from the App Store and users were no longer getting prompted to install it. As of today, a newly numbered 2.9.1 update can be found appearing in the App Store under Updates. Owners are cautioned to hold off on applying the new update, unless necessary, until reports come back that the install is working correctly. We will keep you updated as reports come in and the situation develops.

Have you already risked the update? Let us know and any relevant details in the comments or on our Facebook page!

 

 

Apple removes MacBook Air firmware updater after reports of problems

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014, 13:51
Category: Announcement, App Store, Apple, Installation, Mac, MacBook Air, OS X, Software

appstorelogoAfter a day of user complaints of problems applying the MacBook Air 2.9 EFI firmware update after its release, Apple has finally pulled the update from the App Store. As we reported yesterday, threads like this one, started reporting that attempts to apply the update would run and fail to actually update the firmware, or that it would “brick” their laptop leaving it unusable. Those that weren’t left with a non-working MacBook Air also reported that after attempting the failed update, the App Store app would show the update as installed with an additional entry showing that it still needed to be applied.

Screenshot 2014-07-22 11.54.36

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Apple hires two more Nike FuelBand engineers, looks to be focusing on wearable/fitness project

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, July 10th, 2014, 00:50
Category: News, Wearables

Nike-logo-orange

It all comes down to the recent hires.

Per The Mac Observer, Apple has apparently snagged two former Nike FuelBand engineers for what could be its wearable technologies/iWatch project. The new hires are Jon Gale, who wrote FuelBand firmware code for Nike and Ryan Bailey, who worked as a hardware engineer on the FuelBand team. While not officially confirmed by Apple, it’s been surmised that the two will be working on an Apple fitness tracking device effort

Mr. Gale’s title at Apple is Sensing Systems Engineer, according to his LinkedIn profile, and Mr. Bailey is a Mechanical Design Engineer. Both have plenty of experience with the FuelBand fitness tracker.

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Apple releases MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update 2.8 for mid-2013, early-2014 MacBook Air notebooks, addresses sleep, peripheral issues

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 11th, 2014, 10:46
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

2013macbookair

This might prove helpful.

On Wednesday, Apple released its MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update 2.8 for the mid-2013 and early-2014 MacBook Air notebooks. The update, a 4.8 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Improves reliability when waking from sleep and when booting while certain USB and Thunderbolt devices are connected.

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Apple releases MacBook Air SMC 2.0, looks to resolve battery drain issue in 2013 MacBook Air notebooks

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 10th, 2014, 10:38
Category: battery, MacBook Air, News, Software

2013macbookair

If you were having some battery issues with your 2013 MacBook Air notebook, this might be the answer.

On Monday, Apple released its MacBook Air SMC Update 2.0. The update, an 804 kilobyte download, addresses an issue wherein the notebook continues to use the battery when its lid is closed (a time when it should be in a low power mode).

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Pebble releases Pebble firmware update 2.2

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 9th, 2014, 08:00
Category: Accessory, Features, iOS, Software, User Interface, Wearables

Pebble 2.2 updating-crop

Last Wednesday, Pebble deployed the latest update to the firmware of the Pebble smartwatch. The Pebble iOS app was updated the week before on May 27th bringing it to version 2.2, not to be confused with the firmware for the watch itself which is once again in sync with the app’s version.

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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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Pebble updates device hardware and iOS app to version 2.0.2

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, March 19th, 2014, 09:44
Category: Accessory, App Store, Installation, iOS, iPhone, News, Software, Wearables

Pebble-202-updatePebble has released the latest software for the Pebble Smartwatch. Once the iOS Pebble app is downloaded or updated, it will prompt to let it update the firmware on the watch, leaving both at version 2.0.2. The update includes the following;

Pebble OS Firmware, ver. 2.0.2

  • Fixes an issue preventing some users from successfully installing the Pebble OS 2.0 firmware onto their watches.

Pebble App for iOS, ver. 2.0.2

  • More JavaScript apps included!
  • Fixed a number of crashes.

No update for the the recently updated Pebble app for Android to Pebble 2.0…YES, it’s out now! More on that in a future post.