iPhone Tips: Improving Touch ID accuracy

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 8th, 2014, 09:37
Category: Apple, iOS, iPhone, security, Software, Tips

touchid-iphone5s-fingerprint-sensor-cropSince I was in a fingerprint scanning news mood, I thought it would be a good time to share this tip that I learned recently. Courtesy of iOS 7.1, you can now add additional training to your Touch ID settings in order to improve accuracy. In iOS 7.0.x, the only way to try and improve Touch ID was really to start over, and once it told you that the training was finished, you could opt to continue adding more scans of your finger. In 7.1, Apple made it fairly painless.

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Apple’s Touch ID vs. Samsung fingerprint scanner

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Date: Tuesday, April 8th, 2014, 08:51
Category: Android, Apple, iOS, iPhone, Software, User Interface

touch-id-iconIn three days, anyone who has been longing to get their hands on a new Samsung Galaxy S5 will get their wish, assuming quantities are sufficient. The internet has already been awash with reviews and first looks, but video demos of Samsung’s fingerprint scanner, making its debut on the S5, have been of particular interest. Over on YouTube, user iCrackUriDevice has a pretty thorough comparison between the S5′s scanner and Apple’s Touch ID scanner on the iPhone 5S. (does anyone else see the irony in the 5S vs. the S5?)

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Safari updated to version 7.0.3

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Date: Thursday, April 3rd, 2014, 15:04
Category: App Store, Apple, Mac, Mavericks, Mountain Lion, OS X, security, Software

safari_icoEarlier this week, Apple released an update to Safari bringing it up to version 7.0.3 for Mavericks and Safari 6.1.3 for Mountain Lion and Lion users. The updates are available through the OS X App Store application. You will need to quit Safari, if it is open, in order to complete the update. The following is the list of changes in the update:

  • Fixes an issue that could cause the search address field to load a webpage or send a search term before the return key is pressed
  • Improves credit card auto fill compatibility with websites
  • Fixes an issue that could block receipt of push notifications from websites
  • Adds a preference to turn off push notification prompts from websites
  • Adds support for webpages with generic top-level domains
  • Strengthens Safari sandboxing
  • Fixes security issues, including several identified in recent security competitions

Interesting to note is Apple’s nod to non-Apple sources for the security fixes, although the specify sources are not named.

 

 

Apple TV software gets updated to 6.1…but what does it do?

Posted by:
Date: Monday, March 10th, 2014, 23:57
Category: Apple, Apple TV, Features, Opinion, Software

upgrade-apple-tv_?Earlier today we announced that the long anticipated iOS 7.1 update was released. Hot on its heels were a few other updates including one for Xcode (5.1) which adds support for iOS 7.1, an update to the Remote app (4.2), and an update for the Apple TV. The thing is, I can’t seem to find out what the new 6.1 update does, at least not much. Everyone and their grandmother has mentioned the new ability to hide the channel icons directly on the Apple TV menu screen, which previously required you going into the Settings to do this.

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Happy Monday! iOS 7.1 is here!

Posted by:
Date: Monday, March 10th, 2014, 15:20
Category: Apple, iOS, iPad, iPhone, iTunes Radio, Software

7.1_icon_trMondays don’t generally offer much to get excited about what with the return to the harsh, fluorescent lighting of the workplace, the annoying commute, and the reminder that you stayed up too late drinking on Saturday AND Sunday; but at least Apple there for you this week with a shiny, new iOS update. Yep, 7.1 is here, a little later than expected, but still in time to beat the iTunes Festival. Seeing as how this is a “major” update, you should probably have iTunes make a backup of your device before pulling the trigger on the 7.1 update. If you can’t wait, because maybe you are stuck in a boring meeting, you can update over-the-air too, but you’ll probably need around 2 GB free on your device.

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Recent security updates make Macs more secure, unless you’re a Snow Leopard user

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Date: Monday, March 3rd, 2014, 08:47
Category: Apple, Lion, Mac, privacy, Processors, security, Software

snowleopardEverybody was concerned last week when it was announced that a nasty bug in OS X was leaving Macs vulnerable to attacks that could grab information traveling across shared networks. While it has been confirmed that the bug only affected Mavericks, Apple simultaneously posted security updates for Mountain Lion (10.8) and Lion (10.7), but there was no sign of any security love for Snow Leopard (10.6). This really shouldn’t be a surprise to most people since 10.6 was also skipped when a previous security update was released as well as an update to the Safari browser. The omission of 10.6 from the current update simply confirms that Snow Leopard is no longer on Apple’s radar.

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OS X 10.9.2 update is out, run don’t walk to Software Update

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Date: Tuesday, February 25th, 2014, 16:46
Category: Announcement, App Store, Apple, Installation, Mac, Mavericks, OS X, security, Software

apple_logoAmongst recent criticism about Apple’s failure to fix an SSL security flaw in OS X, and recently patched on iDevices with iOS 7.0.6, today they released the OS X 10.9.2 update which is available via the App Store app. There was a long list of application updates and system fixes, but noticeably absent in the list was mention of the specific SSL security hole that has been dominating the news recently. The good news is that several sources confirm that there is indeed a fix for it present in the update. This one is pretty important, so it is strongly recommended that you apply the update sooner rather than later…like now would be a good time. Apple historically does not like to confirm or draw notice to security issues in software, especially not ones that have been around longer than they should have been, which probably accounts for this. Apple’s official page on the update is here, but a list of items is included below.

My personal recommendations for applying system updates;

  1. Make sure you run a backup, or that Time Machine has done so recently
  2. Close all running apps (except the App Store of course)
  3. Open Disk Utility and perform a Repair Permissions, the close Disk Utility
  4. Install the update
  5. Once the Mac applies the update and reboots, run Repair Permissions again
  6. Go get some coffee

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If you thought Google+ was a joke, maybe the joke was on us

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Date: Monday, February 24th, 2014, 08:25
Category: Google, privacy, security, Services, Social

google_plus_04Are you an avid Google+ user? Yeah, me neither, but there are still a few people who seem to actively use it, if for no other reason than to advertise their blog posts. I think for me personally, it was just one social network too many, too late. I was already on Twitter, Facebook, Path, and occasionally Instagram and Tumblr. There was no room for Google+ and I think it dropped off most people’s radar for similar reasons. There was also that nasty business shortly after the launch of Google Buzz (now buried under a rock somewhere) where ALL your contact data on Google was automatically shared with everybody. That probably didn’t exactly encourage people to use a new, similar service.

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Critical update for Flash released

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Date: Thursday, February 6th, 2014, 09:56
Category: Hack, Mac, Malware, News, security, Software, Windows

adobe-flash-playerEarlier it was Java, now it has been discovered that Adobe’s Flash software also has a vulnerability that gives complete control over compromised systems to hackers. This vulnerability, fixed in the just released version 12.0.0.44, affects Adobe Flash Player 12.0.0.43 and earlier versions for Windows and Macintosh and Adobe Flash Player 11.2.202.335 and earlier versions for Linux, although Linux was listed as having a lower priority rating. Adobe has detailed the problem in a security bulletin. All users are recommended to update Flash on their computers, as well as Google’s Chrome browser which has it’s own Flash component. The version of Chrome that includes this fix is 32.0.1700.107 and should update this automatically, but you may have to restart the browser for the correct version to register in the “About Google Chrome” window. If you want to check which version you are running before going through the update process, you can go to this page on Adobe’s site. You can download OS specific installers from here. Windows users who browse the Web with anything other than Internet Explorer will need to apply two Flash updates, one for IE and one for any alternative browsers (Firefox, Opera, e.g.). Both updaters can be found on the download page. On a Mac, if you already have Flash installed, you can also go to the Flash Player settings in System Preferences and click on the Check for Updates button in the Advanced tab. Our friends at Kaspersky Labs make another appearance in the Acknowledgements of the security bulletin where Adobe thanks them for discovering the vulnerability;

“Adobe would like to thank the following individuals for reporting the relevant issues and for working with Adobe to help protect our customers:

Alexander Polyakov and Anton Ivanov of Kaspersky Labs (CVE-2014-0497)”

So if you’ve got the time now, and you probably should make the time, get those updaters downloaded and installed. Almost makes you want to remove both Java and Flash doesn’t it?

New malicious Java app aims to infect Mac and Linux systems

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 4th, 2014, 09:34
Category: Announcement, Apple, Desktop Mac, Hack, Mac, Malware, OS X, security, Software

target-javaIt’s a long held belief that unless you are using the Windows platform, you are more or less immune to the average virus, trojan, or hack that you might encounter out in the wilds of the internet. There is some truth to the notion that Windows is more vulnerable to attacks, but there really is no such thing as safe, only safer. Check out this article on How-To Geek for a historical perspective on Windows’ malware woes. While Linux and OS X have more inherent defenses against infection, there are still some avenues that hackers can take advantage of to breach them, one of them being Java.

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