I’m back! Did you miss me? Reviewing last week.

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 21st, 2014, 08:37
Category: Apple, Article, Consumer Electronics, Google, News, Opinion

newspaperI was sick for most of last week, which accounted for the crickets you might of heard when you loaded up the PowerPage. While I get back up to speed on all the current tech news, I thought I’d provide a short list of key articles from last week by other tech sites to get you caught up in case you missed them.

Target data hack only the beginning of massive, sophisticated attack – BGR.com

This is one story that hit close to home. Because of the breach, my credit card company is reissuing my credit card with a new account number which means I get to spend a day or so updating ALL of my automatic billing accounts. Have you noticed this sort of thing seems to be happening more frequently lately? Frankly, I’m starting to consider switching to stuffing my mattress with cash.

Google’s smart contact lens tracks glucose levels for diabetics – AppleInsider.com

Wow, Google really wants to do do stuff with your eyes. While I applaud the clever idea of “always on” monitoring of glucose levels, I have to question why this tech needs to be stuck in your eye. While tears can provide this information, blood is actually the better source for it. Current glucose meters already require regular calibration and a margin of error, partly due to variations in blood. How are you going to do this with a contact lens? And how do you account for the many people who can’t or won’t wear contact lenses, and adding prescriptions to them for people who do wear them? Wouldn’t it be better to have a sensor imbedded under the skin, that anyone could use and didn’t have to be constantly cleaned, removed, replaced, etc.? Eyes are already responsible for a lot of data, do we need to be sticking more things in them?!

Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules – MacObserver.com

If you aren’t familiar with the battle for net neutrality, you should start educating yourself because this won’t go away for some time, and if people aren’t paying attention, they could just get royally screwed by large corporations that are fighting it. The “net” part refers to the Internet and in a nutshell, without net neutrality, everything you do on the internet (which IS practically everything) will cost you more, especially your connection to it. This ruling is kind of a drop in the bucket, but it is a minor setback in the fight to maintain neutrality and keep the greedy profit-seeking providers from gouging everyone just to watch a movie or read an email.

Beware of this Apple ID phishing scam – TUAW.com

I think people on the whole have been getting better about detecting phishing scams, where unscrupulous types attempt to sucker innocent people into willingly handing over their account information by posing as an email from a service they use. Now someone is trying this with an email that looks like a security warning from Apple. Read the details in the article and remember to ALWAYS be cautious with these kinds of requests and make sure the messages are actually coming from where they say they are.

Box overhauls iOS apps and offers 50GB of free storage for life – Macworld.com

Now THIS is a hot tip, and one I took advantage of myself. I’ve had a Box account for some time, but never really used it because the default, free account only provided 5 GB of storage and I have quite a bit more available to me over at their competitor, Dropbox (Oooo…I should write an article about how I did that.). Also, at the time, Box wasn’t as slick and well integrated with the Mac and iDevices as Dropbox. Well, now Box is throwing down the gauntlet and offering 50 GB of storage to users that create (or have) an account and download the iPhone and/or iPad apps, for the next 3 weeks or so at least. Plus, the new iApps have been overhauled and look pretty spiffy. I won’t give up Dropbox, but I’m sure going to find a use for that 50 GB. Can you say “online backup”?

Google acquires smart thermostat maker Nest for $3.2 billion in cash, Father of iPod now Google employee – 9to5Mac.com

This was kind of a surprise, but with wearable computing and home automation being the hot topics at CES this year, it seems to make sense. Perhaps I’m more surprised Apple didn’t acquire them given its pedigree and Apple-like design. While I was kind of disappointed to see another successful company swallowed up by a big fish, I wasn’t as paranoid as a lot of people who felt the proper response was to rip the device off the wall and put it on CraigsList. This one’s a two-fer since it’s a perfect lead in for Apple marketing chief Schiller unfollows Nest & Tony Fadell on Twitter following Google deal.

Will the next NSA satellite have an Apple logo?

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, January 1st, 2014, 08:24
Category: Apple, Consumer Electronics, iOS, iPhone, Legal, Mobile, Mobile Phone, News, privacy, security, Services, Software

geoeye-1-satellite-apple-460Well, perhaps that is a stretch, but Apple’s possible connection with the NSA was revealed in a report dating back to 2008. Reuters explains that the report outlined a system that the NSA was developing, called DROPOUTJEEP, which would be software implanted into an iPhone that allows infiltrators to push and pull and retrieve data from iPhones such as contact lists. The report didn’t actually specify any involvement by or with Apple, although the iPhone is referenced in the report.

(more…)

1Password for Mac updated to version 4.1 with new features

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 10th, 2013, 09:18
Category: Announcement, App Store, Apple, Apps, iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Mac, Mavericks, privacy, security, Software

product-1password-4-for-macEveryone’s favorite password keeper (well mine anyway), 1Password, has been updated to version 4.1 and includes some great feature updates. The Agilebits blog introduces the update and gives a quick rundown of some of the key updates;

“1Password 4.1 for Mac is now available for our website customers, and it is waiting for review for Mac App Store customers. “4.1″ may look like a small update, but it packs some great big stuff [...]“

(more…)

Google opens Glass Mirror API

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 5th, 2013, 08:38
Category: Accessory, Consumer Electronics, Developer, Gadget, Google, News, Opinion, privacy, security, Wearables

google_glass_grey-580-90Last week, Google finally made the Glass API for Google Glass open to all developers. Previously, the API was only available to developers that actually shelled out the $1500 to own the Google Glass hardware and were added to a whitelist of approved owners. Now Google doesn’t care if you have the software or not. TechCrunch breaks down the methods for developers to write software for Google Glass.

(more…)

Apple retail to use iBeacon location technology

Posted by:
Date: Monday, November 18th, 2013, 09:08
Category: Apple, Developer, iOS, Mobile, News, privacy, Retail Store, security, Services, WWDC

ibeacon2Earlier this year at WWDC, Apple introduced iBeacon, a technology that would be introduced as part of iOS 7 and new Apple hardware. iBeacon utilizes BlueTooth LE (Low Energy) to provide very precise location data to your device, which can either provide detailed directions inside a building, like a mall, or give you information about a particular item on a shelf that you are standing in front of. Yes, it’s that precise. Since it has to take a location measurement very frequently to provide that level of precision, it uses the BlueTooth LE radio (separate from the regular one generally used), in order to prevent excessive battery drain on your device. This opens up a lot of opportunities for all retailers, not just Apple.

(more…)

Security firms weigh in on Adobe breach, cite 38 million+ user IDs stolen

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, October 30th, 2013, 10:56
Category: Hack, News, security

adobelogo

You’re probably going to want to change your Adobe login and password.

Per Macworld and Krebs on Security, the security breach reported earlier this month at Adobe is turning out to be much more widespread than the company first let on. At least 38 million users have been affected by the early October incident.

When Adobe announced the breach on October 3, it said that attackers stole user names and encrypted passwords for an undisclosed numbers of users, along with encrypted credit or debit card numbers and expiration dates for 2.9 million customers. Krebs on Security has reported on the full extent of the attack, confirming the 38 million figure with Adobe.

The total damage could go beyond 38 million users. According to the article, the 3.8GB file includes more than 150 million usernames and hashed passwords, all taken from Adobe. The same file also apparently turned up on a server with the other stolen Adobe data.

Adobe says that 38 million active users users were affected, whereas the other usernames and passwords could include inactive IDs, test accounts and IDs with invalid passwords. However, Adobe is still investigating, and given the tendency of users to repeat the same usernames and passwords across multiple Web services, inactive account holders could still face a security risk. Adobe is trying to notify inactive users of the breach, and has already reset passwords for active users who were affected.

To make matters worse, Krebs on Security and Hold Security both claim that the hackers stole source code for flagship products such as Photoshop, Acrobat, and Reader. Adobe acknowledged that at least some Photoshop source code was stolen; the company is trying to get the data taken down.

In a blog post, Hold Security suggested that the source code theft could have far-reaching security implications. “While we are not aware of specific use of data from the source code, we fear that disclosure of encryption algorithms, other security schemes, and software vulnerabilities can be used to bypass protections for individual and corporate data,” the firm wrote. “Effectively, this breach may have opened a gateway for new generation of viruses, malware, and exploits.”

Active Adobe users affected by the breach should have received a notification from the company by now, prompting them to change passwords. As always, users can employ several strategies to keep their data safe, such as setting different passwords on each site or setting up a password manager.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Firefox updated to 25.0

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, October 30th, 2013, 10:08
Category: News, Software

elfirefox

Firefox is now old enough to make foolish mistakes but get a lower insurance rates when it goes to rent a car.

On Wednesday, Mozilla.org released version 25.0 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, a 47.1 megabyte download via MacUpdate, adds the following fixes and changes:
- [New] Web Audio support.

- [New] The find bar is no longer shared between tabs.

- [Changed] If away from Firefox for months, you now will be offered the option to reset it to its default state while preserving your essential information.

- [Changed] Resetting Firefox no longer clears your browsing session.

- [Developer] CSS3 background-attachment:local support to control background scrolling.

- [Developer] Many new ES6 functions implemented.

- [HTML5] iframe document content can now be specified inline.

- [Fixed] Blank or missing page thumbnails when opening a new tab.

- [Fixed] Security fixes can be found here.

Firefox 25.0 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

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

Apple, Adobe sandbox Flash Player development for OS X versions

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, October 24th, 2013, 22:00
Category: News, security, Software

When in doubt, sandbox the sucker.

Per Mac|Life, Adobe announced on Wednesday that the latest version of the Safari web browser included with OS X Mavericks now features app sandboxing for Flash Player, following similar moves with browsers from Google, Microsoft and Mozilla.

Although Flash Player has been sandboxed for some time, for whatever reason Apple didn’t get on board with Safari until version 7.0, which is included with this week’s update to OS X Mavericks.

“For the technically minded, this means that there is a specific com.macromedia.Flash Player.plugin.sb file defining the security permissions for Flash Player when it runs within the sandboxed plugin process,” explains Adobe Platform Security Strategist Peleus Uhley.

“As you might expect, Flash Player’s capabilities to read and write files will be limited to only those locations it needs to function properly. The sandbox also limits Flash Player’s local connections to device resources and inter-process communication (IPC) channels. Finally, the sandbox limits Flash Player’s networking privileges to prevent unnecessary connection capabilities.”

The bottom line is that viewing Flash Player content will now be safer and more secure for Safari users on OS X Mavericks, thanks to the combined work of Adobe and Apple, who not so long ago were on opposite sides of the track when it came to Flash technology.

If it makes it more secure, then godspeed…

Adobe announces security breach, says 2.9 million customer accounts, encrypted credit and debit card data stolen

Posted by:
Date: Friday, October 4th, 2013, 07:43
Category: News, security

adobelogo

You might want to check in with Adobe on this…

Per AppleInsider, Adobe on Thursday confirmed that malicious parties had compromised its networks and potentially gleaned credit card and other personal information from the accounts of nearly three million users.

The company revealed the breach in a post to its official blog. Adobe’s security team recently discovered a number of “sophisticated attacks” on its network, with some of those attacks targeting customer information and source code for several Adobe products.

In all, the attackers are believed to have stolen information on 2.9 million Adobe account holders. That data includes customer names, encrypted credit and debit card numbers, expiration dates, and other customer order information. Adobe does not believe that decrypted credit or debit card numbers were removed from the network.

Adobe has contacted federal law enforcement for help in the investigation and is resetting passwords for affected accounts in order to prevent further unauthorized access. Owners of affected Adobe ID accounts will receive an email notification from Adobe with information on how to change their passwords.

The company also recommends that account holders affected by the attack change their passwords on any website where they may have signed up with the same login credentials.

On its end, Adobe has spread news of the breach to banks that process its payments, and is coordinating with payment card companies and card-issuing institutions to help protect customers’ accounts. In addition, the company is extending a free one-year credit monitoring membership to those customers whose information was compromised.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Google Earth updated to 7.1.2.2019

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013, 06:31
Category: News, Software

googleearth

On Wednesday, software giant Google released version 7.1.2.2019 of its popular Google Earth program. The new version, a 45 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- The “Enable Controller” option in user preferences is now turned off by default. This prevents red directional arrows from displaying as a result of uncalibrated joysticks and other controllers being connected to Earth at startup.

- For enhanced security, “Use HTTPS for Google connections” is now toggled on by default.

- We fixed a bug whereby the cache size rose above user-specified limits.

- We fixed a crash resulting from searching on some Windows machines.

- We updated the LEAP API to version 1.08.

- We reduced LEAP controller sensitivity to user hand motions. This enables a smoother flight and greater control over your flight path when using a LEAP.

Google Earth 7.1.2.2019 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 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.