Eero firmware update hints at forthcoming HomeKit functionality

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 28th, 2020, 03:53
Category: Apple, Apps, Developer, HomeKit, News, privacy, security, Software, wireless

If you’re using an Eero router, you’ll like this.

Following Apple’s announcement at WWDC 2019 that HomeKit would be supported by routers from Eero, Linksys, and Charter Spectrum, Eero on Monday, Eero today released an update for its Eero and Eero Pro routers, bringing them to version 3.18. The release notes for the update are relatively unexciting, highlighting “improvements to client data accuracy” and “system stability improvements.”

The update also apparently appears to feature preliminary HomeKit support.

Following an update to the latest firmware, the Eero and Eero Pro appear in the Home app as accessories that can be added. Unfortunately, since there’s no valid HomeKit setup code at present, the Home app present an error and states that the Eero routers can’t be added to HomeKit, warning that the Eero routers are still “uncertified” at this point.

Under version 3.17 of the Eero firmware, the Eero routers were invisible to the Home app as nearby accessories. Version 3.18 seems to indicate that progress is being made towards this end.

Apple says HomeKit-enabled routers will offer security benefits, such as the ability to firewall off accessories, preventing them from accessing your entire network. “Enhance security by monitoring the network activity of your Home accessories and preventing unsafe connections,” Apple says.

The Apple website currently lists the Eero, Eero Pro, and Linksys Velop as the three routers slated to add HomeKit support in the future.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via 9to5Mac and Adam Marka

FCC opens 3.5GHz spectrum band for consumer use

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 28th, 2020, 03:25
Category: 5G Wireless, Legal, News, wireless

It’s been six years of collaboration, but the FCC has finally unlocked the 3.5GHz spectrum, aka the “OnGo” band, for consumer use.

Prior to this, the 3.5GHz spectrum had been exclusively used by the U.S. Department of Defense for naval purposes alongside the coast. It will still be able to use the spectrum but now it can also be used by the public. If the DoD does need access in a specific coastal area a “protection zone” will be activated and public users will be automatically routed to other frequencies.

This, in turn, will help enhance current 4G connectivity, but will also help boost 5G once further rollout becomes available. 3.5GHz is “mid-band” with decent long-distance range.

Per the VentureBeat article:

As additional devices are OnGo-certified, the CBRS Alliance expects that the band will also be used outside of the smartphone market, assisting rural broadband, enterprise IT, hospitality, retail, real estate, industrial IoT, and transportation initiatives.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via The Mac Observer and VentureBeat

Kaspersky cites Shlayer Trojan as top malware threat for macOS in 2019, advises against installing suspect Adobe Flash Player updates

Posted by:
Date: Monday, January 27th, 2020, 03:22
Category: Apple, macOS, News, privacy, security

This is why you don’t download suspicious Flash updates from out of nowhere.

Security firm Kaspersky has stated that in 2019, the Shlayer Trojan infect one in ten Mac users, exposing users to malicious apps that hide behind fake error messages about users needing to update Flash.

The firm stated that Macs have been the frequent target of the Shlayer Trojan. Kaspersky cited that the trojan has been active since at least early 2018, though in 2019 it was the most common threat to macOS. Around 10 percent of all Macs were attacked with it, and by itself, Shlayer represents 30 percent of all the Trojans detected on macOS.

Kaspersky’s report stated that “thousands of websites” include the Shlayer Trojan download, typically because the sites partner with cyber criminals.

However, legitimate sites could have this added, too.

“[These include] YouTube, where links to the malicious website were included in video descriptions,” says Kaspersky in its report, “and Wikipedia, where such links were hidden in the articles’ references.”

The Shlayer Trojan typically installs a Safari Extension, which the Mac asks the user if they’d like to use it. However, while macOS is warning that this is an unrecognized extension, Shlayer is overlaying that message with a fake dialog box saying that the installation is complete. During the course of this, users see an “Okay” button and click it, when in reality they’re clicking a Trust button, stating that it’s ok for the operating system to install this software.

During the final stage, the Mac user can be bombarded with ads, wherein any browsing can also be affected by targeted ads being presented.

“[Since February 2018] we have collected almost 32,000 different malicious samples of the Trojan,” says Kaspersky. “Having studied the Shlayer family, we can conclude that the macOS platform is a good source of revenue for cybercriminals.”

Significantly, Kaspersky says that even though the Trojan was detected almost two years ago, it is still prevalent.

“The operation algorithm has changed little since Shlayer was first discovered, nor has its activity decreased much,” the company continues. “[The] number of detections remains at the same level as in the first months after the malware was uncovered.”

In short, be careful out there, consider looking into anti-malware software, and only download Adobe Flash Player updates via the Adobe web site.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via AppleInsider and Kaspersky

Broadcom signs on to two multi-year deals to continue supplying wireless components to Apple

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 24th, 2020, 03:21
Category: Apple, Business, Hardware, iPhone, iPhone 3GS, Legal, News

Broadcom will continue its long-running relationship with Apple, as the company has stated that it has negotiated two multi-year deals to supply wireless components to Apple.

The agreements, referred to as “2020 SOWs,” are on top of existing contracts with Apple and could be worth a combined $15 billion

The exact specifics of the deals are presently unknown.

Broadcom currently supplies Apple with radio-frequency front end components used in products such as the iPhone and iPad.

The chipmaker has been a key Apple supplier for well over a decade, furnishing components that helped flagship products like iPhone 3G connect to cellular and Wi-Fi networks. In addition to RF parts, the company supplies touchscreen controllers and wireless charging modules. 

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via AppleInsider and Reuters

Google researchers noted flaws in Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 24th, 2020, 03:35
Category: Apple, Google, Hack, iPhone, Mac, News, privacy, security, Software

Google researchers have located multiple security flaws in Apple’s Safari web browser that allows users’ browsing habits to be tracked in spite of Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature.

Google has stated that it plans to publish details documenting the security flaws in the near future, the company sharing information with the Financial Times on Wednesday.

The security flaws were first found by Google in the summer of 2019, and were disclosed to Apple in August. There were five types of potential attacks that could allow third parties to learn “sensitive private information about the user’s browsing habits.” 

The researchers stated that the flaws left personal data exposed, in that the Intelligent Tracking Prevention List feature “implicitly stores information about the websites visited by the user.” This, in turn, allows for a “persistent fingerprint” that can follow a user around the Web or track what users are searching for on a day to day basis.

Apple implemented the Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature into Safari in 2017, which is intended to boost privacy and is meant to make it harder for sites to track users across the web, preventing browsing profiles and histories from being created. 

Apple appears to have addressed these Safari security flaws in a December update, based on a release update that thanked Google for its “responsible disclosure practice,” though full security credit has not yet been provided by Apple so there’s a chance that there’s still some behind-the-scenes fixing to be done.

Via MacRumors and Financial Times

Adobe Flash support disabled in Safari Technology Preview 99, portends end of support for the plug-in on macOS

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, January 23rd, 2020, 03:47
Category: Apple, Developer, iOS, iPhone, Mac, macOS, News, security, Software

Presaging the end of Adobe Flash on Safari, Apple on Wednesday disabled support for the multimedia plug-in in the Safari Technology Preview 99.

Apple quietly announced the imminent demise of Flash on Safari in a set of release notes accompanying Safari Technology Preview 99. Along with a number of enhancements to WebKit code and assets is mention of a single deprecation under “Legacy Plug-Ins,” which simply states, “Removed support for Adobe Flash.”  

Safari Technology Preview, which was introduced as a developer-focused experimental browser in 2016, often provides an early look at upcoming Web technologies that will either appear or be removed from the versions of Safari for iOS and macOS.

Albeit extremely popular, the demise of Flash has been forthcoming for several years now. The plug-in was criticized as being asset-hungry, proprietary, insecure, and out of date. Late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs said as much some 10 years ago in a widely circulated letter appropriately titled “Thoughts on Flash.”

Following increased competition and pushback from the likes of Apple, Google and other browser makers, Adobe in 2017 said it would pull the plug on Flash in 2020.

On the iOS platform, the end of Flash is a non-issue, as the plug-in was never integrated to the platform. Safari on Mac has shipped with Flash disabled since macOS Sierra, leaving users to manually activate the software on a case-by-case basis.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via AppleInsider and CNET

Some users have reported audio cutouts, other issues with iPhone 11 handsets and wireless CarPlay

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, January 23rd, 2020, 03:00
Category: Apple, CarPlay, iPhone, News, wireless

This may require a bug fix somewhere down the line.

A number of user reports have surfaced of audio cutters and other issues when using the iPhone 11 with wireless CarPlay. A number of these issues relate to the BMW-Made Mini, although other reports have appeared of the issues occurring with the BMW Series 1 as well as Nissan and Honda models.

The first reports date back to October of last year, with many of those affected saying it remains unresolved – though there is one suggestion that a fix is in hand.

Apple has supposedly acknowledged that this is a known issue, although there has been no official word from the company.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know about your experience in the comments.

Via 9to5Mac and discussions.apple.com

Apple launches native export support for Apple Card transactions

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020, 03:00
Category: Apple, Apple Card, Apps, Business, Finance, iOS, News

This could come in handy.

Apple on Tuesday added a new option for Apple Card users to export their monthly statements in spreadsheet form. This, in turn, allows your Apple Card data to be imported into your budgeting app of choice.

Previously, Apple only made Apple Card statements available via PDF, but this new spreadsheet option is much more versatile for users.

The data can be exported via the following steps:

1. Go to the Wallet app on your iPhone

2. Choose Apple Card

3. Tap “Card balance”

4. Pick a monthly statement and tap the “Export Transactions” button

At present, there are still limitations. Users can presently only export based on monthly statements, they can’t export combined transactions from multiple months or partial monthly transactions. You’ll also manually need to import the data to your money management software. Finally, Apple still won’t allow third-party services to automatically pull the data from their Apple Card accounts.

Still, this is a step in the right direction, and allows you to get your data where it needs to be and work it from there.

Stay tuned for additional details from there.

Via 9to5Mac and Fast Company

Rumor: Apple’s “iPhone SE 2” handset to undergo production in February, will be launched in March

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020, 03:48
Category: Apple, Hardware, iPhone, iPhone SE, Processors, Rumor

Following a series of rumors surrounding a low-cost model dubbed the “iPhone SE 2,” a new report states that the iPhone SE’s successor is entering production come February.

According to sources close to the story, Bloomberg has reported that suppliers are slated to begin manufacturing the as-yet-unannounced affordable iPhone variant in February ahead of a public debut in March. 

Apple’s last handset aimed at the mass-market was the iPhone SE, which was launched in March 2016. That model borrowed a design from iPhone 5s, which was two years old at the time, and packed it with then-current tech including an A9 processor and a 12-megapixel camera. The model was priced at $399. 

Apple is thought to be pursuing a similar strategy with the upcoming handset. Per analyst predictions, the unit will share an external handset, and feature a 4.7-inch screen, as well as a Touch ID home button for biometric authentication and user interface navigation. 

The handset is also rumored to boast an A13 Bionic processor and current-generation camera technology.

Hon Hai, Pegatron and Wistron have been tapped to assemble the next-generation affordable iPhone, according to today’s report. 

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via AppleInsider and Bloomberg

iOS 13.3.1 beta 2 adds toggle to disable U1 chip on iPhone 11 handsets, change implemented to manage location tracking/privacy bug

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 21st, 2020, 03:50
Category: Apple, Developer, Hack, iOS, iPhone, iPhone, News, privacy, security, Software

If you’re concerned about your privacy and location tracking via your iPhone, this might help.

Twitter user Brandon Butch has noted that the second beta of iOS 13.3.1, released earlier this month, includes a toggle for disabling the Ultra Wideband chip in the device. 

The toggle can be found by opening the Settings app, tapping Privacy, tapping Location Services, selecting System Services, and then toggling off the “Networking & Wireless” option. 

Apple incorporated this toggle in the new beta after it was discovered that the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max handsets continued to track user location even after location services had been disabled.

The company stated that this was expected behavior given the Ultra Wideband chip found within the new iPhones and that this was operating as designed. The company stated that this met designed expectations given international regulatory requirements that mandate the U1 chip be disabled in certain locations.:

Ultra wideband technology is an industry standard technology and is subject to international regulatory requirements that require it to be turned off in certain locations. iOS uses Location Services to help determine if ‌‌iPhone‌‌ is in these prohibited locations in order to disable ultra wideband and comply with regulations. 

The management of ultra wideband compliance and its use of location data is done entirely on the device and Apple is not collecting user location data.

Apple at the time stated that the company would offer a toggle that would disable the U1 chip entirely, and that the toggle would be found within the public release of iOS 13.3.1.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via MacRumors, Twitter, and 9to5Mac