Copyright © 2016
Category - Hacks
A new study that compared the security of user data as transmitted by the short-range Bluetooth used by the leading fitness and health wearables has found, as one headline writer summed it up, that "every fitness tracker but [the Apple Watch] is a privacy nightmare." The report, done by the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab and Canadian privacy-rights group Open Effect, tested eight wearables and found that all -- apart from the Apple Watch -- leaked Bluetooth data that could be read nearby.
If you ever need to get your Touch ID-enabled home button repaired, be sure to have it done by Apple Authorized Service Providers or Apple directly only: UK newspaper The Guardian reports that "thousands" of users who have had their Touch ID button repaired by third parties and found that their iPhone would then "brick" itself (become inoperative) after the next iOS update. The notorious "Error 53" that causes this, according to Apple, is a security measure to prevent low-level hardware hacking.
Tech-support scams have been around for a long time, but a disturbing new level has been breached with the discovery that scammers are using detailed records of Dell customer interactions to augment their claims that they are legitimate -- suggesting a security breach of Dell's customer base -- and that the company has been aware of the issue since at least last May and does not seem to have done anything about it, since the scams are continuing.
File this under the category of utilities that Apple will eventually make redundant, but which for right now are very useful. Sidefari 1.1 is a workaround that fixes what we'd call an omission in iOS 9, and specifically in it on iPad Pro. Right now, Apple's Split Screen lets you have two separate apps open and in front of you at the same time: it doesn't let you have two windows from the same app. So you can't have two Word documents open, for instance. Nothing has addressed that so far, but perhaps the more common need is to have two Safari windows open, so that you can look at a pair of websites.
Oh, the heck with the tech news! Mystery Science Theater 3000 ... wait, no, that was last week ... oh yes, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is here! Yes, we talk about it a bit, but no we don't reveal anything that might spoil your enjoyment of the film, other than the fact that you will almost certainly enjoy it. It's not perfect, but it sure looks that way in 3D IMAX, and particularly when compared to the prequels. Don't worry, we mostly talk about the usual mix of tech and Apple-specific news, this week with slightly more jokes.
You know you shouldn't, but you do: when you're at an airport or in a hotel and there's that tempting free Wi-Fi option, you take it. We're not saying that airports or hotels do anything dodgy with Wi-Fi, but when you're at Gate 53, you can't know if it's really an airport service, or the fella sitting behind you with his laptop open. With NordVPN 1.10, it's doesn't matter: your Internet connection is private. Plus, you can pretend to be anywhere you like in the world, and we're sure there must be legitimate reasons to want to do that.
The enthusiast community has released a driver for third-party NVMe PCI-e SSD-based storage cards for OS X. Developer JimJ740, along with developer-proclaimed "stealth" startup MinnowStor, has released the product for free to the personal-use community, with commercial use requiring a license agreement.
A white-hat security researcher known for exposing weak security setups at various companies reported yesterday that he was able to easily access and obtain sensitive data on more than 13 million current and previous users of notorious scamware app MacKeeper due to poor security practices by the previous and current developers, Zeobit/Kromtech. Though the company believes the servers and data in question are now secure, researcher "FoundtheStuff" (Chris Vickery) was able to obtain data including names, email addresses, phone number, poorly-hashed passwords, and details on users' computer hardware.
A new open-source tool called Homebridge is now available on GitHub that emulates the iOS HomeKit API and uses a series of user-contributed plugins to allow third-party devices, such as those by Nest and Sonos, to work with HomeKit, allowing for some level of Siri integration (assuming the manufacturer has not built an app itself to accomplish this). In related news, Apple on Tuesday released the open-source component ("Darwin") of OS 10.11 El Capitan, following the open-sourcing of the Swift programming language, and the release earlier today of OS X 10.11.2, the second update to El Capitan.
Take your mind back to before the iPad. Before the iPhone, even. Yes, even before the iMac. No "i" anything yet ... it's kind of remarkable to think that there are plenty of people walking around today who's first-ever Mac was an iMac. That there was not a time (until late 2011) when Steve Jobs wasn't running the company. The stories are true, though ... all of them. For those members of your family that still wish the Apple logo was made up of six colors, we've put together a MacNN gift guide for the veteran Mac user.