Aussie Mac Zone ~ Episode 282

Show 282 – Apr 22, 2019

Run Sheet ~ Zarn & Michael

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Aussie Tech Heads podcasting

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Our Aussie Apple Ramblings

Story 1

Apple and Qualcomm settle licensing dispute amid trial’s opening arguments

CNet tells us ~ Consumers are the biggest winners, with Apple’s iPhone likely to get 5G sooner than expected. Late Tuesday, Apple supplier Intel said it’s exiting the 5G smartphone modem business.

Apple and Qualcomm have settled their patent licensing battle, ending a two-year dispute the day after their trial kicked off in San Diego.

The two sides announced the surprise agreement through a joint press release Tuesday at the same time lawyers were presenting their opening arguments in a courthouse in Southern California. Apple and its contract manufacturers had given their statements, and Qualcomm’s head lawyer had nearly finished his remarks when the courtroom buzzed with the unexpected news.

The CEOs of both companies — Apple’s Tim Cook and Qualcomm’s Steve Mollenkopf — were expected to testify. As recently as January, Cook said the iPhone maker wasn’t in talks with Qualcomm.

The settlement marks a big win for Qualcomm, which could have been forced to change its entire business model had it lost to Apple. The agreement is also a victory for consumers, who will once again have access to fast Qualcomm modems in their iPhones. That likely includes Qualcomm’s 5G modems as soon as 2020.

https://www.cnet.com/news/apple-and-qualcomm-settle-licensing-dispute-during-opening-arguments/#ftag=COS-05-10aaa0j

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Story 2

Spy on your smart home with this open source research tool

From TechCrunch c/- Apple News ~ Researchers at Princeton University have built a web app that lets you (and them) spy on your smart home devices to see what they’re up to.

The open source tool, called IoT Inspector, is available for download. (Currently it’s Mac OS only, with a wait list for Windows or Linux.)

In a blog about the effort the researchers write that their aim is to offer a simple tool for consumers to analyse the network traffic of their Internet connected gizmos. The basic idea is to help people see whether devices such as smart speakers or wi-fi enabled robot vacuum cleaners are sharing their data with third parties. (Or indeed how much snitching their gadgets are doing.)

Testing the IoT Inspector tool in their lab the researchers say they found a Chromecast device constantly contacting Google’s servers even when not in active use.

A Geeni smart bulb was also found to be constantly communicating with the cloud — sending/receiving traffic via a URL (tuyaus.com) that’s operated by a China-based company with a platform which controls IoT devices.

There are other ways to track devices like this — such as setting up a wireless hotspot to sniff IoT traffic using a packet analyser like WireShark. But the level of technical expertise required makes them difficult for plenty of consumers.

Whereas the researchers say their web app doesn’t require any special hardware or complicated set-up so it sounds easier than trying to go packet sniffing your devices yourself. (Gizmodo, which got an early look at the tool, describes it as “incredibly easy to install and use”.)

One wrinkle: The web app doesn’t work with Safari; requiring either Firefox or Google Chrome (or a Chromium-based browser) to work.

The main caveat is that the team at Princeton do want to use the gathered data to feed IoT research — so users of the tool will be contributing to efforts to study smart home devices.

story

https://apple.news/AX_xON4CsSeijc1py0OA2nQ

software

https://iot-inspector.princeton.edu

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Story 3

Apple holds environment-focused event at Apple Park with Jaden, Will, and Jada Smith

9TO5Mac reports ~ Apple held an event at its Apple Park headquarters today with Will Smith, Jaden Smith, and Jada Pinkett Smith. The conversation was moderated by Apple’s VP of environment, policy, and social initiatives.

Tim Cook shared an image of the event on Twitter, saying that “everyone deserves access to quality water.” Jaden Smith founded JUST WATER, an organisation focused on bringing clean water to areas in need, such as Flint, Michigan. JUST WATER is touted as being ethically sourced and comes in a 100 percent paper-based bottle.

Today’s event comes following a string of announcements from Apple regarding its environmental efforts ahead of Earth Day. Last week, Apple announced that it has doubled the number of suppliers committed to running Apple production on 100% renewable energy. Just this morning, the company announced it had quadrupled its iPhone recycling program as well as released its Environmental Responsibility Report.

Apple has held several events at Apple Park recently. Last month, for instance, Octavia Spencer and Nichelle Tramble Spellman joined Lisa Jackson for a conversation about “equality, creativity, and the power within.” The conversations are generally open to Apple employees.

https://9to5mac.com/2019/04/18/apple-jaden-smith-event/

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Story 4

How To Delete The Contacts That Facebook Uploaded Without Your Permission

Story thanks to lifehacker ~ Facebook’s public image has been taking a beating lately, and things just keep getting worse for the social media platform.

According to a recent report from Business Insider India, Facebook has been uploading info from its users’ email contacts since 2016. Facebook did this “unintentionally” and without warning when users created their accounts for the first time, or when using their email accounts for login confirmation.

This happened for over 1.5 million users, according to Business Insider’s report. Facebook says it will contact the affected users and promised to delete their contact info soon, and has disabled email login confirmations in the meantime.

While it’s good to hear Facebook will correct this soon, it doesn’t necessarily help the company save, well, face after the recent string of serious security blunders.

Luckily, users don’t have to wait around for the company to take action. We’ll show you how to take measures into your own hands and delete any contact info Facebook has inadvertently mined from your email and phone contacts.

How to delete contact information uploaded to Facebook

The first step here is preventative: Do not let any Facebook apps access your email/phone contacts when prompted if you’re installing them for the first time (whether that be the regular Facebook app, Facebook Lite, Messenger, or Messenger Lite). Contact syncing is a built-in feature of these apps, but given how poorly Facebook seems to be handling this type of data, it’s probably wise to keep them out for now.

However, as Business Insider’s piece points out, the accidental data scraping happened without users being warned while creating their accounts and when confirming logins via email. That means that even if you previously denied these app permissions or just don’t use Facebook’s apps in the first place, your data may have been impacted through your email anyway. Here’s how to delete your email and phone contact info via Facebook.com, and how to disable contact syncing in all Facebook and Messenger apps.

Instructions are in the link for Android and iOS devices and in Aussie Mac Zone in Apple News

https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2019/04/how-to-delete-the-contacts-that-facebook-uploaded-without-your-permission/

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Story 5

arcade

7

8

9

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Story 6

Samsung just proved why Apple’s always late to the game

ZDNet reports ~ Several Samsung Galaxy Fold review devices seem to have badly malfunctioned. What’s the actual benefit of being first, if you can’t be good?

Apple had just come out with the iPhone X, so its biggest rival had to snort.

It released an ad that boasted how Samsung had, allegedly, been first in just about every phone development over the previous 10 years.

Apple was, apparently a sad, retrograde mimic. Its customers were pathetic, mindless creatures who would never get the girl.

Yet here we are with Samsung facing a potential debacle.

Screens on the Galaxy Fold phones sent to reviewers appear to be more brittle than many NBA players’ egos. There’s even a thin layer of protective film that can be peeled off — and has been.

For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, the Korean handset maker says it’s going ahead with the launch of the Fold on April 26.

A Samsung spokesperson made it all seem like a minor snafu, rather than an unfolding disaster: “A limited number of early Galaxy Fold samples were provided to media for review. We have received a few reports regarding the main display on the samples provided. We will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter.”

One might understand if it was just one phone. But when several reviewers experience different issues, isn’t this a reason to pause?

https://www.zdnet.com/article/samsung-just-proved-why-apples-always-late/

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Story 7

iPhone Users Under Attack As iOS Chrome Security Sandbox Fails

A threat known as eGobbler is taking advantage of a vulnerability in the Chrome web browser for iOS to target iPhone users with an exploit that serves up malicious advertising. According to researchers at security vendor Confiant, the malvertising campaign has served up more than 500 million malicious ads since it started ten days ago.

What is malvertising?

Malicious advertising, malvertising for short, is where seemingly legitimate adverts are displayed which actually contain underlying code that redirects users to fraudulent or malicious content. In the case of the eGobbler campaign targeting iOS users, the threat actor has infected legitimate advertising servers which are then used to deliver adverts that redirect the user to a pop-up competition scam window. The payload for the attacker is two-fold as they can earn money from the adverts being displayed as well as using the landing pages to distribute malware or collect user data. eGobbler is the name that has been given to the threat actor, thought to be a well organised criminal group, thanks to the huge volumes of hits that the malicious advertising campaigns it runs achieve. The group has been active for some time and the campaigns it runs are usually only stay active for a couple of days and then go quiet before for a short time before the next wave begins. This pattern of activity has been noted by researchers investigating the ongoing malvertising campaign.

Chrome for iOS, which runs on Webkit rather than using the Chromium engine, incorporates what is known as sandboxing technology that prevents advertising injection code from interacting with other components in a way that might be a security threat. In particular, the Chrome sandbox should prevent malicious adverts from being able to hijack the browser session and launch a pop-up window without any user interaction or to redirect the user to landing pages they are not expecting. Confiant researchers have yet to reveal the precise mechanism by which eGobbler has bypassed the Chrome for iOS sandboxing, in order to give Google time to issue a patch, but say that “the fact that this exploit is able to bypass that need for user interaction should be impossible according to the same-origin policy as it pertains to cross-origin iframes. Furthermore, this completely circumvents the browser’s anti-redirect functionality, as the attacker no longer needs to even spawn a redirect in order to hijack the user session.” The security researcher who uncovered the vulnerability, Eliya Stein, tweets that this “is technically a chrome pop-up blocker bypass, but in a way it’s a sandbox bypass, because it hijacks the session with a pop-up instead of a redirection.”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/daveywinder/2019/04/17/iphone-users-under-attack-as-ios-chrome-security-sandbox-fails/#3f6e53982f43

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Reminder this week we are bought to you  by

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Story 8

So the Shortcuts.app

I have been having an awesome time getting the Shortcuts.app to control iTunes on our Mac mini.

So now Siri can Play, Pause, Play Next Track, Play Previous Track and Delete The Current Track in iTunes.

From both my wife’s and my iPhone.

Also When you say Goodbye it turns off the lights and Pauses the Music.

Also I have a Shortcut that starts the screen saver Screen, which is a collection of Family Photos Old & New

So thanks to Doug & crew from Doug’s Scripts, link in show notes of course, and others from around the web.

https://dougscripts.com/itunes/itinfo/info03.php

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Story 9

With last weeks announcement of Optus eSIM Support for iPhone I contacted Telstra and Vodafone again

Telstra answered with “ I’ll check and get back to you”

Vodafone – no reply

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the link being

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