Aussie Mac Zone ~ Episode 284

Show 284 – May 6, 2019

Run Sheet ~ Zarn & Michael

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Our Aussie Apple Ramblings

Story 1

Apple Quarterly report

As an aside did you know just Apple and Google exceed all of the Australia stock market

Apple last week announced their earnings for the second quarter of their 2019 fiscal year. Revenue was down 5.1% to $58.0 billion this quarter. Gross margin for the quarter was 37.6%, down from 38.3% a year ago. Operating income was down 15.6% to $13.4 billion, and net income fell 16.3% to $11.6 billion. This resulted in earnings per share of $2.46, down 9.9% from a year ago..

Apple Q1 2019 Segment Revenue (Billions USD)

Q2’2019

Q2’2018

Year/Year Change

iPhone

$31.051

$37.559

-17.3%

iPad

$4.872

$4.008

+21.5%

Mac

$5.513

$5.776

-4.5%

Wearables, Home, and Accessories

$5.129

$3.944

+30.0%

Services

$11.450

$9.850

+16.2%

https://www.anandtech.com/show/14287/apple-q2-fy-2019-earnings-report

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Story 2

Apple Warns iPhone Users Not To Answer Apple Support Calls

Forbes c/- Apple News tells us ~

iPhone users have been warned not to answer calls from Apple unless they have specifically requested one using the official Apple online support page. This comes off the back of a rash of spoofed support calls that have become increasingly sophisticated in their efforts to get access to Apple iCloud accounts. How sophisticated? How does displaying the Apple logo, address and correct support telephone number grab you? Here’s what you need to know.

The scam

The telephone calls are straightforward phishing, the same as you will have seen countless times in your email no doubt. They have more success because most people still aren’t expecting voice to be used in such social engineering scams. The scammers employ caller-ID spoofing techniques so as to impersonate the real telephone number of the service they claim to be representing. Most commonly as far as this particular threat is concerned that will be Apple support, although I have been told by those on the receiving end of such calls that AppleCare and Apple customer service have also been used in an attempt to gain the trust of the victim.

By spoofing that number and displaying the Apple logo, the fraudsters hope that the person answering the call will be less suspicious than if they were taking an unsolicited call from a number they didn’t recognise. This kind of brand recognition leverage is high on the phishing 101 list of ways to garner victim trust. It’s why telephone scams supposedly from Microsoft support, which don’t have the same trust-enhancing methodologies, tend to be less successful. As the fact-checking site Snopes confirms, ”if the recipient is an iPhone user who then requests a call back from Apple’s legitimate customer support web page, the fake call gets indexed in the iPhone’s recent calls list as a previous call from the legitimate Apple Support line.”

The bait will vary but is always going to be a variation on the theme of your account has been compromised, there’s been a data breach or there has been suspicious activity in your iCloud account. The latest bunch of these calls have been automated with a message informing the user to call a number that purports to be Apple support, complete with estimated waiting times and convincing welcome messages and call purpose options. Sometimes the user will be asked to “press 1″ to connect to a support advisor. In all cases, the danger to your data story will be spun out and you will be asked to confirm your iCloud account credentials.

What Apple says

The Apple support presence on Twitter is, unsurprisingly, getting regular tweets from concerned iPhone users who have received such a call and want to know if it is genuine and their accounts have been compromised. The response is most always the same: “Your security is our number one priority. You can find more information about phoney calls and learn how you can report them by following the steps from this article here.”

If you follow that link it will take you to a support post entitled “Avoid phishing emails, fake ‘virus’ alerts, phoney support calls, and other scams” which has a section covering suspicious telephone calls. Apple says that users should always verify a caller’s identity before providing any personal information. However, while that advice might seem logical it is often harder in practice than it sounds. As I’ve already pointed out, the scammers are getting increasingly sophisticated in their methods of convincing potential victims that they are genuine. Caller-ID spoofing makes it ever harder to separate fiction from reality. I think Apple could easily delete most of the advice it gives in this section and just leave the final line: “If you get an unsolicited call from someone claiming to be from Apple, hang up and contact us directly.”

Apple will never ask you for your Apple ID password, iCloud credentials or verification codes in order to provide you with support. Simple as. Never. And talking of verification codes, Apple also advises iPhone users to activate two-factor authentication as an additional layer of security to protect your account.

iPhone users have been warned not to answer calls from Apple unless they have specifically requested one using the official Apple online support page. This comes off the back of a rash of spoofed support calls that have become increasingly sophisticated in their efforts to get access to Apple iCloud accounts. How sophisticated? How does displaying the Apple logo, address and correct support telephone number grab you? Here’s what you need to know.

The Scam

The telephone calls are straightforward phishing, the same as you will have seen countless times in your email no doubt. They have more success because most people still aren’t expecting voice to be used in such social engineering scams. The scammers employ caller-ID spoofing techniques so as to impersonate the real telephone number of the service they claim to be representing. Most commonly as far as this particular threat is concerned that will be Apple support, although I have been told by those on the receiving end of such calls that AppleCare and Apple customer service have also been used in an attempt to gain the trust of the victim.

By spoofing that number and displaying the Apple logo, the fraudsters hope that the person answering the call will be less suspicious than if they were taking an unsolicited call from a number they didn’t recognise. This kind of brand recognition leverage is high on the phishing 101 list of ways to garner victim trust. It’s why telephone scams supposedly from Microsoft support, which don’t have the same trust-enhancing methodologies, tend to be less successful. As the fact-checking site Snopes confirms, ”if the recipient is an iPhone user who then requests a call back from Apple’s legitimate customer support web page, the fake call gets indexed in the iPhone’s recent calls list as a previous call from the legitimate Apple Support line.”

The bait will vary but is always going to be a variation on the theme of your account has been compromised, there’s been a data breach or there has been suspicious activity in your iCloud account. The latest bunch of these calls have been automated with a message informing the user to call a number that purports to be Apple support, complete with estimated waiting times and convincing welcome messages and call purpose options. Sometimes the user will be asked to “press 1″ to connect to a support advisor. In all cases, the danger to your data story will be spun out and you will be asked to confirm your iCloud account credentials.

https://apple.news/Aoxi-TTC3TDW9ka-qwzPP6Q

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Story 3

Apple and HTC might be over-estimating their phone battery stats

With battery life arguably one of the most important features in a smartphone, we hope that manufacturers tell the truth when it comes to their battery claims. However, Consumers’ Association brand name Which? found that Apple and HTC may have overestimated their battery claims.

Starting with Apple, Which? reportedly tested nine iPhone models and found that all nine models fell short of Apple’s publicised battery estimates. For example, Which? found that the iPhone XR lasted for 16 hours and 52 minutes of talk time. Apple claims that the iPhone XR lasts “up to 25 hours” of talk time.

As for HTC, the company claims an average talk time of 20.5 hours for its smartphones. However, Which? found the average to be 19.6 hours in its tests.

That said, Which? didn’t share how it achieved these results. The brand claims that it fully charged independently-purchased phones and then made continuous calls. Which? didn’t provide other testing parameters, such as whether the calls were made on Wi-Fi or cellular, whether the phones only had stock apps or also had other installed apps, whether software versions changed anything, and how many tests it conducted per device.

It’s also a bit strange to see the Xperia Z5 Compact tested since Sony launched the phone in 2015. Also, Which? didn’t provide a full list of tested phones in its press release.

https://www.androidauthority.com/apple-htc-battery-claims-talk-time-982289/

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Story 4

Morrison pledges AU$156m to build cyber workforce and fight cybercrime if re-elected

ZDNet reports ~ The multi-million dollar investment will be used to thwart ‘organised cybercrime gangs’, build a cyber workforce, and help small businesses stay protected.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged to protect older Australians, businesses, and national security assets from the risk of cyber-attacks if his government is voted back in next month.

Mentioned during the 2019-20 Budget that was delivered earlier this month, the pledge of AU$156 million will be used to thwart cybercrime and beef up Australia’s cyber talent.

The “cyber resilience and workforce package” will include AU$50 million for the creation of a Cyber Security National Workforce Growth Program that Morrison expects will create the cyber workforce the country needs.

The Cyber Security National Workforce Growth Program will see the Departments of Defence and Home Affairs work alongside industry and academia, under the guidance of National Cyber Security Adviser Alastair MacGibbon, to create the program.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/morrison-pledges-au156m-to-build-cyber-workforce-and-fight-cybercrime-if-re-elected/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

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Story 5

Our Gaming Section starts this week with ~ World Video Game Hall of Fame inducts Super Mario Kart, Mortal Kombat, Solitaire, and Colossal Cave Adventure

These games emerged from finalists that also included Candy Crush Saga, Centipede, Dance Dance Revolution, Half-Life, Myst, NBA 2K, Sid Meier’s Civilization, and Super Smash Bros. Melee.

The four inductees span multiple decades, countries of origin, and gaming platforms, but all have a significant influence the video game industry, popular culture, and society.

Full Story with Game Reviews of each, by one of the judges, at

https://venturebeat.com/2019/05/02/world-video-game-hall-of-fame-inducts-super-mario-kart-mortal-kombat-solitaire-and-colossal-cave-adventure/

Also Harry Potter: Wizards Unite iPhone and Android AR game available

9TO5Mac c/- Apple News ~ Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, an augmented reality game briefly teased by Pokémon Go creator back in November of last year, is now available in open beta – but only in two countries.

After a yes, no, maybe start it is currently available in Australia and New Zealand, but you can register to receive an alert once it’s available in your country …

Launching first in the Antipodes is the same approach Niantic took with Pokémon Go.

The teaser video we saw last year (below) gave very little clue as to what to expect, but did show that it involves interacting with AR creatures and objects in the real world. However, The Verge has more details.

 

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Story 6

Google Fit activity tracking comes to iOS with Apple Watch support

Engadget reports ~ Google Fit is no longer the sole province of Android users. Google has released Fit for iOS, giving you the same tracking of “Heart Points” and “Move Minutes” as your Android-toting friends. And importantly, it’s not an island of fitness data — it can connect to Apple Health like other activity apps, so any other app or device that supports Health will contribute to your Fit data. Yes, your Apple Watch workouts will count toward your fitness goals.

The app is available now. While it’s ultimately about spreading the reach of Google Fit, it could also give you a better reason to buy a Wear OS smartwatch if you’re an iPhone user. Your Google Fit data will be readily available on both your phone and your wrist, after all. If nothing else, it’s a viable alternative should Apple’s Activity app prove unappealing.

https://www.engadget.com/2019/04/24/google-fit-for-ios/?guccounter=1

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