Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Apple's Family Sharing Feature

Apple's Family Sharing
Apple’s latest update to iOS has now made it possible to share music, apps as well as books with family at no cost wherein a family need not buy additional copies of the Beatles’ catalogue. The family sharing feature to iOS 8 now makes it easier for the entire family to share purchases on iTunes, App Store and iBooks.

It enables the family to access the music, books and apps which have been bought on one account and the others need not buy separate copies. Apple has designed this feature to bring about harmony to the family’s digital life by sharing photos, creating a family calendar and keeping in touch with each other from any location, but more than that it means that one can save a large amount of cash.

Earlier one would have to buy a copy if they desired it on their iPhones or iPad but now with the option of Family Sharing, one member could buy a single copy and the same could be shared with the other members in the family. Besides this, the shared calendar could also help in keeping updates with all the comings and goings at family level.

Sync Up to 6 Accounts

With the minimum of efforts, one can sync up to 6 accounts and avail the family sharing feature To get started one would need to setup their account on their iPhone by going to Settings >iCloud>Family>Add Family member, wherein one would be asked to provide the Apple ID of the person intending to be added.

The feature required that one of the members to be a family organiser and set up a profile with a name and image. One can choose the option to either send invite to their member device or if they are around could seek their permission to enter their password in the setup screen and iCloud would automatically add them in the group.

If kids below 13 years having no Apple ID could also be added right from the Family sharing page provided they have a credit card account and once a member joins in the group, the Family Sharing features are activated on their device.

iTunes/iBooks/App Stores – Collections of Content

Once the member has been added to Family Sharing plan, songs, movies, album, TV shows apps and books that a family member has purchased are now immediately available to all in the group. To locate music or apps which other members could have purchased, one needs to visit the purchased tab in iTunes, App Store or iBooks to browse on the collections of content and then tap the iCloud icon to download the same on individual device.

The other family members could also access the entire collection just the same way and should there be some items on your account which one does not want the other members to see, one can hide individual books, apps and movies on opening iTunes on your Mac, go to the Purchased section and choose the item intending to delete till a X appears in the top left corner.

Those who have joined the Family Sharing account could pay for all their new purchases on iBooks, iTunes and the App Store on providing their credit card details.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Apple’s iPhone – Advanced Car Remote Control

Advanced Car Remote Control
Recently published patent application called `Accessory control with geo-fencing’ by the US Patent and Trademark office, imagines virtual field or boundary surrounding a car which is called a geofence.

The tech giant has filed a patent which will help the car to perform various functions and on detecting the proximity to the car based on the geofence, the iPhone has the capabilities of performing a variety of task like the opening of the door, starting the ignition or popping open the trunk.

For instance, the doors of the vehicle could lock if the driver tends to move a certain distance away or the boot could unlock if the owner of the vehicle walked to the rear of the car. Smartphones that could act as remote controls for your car with various apps and technologies is nothing new since they are already available enabling the phone to remotely operate in unlocking doors or starting the car.

 Apple is now planning to turn the iPhone into an advanced remote control for cars, enabling users to unlock the doors as well as start the engine whenever they approach their vehicle. Apple’s invention would now perform these functions automatically depending on the position within or outside the geofence.

And the iPhone could communicate with the car via CarPlay or a similar device. For many years now, remote controls for cars have been made available but Apple is striving to use the geo fenced location potentials in taking the technology still further.

iPhone to Signal Message/Alarm to lock Doors

The iPhone can remotely connect through Bluetooth to the in-car system like the Apple’s CarPlay enabling drivers in making calls, send messages as well as use maps through the smartphone’s voice activated assistance – Siri.

CarPlay which was launched in March is presently compatible with five car makers, namely, Hyundai, Honda, Ferrari, Mercedez-Benx and Volvo and Apple is planning the service to 24 other manufacturers including Land Rover, Ford and Peugeot.

Apple had launched its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus recently with Apple Pay earlier this week and the new iPads too recently. This technology could even work over a long distance through cellular signal.

As listed in the patent application, the car could start to warm up whenever it detects that the driver and the iPhone is within a distance of a few minutes. For instance on leaving your car and the geofence, the iPhone could signal a message to lock the doors and turn on the alarm.

Idea of Apple’s Patent Application

Multiple geofences may also target certain areas of the car like a geofence in the rear may automatically open the truck if it detects when the person is in the right place and is in possession of the iPhone.

A brief idea of the patent application is that a vehicle accessory could transmit a first signal to a mobile device, the first signal includes the location of the vehicle wherein the device can monitor its own location.

The mobile device can also assess whether one or more location based criteria have been satisfied based on the location of the device and the vehicle’s location.

On determining that the location based criterion has been fulfilled, the mobile device transmits a second signal to the vehicle accessory indicating a function of the vehicle need to be controlled.

For instance, the mobile device could activate or de-activate vehicle features like the door locking, vehicle defrosting etc. in a way which could capitalize on accurate signal transmission.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Apple to Drop SSL 3.0 Support

Apple to Drop SSL 3.0 Support
Apple has recently announced its developers that it will be dropping support for SSL 3.0 on October 29th on its push notification service to mitigate a discovered vulnerability in the software.

 The company will be switching off this support in favour of the more secured transport layer security –TSL protocol considering that the developers will have to build in support to ensurethat uninterrupted push notification service continues. Developers presently supporting both SSL 3.0 and TSL on their push servers will not get affected with this change though those using only SSL 3.0 would need to change to TLS soon to ensure that there is no interruption in the services.

Apple has also provided an option for developers to test compatibility with the updated system and the Apple Push Notification service will soon be updated and changes to the servers may be needed to be compatible. Additional information with regards to this is also available through Apple’s Developer Portal.

Paddle Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption

Earlier this month vulnerability discovered in the SSL secure socket layer 3.0 version by Google researchers was reported by Computerworld. The researchers found it possible using a man-in the-middle attacked known as Paddle Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption – POODLE, the discovery introduces false errors on using TSL, urging secure connections to downgrade back to the SSL 3.0 version where nefarious users could take advantage of a design flaw in SSL 3.0 in order to skim sensitive data from the user’s computers.

In other words the flaw would enable an attacker to steal a person’s authentication cookies where the attacker and the victim are on the same network, thereby posing a risk to people who could be using public Wi-Fi.It was also disclosed earlier that the POODLE vulnerability would allow encrypted information to be stolen by an attacker with network access.

To protect users against security issues with SSL version 3.0, the Apple Push Notification server will withdraw support for SSL 3.0 and providers with SSL would need to support TSL at the earliest for continuous services.

OS X Yosemite & iOS Protection Against the Flaw

Both OS X Yosemite and iOS have protection already in place against the flaw as OS X Mavericks 10.9 and Mountain Lion – 10.8 since Apple has now patched the Poodle SSL vulnerability with its latest release.

Apple and Google have both disabled SSL 3.0 in their browsers and developer environments, while other tech giants are also doing likewise. The vulnerability is considered to be less urgent than the Heartbleed vulnerability which also tends to affect SSL 3.0 though it still affects all browsers and several web servers.

Mozilla is said to disable SSL 3.0 in Firefox version 34 which is scheduled for 25th November. Besides many other companies have also moved to stop supporting SSL 3.0 due to the flaw where one of three have found to affect a variety of products across the internet world including the Shellshock Bash vulnerability besides the Heartbleed in Open SSL. Push servers which are not upgraded to use TLS by the coming week, will no longer be capable to send push notifications.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Apple’s Touch ID – Fingerprint Passcode

Touch ID
Fingerprint readers had been used on several enterprise level laptops from Toshiba, Lenovo and many others in the business world but were ignored by the consumers. The Touch ID was branded as a gimmick when first seen on the Apple iPhone 5s with some regarding it as a new foray into biometric security, a sort of helping in justifying the new 5s’ upgrade over the latest iPhone 5.

With the launch of the Apple Pay system, there is now a tendency among consumers to store sensitive details on the device and the biometric ID is gaining importance as a viable system of authentication.

Moreover, the latest celebrity iCloud hacking has also left most of the consumers to seek an alternative to the username and password. With Touch ID, consumers use their fingerprint as a passcode and with a touch of the Home button; the Touch ID sensor tends to read the fingerprint and unlocks the device. Besides, it could also be used in authorizing purchases done from the iTunes Store, iBooks Store and App Store.

System for Quick Authentication

Fingerprint readers, which is a system for quick authentication, offers secured and a convenient security since they rely on something which is difficult to hack on your personal information. Besides it is faster and more secured than a four digit passcode and the fingerprint sensor is gaining traction as the latest proof of identity.

The Apples’ Touch ID is placed in the spaced reserved for the plastic Home button in a range of integrated technologies to provide swift, biometric recognition. Created from steel capacitive ring, image sensor, sapphire lens and secure enclave, the Touch ID is dependent on a range of components which work in harmony to provide the authentication process.

The silver ring seen around each Touch ID is a capacitive sensor designed to detect when the finger is present and the silver ring activates the rest of the Touch ID assembly and saves the battery life by making sure it is not `on’ always.

Functions Like Scanner

The Touch ID functions like a scanner used for scanning photographs. Protected by layers of durable and the sapphire glass, the image of the fingerprint is aimed directly on the Touch ID sensor which is only 170 microns thin with slightly thicker than human hair and can scan the image at 500ppi, higher than the 326ppi resolution of iPhone 6 screen.

After the scanning, a high definition image is taken which is temporarily stored in secure enclave for analysis. On measuring the features of the fingerprint, like the sub dermal ridge flow angles the process then identifies the fundamental aspects which make the fingerprint unique thus producing a unique key.

When the unique fingerprint data is collected the mathematical representation of the scan remains which is stored and encrypted without the identity on the iDevice which cannot be used anywhere.

Each time the phone is unlocked, the scanning process is repeated and the fingerprint is analysed and if the data key generated tallies with the one that is already stored on the iDevice, the handset gets unlocked. At the time of processing payment with Apple Pay, successful fingerprint match results in the device autofilling the stored keychain information whenever needed.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Google’s Android 5.0 Lollipop

Android 5.0 Lollipop
Recent reports reveal that Google has unveiled its latest version of Android known as Android Lollipop at its I/O Developer Conference in June this year.

There seems to be a lot more with regards to the updated operating system which features a redesigned user interface referred to as Material Design together with improved lock screen as well as notification menu. Moreover it also delivers an improved battery life together with great performance. Google’s latest entry is a big release and is the most significant visual Android update since 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich which was released in the year 2011.

It provides the foundation for the growth of Android as a platform beyond smartphones and tablets and Google is making headway in pushing Android forward as the future software. Its focus lies in making Android connected to every device where the users interact with and Lollipop is the first plunge in getting there.

Google’s latest announcement of the world’s most popular mobile platform came up after an extended testing and preview period and Android 5.0 Lollipop has been debuted on three new Nexus devices namely the Nexus 6 smartphone, Nexus 9 tablet and Nexus Player streaming media device. These will be available on the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 as well as Google Play Edition devices,this forthcoming week.

Largest And Ambitious Release on Android 

Google has described Lollipop as its largest and most ambitious release on Android, touting its flexibility and states that it would want Lollipop to excel across several platforms. Lollipop’s noted features are in the form of visual enhancement as well as user interface changes and the platform has new and more fluid animations together with cleaner design accompanied with a bolder colour palette and revamped multi-tasking menu.

 It also offers new methods to interact with your voice. The Material Design initiative is for the purpose of unifying the software’s look and feel across a variety of form factors. Several new Material Design features are seen in recent updates which Google has launched for its own Android apps like Google+.

Besides visual overhaul, Lollipop also brings over 5,000 new APIs to be tapped into for developers and enables multiple different Android devices with several form factors for improved performances.

Protection Against Resetting Phone to Factory Defaults

Google states that songs, apps, photos as well as recent searches could also be seamlessly synced across a variety of Android devices. Moreover Lollipop includes new notification controls in limiting alerts at the time of meetings etc. new battery saver mode which are capable of running through ninety minutes more of life between charges, multiple user accounts, new ways to secure the device through trusted Bluetooth connections and guest user modes.

Protection against resetting phone to factory defaults is also included in Lollipop which has been created to make it difficult for phone thieves in using stolen devices. All these features have been installed by several Android device manufacturers on their smartphones and tablets though Google is ensuring to make sure that they are part of the core Android experience