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

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Apple TV – Hub of Digital Home with Twitter and Facebook Integration

Developer notes connected with the updated beta software for Apple TV relates to the device used to `test HomeKit with the help of iOS apps’, with implication that the Apple TV will now become the hub of the digital home.

Moreover an analyst has also stated that Apple will be working with Twitter and Facebook in bringing about these apps to the Apple TV. HomeKit had been working with Apple TV from the time of the first iOS 8.0 update as per an unknown source.

On testing the HomeKit protocol, the app developer had stated that when the Apple TV was turned on, the interactions between the iPhone and the simulated devices were quicker, reliable and smoother than with the Apple TV turned off. iOS developers have the potential to play around in the simulator that Apple provides them due to the fact that HomezKit does not work along with any present connected devices since there are no HomeKit certified devices in the market.

Viewers can expect to see HomeKit certified devices likely to show up in the forthcoming year. Apple had also announced a series of official hardware partners who were keen on building their devices to suit Apple’s HomeKit specifications at the forthcoming iOS developers’ conference in June and some of the official partners include August Smart Lock, Honeywells’s Lyric thermostat and Philips Hue light bulb.

Remote Access Point for Devices in the Home

Apple TV is a tiny box which plugs to the TV and connects wirelessly to the internet to enable access to films. iTunes music, TV programmes and much more features. The Apple TV seems to be the device which can be used to control all the devices in the home and the latest beta software includes `support for Family Sharing’ and can also be used for testing Airplay and HomeKit with iOS apps.

Apple TV would probably be a remote access point for devices within the home which could be accessed through iCloud from any location. We are all aware that Apple TV features HomeKit support but this is the first time that Apple has make a reference to it with regards to Apple TV and a Forbes source revealed that the 7.0 update Apple TV provides added support for HomeKit. The source also claims that the Apple TV would be serving as the central hub of the HomeKit features stating that the `HomeKit support is built in the Apple TV firmware.’

Access to Facebook & Twitter via Apple TV

Rumours are on that Apple will also be offering access to Facebook and Twitter through the Apple TV. Chowdhry of Global Equities Research Trip is of the belief that Apple is on its way working with Facebook and Twitter in bringing those apps to the Apple TV and the addition of these apps would be part of a Social TV.

The purpose is that some TV channels would be showing Tweets using a particular hastag at the bottom of the screen when the program will be aired and with limited live content available to watch on the Apple TV, tweets could be timed so that they tend to appear at the right time schedule.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

How to Free up Memory Space on iPhone

Sometimes one may run out of space on iPhone and face difficulties in taking new photos or to install apps, download music and would want to install iOS 8 but may not have the 6GB memory storage for the said purpose.

Some of the strategies mentioned here would help in resolving issues with regards to free up memory space on the iPhone. Users are aware that the new operating system contains a 1.1GB download which cannot be installed unless the iPhone has free space of around 6GB. If the iPhone storage limits are used to the maximum, users need to engage in some housecleaning in order to make space for iOS 8.

They need to identify what has been consuming the storage space which can be done by going to Setting>General>Usage which gives the user a clear indication of what has been utilising the gigabytes.

iCloud for Photo backup

To find the actual spare capacity available and to check which apps are using the maximum space, you could go to settings app and click on the` general’ tab and then select `usage’. This function would undergo some summing process indicating a list of app and how much storage space each of them has been utilising.

This will enable the user in identifying where to draw the line to limit the storage space and use it whenever it may be needed. If the user has been using iCloud for photo backup, they could delete them from the camera which would provide and create more space on the phone, though by doing so, you tend to rely on iCloud to keep them safe.

For precaution measures, a backup on a home computer would be advisable. One could delete them in bulk or one by one by clicking `select’, from the camera roll screen, whichever needs to be deleted.

Accumulation of Unused Musical Albums/Videos/Podcast 

Often unused app tends to accumulate over a period of months or years utilising a lot of storage. One could scroll through the menu and check on unwanted games which are not being used. By tapping and holding the icon, a small cross appears at the top left. On pressing the cross, the app can be deleted and provide more space.

Musical albums which are of no use can be deleted to make more space, which can be made available on the computer should the user feel the need of wanting them back at a later date,. While deleting music, swipe a song from right to left where a `delete’ button would appear and complete the process. Besides photos and musical albums, videos too tend to take up plenty of storage space while some app also tend to download files as in the case of iPlayer which can download programmes that can be viewed later on.

If the user has video download which are of no use to them, it can be deleted by going to the app. The usage list provides the information on any app which may be taking up large amount of storage space. Podcast accumulate swiftly and the new content gets regularly delivered to the phone automatically. In this section of the setting, one can tweak certain setting to keep a tab on the space they may be utilising and under `limit episodes, one can opt to have the recent needed episodes and can also choose to delete played episodes automatically.