Apple fixes iOS 7 screen-lock bypass bug


Apple has released a new update for iOS 7 to fix the lock-screen bypass bug that caused a storm in the tech community when it was revealed a week ago.

The bug allowed users to access Facebook, Twitter and email via the iPhone’s camera app, without unlocking the device. All that was required was a swipe up to access Control Center and using a few taps and home button presses to get into the phone’s social features without having to enter a passcode.

Following Forbes’ publication of a YouTube clip showing off the bug, Apple said it ‘took user security very seriously’ and that it was working on an update.

That update, iOS 7.0.2, is out now. As well as fixing this rather embarrassing issue, there’s also a Greek keyboard for entering passcodes. Just in case you’re of that persuasion.

The bug has not affected iOS 7 take-up. Analytics firms have suggested the platform is now running on 50% of all iOS devices. That’s 14% faster than the rate of adoption of iOS 6 last year.





iOS 7 animations making iPhone users ill with motion sickness?


Apple’s iOS operating system has been accused of many things. It’s too closed, say some. The Maps app is still unfathomably shonky, say others. They might be right too.

But the grousing/whining (delete as applicable, depending on which side of the fanboi fence you sit) has hit a new pitch today, amid claims that the recently launched iOS 7 version of the software is giving iPhone owners motion sickness.

According to reports, the whizzy animations that iOS 7 features when opening and closing apps, as well as ever-so-slight parallax effect when tilting the handset, are inducing nausea.

Don’t believe it? Fair enough. It does rather stretch credulity. But there’s certainly no shortage of online testimonies to the problem in Apple’s official forums.

One post states: “The zoom animations everywhere on the new iOS 7 are literally making me nauseous and giving me a headache.

“It’s exactly how I used to get car sick if I tried to read in the car.”

With one discussion on the Apple site running to 14 pages, that sentiment has been echoed by a raft of other users.

Among them is Ajax 234. Although he’s named after a Greek hero, he’s nothing like as hardy. He found that using iOS 7 on his handset made him sick “after using it for two minutes”.

Having updated my 4S to iOS 7 on the day of release, I can say that I’ve not experienced nausea as a result of using it. And I’ve yet to encounter anyone in the flesh who has been affected. But for all my jocularity about the matter, perhaps i’ve just been lucky or am especially resistant to motion sickness?

If you have been affected, the bad news is that it seems there’s no way to turn off the animations. There’s also no means to downgrade to the iOS 6 version of the operating system.

Apple has yet to acknowledge the reports. But as soon as it does, we’ll let you know the word from Cupertino.



TalkTalk Top Rated by Which?

The report, which canvasses the opinions of the general public, ranked the value provider higher than BT, Virgin Media and Sky for their packages, with an overall customer score of 64%. TalkTalk was also commended for its value for money.

The findings of the survey reflect TalkTalk’s investment in customers’ experience. The telecoms provider is currently investing £100 million to continue improving its broadband service and is the only provider to offer HomeSafe, a free internet security service that blocks inappropriate content before it enters the home. YouView from TalkTalk is also Britain’s fastest growing TV service, with over 500,000 customers choosing the service.

TalkTalk customers can access a wide selection of TV channels alongside totally unlimited broadband and phone, at an affordable price. The option to access premium channels, such as Sky Sports and Sky Movies on a monthly basis, and view on-demand shows and catch-up TV were highlighted as other benefits of TalkTalk’s service.

Tristia Harrision of TalkTalk commented: “We’re really pleased that our TV, broadband and phone service has been recognised by Which?. A lot of customers are seeking value for money, without having to compromise on the range of TV programmes and films available to them, nor the quality of their broadband. And we believe they shouldn’t have to. It’s our mission to make Britain better off and to be voted Top Rated in Which? within the first year of our TalkTalkTV service launching, shows that our customers are benefiting from our efforts.”

Check the latest TalkTalk broadband deals here.

O2 Wifi and content filtering


The question of public wifi access and content filtering has received significant attention recently. O2, would like to make their position clear. From the moment their public wifi service was switched on in 2011, fully content-filtered the service at all venues. This means that they never allowed access to illegal, extreme and adult material. They were the first in the industry to do this, well before all other large wifi providers.

This is an important issue and mustn’t be underestimated. A balance needs to be reached between protecting vulnerable users and allowing adults to enjoy the freedom that the internet affords.

Several factors guide O2’s thinking: Firstly, the open nature of wifi and its availability across many devices means that it’s highly accessible to all, including children.

Secondly, public wifi is by its nature ‘public’ and provided in places where people and communities come together, and where adults are unlikely to want to enjoy restricted material, like adult content. Thirdly, most venues explicitly do not want to allow access to adult material in their environment because it doesn’t fit with the experience they provide.

O2 Wifi was created to address the problems in the wifi industry with poor user experience. Part of this included the fact that other major players were not providing this level of protection. We’re encouraged to see that most large wifi players are following our lead and moving in this direction. We’re proud to be recognised by the likes of Mumsnet as a family-friendly company but we do not want to differentiate on content filtering. It should be a hygiene factor for the industry. We’re a trusted mobile data company that provides access to mobile internet and have always taken content filtering extremely seriously.

O2 Wifi’s MD, Gavin Franks, adds “We have taken a strong, leading position on content filtering. As an established and trusted mobile company, O2 has always understood the responsibilities that come with extending mobile data access. When we created O2 Wifi, we built full content filtering into the service from day one. We remain vigilant though, as the internet is constantly evolving and the ways that people share and access content is changing. That’s why the experience we have from our cellular network has allowed us to take such a strong position from the outset.”


Check the availability and latest deals for o2 here





Porn on most free public WiFi networks


An investigation by security firm AdaptiveMobile found that one in three UK cafes and restaurants had no content protection in place on their free WiFi networks, while a further 20 per cent failed to restrict access to adult dating sites that routinely have explicit pictures.

The results come despite David Cameron claiming that a new Government-backed code of conduct would promote “good, clean WiFi”. The Prime Minister had announced that the code of conduct would lead to pornography being blocked in public spaces such as cafes and railway stations where children are likely to be present.

The Government hoped the move would give parents confidence that their children cannot access illicit websites on smart phones or mobile computers.

The survey also found that drug- and violence-related websites, including, were accessible in 80 per cent of sites surveyed.

Mr Cameron’s earlier intervention came after a long-running campaign from children’s charities to ensure a blanket ban on unacceptable sites on public WiFi networks.

The Children’s Charities Coalition on Internet Safety wrote to BT, the country’s biggest internet provider, in March demanding urgent action.

The coalition of charities, which includes the NSPCC and The Children’s Society, had subsequently welcomed Mr Cameron’s intervention.

John Carr, the organisation’s secretary, said: “We welcome any deal which is long overdue. Public access to the internet is a modern reality and we have to fund a way of dealing with this growing problem.”

Charities believe that more children may be seeking to access illicit sites in public places as parents are offered more sophisticated tools to restrict certain web content at home.

In recent times, WiFi has spread rapidly in public places and is now available in many cafes, restaurants, shops and even on public transport.

Speaking on the local election campaign trail, the Prime Minister said that the “clean” WiFi plans could help reinvigorate local high streets.

Apple ‘has been developing iGlasses since 2006’


Apple has been working on a product similar to Google Glass for more than half a decade but the project was sidelined by the popularity of the iPod and iPhone, one of the company’s former executives has claimed.

Tony Fadell, ex-head of Apple’s iPod division, said the concept was “the craziest thing” he worked on at the company and claimed to have made “a bunch” of prototypes well before Google took its smartglasses to market earlier this year.

The comments come amid criticism in some quarters that the company has failed to innovate since the death of founder Steve Jobs in 2011, with rivals recently launching the smartwatch and smartglasses.

In an interview with the business magazine Fast Company, Mr Fadell confirmed that Apple had been working on an augmented reality headset that was “something like Google Glass” from early 2006.

The idea was to create a visor with a built-in screen which created a new entertainment experience which would feel “like you’re sitting in a theater”, Mr Fadell is reported to have said.
However the project was abandoned as the success of the iPhone, launched in 2007, and the demand for new versions of the iPod became the company’s focus.

“We had such success with the things we were already doing that we didn’t have time to do anything else,” Mr Fadell said.

His comments appear to confirm reports last year that suggested so-called iGlasses had long been in development at Apple.

A patent in the name of Anthony Fadell and John Fang protecting technology which would project “a source image in a head-mounted display apparatus for a user” was filed in October 13 2006 with the backing of Apple Inc.

The description explained how an image would be beamed onto a display in front of the user’s eyes, thereby creating “an enhanced viewing experience”. It was eventually approved by the US Patent Office in March 2012.

The patent and Mr Fadell’s comments suggest Apple’s version of smartglasses would focus on creating the next generation in entertainment. This would be a marked difference to Google Glass, which appears to be targeting a business market with functions like receiving emails and taking photos.


In-game app fees face OFT consumer protection crackdown


A UK watchdog is threatening action against video game app-makers it finds in breach of consumer protection laws.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is concerned about in-game charges, saying it has seen evidence of “potentially unfair and aggressive commercial practices” after studying 38 popular titles. It has not said which they are.

Children might be particularly susceptible to such tactics, it warns.

As a consequence it has proposed new guidelines for developers.

These would apply to both apps and internet browser-based video games available via Facebook and elsewhere.

They include:

– Providing up-front information about the costs associated with a game before consumers download it.

– Ensuring that gamers are not misled to believe they must make a payment to proceed if that is not the case, for example, if they could wait for a period of time instead.

– Preventing the use of language or anything else that might exploit a child’s inexperience, for example, implying an in-game character would be disappointed if they did not spend money.

– Making it clear how to contact the business if the gamer has a complaint.

– Only taking a payment if the account holder provides “informed consent”, in other words a charge cannot be made because a password had recently been entered for something else.

The OFT said some of the worst examples it had seen involved games that led children through an adventure but then withheld a promised reward until they spent money, and instances where the title made the player feel bad by telling them a virtual animal was “ill” but could be made better if the gamer made a purchase.

“I don’t think children are always aware that when they click ‘yes’ it’s spending money,” Cavendish Elithorn, executive director at the OFT, said. “Although parents can change their device settings to deal with some of that, many parents might not know, or it’s only when they get the bill that they realise the setting was wrong.

“So, part of what we’re keen to do is support parents in having the right tools to be aware of what their children are doing online.”

He added that the OFT has the ability to take legal action against firms in the UK, and was working with partners in Europe, North America and Australia to try and get the same rules applied elsewhere.

So-called freemium games – where the original download is given away free of charge, but the player is encouraged to buy add-on items or services – were pioneered in Asian markets as a way to combat piracy. They have since spread to the west with EA’s Fifa 14, Disney’s Where’s My Water, King’s Candy Crush Saga and Sega’s Sonic Dash among popular titles to adopt the model.

Video games trade body Tiga – which had advised the OFT on the issue – said it found the guidelines encouraging.

“Tiga understands both the legislative responsibilities and concerns of the OFT, and the daily realities of making games in the UK today and around the world,” said the organisation’s chief executive Richard Wilson. “I’m pleased to say the OFT and UK games business is leading the way in addressing these issues and helping build a sustainable future for this high tech, highly skilled, global industry.”

The Association for United Kingdom Interactive Entertainment (Ukie) said it was useful to have clarity about the OFT’s interpretation of the law, but added a note of caution.

“It is vital that any final guidelines, whilst primarily considering the best interests of children, do not inadvertently isolate UK consumers from accessing the games that they want to play, stifle the creativity of games developers or prevent the growth of the UK games industry,” said chief executive Jo Twist. “Consumers are now often able to download and play the latest games for free.

“In-app purchasing is optional within many of these games and is a way for millions of players to access the extra content that they want.”

The OFT has invited interested parties to comment on its principles by 21 November. It then intends to publish a final version of the guidelines by February and begin enforcement action in April.




Tesco Mobile Leads Mobile Industry For Customer Satisfaction



Tesco Mobile, the joint venture mobile partnership between Tesco and O2, has come out top in the Which? annual Mobile Phone Satisfaction survey for contract and SIM-only customers.

With high ratings across the board of categories, Tesco Mobile was commended for its value, customer service and range of handsets, trumping competition from industry Goliaths including Vodafone and EE.

The network was also named as a Which? Recommended Provider for both mobile contract and Pay as you go.

Happy customers gave the network an impressive 72% overall score for contract, with Which? stating it “ticks all the boxes …and it’s not hard to see why its customers are satisfied.” It scored 71% for Pay as you go overall customer satisfaction.

The recognition from Which? Is hot off the heels of a number of initiatives launched by the mobile provider to carve a niche in the market as a network that challenges the industry norms.

Tesco Mobile is the only network to have launched a Tariff Promise; its commitment to not raising core tariff prices in the middle of a contract. Which?’s report showed that 22% of mobile contract customer had seen an increase in their bill over the past year.

Other family friendly unique services launched by the network include:

Family Perks – which provides one bill for up to five Pay Monthly or SIM only subscriptions under the same roof and gives useful perks such as extra data to all members on the same account

Capped tariff – customers can fix their tariff so they only use their inclusive minutes, texts and data, and their monthly bill is never more than the cost of their tariff

Simon Groves, Chief Marketing Officer, Tesco Mobile says: “Tesco Mobile has had a fantastic year so far, with our customer base growing to over 3.5 million. We feel that the Which? survey reflects how the mobile market is changing – customers are not sticking to traditional operators, but instead are getting increasingly savvy and looking to newer alternatives for the best possible value and service.”


iOS 7: users destroy iPhones after fake waterproof advert


A spoof advert suggesting Apple’s new iOS 7 operating system made handsets waterproof appears to have fooled some users into destroying their iPhones.

The fake commercial appeared almost identical to Apple’s real poster advertising with images of the iPhone on a white background accompanied by neat text.

“Update to iOS 7 and become waterproof”, the poster read.

“In an emergency, a smart-switch will shut off the phone’s power supply and corresponding components to prevent any damage to your iPhone’s delicate circuitry,” it explained.

At the bottom of the poster was a promise that “waterproofing [is] covered by Apple’s warranty policy”.

After being shared on social media sites by users encouraging people to try the new feature soon angry complaints appeared from those fooled by the joke.

The fake commercial appeared almost identical to Apple’s real poster advertising with images of the iPhone on a white background accompanied by neat text.

“Update to iOS 7 and become waterproof”, the poster read.

“In an emergency, a smart-switch will shut off the phone’s power supply and corresponding components to prevent any damage to your iPhone’s delicate circuitry,” it explained.

At the bottom of the poster was a promise that “waterproofing [is] covered by Apple’s warranty policy”.

After being shared on social media sites by users encouraging people to try the new feature soon angry complaints appeared from those fooled by the joke.





iPhone 5S fingerprint sensor hacked by Germany’s Chaos Computer Club

Germany’s Chaos Computer Club says it has cracked the protection around Apple’s fingerprint sensor on its new iPhone 5S, just two days after the device went on sale worldwide.
Germany’s Chaos Computer Club says it has cracked the protection around Apple’s fingerprint sensor on its new iPhone 5S, just two days after the device went on sale worldwide.
In a post on their site, the group says that their biometric hacking team took a fingerprint of the user, photographed from a glass surface, and then created a “fake fingerprint” which could be put onto a thin film and used with a real finger to unlock the phone.
The claim, which is backed up with a video, will create concerns for businesses which see users intending to use the phone to access corporate accounts. While it requires physical access to the phone, and a clean print of one finger which is one of those used to unlock the phone, it raises the risk of a security breach.
“This demonstrates – again – that fingerprint biometrics is unsuitable as access control method and should be avoided,” said the Chaos Club’s blogpost author, “Starbug”. “In reality, Apple’s sensor has just a higher resolution compared to the sensors so far. So we only needed to ramp up the resolution of our fake. As we have said now for more than years, fingerprints should not be used to secure anything. You leave them everywhere, and it is far too easy to make fake fingers out of lifted prints.”
The group does not claim to have extracted the fingerprint representation from the phone itself, where Apple says it is held on a secure chip. Instead it relies on capturing a high-quality fingerprint elsewhere, and having access to the phone.
“Relying on your fingerprints to secure a device may be okay for casual security – but you shouldn’t depend upon it if you have sensitive data you wish to protect,” commented security specialist Graham Cluley.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment on the hack.

The revelation is the third security failing discovered since the phone and its iOS 7 software were released last week. First, a hacker found that they could use a flaw in iOS 7’s Control Centre feature on the iPhone 4S and 5 to access photos and send emails. Another found that the Emergency Call screen can be used to place a call to any number.
The Chaos Club details its methods for the fingerprint hack, which begins with a high-quality fingerprint lifted from a glass, doorknob or glossy surface. The print, which essentially consists of fat and sweat, is made visible using graphite powder or a component of superglue, and then photographed at high resolution to create a 2400 pixel-per-inch scan. That is then printed onto an overhead projector plastic slide using a laser print, forming a relief. That is then covered with wood glue, cut and attached to a real finger.

Apple introduced Touch ID, as it calls the fingerprint system, on its top-end iPhone 5S, unveiled earlier in the month. The technology uses a scanner built into the home button of the phone to take a high-resolution image from small sections of the fingerprint from the sub-epidermal layers of the skin. Apple says “Touch ID then intelligently analyses this information with a remarkable degree of detail and precision.”
Users can choose to use up to five fingerprints – which can be changed – to unlock the phone and optionally pay for iTunes Store purchases. They have first to create a passcode of at least four digits, and then “enrol” fingerprints separately. Apple says that the process creates a mathematical representation of the fingerprint representation, and that it is only stored on the phone.
Apple’s own notes about its Touch ID system on its site say that Touch ID will incrementally add new sections of your fingerprint to your enrolled fingerprint data to improve matching accuracy over time. Touch ID uses all of this to provide an accurate match and a very high level of security.”
The company says that “Every fingerprint is unique, so it is rare that even a small section of two separate fingerprints are alike enough to register as a match for Touch ID. The probability of this happening is 1 in 50,000 for one enrolled finger. This is much better than the 1 in 10,000 odds of guessing a typical 4-digit passcode. Although some passcodes, like “1234”, may be more easily guessed, there is no such thing as an easily guessable fingerprint pattern.”
It notes that after five unsuccessful attempts to match the fingerprint, the user has to enter their passcode, and the fingerprint unlock will not work.

Speaking to BusinessWeek just after the iPhone 5S was unveiled, Craig Federighi, Apple’s head of software, emphasised that the fingerprints would not leave the phone. He said that making a finger unlocking and purchasing system “sounds like a simple idea, but how many places could that become a bad idea because you failed to execute on it? We thought, ‘Well, one place where that could be a bad idea is somebody who writes a malicious app, somebody who breaks into your phone, starts capturing your fingerprint. What are they doing with that? Can they reuse that in some other location? Can they use it to spoof their way into other people’s phones?'”
He said that Apple’s focus had been to make sure that “no matter if you took ownership of the whole device and ran whatever code you wanted on the main processor [you]could not get that fingerprint out of there. Literally, the physical lines of communication in and out of the chip would not permit that ever to escape.”