Hackers Transform a Smartphone Gyroscope into an Always-On Microphone

From  Engadget.com’s Steve Dent

Apps that use your smartphone’s microphone need to ask permission, but the motion sensors? No say-so needed. That might not sound like a big deal, but security researchers from Stanford University and defense firm Rafael have discovered a way to turn Android phone gyroscopes into crude microphones. They call their app “Gyrophone” and here’s how it works: the tiny gyros in your phone that measure orientation do so using vibrating pressure plates. As it turns out, they can also pick up air vibrations from sounds, and many Android devices can do it in the 80 to 250 hertz range — exactly the frequency of a human voice.

By contrast, the iPhone’s sensor only uses frequencies below 100Hz, and is therefore useless for tapping conversations. Though the researchers’ system can only pick up the odd word or the speaker’s gender, they said that voice recognition experts could no doubt make it work better. They’ll be delivering a paper next week at the Usenix Security conference, but luckily, Google is already up on the research. “This early, academic work should allow us to provide defenses before there is any likelihood of real exploitation.”

For more information check out Stanford University’s Security Research page HERE

 

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iOS Scores As Most Secure Mobile OS in Spyware Report

From Cnet.com’s Lanc Whitney (@lancewhit)

Apple’s iOS has emerged as the most spyware-proof mobile operating system in a test conducted by a surveillance software and hardware vendor.

Detailed in a leaked document apparently from the Gamma Group, a piece of its spyware called FinSpy was used to determine whether various mobile platforms could withstand snooping attempts on phone calls, contacts, and other data. In the document seen by the Washington Post and noted by Cult of Mac, FinSpy is “designed to help Law Enforcement and Intelligence Agencies to remotely monitor mobile phones and tablet devices.”

FinSpy can gain full access to phone calls, text messages, the address book, and even the microphone via silent phone calls. It can also trace a device to determine its location. Used by law enforcement and government agencies, FinSpy has earned a reputation for itself as a powerful but controversial tool for sneaking into mobile devices. That’s why iOS’s ranking in the Gamma Group’s document from April is a nod to Apple security.

Among the major mobile platforms cited in a chart in the document, all of them were susceptible to FinSpy. The spyware was able to bully its way into andorid (all versions from 2.x.x to 4.4.x), BlackBerry (versions 5.x, 6.x., and 7.x), Symbian, and Windows Mobile 6.1 and 6.5 (Windows Phone 8 is not yet supported by the software).

And what of iOS? Apple’s mobile OS did make the list but only in jailbroken mode. According to the Gamma team, iOS versions 4.3.x, 5.x, 6.x, and 7.0.x are vulnerable to FinSpy but an untethered jailbreak is required. As the document explains: “The iOS target (meaning the FinSpy software itself) can be installed only under iOS jailbroken devices.”

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Report: Apple’s Got a 12-inch MacBook, 4K Desktop in Works

Report: Apple’s Got a 12-inch MacBook, 4K Desktop in Works
Gizmodo.com’s Darren Orf

In the midst of updating its operating system to Yosemite, Apple seems to also have some hardware refreshes in mind. According to Mark Gurman at 9to5Mac, sources say that Apple is planning a smaller Macbook (12-inch diagonally) with a high resolution display as well as a pixel-drunk 4K iMac or standalone monitor.

9to5Mac goes on to say that the new Macbook will have a thinner and lighter aluminum body, which would place it somewhere between MacBook Air or current MacBook Pro weight classes. It will also run on an Intel chip—not the Apple-based A8 processor, according to earlier rumors. Apple has a lot of faith in this TBA MacBook saying it will be a significant step forward in the laptop industry, according to sources. But then again, isn’t that always the case?

This 12-inch laptop has been rumored since October when a reliable analyst released predictions of the coming device. Despite being a little off on the timing (mid-2014), the rumor’s validity is only increasing.

 As for the 4K monitors, Apple has had a tendency to upgrade pixel counts on its displays when Mac OS X goes through a refresh. It wouldn’t be much of a surprise if the company decides to follow a similar strategy. Besides, an OS is only as beautiful as the screen displaying it. [9to5Mac]

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Easy Mac Tune Up

Tune Your Mac Like a Pro

So your mac has been running a little slow and you want to get things up and boost running speed but you can’t quite to commit to a Mac repair at our Overland Park office, here are just a couple of tips to get you going. Please note to make sure you having done a Time Machine backup before proceeding just to be safe.

1. Check Out and Disable Startup Apps: So you have a lot of apps that launch at startup and you want to shut them down to boost performance well here’s how. Open your System Preferences Users & Groups> and from there disable any apps that you don’t want to run, Less is More should be the mantra here.

2. Install Those Updates: Software vendors release updates to address performance issues as well as security issues so be sure to install them when they come down, sure it may take some time but it will be time you get back in performance later.

3. Install RAM: This one may require some Mac Repair at our Overland Park store but if you are up to the task a simple RAM upgrade can make a huge difference in performance.e

Well there you go just a few tips to help you along.

 

 

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Apple Makes A Move For The Enterprise Solutions Arena

Apple Makes A Move For The Enterprise Solutions Arena

Apple announced on Tuesday that it would be joining forces with its one time business rival IBM. In an attempt to transition from solely consumer product arenas to the ever growing enterprise arena, Apple and IBM will focus on enterprise applications geared for iOS. Together they will create  100 industry-specific application that will run on both iPads and iPhones including apps designed for security, big number crunching for corporate data, and a hardware management software to manage the phones themselves. Aside from the application side, Apple will be creating a whole new class of AppleCare specifically to support enterprise clients and their hardware while IBM will continue support of their already supported devices including Android base platforms.

It will be interesting to see where this deal goes and how long term this once rocky relationship will last but only time will tell. From a technician standpoint having someone else handle the Mac repairs will definitely light the work load.

For more information regarding this partnership of strange bed fellows click HERE

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Getting More from Your Iphone

iPhone Fixes and Flaws

Contrary to what some users will tell you, the Iphone is not without its own set of flaws and while they aren’t numerous they do exist. We can help with that though, below is a list of  3 common Flaws and Fixes that should get you in ship-shape in no time.

1> Flaw: Battery Drains Quickly. Fix: Turn off your Background App Refresh option. Settings>General>Background App Refresh. From their disable any apps you don’t want running.

2> Flaw: Lagged interface. Fix: Reduce unused apps and photos by deleting them or sending them to the cloud. Also, disabling parallax wallpaper can help as well. General>Accessibility> Reduce Motion *ON*

3> Flaw: Crashing Apps. Fix: Update all of your apps on a regular basis to reduce crashes. If the app continues to lock up double tap the home button and swipe the offending app closed.

 

 

 

 

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A Possible Step in the Wrong Direction for Apple.

A Possible Step in the Wrong Direction for Apple.

So you think that new iMac was a steal since it was $200 well think twice before you put down your hard earned money.  The new iMac has a nerfed Intel Core I-5 clocked at a lowly 1.4ghz processor, to add some perspective, the previous version of the iMac has a 2.7ghz Intel i5 CPU. Furthermore, the lifespan of pc’s could easily be increased by a simple memory upgrade but Apple has made that impossible as the new iMac’s ram is soldered into place.

Looking at the bigger picture Apple may be intentionally limiting upgrades for a couple of reasons including the encouragement of new iMac purchases, preventing owners from using non Apple endorsed hardware, etc. Only time will tell how this will impact Apple, if at all.

Based on the specs of the new iMac I’d argue that extra $200 for the 2.5ghz model is well worth the long term investment.

To iMac shop and compare click HERE

 

 

A Few Tips to get more from Siri

Siri Tips and Tricks

1. Siri understands grammar so feel free to use. An example would be when sending a text try something like this, “Hey John *comma* how was the game last night *question mark* *smiley face*.  The text should then read out as “Hey John, how as the game last night? :-)

2. Teach Siri how to correctly say things by correcting her verbally. “That’s not how you pronounce Phillipe” and from their Siri will take you through changing the pronounication in the future.

3. Siri doubles as an alarm clock too. Just tell her to “Set my alarm for (insert time here)” and Siri will try and wake you up.

4. Use Siri as a day planner, she can handle all the information, just tell her to schedule a calendar event with the time, date, and location.

The above tips are just a few we picked from the fine folks of CNET. Be sure to show them some love and visit their page to see the wonderful accompanying pictures that go with the above tips. CNET.COM