Tag Archive | Apple

Why Apple shouldn’t develop a backdoor for iOS as requested by the FBI following San Bernardino events

FBI (a.k.a. USA Federal Bureau Investigation) wants one of the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone 5C unlocked by Apple; even though it seems an easy matter, Apple doesn’t want to comply. And they have more than good reasons to do so.

First of all, Apple isn’t siding with terrorists: many big tech companies like Google and Microsoft have expressed their support. They already provided their stored backups of the device and did everything they could to help the investigators: however Cupertino does not want to decrypt the device itself by breaking its passcode protection. Since iOS 8, Apple deleted the encryption keys of their customer’s devices from their servers: in other words, not even they can access the stored data because they don’t have any way to do so anymore. As a result, the FBI is locked out of the phone and so is Apple… more or less.

Due to the security measures of iOS, FBI has requested Apple to develop a very particular version of their mobile operative system by introducing a backdoor that would let them brute force the passcode with the speed of modern computers, something they can’t do with the iOS we all know. By “brute forcing” we mean trying to input every possible combination electronically: Apple doesn’t let this happen in two ways: by wiping the data after 10 failed attempts, or by repeatedly disabling the device after too many wrong attempts. Read More…

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Apple’s iOS 9 update may render your iPhone 6 useless

When iOS 9 launched some users had been hit with an “error 53” message at the end of the process. Rather than updating the device, it made some Apple iPhone 6’s owners a brick. Little was known about this cryptic error: Apple only knew that it was an unrecoverable system failure and the fix was to change the device with a new one (paying for it of course).

Error 53 would show up if the home button assembly had been repaired by a third-party rather than Apple itself: this is common practice among users as third-parties ask a fraction for the service compared to Apple. A large number of users found themselves forced to pay for a replacement when iOS 9 was made publicly available, and now we know why.

The home button on the iPhone 6 also houses the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. While it is extremely handy for unlocking the device, it’s also used for more important things like purchases on the App Store, Apple Pay and sometimes to access sensible information. The Touch ID sensor that comes with the iPhone has a unique pairing with the device itself: replacing the component causes this pair to fail, and locks you out permanently from using this feature at all, including all of those that depend on it. It’s meant to be a security feature to prevent that somebody could replaced the original Touch ID with a malicious one. When updating the device to a newer release of iOS additional security checks are the cause of the fatal error 53 that permanently makes the iPhone useless. Read More…

An ill-starred Retina MacBook Pro’s amazing odyssey (and why Apple’s amazing as well)

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Some time ago I talked about an ill-starred Retina MacBook Pro 15″, year 2012. Faulty computers happen, but this particular one was really unlucky to say the least. Quick recap: repaired a grand total of four times in 2015 alone, two times the upper clamshell and the logic board each.

We left ourselves with the logic board finally getting replaced; unfortunately video issues struck again. Weird artifacts were displayed when waking up the computer and once it even had a kernel panic. For me it was yet another visit to the Apple Store where, kindly, they agreed to replace the logic board again (and that was for the fourth intervention). It lasted for four days and then the issue returned. I wasn’t really excited to return to the Apple Store once more: of course it’s a great place, but in these circumstances I was sort of staggered. Read More…

How to have an actual chance of getting your MacBook back if you lose it

One of the handiest features of iCloud is Find my iPhone; if you lose track of it you can easily see its position on a map if its connected to the Internet. Chances are that you left the cellular connection on, so as long as there is signal and turned on you can see where it is. Lock it, emit a sound and remotely erase its data.

While it works for basically every Apple device configured with iCloud, retrieve a lost MacBook is trickier. You can only connect it through WiFi, and if its password locked there is no way someone can connect it to the web.  One can try through LAN cable, but since 2012 Retina MacBook Pro no Apple laptop ever had a LAN port anymore. Additionally there’s no way to identify the owner, and everybody is pretty much free to factory restore it.

What we’re going to do here isn’t anything that has to do with black magic or adding a GPS module inside it to track the Mac even in Siberia or other remote lands: we’re adding a way to let somebody know whose Mac it is if retrieved without the need of unlocking it. Read More…

iPhone 6S and 6S Plus #chipgate is this year’s hoax, just like the precedent…

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It has become a trend; while Apple announces record sales for the new iPhones, there has to be somebody who’s ready to point the finger at everything that might not be working properly. The iPhone 6 bendgate has been demonstrated to be an overly exaggerated reaction to somebody who liked to try bending their device, which is definitely not a smart thing to do. For those who complained about the iPhone bending in their pockets, consider you are on the Internet: you do not know what the user had done with the phone itself. There are many who simply seek a short burst of popularity, and most of the Web surfers are easy to take sides. Read More…

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