Tag Archive: Cellphone Repair Abbotsford


Apple finally fixes App Store flaw by turning on encryption

Apple has finally fixed a security flaw in its application store that for years has allowed attackers to steal passwords and install unwanted or extremely expensive applications.

The flaw arose because Apple neglected to use encryption when an iPhone or other mobile device tries to connect to the App Store, meaning an attacker can hijack the connection. In addition to a security flaw, the unencrypted connections also created a privacy vulnerability because the complete list of applications installed on the device are disclosed over Wi-Fi.

It also allows the installation of apps, including extremely expensive ones that top out at $999.99, without the user’s consent, which can create serious consequences because Apple doesn’t give refunds. To do this, an attacker needs to be on the same private or public Wi-Fi network, including, for example, a coffeeshop, hotel, or airport network.

Security researcher Elie Bursztein discovered the vulnerability and reported it to Apple last July. Apple fixed the problem in a recent update that said “content is now served over HTTPS by default.” Apple also thanked Bernhard Brehm of Recurity Labs and Rahul Iyer of Bejoi.

Bursztein, who works at Google, in Mountain View, Calif., but emphasized this was work done at home in his spare time, published a personal blog post today that described details about the App Store vulnerability and included videos of how an attacker was able to steal passwords or install unwanted apps.

Publicizing this flaw, Bursztein said, highlighted how necessary encrypted HTTPS connections were. “Many companies don’t realize that HTTPS is important for mobile apps,” he said. But if they rely on Web connections or Webviews, he added, they are vulnerable to attacks: “Providing a concrete example seems a good way to attract developer attention to the issue.”

As a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University, Bursztein published research that included demonstrating flaws in Captchas and the Web interfaces of embedded devices. At the Defcon conference in Las Vegas two years ago, he demonstrated how to bypass Windows’ built-in encryption that Web browsers, instant messaging clients, and other programs used to store user passwords.

Bursztein’s blog post comes a day after Apple’s marketing chief, Phil Schiller, took a security-related swipe at Google on Twitter by pointing to a report on the rise of Android malware.

 

Source: CNET

Apple Is Beta-Testing A Fix For Evasi0n Jailbreak

All good jailbreaks must come to an end.

Late last week Apple released an update for iOS to developers in beta that prevents the use of the popular jailbreak software evasi0n, according to one of evasi0n’s creators who tested the patch over the weekend, David Wang.

Wang tells me that he’s analyzed the 6.1.3 beta 2 update and found that it patches at least one of the five bugs the jailbreak exploits, namely a flaw in the operating system’s time zone settings. The beta update likely signals the end of using evasi0n to hack new or updated devices after the update is released to users, says Wang, who says he’s still testing the patch to see which other vulnerabilities exploited by the jailbreak might no longer exist in the new operating system.

“If one of the vulnerabilities doesn’t work, evasi0n doesn’t work,” he says. “We could replace that part with a different vulnerability, but [Apple] will probably fix most if not all of the bugs we’ve used when 6.1.3 comes out.”

That impending patch doesn’t mean evasi0n’s time is up, says Wang. Judging by Apple’s usual schedule of releasing beta updates to users, he predicts that it may take as long as another month before the patch is widely released.

When evasi0n hit the Web earlier this month, it quickly became the most popular jailbreak of all time as users jumped at their first chance to jailbreak the iPhone 5 and other most-recent versions of Apple’s hardware. The hacking tool was used on close to seven million devices in just its first four days online.

Despite that frenzy, Apple has hardly scrambled to stop the jailbreaking.  Evasi0n has already gone unpatched for three weeks. That’s far longer, for instance, than the nine days it took Apple to release a fix for Jailbreakme 3.0, the jailbreak tool released in the summer of 2011 for the iPhone 4, which was by some measures the last jailbreak to approach Evasi0n’s popularity.

Apple’s slow response to Evasi0n is explained in part by the relatively low security risk that the tool poses. Unlike Jailbreakme, which allowed users to merely visit a website and have their device’s restrictions instantly broken, Evasi0n requires users to plug their gadget into a PC with a USB cable. That cable setup makes it far tougher for malicious hackers to borrow Evasi0n’s tricks to remotely install malware on a user’s phone or tablet.

Security researchers have nonetheless pointed out that Evasi0n could give criminals or spies some nasty ideas. The tool uses five distinct bugs in iOS, all of which might be appropriated and combined with other techniques for malicious ends. And F-Secure researcher Mikko Hypponen points out that if a hacker used a Mac or Windows exploit to compromise a user’s PC, he or she could simply wait for the target to plug in an iPhone or iPad and use evasi0n to take over that device as well.

More likely, perhaps, is a scenario described by German iPhone security researcher Stefan Esser. He argues that a hacker could use a secret exploit to gain access to an iPhone or iPad and then install evasi0n, using the jailbreaking tool to hide his or her tracks and keep the secret exploit technique undiscovered by Apple and unpatched. “That way they protect their investment and leave no exploit code that could be analyzed for origin,” Esser wrote on Twitter.

Apple already has a more pressing security reason to push out its latest update. The patch also fixes a bug discovered earlier this month that allows anyone who gains physical access to a phone to bypass its lockscreen in seconds and access contacts and photos.

When Apple’s update arrives, the team of jailbreakers known as the evad3rs may still have more tricks in store. Wang tells me that the group has discovered enough bugs in Apple’s mobile operating system to nearly build a new iOS jailbreak even if all the bugs they currently use are fixed.

But then again, Wang says he hasn’t yet been able to check Apple’s patch for every bug it might fix–either the ones evasi0n employs or those he and his fellow hackers had hoped to keep secret for their next jailbreak. “If they patch most of the bugs,” Wang says. “Then we’re starting from scratch.”

Ryan says:  We’re offering our customers the opportunity to Jailbreak their iPhone 5 for FREE until the end of March! – Call Ryan to book an appointment!

Source: Forbes

Blacklist created to fight smartphone theft

Canada’s wireless carriers are targeting smartphone theft by setting up a database that will blacklist lost or stolen phones to prevent them from being reactivated.

The move would also help protect personal data on such devices, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association said Thursday.

Smartphones are worth $600 to $700 and can be resold on the black market, noted association president Bernard Lord.

“With this database, it makes that a lot less attractive because the buyer of the stolen phone will not be able to connect to any network in Canada,” Lord said from Ottawa.

“It eliminates the incentive for stealing a device.”

The idea is also to reduce the black market value of a smartphone in the eyes of criminals, Lord added.

Once consumers call their wireless carrier to report their smartphone lost or stolen, the device’s internal identification number goes on the electronic blacklist.

Lord said even though more smartphones are lost than stolen, law enforcement officials have raised concerns about the issue.

The database for the Canadian wireless industry will be up and running by September 2013 and Canada’s carriers will also be contributing to an international database to help prevent smartphone theft, he said.

However, consumers who have their smartphones lost or stolen are “not off the hook” for paying their smartphone contracts.

A website will also be set up by the association to help consumers protect their smartphone data and help protect themselves from theft.

Lord said the smartphone’s ID number — called the international mobile electronic number — will be verified by carriers to make sure the device has not been lost or stolen.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission congratulated the wireless industry for the initiative, but would like the database running sooner rather than later.

“I would strongly encourage the industry to implement the database before September 2013 to ensure Canadians benefit from this added protection as soon as possible,” chairman Jean-Pierre Blais said in a statement.

The creation of a database and collaboration to make sure stolen or lost devices aren’t reactivated will help make them less desirable to thieves, Blais said.

“The CRTC has been concerned for some time about reports of an increase in crimes involving lost or stolen cellphones.”

Telus said while the wireless industry, law enforcement, and regulators all have a role to play, smartphone users need to think about where they’re buying their devices.

“We ask consumers to reconsider buying phones on sites like eBay, Craigslist, or Kijiji and instead buy their devices from a verified dealer,” Telus spokesman Shawn Hall said.

“If you buy a phone from Craig’s List it might be legitimate, but it could be stolen and then you will likely be unable to get it activated,” he said.

Smartphone use in Canada is among the highest in the world and penetration has exceeded 50 per cent, Lord said.

Canada’s wireless industry will spend about $20 million on the initiative, he said.

The United States is also taking steps and will have a similar database to fight the black market for smartphones in November 2013, Lord said.

Ryan says:  This should change the market in the way deals are made on classified for sale sites.  Phones will be checked first to see if they work properly before buying.  New tricks will be implemented ie. IMEI / IMSI masking so I do not see this as a long term solution for blacklisting phones but its a move in the right direction.

Source:  CTV News

Valve: Agree to not sue us or lose access to Steam

Gamers beware: Valve Software, the firm behind immensely popular gaming portal Steam, wants you to waive your right to sue before you continue gathering games using its digital distribution platform. The company has amended its subscriber agreement to stipulate that by subscribing to its service, users agree to not file lawsuits against the company. Gaming giants Microsoft (MSFT), Sony (SNE) and Electronic Arts (EA) have similar policies in place, Kotaku notes.

“It’s clear to us that in some situations, class actions have real benefits to customers,” Valve said in a statement. “In far too many cases however, class actions don’t provide any real benefit to users and instead impose unnecessary expense and delay, and are often designed to benefit the class action lawyers who craft and litigate these claims.”

The statement continued, ”Class actions like these do not benefit us or our communities. We think this new dispute resolution process is faster and better for you and Valve while avoiding unnecessary costs, and that it will therefore benefit the community as a whole.”

Source: Yahoo!

If You Have a Smart Phone, Anyone Can Now Track Your Every Move

Location services company Navizon has a new system, called Navizon I.T.S., that could allow tracking of visitors in malls, museums, offices, factories, secured areas and just about any other indoor space. It could be used to examine patterns of foot traffic in retail spaces, assure that a museum is empty of visitors at closing time, or even to pinpoint the location of any individual registered with the system. But let’s set all that aside for a minute while we freak out about the privacy implications.

Most of us leave Wi-Fi on by default, in part because our phones chastise us when we don’t. (Triangulation by Wi-Fi hotspots is important for making location services more accurate.) But you probably didn’t realize that, using proprietary new “nodes” from Navizon, any device with an active Wi-Fi radio can be seen by a system like Navizon’s.

Navizon’s technology is also reminiscent of the location data provided to retailers and marketers by Skyhook’s Spotrank system, which has a different set of pros and cons: That data is available for every point on the planet, but it only includes devices running Skyhook software.

The rollout of this technology means there are now at least three ways that users can track their locations indoors, where GPS is generally useless — bluetooth beacon, Spotrank (and proprietary vendor) databases of Wi-Fi hotspots, and Navizon’s I.T.S. nodes. It also marks the second way (that I know of) for you to be tracked via the location of your phone, whether you want to be or not. (The first requires access to your cell phone carrier, and is used for example to locate your position when you make a 911 call.)

It shouldn’t be surprising that carrying around a little RF transmitter in your pocket makes you visible to all sorts of tracking technology. Maybe it’s simply the (inevitable) commercialization of this fact that is somehow unnerving.

 

 

Source: Technology Review

WARNING: Factory Resetting your Android may leave private data on your device

It’s never fun to have to issue a warning, but a new study by the LA Times indicates that the Factory Reset function on Android devices may not work as advertised. The site worked with a security expert to run a test on BlackBerry, Android, and iOS devices as well as PCs. It discovered that important, sensitive data could be retrieved on a large portion of Android devices even after the Factory Reset feature had been properly used.

Robert Siciliano, an identity theft expert from McAfee performed the experiment, where he purchased 30 used devices (mostly smartphones and laptops) from random users on Craigslist. His goal was to see how smart people were about removing their personal information from phones, but as it turns out, even though a majority of owners did correctly Factory Reset their Android devices, he was still able to retrieve vital data like “Social Security numbers, child support documents, credit card account log-ins, and a host of other personal data.” This finding is all the more disturbing since he could find no problems with the way iPhones, iPads, or BlackBerry devices delete their data. The only other weak link was Windows XP, which is so old it’s almost expected.

We’ve reached out to Google’s Android team to try and learn more about this potential vulnerability, but have not heard back as of publication. We’ll update this article if and when we get some answers.

Until we learn more, we don’t recommend that you don’t sell your used Android devices to anyone that you don’t know or trust. It’s quite possible that personal information could be leaked from it.

Ryan: I’ve owned a couple Android phones and I also have the Galaxy Tab.. I am back to BlackBerry and using the 9900, I find Android Phones to drop calls and bug out with force close errors more often like I like when using a phone.  And I can’t seem to drop this keyboard.. emails are much quicker on a BlackBerry than other devices. It would be interesting if RIM decided to let other companies use their keyboard design.

Source: DigitalTrends

iOS loophole gives developers access to photos, sources say a fix is coming

Another day, another iOS security concern. Today’s confidence-defeating news comes from Nick Bilton at the New York Times. Bilton writes at the paper’s Bits blog that a loophole has been discovered in iOS which allows third-party developers access to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch’s photo and video location data… as well as the actual photos and videos themselves. It appears that if an app asks for photo location data on your device (and you approve the request for permission), that application will also be able to slurp down the photos and videos stored on your phone without any further notification. The Times report mirrors an earlier story from 9to5 Mac which detailed security issues on the platform.

Bilton had an unnamed developer create a dummy application which would replicate the offending functionality, and the developer was able to easily poach location information as well as photos and video from a test device. Other developers — such as Curio co-founder David E. Chen — sounded off on the issue. Chen told the Times that, “The location history, as well as your photos and videos, could be uploaded to a server. Once the data is off of the iOS device, Apple has virtually no ability to monitor or limit its use.” Camera+ developer John Casasanta said that, “It’s very strange, because Apple is asking for location permission, but really what it is doing is accessing your entire photo library.” The article also suggests that this loophole may have been introduced with the release of iOS 4 in 2010.

We reached out to Apple about the issue, but the company declined to comment.

All hope might not be lost, however. We spoke to sources familiar with the situation, and were informed that a fix is most likely coming for the loophole. According to the people we talked to, Apple has been made aware of the issue and is likely planning a fix with an upcoming release of iOS. Those sources also confirmed that the ability to send your photos and videos to a third-party is an error, not an intended feature. If we had to guess, the fix will likely come alongside a patch for Apple’s other recent security issue — the ability for apps to upload your address book information without warning.

This story has clear echoes of that controversy, which came to light when a developer discovered that the app Path was downloading all of your device’s contact information to the company’s servers. In a follow-up report, we discovered that Path wasn’t the only app grabbing your info.

It will be interesting to see how Apple reacts to security breaches of this nature in the future. The company has long made it clear that it’s working to respect user’s privacy; at a glance it looks like these recent slip-ups are exceptions, not the rule.

Source: The Verge

Microsoft removes ‘Start’ button from latest Windows 8 build

Do you like the Windows ‘Start’ button? Well, if you do, you’d better get used to it being gone in Windows 8 because it seems that Microsoft has removed it from the latest builds of the operating system.

Here’s a leaked screenshot from the near-final Windows 8 “Consumer Preview” version (build 8220) which comes to us via PCBeta.com:

Notice the absence of the traditional Start button? I’ve reached out to a few contacts who confirm to me that the button has indeed been removed and replaced with a hotspot in the corner that will duplicate the functionality offered by the old button.

The Start button was first introduced in Windows 95, and has been present in every version of Windows since.

Now here’s the real question … does Microsoft intend to permanently remove the Start button, or is this a trial balloon and Microsoft is looking to see what the feedback from users will be?

Source:  PCBeta

Any GSM phone vulnerable to new scam: researcher

A well-known expert on mobile phone security says a vulnerability in a widely used wireless technology could allow hackers to gain remote control of phones, instructing them to send text messages or make calls.

They could use the vulnerability in the GSM network technology, which is used by billions of people in about 80 percent of the global mobile market, to make calls or send texts to expensive, premium phone and messaging services in scams, said Karsten Nohl, head of Germany’s Security Research Labs.

Similar attacks against a small number of smartphones have been done before, but the new attack could expose any cellphone using GSM technology.

“We can do it to hundreds of thousands of phones in a short timeframe,” Nohl told Reuters in advance of a presentation at a hacking convention in Berlin on Tuesday.

Attacks on corporate landline phone systems are fairly common, often involving bogus premium-service phone lines that hackers set up across Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia. Fraudsters make calls to the numbers from hacked business phone systems or mobile phones, then collect their cash and move on before the activity is identified.

The phone users typically don’t identify the problem until after they receive their bills and telecommunications carriers often end up footing at least some of the costs.

Even though Nohl will not present details of attack at the conference he said hackers will usually replicate the code needed for attacks within a few weeks.

Source: Reuters

Samsung, You’re Doing It Wrong With Android 4.0

The No. 2 bestselling Samsung smartphone in history won’t officially see an upgrade to Android 4.0, leaving owners to decide among buying a newer phone, sticking with Android 2.3, or hacking on a custom build of Google’s latest mobile operating system. The reason Samsung won’t be offering such an upgrade? According to Samsung Tomorrow by way of the Verge, Samsung’s own customized TouchWiz user interface is the answer, which sounds more like a lame excuse than a valid explanation.

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab—a 7-in. slate I’ve been using daily for more than a year now—is also on the “won’t see Android 4.0″ list, says the Samsung Tomorrow blog. I can understand we’re looking at a smartphone and a tablet that made their debut in 2010, and there’s a limited shelf life for future updates on mobile devices. What I don’t understand, nor accept, is that the issue is Samsung’s user interface software. Even worse, I think Samsung is shooting itself in the foot. Here’s why.

You have to treat current customers well. On the one hand, I can see Samsung’s stance if it chooses not to bring Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) to these older devices. From a financial standpoint, those handsets and tablets are already sold, and Samsung has earned all the income it’s going to from the sale of such devices. To bring Android 4.0 to the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab, the company would have to invest time, effort, and money to deliver the software. It has no financial incentive to do so. But customers don’t care about that and could decide to buy a competing product if they feel slighted.

Software add-ons should never stop product advances. Some people like TouchWiz, and some don’t. The same could be said for HTC’s Sense. Both are user interface add-ons atop Google Android, and neither should be the primary cause of stopping an Android update. HTC once fell into this same trap with Gingerbread on its Desire handset and eventually compromised by removing some custom apps to make room for the update.

This isn’t a technical issue, it’s a bad decision. My first thought about this situation was that perhaps the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab didn’t have the horsepower to run Android 4.0. Yet the Nexus S, made by Samsung, will get the ICS software, and it has very similar specifications to the Galaxy S in terms of memory, storage capacity, and processor. And I’m willing to bet the Android enthusiast community will have a custom build of Android 4.0 for both devices, if it doesn’t already. How sad is it that external developers can make this happen, when Samsung can’t?

Will most people who own a Samsung Galaxy S or Galaxy Tab be in an uproar over this? Probably not, as they’ll likely never know about Samsung’s decision, nor will they be thinking about Android 4.0 for devices that are 18 months old. But the decision sets a bad precedent and suggests that Samsung is more concerned with selling newer hardware than supporting existing customers and their current devices.

My suggestion would be a compromise of sorts: Offer a stock version of Android 4.0 for these devices with the customer understanding and accepting the fact that the TouchWiz interface will no longer be available after the upgrade. Unless there’s a real technical reason for the lack of an Android 4.0 upgrade—something Samsung should make clear—this might be the best answer. It wouldn’t cost nearly as much for Samsung to develop and test, while consumers thinking Samsung has let them down might be more accepting of the situation.

Ryan:  Samsung needs to seriously get their &%#* together.  I would like to update my Samsung Galaxy Tab, I find it buggy and it force closes way too much, too bad I will be forced to workaround this to put 4.0 on myself manually.

 

Source: BusinessWeek

Next-Gen BlackBerry Products Don’t Work, Source Says

Bad products, horrible software and no cohesive vision have seemingly turned Research In Motion into a company without motion at this point.

Throw in a huge delay before BlackBerry 10 smartphones start shipping, and it’s clear why people are losing, or have lost, faith in a company that played a tremendous role in making the smartphone industry what it is today. Thanks to one of our most trusted sources, BGR now has new information on what’s going on inside Research In Motion, and the picture isn’t pretty.

Our source has communicated to us in no uncertain terms that PlayBook 2.0 — the next-gen tablet operating system RIM is developing — is a crystal clear window into the state of BlackBerry 10 on the upcoming smartphones RIM is building.

And the view is none too good.

“Email and PIM [is better] on an 8700 than it is on BlackBerry 10,” our contact said while talking to us about RIM’s failure to make the company’s upcoming smartphone OS work with the network infrastructure RIM is known for.

We also have more background on why RIM’s BlackBerry 10 smartphones are delayed, and it has nothing to do with a new chipset that RIM is waiting on. Our source told us that CEO Mike Lazaridis was lying when he said the company’s new lineup was delayed for that reason.

“RIM is simply pushing this out as long as they can for one reason, they don’t have a working product yet,” we were told.

At the end of our conversation, our source communicated something shocking for a high-level RIM employee to say. He told us that RIM is betting its business on a platform and ecosystem that isn’t even as good as iPhone OS 1.0 or Android 2.0. “There’s no room for a fourth ecosystem,” he stated.

 

Source: BGR / Fox News