In the wake of the hacking of Mat Honan's accounts, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple are just a few of the companies making their security policies tougher, and they are advising people to do the same. From the article: "Even as those companies’ teams moved to patch the holes, others moved to offer security tips. Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, used his personal Website to urge Gmail users to embrace two-factor authentication. 'Much of the story is about Amazon or Apple’s security practices, but I would still advise everyone to turn on Google’s two-factor authentication to make your Gmail account safer and less likely to get hacked,' he wrote in the August 6 posting."
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zacharye writes "In the five years since Apple launched the iPhone, the popular device has gone from a malicious hacker's dream to law enforcement's worst nightmare. As recounted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Technology Review blog, a Justice Department official recently took the stage at the DFRWS computer forensics conference in Washington, D.C. and told attendees that the beefed up security in iOS is now so good that it has become a nightmare for law enforcement."
First time accepted submitter amiller2571 writes "The eyes of the technology world are focused on the epic patent struggle between Apple and Samsung — the latest iteration of Apple's frantic legal battle against everything Android. The iPhone maker has also brought suits against Android device manufacturers HTC and Motorola. Apple has faced criticism for its endless lawsuits designed to stunt competition from Google's Android, but a quick look at Android device shipments in the second quarter of 2012 reveals a key number that suggest Apple is right to worry." Spoiler alert: the number the article focuses on is 68 — as in, the 68 percent of the smart phone market in this year's second quarter that consisted of Android phones.
redletterdave writes "For about a year, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble were almost completely alone in the 7-inch tablet market. It was nice while it lasted. The past few months have seen Google and Microsoft unveil their 7-inch tablet offerings — the Nexus 7 and Microsoft Surface, respectively — and it looks like Apple is about ready to get into the mini tablet game, too. If Apple releases its first 'iPad Mini' next month, what can Amazon and Barnes & Noble do to keep the Cupertino colossus at bay, as well as the other new competitors in the 7-inch tablet game?"
First time accepted submitter sohmc writes "Some time ago, Google admitted that the biggest threat was not other search engines but services like Siri. However, Google just bridged that gap with Google Voice Search, already available in Jelly Bean, but also available via downloadable app. Google also submitted this app to the iOS App Store and is currently waiting approval. However, Slashdotters are no doubt recalling to mind the 'Google Voice' fiasco, in which Apple refused to allow it to appear, saying that it replaces a native function. It wasn't until Apple was brought before Congress to answer questions on how it approves or rejects apps that Google Voice was brought in."
david.emery writes "In a document from the ongoing Samsung/Apple trial, provided in both English translation and Korean original, Samsung engineers provided a detailed comparison of user interface features in their phone against the iPhone. In almost all cases, the recommendation was to adopt the iPhone's approach. Among other observations, this shows how much work goes into defining the Apple iPhone user experience." Ars has an article on the evidence offered by Apple so far.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Between 4:52 and 5:12 on August 3, attackers used Wired writer Mat Honan's Apple ID to wipe his MacBook, before seizing control of his Gmail and other online identities ('My accounts were daisy-chained together,' he wrote in an Aug. 6 postmortem on Wired), and posting a message on Twitter for all to see: 'Clan Vv3 and Phobia hacked this twitter.' In the wake of Honan's high-profile hack, there are some key takeaways. Even if a typical user can't prevent a social-engineering attack on the company hosting their cloud account, they can armor their online life in ways that make attacks more difficult. First, two-factor authentication can prevent an attacker from seizing control of those vital 'hub' accounts (such as Gmail) where users tend to store much of their most vital information. Google offers two-step verification for signing in, as does Facebook. The truly security-conscious can also uncouple their cloud accounts; for example, making sure that iCloud and iTunes use two different sets of credentials. That might rob daily life in the cloud of some of its convenience, but it could also make you a harder target." Update: 08/08 01:17 GMT by S : This high-profile security breach has had an impact already: Apple has suspended password resets through customer support, and Amazon no longer lets users call in to change account settings.
An anonymous reader writes "The story behind the hacking of Mat Honan's multiple accounts has been revealed and points to massive failures in how Amazon and Apple handle password recovery. Accounts for both sites can be easily accessed with simple to find publicly available information. If you ask me, both companies should be liable for violating privacy laws."
Hugh Pickens writes "'I think it's going to be horrendous,' said Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak when asked about the shift away from hard disks towards uploading data into the cloud. The comment came in a post-performance dialogue with audience members after a performance in Washington of The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, monologist Mike Daisey's controversial two-hour expose of Apple's labor conditions in China. 'I think there are going to be a lot of horrible problems in the next five years.' The engineering wizard behind the progenitor of today's personal computer, the Apple II, expanded on what really worried him about the cloud. 'With the cloud, you don't own anything. You already signed it away through the legalistic terms of service with a cloud provider that computer users must agree to. I want to feel that I own things,' Wozniak said. 'A lot of people feel, "Oh, everything is really on my computer," but I say the more we transfer everything onto the web, onto the cloud, the less we're going to have control over it.'"
zacharye writes "Bruised mobile carriers such as AT&T and Verizon are 'fighting back' against Apple's iPhone, despite the fact that the device has helped them eke out consistently higher average revenue per wireless subscribers since its launch. To hear the carriers tell it, the iPhone is a major inhibitor to their profits as last year they were 'only' generating wireless service profit margins in the 38% to 42% range. But ever since these beleaguered companies started 'fighting back' by implementing data caps, increasing fees for device upgrades and implementing longer waiting periods before users can switch devices, they’ve seen their wireless service profit margins surge. AT&T reported a 45% margin in Q2 2012 and Verizon reported a record-high 49% margin."
theodp writes "ProPublica's Lois Beckett reports that the Obama for America campaign's new mobile app is raising privacy concerns with its Google map that recognizes one's current location, marks nearby Democratic households with small blue flags, and displays the first name, age and gender of the voter or voters who live there (e.g.,'Lori C., 58 F, Democrat'). Asked about the privacy aspects of the new app, a spokesperson for the Obama campaign wrote that 'anyone familiar with the political process in America knows this information about registered voters is available and easily accessible to the public.' Harvard law prof Jonathan Zittrain said the Obama app does represent a significant shift. While voter data has been 'technically public,' it is usually accessed only by political campaigns and companies that sell consumer data. 'Much of our feelings around privacy are driven by what you might call status-quo-ism,' Zittrain added, 'so many people may feel that the app is creepy simply because it represents something new.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Apple, by going to a jury trial to defend the patents of its most prized products, is allowing competitors and the public to see inside one of the most secretive companies in the world. From the article: 'While in court on Friday, Philip W. Schiller, Apple's senior vice president for worldwide product marketing, pulled the curtain further back when he divulged the company's advertising budgets — often more than $100 million a year for the iPhone alone. Also at the hearing, Scott Forstall, senior vice president for iPhone software, explained that the early iPhone was called "Project Purple." Mr. Forstall said it was built in a highly secure building on Apple's campus. A sign on the back of the building read "Fight Club." Behind the security cameras and locked doors, most employees on the project did not even know what they were working on.'"
Robadob writes "Yesterday a hacker gained access to Mat Honan's (An editor at Gizmodo) Apple iCloud account allowing the attacker to reset his iPhone, iPad, and Macbook. The attacker was also able to gain access to Google and Twitter accounts by sending password recovery emails. At the time this was believed to be down to a brute-force attack, however today it has come out that the hacker used social engineering to convince Apple customer support to allow him to bypass the security questions on the account."
colinneagle writes "In an interview with Fortune a few years ago, Steve Jobs explained that Apple never does market research. Rather, they simply preoccupy themselves with creating great products. On Monday, Apple's Greg Joswiak — the company's VP of Product Marketing — submitted a declaration to the Court explaining why documents relating to Apple's market research and strategy should be sealed. Every month, Apple surveys iPhone buyers and Joswiak explains what Apple is able to glean from these surveys. And as you might expect, Apple conducts similar surveys with iPad buyers. Apple wants all of these tracking studies sealed. Joswiak explains that if a competitor were to find out what drives iPhone purchases — whether it be FaceTime, battery life, or Siri — it would serve as an unfair competitive edge to rival companies. Further, competitors, as it stands today, have to guess as to which demographics are most satisfied with Apple products." A few other interesting facts have come out of the trial so far; Apple spent $647 million advertising the iPhone in the U.S. from its launch through fiscal 2011, and they spent $457.2 million advertising the iPad from its launch up to the same point.
theodp writes "Responding to Microsoft's Windows 8 efforts, Apple CEO Tim Cook insisted in late April that combining a tablet and a notebook would be like converging a toaster and a refrigerator. But a patent application submitted by Apple last year — and made public Tuesday morning — proposes marrying a tablet and a keyboard to create 'a true laptop alternative,' which GeekWire notes looks a lot like Microsoft Surface (comparison pic). In its patent filing, Apple describes various ways that a tablet's cover could be used as an I-O device — as a tactile-feedback keyboard ('word processing and email become much more efficient'), to display additional output, as a touchpad replacement, and even to receive stylus input. 'The experience,' claims Apple, 'is even better in some ways than the laptop experience.'"