In the news: 5 tech news stories worth another look

Pete Roythorne

In this tech news roundup... Apple continued to make news at the end of September. But CEO Tim Cook & Co. couldn’t have been happy with this story:

Hackers infiltrated the tech giant’s App Store and compromised 39 legitimate apps, “potentially affecting hundreds of millions of users,” Forbes reported.

The scheme further proves hackers are getting smarter and more sophisticated.

Instead of building bad apps that might slip past Apple’s discerning eye, hackers “used a developer tool called Xcode to tamper with and insert malicious code” into perfectly good apps, according to the report.

“I think this is a wakeup call both for enterprises and individual users that given the popularity of mobile devices and the broad usage across both enterprises and consumers that hackers are going to go after all those individuals holding those devices,” Gary Steele, CEO of cybersecurity company Proofpoint Inc., told Forbes.

Online security firm Palo Alto Networks analyzed the code, “XcodeGhost Malware,” and published its technical analysis here.

What else made this round-up? Read on:

iOS 9 issues
In other Apple news, the launch of iOS 9 was a bit bumpy.

Again, turning to Forbes: “Initial download failures were quickly followed by upgrade problems and now Apple admits a third problem has arisen…”

According to Apple’s Sept. 24 statement: “App slicing is currently unavailable for iOS 9 apps due to an issue affecting iCloud backups created from iOS 9 where some apps from the App Store would only restore to the same model of iOS device.”

App slicing’s value is reportedly in the space it saves on devices – possibly up to 40%. The feature can identify the specific files required to complete an app upgrade on a certain device. In the past, files had to be downloaded for every type of device.

Pleading the Fifth
US constitutional rights – the Fifth Amendment, specifically – extend to phone passwords and passcodes.

That’s how a Pennsylvania court ruled recently. The decision was based on a case in which two ex-data analysts for Capital One were accused of insider trading.

According to SC Magazine: “The employees used bank-issued smartphones while allegedly conducting their crime, and the prosecution wanted to look through the phones to see if data could be recovered. Once obtaining the devices, however, authorities discovered they couldn't access any information without the passcodes.”

The analysts didn’t oblige. The court didn’t force the issue, saying in the official opinion that passcodes on work-issued phones “are not corporate records.” The ex-analysts were under no obligation to give up the information that could have incriminated them.

Scam alert
The last installment of ITN included a segment on the possibility of Facebook finally releasing a much-anticipated “Dislike” button.

While that day hasn’t arrived yet, it hasn’t stopped online scammers from using the news to their advantage.

“The non-existent Facebook Dislike button is the latest in a long-established online tradition of Take This Survey™ scams. Con artists are now promising that if you take their survey, you’ll get special early access to the Dislike button,” Gizmodo reported.

Clicking on anything advertising the feature will take users to an imposter Facebook page. You know what happens next.

“Clicking on some shady email link is more likely to get you loaded up with a steaming pile of malware than anything close to a Dislike button,” the report said.

Handling hoaxes
Speaking of Facebook, a pair of copy-and-paste posts claiming to protect user privacy surfaced at the end of September. How many of your “friends” contributed to the craze by pasting the posts into their status updates? Maybe even you?

In case you haven’t heard, they’re hoaxes.

One post claimed to prevent the social network from using your photos and information. The other said Facebook would charge $5.99 USD to keep profiles private.

Slate provided a good tip for keeping viral hoaxes from dominating your News Feed.

And if you really want to ensure your digital privacy? There’s really only one solution:

Stay away from social media.