Million Dollar iOS 9 Hack Bounty Claimed

It was announced today by Zeronium that their recent bounty of $1 million for a hack that would remotely compromise an iPhone running iOS 9 has been claimed.

The bounty for the hack was posted back in September, and with merely hours left on the bounty, it was revealed on Twitter that a winning team had come forth and claimed the bounty. With no details on the team in question or the hack itself, the legitimacy of the claim is uncertain, with the possibility of it being a PR stunt by Zeronium considered by some. However Chaouki Bekrar, owner of Zeronium, is a notorious exploit trader and iOS 9 being hacked isn’t unbelievable.

The reason for the bounty on the hack being so high is due to its very specific nature, and with iOS having no publicly announced remote jailbreaks since iOS 7, it was not an easy challenge. The specification of the hack is as follows:

“The whole exploitation/jailbreak process should be achievable remotely, reliably, silently, and without requiring any user interaction except visiting a web page or reading a SMS/MMS”.

This means that it not only required the finding and leveraging of an iOS bug, but also chaining it together with an exploit in a web browser of the iPhone’s own messaging app. This would mean that an attacker could then remotely install apps onto the device or access its data, which is a worrying prospect for Apple and their claims of security and encryption of data on their latest mobile OS.

Despite this news, Bekrar went on to tweet that he was unconcerned about continuing to use his iPhone, despite the hack, feeling assured in how hard it is to execute. But with this hack presumably sold to the highest bidder, are you worried that your phone may not be as secure as you think?

Facebook to Blame for Poor iPhone Battery Life

As an avid user of an iPhone 6 Plus, I’m sure that most will be aware of how great the battery life can be, but on the other hand, how downright bad it can also be. There are times when I find that even a whole day is pushing it for general use of my Apple device.

The iPhone 6S Plus is said to have some slight improvements and with the latest iteration of the operating system from the mobile mogul; iOS 9, one would hope that battery life would be greatly improved and while it was, there are certain aspects that hinder it at the same time, and a prime example of this would be the illustrious and popular Facebook app.

The news of this issue came to light by Matt Galligan on Twitter when he vented his anger at the issue.

https://twitter.com/mg/status/653239766780022785/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Feel free to check this yourself, as I did just that and can confirm that the app is indeed hogging a lot of my resources, and yes it’s worth noting that I am currently charging my iPhone as it comes towards 5pm.

A fix is apparently in the works according to Tech Crunch but when this will be rolled out is anyone’s guess.

An official statement to them reads:

“We have heard reports of some people experiencing battery issues with our iOS app. We’re looking into this and hope to have a fix in place soon.”

Until then, you will either have to put up with the terrible battery drain or delete the Facebook app for now until a fix is released, and for those wondering, Android is not affected.

Reports of iPhone 6S & Plus Randomly Powering Down

Smartphones have moved on leaps and bounds over the last decade, the processing power which is confined within a portable device is quite mind-blowing. But, these devices do have their problems which include generally poor battery life and a tendency to break if dropped, unlike that Nokia 1100 model which would puncture the floor while leaving the phone unharmed.

Talking of glitches, there seems to be a new problem which has been reported by many consumers who have upgraded to iOS 9 while using the iPhone 6S and iPhone Plus. According to reports via various tech forums, the devices in question “randomly and unexpectedly power off” which is certainly inconvenient. Users also report that their phones power down even if the battery is fully charged while others have noticed the home button felt warm or even hot. These reports have been mainly attributed to the above models, although one consumer noted similar problems on the iPhone 5S.

Below are responses from consumers concerning this issue

“I overslept this morning, because my phone quit working overnight! (no alarm) I tried the power button, but it was unresponsive. When I went to try a hard reset, I BURNED my finger on the home button”

The screen was off, and the phone rang. The screen remained dark, but the ringing kept going, but couldn’t be answered. The home button was EXTREMELY hot, and the only way to get the screen back on was to hard boot it (home and power buttons)”

“Happened twice, bought 6s+ (9.1 beta 2) on Friday was dead on Saturday night while charging. Happened again Monday afternoon. Reset all settings and nothing since. Am currently running beta 3.”

Consumers have since upgraded their phones to iOS 9.0.2 and are waiting to see if the problem reappears. There is speculation although no firm conclusion as of yet that the glitches might be down to the A9 processor within the iPhone 6S, which had two manufacturers; TSMC and Samsung.

Unfortunately, the nature and power of these phones will always lead to glitches and errors, Apple will need to ensure such instances are dealt with in a speedy manner with the aim of avoiding potential negative consumer views of the brand. Consumers will also be hoping that any bug fix updates do not introduce new problems to their devices, as in the case of the botched bug fix for iOS 8.

Thank you cnet and macrumors for providing us with this information.

Exploit Trader Offers $1 Million Bounty for iOS 9 Hack

A security industry firm that sells hacking methods to government agencies is offering a huge reward for anyone who can develop a zero-day exploit for compromising the security of iOS 9, the new operating system for Apple’s iPhone and iPad. Zerodium has publicly put a $1 million bounty on such an exploit, in what it has dubbed The Million Dollar iOS 9 Bug Bounty, which is a bold move for deals that are usually conducted in the shadows.

“Due to the increasing number of security improvements and the effectiveness of exploit mitigations in place, Apple’s iOS is currently the most secure mobile OS,” Zerodium’s statement reads. “But don’t be fooled, secure does not mean unbreakable, it just means that iOS has currently the highest cost and complexity of vulnerability exploitation and here’s where the Million Dollar iOS 9 Bug Bounty comes into play.”

Chaouki Bekrar, founder of Zerodium, has a long history of trading in zero-day exploits, having also founded the more well-known French company Vupen, which has been very vocal in the past regarding its role in selling hacking methods to government agencies.

“Zerodium’s main goal is to capture the most advanced zero-day exploits and the highest risk vulnerabilities which are discovered, held, or sometimes stockpiled by talented researchers around the globe,” Bekrar told WIRED.

Apple should take the huge, public bounty being offered for an iOS 9 zero-day exploit as a compliment, as it suggests its newest operating system is a tough nut to crack. With $1 million on offer, though, expect many to try.

Thank you WIRED for providing us with this information.

Redditer Discovered Hidden Feature in iOS 9 and Mac OS X El Capitan

We got a lot of information out of what to expect from iOS 9 and El Capitan this fall at Apple’s WWDC in June. Even so, developers are said to be good at discovering Apple’s ‘hidden’ new features, but this time around, it seems that one of them, who I think is actually useful, was actually discovered by someone else.

A redditer going by the name of homeboi808 seems to have stumbled upon a feature who went on unnoticed so far. On both iOS 9 and El Capitan, if you tap on a flight number in either the Mail, Messages or Notes app, the OS’ will work the flight out and give you a flight path overview, along with all information about that flight. This includes arrival, departure times, possible delays and even airport terminal details.

It seems that Apple has added a built-in feature that detects and reacts to gestures when it finds a flight number. However, that needs to adhere to the actual flight number style, so don’t expect it to do the same with just anything you type in. Even so, the flight number needs to be valid in order to get information about it.

Even so, the feature is really helpful when you’re expecting to pick someone up from the airport or are planning a journey. Getting up-to-date information about your flights is a must from my point of view. What do you think?

Thank you BGR for providing us with this information

Apple Updates iPod Touch with New Soc and Camera

Fans of Apple’s iTouch lineup will have reason to rejoice today. Apple has refreshed their iTouch lineup with both new internal and external features. This new 2015 iTouch will replace the aging 5th generation that launched back in 2012, languishing with relatively old hardware.

While the new iTouch keeps the old 4 inch, 1136×640 screen, the CPU and GPU are upgraded significantly. From the old A5 Soc, the new A8 SoC is a significant improvement, being used in the iPhone 6 as well. Though the A8 Soc is underclocked a bit to 1.1 GHz from the standard 1.4 GHz, the lower resolution should actually make the iTouch faster than the iPhone 6 in games. Other changes are a bump in RAM to 1GB, added new M8 motion coprocessor (step, distance, elevation tracking) and support for Metal, iOS 9 and 64bit.

Other changes include the removal of the camera strap and a more pronounced camera bump. The camera itself also gets a bump to 8MP form 5MP though the flash is not upgraded. Connectivity is upgraded to support 802.11ac Wi-Fi which is quickly becoming standard. Capacities come in at 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB for $199, $249, $299, or $399.

While the iPad and iPhone are the major iOS devices, the iTouch still serves an important role in being the entry point for new users, whether they be a younger pre-phone audience or for those who still use feature phones. This does put an end to rumors suggesting Apple would drop the iTouch. The iPod Nano and Shuffle also got updated with new colors today. The iTouch can be found on sale here and Apple’s press release here.

Apple Trims App Fat with iOS 9

While iOS 9 features a number of key improvements, there’s one addition all Apple users will love. Beginning with iOS 9, 3 features under the App Thinning label will work to reduce storage requirements for iOS apps. These storage space use reductions come on top of the already reduced footprint of iOS 9 and it’s relatively small OTA update.

The first and the biggest addition is App Slicing. Right now, each iOS binary downloaded contains all the assets for the various compatible devices. With App Slicing, the app store will only allow the necessary parts be downloaded. So iPhone 6 Plus won’t download 32bit code and 2x assets while the iPhone 5C won’t download 3x assets and 64bit code. Cutting out nearly half the resources in some cases will make installing and updating apps a much quicker and less data intensive operation.

The next feature is On-Demand Resources. Just like the name implies, resources can be tagged by the developer as not necessary at install and only downloaded as needed. After the user is done with the assets, they can be removed again. For instance, apps with in-app purchases won’t download those assets until the user has bought it and tutorials can be removed once played. Game levels or assets will only be downloaded once the user is near to obtaining them and maybe even removed once the user clears the level. The executable code will not be able to be marked as ODR, but images and media files can. It’s not known how ODR handles the lack of an internet connection right now.

Bitcode is the final feature and is related to App Slicing. Instead of submitting pre-compiled binaries, developers hand in an “intermediate representation” of their app. This allows the App Store to compile the app based on the installing device, improving performance and reducing app size. It also means that Apple can make its own compiler tweaks at install, as well as strip out the unnecessary code, enabling App Slicing. This is not unlike Android’s ART or Dalvik which compiles the app either at install or runtime though Android has yet to remove unnecessary assets.

With all of these space saving addition, 8GB iTouch and iPhone 4S users will be sure to be able to stop juggling their storage. Even users with 16GB of space will stand to benefit hugely from reduced app sizes. It’s possible to always remove pictures and media after their taken but having to uninstall and install apps can be more of a pain. While not perfect, this is one answer to the lack of expandable storage with Apple devices. Maybe Google can take a cue this time around and start trimming down Android app sizes as my Nexus is starting to get full.

Apple Might Add Transit Maps in iOS 9

Since Google was dropped as the official provider of map data, Apple hasn’t been able to provide users with any Transit data. Word is that the Transit system should have been added in iOS 8 last year, but it was eventually cut shortly before WWDC 2014.

The Transit service is said to give users the ability to navigate bus, subway and train routes from the official Maps app, similar to what other map apps have built into their features. In addition to the latter, Apple is said to alter the icon size inside Maps for users to easily spot airports, subway and train stations.

Apple was faced with a lot of problems regarding the data and small coverage for the Transit feature, so they decided to pull it right before it was announced. Previous iOS 8 betas are reported to present the feature, but nothing eventually landed in the final iOS releases.

This time around, Apple is said to have added more cities, a new push notification feature and perfected its data. This means that we might see the Transit Maps integrated and revealed at this year’s WWDC.

Besides the Transit feature, Apple is rumoured to be working on some indoor mapping project that would allow users to navigate office buildings, landmarks and other indoor points of interest. But the project is still at its early stages, so it’s highly unlikely we will see something like this added this year.

Thank you 9to5 Mac for providing us with this information

iOS 9 to Focus on Stability, Public Beta to Come in the Summer

9to5Mac, the venerable source for Apple rumours, has said that iOS 9 will be heavily focused on stability and performance improvements. To achieve this, Apple will apparently have the first ever public beta for iOS. To date, the company has only issued betas to members of its $99 developer programme, but they will soon be freely available to consumers.

Prior to last year, Apple had rarely given the public access to beta software, but changed that when it opened a testing programme for OS X Mavericks updates and later a beta for the then-upcoming OS X Yosemite. At the time, many saw it as an example of things to come, suggesting that such a programme may come to iOS in the near future. 9to5Mac now says that the iOS programme will begin in mid-March, giving the public the chance to try out a beta of iOS 8.3. Then, following the announcement of iOS 9 in June, that programme will be extended to the new version of iOS.

It’s said that iOS 9 will be heavily focused upon improving the stability of the operating system, rather than the addition of any new major features. This comes after complaints regarding the last release of iOS being less stable than its predecessor. A number of minor bugs have been encountered by some users – something rare for the usually highly stable iOS.

Source: 9to5Mac