If you were hoping that iOS 8’s ability to hide your device ID from nearby WiFi networks would render you invisible to nosy hotspot operators, you’ll want to dial back your expectations a bit. AirTight Networks’ Bhupinder Misra has found that Apple’s hardware address randomization only kicks in under a very narrow set of circumstances. You not only have to put your device to sleep and turn off location services, you have to turn off cellular data as well — in short, your iPhone has to become a paperweight. Even then, the masking only appears to work with iOS devices using at least an A7 processor, like the iPhone 5s.
Facebook’s sufficiently chummy with advertisers that some people have gone and built their own social networks to escape Mark Zuckerberg’s clutches. For those who remain, however, it’s now going to be even harder to avoid people using your personal profile information to sell you things. The company has re-built and re-launched (former Microsoft ad platform) Atlas as a way of monitoring people’s online activity across every device that they own
Back in February, in a San Jose courtroom, a bombshell was dropped that could have been erased from the public record. It turns out that Google, which bases its business on collecting and analyzing huge reams of data for advertising purposes, has been scanning users’ emails even before users have a chance to open or read them, including email messages that are deleted without being opened. Google knows what’s in your email before you do.
As a September 2nd article in Bloomberg points out, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s terms of service agreement for iCloud is pretty much legally ironclad, so iPhone and iPad users who have had nude selfies or other private files stored in the cloud hacked and stolen have little recourse. The recent controversy over the posting of nude selfies hacked from a number of celebrities’ iCloud accounts just highlights the buyer beware and corporations can do no wrong mentality that pervades the U.S. today.
On Sunday, the Washington Post published an exposé revealing that private companies are peddling surveillance systems to foreign governments that track the location of cellphone users in the United States and abroad. The report raised a basic question: How can this be happening when cellphone companies generally promise not to disclose their customers’ location information without their consent? The main problem is that location information is available on a global network that can be accessed by thousands of companies. And in the wake of the Post story, US cellphone companies are refusing to discuss how this squares with their privacy policies, or say what they are doing to keep their customers’ whereabouts confidential.
It wasn’t long at all after personal and explicit photos of some 100 celebrities started making the rounds when people started attributing the leak to a breach of Apple’s iCloud storage system. After a nearly two day long investigation, Apple has released a statement to try and clear things up — to hear the folks in Cupertino tell it, the incident was a “very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions” in which some celebrity accounts were “compromised” and that none of its systems were breached in the process. In other words, we may not be looking at a savvy hack exploiting a Find my iPhone security flaw so much as some very dedicated account brute-forcing and phishing. Of course, that’s not to say that the pictures in question (well, the ones that weren’t taken with Android devices anyway) didn’t come from iCloud, just that hackers apparently didn’t directly crack the sanctity of Apple’s services.