The Coin-Siphoning Edition Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Bitcoin Company Says At Least $20K Stolen In App Store Scam, by Jordan Pearson, Motherboard

Apps that appear legitimate but are actually scams set up to steal customers’ money are proliferating across Apple’s App Store, and the company is moving quickly to remove them before it turns into a PR disaster.

Apple is infamous for its iron-fisted control over which apps are made available for purchase on its App Store. In the last week, however, more than 10 apps that appear to be legitimate bitcoin wallets—where users of the cryptocurrency store their coins—but are engineered to siphon away those coins when they input their information, have made it through Apple’s vetting process.

Security Matters

Apple Exposes iOS Security Details, by Neil J. Rubenking, Max Eddy, PC Magazine

You've heard by now that Apple announced a new bug bounty program at the recent Black Hat conference. In an unusual appearance, Ivan Krstic, Apple's head of security engineering and architecture, made the announcement himself. But that was just the last 10 minutes of a 50-minute presentation. For The first 40 minutes, Krstic took an unprecedented deep dive into three components of iOS security. And by deep, I mean bathyspheric.

My overall takeaway was a sense of awe at how thoroughly these systems protect user data, even from Apple itself. I'll try to convey what was said, without getting too technical.

One Of Apple’s Biggest Weaknesses Is Becoming A Strength, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

One of the reasons why businesses have decided to embrace iPhones and iPads is that Apple’s security is superior to Android’s, thanks to the way Apple controls both the hardware and software.

The Good And The Terrifying Things At Black Hat 2016, by Max Eddy, Neil J. Rubenking, PC Magazine

Black Hat is a gathering of security researchers, hackers, and industry that meets in Las Vegas to do three things: outline the latest threats, show how the good guys and the bad guys can be defeated, and launch attacks on the attendees. This year saw plenty of scary attacks, including one against show attendees, along with car hacks, new ways to steal cash from ATMs, and why smart lightbulbs might not be as safe as we thought. But we also saw lots of reason to hope, like teaching machines to spot dangerous servers, using Dungeons and Dragons to train employees on handling security threats, and how Apple handles the security of your iPhone. It was, all told, a pretty mind-bending year.

Rumor, Gurman's Edition

New iPhone To Have Dual Camera But No Headphone Jack, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The standout features will be a dual-camera system on the larger iPhone, a re-engineered home button that responds to pressure with a vibrating sensation rather than a true physical click and the removal of the devices’ headphone jack, said the people, who didn’t want to be identified discussing unannounced features. Apple declined to comment. [...]

The new iPhones will remove the headphone jack in favor of connectivity via Bluetooth and the charging port. That will make room for a second speaker, said the people. Apple started allowing headphone makers to build headphones that can connect via the iPhone’s charger connector in 2014, the same year the company acquired headphone maker Beats Electronics.

Talk Radio

Pocket Casts 6, by Graham Spencer, MacStories

So, what's new in Pocket Casts 6? The tl;dr version is that the user interface has been redesigned in various ways, most notably with the addition of a dark theme and "up next" queue improvements. There are new audio effects to trim silences and volume boost for those podcasts which sound too quiet. The iPad version now supports multitasking (Split View and Picture in Picture), and whilst it isn't noticeable to users, almost the entire app has been re-written in Swift.

Rather than a traditional review, I thought I'd dive in and highlight a few features of Pocket Casts that I really like. Not all of them are new to Pocket Casts 6, and some will also exist in other podcast apps. But the point is to encourage you to try it yourself, because you never know, you might just discover that Pocket Casts suits the way you listen to podcasts better than the other options.

PRX's New 'Podcast Garage' Will Be A Boon For Boston's Podcasting Community, by Dylan Martin, BostInno

PRX, which distributes This American Life and hundreds of other shows, recently opened what it's calling the "Podcast Garage" in Allston, and for just $60, you can get a 4-person recording studio — full of high-end equipment from Shure, Sonos and Sennheiser — for one hour. It's even cheaper if you want to use the one-person studio or use either studio for less time. And the studio's production computer has a suite of high-end production tools available, including Pro Tools and Hindenburg.

Feel The Music

Apple Music’s Bozoma Saint John: It’s About Passion, Not Algorithms, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

"Human curation allows you to have the emotion and feel music, because it is a very emotional thing. It makes you feel happy, it helps you when you are feeling sad, gets you pumped up, calms you down. You want me to keep going? Because I could preach. I think it is a very emotional thing and you should treat it as such. We as humans have that and we can express it."


The Free TV On The Internet Experiment Died Years Ago. Now Hulu Is Burying It., by Peter Kafka, Recode

So today’s news is just formal confirmation that the TV guys really don’t want to give away their best stuff for free.

Or, more precisely, they’d prefer that you pay twice when you watch their stuff: Once with your credit card, via some kind of pay TV subscription, and again with your attention, when you watch the ads they sell.

The Human Codebreaks, by Jessi Hempel, Backchannel

The trouble is, Chipchase thinks many companies approach research all wrong. He believes the problem lies in their intent: Instead of entering new markets with an open mind, they approach with a strategy in place and then look for the people who prove their theories right. “The only thing worse than not asking the questions, is not paying attention to the answers that don’t fit into their world view, because it’s inconvenient,” says Chipchase.

Bottom of the Page

I've had an iPhone, towards the end of the 2-year cycle, had the home button started failing. (This was before the Assistive Touch was available.) I've had another iPhone, towards the end of its 2-year cycle, had the headphone jack started failing. (I switched to Bluetooth.)


Thanks for reading.