Security

In-depth look at CurrentC and the personal data they want to collect

Just as quickly as CurrentC popped into the limelight, questions arose around the companies intentions. Even though I don't have an invite for CurrentC's invite-only mobile payments and loyalty rewards system, I decided to take a look. I posted some initial findings on Twitter and a brief summary on iMore, but wanted to do a more in-depth technical post for anybody who was curious.

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Why is the CurrentC app collecting your device information?

Over the last few days, CVS and Rite Aid have disabled NFC technology at their retail outlets to prevent customers from using Apple Pay. It's been reported that this is due to an existing deal in place with a system called CurrentC, which involves the use of an app, QR codes, your bank account, and their servers. Walmart recently explained MCX's — the consortium behind CurrentC — position to Business Insider as follows:

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Hands on with Apple Pay

Apple Pay is a strange sort of wonderful magic—the kind of tech that makes you feel like you're living in the future. Our Android brethren have had NFC-enabled solutions for years in the form of Google Wallet, but compatible terminals were far and few between.

That's changed: Apple Pay, at launch, is supported in over 220,000 stores and by 34 brands, with more launching by the end of the year. And it's not just random boutique shops and Apple Stores, either—there are big-name retailers and grocery stores on the master launch list.

Earlier today, I hit up the Apple Store, Walgreens, and Whole Foods for a quick tour of the Apple Pay experience. The result? A wholly enjoyable, quick-checkout process that left me wishing for more.

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How to set up and troubleshoot Apple Pay

Apple Pay is here. The Cupertino company's official venture into the mobile payments space launched on Monday with dozens of in-store and online partners, and if you have an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, it's easy to start ditching your wallet for your device. Here's what you need to know.

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Yosemite, iOS 8, Spotlight, and Privacy: What you need to know

A story made the rounds earlier today calling into question the new Spotlight Suggestions feature in OS X Yosemite and iOS 8. In an effort to garner attention, it reports the collection and usage of the information required to enable this feature in a needlessly scary way. As any long time reader knows, security and privacy are always at odds with convenience, yet features like Spotlight Suggestions — and Siri before it — do an excellent job balancing as much convenience as possible with maintaining as much privacy and security as possible. Here's Apple's statement on the matter:

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Spyware targets Hong Kong protestors using Android, jailbroken iPhones or iPads

There's a new kind of spyware going around called Xsser that's reportedly targeting protestors in Hong Kong. The spyware — which appears to have ties to Android malware discovered last week — is installed via a Debian package and requires a victim's iPhone or iPad to be jailbroken. Breaking the root jail of iOS can provide for functionality beyond what Apple currently ships, but also strips away Apple's built-in iOS security. The same way jailbroken software can be loaded, malicious software can be loaded. (Same goes with bypassing Android's default security settings, as well as when you open up a phone to root access.) So what's going on with Xsser and how can you protect yourself?

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Locking down iOS 8: How Apple is keeping your iPhone and iPad safe!

Apple has posted a new version of their terrific white paper on iOS security, this one updated for iOS 8 an dated September, 2014. I haven't had time to read through it yet, but if last year's version is any indication, encryption enthusiasts should be in for a treat. The timing, immediately following iOS 8's release, and Tim Cook's letter on privacy, probably isn't a coincidence. Apple is making privacy and security both a differentiator and they want this information out there.

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Apple Pay and security: What you need to know

Yesterday Apple announced Apple Pay, a payment mechanism that will be available on the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and Apple Watch. While the convenience of such a feature is tempting, how do we know if we can trust it? To answer this, let's take a look at what we know about Apple Pay's security so far.

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The future of personal security

Apple is responding to security concerns raised by many this past week as a result of massive release of stolen celebrity photos. While this is a good move by Apple that will increase security for users, it's important to understand what these changes do and don't mean for us.

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iCloud security and personal responsibility

iCloud may not have been hacked but iCloud accounts are hackable. So are other online accounts. Why? Security is at constant war with convenience. Absolute security makes our data inaccessible to everyone, including us. Absolute convenience makes our data easily available to everyone, including those who would use it to harm us. The key to a workable system is balance, where a range of options are afforded and we choose and use them in a way that's best for us. That includes Apple giving us the options we need and making them as understandable as possible, and it includes us taking the time to understand them and implement them as best as we can. So what can we all do better?

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