Security

How to fix iOS 8 Unicode Messages crash bug

Here's what you need to know about preventing and recovering from the iOS 8 Unicode crash bug.

While Apple is working on a fix for the bug that causes Messages and notifications to crash iOS 8, there are several things you can do right now to help prevent your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch from being affected, and to try to recover if you've already been affected.

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Apple comments on iOS 8 unicode crash bug, fix in the works

A bug in how iOS 8 renders Unicode is causing Messages to crash or reboot when a specific string is received.

Update: An Apple spokesperson told iMore:

We are aware of an iMessage issue caused by a specific series of unicode characters and we will make a fix available in a software update.

The bug occurs when your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch (which runs a variant of iOS 8) receives a message containing the specific string of Unicode characters. Because the specific string can't be rendered, the app crashes or the system restarts.

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Apple Watch, Apple Pay, and wrist detection: What you need to know

Once you've unlocked your Apple Watch, wrist detection can keep it unlocked for as long as the screen is on or it maintains skin contact.

As security systems go, wrist detection is clever: It lets you have the convenience of accessing your Apple Watch without having to continually re-enter your passcode or password, but provides enough security to protect your data, including Apple Pay credentials under normal circumstances. In that way it's similar to Touch ID, which can unlock your iPhone or iPad based on your fingerprint.

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Regarding Apple Watch and Activation Lock

Unlike the iPhone, the Apple Watch doesn't yet feature Activation Lock.

A theft deterrent system that requires your iCloud password to be disabled, Apple added Activation Lock to iOS in 2013 The Apple Watch, which runs a variant of iOS called Watch OS, doesn't yet secure the device beyond the default passcode/password intercept on the clock face. This was first noticed by @enMTW immediately following the Watch launch in April, but gained wider attention today following a story on iDownloadblog. So, what does it all mean?

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Apple's FaceTime is end-to-end encrypted. Google Hangouts... isn't

Lack of end-to-end-encryption means that conversations on Hangouts, if subject to a legal order, can be wiretapped or otherwise surveilled.

Google hadn't disclosed this information until a recent Reddit AMA (ask me anything) and a Vice follow-up that resulted. It's not clear whether Google has been asked to provide access to Hangouts, but the potential is there.

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Max out your privacy with Apple

These days Apple is one of the only (if not the only) global-scale consumer tech companies that seems to prioritize customer privacy.

Apple doesn't merely keep your personal data private, they increasingly make it harder for them (or anyone) to even collect it in the first place. Yes, even including those snoopy government agencies.

Although Apple deeply embeds privacy features across its products and services, many of them only work if you turn them on, and perhaps change a few habits. As an incredibly paranoid security professional who sometimes travels to more... hostile... environments, here are my favorite Apple-centric privacy tips and tricks.

Much of this advice comes from knowing how criminals, and even digital forensics experts, recover private data in the real world.

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The Rootpipe vulnerability is back, but most people still don't have to worry

Rootpipe, a "privilege escalation" vulnerability Apple patched in OS X 10.10.3, turns out to have a wider target area than original thought.

A "privilege escalation" vulnerability means that if someone already has malicious code on your Mac, they can use something like Rootpipe to gain deeper access. Think of it like this — if a criminal has already broken into your house, they can use a pipe to break open a locked cupboard. While the analogy starts to break down at this point, Apple thought they made the cupboard pipe-proof in OS X 10.10.3 but, after analyzing the new locks, a security specialist found another angle to attack it from.

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iOS apps are secure — it's 'security' advertorials that remain a threat

Another day, another CEO from a "security software" company pens a "guest editorial" saying Apple needs to open up to — guess what? — "security software".

Just like the last time, the premise is self-serving, the headline spit-take inducing, and it's absolutely not worth rewarding negative attention seeking with attention. But because every time something like this posted, we get contacted by concerned readers, some of the fear-mongering needs to once again be addressed.

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iCloud Photo Library and security: What you need to know!

iCloud Photo Library promises to make pictures and video a core part of Apple's iOS and OS X, but how does it keep them safe and secure?

Our photos can be as personal and private as our messages, as our financial information, as our identities. iCloud Photo Library wants to make sure all our pictures and videos are backed up online and available on all our devices. To do that, it moves the bits that makes up those pictures and videos from our iPhones, iPads, and Macs, up to servers on the internet, and then back down to our other iPhones, iPads, and Macs. That means both the transport and the storage needs to be secure so that our content is only ever available to us and us alone.

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How to disable quick reply messaging on the Lock screen of your iPhone or iPad

Quick reply messaging from your Lock screen may be convenient, but it isn't secure.

With interactive notifications you can swipe left across any iMessage on the Lock screen and quickly send off a reply, no passcode, password, or Touch ID required. That's great if you're always in a rush and just need to answer everything and anything as fast as possible. It's not so great if you often leave your iPhone or iPad unattended, where other people can potentially reply to your messages either as a prank or maliciously. Interactive notifications are enabled by default, but if you'd rather have security than convenience, you can easily turn them off.

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