July 2015 News Bytes

  • This fall, the newest Apple operating system, iOS 9, will be released. The latest version will make new features available to iPhone and iPad users, and it also promises enhanced performance and functionality. The design tweaks, however, will be subtle in order to make the switch from previous versions like iOS 7 and 8 as painless as possible. In fact, a lot of the new features will make themselves known effortlessly because much of iOS 9’s focus is on improving its overall intelligence and proactivity. This means that Apple devices running the new operating system will be better able to predict users’ needs based on past behaviors, opening programs and making suggestions before users even realize they need them. Other exciting features include split-screen multitasking and a two-finger swiping gesture.

  • Recently, there was a security scare for LastPass users when suspicious activity was detected, which compromised much of the service’s operations, including email addresses and authentication hashes. LastPass is one of several online services that makes creating and keeping up with secure passwords across sites a thing of ease. Account holders simply remember one master password and allow services like LastPass create strong passwords for various online accounts, changing them regularly, and complete sign-in without bothering the user to keep up with or input individual passwords. Fortunately, LastPass has assured the public that no user accounts were affected, but the company is encouraging its clients to change their master passwords as a precaution.

 

  • A security flaw in Samsung Galaxy phones has recently come to light. The vulnerability, which is present as far back as in the Galaxy 6, stems from the pre-installed Swift keyboard software. The software itself is fine, but there is a potential for abuse in how Samsung applies updates it. The British virtual keyboard company SwiftKey provides periodic updates that reflect what users talk about most in an effort to improve typing performance (i.e. autocorrect and word suggestions). When Samsung applies that data to the software in Galaxy devices, however, it provides would-be hackers a window of opportunity to gain access to users’ devices and install malicious code. This vulnerability only exists when the updates are performed on an unsecure network, and a fix has not yet been developed; in the meantime, Samsung users are encouraged to use only secure networks and should disable automatic wireless logins in the settings to prevent inadvertent unsecure connections.