Apple removes several apps that could spy on encrypted traffic

from Ars Technica
Third-party root certificates could man-in-the-middle HTTPS connections.


Tech Company Central To Samsung Pay’s System Breached, Consumer Info Not Targeted

from Consumerist
Mobile payment software company LoopPay – which provides much of the nuts and bolts for Samsung Pay – announced Wednesday that it became the victim of a hack attack back in March. Despite the breach, Samsung and its smaller subsidiary assured users of its mobile payment system their information was never at risk. 
The breach, which occurred just a month …

Verizon’s grandfathered unlimited data users face $20 price hike

from CNET News

Verizon’s unlimited data customers will soon see a higher bill.

It’s getting tougher to be an unlimited data customer on Verizon Wireless.

The New York telecommunications giant said Thursday that subscribers on grandfathered unlimited-data plans — the company stopped offering them to new customers in 2011 — would face a $20 increase in their monthly bill. The hike takes effect once their existing contracts expire.

It’s the latest wrinkle thrown at unlimited data customers as Verizon attempts to move them to tiered plans with limits on how many movies, videos and songs they can download to their smartphones. The move also underscores the rising cost of delivering more data to consumers, with Sprint last week raising its unlimited rate by $10 a month.

Verizon’s increase will push up the monthly cost of unlimited data from $30 to $50. With voice calling and texting added in, a customer’s monthly bill could easily top $100.

The number of Verizon customers on an unlimited plan is relatively small; the company said they account for less than 1 percent of its base. But they have stubbornly hung on despite losing access to subsidized smartphones and other perks granted to fellow customers.

Like Verizon, AT&T long ago stopped offering unlimited data, although neither has forced anyone off their plans. Smaller rivals T-Mobile and Sprint still offer the option.

Verizon, the nation’s largest wireless carrier, last year attempted to set a policy that would allow it to throttle, or slow down, data speeds for heavy users of unlimited data. It backtracked on the plan last fall after its customers and the Federal Communications Commission voiced their objections.

A Verizon spokesman noted that some customers could actually end up saving money by switching to a tiered plan, and that not all unlimited data users stream enough movies and songs to justify the expense.

"There are options out there that don’t involve unlimited that may be a better fit for you," he said, declining to break out how much data an unlimited customer typically uses.

Verizon said it would work with customers once the rate increase takes effect to see if it makes more sense to switch plans.

In a minor concession to its unlimited customers, Verizon said it would allow them to participate in the monthly installment plans for new devices. Customers previously had to pay the full price of a new smartphone upfront.

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FAA tests tech to spot illegal drone operators near airports

from Engadget

Drone in Flight

As the number of privately-owned UAVs have exploded here in the US, so too have incidents of hobbyist drones being flown too closely to airports. More than 100 incidents have been reported every month this year, up from a handful of occurrences in 2015, according to FAA deputy administrator, Michael Whitaker. To combat this trend, the Federal Aviation Administration is looking into technology that zeros in on scofflaw drone pilots by tracking their radio signals.

"One of the biggest challenges we’re having is locating the operator," Whitaker said in a statement. To that end, the FAA inked a deal with CACI International Inc. this week to provide a solution that would "passively detect, identify, and track" UAV operator locations within 5 miles of an airport. Details are scarce on how, precisely, the system will work. However, CACI has been building radio-based intelligence systems for the Department of Defense and domestic intelligence agencies for years.

[Image Credit: Getty Images]


New emergency alert technology could fine-tune warnings for smartphones

from Latest Science News — ScienceDaily

Smartphones — owned by a record 64 percent of American adults — are increasingly used as effective means to deliver emergency alerts issued by state and federal agencies. In support of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), researchers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, have developed a new concept called Arbitrary-Size Location-Aware Targeting (ASLAT) — a more accurate method of delivering certain types of messages that could even warn users to avoid particular nearby locations. The findings are detailed in a report to DHS S&T, published in June: JHU APL ASLAT Final Report.pdf

"Currently, under the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) infrastructure, messages often go out very broadly, generating a large number of false alarms, while other people who are in the warning area do not receive those warnings due to poor cell coverage or a few other factors," said Richard "D.J." Waddell of APL’s Asymmetric Operations Sector, and ASLAT program manager. "ASLAT dramatically reduces both false negatives and false positives."

For location-specific emergencies, such as large building fires, natural gas leaks, or small-scale natural disasters such as flash floods and tornadoes, ASLAT could allow more accurate delivery of the warning to the correct populations. For events requiring very rapid notification such as an earthquake, the ASLAT algorithm would skip any steps that cause even a very minor delay.

"ASLAT uses the location awareness of wireless devices — their internal knowledge of where they are on Earth — to eliminate false negatives and positives when sending an emergency alert across multiple cellular network sites," said Emre Gunduzhan of APL, technical lead for ASLAT. "Another interesting feature of ASLAT is that it can warn not only people in the immediate vicinity of a hazard, but also people who may have selected that hazard as their destination."

Many geolocation technologies were studied for suitability with ASLAT, Gunduzhan explained. "The team looked at Global Positioning System (GPS), mobile-device-based Time Of Arrivals (TOA) and Time Difference Of Arrivals (TDOA) techniques, as well as proximity to Wi-Fi," he said. "These were all suitable since they don’t introduce new loads onto the cellular system — important during an emergency — and they maintain the privacy of the user."

While these existing technologies can work effectively, some changes in WEA standards and implementations would be required to maximize the effectiveness of ASLAT.

"DHS S&T is looking for methods that can improve how government agencies warn Americans about danger and threats," Waddell said, "and we brought together APL technical experts to examine the systems in use and formulate some very promising solutions. The ASLAT team at APL is proud to have delivered this report on behalf of our sponsor, and we think the technologies recommended could have benefits to other communications challenges facing the Lab’s sponsors."

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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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AT&T Gets The Go-Ahead From FCC To Enable WiFi Calling For iPhones

from Consumerist
After AT&T had to delay enabling WiFi calling on iPhones — a move it was expected to make, but didn’t, with the release of iOS 9 recently — the carrier is finally getting the go-ahead it needed from the Federal Communications Commission to roll out the feature to its customers.
The phone company was waiting on a waiver from the …