Reports: Telstra Customers Suffering Crippling Speeds To Any Apple Service 50

An anonymous reader writes: It appears a large number of customers of Telstra (one of Australia's largest telcos) have been suffering crippling speeds while attempting to connect to any Apple Service for the better part of four days. Reports indicate this is affecting Apple Music, Apple App Stores (on both iOS and OSX) and are stopping many Telstra customers from getting access to app updates and the much anticipated El Capitan release of OS X. Mobile phone customers as well as home broadband customers seem to be affected at this stage with a large number of posts both on Twitter and the Whirlpool Broadband Forum. It appears one Twitter user has also fully summarised all the issues in a single post including many of the Twitter posts as well.

AdBlock Plus To Introduce Independent Board To Oversee Acceptable Ads Program 256

Mark Wilson writes: Ad blocking has been in the news quite a lot recently, not least because of iOS 9's new support for advertising avoidance. Perhaps the most famous tool in the arena is Adblock Plus. It's something that many people have become reliant on for cleaning up their online experience but Eyeo — the company behind AdBlock Plus — has been keen to encourage people to permit the display of some advertising through its Acceptable Ads program. That companies can pay to bypass Adblock Plus is nothing new, although Adblock Plus insists that most ads that are deemed 'acceptable' are added for free. Today Eyeo announces that it is going to hand over control of the Acceptable Ads program to a completely independent board.

iOS 9 'Wi-Fi Assist' Could Lead To Huge Wireless Bills 182

Dave Knott writes: One of the new features introduced in iOS9 is "Wi-Fi Assist." This enables your phone to automatically switch from Wi-Fi to a cellular connection when the Wi-Fi signal is poor. That's helpful if you're in the middle of watching a video or some other task on the internet that you don't want interrupted by spotty Wi-Fi service. Unfortunately, Wi-Fi Assist is enabled by default, which means that users may exceed their data cap without knowing it because their phone is silently switching their data connection from Wi-Fi to cellular.

Apple Admits iCloud Problem Has Killed iOS 9 'App Slicing' 143

Mark Wilson writes: One of the key features of iOS 9 — and one of the reasons 16GB iPhones were not killed — is app slicing. This innocuous-sounding feature reduces the amount of space apps take up on iPhones and iPads... or at least it does when it is working. At the moment Apple has a problem with iCloud which is preventing app slicing from working correctly. The feature works by only downloading the components of an app that are needed to perform specific tasks on a particular device, but at the moment regular, universal apps are delivered by default.

iOS Ad Blocker "Crystal" Will Let Companies Pay To Show You Ads 229

pdclarry writes: Apple's iOS 9 now supports ad blockers. The most popular of these, Peace, was withdrawn after only a couple of days because the developer thought "it just doesn't feel good." Crystal then quickly rose to the top of the heap. But the developer of Crystal has announced that it will allow "acceptable ads" — for a fee from the advertiser. Crystal is a paid app; so you can now pay for the privilege of seeing ads.

Apple XcodeGhost Malware More Malicious Than Originally Reported 79

An anonymous reader writes: Details were scant when Apple confirmed the XcodeGhost malware had infiltrated the iOS App Store. The company didn't say which specific iOS vulnerabilities were exposed and didn't indicate how its iPhone users were affected. However, a Palo Alto Networks security analyst is reporting that XcodeGhost had been used to phish for iCloud passwords, and more specific details are emerging. According to the Networkworld article: "URLs can be sent to the iOS device and opened. This isn't limited to HTTP and FTP URLs, but includes local URLs, such as itunes:// and twitter:// that iOS can be used for inter-app communications. For example, this could be used to force automatic phone calls to premium phone numbers, which can charge up to $1 per minute in some cases. Some iOS password manager apps use the system clipboard to paste passwords into the login dialog. As another example, the XcodeGhost malware can read and write data in the user's clipboard, which would allow it to snatch a password."

Number of XcodeGhost-Infected iOS Apps Rises 169

An anonymous reader writes: As the list of apps infected with the XcodeGhost malware keeps expanding, Apple, Amazon and Baidu are doing their best to purge their online properties of affected apps, malicious Xcode installers, and C&C servers used by the attackers to gather the stolen information and control the infected apps/devices. China-based jailbreaking Pangu Team claims that the number of infected app is higher than 3,400, and have offered for download a free app that apparently detects the Trojanized apps.

Apple's iOS 9 Breaks VPNs 88

An anonymous reader writes with a report from The Stack that researchers have discovered a crucial security problem in the latest version of iOS 9: it breaks VPN connections to corporate servers. According to the linked piece, "The flaw was first detected in the iOS 9 beta, and has not been fixed in the released version. Neither has the bug been removed in the current iOS 9.1 beta." The workaround might not be what you want to hear, either, if you've happily upgraded to the latest version: it's to downgrade to iOS 8.4.1.

Apple Cleaning Up App Store After Its First Major Attack 246

Reuters reports that Apple is cleaning up hundreds of malicious iOS apps after what is described as the first major attack on its App Store. Hundreds of the stores apps were infected with malware called XcodeGhost, which used as a vector a counterfeit version of iOS IDE Xcode. Things could be a lot worse, though: Palo Alto Networks Director of Threat Intelligence Ryan Olson said the malware had limited functionality and his firm had uncovered no examples of data theft or other harm as a result of the attack. Still, he said it was "a pretty big deal" because it showed that the App Store could be compromised if hackers infected machines of software developers writing legitimate apps. Other attackers may copy that approach, which is hard to defend against, he said.

AdBlock Plus Defends Ad Blocking, Applauds Marco Arment 351

Mark Wilson writes: Ad blockers have been much talked about since Apple opened up support for them in iOS 9. The now infamous Peace shot to the top of the download charts before it was pulled by its creator. Now AdBlock Plus has come out in support of Marco Arment, who developed something of a guilty conscience after his ad blocking creation proved so popular. Ben Williams from AdBlock Plus says "I really applaud this guy," going on to suggest that whitelisting and the Acceptable Ads feature of AdBlock Plus epitomize the "more nuanced, complex approach" Arment called for. The ad blocking software I'd like to see would detect and zap into a heap of ash those unrelated-photo clickbait ads; I'd rather suffer through some honest banner ads anytime.

Creator of Top iOS Ad Blocker Pulls App After Two Days 236

An anonymous reader writes: One of the most important aspects of the iOS 9 launch was that ad blocking software is now allowed on the App Store. Ad blocking apps rocketed to the top of the store's rankings, led by Marco Arment's Peace. A day afterward, Arment talked about the cognitive dissonance he felt from having his software blocking the (admittedly well-behaving) ads on his own website. Now, Arment has pulled Peace from the App Store, saying its success "just doesn't feel good." He continues, "Ad blockers come with an important asterisk: while they do benefit a ton of people in major ways, they also hurt some, including many who don't deserve the hit. Peace required that all ads be treated the same — all-or-nothing enforcement for decisions that aren't black and white. This approach is too blunt, and Ghostery and I have both decided that it doesn't serve our goals or beliefs well enough. If we're going to effect positive change overall, a more nuanced, complex approach is required than what I can bring in a simple iOS app." Arment also posted a link with detailed instructions on how to get a refund, if you already bought the app.

One Day After iOS 9's Launch, Ad Blockers Top Apple's App Store 241 writes: Sarah Perez reports at TechCrunch that only one day after the release of Apple's newly released version of Apple's mobile operating system, iOS 9, ad blockers are topping the charts in the App Store and it seems that new iOS 9 users are thrilled to have access to this added functionality. The Top Paid iOS app is the new ad-blocker Peace, a $2.99 download from Instapaper founder Marco Arment. Peace currently supports a number of exclusive features that aren't found in other blockers yet. Most notably, it uses Ghostery's more robust blocklist, which Arment licensed from the larger company by offering them a percentage of the app's revenue. "I can't believe how many trackers are on popular sites," says Arment. "I can't believe how fast the web is without them." Other ad blockers are also topping the paid app chart as of today, including the Purify Blocker (#3), Crystal (#6), Blockr (#12). (Ranks as of the time of writing.) With the arrival of these apps, publishers and advertisers are fretting about the immediate impact to their bottom lines and business, which means they'll likely soon try to find ways to sneak around the blockers. In that case, it should be interesting to see which of the apps will be able to maintain their high degree of ad blocking over time.

It's no surprise that advertisers and publishers who make their money from advertising aren't exactly fans of blockers. What is surprising is that no one seemed to disagree with the argument that online ads have gotten out of control. "I think if we don't acknowledge that, we'd be fools," says Scott Cunningham, "So does that mean ad blockers are good or right? Absolutely not. Do we have an accountability and responsibility to address these things? Absolutely — and there's a lot that we're doing now." Harry Kargman agrees that in many cases, online ads have created "a bad consumer experience — from an annoyance perspective, a privacy perspective, a usability perspective." At the same time, Kargman says that as the industry works to solve these problems, it also needs to convince people that when you use an ad blocker, "That's stealing. It's no different than ripping music. It's no different than pirating movies."

Apple's First Android App, Move To iOS, Is Getting Killed With One-Star Reviews 206

An anonymous reader writes: Apple today launched Move to iOS, the company's first Android app built in-house. As we noted earlier, "It should surprise no one that the first app Apple built for Android helps you ditch the platform." The fact that the app is getting flooded with one-star reviews is not particularly surprising, either. At the time of publication, the app has an average rating of 1.8. The larger majority (almost 79 percent) are one-star reviews, followed by five-star reviews (almost 19 percent).

Apple's First Android App Makes It Easy To Move To iOS 174

Mark Wilson writes: Apple has released its first ever Android app. No, there's not an Android version of Safari or anything like that, but a tool designed to simplify the process of switching to iOS. The predictably named Move to iOS will appeal to anyone who was persuaded to switch allegiances by the release of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, or indeed iOS 9. The app can be used to move contacts, messages, photos and more to a new iPhone or iPad, and is compatible with phones and tablets running Android 4.0 and newer. It works slightly differently to what you may have expected. Rather than uploading data to the cloud, it instead creates private Wi-Fi network between an Android and iOS device and securely transfers it.

Bug In iOS, OS X Allows AirDrop To Write Files Anywhere On File System 94

Trailrunner7 writes: There is a major vulnerability in a library in iOS and OS X that allows an attacker to overwrite arbitrary files on a target device and, when used in conjunction with other techniques, install a signed app that the device will trust without prompting the user with a warning dialog. Mark Dowd, the security researcher who discovered it, said he's been able to exploit the flaw over AirDrop, the feature in OS X and iOS that enables users to send files directly to other devices. If a user has AirDrop set to allow connections from anyone—not just her contacts—an attacker could exploit the vulnerability on a default locked iOS device. In fact, an attacker can exploit the vulnerability even if the victim doesn't agree to accept the file sent over AirDrop.

Plex Is Coming To Apple TV 89

sfcrazy writes: Apple announced that it is turning Apple TV into a platform, opening it up for third party developers. They have already published the beta of tvOS and tvOS SDK, which developers can play with. Which means Plex is now a possibility on Apple TV. The founder of Plex said, "There is no question we will be able to offer Plex on the platform. There are multiple ways to go about it, based on the tvOS SDK we now have access to. We are now evaluating the best path for Plex and will begin work in earnest once we have evaluated the options. The ability to access great and proven iOS frameworks on the device is great for developers like us — we know the stuff is solid and will perform really well. Our goal is to enable people to enjoy Plex on the hardware platforms of their choice, and there is no doubt this will be a top platform for us."