Warning over iPhone apps that can silently turn on cameras at any time

The new iPhone X will feature an advanced front camera that can build up 3D pictures of faces CREDIT:GETTY IMAGES

Apple has been urged to change the way in which iPhone apps are granted access to the phone’s camera after a security researcher demonstrated how apps can secretly record photos and videos without the user knowing.

Felix Krause, an Austrian developer who works for Google, built an app that was able to take pictures of its user every second and upload them, without notifying the user. He called it a “privacy loophole that can be abused by iOS apps”.

When an app wants to access the camera, for example to scan a credit card or take a profile picture during the set-up process, the iPhone user must give the app permission, in the same way that apps must ask to access the camera roll, location and contacts and to send notifications. Once allowed, it has to be turned off via the settings menu.

The system is similar to the permissions required by apps on Android. Google has recently deleted several apps that surreptitiously recorded users and masqueraded as legitimate apps.

But Krause said that once an app has been granted initial access, it can take photos and videos whenever it is opened up. Unlike on Mac computers, which have a small green light next to the camera when it is being used, there is no indication that an app is recording videos or taking photos, or when it sends them elsewhere.

Facebook app permissions
App permissions are indefinite, apply to both the front and back camera, and can be used for photo and video

The iPhone’s camera app permissions do not differentiate between the phone’s front and back camera. Allowing camera permissions can grant extra access in the latest version of iOS, which has a facial recognition engine that could allow apps to detect emotions.

The permissions system is not a bug or a flaw – it works in exactly the way Apple has designed it – but Krause said malicious apps could take advantage of it to surreptitiously record users.

He demonstrated this by building an app that took a photo of the person using it every second, and which also ran a facial recognition program to detect the person using it.

He warned that other apps could monitor users’ emotions as they scroll through a social network news feed, record what they are saying, or live stream video of them in the bathroom as they tap away at a smartphone game.

Krause said Apple should introduce a system of temporary permissions – one that allows apps to take a picture during the set-up process, but revokes it after a period of time – or to introduce a warning light or notification to the iPhone that tells people when they are being recorded.

There are few examples of apps being found to secretly record users – apart from those specifically designed for this such as Stealth Cam. The practice is banned by Apple’s App Store guidelines, which state that a “reasonably conspicuous audio, visual or other indicator must be displayed to the user as part of the Application to indicate that a Recording is taking place”.

Krause claimed it would be easy to hide the behaviour, allowing it to make it through Apple’s approval process.

Facebook users have often claimed that the social network is secretly listening to their conversations in an attempt to better target adverts, something that Facebook itself has denied.

Some privacy conscious users have taken to covering up the cameras on their computers in an attempt to prevent being spied on, including Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Krause recently demonstrated how malicious apps could steal a user’s iCloud password by appearing to be an official command. The developer works at Google but says his work on security is a hobby, in no way affiliated with his employer.

Apple did not comment.

[“Source-telegraph”]

Acer at IFA 2017: Laptops, Gaming PCs, 360-Degree Cameras, and More

Acer at IFA 2017: Laptops, Gaming PCs, 360-Degree Cameras, and More

Acer Chromebook 15

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Acer introduced its new gaming Predator series devices
  • It also announced new Chromebook 15
  • A new 23.8-inch Aspire S24 all-in-one desktop PC also announced

Taiwanese manufacturer Asus has kicked off its IFA 2017 campaign with bunch of announcements including gaming laptops, PCs, and more. The company showed off all-new Predator gaming line alongside the new 23.8-inch Aspire S24 all-in-one desktop PC. Acer also revealed two connected 360-degree cameras, new projectors, and new Pawbo products. The company announced Nitro 5 Spin convertible laptop and Switch 7 fanless 2-in-1 notebook at the same event.

Acer Chromebook 15
The all-new Chromebook 15 is being marketed as the “only Chromebook in the industry with a 15.6-inch display and aluminium design.” The Acer Chromebook 15 will be made available in either a touch screen or non-touch screen models.

It will be available in EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) in October starting at EUR 499 (roughly Rs. 38,000). It will also be available in North America in October starting at $399 (roughly Rs. 25,500), including the United States, where it will be offered at Best Buy and the Acer Store. The company claims up to 12 hours of battery life and the new Chromebook will support Android apps via Google Play when it is launched. It will be available in configurations of dual-core Intel Celeron and quad-core Intel Pentium processors available with 32GB or 64GB of storage as well as 4GB or 8GB of RAM. It features a backlit keyboard and weighs 1.72kg while measures 378x256x18.9mm. Connectivity options include Intel Wireless-AC (802.11ac) wireless featuring 2×2 MIMO technology; two USB 3.1 Type-C ports; Bluetooth 4.2; two USB 3.0, and an HDMI port.

Acer Swift 5 and Spin 5
At its IFA event, Acer also launched the Swift 5 and Spin 5 laptops. The Swift 5 will be available in North America and EMEA in December starting at $999 (roughly Rs. 64,000) and EUR 1,099 (roughly Rs. 84,000) respectively. China will be the launch market in November starting at CNY 7,499 (roughly Rs. 73,000). The Acer Spin 5 on the other hand will be available in North America and EMEA in September with 13-inch model starting at $799 (roughly Rs. 51,150) and 13-inch model starting at EUR 899 (roughly Rs. 69,000).

The new Swift 5 is said to offer stylish portability alongside capable performance. It weighs less than 1kg, and is built with ultra-light magnesium-lithium and magnesium-aluminium alloys. The laptop is powered by eighth generation Intel Core processors, and is said to deliver up to 8 hours of battery life. It has a full-HD IPS touchscreen display, and a backlit keyboard.

acer spin 5 acer

Acer Spin 5

The Spin 5 convertible laptop on the other hand has a rotating display like others in its series, letting users switch between laptop, tablet, display and tent form factors. The 13-inch model weighs 1.5kg and is at 15.9mm thin, while the 15-inch model is is just over 2kg and 17.9mm thin. They both ship with eighth generation Intel Core processors, up to 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, and even a discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics.

Acer Switch 7 Black Edition and Nitro 5 Spin
Acer also introduced its fanless 2-in-1 notebook dubbed Switch 7 Black Edition. It features a 13.5-inch display with 2256×1504 pixels and is powered by Intel Core i7 processor. It comes with a kickstand and runs on Windows 10. Acer Switch 7 Black Edition will be going on sale in December starting at $1,699 (roughly Rs. 108,000).

Acer also revealed its new Nitro 5 Spin convertible laptop targeted at gaming enthusiasts. It starts at $799 and will be going on sale from September. It comes in two display sizes including 13-inch and 15-inch sizes. It is powered by Intel’s 8th generation processor offering up to 16GB of RAM.

New Predator line
Acer showed off its new Predator line up comprising the Predator Orion 9000 series gaming desktops with Windows 10 and the Predator X35 monitor with Nvidia G-sync. Additionally, Acer is also offering a new Predator headset and mouse to enhance control and gaming experience.

acer predator monitor ifa2017 acer

Predator Orion 9000

Acer Predator Orion 9000 series features a black-and-silver spacecraft-like exterior with customisable RGB lighting along the sides of the front bezel. The device comes with two handles and wheels covered with a carbon fiber pattern. Acer says that “the new rigs can be easily moved from one location to another.” It also features liquid cooling and Acer’s IceTunnel 2.0 to keep the temperature down. The series come with support of up to 4 Radeon RX Vega cards for high resolution in stereo and refresh rates. Gamers will also get option of two Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080Ti cards in SLI, which support virtual reality with ease. The Predator Orion 9000 will come with Intel Core i9 Extreme Edition 18-core processor and up to 128GB quad-channel DDR4 memory.

The Predator X35 monitor, on the other hand, offers a colour gamut covering 90 percent of the DCI-P3 colour standard and supports 4ms response time, and high 200Hz refresh rate combined with Nvidia G-Sync for smooth gameplay.  It sports a large 35-inch display with 21:9 aspect ratio with a WQHD (3440×1440) pixels  resolution. It comes with Acer HDR Ultra and Quantum Dot technology.

The Predator Orion 9000 Series gaming desktops will be available in North America in December with starting prices at $1,999 (roughly Rs. 128,000) and in EMEA in November starting at EUR 1,999. The Predator X35 display will be available in Q1 2018. The company has also introduced new Predator Galea 500 gaming headset and Predator Cestus 500 gaming mouse which has been priced at $299.99 (roughly Rs. 19,200) and $79.99 (roughly Rs. 5,200) respectively.

Acer Aspire S24
Apart from launching the new Predator series and Chromebook 15, the company also revealed its all-new 23.8-inch Aspire S24 all-in-one desktop PC. Powered by Windows 10, Acer Aspire 24 is being marketed as the company’s “slimmest ever” featuring a display with a side profile of only 5.97mm. Under the hood, the all-in-one packs Intel’s 8th Generation Core processors with optional Intel Optane memory with Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC (802.11ac 2×2 MIMO) technology.

acer aspire 24 ifa2017 acer

Running Windows 10, Aspire 24 offers Cortana and Microsoft Edge features. It comes with up to 256GB SSD and 2TB HDD of storage space. The Acer Aspire S24 will be available in North America starting January starting at $999 and in EMEA from November this year at EUR 999.

Acer’s new 360-degree cameras
Acer on Wednesday also announced two LTE-connected 360-degree cameras including the Holo360 all-in-one camera that allows users to capture, view, edit and share with just one device, and the Vision360 cloud-connected in-car camera. The Acer Holo360 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 mobile processor with Qualcomm’s Connected Camera platform. It supports capabilities such as stitching videos in real-time, comes with integrated LTE connectivity, and a 3-inch touchscreen for operation. The Acer Holo360 offers an all-in-one solution to livestream 360-degree videos. The Holo360 runs on Android 7.1 Nougat which allows users to share 360-degree photos and videos directly to social networks.

Acer Vision360, on the other hand, is a cloud-connected 360-degree camera with use of two “ultra-high quality cameras.” The Acer Vision360 can be used in cars for recording all angles around the car in 4K quality video.

Additionally, when an object collides with the car when it is in motion; the device triggers a recording that includes GPS coordinates of where the incident occurred, which is not only saved in a secure area on the device’s internal storage, but also uploaded to the cloud for evidence preservation. Apart from the camera, the Vision360 is mounted on the windshield, aligned with the driver’s eyes and also displays the vehicle’s current speed. The Acer Holo360 connected camera will be available in North America from November at $429 (roughly Rs. 27,500) bundled with a water-resistant case.

Projectors
Acer also unveiled two new projectors including the Acer VL7860 catering to the home cinema enthusiast, and the Acer P8800, for top-notch image quality for public venues or larger rooms. Pricing and availability details of the new projectors were not shared by Acer at the event.

Pawbo products
Pawbo, Acer’s wholly owned subsidiary, introduced two new products including Pawbo iPuppyGo, a lightweight tracker that keeps tabs on pets’ activity and wellness, and Pawbo WagTag, a cloud-connected collar for dogs to keep track of the location.

pawbo munch acer ifa2017 acer

Pawbo Munch

 

The company also showcased Pawbo Munch, which is a smart treat-dispenser that works with the Pawbo+ allowing pet owners to interact with their pets, whether at home or from afar. No pricing was announced for the products at the event.

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Things 3 Is Great at Helping You Get the Job Done

Things 3 Is Great at Helping You Get the Job Done

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Things 3 is a “getting things done” app
  • It’s available on iPhone, iPad, and Mac
  • It’s expensive, but the design is excellent and it works very well

Every single day, we find ourselves saddled with countless small tasks to complete, errands to run, mails to send, and in general — things to do. Almost always, we end up forgetting one thing or another and that wastes a lot of time. We’ve tried a lot of different ways to avoid this — a to-do list in a notebook, basic reminder apps, and even a proper “getting things done” (GTD) app in Todoist.

For various reasons, all of these approaches have failed us eventually. We kept forgetting to write things down in our notebook, Apple’s Reminders app was too basic, and we aren’t big fans of Todoist’s design – or its subscription model. Things weren’t looking good, at least until Cultured Code released Things 3.

Cultured Code’s design prowess is well-known and the company has done a stellar job yet again with Things 3. This writer been using the app on iPhone and Mac for over a month and it’s certainly become a vital part of his life.

When you first fire up Things 3 on any platform, you’re going to notice how clean it looks. You’ll see “Today” or “Upcoming” or the title of your project in a large font size right at the top and all of your tasks below. There’s just the right amount of gap between the heading and your tasks, and between different tasks themselves. It doesn’t feel like these are sticking to each other and it definitely doesn’t feel like there’s a massive chasm between these either.

things 3 iphone projects Things 3

The way Cultured Code has used white space is commendable as it keeps the design from feeling cluttered. Ideally, a GTD app should remind you about pending tasks, but if it’s cluttered it starts to feel intimidating and then we feel there’s a high chance of people abandoning the app altogether. Not with Things 3, where every design choice feels deliberate and tastefully executed.

On the iPhone, Things 3 is a pretty straightforward app. It lets you add tasks, create projects, and you can even use the share sheet to add tasks from other apps. If you’re browsing the Web or watching videos online, you can send the link straight to Things 3 via the share sheet. You can even share your tasks and checklists to other apps.

One of the best features of Things 3 on iPhone is its 3D Touch implementation. If you have an iPhone 6S or a newer iPhone, you can hard press the Things 3 icon hard to reveal a neat widget where you can mark up to two tasks as complete. You can also use 3D Touch to create a new task, jump to the Today page, and jump to Quick Find (for searching within the app).

Things 3 for Mac

We love using Things 3 on iPhone, but the Mac app is where it really shines. Not only have the developers used the extra screen space very well, but they’ve also added a bunch of small features that wouldn’t be possible on iPhone. For instance, pressing Ctrl + option + space in certain apps such as Safari or Mail, opens a Things 3 pop-up with a link to the website or email added. You can quickly add webpages or emails to your to-do list via this shortcut.

things 3 mac logbook Things 3

Similarly, you can use the Ctrl + space shortcut in any app to add a task manually to Things 3. When you set a reminder for a task, the notification stays on your Mac’s screen until you either snooze or dismiss it. We feel any good GTD app should be good at nagging you until you get the job done, and based on our experience of using it to manage work tasks, Things 3 is good at this.

The developers have created neat tutorial projects to familiarise new users with the app and all its features. We found these extremely useful and learned about several advanced features that have now become a part of our daily workflow.

When you mark a task complete, it changes the font colour from black to grey for a couple of seconds, before moving to the the Logbook (where all completed tasks go). This allows you time to uncheck the task if you’ve accidentally marked it complete. When you create a project, the icon is a circle which slowly fills up like a pie chart as you complete tasks under that project. Lots of small touches like this make Things 3’s design feel tastefully designed.

Cultured Code uses its own Things Cloud to sync your tasks across devices. It works just fine and we had no issues whatsoever with syncing tasks and projects across devices.

things 3 mac quick entry Things 3

At the moment, Things 3 doesn’t let you attach images or other files to your tasks. This feature would allow us to attach screenshots or important documents to our tasks, which would help a lot while researching for stories.

It also doesn’t allow you to create repeating reminders on an hourly basis. You can create daily, weekly, or monthly repeating reminders but not hourly ones. That makes it less useful if you want to set reminders for drinking water or to remind yourself to stop working nonstop and take a break.

Things 3 is not for everyone. It’s available only on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac. You need to buy it separately on iPhone (Rs. 800), iPad (Rs. 1,600), and Mac (Rs. 4,000), so it’s definitely not cheap. But if you value good design and you need a GTD app for your Apple devices, Things 3 is an absolute must-have.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Wheelchair rugby league: Wales threaten to leave pitch at World Cup

Wheelchair rugby league

Wales’ wheelchair rugby league side are threatening to leave the pitch in their final World Cup match if flash photography takes place after one of their players suffered seizures.

Wales say Harry Jones suffered a seizure in two previous games because of flash photography.

They are scheduled for a fifth-placed play-off game versus Spain on Thursday.

“Harry has been carried off on a stretcher because of photography,” Wales manager Mark Andrew Jones said.

Banning flash photography is not a competition rule at the rugby league World Cup but Wales requested to tournament bosses that announcements be made to both the crowd and photographers.

Wales boss Jones says they are pushing for it to be brought in as a rule in future tournaments.

“There are announcements and posters at every game regarding flash photography. We now remove the team from the pitch until it’s sorted,” he said.

“Harry has photo sensitive epilepsy and flash photography can affect him quite badly, to the point of a seizure.

“We made the organisers aware we would request no flash photography and the organisers have been helpful in trying to make that happen.

“It is not a rule, but Wales rugby league will take it up with international bodies to make it a rule not to use flash photography in the future.

“If we see flash photography, the Wales team will come off the pitch until the problem is sorted.

“If you had seen the condition Harry was in, you would not see that as a drastic measure… it is all about player safety.”

England play in the final of the rugby league World Cup on Friday.

Source:-.bbc.