Apple Maps Recovers From Multi-Hour Outage Affecting Users Globally

Apple Maps Recovers From Multi-Hour Outage Affecting Users Globally

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Apple Maps faced a multi-hour outage on Friday
  • The outage wasn’t limited to a specific region
  • Apple investigated and fixed the issue

Apple Maps on Friday faced a multi-hour outage that affected navigation and location search services for several hours. The outage wasn’t limited to a specific region. As per the system status available on Apple’s website, all users were affected by the issue that was resolved after over four hours of its emergence. The prime cause of the issue hasn’t been revealed formally. However, Apple said that it investigated and fixed the issues. Users weren’t notably able to access navigation or search for places through the mapping service in the duration of the outage. Some users even spotted its impact on third-party apps, including weather apps, using Apple’s location services.

The system status page on Apple’s site shows that the Maps Routing & Navigation and Maps Search services were down between 6:18pm and 10:35pm IST. While the company didn’t specify the issue, it mentioned on the status logs that all users were affected by the problem.

As folks at Apple Insider report, users on Apple Maps weren’t able to find a route as the app shows a warning message that reads, “Directions Not Available, Route information is not available at the movement.” The Apple Maps app was also showing errors while searching any locations. The Verge notes that the app was showing the error “No Results Found” after attempting to load search results for about 30 seconds before timing out. Furthermore, weather apps on iOS weren’t able to show real-time weather information due to the limited access to Apple’s location services.

Apart from iOS devices, the outage was impacting location-based experiences on Apple Watch and in-dash systems powered by Apple’s CarPlay. The issue apparently affected the Maps Routing & Navigation and Maps Search services, while Maps Display and Maps Traffic services didn’t face any issue.

Launched in September 2012, Apple Maps is competing against services such as Google Maps and Here. Apple recently revealed that it has started using drones to improve its mapping service.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

WhatsApp Group Calling Now Rolling Out to Select Android Beta, iOS Users

WhatsApp Group Calling Now Rolling Out to Select Android Beta, iOS Users

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Few WhatsApp for iOS 2.18.52 users have received group video calling
  • Same goes for very few Android beta version 2.18.145 and above users
  • A new Add participant button shows up in WhatsApp video call

At the F8 keynote, it was announced that the Facebook-owned WhatsApp is getting the group calling feature soon. Now, a few users are reporting that they are seeing the feature in their Android and iOS app, and are able to use it. Mind you, very few users are reporting this update, and it doesn’t mean that the official roll out has begun. WhatsApp is the biggest messaging app in the world, with over a billion active users globally.

WABetaInfo reports that few users on WhatsApp iOS version 2.18.52 and Android beta version 2.18.145 and above can see group video calling activated. This feature is not officially rolled out yet, and it does not work on the invitation system either. Users just have to be very lucky to see this feature, and WhatsApp seems to have randomly picked a segment of users to test this feature with. In any case, this does mean that the group calling feature is coming to WhatsApp Android and iOS real soon.

For all those lucky users who have it, they now see an Add Participant icon on the top right window after making a video call to one person. Clicking on that icon allows you to add up to three more people to the video call. The screen then splits into four halves for a proper group video call.

WhatsApp has rolled out the new iOS version 2.18.52 to all users, and you can check for an update on the App Store. After updating the app, you can go ahead and see if you have the video calling feature activated or not by following the above mentioned method. If you do see it, then let us know your first impressions in the comment section below!

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Facebook Says SMS Spam Received by Two-Factor Authentication Users Was a Bug

Facebook Says SMS Spam Received by Two-Factor Authentication Users Was a Bug

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Facebook users had been getting SMS notifications after signing up for 2F
  • Users’ responses to notifications would appear as status updates on Faceb
  • Facebook acknowledged the issue and promised a fix

Facebook users, over the past week, have reportedly been getting SMS notifications from the social media website after signing up for the two-factor authentication security feature. While the two-factor authentication is a vital part of protecting online accounts by adding a second layer of security, the text messages, interestingly, were not related to any security features. This gave rise to speculation that Facebook was trying to increase user engagement However, Facebook has now responded to the issue saying that it was a bug, and that such notifications were not meant to be sent.

While two-factor authentication is considered a vital measure of security, requiring an attacker to have both the user’s password and physical access to a registered device before being able to log into the user’s account. However, on Facebook, the system appears to have ended up being a problem for its users, thanks to SMS notifications. Interestingly, users also complained that if they replied to the SMS notifications, these would appear as status updates on Facebook.

Alex Stamos, Facebook Chief Security Officer, explains in a blog post that it was not Facebook’s intention to send non-security-related SMS notifications to phone numbers, and also apologised for the inconvenience caused to users. He wrote, “The last thing we want is for people to avoid helpful security features because they fear they will receive unrelated notifications.”

Facebook has also promised that the bug will be fixed soon. “We are working to ensure that people who sign up for two-factor authentication won’t receive non-security-related notifications from us unless they specifically choose to receive them, and the same will be true for those who signed up in the past. We expect to have the fixes in place in the coming days,” said Stamos.

Responding to why users responses to SMS notifications would appear as status updates, Facebook again said it was an unintended consequence, and was enabled by an older functionality where users could post to Facebook via text message. This functionality would soon be deprecated, Facebook said.

While you wait for Facebook to come out with a fix, you can go to Settings > Notifications to switch off text notifications. You can also use a code generator app and a U2F key instead of providing your phone numbers to Facebook when enabling 2FA.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Google Study Finds Phishing a Bigger Threat for Users Than Third-Party Data Breaches

Google Study Finds Phishing a Bigger Threat for Users Than Third-Party Data Breaches

Phishing attacks via fake emails pose the greatest threat to people, followed by keyloggers and third-party breaches as account hacking increases globally, a new Google study has revealed.

Keystroke logging is a type of surveillance software that once installed on a system, has the capability to record every keystroke made on that system. The recording is saved in an encrypted log file.

According to Google, enterprising hijackers are constantly searching for, and are able to find, billions of different platforms’ usernames and passwords on black markets.

A Google team, along with the University of California, Berkeley, tracked several black markets that traded third-party password breaches as well as 25,000 blackhat tools used for phishing and keylogging.

“In total, these sources helped us identify 788,000 credentials stolen via keyloggers, 12 million credentials stolen via phishing, and 3.3 billion credentials exposed by third-party breaches,” Google said in a blog post late on Friday.

Account takeover, or ‘hijacking’, is a common problem for users across the web. More than 15 per cent of Internet users have reported experiencing the takeover of an email or social networking account.

“From March 2016 to March 2017, we analysed several black markets to see how hijackers steal passwords and other sensitive data,” said Kurt Thomas from Anti-Abuse Research and Angelika Moscicki from Account Security teams at Google.

The tech giant then applied the insights to its existing protections and secured 67 million Google accounts before they were abused.

“While our study focused on Google, these password stealing tactics pose a risk to all account-based online services. In the case of third-party data breaches, 12 percent of the exposed records included a Gmail address serving as a username and a password,” the blog post read.

Of those passwords, 7 percent were valid due to reuse. When it comes to phishing and keyloggers, attackers frequently target Google accounts to varying success: 12-25 percent of attacks yield a valid password.

However, because a password alone is rarely sufficient for gaining access to a Google account, increasingly sophisticated attackers also try to collect sensitive data that we may request when verifying an account holder’s identity.

“We found 82 percent of blackhat phishing tools and 74 percent of keyloggers attempted to collect a user’s IP address and location, while another 18 percent of tools collected phone numbers and device make and model,” Google noted.

“While we have already applied these insights to our existing protections, our findings are yet another reminder that we must continuously evolve our defences in order to stay ahead of these bad actors and keep users safe,” it added.

There are some simple steps people can take that make these defences even stronger.

“Visit Google’s Security Checkup to make sure you have recovery information associated with your account, like a phone number, and allow Chrome to automatically generate passwords for your accounts and save them via Smart Lock,” Google cautioned.

[“Source-ndtv”]