If your iPhone has been stolen or lost, Apple offers a free tool to help you get it back. And, even if you can't get it back, you can prevent a thief from getting at your personal data.

To do this, you need Find My iPhone, a free service that's part of iCloud, that uses your phone's GPS and Internet connection to help you locate it on a map and take certain actions. No one wants to need this article, but if you do, these instructions will help you use Find My iPhone to locate a lost or stolen iPhone.

What You'll Need

How to Use Find My iPhone to Find or Erase Your Phone

As already mentioned, you MUST have the Find My iPhone service set up on your device before it was stolen. If you did, go to https://www.icloud.com/ in a web browser. 

There's also a Find My iPhone app (link opens iTunes) that you can install on another iOS device to track yours. This article covers using the web-based tool, though using the app is pretty similar. If your iPhone or iPod touch (or iPad or Mac) is missing, follow these steps to try to recover it:

  1. Log in to iCloud using the account you used when setting up Find My iPhone. This is probably your Apple ID/iTunes account.

  1. Click on Find iPhone under the web-based tools offered by iCloud. Find My iPhone immediately begins trying to locate all the devices you have it enabled on. You'll see onscreen messages as it works.

  2. If you have more than one device set up for Find My iPhone, click All Devices at the top of the screen and select the device you're looking for.

  1. If it locates your device, Find My iPhone zooms in on the map and shows the location of the device using a green dot. When this happens, you can zoom in or out of the map, and view it in standard, satellite, and hybrid modes, like in Google Maps. When your device is found, a window appears in the right corner of your web browser. It lets you know how much battery your phone has and offers a few options.

  2. Click Play Sound. This is the first option because sending a sound to the device is best when you think you've lost your device nearby and want help finding it. It can also be helpful if you think someone has your device but is denying it.  

  3. You can also click Lost Mode. This allows you to remotely lock the device's screen and set a passcode (even if you hadn't previously set up a passcode). This prevents a thief from using your device or accessing your personal data.

    Once you click the Lost Mode button, enter the passcode you want to use. If you already have a passcode on the device, that code will be used. You can also enter a phone number where the person who has the device can reach you (this is optional; you may not want to share this information if it's been stolen). You also have the option to write a message that is displayed on the device's screen. 

  1. If you don't think you'll get the phone back, you can delete all data from the device. To do this, click the Erase button. You'll see a warning (basically, don't do this unless you're absolutely sure you want to). Click the box that says you understand what you're doing and click Erase. This will delete all the data on your phone, preventing the thief from accessing it.

    If you get the device back later, you can restore your data from backup.

  2. If you think your device is on the move, click the green dot representing your phone and then click the rounded arrow in the pop-up window. This updates the device's location using the latest GPS data.

    What To Do If Your iPhone Is Offline

    Even if you have set up Find My iPhone, your device may not show up on the map. Reasons for why this may happen include that the device:

    • is turned off or out of battery
    • isn't connected to the Internet
    • has had its Location Services disabled.

    For more on that situation, read Why Is Find My iPhone Not Working?

    If Find My iPhone isn't working for whatever reason, you have a handful of options:

    • ​Check the Notify Me When Found box. Find My iPhone will let you know when your device next connects to the Internet so you can find it
    • The three options – Play Sound, Lost Mode, and Erase – are available. Use whichever you want and the next time the device is connected to the Internet, the option you picked will happen 
    • Choose Remove from Account if you've sold or given away the device and don't want it to show up in Find My iPhone anymore.

    Source: This article was published lifewire.com By Sam Costello

    Published in How to

    Nokia is back — and it’s back with a vengeance. The Finnish company finally launched its first Android-powered smartphone, the Nokia 6, but we’re expecting to see a lot more action this year. While the new devices won’t be made by Nokia, they will follow the company’s design guidelines and will retain the brand name.

    HMD Global will be manufacturing these devices exclusively. We originally thought there would be up to four new phones in 2017, but rumors suggest there will actually be as many as six or seven. The rumors come from Malaysian distributor Avaxx, which said Nokia will aim to launch phones in all price ranges.

    What’s more, these devices may not be as far off from release as previously thought. A tweet dated May 28 from the official Nokia Mobile account reads: “We plan to release our upcoming Smartphones worldwide before the end of Q2 2017. (June) Stay tuned for updates.”

    Here’s everything we know about Nokia’s 2017 Android phones so far.

    Nokia 9

    A Geekbench page for a device listed as “Unknown Heart” popped up on May 25, and some believe it could represent the Nokia 9. The company’s next flagship has been linked to the “Heart” moniker, and the specs would definitely indicate a top-tier device. According to the listing, the phone could have as much as 8GB of RAM.

    Now, these kinds of benchmarks are common in the run-up to the launch of a highly anticipated phone and are hardly confirmation of launch hardware. Even if this is the Nokia 9 we’re looking at, it could be a pre-production unit built to test higher RAM capacities. While 8GB of RAM might sound like overkill, many flagships in China are packing considerably more memory than we’ve ever seen in mobile devices before, and it’s not that much higher than the 6GB found in some phones on the market right now.

    Earlier in May, a device believed to be a prototype Nokia 9 was leaked by French Android news site FrAndroid. The phone in these images is clad in a boxy blue case to conceal as much about its exterior as possible, but images of a spec sheet and the rear camera stack give us some clues about the handset.

    What we can see is that there’s a rectangular fingerprint sensor on the front, situated between two hardware buttons in what looks to be a rather thick bezel. At the back, the silver camera housing shows two lenses, each believed to be 13 megapixels, as well as a flash and possibly a laser autofocus window. From these shots, the design seems quite underwhelming — but keep in mind, if this is indeed the Nokia 9 we’re looking at, it’s a preproduction unit that may not be entirely representative of the device’s final form.

    What about the internals? According to a rundown of specs listed on the device, we’re looking at a 5.3-inch QHD (2560 x 1440 pixels) display, 64GB of storage, and 4GB of RAM. FrAndroid mentions separately that the phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 system-on-chip and runs Android 7.1.1. Other shots show both USB-C and 3.5-millimeter headphone ports.

    Back in April, a sketch of a device claimed to be the Nokia 9 obtained by Nokia Power User gave what we thought, at the time, was our first look at the company’s upcoming flagship. The design appeared to follow the example of LG’s recently released G6, particularly in its edge-to-edge display with an 18:9 aspect ratio and slightly rounded corners. It’s important to note we cannot verify the authenticity of the drawing.


    Around the back, we see a series of vertically arranged cutouts for what would appear to be dual cameras, a flash, and potentially a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor.

    This leak followed another report from Nokia Power User that indicated the Nokia 9 — not the Nokia 8, as initially believed — will, in fact, be HMD’s flagship for 2017. Early on, there was confusion about the name of Nokia’s range-topping device, though now it seems the Nokia 8 is lower on the pecking order.

    According to Nokia Power User, the Nokia 9 is believed to feature a Snapdragon 835, along with a hefty 6GB of RAM and either 64GB or 128GB of storage. A 22-megapixel rear-facing camera and 12-megapixel front-facing camera are also rumored.

    Perhaps most interesting is the claim that the Nokia 9 will reportedly offer an iris scanner, bringing its security features in line with Samsung’s new Galaxy S8.

    The same report also notes that the device will be the first to offer the “Nokia OZO audio” enhancements, so it should be pretty good in the sound department. Last but not least, the report suggests the phone will have a 5.5-inch QHD display.

    Nokia 8

    To date, speculation around the Nokia 8 has been just that — speculation. Now, however, rumors are a little more solid. According to recent reports, the Nokia 8 will be launched alongside the Nokia 3 and Nokia 5 at some point in June. There’s no word yet on a specific launch date. The report, which comes from India Today, also highlighted that the device will likely come with a Snapdragon 835 processor and a 23MP rear-facing camera.

    Previously, the Nokia 8 was listed on Jingdong, or JD.com, for pre-sale. The listing did not state exactly when the phone would go on sale officially, but it did list a price of 3,188 yuan, which equates to around $463. It is worth noting, however, that the images listed are very similar to a concept design that was released earlier, suggesting that it could in fact be a fake listing.

    In addition to the leaked sketch of the Nokia 9, Nokia Power User shared a similar image of the Nokia 8. The two devices appear to be very much alike from the outside, with the only major differences being the larger bezels surrounding the Nokia 8’s display, and the front-facing fingerprint sensor. The screen still spans from edge to edge, but the rounded corners are notably absent. It is worth noting that the phone pictured here looks very different from one that surfaced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January that was also believed to be the Nokia 8, seen in a video below.

    Other rumors from Nokia Power User directly contradict information we originally heard about the phone. While the Nokia 8 has been rumored to feature a flagship-spec processor like the Snapdragon 821 or Snapdragon 835, new reports indicate that instead it will feature a much more midrange Qualcomm Snapdragon 660.

    A YouTuber, however, uploaded footage of alleged Nokia devices powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 and 835. The device was at Qualcomm’s booth at CES 2017, and the chipset manufacturer reportedly asked people not to take videos or photos of it. The YouTuber, whose account is named Total Tech, didn’t comply.

    Before we take a look at the video — it should be noted that we can’t verify this information, and the devices do not have any “Nokia” branding, so we’re casting a heavy dose of skepticism here. The YouTuber says Nokia and Qualcomm “have been working together on the Snapdragon 835 and the 10 nanometer process for the chip with Samsung for a while, according to inside sources, and Nokia has been their hardware reference provider for the 821 and 835.”

    Again, we can’t verify these insider sources’ claims, and whether or not Nokia has been in partnership with Qualcomm. Total Tech claims the device in his video is the upcoming Nokia 8.

    The video shows the difference in camera stabilization between a Snapdragon 821 processor and the Snapdragon 835. Total Tech says both devices are the Nokia 8 with the two processors — the one with the Snapdragon 821 will come with 4GB of RAM, and the Snapdragon 835 variant will have 6GB RAM.

    Both allegedly also feature electronic image stabilization, a 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display, MicroSD card support up to 256GB, 64GB and 128GB internal storage options, dual front-facing speakers, and LED notification lights.

    Total Tech also says the Nokia 8 will have a 24-megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilization, as well as a front-facing camera with 12-megapixels — it’s unclear if this applies to both models.

    What’s interesting is the back of the device, which Total Tech briefly shows in the video. There’s a large camera, like the one found on the back of the Lumia 1020 Windows Mobile device. That camera packed 41-megapixels and featured Carl Zeiss optics — it’s quite possible the partnership could come into play again.

    Nokia 7

    Fresh rumors indicate that Nokia is also working on a Nokia 7 handset — filling in the gap between the Nokia 6 and the so far only rumored Nokia 8. According to rumors from Nokia Power User, the Nokia 7 will feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, and it may feature a 1080p display and a metallic body.

    That’s pretty much all we know about the Nokia 7 at this point — but we’ll update this article as we hear more.


    Nokia 6

    The Nokia 6 is the company’s first Android smartphone, which debuted late last year. It packs some pretty decent specs — including 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and the “latest version of Android.” On top of that, the device boasts a 16MP rear-facing camera, and an 8MP front-facing camera — all for only $245.

    nokia-6-2-720x720 phone - AOFIRS

    Unfortunately, it’s not all good news — the device comes with a somewhat disappointing Qualcomm Snapdragon 430, and it’s only available in China.

    Nokia 5 and Nokia 3

    Nokia’s presence at Mobile World Congress in February included three devices, two of which were the Nokia 5 and the Nokia 3. Don’t expect flagship specs, though, as the two Android 7.0 Nougat smartphones will have lesser hardware than the Nokia 6 to hit lower price points.

    The Nokia 5 features a 5.2-inch screen with a 1,280 x 720-pixel resolution, and is powered by the same Snapdragon 430 processor but with 2GB of RAM. The rear camera will pack 13 megapixels, but the rest of the specs are expected to match the Nokia 6. It’s why the device costs only 189 euros, or about $200.

    The Nokia 3 will be the runt of the litter and will only cost 149 euros, or $158.

    Built by HMD Global, designed by Nokia

    It won’t be Nokia at the helm of the forthcoming devices’ development, technically speaking. HMD Global, a Finnish company co-founded by former Nokia executives Arto Nummela and Florian Seiche, acquired the rights to the company’s mobile brand from Microsoft in May. HMD has a contract with FIH, a subsidiary of iPhone manufacturer Foxconn, and under a strict licensing partnership, follows Nokia’s design and hardware guidelines in exchange for access to the company’s extensive patent library.

    In recent years, the company has struggled to gain a foothold in the high-end mobile market. Following the company’s adoption of Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system in 2011 and its acquisition by Microsoft in 2014, sales of its handset suffered — shipments in 2013 alone were down 22 percent year on year, according to Strategy Analytics.

    Following Nokia’s divestiture from its parent company earlier this year, things haven’t looked much better. In April of last year, thanks in part to lower-than-expected smartphone shipments, it announced 900 million euros in downsizing measures — a plan which in part involved the layoffs of 1,400 staff members in Germany, 1,300 in Finland, and 400 in France.

    Despite the Finnish company’s woes, though, it’s setting its eyes on the future. It teamed up independently with Foxconn to produce the N1, an Android-based tablet. It dipped its toes in virtual reality with the Ozo, a $60,000 professional-grade 360-degree camera. And it acquired French fitness device company Withings last year.

    “We have been reinventing ourselves for 150 years using this amazing brand,” Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia’s consumer Nokia Technologies division, told Digital Trends in June. “We’re starting to focus on people’s happiness and health in a way that wasn’t possible before because the technology wasn’t possible before. You can expect some really surprising products in the next year or two directly from this company as we turn a new chapter.”

    Article originally published in July 2016. Updated on 05-31-2017 by Adam Ismail: Added tweet from Nokia Mobile.

    Source: This article was published on digitaltrends.com by Kyle Wiggers

    Published in Others

    With the launch of the much awaited Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+, expectations of what one could possibly do with their phones have been redefined.  The phones are gorgeous looking, packed with innovation, loaded with never seen before features and to top it all, a screen that manages to live up to its Infinity Display moniker.

    Apart from Display, both the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ come packed with a host of features that make them hard to resist. Some of these are:

    • Samsung Pay that allows you to make digital payments virtually anywhere
    • Iris Scanner, a feature that defense grade security to ensure that your data is safe at all costs
    • Cameras that takes Smartphone photography to a whole new level
    • And Bixby, your very own AI-powered personal assistant


    Infinity Display

    The Infinity Display might take your breath away as no other phone has even come closer to achieving this size of the display. Interestingly, even the chin and forehead of the front screen have been shrunk to create a larger vertical display.


    To accommodate the large screen, Samsung has done away with the home button and replaced it with a pressure-sensitive section at the bottom of the screen. The displays have an amazing 18.5:9 aspect ratio. The Samsung devices are the first in the market to offer a quad HD+ resolution of 2960 x 1440. They are also “Mobile HDR Premium” certified so you can stream HDR shows from Amazon Prime and Netflix.

    The Galaxy S8 and the S8+ come with extremely vivid Super AMOLED displays that ensure gloriously vivid colors without over saturating brighter shades.


    It is not hyperbole to say nothing on the Smartphone market comes anywhere close to the design of these two devices. The curved rear fits perfectly in your palm. The phones are beautifully crafted to feel like one homogenous block where the glass, screen and metal somehow magically combine together.

    Samsung Galaxy S8-hands-on-3


    Samsung Galaxy S8-hands-on

    One of the most interesting features is Samsung Pay. You can use it almost anywhere to make digital payments. Samsung uses a proprietary technology called Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) to securely transmit data to credit card terminals…any credit card terminal. Where payment terminals have Near Field Communication (NFC) the data is transmitted through NFC. Basically infinite ways to pay, using just your phone.

    The device sports an Iris Scanner that is at the heart of the phone’s defense grade security. The Galaxy S8’s Iris Scanner can register up to 200 identifying features from a single iris, which means close to 400 identifying features from your eyes. The default setting for unlocking your Galaxy S8 and S8+ with the Iris Scanner is an impressive biometric feature. However, Samsung made it even more interesting by adding cartoonish screen masks to the Iris Scanner.

    Both the Galaxy phones feature a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera with Dual Pixel sensor with a f/1.7 lens which is great for low light photos. There is also a manual mode if that takes your fancy. On the front, there’s an 8-megapixel camera with smart autofocus and continuous face detection.


    With the launch of the Galaxy S8 and the S8+, Samsung has virtually rewritten the rules of what a smartphone should look like, and be capable of. These are the two most stunningly attractive and capable phones your money can buy.

    Disclaimer: This is an article sponsored by Samsung and does not necessarily reflect the views of India Web Portal Pvt Ltd.

    Source: This article was published bgr.in By Sponsored

    Published in Others

    As we edge closer to the expected introduction of the iPhone 8, two big and interrelated questions have come to the fore.

    First, has Apple figured out how to embed its Touch ID fingerprint scanner into the phone's display? And second, can the company (and its suppliers) implement this new technology in time to deliver the 10th anniversary edition model on schedule in early September?


    Opposing viewpoints are driving a blitz of rumors on this topic. In the optimist camp, there is Chinese site Economic Daily News (whose reports are often publicized by DigiTimes). EDN says Apple and its suppliers have resolved any potential Touch ID issues and are right where they want to be -- preparing to ramp up production in June, with every intention of delivering millions of new iPhones in early September. (Since the debut of the iPhone 5 in 2012, Apple has delivered all major introductions of its flagship product in September.)

    And in the other, more crowded, corner -- the naysayers. These include veteran Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, a handful of analyst firms, and the blog Mac Otakara, all of whom are reporting variations on one theme: Apple has been working to integrate this technology into the next iPhone; the process been more difficult than was anticipated; and, as a result, the usual September rollout is in doubt.

    The theories about Apple's potential contingency plans, including a delayed or phased release, are detailed below. For now, there's one thing we feel very confident about: the iPhone updates made in March were not the main event for 2017. All the signs point to a major redesign coming later this year. And as we move ever closer to the introduction of the iPhone 8, we'll be assembling the most significant rumors below.

    Specs we might see on the iPhone 8


    • Three new models including two incremental "S" upgrades plus an all-new iPhone 8
    • Home button/Touch ID embedded in display or located on back
    • New Touch ID featuring face or iris scanning
    • Curved, edge-to-edge OLED display with True Tone technology, possibly with Ion-X glass
    • Facial recognition via LG's new 3D sensor technology
    • AirPods come included
    • Wireless charging
    • Dual-lens camera, possibly in a vertical configuration and/or with AR capabilities
    • Support for the Apple Pencil
    • USB-C replacing Apple's Lightning connector
    • Enhanced water resistance
    • Higher quality earpiece for louder, clearer audio
    • Apple's next-generation processor (the A10X or A11)
    • Stainless steel and glass body
    • Upgraded storage starting at 64GB and 3GB of RAM
    • Intel or Qualcomm modem
    • Priced between $850 and $1,099


    The iPhone... when?

    We've grown accustomed to seeing a new iPhone every fall. But an expanding chorus of sources is casting doubt on Apple's ability to deliver this September. In recent weeks, there has been a steady stream of reports about manufacturing issues in Apple's supply chain related to the "significant hardware upgrades" the company has planned for the iPhone 8.

    These rumors are driving multiple theories. Some of the scenarios in play include a October or November launch, an announcement in September followed by "severe shortages" of product, and deliveries delayed until later in the fall. There's also a credible story circulating that Apple will make a phased rollout -- that is, a launch of the "S" series editions of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in September, with the big iPhone 8 debut coming a month or two later.

    It's worth restating that that there are also reports that suggest that Apple is right on schedule. And, of course, officially, we have no idea when Apple will drop the iPhone 8. Could the company shock us with an introduction at its 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference in a few weeks? Unlikely -- though it sounds like we could see new MacBooks and MacBook Pros and even a new iPad there.

    The iPhone... what?

    For now, we're calling it the iPhone 8, though we don't know officially what the company will call it. As seen most recently with the new iPad -- with the iPad Air 2 succeeded by the iPad -- Apple may take a freewheeling approach to nomenclature.

    It does seem likely that the company will offer up an iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus -- updated versions of the current models -- as less expensive alternatives to the next generation flagship. For the 10th anniversary model itself, however, anything is possible. The iPhone 8 is the conservative bet but we've seen rumors about an iPhone 10; an iPhone X; and the offbeat iPhone Edition, seemingly inspired by the premium Apple Watch Edition.

    Lots of potential changes to the display

    After months of debate and conflicting reports, there appears to be one area of consensus: at least one new iPhone model will have an OLED display. (The iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus, according to the rumors, are more likely to stick with current LCD technology.)

    The Wall Street Journal and Nikkei Asian Review are predicting that Apple will give the iPhone 8 a curved OLED panel manufactured by Samsung. Purported documentation published by /LEAKS appears to suggest that the display could be made of Ion-X glass, like the Apple Watch.

    And it's this new display technology -- new for Apple, Samsung has been using it for years -- that could be one of the major factors potentially pushing back the release of the iPhone. Bloomberg (and others) have published reports that Apple is testing a version of the iPhone 8 that features a screen that "covers almost the entire front of the device." Which leads one to wonder...


    What's up with the home button?

    The nature and location of the iPhone 8's home button and optical fingerprint scanner is a hot topic. The latest buzz is that Apple could move it to the back of the phone, as shown in alleged render images leaked on Chinese site Weibo (via /LEAKS) and on Twitter by Apple leaker Sonny Dickson. Analyst firm CLSA has also gotten in on the action, suggesting that there is a "high chance" that Apple will locate the scanner on the back of the iPhone, according to its supply chain sources.


    It's also possible that Apple could ditch the home button altogether, following in the footsteps of Samsung with its Galaxy S8. But the most interesting scenario is that Apple has figured out some way to embed or integrate it directly into the display. Which brings us to...

    Touch ID 2.0

    Today, Apple's Touch ID authentication protocol uses a fingerprint reader embedded in the home button. Over the past few months, there have been multiple reports that Apple has been working to integrate Touch ID into the iPhone 8's new OLED display -- and is running into big problems. According to analysts, the crux of the issue involves embedding a virtual home button and optical fingerprint sensor into the new full-screen OLED panel.

    Economic Daily News reports (via MacRumors) that Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company says the company has "finalized a solution." That noted, there are several interesting theories about what Apple might do if this manufacturing process doesn't coalesce.

    These range from relocating Touch ID to the back of the phone to eliminating Touch ID to, again, delaying the iPhone 8 launch altogether. But there's also another possibility: that the phone could leverage an entirely new (for Apple) paradigm for authentication that's rumored to be in development.

    Benjamin Geskin

    A render of the iPhone 8 with a pair of front-facing cameras and sensors.Benjamin Geskin

    Face ID?

    According to a report from The Korea Economic Daily, LG will provide 3D facial recognition technology for the iPhone 8. The article suggests that the new technology could be used for "biometric" identification. So it's plausible that Apple could use this new capability, which would ostensibly use the iPhone 8's new front lens array, to replace the fingerprint sensor as the primary interface for user authentication.

    New body

    The majority of images of cases, renders, and molds that have appeared so far show an iPhone 8 that, size-wise, sits between the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. It's worth noting that the iPhone 8's display, rumored to extend from edge to edge, would likely be more comparable with that of the 7 Plus.

    In terms of materials, one of Apple's prototypes features a combination of curved glass and stainless steel, according to Bloomberg. This corroborates earlier rumors (reported by DigiTimes and Nikkei Asian Review) suggesting that the company might replace the traditional aluminum iPhone design with a glass and steel body. Previous rumors about the possibility of a ceramic body seem to have faded out.

    Enhanced audio

    According to JPMorgan (as reported by MacRumors), Apple may equip the iPhone 8 with an "enhanced receiver," which is housed within the slit on the front of the phone where you put your ear during calls. This upgrade would ostensibly deliver louder, clearer audio as well as superior water-proofing (more on that below).


    Today, the AirPods are a $159 accessory. Could Apple included them for free with the iPhone 8?Apple

    AirPods included

    JPMorgan has also postulated that the iPhone 8 will come with AirPods included. These Bluetooth-enabled headphones currently sell as a $159 accessory. And so this one is a stretch. But if Apple prices the new phone high enough, there could be margin enough to make it happen. Which brings us to...

    Price Point

    This remains way up in the air. Sources ranging from Morgan Stanley to Fast Company to, most recently, Goldman Sachs are talking about an iPhone 8 that could cost more than $1,000. A UBS analyst has theorizedthat the 64GB entry-level model would start at $850 -- just like the new Samsung Galaxy S8+ -- and that the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus would cost $649 and $749, respectively.

    Gigabit LTE

    One area in which the iPhone 8 may end up trailing the Galaxy S8 is cellular network speed. The Samsung phone features Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 processor or, in some markets, Samsung's own Exynos 8895 chip -- both of which support Gigabit LTE. According to CNET's Roger Cheng, Apple uses Qualcomm and Intel modems -- and, at the moment, the Intel version can't deliver Gigabit LTE speed. This could force Apple to slow down the Qualcomm version to ensure all iPhones are on the same footing.

    USB-C vs. Lightning

    Countering a Wall Street Journal report that Apple would go with a USB-C port for the iPhone 8, a Barclays analyst (reported by MacRumors) has suggested that Apple will stick with its Lightning connector -- and include a 3.5mm headphone jack adapter -- for the next phone.

    Wireless charging


     Reuters reports that there are multiple groups at Apple working on technology for an iPhone that supports wireless charging. And we are seeing more leaked schematic drawings that seem to suggest that wireless charging could be a real thing.

    In the past, The Verge has reported that Apple has been staffing up on wireless-charging experts. The Nikkei Asian Review reported that Foxconn, one of Apple's main manufacturing partners, is making wireless charging modules. Though Apple would likely make this feature available on the premium iPhone 8, MacRumors reports that Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has suggested that all new iPhone models -- that would include the "S" series, presumably -- will get it.

    Enhanced waterproofing

    Apple could walk away from the Lightning port and not add a USB-C connection, of course, which would make the iPhone more resistant to water. On that note, the Korea Herald reports that the next iPhone will have a higher water resistance rating -- IP68 compared with the current generation's IP67, for those keeping score.

    Vertical cameras and AR

    Nearly every "leaked" image, including the one here published by OnLeaks, shows the iPhone 8 with two cameras in a vertical configuration; this one appears to show an LED flash in the middle. And if the iPhone does come with those LG 3D sensors, they would almost certainly also support augmented reality applications.

    More storage

    Apple may dump its 32GB model and offer a 64GB and 256GB model, according to TrendForce; the report also suggests that the company will boost the amount of RAM to 3GB. This incremental bump would follow the recent precedent of Apple ditching its dreaded entry-level model (formerly 16GB) when it released the iPhone 7.


    Is True Tone coming to the iPhone?Apple

    Mood lighting

    And Barclays analysts have predicted that all three forthcoming iPhones -- the 7S, 7S Plus, and iPhone 8 -- will come equipped with Apple's True Tone technology, which adjusts display settings for ambient lighting conditions, and which is currently featured on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. (The next edition of the iPad Pro is also rumored to have a True Tone display.)

    Bringing the GPU in house

    Apple is developing its own graphics chips to be used in future versions of products including the iPhone. But the timeframe for phasing out its current supplier is 15 to 24 months, so it's unlikely that an Apple-manufactured GPU will make it into the next iPhone. We're probably looking at 2018 or 2019 for this one.

    And what about the iPhone 9?

    From the outer frontier of the iPhone hype cycle, The Bell (via Korean site The Investor) reports that Apple will supersize the next generation, with the iPhone 9 featuring two variations with an OLED display -- a 5.28-inch model and a 6.46-inch model.

    Source: This article was published cnet.com

    Published in Others

    Mobile phone carriers don't want you to leave, especially if they helped pay for your phone. Most of the phones sold in the U.S. (except for Verizon phones) are "locked," meaning they can't be taken to another carrier without being unlocked. From the carriers' perspective, it's a way to stop customers from leaving before they've paid out their contract or installment plan.

    Because we're a country fragmented between the GSM and CDMA technologies and several different frequency bands, unlocking a phone doesn't mean you can use it on any other U.S. carrier. But depending on the phone, you may be able to use it on a different U.S. carrier, or with foreign carriers for lower rates than you would pay roaming on your own provider.

    It also helps to unlock a used phone before you sell it on a site like eBay. That will raise the price you get, because more people will be able to buy and use your phone.

    In late 2013, the U.S. wireless carrier association (CTIA) agreed to adopt standards that would allow subscribers to unlock their paid-off phones by February 11, 2015. That's made things easier, but there are still a lot of requirements and caveats.

    Why Unlock Your Phone?

    The simplest reason to unlock your phone is to use it on another GSM network. That could be AT&T, T-Mobile, one of the virtual carriers that uses those networks, or a foreign GSM carrier. AT&T and T-Mobile now give service plan discounts for bringing your own phone.

    The reason to use an unlocked phone while traveling abroad is because you can use either a global SIM card or a local carrier's SIM card, which would offer much lower rates than roaming with your U.S. carrier. You'd lose your standard U.S. phone number for the duration of the trip, though.

    U.S. GSM virtual carriers compatible with unlocked phones include Cricket, MetroPCS, Simple Mobile, Straight Talk, H2O Wireless, Black Wireless, Ready SIM, and many others.

    Large CDMA carriers, in general, do not accept unlocked phones. That means you can't move an unlocked phone over to Verizon, Sprint, Boost, or Virgin.

    However, some small virtual carriers on Sprint's network will accept unlocked Sprint phones (and only Sprint phones) - carriers like Ting, Expo Mobile, EcoMobile, and Credo Wireless. The small virtual carrier Page Plus accepts unlocked Verizon phones.

    There are third-party sites that purport to sell "unlock codes," but they're generally pretty shady. Avoid them.

    How To Unlock an AT&T Phone

    AT&T's unlocking policy depends on what kind of customer you are.

    If you aren't an AT&T customer and you're trying to unlock an AT&T phone that you bought used, the phone must be fully paid off, not attached to a contract, and not reported lost or stolen.

    If you're a postpaid customer, that all has to be true, and you also have to have had service for 60 days. If you're a prepaid customer, kick that up to six months.

    If you fulfill these requirements, go to AT&T's Unlocking Page to submit a request. AT&T will send you instructions on how to unlock your phone within two days.

    How to Unlock a T-Mobile Phone

    T-Mobile's unlocking rules require you to use your phone for a certain amount of time and pay it off before unlocking. Also, you can only request two unlock codes a year.

    Phones on monthly plans must have been active for 40 days and either completely paid off if they're on a no-contract plan, or at least 18 months into a 24-month contract. Prepaid smartphones must have been active for a year or have used $100 in refills.

    If you fulfill those requirements, call 1-877-746-0909 or use the online chat on TMobile.com and ask to unlock your phone. They'll send you instructions within two days.

    How to Unlock a Sprint, Boost or Virgin Phone

    Sprint, Boost, and Virgin (which are all parts of Sprint) now all have the same unlocking policies. You only need to bother unlocking Sprint phones if they also contain a GSM radio (like the iPhone 6 does) or if you're moving them to a Sprint-based virtual carrier like Ting or Credo Wireless.

    Sprint has a complex, confusing set of unlocking policies. You can read Sprint's main unlocking policyprepaid unlocking policy, and unlocking FAQ for details, but here are the basics.

    If you just want to use a Sprint world phone (such as an iPhone 6) with a foreign SIM card when you travel abroad, it basically just needs to be a live device on an account that's been active for 90 days. This form of unlocking won't allow it to be used on non-Sprint U.S. networks. Go to sprint.com/sww to get this unlock.

    To unlock a Sprint phone, the phone must be fully paid off or out of contract, and not reported as lost or stolen. If it's prepaid, such as a Virgin or Boost phone, the phone must have been used for 12 months.

    But wait! Unless you bought your phone after February 19, 2015, only iPhone 5s, 5c, 6, and 6 Plus models are truly unlockable on Sprint, Virgin, or Boost. According to Sprint, phones bought before February 19 will require a code to move to another Sprint-compatible carrier, not a true SIM unlock.

    Phones bought after February 19, 2015 may be fully SIM unlockable, but remember, because of that year-long active requirement, you probably won't be able to SIM-unlock most Virgin or Boost phones until 2016. You will be able to CDMA unlock them to use on another Sprint-based carrier, or international unlock them for internation SIM use, though.

    Call 844-665-6327 to unlock your Sprint phone, 888-322-1122 to unlock a Virgin phone or 866-402-7366 to unlock a Boost phone.

    This Reddit thread helps decode what Sprint is doing.

    How to Unlock a U.S. Cellular Phone

    U.S. Cellular's unlocking policy says that it will unlock any postpaid phone that is paid off or out of contract, and any prepaid phone that was activated more than 12 months ago. 3G devices can be unlocked by calling 888-944-9400, but for LTE devices, you must stop in at a U.S. Cellular store.

    How to Unlock a Verizon Phone

    Verizon 4G LTE phones are sold unlocked. You can use them on any supported carrier on demand.

    If you have a Verizon 3G Global Ready device, most of them are unlocked; any locked devices can be unlocked by request by calling 888-294-6804. If your phone asks for an unlocking code, try "000000" or "123456" before calling for help.

    Verizon's full phone unlocking policy is online.

    How to Unlock Other Carriers' Phones

    Cricket will unlock GSM phones that have been in use for 6 months (either current Cricket or former Aio phones). Stop into a store, call 800-274-2538, or chat online.

    MetroPCS will unlock any GSM phone that's been active for 90 days; stop into a store or call 888-863-8768.

    Phones from TracFone and Straight Talk that were put on the market after January 2014 can be unlocked after 12 months of use as per the company's unlocking policy. Call your brand's customer service number to ask.

    Source: This article was published on pcmag.com by SASCHA SEGAN

    Published in How to

    Researchers from UC Santa Barbara and Georgia Tech have discovered a fresh class of Android attacks, called Cloak and Dagger, that can operate secretly on a phone, allowing hackers to log keystrokes, install software and otherwise control a device without alerting its owner. Cloak and Dagger exploits take advantage of the Android UI, and they require just two permissions to get rolling: SYSTEM ALERT WINDOW ("draw on top") and BIND ACCESSIBILITY SERVICE ("a11y").

    This concerns researchers because Android automatically grants the draw-on-top permission for any app downloaded from the Play Store, and once a hacker is in, it's possible to trick someone into granting the a11y permission. A Cloak and Dagger-enabled app hides a layer of malicious activity under seemingly harmless visuals, luring users to click on unseen buttons and keystroke loggers.

    "To make things worse, we noticed that the accessibility app can inject the events, unlock the phone, and interact with any other app while the phone screen remains off," the researchers write. "That is, an attacker can perform a series of malicious operations with the screen completely off and, at the end, it can lock the phone back, leaving the user completely in the dark."

    Google is aware of the exploit.

    "We've been in close touch with the researchers and, as always, we appreciate their efforts to help keep our users safer," a spokesperson says. "We have updated Google Play Protect -- our security services on all Android devices with Google Play -- to detect and prevent the installation of these apps. Prior to this report, we had already built new security protections into Android O that will further strengthen our protection from these issues, moving forward."

    One of the researchers, Yanick Fratantonio, tells TechCrunch the recent updates to Android O might address Cloak and Dagger, and the team will test it out and update its website accordingly. For now, he says, don't download random apps and keep an eye on those permissions.

    Source: This article was published engadget.com By Jessica Conditt

    Published in Others

    Android Go-optimized apps will be less than 10MB in size


    Android Go is Google's answer to spotty bandwidth and underpowered smartphones, persistent problems in developing markets.

    In developing markets like India and Brazil, smartphone infrastructure — not smartphone ownership — is the biggest barrier to the adoption of online services. Hundreds millions of people in India use Android phones — more than in the United States, Google says — but suffer from expensive, spotty networks that make it difficult to reliably access the web. To address that problem, Google is launching Android Go, a new platform for bandwidth-optimized apps.

    “Part of Android’s mission is to bring computing to everyone,” Dave Burke, Google’s vice president of engineering, said in a blog post. “We’re excited about seeing more users come online for the first time as the price of entry-level smart phones drop, and we want to help manufacturers continue to offer lower-cost devices that provide a great experience for these users.”

    Android Go was designed from the get-go with slower, low-memory devices in mind, Google said. It supports phones with less than 1GB of RAM — as little as 512MB, in some cases — and exposes device-level connectivity settings to internet subscribers. Carriers can let people top up their data in their phone’s settings menu, and Chrome Data Saver — Google’s traffic-saving tool that uses proxy servers, compression, and machine intelligence to cut down on the amount of data consumed by web pages — will be switched on by default.

    Google said Data Saver alone helps to save 750 terabytes of traffic every day.

    Android Go will also collate Google’s other low-bandwidth offerings in a new section of the Google Play Store. In fact, devices running Android Go will only show apps that have been optimized for it — specifically, apps smaller than 10MB in size.

    It will include YouTube Go, which launched earlier in beta earlier this year. It includes data-saving features like the ability to preview and download videos, more choice in resolutions, and YouTube P2P — the ability to share videos with local connections like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Smart Offline, a recent addition, downloads content overnight, when data rates tend to be cheapest.

    Also in tow is Google’s keyboard, Gboard, which gained multilingual and transliteration support earlier this year. It automatically recognizes when you begin typing in more than one language, and uses real-time Google Translate to transcribe typed text.

    Earlier this year, Google added more than 11 new languages to Gboard, including Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, and Gujarati. They’re replete with support for auto-correction, prediction, and two layouts each — one for the native language script and one for the QWERTY layout for transliteration, which lets you spell words phonetically using QWERTY alphabet and get text output in your native language script.

    The latest version of Google Translate, which will feature prominently in the new Android Go app store, can interpret the most widely used languages that are widely on the Indian subcontinent — Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Punjabi, Malayalam, and Kannada. Alongside those improvements, Google’s added machine learning-powered translation to Android Go’s built-in Translate functionality — when you encounter a webpage with foreign text, the Chrome browser will automatically offer to translate it using Google’s new neural network-assisted technique.

    All devices with 1GB or less will get an Android Go model, and that “every” Android device will have it as an option.

    Article originally published on 05-17-2017. Updated on 05-18-2017: Added additional details from Google’s Android Go session at Google I/O 2017. 

    Source: This article was published digitaltrends.com By Kyle Wiggers

    Published in Search Engine

    In the 12 years that I've covered wireless industry for CNET, the debate over whether cell phone use is hazardous to our health has long simmered in the background. It comes to a boil each time a new study analyzing a possible link is released, briefly grabbing the attention of the phone-wielding public.

    The latest flash came May 26 when the US National Toxicology Program published a multiyear study that found a potential link between phone use and cancer. Male rats that were exposed to the same wireless signals our cell phones emit today were more likely to develop certain types of brain and heart tumors than the control rats. The more exposure a rat received, the study reported, the more likely is was to develop a cancer of some form. No difference was observed between female rats; findings from mice subjects have yet to be disclosed (the full report from the study will be released next year).

    The study's observations, especially when relayed quickly in our sound bite news culture, have alarmed some people. I understand why. In my years covering this issue, passions on the debate run deep. Some readers and experts are convinced we're on the verge of a major public health crisis, while others dismiss the debate as tinfoil-hat pseudoscience. Most of the public, however, doesn't appear to care. Ever since scientists first started asking questions, cell phone use has only skyrocketed with 92 percent of Americans now owning mobile phones.

    That trend isn't going to change anytime soon. Nor should it. Despite what this study has demonstrated, and how some headlines have interpreted it, there's still no definitive answer to whether cell phones are dangerous. And as I'll discuss in a minute, we may never get one at all. This one study is not a reason to stop using your phone, and in today's modern world it would be near impossible to do so. Still, it is OK for you to pay attention to this debate and be aware of its developments. If you're just getting caught up, here's what you need to know.

    Take no study in a vacuum

    Remember that this is just one study in a crowded field that has been running for decades. Previous studies also have found links between phone use and cancer, while others have found no correlation (there are far too many to list here).

    As with many other things that scientists study in our universe, there's no consensus as of yet. Studies will differ, they will dispute each other and they will ask new questions we haven't asked before. Don't rely on one study to draw conclusions in your head, that's not how science works.

    We may never get an answer

    Science takes time -- a lot of it. Consider how long humans smoked before the evidence that it's harmful began to influence public policy. Cell phones, however, are still a new technology. "We need more data to be certain of anything," Dr. Jana Witt, Cancer Research UK's health information officer told me in a phone interview. "It's difficult to get definitive answer or proof."

    Dr. Witt told me her organization would look for a comprehensive review of all available evidence showing a link. "We'd look at epidemiological (the science of how disease spreads) studies of humans that show a correlation, even if they may not be able to show a causation directly," she said. "They'd be combined with lab studies showing that [cell phone radiation] changes genetic material and studies of animals."

    In other words, don't pine for a magical day when we we can say without any doubt that cell phones cause cancer. Likewise, don't wait for science to "prove" that phone use is not harmful.

    Consider every study carefully

    When any study is published, it will (rightfully) be analyzed and picked apart to find weaknesses or errors with the research. That's an important step that aids in further study. I won't do that here, leaving it to others to point out the red flags instead.


    Those include how the rats were exposed to emissions (nine hours per day and over their entire bodies is different how humans would use a cell phone), the type of rats used and their ages, whether the study was properly reviewed, small sample sizes and the fact that the study reported a "low incidence" of cancer in the test rats.

    In an emailed statement, Dr. Witt wrote that it's also unclear how the findings of a study on rats would translate to people. "There's been a lot of research into any potential cancer risk of using mobile phones and overall there's good evidence that the risk of brain tumours isn't higher in people who have used a mobile phone for up to 10 years," she wrote. "Ongoing research to check for effects over a longer time, or in children, is important."

    It's also wise to consider who funds a study when evaluating its findings. For example, would you inherently trust a study from the National Beef Association recommending that you eat steak once a week? No, of course not.

    About a phone's SAR

    For a long time CNET kept comprehensive cell phone radiation charts, which showed the maximum SAR (aka Specific Absorption Rate or how much radio frequency a phone emits) for every phone we reviewed.

    As background, the Federal Communications Commission mandates that every phone sold in the US must have a SAR of no higher than 1.6 watts/kilogram (w/kg). Before it can go on sale, the FCC tests a phone to find its SAR in facility in Maryland (though some health advocates charge that the FCC test is outdated). Canada also has a 1.6 w/kg limit, while the European Union and Australia mandate a 2.0 w/kg limit.

    Two years ago, though, we discontinued the charts because a SAR by itself isn't a reliable measure of whether a phone is safe. A handset may have a SAR of 0.9 w/kg, but that's not necessarily safer than a phone with 1.2 w/kg. A handset's SAR can vary widely during a call as you alternate between transmission bands and as you increase your distance from a tower. And it may never reach the highest recorded SAR found in the FCC test at all.

    What the industry says

    Not surprisingly, the wireless industry, led by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association in the US, is quick to insist that phone use is safe. It cites studies that back up this position and is critical of studies that say differently. The CTIA also has pushed back vigorously against local governments that have tried to mandate health warnings to cell phone use.

    In 2013 after a lawsuit from the CTIA, for instance, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to kill a law that would have forced phone retailers to list a handset's SAR at the point of sale. Though similar legislation has mostly stalled in other cities this year, the nearby city of Berkeley was able to implement a law mandating health notices after a federal judge dismissed a CTIA suit.

    Again, think about what happened with smoking. Even if the scientific community were to reach a consensus that wireless signals are likely to cause cancer, drafting safety legislation and changing public behavior will be a long battle the industry will be intimately involved in.

    What the skeptics say

    Those doubting a link between phone use and cancer raise a number of great questions. For instance, if cell phones really are dangerous, then why are brain cancer rates falling? Others contend that phones emit far less radiation than could ever be considered harmful and the kind of radiation (non-ionizing) they emit can't adversely affect human cells.

    What's more, radiation -- at least in low doses -- is everywhere, even before the advent of wireless technology. We'll never get away from it completely: We're addicted to Wi-Fi, and we use baby monitors, walkie-talkies and cordless phones. Not all of it is harmful.

    Why study continues

    It continues because it's a good question to ask. "There a lot of studies that are still happening and we're still gathering data for," Dr. Witt told me. "The evidence will become clearer in the future."

    And it isn't just about brain cancer. Cell phone use is affecting our bodies in other ways. They keep us awake at night, give us sore necks and texting thumbs and make us more distracted. Texting and driving is incredibly dangerous and some studies have suggested that phones could give children headaches or decrease male fertility. Maybe we'll have to wait until kids raised with cell phone are well into adulthood to know more.

    Don't dismiss health advocates out of hand

    I used to get a lot of email labeling people concerned about cell phones use as fear-mongering nuts. That's an unfair generalization to make. Instead, consider that many are intelligent, sincere and well-intentioned people. Some have lost loved ones to brain cancer and worry that cell phone is a possible cause. They're not just peddling nonsense, they're looking for answers and they want to save others from the same fate. Let's meet them halfway.

    On a more personal note, I'll never forget one of the first things a good friend asked me after he was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2009 (he passed away four years later). "Do you think it could be my phone?" he asked. I replied with what I knew about the debate at the time, but realized it would be of little comfort. But he just wanted to know, "Why me?"

    What you can do

    If you are concerned, here's what you can do. Most of these precautions are recommended by and the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, the UK's National Health Service and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency. And even if you think these simple steps are silly, consider that following them isn't going to harm you.

    • Text instead of placing a voice call and use a headset to keep the phone away from your head when possible.
    • If you're pregnant, avoid carrying a phone next to your stomach or in your bra.
    • Men: Don't carry the phone in a pants pocket next to your groin.
    • Limit phone use for children, who have smaller and thinner skulls.
    • Don't sleep with an active phone under the pillow. Put it on your bedside table instead. And if you need to keep your phone on for middle-of-the-night emergency calls, at least silence text alerts so you can get a restful night's sleep.
    • Be careful with accessories promising protection. Pong's line of phones cases promise to refocus RF energy away from your head while not reducing signal strength. Again, though, there's no guarantee that such a case makes your phone safer. Don't bother with the shiny, gold-lined radiation "shields" you can find online. They're useless.

    Source: This article was published cnet.com By Kent German

    Published in Others

    Commentary: A darts player says his hand was speared with glass after his Apple device blew up, according to a report.

    He swiped right. And then boom.

    That's the story told by Brit Lee Hayes of his unfortunate encounter with his iPhone 7.

    He told the Sun that he'd only had it for three days and was answering a call when it allegedly just blew up on him.

    "It was on the bench in the kitchen and I heard it ringing. As soon as I touched the screen to answer it the phone just exploded," he reportedly said.

    His description of a loud bang and a sizzling noise is consistent with many reports of phones spontaneously combusting.

    Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Hayes, 42, of Southport, England, reportedly told the Sun that he had many small shards of glass embedded in his hand and that the phone had left burn marks on the kitchen bench where it had been sitting.

    Hayes is a semi-professional darts player who calls himself "The Scorpion." He told the Sun his injuries have prevented him from competing and he's thinking of suing Apple.

    It's appears that Hayes, himself, has been involved in legal issues before. As the Southport OTS News reported, a Lee "The Scorpion" Hayes was convicted last year of perverting the course of justice. Hayes didn't respond to two requests for comment.


    When phones explode, blame often lies with the batteries -- as was the case with Samsung's now infamous Galaxy Note 7. In that case, one customer sued Samsung because he alleged that the phone exploded in his pants.

    It doesn't seem to matter which brand it might be or even the age of the phone. Phones are electronic devices and they can go wrong.

    Hayes told the Sun he considers himself relatively lucky.

    "It was a nasty injury -- my hand was bleeding quite heavily -- but it could have been so much worse. I could have lost my hand," he said.

    Technically Incorrect: Bringing you a fresh and irreverent take on tech.

    Solving for XX: The industry seeks to overcome outdated ideas about "women in tech."

    Source : This article was published cnet.com By Chris Matyszczyk

    Published in Others

    THE NSA, IT seems, isn’t the only American spy agency hacking the world. Judging by a new, nearly 9,000-page trove of secrets from WikiLeaks, the CIA has developed its own surprisingly wide array of intrusion tools, too.

    On Tuesday morning, WikiLeaks released what it’s calling Vault 7, an unprecedented collection of internal CIA files—what appear to be a kind of web-based Wiki—that catalog the agency’s apparent hacking techniques. And while the hoards of security researchers poring through the documents have yet to find any actual code among its spilled secrets, it details surprising capabilities, from dozens of exploits targeting Android and iOS to advanced PC-compromise techniques and detailed attempts to hack Samsung smart TVs, turning them into silent listening devices.

    “It certainly seems that in the CIA toolkit there were more zero-day exploits than we’d estimated,” says Jason Healey, a director at the Atlantic Council think tank, who has focused on tracking how many of those “zero-days”—undisclosed, unpatched hacking techniques—the US government has stockpiled. Healey says that he had previously estimated American government agencies might have held onto less than a hundred of those secret exploits. “It looks like CIA might have that number just by itself.”

    Mobile Targets

    The leak hints at hacking capabilities that range from routers and desktop operating systems to internet-of-things devices, including one passing reference to research on hacking cars. But it seems to most thoroughly detail the CIA’s work to penetrate smartphones: One chart describes more than 25 Android hacking techniques, while another shows 14 iOS attacks.

    Given the CIA’s counterterrorism work—and the ability of a phone exploit to keep tabs on a target’s location—that focus on mobile makes sense, Healey says. “If you’re going to be trying to figure where Bin Laden is, mobile phones are going to be more important.”

    The smartphone exploits listed, it’s important to note, are largely old. Researchers date the leak to sometime between late 2015 and early 2016, suggesting that many of the hacking techniques that may have once been zero days are now likely patched. The leak makes no mention of iOS 10, for instance. Google and Apple have yet to weigh in on the leak and whether it points to vulnerabilities that still persist in their mobile operating systems. Android security researcher John Sawyer says he has combed the Android attacks for new vulnerabilities and found “nothing that’s scary.”

    He also notes, though, that the leak still hints at CIA hacking tools that have no doubt continued to evolve in the years since. “I’m quite sure they have far newer capabilities than what’s listed,” Sawyer says.

    Targeting Android, for instance, the leak references eight remote-access exploits—meaning they require no physical contact with the device—including two that target Samsung Galaxy and Nexus phones and Samsung Tab tablets. Those attacks would offer hackers an initial foothold on target devices: In three cases, the exploit descriptions reference browsers like Chrome, Opera, and Samsung’s own mobile browser, suggesting that they could be launched from maliciously crafted or infected web pages. Another 15 tools are marked “priv,” suggesting they’re “privilege escalation” attacks that expand a hacker’s access from that initial foothold to gain deeper access, in many cases the “root” privileges that suggest total control of the device. That means access to any onboard files but also the microphone, camera, and more.

    The iOS vulnerabilities offer more piecemeal components of a hacker tool. While one exploit offers a remote compromise of a target iPhone, the WikiLeaks documents describe the others as techniques to defeat individual layers of the iPhone’s defense. That includes the sandbox that limits applications’ access to the operating system and the security feature that randomizes where a program runs in memory to make it harder to corrupt adjacent software.

    “Definitely with these exploits chained together [the CIA] could take full control of an iPhone,” says Marcello Salvati, a researcher and penetration tester at security firm Coalfire. “This is the first public evidence that’s the case.”

    The leak sheds some limited light on the CIA’s sources of those exploits, too. While some of the attacks are attributed to public releases by iOS researchers, and the Chinese hacker Pangu, who has developed techniques to jailbreak the iPhone to allow the installation of unauthorized apps, others are attributed to partner agencies or contractors under codenames. The remote iOS exploit is listed as “Purchased by NSA” and “Shared with CIA.” The CIA apparently purchased two other iOS tools from a contractor listed as “Baitshop,” while the Android tools are attributed to sellers codenamed Fangtooth and Anglerfish.

    In a tweet, NSA leaker Edward Snowden pointed to those references as “the first public evidence [the US government] is paying to keep US software unsafe.”

    Internet of Spies

    While the leak doesn’t detail the CIA’s attack techniques for desktop software like Windows and MacOS as explicitly, it does reference a “framework” for Windows attacks that seems to act as a kind of easy interface for hacking desktop machines, with “libraries” of vulnerabilities that attackers can swap in and out. It lists attacks that bypass and even exploit a long list of antivirus software to gain access to target desktop machines. And for MacOS, the document references an attack on computers’ BIOS, the software that boots before the rest of the operating system. Compromising that can lead to a particularly dangerous and deep-rooted malware infection.

    “This is something we already know that can be done, but we haven’t seen it in the wild,” says Alfredo Ortega, a researcher for security firm Avast. “And by a government, no less.”

    The most surprising and detailed hack described in the CIA leak, however, targets neither smartphones nor PCs, but televisions. A program called Weeping Angel details work in 2014 to turn Samsung’s smart TVs into stealthy listening devices. The research notes include references to a “Fake Off” mode that disables the television’s LEDs to make it look convincingly powered down while still capturing audio. Under a “to-do” list of potential future work, it lists capturing video, too, as well as using the television’s Wi-Fi capability in that Fake Off mode, potentially to transmit captured eavesdropping files to a remote hacker.

    A tool called TinyShell appears to allow the CIA hackers full remote control of an infected television, including the ability to run code and offload files, says Matt Suiche, a security researcher and founder of the UAE-based security firm Comae Technologies. “I would assume that, by now, they would definitely have exploits for Samsung TVs,” Suiche says. “This shows that they’re interested. If you’re doing the research, you’re going to find vulnerabilities.” Samsung did not respond to WIRED’s request for comment.

    The fact that the CIA mixes this sort of digital espionage with its more traditional human intelligence shouldn’t come as a surprise, says the Atlantic Council’s Healey. But he says the sheer volume of the CIA’s hacking capabilities described in the WikiLeaks release took him aback nonetheless. And that volume calls into question supposed limitations on the US government’s use of zero-day exploits, like the so-called Vulnerabilities Equities Process—a White House initiative created under President Obama to ensure that security vulnerabilities found by US agencies were disclosed and patched, where possible.

    If Vault 7 is any indication, that initiative has taken a back seat to assembling a formidable array of hacking tools. “If the CIA has this many,” Healey says, “we would expect the NSA to have several times more.”

    This article was  published in wired.com by ANDY GREENBERG

    Published in Internet Privacy
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