Hacked iPhones star in Middle East cyberwar

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UAE iPhone hacks
The hack took advantage of a flaw in iMessage.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Intelligence operatives from the United Arab Emirates used a powerful cyber weapon that allowed them to monitor the iPhones of hundreds of targets.

The iPhone spy tool, dubbed Karma, gave the UAE remote access to phone numbers, photos, emails and text messages in 2016 and 2017.

An iOS security update rendered it “far less effective,” according to U.S. intelligence contractors who worked with the UAE to breach the iPhones of diplomats, activists, and rival foreign leaders.

DNC urges Democrats to dump Android for iPhone

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GrayKey can bypass iPhone security
iPhone security impresses the new head of information security at the Democratic National Party.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Democratic National Committee has a solution for improving its smartphone security: switch to iPhone. It suggests that Democratic organizations get rid of all their Android devices.

This is especially true if the phones are from ZTE, a company with ties to the Chinese government.

Trump carries an iPhone just for Twitter

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This is the Trump iPhone, but not Trump's iPhone.
The President doesn't actually use Caviar's commemorative Donald Trump iPhone 7.
Photo: Caviar

Possibly everyone on Earth knows that President Donald Trump uses Twitter, but you might not know that his many tweets are coming from an iPhone. The commander in chief actually has at least two: one that’s just for Twitter, and one or more others only for voice calls.

While Apple makes devices that are unusually hard to hack, there are questions about whether the president is hampering White House efforts to keep the Trump iPhone secure.

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Step up your iPhone and Mac security with these tips.
Step up your iPhone and Mac security with these tips.
Photo: Free Photos/Pixabay CC

Global elites’ love of iPhone made iOS a prime target of CIA

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The CIA's new headquarters.
The CIA's new headquarters in McLean, Virginia.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Although Google’s Android dominates the worldwide smartphone market, the CIA concentrated on Apple’s iOS because of its popularity among global elites, WikiLeaks reports.

The huge trove of leaked CIA documents, codenamed “Vault 7” and released Tuesday by WikiLeaks, reveals that the CIA formed a special unit called the Mobile Development Branch (MDB) to infect smartphones. And within that unit, Apple’s iOS was a prime target.

Everything you need to know about iOS’ crippling ‘Error 53’

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Error 53 makes gold iPhone  worth s***.
The dreaded "Error 53" can turn an iPhone into a shiny brick.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple is in the midst of an all-new controversy, thanks to the mysterious “Error 53” message that is bricking iPhones without warning.

The problem can hit DIY types or anybody who has ever had a Touch ID sensor (or other iPhone hardware) replaced by a repair shop not authorized by Apple. When they update iOS, the device locks down, displaying the cryptic Error 53 message and rendering the iPhone virtually worthless.

Apple says Error 53 is actually a security feature of iOS 9 that keeps your personal information secure, but customers aren’t convinced. Cult of Mac talked to iPhone repair and and parts experts to find out what exactly is going on. The truth is that Error 53 has plagued many iPhone owners, not just those who have replaced Touch ID — and it’s not totally clear why.

iOS 9 bricks iPhones with unauthorized Touch ID repairs

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touchid

Photo: Apple

Getting a broken home button on your iPhone 6 replaced may cause the entire device to become a worthless brick of metal and glass.

Thanks to a new feature in a software update recently pushed out by Apple, thousands of iPhone users who had their devices fixed by non-official repair shops have been greeted by a disastrous “error 53” message that locks the device — and even the Apple Store can’t bring it back from the dead.

iOS mail exploit might let phishers snatch your Apple ID credentials

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A new day, a new iOS bug...
A new day, a new iOS bug...
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

iOS security researchers Jan Souček has discovered a new bug in iOS’s mail client that could trick users into accidentally giving attackers their AppleID and password.

The Mail app exploit was discovered at the beginning of 2015, and Apple’s engineers were quickly notified of its existence, but a fix for the bug hasn’t been released in any of the updates following iOS 8.1.2. According to Souček, the bug allows remote HTML content to be loaded, making it possible to build a password collector that looks just like an iCloud sign-in prompt.

Here’s a video of the bug in action:

Unicode of Death got you down? Here’s how to fix it

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Unicode of Death 2015
I didn't actually send someone the Unicode of Death. Don't believe anything Rob LeFebvre says.
Screen: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

Some iPhone users are getting a flashback to 2013 as a new version of the so-called “Unicode of Death” has returned to wreak havoc with their iMessages.

The security exploit, which activates when someone sends you the message in the image above, reportedly forces jailbroken handsets into Safe Mode and completely removes other units’ ability to access the Messages app.