New program gathers data for trend analysis, profiling of selectees
The revelations of the NSA surveillance first broken by Edward Snowden continue. The NSA is accused of building the "Dishfire" surveillance network, which targets 200 million text messages per day for collection and analysis. Information collected by the program allegedly includes names, phone numbers, and images.
Can affect Messages app thanks to group MMS, SMS use
While under normal circumstances most users would never see an unwanted or "spam" message in the OS X and iOS program Messages, Apple has now set up abuse reporting mechanism to help deal with those who have the issue. Using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org, users can send a screenshot of the unwanted message, phone number or email address of the spammer or harrasser, and time/date info on the message. Unwanted or spam SMS and MMS messages should still be reported to users' cellular providers rather than Apple.
Promotes iMessage as safer alternative, urges caution
Apple has released an official statement on reports from hacker Pod2g and others that a serious flaw exists in the SMS protocol that allows spoofing of addresses, meaning that users could receive messages (directing them to websites or phone numbers) that aren't from the party they appear to be from. Apple's statement points out that iMessage does not have the same problem.
Could allow messages to silently re-direct to phishing sites
Security researcher Pod2g has discovered a flaw in the way iOS handles SMS messages that could conceivably allow for malicious texters to disguise messages as being from a known or trusted source, potentially getting users to reveal information they normally would not, or rack up inadvertent charges on their bill. Pod2g refers to the flaw as "severe" and plans on releasing a tool to allow iPhone 4 users to send messages in "raw" PDU format until the vulnerability is fixed.
Updates to Google+ through SMS in more nations
Google has increased the reach of Google+ SMS accessibility to include 41 new countries. The extended list of nations that can send and receive updates to the social network are primarily based in Asia and Africa, helping users in some areas where mobile data is not widely available.
Supported in US by AT&T, Verizon & Cellular South
Twitter has upgraded the direct messaging capabilities for its texting service. Now, in addition to tweets, users whose service providers support MMS can attach and share videos. To send, all a user need do is enter the text of a tweet as normal, attach a photo to the message, and send it to the relevant Twitter code.
Functionality requires trimming of standard SIM
The iPhone Dev Team, a group better known for iPhone jailbreaking, has allegedly found a way to send SMS messages from a 3G iPad. The additional functionality reportedly requires raw code, as the feature has yet to be officially enabled on the tablet, according to details listed on a Twitter post. SMS messages are also prohibited from AT&T accounts bundled with the 3G models.
Apple omits character counter for iPhone SMS
A number of iPhone users, including MacNN reader NyxoLyno "Nick" Cangemi, have voiced frustration with the lack of a character counter when typing SMS messages. The handset's messaging interface does not provide any notification when 160 characters have been exceeded in the communication bubble.
iPhone 2.2.1 fixes SMS?
Yesterday's release of the iPhone 2.2.1 firmware may have also fixed a problem with SMS messaging, accounts on Apple's support forums suggest. The issue involves an error message triggered every time a user attempts to send a text, previously impossible to resolve with any resets or settings adjustments, though some success has been reported after switching SIM cards. The problem appears only to manifest after installing the v2.2 firmware.
Multiuser Pro, TypeIt4Me
Filemailer 2.0 ($15) is a utility that helps users share files between computers. The content can be dragged to the desired recipients name and the software will then automatically compress the file, enter its information in the subject line, insert the pre-composed message into the body, and send the file. The 2.0 update now features support for TLS authentication, and includes a new option to organize contacts into groups for sending to multiple recipients. [Download - 4.2MB]
Yahoo Messenger 7 for Mac
Yahoo today announced a new version of Yahoo Messenger for Mac that introduces a number of new audio and voice capabilities. Users can now place PC-to-PC calls, as well as Phone Out/In, with a full voice message and SMS service on the Mac. By creating a Phone In account, Yahoo will provide users with a telephone number that they can be reached at from a standard phone, starting at $2.50 per month, and is available in France, the UK and US.
iPhone 1.1.3, SMS issue
Apple's latest iPhone firmware update, version 1.1.3, has revealed an an issue that causes SMS text messages to appear out of order for some users. The issue first appeared on the Cupertino-based company's own support forums on January 15th, according to InformationWeek, and quickly grew into a massive topic that garnered 11,000 views and 193 replies. Most forum posters experiencing the problem appear to be UK-based O2 customers, and Apple has posted a technical note acknowledging the problem with a short explanation.
Hands On: iPhone 1.1.3
Announced Tuesday morning, Apple released iPhone 1.1.3 with several security updates (including addressing an important Passcode Lock flaw) along with new features such as Google Map Locator, the ability to send SMS to multiple recipients, customizable home page/icons, and webclips. The download and install is available via iTunes and takes about 10-20 minutes to download and install (depending on your internet connection) and it updates both the software and firmware so it takes a bit longer than you may expect. Unfortunately, our iPhone worked after install, but it took another quick "iTunes activation" -- by placing back into the dock and waiting for the iTunes Store to sync it -- after the install to get it back onto the AT&T network.
FCC to address SMS blocks
Several activist groups have submitted a petition to the FCC regarding SMS blocking, filings indicate. The problem, says a coalition include Public Knowledge, Educause and six other groups, is that cellular networks are sometimes blocking bulk text messages without legitimate pretext, hurting operations. One recent example comes from September, when Verizon refused to provide short codes to NARAL Pro-Choice America; although the group only wanted to send out opt-in alerts, Verizon said it would not allow "highly controversial" texts on its network.