Siri, secure yourself. If only that command worked; as it turns out, the popular virtual assistant feature on the iPhone 4S that allows users to schedule appointments, search the web, check the weather and more, may be a security threat to users who want to keep private information away from prying eyes — and ears. CNET discovered that Siri’s default security setting allows users to access the iPhone 4S feature even when the phone is locked. That means if you leave your iPhone in a cab, for example, a thief could easily access your address book, appointments and other personal information. Thankfully, there is an easy way to turn the setting off. Simply visit Settings and click General, then click Passcode Lock and toggle the option for “Allow access to Siri when locked with a passcode” to Off. The iPhone 4S will now require the the phone to be unlocked before it allows access to Siri. More →
Via a press release today, AT&T announced a new, comprehensive insurance offering dubbed Mobile Protection Pack. As the company explains, the new offering is a combination of three services: mobile insurance, enhanced support, and mobile locate. Mobile Protection, which will retail for $9.99 per month, covers subscribers against equipment loss, theft, accidental damage, liquid damage, and out-of-warranty malfunction. It also provides users with the ability to locate, lock, and trigger an alarm on a misplaced phone — and includes a handful of setup services. The complete list of covered devices can be found here, and includes the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Motorola Atrix 4G. Users looking to replace a damaged or lost device will have to pay a $50 or $125 deductible and, like all AT&T insurance offerings, Apple’s iPad and iPhone are not eligible. Hit the jump for the full press release.
What’s the one thing that could make losing your iPhone worse? If the person who happens to find your AWOL iPhone knows exactly what they’re doing. In a two-minute video clip published by German engineering firm Fraunhofer, the company demonstrates how an iPhone’s password security can be rendered completely moot. The demonstration takes a locked, unmodified iPhone, running the latest firmware, and, with the help of jailbreaking software, gains access to all stored passwords on the device — Wi-Fi networks, saved website logins… anything stored in your keychain file. The demonstration is meant to illustrate how crucial it is for companies and individuals to not only use a pass codes on mobile devices, but also react quickly — preferably initiating a remote wipe — if the device is lost. The video demonstration is waiting for you after the break. More →
Blog 9to5Mac has picked up on an interesting bug in iOS 4.1, running on the iPhone, that will allow users to bypass the device’s lock screen and make phone calls. From a locked iPhone pressing the “Emergency Call” button, dialing a non-emergency number (such as “###”), then quickly pressing “Send” followed by the iPhone’s lock key will actually force the device into the “Phone” application. From there you can access favorites, contacts, the dial pad, recent calls, and voicemails. The “home” button remains inactive throughout the process, preventing users from jumping to the home screen, however… going to the “contacts” tab, selecting a contact, and clicking “Email” or “Share contact” will allow a bypasser to send emails and MMS messages.
The issue is reminiscent of a bug in Motorola’s BLUR interface that allows users to make calls using voice actions from a locked screen we told you about last week. We’ve passed the information on to Apple and, hopefully, a fix is included in the next software update. We have a short video demonstrating the bug after the break. More →
One of our astute readers let us know about a bug that appears to be present in all stock, unrooted, Motorola DROID 2s (and potentially other Android 2.2 devices with BLUR). The bug allows users to execute Google Voice Actions on their device even when the handset is locked and a passcode is activated. With your DROID 2 locked, and the passcode prompt on the screen, holding the “search” softkey or keyboard-key for four seconds will — without giving the user any feedback — still trigger Google’s Voice Actions. Speaking: “Call 555-555-1234″ or “Call Home” will actually make your DROID 2 do just that (assuming “home” is in your phonebook). We couldn’t make our Nexus One or Captivate replicate the issue, so we’re assuming it is a Motorola/BLUR specific issue. Anyone out there with a DROID X running Android 2.2 able to get their handset to do the same? We’ve reached out to Motorola for comment and will update the post as soon as we hear back. There is a short video demonstrating the issue after the break. More →
RIM’s consumer-grade protection software for BlackBerry smartphones, dubbed Blackberry Protect, has just been officially announced. Rumored for months, the new service lets customers not attached to a BlackBerry Enterprise Server:
- Protect important information on a lost BlackBerry smartphone by remotely wiping or locking the device from your desktop
- Remotely add contact information to the home screen of a locked BlackBerry smartphone so it can be returned if found
- See your BlackBerry smartphone’s location and pinpoint the current whereabouts of a lost or stolen device with cell tower and GPS device tracking
- Find a nearby misplaced BlackBerry smartphone by remotely activating a loud ringer
- Back up data from your BlackBerry smartphone (including Contacts and Calendar; Memos and Tasks; Browser Bookmarks and Text Messages) over Wi-Fi
- Restore your data to a new BlackBerry smartphone, or simply switch from one BlackBerry smartphone to another
We recently got a demo of the Protect software, and — to be honest — we think it’s pretty solid. It will be in beta starting this week, and a more open beta later this year. More →