Technology

GulfNews Technology

Strange new orange or green dot on your iPhone? It's not a bug

DUBAI: Ever wondered what “cookies” do to your phone? How you can have a better grip on them? What security issue do they cause? First off, cookies are the key to online tracking, which helps advertisers with "geo-targetting". So if you wonder why certain ads pop up on your phone fit your own tastes and interests perfectly, it's down to cookies. They're helpful in some sense. It's how websites remember your preferences from one visit to another, or from one device to another? Cookies, used by apps, help advertisers keep tabs of device fingerprinting and cross-device tracking. That’s how insidious some apps can be. Fortunately, there’s a way to control, or stop, it. Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 14, comes with new security features. Now, you can have a better handle on protecting access to your phone’s camera and mic (will explain this later). What is a cookie? A cookie is information saved by your web browser, the software program you use to visit the web. When you visit a website, the site might store a cookie so it can recognize your device in the future. Later if you return to that site, it can read that cookie to remember you from your last visit. By keeping track of you over time, cookies can be used to customise your browsing experience, or to inject ads targeted to you, based on your preferences or search behaviour. A host of features and security enhancements are now in place, such as: ensuring that screen locking really keeps other people out of your device, turning on (or off) site and Wi-Fi trackers, configuring local network access settings. With iOS 14 now out, dive deep into ways you can have a more secure, safe phone use. The more familiar you are with these features, the better you can put these protections to work. iOS rollout Recently (on September 16, 2020) Apple released its fourteenth-generation operating system (iOS 14) for their iPhone and iPod Touch lines. iOS 14 is the fourteenth major release of the iOS mobile operating system developed by Apple for their iPhone and iPod Touch lines. The “beta” (test) version was originally announced at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference on June 22, 2020 as the successor to iOS 13, while the “alpha” (commercial) was released on September 16, 2020. Design-wise, the new OS also marks the first big change to the home screen since the iPhone’s inception (in 2007), with home screen changes and widgets. Following are the key security updates you need to know and to make full use off: 1. Safari tracking report While browsing using Safari (Apple’s web browser), now you can see who is tracking you. As a result, you can now go to each website you visited and find out which ones are tracking you (with their cookies). You can then pick which site you allow to track you or not. It also draws up a list of all the prevented trackers. How it works: Hit the address field on top of iOS your device. It reveals several options, including “Tracking Report” when you scroll down. On pressing “Tracking Report” it shows the number of known trackers prevented and the percentage of websites that contacted trackers. How online tracking works When you visit a website, your browser sends it a message known as an HTTP request. The website responds to your browser's message with both the content you asked for and any cookies it would like your browser to save. Modern websites use cookies for two main purposes: keeping you logged in and tracking your behavior. Image Credit: Screengrab 2. Recording indicator Whenever the camera or microphone are being used by any app, a recording indicator will appear at the top of your screen. This new security feature in iOS 14 comes without a menu or option screen attached. It’s just little indicator button, up in the top right-hand corner of the display. How it works: Simply check the little dot on the top right of your device (either green or orange). When you see the colored dot on the top of the iPhone screen after updating to iOS 14, that is an alert that the app you're using has started to use either your camera (green) or microphone (orange). Now you know when the camera (green) or the microphone (orange) is activated when using a certain app. The small dot can be seen right above the battery icon in the control centre. A green dot signifies that your camera is being accessed, and a yellow dot signifies that the microphone is being used. How to know? Just go to the Control Centre to know which app recently used the phone's mic or camera. TRA's advice: If you notice that the marks appear even though it is not needed, this may mean that the application is trying to open the camera or microphone without your permission. Image Credit: Gulf News On this particular feature, here’s the advice of the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA): If you notice that the marks appear even though it is not needed, this may mean that the application is trying to open the camera or microphone without your permission. When this happens, it is recommended that you either contact the application developer for clarification or deleting the application and reporting it to the App store. 3. Another app reads your Clipboard? You also get notified when an app or a widget reads your clipboard. The new iOS14 comes with a pop-up notification that shows when data is copied and pasted. How it works: Copy the site’s URL from Safari to the clipboard. Test this by opening the Chrome browser. If message on top shows “Chrome pasted from Safari”, it shows that, yes, Google Chrome is reading your clipboard. 4. Wi-Fi private address Set your Wi-Fi address to private. This allows you to keep your Wi-Fi access private. How it works: Go to “Settings”, and click “Wi-Fi, there’s a blue “i” inside a circle. When you click that, it shows “Use Private Address”. Turn that on, to enable private address. This will prevent phone companies from tracking your device. 5. Privacy for Photos Now, you can have more granular permissions for access to your photos. When an app would like to access your photos, you can allow access to all photos, to only selected photos, or not allow photo access at all. How it works: When you open an app and states “[So and so] App Would Like to Access Your Photos”, you can now select only specific photos, or all photos, or no photos at all (when you hit “Don’t Allow”). Allowing only selected photos means the app gets to access only those specific pictures, instead of your entire photo library). You must pick the photos and hit “Done”. Next time you open the app, it will you to “Select More Photos” or “Keep Current Selection”. What is “private browsing”? Many browsers offer private browsing settings that are meant to let you keep your web activities hidden from other people who use the same computer. With private browsing turned on, your browser won’t retain cookies, your browsing history, search records, or the files you downloaded. Privacy modes aren’t uniform, though; it’s a good idea to check your browser to see what types of data it stores. 6. Tracking Now, with the new security enhancements on iOS 14, the decision to allow an app to track your behaviour — or not — depends entirely on you. How it works: Go to phone Setttings > Privacy > Tracking options section. You can then allow which apps can track you. Alternatively, you can keep this “On” in order for you to know which apps want to track you. Set it “Off” and no apps can track you. 7. Password monitoring A new feature in the new iOS 14 as well as macOS is a password monitoring system. This will alert you if any of your credentials are spotted in a data breach, which means access to your accounts could be compromised. How it works: Go to Settings > Apple ID > Password & Security. The very top option on the iOS Settings menu leads to your Apple ID profile, and you can access account-level password and security options here. Within Password & Security, click “Change Password” if you think it’s leaked out somewhere, and make sure Two-Factor Authentication is turned on (it’s much safer, adding an extra level of verification on top of your username and password). It’s also worth checking out Apps Using Apple ID — these are third-party apps (email, fitness, banking) connected to your account. From a security standpoint, you should keep this list as short as possible, and remove apps you’re no longer using. You may do this via the Edit button and the red “delete” icon. 8. Manage your face ID and Fingerprints This allows you to set up faces and fingerprints that control access to your iPhone. It allows you control which apps and features these biometric security features control access ( (provided, of course, the face and fingerprints are your, and not somebody else’s). How it works: Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode) Now, you can control which apps and features these biometric security features control access to (from Apple Pay to Password AutoFill). If you prefer to use a passcode, instead, you can change that in this field. From the same menu, you can also control the information that shows up on the lock screen, including the Notification Center, Siri, and the Reply with Message feature (replying to an incoming text with a preset response). Most important, you can turn off anything you don’t want to be accessible without unlocking the phone. 9. Local network privacy A new iOS 14 feature allows you to grant permission to apps when they need to connect with devices on your local network. How it works: In Settings > Privacy > Local Network. Local network privacy provides added transparency when apps connect to devices on a person's home network. If your app interacts with devices using Bonjour or other local networking protocols, you must add support for local network privacy permissions in iOS 14. 10. Proximate location access control Image Credit: Apple This feature allows you to have a finer-grained control over location access. In the past, iOS users could either grant or deny location access to an app, and that location was precise right down to the physical address. Now, there’s a new option to give access to the "proximate location”. How it works: Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services. Then tap on an app you like to change location access, from precise to approximate. For example, with Chrome, you can set Precise Location “Off”. If you use the star-gazing app, for example, you will get the right information, by giving it a general idea of where you are (exact location is not necessary). (Sources: Apple, US Fair Trade Commission) 

GulfNews Technology

India's Ambani prepares for a $50 handset and domination of country's telecom market

Retail|Technology|: Mumbai: Reliance Industries Ltd. has asked local suppliers to ramp up production capacity in India so they can make as many as 200 million smartphones over the next two years - a potentially enormous boost for the country's technology ambitions and a warning shot to rivals such as Xiaomi Corp. India's most valuable company is in talks with domestic assemblers to make a version of its Jio phone that would run on Google's Android and cost about 4,000 rupees ($54). The inexpensive phones will be marketed with low-cost wireless plans from Reliance Jio. See More Photos: Schools reopen in parts of India after 6 months In Pictures: Pandemic dampens Kashmiri weddings, lavish feasts From the editors: Dubai Safari all set to throw open its doors Photos: Rescue under way to save 180 stranded whales in Australia Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani is aiming to remake the country's smartphone industry much like he did in wireless services, where his aggressive prices and simple plans quickly made him the dominant force. The billionaire is also aligning himself with the Indian government's plans to build more domestic manufacturing, a possible boost for local assemblers like Dixon Technologies India, Lava International and Karbonn Mobiles. Can make it happen "We are of course trying to build our domestic companies. We have a sweet spot in entry level phones," said Pankaj Mohindroo, chairman of the India Cellular & Electronic Association, said. "The world has realized that India is a great place to do business and a great place to do manufacturing also." Reliance's target of selling 150 million to 200 million phones over two years would represent a massive boost for local factories. India assembled an estimated 165 million smartphones in the year ended March, and about an equal number of basic feature phones, according to Mohindroo's association. About a fifth of the smartphones cost less than 7,000 rupees, or about $100. Reliance rival Bharti Airtel is also in talks with assemblers to build its own 4G device, local media has reported. The Business Standard reported earlier that Ambani was considering outsourcing phone-making. What Ambani is aiming for If Reliance succeeds in popularizing the new gadget, it could lift the prospects for Jio Platforms, accelerating Mukesh Ambani's efforts to build an empire spanning e-commerce, social media and games. Many of Jio's nearly 400 million users use no-frills second-generation devices, paying $2 monthly for voice and data - a large potential market for the new device. It could eventually erode the market share of Chinese phonemakers such as Xiaomi. "Jio has an opportunity to target more than half billion Indians who don't own a smartphone and trigger a blue ocean market opportunity," said Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint Research. "With Reliance expected to work with Indian vendors, Chinese brands will lose out on a potential opportunity and market share."

GulfNews Technology

All of UAE's inhabited areas will have 5G coverage by end 2025

Business|Technology|: Dubai: All inhabited areas of the UAE will come under 5G network coverage by end 2025, benefiting from the recent allocation of additional frequency. “The introduction of this category of frequencies will enhance the country's position among the indicators related to the readiness of the telecom sector and provide necessary resources for international mobile communications application,” said Tariq Al-Awadi, Executive Director at Telecommunications Regulatory Authority’s Frequency Spectrum Department. See More Midas touch: Singapore exchange touts gold to the masses Photos: As Rome boosts micro-mobility, some complain of electric scooters gone wild Assembling a solar powered future in China Why Dubai is a ‘rising giant’ of global hotel industry The frequencies will allow operators and device manufacturers to experiment with other capabilities provided by 5G technology compared to the previously assigned bands. These frequencies in the millimeter wave range between 24.25-27.5 GHz, and the UAE was the first in the Middle East and North Africa to allocate this range. How different is 5G? In addition to reducing the response time to less than 10 times the time spent in 4G, the new frequencies will allow communication between the largest possible number of devices for the highest possible period of time within this wide frequency range. The frequencies will also enable a large number of interconnected devices, allowing apps such as those for smart cities and the Internet of Things (IoT), which require thousands of devices to communicate with each other. The second phase of the plan will start in the third-quarter of 2021, through which 1 GHz will be allocated per operator in the (25.5-27.5 GHz) range.