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Checklist 375: Updates and Affirmatives

May 17, 2024

Apple’s new updates enhance News+ and security. Also, watch out for the “Can You Hear Me?” phone scam! Stay informed and protect your data with these tips.

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Checklist 375: Updates and Affirmatives

Apple’s Week of Major OS Updates: New Features and Enhanced Security

In a significant week for Apple’s operating systems, the tech giant released a slew of updates across its devices, driven by the impending launch of new iPads and ongoing beta testing for various software versions. The updates introduced notable changes, particularly to Apple News+, and included new security features and compliance measures with European regulations.

Apple News+ Enhancements

The updates for iOS and iPadOS 17.5, alongside macOS Sonoma 14.5, brought notable changes to Apple News+. These include the addition of “Quartiles,” a new game described as frustratingly addictive, and scoreboards for games and puzzles. An offline reading mode for some features was also introduced, allowing users to access content without an internet connection.

EU Compliance and App Downloads

iOS 17.5 also addressed compliance with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act by enabling app downloads through websites, bypassing the Apple App Store and third-party stores. This move marks a significant shift in how apps can be distributed and accessed in the EU.

Cross-Platform Tracking Detection

A major highlight of the updates is the new Cross-Platform Tracking Detection feature, a collaborative effort between Apple and Google to enhance user safety. This industry-standard system detects if Bluetooth tracking devices, such as AirTags, are being used to track users without their knowledge. The feature alerts users on both iOS and Android devices when an unknown tracker is detected. Manufacturers like Chipolo, eufy, Jio, Motorola, and Pebblebee have pledged future compatibility with this system.

Security Fixes

Security was a primary focus in this update cycle. iOS and iPadOS 17.5 addressed 15 vulnerabilities, while macOS Sonoma 14.5 resolved 22 security issues. For older devices, Apple released iOS and iPadOS 16.7.8, patching two vulnerabilities, and macOS updates for Ventura (13.6.7) and Monterey (12.7.5), addressing three and two vulnerabilities respectively. watchOS 10.5, which includes a new Pride Radiance watch face, tackled six security vulnerabilities, and tvOS 17.5 and HomePod Software 17.5 each included six security fixes.

Apple’s latest updates underscore its commitment to enhancing user experience and security across its ecosystem. The addition of new features, particularly for Apple News+, and the implementation of Cross-Platform Tracking Detection, demonstrate Apple’s proactive approach to user safety and compliance with international regulations. With these updates, Apple continues to prioritize both innovation and security for its diverse user base.

HuffPost Highlights “Can You Hear Me?” Phone Scam: What You Need to Know

A recent article by the Huffington Post sheds light on a growing phone scam known as the “Can You Hear Me?” scam, which has prompted warnings from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). This scam is designed to exploit natural human reactions and could potentially lead to unauthorized charges or further scams.

How the Scam Works

Scammers initiate the call with a question like “Can you hear me now?” or “Are you there?” to elicit a “yes” response from the victim. According to the HuffPost article, the scammers might pose as government officials or bank representatives to keep the victim engaged but often hang up after receiving the affirmative response. The goal is to confirm that the person on the other end is real.

Potential Risks and Expert Opinions

While the scam itself may not immediately result in monetary loss, it sets the stage for future scams. Melanie McGovern of the BBB explains that scammers might use the initial “yes” to build trust and “trip you up” later. Kelly Richmond Pope, a forensic accounting professor at DePaul University, emphasizes that such calls are suspicious as they deviate from typical conversational norms.

Personal Account and Advice

The author of the podcast discussion shares a personal experience with the scam, describing the instinctive reaction to answer “yes” due to concerns about a family member. This highlights how real-life situations can make individuals more vulnerable to such tactics.

Amy Nofziger from AARP advises against panicking if you accidentally say “yes.” She assures that there has been no significant evidence of monetary fraud directly linked to this scam, and instead, advises vigilance. She recommends monitoring your bills and credit card statements for unauthorized charges as a precaution.

Preventative Measures

To avoid falling victim to the scam:

  • Do not answer calls from unknown numbers.
  • If you do answer, avoid responding with “yes” to any initial question.
  • Instead, respond with questions like “Why do you ask?” to gauge the caller’s intentions.
  • If you suspect a scam, hang up immediately to avoid further engagement.
  • Regularly check your financial statements for any unusual activity.

The key takeaway is not to let fear dominate. As Nofziger suggests, operating in an “empowerment mode” rather than a “fear mode” is crucial. Staying informed and cautious can help protect against scams without succumbing to unnecessary anxiety.

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