SecureMac, Inc.

Checklist 366: Don’t Be THAT Guy

March 8, 2024

Discover the latest in tech: Apple ramps up security, but cheap doorbells spark concerns. Plus, a study on anti-piracy messages reveals surprising gender responses. Join us as we navigate the dynamic world of tech challenges and innovations!

Checklist 366: Don't be THAT guy

Checklist 366: Don’t Be THAT Guy

Apple Rolls Out Major OS Updates with Emphasis on Security

In a week anticipated for a plethora of OS updates, Apple surprised users with a staggered release strategy, unveiling significant changes primarily focused on security enhancements across its ecosystem.

The rollout commenced with iOS and iPadOS updates, notably iOS 17.4. A crucial modification pertained to compliance with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, necessitating prompt action from Apple. A pivotal security feature introduced was the enhancement of “Stolen Device Protection,” which now allows users to customize security levels even within familiar locations, thus thwarting unauthorized access attempts more effectively.

However, the highlight of the updates remains the substantial security fixes. Initially addressing a few vulnerabilities, the iOS and iPadOS 17.4 releases now tackle a total of 40 security issues, including those with potential exploitation concerns, urging users to prioritize the updates for safeguarding their devices.

For devices unable to run the latest OS versions, Apple introduced iOS and iPadOS 16.7.6, addressing 18 security vulnerabilities, with a particular emphasis on the exploited kernel issue. Additionally, macOS Sonoma 14.4 comes with over 60 security fixes, including resolutions for the exploited kernel and RTKit issues.

For older macOS versions, security updates were provided through macOS Ventura 13.6.5 and macOS Monterey 12.7.4, with Safari 17.4 addressing six security vulnerabilities for Monterey and Ventura machines.

Completing the comprehensive update spree, watchOS 10.4, tvOS 17.4, and visionOS 1.1 were released, each addressing numerous security vulnerabilities, including the critical kernel and RTKit issues.

With security at the forefront, users are strongly advised to promptly update their Apple devices to ensure protection against potential exploits and vulnerabilities.

Source: TechRadar

Security Flaws Found in Low-Cost Video Doorbells Raise Concerns

A recent report by Consumer Reports has shed light on concerning security issues plaguing inexpensive video doorbells sold under various brand names, manufactured by the Chinese company Eken. Priced at around $30 each, these doorbells have been found to possess vulnerabilities that expose users to significant risks.

Consumer Reports conducted an investigation, during which one of their journalists received an email containing an image captured by a doorbell camera. Shockingly, the camera had been hacked with alarming ease, showcasing the dire lack of encryption and security measures. The vulnerabilities extend to exposing users’ home IP addresses and WiFi network names, making unauthorized access a trivial task.

The security concerns are exacerbated by the ease with which attackers can gain control of these devices, merely by placing them in pairing mode and creating an account through the Aiwit app, which operates the cameras. Notably, Consumer Reports found multiple brands sharing identical vulnerabilities, indicating a widespread issue across various devices controlled by the same mobile app.

Despite the alarming findings, these video doorbells continue to be sold extensively on major online marketplaces, including Amazon, Walmart, and Sears. Thousands of units are sold monthly, perpetuating the proliferation of insecure electronic devices from Chinese manufacturers.

Compounding the issue, some of these doorbells have been labeled as “Amazon’s Choice,” leading consumers to believe in their quality and reliability. However, the criteria for obtaining this label remain obscure, leaving consumers vulnerable to potentially insecure products.

In response to these revelations, Consumer Reports advises users to disconnect these doorbells from their home WiFi networks and remove them from their doors immediately. Additionally, consumers are urged to exercise caution when purchasing IoT devices, opting for well-established manufacturers known for prioritizing security.

The discovery serves as a stark reminder of the importance of prioritizing security over price when selecting IoT devices, with low-cost alternatives posing significant risks to users’ privacy and safety.

Source: Consumer Reports

Study Reveals Gender Discrepancy in Response to Anti-Piracy Messages

A recent cybercrime survey conducted by the University of Portsmouth in the UK has uncovered startling findings regarding the effectiveness of anti-piracy campaigns, particularly concerning their impact on different genders. According to The Next Web, the study suggests that such campaigns may inadvertently fuel piracy tendencies, particularly among men.

Researchers exposed 962 adults to threatening messages commonly used in anti-piracy campaigns and evaluated subsequent changes in behavior. The results revealed a stark gender gap, with piracy intentions decreasing by 52% in women but increasing by 18% in men in response to the messages.

Lead author of the study, Kate Whitman, explained that this phenomenon, known as psychological reactance, suggests that men may have a stronger reaction to perceived threats to their freedom, leading them to rebel against such messages. Intriguingly, men with favorable attitudes towards digital piracy were found to be more influenced by messages threatening criminal punishment or loss of internet connectivity, while less threatening messages failed to deter piracy.

Whitman emphasized the necessity for tailored approaches in anti-piracy messaging, suggesting that generic messages could inadvertently exacerbate piracy rates. She stressed the importance of accurate targeting based on gender to ensure the effectiveness of such campaigns.

The study’s findings highlight the complexity of addressing digital piracy and underscore the need for nuanced strategies in anti-piracy messaging to effectively combat the issue.

Source: The Next Web

Get the latest security news and deals