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Tech Giant Apple Slams Google for Raising False Alarm on iOS Security

Apple said that it fixed the vulnerabilities in question in February — working extremely quickly to resolve the issue just 10 days after it learnt about it

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FILE - Apple's App Store app is seen in Baltimore, MD., March 19, 2018. VOA

Apple has slammed Google for creating a false impression about its iPhones being at hacking risk owing to security flaws that allegedly let several malicious websites break into its iOS operating system.

Researchers working in Google’s Project Zero team had discovered several hacked websites that used security flaws in iPhones to attack users who visited these websites — compromising their personal files, messages, and real-time location data.

In a statement, Apple said the so-called sophisticated attack was narrowly focused, not a broad-based exploit of iPhones “en masse” as described.

“The attack affected fewer than a dozen websites that focus on content related to the Uighur community. Regardless of the scale of the attack, we take the safety and security of all users extremely seriously,” the Cupertino-based iPhone maker said on Friday.

“Google’s post, issued six months after iOS patches were released, creates the false impression of ‘mass exploitation’ to ‘monitor the private activities of entire populations in real time’, stoking fear among all iPhone users that their devices had been compromised. This was never the case,” Apple said.

According to Google, the websites delivered their malware indiscriminately and were operational for years.

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FILE – The Google logo is seen at a start-up campus in Paris, France, Feb. 15, 2018. VOA

According to the iPhone maker, “all evidence indicates that these website attacks were only operational for a brief period, roughly two months, not ‘two years’ as Google implies”.

Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) discovered that there was no target discrimination as simply visiting the hacked site was enough for the exploit server to attack the iPhone, and if it was successful, install a monitoring implant.

“We estimate that these sites receive thousands of visitors per week,” said the Google blog post.

Google researchers also said they identified a vulnerability that accessed all the database files on the victim’s iPhone used by end-to-end encryption apps like WhatsApp, Telegram and iMessage.

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Apple said that it fixed the vulnerabilities in question in February — working extremely quickly to resolve the issue just 10 days after it learnt about it.

“When Google approached us, we were already in the process of fixing the exploited bugs,” said the company, adding that its product security teams around the world are constantly iterating to introduce new protections and patch vulnerabilities as soon as they’re found. (IANS)

Next Story

Google Maps Captures Over 10 mn Miles of Street View Imagery

The company collects street imagery via a fleet of Street View cars, each equipped with nine cameras that capture high-definition imagery from every vantage point possible

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Google Maps
There's also the Street View trekker on Google Maps, a backpack that collects imagery from places where driving isn't possible.

Google Maps have captured more than 10 million miles of Street View imagery – a distance that could circle the globe over 400 times.

The company announced on Friday that Google Earth now lets people browse more than 36 million square miles of high definition satellite images from various providers – covering more than 98 per cent of the entire population – to see the world from above.

“While these stunning photos show us parts of the world we may never get a chance to visit, they also help Google Maps accurately model a world that is changing each day,” said Thomas Escobar, Senior Product Manager, Google Maps.

The idea of Street View started as a side project more than 12 years ago as part of a goal to map the entire world.

The company collects street imagery via a fleet of Street View cars, each equipped with nine cameras that capture high-definition imagery from every vantage point possible.

“These cameras are athermal, meaning that theya�re designed to handle extreme temperatures without changing focus so they can function in a range of environments,” Escobar added.

Each Street View car includes its own photo processing center and lidar sensors that use laser beams to accurately measure distance.

There’s also the Street View trekker, a backpack that collects imagery from places where driving isn’t possible.

These trekkers are carried by boats, sheep, camels, and even scout troops to gather high quality photos from multiple angles, often in some of the hardest-to-map places around the world.

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Google Maps have captured more than 10 million miles of Street View imagery – a distance that could circle the globe over 400 times. Pixabay

In 2019 alone, Street View images from the Google Maps community have helped the company assign addresses to nearly seven million buildings in previously under-mapped places like Armenia, Bermuda, Lebanon, Myanmar, Tonga, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe.

Once Google collects photos, it uses a technique called photogrammetry to align and stitch together a single set of images.

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“These images show us critically important details about an area-things like roads, lane markings, buildings and rivers, along with the precise distance between each of these objects. All of this information is gathered without ever needing to set foot in the location itself,” said Google. (IANS)