Category Archives: iCloud

Apple Expanding Two-Factor Authentication System to iCloud Web Apps

As first noticed by Appleinsider, Apple has rolled out two-factor authentication for its iCloud.com website, requiring users who have enabled the feature to enter a code before being granted access.

icloud

AppleInsider was able to confirm the new iCloud security feature is indeed Apple’s normal two-factor authentication service, though it is unclear if the feature is in testing or nearing rollout. Certain Apple ID accounts we tested required the second verification, while though others did not.

Previously, users only required a simple password to access iCloud.com web apps, but with today’s change, users will have to enter a secondary code sent to them on a trusted device, usually an iPhone.

Until today, Apple had only implemented two factor authentication in Apple ID management. However, as noted by the report, Apple has left the Find my iPhone web app accessible even without the feature in case the user’s trusted device goes missing.

As stated on its support site, Apple’s two-factor authentication system is currently available in the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

iWork for iCloud Updated With New Features and Minor Improvements

As first spotted by The Loop, Apple yesterday updated its iWork for iCloud productivity suite, bringing several new features to each application along with minor improvements across all apps.

Numbers for iCloud
Numbers for iCloud

The following are the changes as published by The Loop:

New Features

  • Pages for iCloud now remembers your last used document settings including zoom level, show/hide format panel, show/hide guides, and more.
  • Numbers for iCloud now remembers your last used document settings including zoom level, last selected sheet, show/hide format panel, show/hide guides, and more.
  • Keynote for iCloud now remembers your last used document settings including zoom level, last selected slide, show/hide format panel, show/hide guides, and more

Improvements

  • Suggests your most recent screen name when you open a shared document
  • Includes tips on how to cut, copy and paste using keyboard shortcuts when you right-click on objects
  • Includes the ability to right-click to mask images

The company first announced iWork for iCloud at last year’s Worldwide Developers Conference before launching the three apps – Pages, Keynote and Numbers – in beta. The productivity suite allow users to create and edit documents via a web interface and sync with the iOS and OS X versions of the apps.

The latest update comes just a month after Apple added new functionality for larger collaborative groups and support for larger file sizes to the productivity suite.

Apple: iCloud Not Compromised During Australian Hacking Incident

It was reported yesterday that a large number of Apple users in Australia were getting locked out of their iPhones and iPads by hackers and being held to ransom for access to their devices. Apple today issued a statement to ZDNet expressing concern over the incident and reiterated that the incident did not occur due to a compromisation of iCloud.

Apple’s full statement is as follows:

“Apple takes security very seriously and iCloud was not compromised during this incident. Impacted users should change their Apple ID password as soon as possible and avoid using the same user name and password for multiple services. Any users who need additional help can contact AppleCare or visit their local Apple Retail Store.”

Continue reading Apple: iCloud Not Compromised During Australian Hacking Incident

Hackers Claim iCloud Vulnerability Allows Override of Activation Lock

According to a report by Dutch site Tweakers.net (via Appleinsider), a group of hackers have found an exploit for Apple’s iCloud that enables them to intercept Apple IDs and override the company’s Activation Lock security feature on iOS devices.

activation lock

A group of hackers calling themselves “Team DoulCi” say that they have figured out a way to execute a man-in-the-middle attack that gives them the ability to intercept users’ Apple ID credentials as well as unlock iOS devices that have been made unusable by Activation Lock.

According to Appleinsider’s translation, the attack is made possible due to a lack of proper verification of security certificates in the Windows version of iTunes. The report notes that Apple had previously patched the vulnerability in iOS and OS X.

Until Apple issues a fix, users are advised not to use iCloud services over public Wi-Fi networks. Users of older iOS devices that no longer receive software updates, such as the first-generation iPad and iPhone 3GS, should exercise particular caution as the vulnerability cannot be patched in those devices.

Apple announced its Activation Lock security feature with iOS 7 last year. The feature, designed to act as a theft-deterrent, prevents any user from turning off Find My iPhone or erasing and reactivating the device without first entering the owner’s Apple ID and password.

Apple Updates iWork for iCloud with Improved Collaboration and Increased Storage

Apple on Tuesday updated its iWork for iCloud suite of productivity apps, adding functionality for larger collaborative groups and support for larger file sizes.

iworkthreeo-820x420

The changes are detailed in the access page of each app in the iCloud website, as summarised below:

  • Edit docs up to 1GB
  • Create 2D & interactive charts
  • More colour options
  • Collaborate with up to 100 people
  • Chart formatting
  • Insert images up to 10MB
  • Insert & edit inline tables (Pages only)
  • Object layering (Pages only)
  • Export to ePub (Pages only)
  • Export to CSV (Numbers only)
  • Alternating row colours in table (Numbers only)
  • Show and hide slide numbers (Keynote only)

Apple announced iWork for iCloud at last year’s Worldwide Developers Conference before launching the three apps – Pages, Keynote and Numbers – in beta. The productivity suite allow users to create and edit documents via a web interface and sync with the iOS and OS X versions of the apps.

Users can access iWork for iCloud by logging in with their Apple ID on the iCloud site.

iTunes Match Now Available In Japan

Apple today expanded its iTunes Match service to Japan, as shown on the service’s availability webpage. Earlier today, Apple also expanded its iTunes in the Cloud service and Apple TV content to Germany.

itunes match

First announced in 2011 and initially available to US users only, iTunes Match is an annual subscription-based service that allows users to scan and match tracks in their iTunes music library, including tracks copied from CDs or other sources, with tracks in the iTunes Store. Upon successful matching, users are able to download iTunes Store versions of the songs and access the content across multiple devices. 

The service was expanded to Singapore in 2012 and costs S$31.98 a year here.

With the latest addition of Japan, iTunes Match is now available in 117 countries. The service is priced at 3980 yen a year there.

Apple Acquires Hydroelectric Project to Power Oregon Data Center

In-line with its sustainability efforts, Apple has purchased a hydroelectric green energy project to power its Oregon data center.

gallery_slide_6
A look inside one of Apple’s data centers.

The purchase was announced yesterday by The Oregonian, which claimed that the project would generate between 3 to 5 megawatts of energy.

Prior proposals had described the project as generating 3 to 5 megawatts. That’s enough to power roughly 2,000 to 3,500 homes, but big data centers can exceed 30 megawatts – and really large complexes require significantly more than that.

The project will power Apple’s Prineville, Oregon data center, which is still in the midst of construction.

Apple primarily uses its data centers to support its iCloud service, which allows consumers to store music, photos and other digital information.

The Cupertino-based company states on its website that its goal is to ‘power every facility at Apple entirely with energy from renewable sources — solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal’.

In fact, Apple mentions specifically that its Oregon data center will rely on ‘locally sourced renewable resources, including wind, hydroelectric, and solar’.

Our data center in Prineville, Oregon, is every bit as environmentally responsible as the one in Maiden, North Carolina. Oregon allows the direct wholesale purchase of renewable energy through Direct Access, and Apple is using this program to opt out of the default grid mix and directly access enough local renewable wind energy to power the entire facility. We’re also working with two utilities to purchase local renewable energy, and actively working on other renewable energy options.

Although The Oregonian does not state the price of the acquisition, it mentions that ‘the project’s previous owner, EBD Hydro, paid US$7 million in federal loan guarantees and US$1.5 million for a federal grant to help finance its construction’.