Patching vulnerabilities is the name of the game for iOS 10.2.1 update

ios 10 2 1 update png
adrianhancu/123RF
We would not blame you if you thought that Apple’s latest iOS 10.2.1 update is an insignificant update. After all, according to the Software Update page on your iOS device, all you see is that the update “includes bug fixes and improves the security of your iPhone or iPad.” Dig a bit deeper, and you start to learn how significant the update really is.

According to iOS 10.2.1’s security content page, most of the fixes are for WebKit, the software behind Safari, the App Store, and other iOS apps. WebKit’s vulnerabilities included a malicious website able to open pop-ups and some with arbitrary code executions, with nine of the 11 reported by Google’s Project Zero that looks for zero-day vulnerabilities. Other issues included arbitrary code executions with kernel privileges, which give someone the ability to control your device.

“It can add files, delete files, or execute any actions,” Malwarebytes senior security researcher JP Taggart told Wired. “Want to record conversations and forward them to someone else? It can do that. Want to install additional malicious software? It can do that. Want to uninstall programs on the affected phone? It can do that. Want to hide these actions, programs and files from the user? It can do that too.”

Bugs that were patched with the update include an Auto Unlock bug that might unlock your iPhone when the Apple Watch is off your wrist, a Contacts bug that might lead the app to close with a malicious contact card, and a Wi-Fi vulnerability that can be exploited to briefly display the home screen on an activation-locked device.

There does not seem to be any immediate danger to someone having exploited these vulnerabilities, but the likelihood increases with each passing day. As luck would have it, iOS 10.2.1 is currently available for download for the iPhone 5 and later, iPad fourth generation and later, and iPod Touch sixth generation.

Product Review

Nokia’s 3.1 Plus is an affordable phone that’s crippled by its camera

The Nokia 3.1 Plus is HMD Global’s first smartphone to be sold by a U.S. carrier in-store. It’s only available on Cricket Wireless right now, which underlines its focus on affordability. Should you buy a phone this affordable?
Computing

Windows is getting a face-lift in 2020, but you can get a sneak peek right now

Microsoft is increasing the lead time for an upcoming major update to Windows 10, giving Windows Insiders the ability to test it right now, even though it's not set for release until 2020.
Cars

Tesla’s Dog Mode lets good Samaritans know that Fido’s A-OK

Tesla's latest over-the-air software update adds two features called Sentry Mode and Dog Mode. Sentry Mode records footage and alerts the owner if someone breaks in, while Dog Mode runs the A/C so owners can safely keep their dogs in their…
Photography

Nikon will bring eye-detection autofocus to the Z6 and Z7 in May

An upcoming firmware update will bring Eye AF to the Nikon Z6 and Z7 -- along with improved autofocus performance in low light. The update will also give the cameras support for the CFexpress format.
Mobile

Here’s how to disable FaceTime on your Apple iPhone and Mac

FaceTime is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family, but many don't need it, or simply don't want it. Thankfully, it's very easy to disable FaceTime, both on your iPhone or iPad, and on your Mac. Here's how.
Business

Apple loses battle to use Intel modems in Germany in latest clash with Qualcomm

Apple is following the Federal Trade Commission's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Mobile

Exclusive: Take a look at what a next-generation 5G phone will look like

With 5G phones debuting at MWC in mere days, there is discussion about whether they will be clunky bricks that die after a few hours? A reference design from Qualcomm offerrs a glimpse of the future: This is what 5G phones will look like.
Mobile

Happy Valentine’s Day! Coffee Meets Bagel dating app data may have been breached

Are you planning on using Coffee Meets Bagel to find love on Valentine's Day? If you've been using the app for a while, you'll probably want to change your password -- the company said a data breach may have taken place before May 2018.
Mobile

Worried about extra data charges? Here's how to check your usage on an iPhone

It's common to get a little nervous about nearing data limits. Keep your peace of mind by checking how much data your iPhone is using. Our guide on how to check data usage on an iPhone helps you stay in control.
Mobile

North Focals smartglasses discount cuts the price by a massive $400

Canadian startup North is hoping smartglasses will be the next big wearable. After announcing its new Focals smartglasses in late 2018, the company opened product showrooms in Brooklyn and Toronto and has made its first shipment.
Mobile

New Apple patent hints clamshell-style foldable phone may be in the works

Apple has filed a patent for a foldable phone that suggests the company could be following in the footsteps of the likes of Samsung and Huawei. The patent describes a clamshell-style foldable phone with two separate sections.
Mobile

Xiaomi Mi 9 will be one of the first phones with monster Snapdragon 855 chip

Xiaomi's next major smartphone release will be the Mi 9, and the company hasn't held back in giving us a good look at the phone, revealing the design, the camera, and a stunning color.
Wearables

Galaxy Watch Active isn't official yet, but you can see it in Samsung's own app

Samsung may be about to resurrect its Sport line of smartwatches under a new name: The Galaxy Watch Sport Active. Leaks and rumors are building our picture of the device at the moment.
Mobile

Stop buying old tablets, says Samsung, buy the new Galaxy Tab S5e instead

Samsung has launched the Galaxy Tab S5e -- the E is for Essential -- a reasonably priced tablet that includes many of the features we like from the Tab A 10.5, and the Tab S4. Here's what you need to know.