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New cyberattack targets iPhone, Apple IDs. Here's how to stay safe

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New cyberattack targets iPhone, Apple IDs. Here's how to stay safe

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Attention iPhone owners: A serious cyberthreat is targeting Apple IDs, and it’s more crucial than ever to be on your guard. Security experts from Symantec have uncovered a sophisticated SMS phishing campaign designed to trick you into giving up your valuable Apple ID credentials.

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The mechanics of the attack

Here’s how the scam works: hackers send out text messages that look like they’re from Apple. These messages urgently request that you click on a link for an important iCloud update or verification. Symantec’s research shows these links lead to cleverly designed fake websites that ask for your Apple ID and password. To make the site seem legitimate, the attackers have even included a CAPTCHA.

Once you complete the CAPTCHA, you’re taken to what looks like an outdated iCloud login page, where you’re prompted to enter your credentials. This information is gold for cybercriminals because it grants them access to your personal and financial data and control over your devices.

Below is an email version of this same scam to avoid. Note the strange email return address originating from a non-Apple account, riddled with dashes and strange characters.

The email scam can claim that a user’s iCloud storage is full. (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

Apple’s response and protective measures

Apple is aware of these tactics and has guidelines to help you stay protected. First and foremost, enable two-factor authentication on your Apple ID. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a password and a six-digit verification code whenever you log in from a new device.

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Remember, Apple will never ask you to disable security features like two-factor authentication or Stolen Device Protection. Scammers might claim this is necessary to resolve an issue, but it’s a trap designed to lower your defenses.

Warning issued for billion-plus Apple iPhone owners

An iPhone scam uses text messages.  (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

Spotting phishing attempts

Phishing scams can be sneaky, but there are ways to identify them. Look closely at the URLs in any suspicious messages. Although the message might appear legitimate, the web address usually won’t match Apple’s official site. Also, be wary of any text that deviates from Apple’s typical communication style.

Symantec highlighted a specific phishing message as part of their warning on July 2. The fraudulent SMS read: “Apple important request iCloud: Visit signin[.]authen-connexion[.]info/iCloud to continue using your services.” Odd characters and unfamiliar domains are clear indicators of a scam.

New cyberattack targets iPhone, Apple IDs. Here’s how to stay safe

iPhone users should enable two-factor authentication on their Apple ID. (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

Broader scam tactics and how to avoid them

These phishing attempts aren’t just targeting Apple users. People have reported receiving messages similar to those from companies like Netflix and Amazon, claiming account issues or expired credit cards. These messages also direct you to click a link and enter your personal information.

The Federal Trade Commission advises that legitimate companies will never request sensitive information via text. If you receive a message like this, contact the company directly using a verified number or website, not the information provided in the text.

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7 SIGNS YOU’VE BEEN HACKED

How to protect yourself from Apple text and email scams

1) Always use strong antivirus protection on all your devices

This is perhaps one of the best investments you can make for yourself to protect yourself from phishing scams. Having antivirus software actively running on your devices will make sure you are stopped from clicking on any malicious links or from downloading any files that will release malware into your device and potentially have your private information stolen. Read my review of my best antivirus picks here.

2) Don’t take the bait

Scammers often use alarming language to provoke immediate action. Phrases like “act now” or “important” are red flags. Stay calm and skeptical of any unsolicited messages.

3) Enable two-factor authentication on your Apple devices

Implementing multifactor authentication on your Apple ID can greatly enhance your security. Always verify the source of messages that claim to be from Apple. If you’re unsure, manually log into your account through the official Apple website or your iPhone settings instead of clicking any links.

4) Keep software up to date

Regularly update your operating system, web browsers and antivirus software to ensure they are equipped to detect and prevent the latest threats. You can regularly check for these updates on your device’s settings app for software updates, and you can go to your App Store or Google Play Store (depending on the device you have) to check for updates on individual apps. Follow these steps here.

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2 BULLETPROOF STEPS TO HACK-PROOF YOUR MAC

What should you do if you’ve clicked a link and installed malware on your device? 

If you’ve been hacked, it’s not too late. There are several ways you can protect yourself from hackers, even when they have access to your information.

1) Scan your device for malware

First, you’ll want to scan your computer with a reputable and legitimate antivirus program. See my expert review of the best antivirus protection for your Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices.

2) Change your passwords immediately

If you’ve inadvertently given your information to hackers or malicious actors, they could have access to your social media or banking accounts. To prevent this, you should change your passwords for all your important accounts as soon as possible. However, you should not do this on your infected device, because the hacker might see your new passwords. Instead, you should use ANOTHER DEVICE, such as your laptop or desktop, to change your passwords. Make sure you use strong and unique passwords that are difficult to guess or break. You can also use a password manager to generate and store your passwords securely.

3) Monitor your accounts and transactions

You should check your online accounts and transactions regularly for suspicious or unauthorized activity. If you notice anything unusual, report it to the service provider or the authorities as soon as possible. You should also review your credit reports and scores to see signs of identity theft or fraud.

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4) Use identity theft protection

Phishing emails target your personal information. Hackers can use this information to create fake accounts in your name, access your existing accounts and pretend to be you online. This can cause serious damage to your identity and credit score.

To avoid this, you should use identity theft protection services. These services can track your personal information, such as your home title, Social Security Number, phone number and email address, and notify you if they detect any suspicious activity. They can also help you freeze your bank and credit card accounts to stop hackers from using them.

One of the best parts of using some services is that they might include identity theft insurance of up to $1 million to cover losses and legal fees and a white-glove fraud resolution team where a U.S.-based case manager helps you recover any losses. Read more of my review of the best identity theft protection services here.

5) Contact your bank and credit card companies

If hackers have obtained your bank or credit card information, they could use it to make purchases or withdrawals without your consent. You should contact your bank and credit card companies and inform them of the situation. They can help you freeze or cancel your cards, dispute any fraudulent charges and issue new cards for you.

6) Alert your contacts

If hackers have accessed your email or social media accounts, they could use them to send spam or phishing messages to your contacts. They could also impersonate you and ask for money or personal information. You should alert your contacts and warn them not to open or respond to any messages from you that seem suspicious or unusual.

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7) Restore your device to factory settings

If you want to make sure that your device is completely free of any malware or spyware, you can restore it to factory settings. This will erase all your data and settings and reinstall the original version. You should back up your important data before doing this and only restore it from a trusted source.

HOW TO REMOVE YOUR PRIVATE DATA FROM THE INTERNET 

Kurt’s takeaways

As cyberattacks become increasingly sophisticated, staying informed and cautious is crucial. Protect your Apple ID and personal information by following Apple’s security guidelines and being wary of unsolicited messages. By taking these precautions, you can safeguard your devices and data from malicious actors.

Have you ever been a victim of a cyberscam? If so, what happened and how did you recover? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.

For more of my tech tips and security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to Cyberguy.com/Newsletter.

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Ask Kurt a question or let us know what stories you’d like us to cover.

Follow Kurt on his social channels:

Answers to the most asked CyberGuy questions:

Copyright 2024 CyberGuy.com. All rights reserved.

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Technology

Suunto’s new headphones finally made me appreciate bone conduction

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Suunto’s new headphones finally made me appreciate bone conduction

As a city runner, I never thought too hard about wearing noise-canceling earbuds. I’d dabbled with open-ear buds in the past but mostly ran in well-lit parks where my biggest danger was dodging goose poop. It’s different in the suburbs. Recently, I was nearly pancaked by a Range Rover going at least 10 over the speed limit. I never heard it coming, even though my headphones were in ambient mode.

Which is why I’ve spent the last two months testing the $199 Suunto Wing and $149 Suunto Sonic.

Both the Wing and Sonic are bone conduction headphones — a category that’s long been dominated by Shokz (formerly AfterShokz). The Sonic is the more basic, entry-level device, while the Wing adds a few more flourishes — namely, LED lighting, a portable power bank, and head motion controls. The Wing also has slightly better IP67 water and dust resistance compared to the Sonic’s IP55 rating.

Bone conduction headphones vibrate sound waves into your skull. It helps you stay more aware of your surroundings.

Bone conduction works by sending sound vibrations through your cheekbones instead of traveling through the air and into your ear canal. Some athletes swear by bone conduction because it keeps your ears open, meaning you’ll stay more clued into your surroundings compared to any transparency mode. (As a bonus, it can help people with hearing loss listen to audio.)

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I’ve known all that for ages, but I’ll admit — I’ve never cared much for bone conduction in the past. My old AfterShokz headphones weren’t comfortable at all, but the real problem was that I rely on bass-heavy running playlists. And bone conduction? It’s not the best at bass. Even so, almost getting flattened by a speeding Range Rover was as a good reason as any to give bone conduction another go.

I generally don’t love wraparound headbands, but this was more comfortable than I expected.

On that first point, I was pleasantly surprised that the Sonic and Wing were both comfy to wear. My old AfterShokz headphones had a wraparound neckband that dug into my skin, hurt my smallish ears, and never sat quite right. These headphones also have a wraparound design, but I felt no discomfort. The headphones were stable and secure during my runs and walks. Plus, the part that sits over the ear was thin enough that it didn’t cause issues when wearing glasses or headbands — a problem I’ve had with other open-ear headphones like the chunky Bose Sport Open Earbuds.

Bass still isn’t amazing, but I was stunned at how much better it sounded on the Wing and Sonic compared to my first foray into bone conduction headphones. The rumbly intro on Stray Kids’ “Megaverse” didn’t sound nearly as cool as it would’ve on my Beats Fit Pro, but it was good enough to keep me pumped. After a few weeks, I stopped noticing the difference. (It helps that Suunto offers various sound profiles, including an outside mode that boosts bass a bit.)

The powerbank holds an extra 20 hours of charge. Kylo Ren would wear these if they could fit under his helmet.
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But while the audio was better than I expected, these are still bone conduction headphones, which means they’re not great in loud environments. I was hoping these would double as passable everyday, commuter headphones, but unfortunately, listening to audiobooks or podcasts while on a loud subway or walking past honking taxis wasn’t a great experience. I had to crank up the volume, which, in turn, cranked up the vibrations until the front pieces were buzzing on my face. These wouldn’t be the first headphones I reach for if I were to run a race with cheering crowds, either. That’s a bit of a bummer, given that Suunto’s headphones are on the pricier side at $149 and $199. For reference, Shokz’s headphones range from $80–$180.

Price is also partly why, of the two, I reached for the cheaper Sonic more often. Not only is sound quality the same, but I wasn’t sold on the Wing’s extra features. The LED lights are neat, but I felt they were hard to see against my hair. (Plus, I didn’t love the Wing’s gamer Kylo Ren vibes.) As for the Wing’s head motion controls, I could never get them to work reliably. You’re supposed to be able to answer or dismiss calls, as well as skip tracks, by either nodding or shaking your head. Instead, people looked at me funny when I’d run past, furiously shaking my head because I wanted to skip to the next song.

$200

The Suunto Wing are bone conduction headphones that have 10 hours of battery life, an extra power bank, head motion controls, and LED lighting.

$149

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Suunto’s entry-level bone conduction headphones. They have IP55, 10 hours of charge, and pretty decent sound quality.

The Wing didn’t win me over with battery life, either. Both devices have an estimated 10 hours, but the Wing also has a power bank that holds an extra 20 hours of charge. It’s nice, but is it $50 extra nice? For me, not really. I mostly stick to 30–45 minute runs, three to four times a week. The Sonic lasts me around a month before needing a charge. As for water resistance, the Sonic’s IP55 is good enough for sweat and getting caught in the rain, but the Wing’s IP67 rating isn’t good enough for the pool. (Another bummer for swimmers — neither has onboard storage, and Bluetooth doesn’t work underwater.)

Ultimately, my personal hunt for a pair of open-ear workout headphones to replace my Beats Fit Pro continues. Don’t get me wrong — my time testing the Sonic and Wing has given me a greater appreciation for bone conduction headphones and why so many people go to bat for them (to the point where I called in the latest Shokz to give them another go, too). I’m just too addicted to the bass drop to say my search ends here.

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Technology

How to make it easier to use your phone one-handed

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How to make it easier to use your phone one-handed

There are going to be times when you’ve only got one hand free to use your phone. You may be walking the dog, carrying groceries, hanging on to a subway pole, or you just don’t have another hand available. But with just about every modern phone sporting a screen at least six inches corner to corner, using one hand to work your phone could be a difficult balancing act.

Luckily, both Android and iOS phones come with integrated features to make one-handed phone use less tricky. There are also some helpful options inside individual apps you can turn to. 

Methods for Android phones

One-handed mode

Android has a dedicated one-handed mode that lets you shrink any app down to the bottom half of the screen to make it easier to reach. The way to enable that mode can be slightly different, depending on the manufacturer.

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  • From Settings on a Pixel phone (or most other Android phones), go to System > Gestures > One-handed mode and enable the toggle switch.
  • From Settings on a Samsung Galaxy phone, tap Advanced features > One-handed mode and enable the toggle switch.

Either way, you can then simply swipe down on the screen to pull the top half of an app into reach. Make sure you swipe down close to the bottom of the screen, as otherwise, you’ll simply refresh the screen in whatever app you’re in. Tap anywhere above the app to go back to a full-screen view.

Android comes with a dedicated one-handed mode.
Screenshot: Google

You can adjust the Gboard keyboard to be more toward the side of the screen.
Screenshot: Google

Enable a one-handed keyboard

Whatever app you’re in, you can make sure Android’s default Gboard keyboard is easier to get to for one set of fingers and a thumb. With the keyboard on screen:

  • Tap the four-box icon above the keyboard to the left.
  • Choose One-handed from the pop-up menu.

The keyboard then pushes up against one side of the screen. Tap the arrow button to switch it to the other side or the expand button (four arrows) to go back to normal. (You don’t get this on the default Samsung keyboard on Galaxy phones, but you can always install Gboard on any Android phone.)

Make homescreen apps easier to access

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It helps if the app shortcuts you rely on most often are down towards the bottom of your home screen, rather than up at the top. You can organize this manually, but on Pixel phones you can also have a row of your most-used apps pop down to the bottom.

  • Open Settings then tap Apps > Default apps.
  • Tap the gear icon next to Pixel Launcher.
  • Tap Suggestions and enable Suggestions on Home screen.

Make browsing easier

If you’ve got a Samsung phone and you use the Samsung Internet Browser, you can move the web address and search bar down to the bottom of the screen as well. (Weirdly enough, Chrome for Android doesn’t currently let you do this, though Chrome for iOS does — go figure.) 

  • Tap the hamburger menu (bottom right) then Settings.
  • Choose Layout and menus.
  • Enable Show toolbar at bottom and Show address bar at bottom.

(Note: Some Android phones will not have the Show toolbar at bottom feature listed.)

You can find the same option inside Firefox for Android: tap the three dots (top right), then Settings > Customize and choose Bottom for the toolbar.

Methods for iPhones

If iOS is your mobile platform of choice, you can do many of the same tricks as you can on Android.

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One-handed mode

The one-handed mode that covers the whole of iOS is called Reachability. You can find it from Settings on your iPhone:

  • Tap Accessibility > Touch.
  • Turn on the Reachability toggle switch.

A downward swipe toward the bottom of the screen will then shrink down whatever app or system menu you have on screen, making it easier to get at with one hand. Tap the arrow at the top of the window to go back to normal.

You can place the address bar at the bottom in Safari on iOS.
Screenshot: Apple

The Reachability mode on the iPhone helps with one-handed operation.
Screenshot: Apple

One-handed keyboard

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The iOS keyboard has a one-handed mode as well. With the keyboard on screen:

  • Long -press on the icon in the lower left corner (it’ll show a globe or emoji symbol, depending on the keyboards you’ve got installed).
  • Tap on the left or right keyboard layout to pin the keyboard to that side.

You can use the white arrow that fills the space left by the keyboard to go back to the normal layout again.

Make browsing easier

As mentioned above, Chrome for iOS lets you move the address and search bar down to the bottom of the screen:

  • Tap the three dots (bottom right).
  • Choose Settings.
  • Tap Address bar, then (at the top of the screen) Bottom.

This is the layout Safari for iOS uses by default. If it’s been changed for whatever reason, you can reset it via Safari in iOS Settings, under the Tabs heading.

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The Gamma PS1 emulator for iOS now supports 4-player games

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The Gamma PS1 emulator for iOS now supports 4-player games

The Gamma PS1 emulator has gained a number of significant updates since it launched as one of the first console emulators for iPhones in May. Recent updates added a new “Enhance Audio” feature and better multiplayer support, joining other key updates over the last few weeks.

Developer Benjamin Stark (aka ZodTTD) told The Verge in an email that the Enhance Audio feature in his most recent update improves audio “using reverb and interpolation effects.” He also “added Multitap emulation” for games that used Sony’s adapter that expanded the PS1’s controller port count from two to four. (That was used for games like Crash Team Racing, NBA Jam: Tournament Edition, and more.)

In other recent updates, Stark added analog stick support for games that used the Sony Dual Shock controller and the ability to switch discs without going back to the main menu for multidisc games like Metal Gear Solid. He also introduced a new “Pro” upgrade for $4.99 that turns ads off entirely.

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