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Apple releases second public betas of iOS 15.2, tvOS 15.2, watchOS 8.3, macOS Monterey 12.1
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A day after the developer betas, Apple has debuted the second public beta versions of iOS 15.2, iPadOS 15.2, tvOS 15.2, watchOS 8.3, and macOS Monterey 12.1.
There are a number of noteworthy features in the new beta builds, including a communications safety tool designed to detect nudity in Messages sent or received by a child.
The beta also includes a Digital Legacy tool that allows users to grant access to their Apple data to legacy contacts after they die and a new feature meant to ease concerns around AirTag stalking, among other features.
Additionally, Apple says that a future software update will make third-party screen swaps easier on iPhone 13 models. It isn’t clear if that software update will end up being iOS 15.2, however.
AppleInsider, and Apple itself, strongly recommend users don’t install the betas on to “mission-critical” or primary devices, as there is the remote possibility of data loss or other issues. Instead, testers should install betas onto secondary or non-essential devices and ensure sufficient backups of important data before updating.
38 million records left exposed on public databases thanks to weak Microsoft Power App defaults
Many companies use Microsoft’s Power App platform, and sensitive data for 38 million records was left exposed to the public for months, thanks to weak default security settings.
Research conducted by Upguard showed that a concerning number of Power App users were not securing their databases. Further investigation revealed that this issue was created by weak default security settings, leaving data exposed if users took no manual action.
According to a report from Wired, data was left exposed from sources like American Airlines, Ford, New York City public schools, and multiple state’s COVID-19 contact tracing databases. The initial discovery by Upguard was made in May 2021, but a fix from Microsoft wasn’t fully rolled out until August.
“We found one of these that was misconfigured to expose data and we thought, we’ve never heard of this, is this a one-off thing or is this a systemic issue?” says Greg Pollock, UpGuard’s vice president of cyber research. “Because of the way the Power Apps portals product works, it’s very easy to quickly do a survey. And we discovered there are tons of these exposed. It was wild.”
Upguard began investigating a large number of Power App portals that should have been private — even apps made by Microsoft were misconfigured. However, despite being open to the public, none of the data is known to have been compromised.
The core of the problem lies in default security settings. For example, when setting up the Power App and connecting APIs, the platform defaulted to make corresponding data publicly accessible.
Thanks to an update in August, Power Apps will default to secure settings to keep data private. Upguard made an effort to communicate with platforms with sensitive data left in the open, but the scale of the security issue was too broad to account for every business.
“Secure default settings matter,” says Kenn White, director of the Open Crypto Audit Project. “When a pattern emerges in web-facing systems built using a particular technology that continue to be misconfigured, something is very wrong. If developers from diverse industries and technical backgrounds continue to make the same missteps on a platform, the spotlight should be squarely on the builder of that platform.”
Exposed data included several Covid-19 contact tracing platforms, vaccination sign-ups, job application portals, and employee databases. Anything from social security numbers to names and addresses were left in open databases.
Again, Upguard says the none of the data is known to be compromised.
The Microsoft Power App security settings problem echoes many other platform’s issues in this sector. Companies like Amazon and Google have frequently dealt with weak default settings leading to data exposure.
Apple releases macOS Big Sur 11.5.2 to the public
Apple has released macOS Big Sur 11.5.2 with bug fixes.
The new macOS update will automatically download and install for users who have that option enabled. Users can also navigate to System Preferences to initiate the update manually.
Like the macOS 11.5.1 update in July, this update has arrived without a beta period for testing. Apple only lists bug fixes in the update description.
At this time, it is unclear exactly what the new build offers, outside a maintenance and compatibility release. Given that macOS 11.5.1 was a maintenance release, and that macOS Monterey is currently being beta-tested, it seems unlikely that there will be major changes in the build.
Mobile Application to Collect Data about State of Health of the Public – Novinite.com
A national information system for combatting COVID-19 was presented at a briefing at the Council of Ministers.
It will facilitate the work of the national crisis staff and of the medical establishments, as well as access to information. It will enable the public to submit information about their current state of health, as well as information about the spread of the infection nationwide as well as locally. The system provides contact with GPs, municipalities, regional health inspection authorities, the Interior Ministry, volunteers etc, BNR reported.
All persons with coronavirus and those under quarantine have already been registered in the application, control of which is exercised by the Interior Ministry. The mobile application will be available for downloading in the coming days. It was developed on the basis of analysis software used in mobile applications in Singapore, Italy, South Korea and Taiwan.
Apple Music hosts White House Coronavirus public service video
The brief video discusses the importance of social distancing and how proper precautions can help slow the spread of the virus.
Dr. Fauci explains the importance of social distancing | Image: Apple Music
The video is being prominently featured in the video carousel in the Browse section of both Apple Music and iTunes. Those who would like to watch the video do not need an active subscription to Apple Music to see it.
The video features three key players from the White House Coronavirus Task Force: NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Debora Fox, and United States Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams.
The video shows the three talking about how to properly socially distance yourself, which includes keeping at least six feet away from others.
“You may say ‘Why six feet apart?'” explains Dr. Fox. “‘Cause there’s been a lot of scientific evidence with respiratory diseases. That’s how far your droplets can go when you sneeze or cough.”
It also explains how critical it is for those to avoid unnecessary travel crowded locations, such as movie theaters and concerts, during the coronavirus pandemic.
Apple is helping its customers keep track of the latest events in the coronavirus outbreak, by adding a section to the Apple News app providing special coverage of the global medical emergency.
If you’re running out of things to do while you wait out the pandemic, AppleInsider has a collection of free apps and things to do at home.
Apple Arcade goes live in macOS Catalina GM ahead of public launch
Developers and public beta testers evaluating the macOS Catalina golden master now have access to Apple Arcade, Apple’s cross-platform subscription gaming service that went live on iOS 13 in September.
Apple Arcade is due to arrive alongside macOS Catalina this October.
Mac access to Apple Arcade arrived on Friday, one day after Apple released the macOS Catalina GM to developers for testing.
Similar to a slow rollout to tvOS 13 beta testers last week, Apple appears to be taking Apple Arcade live region by region.
On Mac, the gaming service is accessed through the Mac App Store in a special section called “Arcade.” Like its iOS, iPadOS and tvOS counterparts, the macOS version boasts immersive preview screens, game videos, screenshots, synopses and more. A full-pane splash screen currently displays featured content accompanied by a “Try It Free” button that grants users a one-month trial pass to the gaming service.
A separate “welcome” screen provides information about the subscription product and can be found in the Arcade tab of the Mac App Store.
The product launched as part of iOS 13 in September with a handful of original games from some of the world’s top studios, as well as select choices from indie developers. Game options on Mac appear to mirror those on iOS, iPadOS and tvOS.
Apple Arcade promises subscribers wide access to more than 100 games from over 35 gaming studios for a monthly fee of $4.99. That price covers all compatible platforms — iOS, iPadOS, tvOS and Mac — as well as support for up to six users through Family Sharing. Wide access to the service on Mac is slated for October.