Tom Olzak

Posts Tagged ‘iPhone’

Security None-sense

In Data Security, iPad, Network Security, Risk Management, Security Management on December 1, 2010 at 13:03

I’m sitting in my mother’s hospital room. It is in a new, modern, well thought-out addition to the Toledo Hospital. There is even high-speed Internet access via Wi-Fi. However, the hospital’s IT department blocks social networking sites. Why?

If it’s for security, why bother? I can access Facebook and Twitter from my iPhone and iPad using other tools. For example, I sent a Facebook post (just because I could) using my email. I continued to receive friend updates via email and text messaging. I could also post photos or video from my iPhone. So any HIPAA compliance intent is fully circumvented.

If the hospital is blocking social networking to preserve bandwidth, it needs to reconsider. Today’s patients–and their families–have integrated 24/7 social contact into their lifestyles. Blocking access is simply a poor business decision.

Finally, they may block blogging before my next visit, given that I am writing this on my iPad will sitting in my mom’s room…

iPhone Security may not an Oxymoron

In Data Security, iPhone, Mobile Device Security, Smartphones on April 8, 2010 at 10:59

When engaged in a discussion about iPhone v. Blackberry v. Windows Mobile security, you might want to place on the table a copy of this article from The MacLawyer.

The author asserts that a properly configured iPhone is no less secure than a laptop or other mobile device.

iPhone Tip – When iTunes crashes and you wish you’d bought a Blackberry

In iPhone on September 26, 2009 at 18:34

No, this isn’t a security post.  However, the level of frustration I felt over the past two days should never happen to anyone.  So I decided to put everything you need to know about dealing with drastic iPhone issues in one place.

It all started yesterday when I excitedly connected my iPhone 3GS to my office laptop to get the long-awaited-should-have-had-it-long-ago MMS update.  A funny thing happened, however.  I received a message immediately after iTunes loaded telling me that iTunes had stopped working.  And then that Apple-revenue-generating software simply closed.  I tried again with the same results.  I rebooted and retried.  Same results.  Ignoring the adage that the sign of insanity is trying the same thing over and over expecting different results, I continued to connect and disconnect my iPhone so I could send my first photo to another phone.  No luck.

After I left the office, and my Windows XP SP2 laptop, I drove home and ran to my Windows 7 Ultimate desktop and plugged in my iPhone.  iTunes loaded long enough to display that dreaded message telling me that iTunes had stopped working.  Again, an iTunes crash and burn.  ARRGGH!

To verify that this was an iPhone issue, I plugged in my iPod Touch (yes, I am an uber geek).  It worked fine.  OK.  So now I knew that my iPhone, which I just purchased two months ago, was the problem.  On to Apple support.

There may have been something in one of the forums, but I couldn’t find it.  So I scheduled a call back for the next day at 5:45.  But I am not a patient man (I hope my boss isn’t reading this or there may be more confirmation of that fact than I can bear).

When I got up this morning, I immediately visited my old friend Google to see if anyone else was having this iTunes crash problem.  My search resulted in finding a significant number of people who were experiencing the same frustration as I.  However, there didn’t seem to be anyone who had actually fixed it.  One person wrote that removing my iPhone’s authorization for iTunes and putting it back would help.  Or that a master reset (holding the home and power buttons down, ignoring the shutdown slider, until the iPhone screen goes black) might work.  Neither worked for me.

But after about three frustrating hours—and many colorful remarks about Apple, AT&T, etc.—I found the fix.  Here it is:

  1. Load iTunes
  2. Turn off the iPhone
  3. Make sure the USB cable is unplugged from the iPhone
  4. Hold down the home button for three to five seconds
    1. Plug the USB cable into your iPhone
    2. Plug the USB cable into your computer
    3. After iTunes recognizes your iPhone, release the home button

This process places your iPhone in recovery mode.  iTunes informs you that a phone in recovery mode is connected.  Click the RESTORE button on the iTunes screen and sit back.  The iPhone will be set to factory defaults.  If a backup exists, iTunes will eventually prompt you for restore.  After the restore, you phone is in the same condition is was in prior to the service recovery, assuming you had a current backup.

This fixed my problem and I had my MMS functionality.

In closing, I will admit there is a little security associated with this story.  That is, the process to place the iPhone in recovery mode is the first step in cracking iPhone security.  I guess we can’t have everything, can we Steve?

Privacy Tip — Using VIP Access at PayPal

In iPhone, Multi-Factor Authentication, One Time Passwords, Privacy on September 24, 2009 at 13:02

Today I tried to load and activate VIP Access on my iPhone.  The app loaded OK from the app store, but finding the page on PayPal where I could activate it was another story.

For those of you out of the loop, VIP Access provides a means to use your iPhone as a second authentication factor.  When installed, the software provides a different six-digit code every 30 seconds.  This code is used to verify your identity at sites supporting this VeriSign identity management technology—like PayPal.  See Figure 1.

Figure 1

Figure 1

 Installing and launching the free software on my iPhone 3GS was easy.  The first screen included a video and other information about how to use the service.  So, having lost my VIP “football” for PayPal, I was anxious to try this out.  That was where the fun began.

There are no references to this service on PayPal.  Neither searching nor browsing turned up anything useful.  Finally, I searched Google and found someone who had solved this lack-of-information challenge by actually sending a message to PayPal. 

It turns out VIP Access activation uses the same link used to activate the VIP token, as shown in Figure 2.

In the activation form, enter the VIP Access Credential ID into the Serial Number field.  The rest of the form is self-explanatory.  After jumping the activation hurdle, everything worked as advertised.

Figure 2

Figure 2

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