iPhone SMS Vulnerability Patched With OS 3.0.1

Connect to iTunes.We made several cautionary posts about the iPhone’s SMS vulnerability over the past month, and it’s finally getting a fix. iPhone OS 3.0.1 is out today at a whopping 280MB.

Apple was apparently highly pleased with themselves for the fix:

We appreciate the information provided to us about SMS vulnerabilities which affect several mobile phone platforms. This morning, less than 24 hours after a demonstration of this exploit, we’ve issued a free software update that eliminates the vulnerability from the iPhone. Contrary to what’s been reported, no one has been able to take control of the iPhone to gain access to personal information using this exploit.

Nice to hear that no one has actually used the exploit to devious ends, but “less than 24 hours after a demonstration of this exploit” is Bushian in its absurdity. The two dates, the update release and the demonstration, are pretty clearly unrelated. It’s not like Apple just threw this thing together over the last 24 hours. If they had, I probably wouldn’t bother installing it. They’ve known about the problem for at least a month. I know that because I’ve known about the problem for a month.

Here’s to completely arbitrary horn-tooting!

Amazon Sued By 17-Year-Old Because The Kindle Ate His Homework

Amazon's watching you.Of course by “ate” I mean “deleted without warning” and by “Amazon” I mean “another in the growing list of evil companies who can’t get their digital rights straight.” The suit, which is a class action, is being brought by Justin D. Gawronski, a 17-year-old from Michigan who lost his notes on George Orwell’s 1984 when Amazon went and pulled the book from all of its Kindle devices.

While I am glad to see someone taking legal action on the matter, it’s a little absurd that it was a 17-year-old who had to do the deed. I would hardly call losing your summer reading notes a serious injunction, but then, what really could be in this situation? The most serious part is simply that Amazon did it, and they shouldn’t have. Now it’s up to the courts to decide if that has any reasonable legal implications. My guess is they’ll simply say, “no.”

Sony Posts $388 Million Dollar Loss

When Howard Stringer took over at Sony four years ago, they charged him with a hefty task: revitalize the company and resuscitate the brand. He’s been struggling to do so ever since.

Today the New York Times reported the number Sony has put to Stringer’s troubles: $388 million. In the red.

Now it’s no secret that Sony has been struggling. They’re getting pmeled in the video game market and soundly beaten with just about every other product they meant to sell competitively. Sony’s bright light is that they’re a world class company and they’ve made their name on innovative products. They can come back from what’s really a mild slump in their massive sales.

Thing is, they need to turn things around yesterday. I can’t say if that means getting rid of Stringer but Sony needs to take advantage of the fact that everyone is struggling and use their massive resources to turn the brand around.

Apple Adds 2TB Time Capsule

Apple's Time Capsule.Apple’s just announced a new Time Capsule, the company’s combination 802.11n router and NAS drive, bumping the storage capacity to a full 2TB. The new drive comes in at a whopping $499.

The more interesting news is the price reduction Cupertino’s thrown to the 1TB version. You can pick up the lesser version for just $299, down from the new 2TB’s price of $499. That’s a massive reduction, and it certainly makes me wonder what kind of margin they were reaping on the device. Of course, storage is so cheap now you can imagine it was huge.

The device hasn’t changed other than the storage capacity. What I’d really like to see is a RAID capable drive for the truly storage savvy among us. 2TB of offsite storage is great, but what of your backup’s backup? I suppose that’s how they’ll try to sell MobileMe.

Alert! The iPhone can be hacked via SMS

iPhone SMS hackIf you are an iPhone user, or even if you know an iPhone user, you should be aware of a security hole where your iPhone can be hacked via SMS. This is serious stuff and you should share this knowledge with everyone you know. This hole could enable the hackers to take total control over your phone. Here are the details according to wired.com’s Gadget Lab:

Security researchers Charlie Miller and Collin Mulliner will publicize the exploit Thursday at the Black Hat cybersecurity conference, according to Forbes. The researchers said the hack involves sending a series of mostly invisible SMS bursts that effectively hijack an iPhone. From thereon, a hacker could control all the functions on the iPhone, such as e-mailing, dialing contacts — and, most alarmingly, sending more text messages to hijack even more iPhones.

How can you know if you’re being SMS attacked? According to Miller, one giveaway is if you receive a text message containing a single square character. If that happens, he suggests you immediately turn off your iPhone.

“This is serious,” Miller told Forbes. “The only thing you can do to prevent it is turn off your phone. Someone could pretty quickly take over every iPhone in the world with this.”

So until you hear otherwise from Apple, do as it says and turn off your phone immediately if you get a strange square text message. I would suggest taking your phone into the Apple store before turning it back on. Hopefully Apple will release a new iPhone OS patch soon to take care of this issue.

WebOS Gets One Good App, One Boring App

Palm's App Catalog Beta.At least they’re new, right? Right. I’ve been waiting to see Palm’s App Catalog update for some time and now it has finally happened. Today Palm announced two new apps on their official blog. The updates come several weeks after the release of the WebOS SDK, and no doubt has Pre users salivating for more.

The first app, OpenTable, is what I consider the boring app. It provides you with real-time integration with the website, giving the user access to reservation data near your location and calendar integration. A whole lot of meh if you ask me.

The other, called Fliq Bookmarks, is an application that works with The Missing Sync to provide sync capabilities from your Mac’s Safari bookmarks to your Pre. For now it is Mac only, though PC should be coming soon. Maybe they’ll toss the Firefox users a bone, too? We can always hope.

Palm’s Pre Can’t Plug Sprint’s Leak

Sprint's having a rainy...year.Sprint’s just posted their second quarter numbers and it doesn’t look great. The company may be doing better than a year ago today, but they’re still losing customers at what plenty would could a steady flow. Some might venture to say heavy, but I’d spend so little time around that type of individual I’d hopefully miss it.

How bout some numbers then? Dan Heese and company lost $384 million along with 257,000 subscribers. Those are some big numbers to be throwing around, especially since next month won’t likely get much better. That’s when we’ll see the full impact of the Virgin Mobile acquisition and the loss of Pre exclusivity, which may well be the only thing presently keeping Sprint afloat.

If you’re one of those “half-full” types, you’ll no doubt remember that just six months ago, Sprint lost a cool $1 billion along with a million customers. I’d be interested to hear you have to say next month. “At least they’re not Vonage?”

Quick Tip: Use Coffee Filters To Clean Your Ethernet Cables

Gizmodo just posted a tip that they’ve never heard before and it’s new to me as well. Apparently a tech support rep recently recommended using coffee filters to clean the tips of your ethernet cables.

Coffee filters are supposed to be excellent household cleaners but this is the first I’ve heard them being used for tech. The same principles should apply I suppose. Coffee filters are lint free and fairly porous, meaning they should work well to scoop up dust and soak up grease.

Have any of you had any success with this one? I’ve certainly used them in a pinch to clean a glass table or two but ne’er ethernet cables.

Sprint Picks Up Virgin Mobile

Virgin Mobile is no more.Today, Sprint announced they dropped a cool $483 million on Virgin Mobile. You may remember Virgin as one of the last standing boutique cell providers. They used to compete directly with Sprint’s own Boost Mobile, but no more.

Sprint plans to roll Virgin into its own Boost Mobile network, giving them a corner on the small and ever-shrinking MVNO market. The good news for Sprint is that the acquisition won’t require much work. Virgin already operates on Sprint’s network.

A company press release cited current Virgin USA CEO, Dan Schulman, for his excitement for the new brand. “Virgin Mobile USA redefined the U.S. prepaid segment when we launched seven years ago,” said Schulman. “Sprint is committed to growing its prepaid business and this transaction will provide us with the resources and opportunities to compete more aggressively, and strengthen our position in prepaid.” Let’s hope so, for Sprint’s sake. The company is having enough trouble as it is.

Quite possibly the greatest looking Bluetooth Headset ever!

Orb HeadsetThe creative minds at Hybra Advanced Technology and AbsolutelyNew must be applauded. They have come up with what I consider the most beautiful looking Bluetooth headset of all time. The Orb is a ring and a headset. Yes, a ring and a headset.

So, when in ring “form” it can display things like caller id, calendar items, and voice-to-text info. When it headset “form” it small and shiny and subtle. Let’s just hope it works as well as it looks. Here’s what OhGizmo! had to say about it:

The Orb is an actual Bluetooth headset that transforms into a ring and vice-versa. Wear it like a ring and its Flexible OLED (in the Deluxe edition) will display caller info, calendar items and voice-to-text info. Feel like answering? Twist it off and hang it on your ear. Sound is transmitted through bone conduction, so there’s no need to even insert it in your ear. It’s really just brilliant.

The best part is that it’s supposed to be available for purchase in early 2010 for $129 for the regular edition, $175 for Deluxe and going up from there depending on what gemstones people might choose to have embedded into it. It is after all, also a ring.

So I’ve never worn a headset because… well… nothing against any of you that wear them but… they look dorky. I mean c’mon, you and I know there is nothing sexy or cool about them. Well, the Orb might be changing that and changing my mind about headsets.