AWT News Update: August 10, 2016

"Secure backdoor" image via AgileBits

"Secure backdoor" image via AgileBits

Weird things are afoot in the world of Apple today, some good, some bad:

  • Google finally updates Google Docs and Google Sheets for iPad to work with Split-View multitasking in iOS 9
  • Microsoft accidentally gives away the keys to the "secure back door" for Windows tablets and other devices, another reason Apple doesn't want such a back door and the FBI does
  • Some bad guys tried to get away with stealing laptops from an Apple office in Cupertino (not THAT office in Cupertino, just a small side facility)

The text version of the podcast can be viewed below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below.

Text Version

Hi, this is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for August 10, 2016.

Those of us who use both iPad Pros and Google Docs and Sheets have something to get happy about today. Both Google Docs and Google Sheets have been updated to add Split-View multitasking on both the iPad Pro and any other device that supports the Split-View feature in iOS 9. This is a great update, since it now makes it possible to do things like update a Google spreadsheet while using Safari or another multitasking app. It’s taken 11 months since iOS 9’s introduction for Google to do this, but it’s something that will make life a lot easier for iPad users.

You know how Apple has been reluctant to create a back door for the “good guys” like the FBI to be able to bypass security when they need to find out what the “bad guys” have been up to? Well, Microsoft just gave Apple another reason to avoid creating what’s called a “Golden Key” for that back door. The company inadvertently released its own keys to Windows tablets, phones, HoloLens, and any other devices that use UEFI Secure Boot. Charlie Osborne at Zero Day reports that the ability to bypass Windows Secure Boot using the profiles Microsoft made public lets users replace Windows OS with other operating systems like Linux, and also “permits the installation and execution of boot kit and rootlets and the deepest level of the device.” Microsoft apparently failed to correctly patch the issue, and several security researchers believe that the issue may not be possible to ever resolve. To quote researchers MY123 and Slipstream, “A backdoor which MS put in to secure boot because they decided to not let the user turn it off in certain devices, allows for secure boot to be disabled everywhere!” They went on to tell the FBI "Smarter people than me have been telling this to you for so long, it seems you have your fingers in your ears. You seriously don't understand still? Microsoft implemented a 'secure golden key' system. And the golden keys got released from MS own stupidity. Now, what happens if you tell everyone to make a 'secure golden key' system? Hopefully you can add 2+2..."

And while we’re talking about the good guys versus the bad guys, let’s finish up with a story about three burglars who apparently smashed a window at an Apple office at Bubb Road and Results Way in Cupertino, grabbing a bunch of laptops at the facility. Police spotted the burglary in progress, then chased the crooks as they left the scene in a car. The car chase led to San Jose, and the suspects ditched their vehicle and tried to get away on foot. One suspect was captured near a Starbucks in San Jose, while the other two are still at large despite police setting up a perimeter around the last known location of the bad guys and going door-to-door to find them. This type of smash and grab is common at Apple retail stores, but this is the first time we remember hearing about a corporate office being hit.

That’s all for today; We’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.