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In Brief

The NSA developed a tool 6 years ago to let it attack the then-new iPhone, according to documents from that time, revealed on Monday by journalist Jacob Appelbaum and Der Spiegel. The tool, DROPOUTJEEP, gave the agency “the ability to remotely push/pull files from the device, SMS retrieval, contact list retrieval, voicemail, geolocation, hot mic, camera capture, cell tower location, etc.” Other documents also published on Monday describe software implants for extracting phonebook, SMS, call log and geolocation information from SIM cards, as well as for targeting the now-defunct Windows Mobile OS. Der Spiegel said in September that the NSA could hack into iPhones, as well as Android and BlackBerry devices.

In Brief

Google and Audi are gearing up to reveal a partnership at the Consumer Electronics Show next week, according to the Wall Street Journal. The tie-in would see the creation of infotainment systems, based on Android, that rival Apple’s upcoming iOS in the Car feature. This fits well with an EE Times report earlier in December that said Google would launch an industry consortium around such technology at CES, using Miracast to wirelessly screencast Android apps from the phone to the in-car screen.

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Tiny Thief

The real challenge for any size thief is finding all of the hidden treasure that is out there for the taking. This weekend’s Tiny Thief will have you searching high and low. Read more »

In Brief

When Apple posted its year in review on Tuesday, it did something it has never done before: award an education app the top prize. Duolingo, the translation app that was recently updated with more gamified features, was named iPhone App of the Year — beating out VSCO Cam, Endless Alphabet, and other non-gaming apps for the top prize. A rep for the company indicates that this is the first education app that Apple has awarded with the honor, and that the 18-month-old app has more than 16 million users worldwide. The app is available for free on both iPhone and iPad.

In Brief

It looks like MLB.com has hit a home run once again with its At Bat app. The iOS app on Tuesday was named the highest-grossing sports app by Apple for the fifth consecutive year in its annual Best of iTunes rankings. It’s also the only sports app to place among the top 100 highest-grossing applications for both the iPhone and iPad, placing 19th and 37th, respectively. The app was downloaded more than 10 million times in 2013, with 60 percent of subscribers accessing its premium features daily. The app is free to download and use, though premium features cost $2.99 per month.

In Brief

Get ready to fire up the Mac App Store if you run OS X Mavericks: There’s a new software update waiting for you. Released on Monday, OS X 10.9.1 includes Safari 7.0.1 and improved support for Gmail in the OS X Mail app. The new software also fixes a few issues in Apple’s desktop software: VoiceOver will now properly speak sentences with certain emoji characters and Apple’s iLife and iWork apps can now be updated on non-English systems. For a full list of the issues OS X 10.9.1 addresses, check the complete release notes.

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