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iOS 13: Security and privacy settings you need to tweak and check

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The best new features in iOS 13
With iOS 13 set to roll out on September 19, ZDNet’s Beth Mauder walks you through her five favorite new features and how you can add them to your iPhone. Read more: https://zd.net/2QbuNNR

Have you installed iOS 13, or perhaps bought a new iPhone with the new operating system installed on it? Here are settings you should change and tweaks you should make to harden the security and lock down your device, along with a tour of some of the new security and privacy features built into the platform.

#1: Set a really strong passcode

Good iOS security starts with having a really strong passcode. If this is something that’s easily guessable then everything else you do is pretty much pointless.

No matter whether you use Face ID or Touch ID to access your iPhone, you still need a passcode, and the longer the passcode you can use — and remember — the better.

Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode on older iPhones), enter your existing passcode, and then tap on Passcode Options to get a set of options. Choose between Custom Alphanumeric Code (the most secure) or Custom Numeric Code (second best option), or 4-Digit Numeric Code (I don’t recommend this last option).

#2: Block unknown callers

This is a great way to get rid of nuisance and spam callers. To enable this feature, go to Settings > Phone > and toggle to Silence Unknown Callers.

#3: Block apps from having Bluetooth access

After you install iOS 13 you might find a whole swathe of apps such as Facebook asking you for permission to transmit data over Bluetooth. You can either allow or deny access when the prompts are displayed, or you can head over to Settings > Privacy > Bluetooth and make the changes there.

Note that this doesn’t affect audio streaming to headphones and speakers.

#4: Password AutoFill and third-party password managers

iOS 13 now comes with both a password autofill feature that can use information stored in the iCloud Keychain along with the ability to connect to third-party password apps such as LastPass, Dashlane, and 1Password.

Also: Forgot password? Five reasons why you need a password manager 

You can find this feature in Settings > Passwords & Accounts > AutoFill Passwords.

#5: Make sure iOS automatic updates are enabled

iOS 13 has the ability to keep itself updated automatically, which is a great way to make sure that your iPhone is fully patched.

This should be set up automatically, but you can check it over at Settings > General > Software Update and making sure Automatic Updates is enabled.

#6: Wi-Fi tracking is blocked

Under iOS 12, it was possible to track iPhone and iPad users by the public Wi-Fi points the device was connecting to silently as the owner went about their business. This ability has now been blocked under iOS 13 so you can wander about without the fear of being tracked.

#7: Take control over Location Sharing

Another thing you might have noticed after installing iOS 13 is that you get notifications informing you that apps are using your locations data, and giving you the option of allowing this to continue or blocking it.

Don’t worry, you can change your mind by going to Settings > Privacy > Location Services, and changing permissions for your apps.

#8: Find your devices

iOS 13 has a cool new app called Find My which you can use to locate your friends and family, share your location, or find a missing device.

This app has two cool features, one is Enable Offline Finding that helps you find lost devices that aren’t connected to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The other is Send Last Location, which sends the device’s location to Apple when the battery is low.

#9: Control what Touch ID/Face ID is used to authenticate

Do you want the convenience of Face ID or Touch ID, or do you rather the additional protection that having to enter your passcode offers? iOS 13 allows you to switch Face ID/Touch ID on and off for:

  • iPhone Unlock
  • iTunes and App Store
  • Apple Pay
  • Password AutoFill

Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode on older iPhones), and enter your existing passcode to take control of this.

#10: Control access to what’s accessible when the iPhone or iPad is locked

Control how much — or how little — you want to be accessible on a locked device. iOS 12 gives control over the following:

  • Today View
  • Notification Center
  • Control Center
  • Siri
  • Reply with Message
  • Home Control
  • Wallet
  • Return Missed Call
  • USB Accessories

The bottom line is that the more you lock down, the more secure your device and data will be. The USB Accessories feature is especially useful, because it will prevent the Lightning port being used to connect to any accessory if your iPhone or iPad has been locked for more than an hour.

Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode on older iPhones), and enter your existing passcode to take control of this.

#11: Set brute-force protection

iOS has built-in brute-force protection to prevent an unauthorized user from trying to guess your passcodes.

Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode on older iPhones), enter your existing passcode, and scroll down to Erase Data.

After 10 attempts (toward the end there will be a time lockout to slow down the entry process), the encryption key will be deleted and your data wiped.

#12: Check for password reuse

If you use the iCloud Keychain to store web passwords, you can now use this to check for password reuse (which is bad, so don’t do it!).

Go to Settings > Passwords & Accounts > Website & App Passwords and authenticate with either Face ID/Touch ID or your passcode.

You will see a grey triangle with an exclamation mark next to any entry that is reused. To change the password, tap Change Password on Website.

#13: Reduce the lock screen timeout

The shorter you set the lock screen timeout setting (there are options ranging from 30 seconds to never), the faster your iPhone or iPad display will require authentication to access it.

You can change the auto-lock time by going to Settings > Display & Brightness Auto-Lock.

#14: Disable biometrics to force passcode entry

Here’s a simple trick to know that allows you to disable Face ID or Touch ID and force the use of the passcode.

To do this press the power button five times (just be sure to cancel the SOS Emergency calling feature if you have this activated).

#15: Set up two-factor authentication

One of the best ways to protect your data is to set up and use two-factor authentication. This means that, even if an attacker has your iCloud username and password, Apple will send an authentication code of a device you’ve chosen, which should block most attacks.

Go to Settings > and tap your name at the top of the screen, then go to Password & Security, then choose Two-Factor Authentication.

Also: Protect yourself: How to choose the right two-factor authenticator app 

While setting up two-factor authentication you can also set up a Recovery Key.

Once set, without this key, or another device signed in with your Apple ID, you will not be able to reset your password.

#16: Control notification data leakage

Notifications displayed on the lock screen can leak sensitive information.

To stop this go to Settings > Notifications > Show Previews and change the setting to When Unlocked or Never.

#17: More control with Safari

Under iOS 13, the Safari browser now has the ability to control access to features such as the camera, the microphone, and current location on a per-site basis.

Go to Settings > Safari and look for the toggles under Settings For Websites.

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Facebook launches BARS, a TikTok-like app for creating and sharing raps – TechCrunch

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Facebook’s internal R&D group, NPE Team, is today launching its next experimental app, called BARS. The app makes it possible for rappers to create and share their raps using professionally created beats, and is the NPE Team’s second launch in the music space following its recent public debut of music video app Collab.

While Collab focuses on making music with others online, BARS is instead aimed at would-be rappers looking to create and share their own videos. In the app, users will select from any of the hundreds of professionally created beats, then write their own lyrics and record a video. BARS can also automatically suggest rhymes as you’re writing out lyrics, and offers different audio and visual filters to accompany videos as well as an autotune feature.

There’s also a “Challenge mode” available, where you can freestyle with auto-suggested word cues, which has more of a game-like element to it. The experience is designed to be accommodating to people who just want to have fun with rap, similar to something like Smule’s AutoRap, perhaps, which also offers beats for users’ own recordings.

Image Credits: Facebook

The videos themselves can be up to 60 seconds in length and can then be saved to your Camera Roll or shared out on other social media platforms.

Like NPE’s Collab, the pandemic played a role in BARS’ creation. The pandemic shut down access to live music and places where rappers could experiment, explains NPE Team member DJ Iyler, who also ghostwrites hip-hop songs under the alias “D-Lucks.”

“I know access to high-priced recording studios and production equipment can be limited for aspiring rappers. On top of that, the global pandemic shut down live performances where we often create and share our work,” he says.

BARS was built with a team of aspiring rappers, and today launched into a closed beta.

Image Credits: Facebook

Despite the focus on music, and rap in particular, the new app in a way can be seen as yet another attempt by Facebook to develop a TikTok competitor — at least in this content category.

TikTok has already become a launchpad for up-and-coming musicians, including rappers; it has helped rappers test their verses, is favored by many beatmakers and is even influencing what sort of music is being made. Diss tracks have also become a hugely popular format on TikTok, mainly as a way for influencers to stir up drama and chase views. In other words, there’s already a large social community around rap on TikTok, and Facebook wants to shift some of that attention back its way.

The app also resembles TikTok in terms of its user interface. It’s a two-tabbed vertical video interface — in its case, it has  “Featured” and “New” feeds instead of TikTok’s “Following” and “For You.” And BARS places the engagement buttons on the lower-right corner of the screen with the creator name on the lower-left, just like TikTok.

However, in place of hearts for favoriting videos, your taps on a video give it “Fire” — a fire emoji keeps track. You can tap “Fire” as many times as you want, too. But because there’s (annoyingly) no tap-to-pause feature, you may accidentally “fire” a video when you were looking for a way to stop its playback. To advance in BARS, you swipe vertically, but the interface is lacking an obvious “Follow” button to track your favorite creators. It’s hidden under the top-right three-dot menu.

The app is seeded with content from NPE Team members, which includes other aspiring rappers, former music producers and publishers.

Currently, the BARS beta is live on the iOS App Store in the U.S., and is opening its waitlist. Facebook says it will open access to BARS invites in batches, starting in the U.S. Updates and news about invites, meanwhile, will be announced on Instagram.

Facebook’s recent launches from its experimental apps division include Collab and collage maker E.gg, among others. Not all apps stick around. If they fail to gain traction, Facebook shuts them down — as it did last year with the Pinterest-like video app Hobbi.

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Brandwatch is acquired by Cision for $450M, creating a PR, marketing and social listening giant – TechCrunch

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Online consumer intelligence and social media listening platform Brandwatch has been acquired by Cision, best known for its media monitoring and media contact database services, for $450 million, in a combined cash and shares deal. TechCrunch understands Brandwatch’s key executive team will be staying on. The move combines two large players to offer a broad range of services, from PR to marketing and online customer engagement. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.

Cision has a media contact database of approximately 1 million journalists and media outlets and claims to have over 75,000 customers. Brandwatch applies AI and machine learning to the practice known as “social listening”.

Along the way, Brandwatch raised a total of around $65 million. It was Series A-funded by Nauta Capital, followed by Highland Europe and then Partech.

In a statement, Giles Palmer, founder, and CEO of Brandwatch said: “We have always built Brandwatch with ambition… Now is the time to take the next step – joining a company of significant scale to create a business and a suite of products that can have an important global impact.”

Abel Clark, CEO of Cision said: “The continued digital shift and widespread adoption of social media is rapidly and fundamentally changing how brands and organizations engage with their customers. This is driving the imperative that PR, marketing, social, and customer care teams fully incorporate the unique insights now available into consumer-led strategies. Together, Cision and Brandwatch will help our clients to more deeply understand, connect and engage with their customers at scale across every channel.”

Brandwatch has been on an almost case-study of a journey from fundraising to acquisition to a merger, but less characteristically for a well-funded tech company, it did much of it from its hometown of Brighton, on the southern coast of England.

The financing journey began for Giles Palmer, with angel funding in 2006. In 2010 Brandwatch raised $1.5 million from Durrants, a marketing and PR firm, and a Series A round from Nauta Capital. In 2014 it raised $22 million in funding in a Series B round led by Highland Europe. That was followed by a $33 million Series C financing led by Partech Ventures in 2015.

With the war chest, it went on to acquire BuzzSumo in 2017, a content marketing and influencer identification platform, for an undisclosed sum. And in 2019 Brandwatch merged with a similar business, Crimson Hexagon, creating a business with around $100 million in ARR. It also acquired the London-based SaaS research platform Qriously.

Brandwatch was recently named a leader in Forrester’s guide for buyers of social listening solutions.

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Twitter announces ‘Super Follow’ subscriptions – TechCrunch

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Twitter reveals its move into paid subscriptions, Australia passes its media bargaining law and Coinbase files its S-1. This is your Daily Crunch for February 25, 2021.

The big story: Twitter announces ‘Super Follow’ subscriptions

Twitter announced its first paid product at an investor event today, showing off screenshots of a feature that will allow users to subscribe to their favorite creators in exchange for things like exclusive content, subscriber-only newsletters and a supporter badge.

The company also announced a feature called Communities, which could compete with Facebook Groups and enable Super Follow networks to interact, plus a Safety Mode for auto-blocking and muting abusive accounts. On top of all that, Twitter said it plans to double revenue by 2023.

Not announced: launch dates for any of these features.

The tech giants

After Facebook’s news flex, Australia passes bargaining code for platforms and publishers — This requires platform giants like Facebook and Google to negotiate to remunerate local news publishers for their content.

New Facebook ad campaign extols the benefits of personalized ads — The sentiments are similar to a campaign that Facebook launched last year in opposition to Apple’s upcoming App Tracking Transparency feature.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Sergey Brin’s airship aims to use world’s biggest mobile hydrogen fuel cell — The Google co-founder’s secretive airship company LTA Research and Exploration is planning to power a huge disaster relief airship with an equally record-breaking hydrogen fuel cell.

Coinbase files to go public in a key listing for the cryptocurrency category — Coinbase’s financials show a company that grew rapidly from 2019 to 2020 while also crossing the threshold into unadjusted profitability.

Boosted by the pandemic, meeting transcription service Otter.ai raises $50M — With convenient timing, Otter.ai added Zoom integration back in April 2020.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

DigitalOcean’s IPO filing shows a two-class cloud market — The company intends to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “DOCN.”

Pilot CEO Waseem Daher tears down his company’s $60M Series C pitch deck — For founders aiming to entice investors, the pitch deck remains the best way to communicate their startup’s progress and potential.

Five takeaways from Coinbase’s S-1 — We dig into Coinbase’s user numbers, its asset mix, its growing subscription incomes, its competitive landscape and who owns what in the company.

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Paramount+ will cost $4.99 per month with ads — The new streaming service launches on March 4.

Register for TC Sessions: Justice for a conversation on diversity, equity and inclusion in the startup world — This is just one week away!

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.

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