Tag Archive | "smartphones"

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Facebook Reportedly Tells Employees to Replace iPhones with Android Devices

Posted on 03 November 2015 by GranTorinoGuy

Facebook has literally taken over the lives of many people who consume the social network for hours on end every day, and they don’t even realize it. As it turns out, Facebook wants to dictate to their employees on what smartphone they should also be using as they reportedly tell workers to replace their iPhones with cheap Android devices.

As with anything, there is reason to the rhyme, as such, Facebook’s Chief Product Officer Chris Cox, said in an interview with Wired that company employees were asked to give up on their iPhones and start using Android phones. His reason for this is that they need to try out the Android Facebook app and optimize it for emerging markets, where Android is believed to have a larger market share than iOS.

The fanboys are going to have a field day with this news to come out of Facebook on both ends of the iPhone iOS and Android spectrum.

iPhones have undoubtedly had some major success in many markets across the globe. When it comes to emerging markets, ones that are steadily adopting the use of Facebook, iOS may not have such a grasp on the population where Android is the dominating platform for smartphones and other mobile devices. Facebook knows this all-to-well and is thriving on making the Facebook app for Android the best yet so that there is seamless transition for markets that Facebook looks to grow in.

“I am mandating a switch of a whole bunch of my team over to Android, just because people, when left up to their own devices, will often prefer an iPhone,” Chris Cox is quoted as saying. “They can be reporting bugs and living in the same experience that most Facebook users experience today.”

The statement made by Chris Cox doesn’t necessary mandate that all employees should forget about the iOS version of the Facebook app. Facebook just has a plan to increase focus on Android and testing other methods that the public may access Facebook, such as through a slower 2G network.

Facebook is covering all angles with their growth, even with well over 1 billion estimated users. Sometimes giants want to have it all, and Facebook may just be the one to get it all.

Popularity: 13%

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Emoji Passcode App Bids to Replace Traditional Pin Numbers and Passwords

Posted on 19 June 2015 by GranTorinoGuy

Let’s face it, remembering pin numbers and passwords are a real pain. In today’s social network-driven world where our lives thrive virtually on the internet, we must remember multiple passwords regardless of certain types of software attempting to manage a vast utopia of passcodes. As an answer to the daunting task of remembering passwords, a British financial services tech firm is announcing Emoji Passcode, a mobile app that allows users to access online accounts by typing in emoji-based pins and passwords.

Emojis have long been that friendly-looking icon on many platforms, mostly used on social networks, text messages or other contextual forms of communication through our internet waves. Uses of emoji icons have conveyed many different things from a simple smiley face to a devil with horns, the possibilities with such graphical icons are nearly endless. To boot, the combinations that can be formed using emojis as pin combinations surpasses how many permutations you can get out of a short pin number.

The clever use of emojis as passwords is nearly ingenious. Some people will retain the combination of emojis better than they would with simple letter and number combinations. It would prove those with a visual learning curve to quickly adopt such a concept.

Emoji Passcode would be a new way for companies who have online logins to give their consumers new options and potentially a better way of safeguarding their account and personal information. Additionally, Emoji Passcode could replace traditional pin numbers used on certain platforms and who knows, it could be a new way of accessing an ATM machine on a local scale.

The principals behind Emoji Passcode seem to be worthy of implementation in some of the highest levels of security over the internet. The promotional video below reiterates the potential effectiveness and security of what the developers and marketers of Emoji Passcode have in store. The question is, would you give it a try and ultimately trust it?

Popularity: 8%

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Throttle That Unlimited Data – Do We Have a Problem?

Posted on 18 June 2015 by GranTorinoGuy

ATT is to get struck with a $100 million fine from the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) due to throttling data on their unlimited plans and not proper conveying the information to their customers. What many are reporting as a deception on ATT’s part is more of a serious issue that many companies are doing. The thing is, is it a problem with the users and do they know what is going on with this so-called throttling of data on unlimited 4G LTE plans.

Communications and data infrastructures are the largest they have ever been. Technology is ruling the world and those of us who take our data availability and frequency of that data for granted may be in for a shocker. Believe it or not, but the data systems that provide services to your devices are probably not robust enough to provide an unlimited data service to everyone signed up all at the same time. Basically, if everyone accessing data was to sign on and start streaming a high-definition movie all at the same time, something will eventually crash on the data provider’s end.

With the companies like ATT knowing what will happen if their systems are taxed to the brink of crashing, they have cleverly put in measures to throttle data to supposedly provide everyone data services without interruption. This means that when someone is considered by ATT to be using too much “unlimited” data, the flow of that data is slowed down to make way for others on the service to avoid interruptions or conflicts due to the systems not being able to handle the load.

Many critics and consumers of unlimited plans have lashed out against such practices by these gargantuan companies. The FCC too has heard these complaints and are looking to start cracking down on the practices – mostly due to the companies not properly disclosing that they will be throttling data transfer for their unlimited services.

Fine print has been a messy case when it comes to consumers attempting to get what they want or think that they deserve. Rightfully so, an unlimited data plan should be just that, unlimited. In the scheme of what companies like ATT are seeing, unlimited data may resemble something else when you dig deep into the fine print and interpret it in a specific way – a way that ATT wants you to see so they don’t get slapped on the hands by the FCC.

Not only is ATT being scrutinized from these practices, but Sprint is taking a proactive measure and is putting a stop to their data throttling adhering to new Net neutrality rules.

What do you say? If you are on an unlimited data plan have you ever experienced or noticed data throttling. Do you think it is right for them to do such a thing? Should companies like ATT properly disclosed this information and would you have been happy with them saying so up front before you plop down your hefty monthly fee for your “unlimited” services?

Popularity: 9%

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Alert: Bizarre Text Message Causing iPhones and iOS Devices to Crash and Reboot

Posted on 28 May 2015 by GranTorinoGuy

Most people have concluded that Apple has run a tight ship in the aspect of keeping their iOS devices free of malware and potential security threats. However, there are several iOS devices crashing and rebooting all from a bizarre text message.

A bug in the current version of iOS was discovered by several Reddit users recently where a specialized text message can be sent and then cause a device running iOS to reboot. Basically, iPhones are susceptible to being remotely rebooted by receiving a text message that contains several Arabic characters.

In looking at the text message causing this issue on iOS devices, researchers find that the bug in iOS picks up on a specific line of text sent within iMessage or SMS. The techie folks at the Guardian attempted to replicate the bug through sending the particular text message and were only successful in one out of 50 attempts as the string that causes a reboot must be typed out in an exact fashion. This means if even one character or space is off, the mischievous text will not work to reboot the device.

Currently, there has not been a specific reason for the bug being used other than to be annoying and a laughable prank. Users of iOS devices who have experienced the issue are taking to social media, such as on Twitter and Facebook, to vent their frustrations and potentially wage the text message bug war on someone else. Yes, you too can crash another iOS device if you have the exact message ready to send to someone.

It is not the first time that a bug within iOS has caused similar issues on devices running the operating system. There have been bugs within third party apps in the past the allowed attackers to flood iOS devices with information to cause them to crash. During such a time, the Apple store removed the app and pretty much nipped the situation in the bud. With this text message iOS crashing situation, there will need to be a full update to iOS and Apple will be required to release an update to fix this bug. Until then, iPhones and other iOS devices receiving this bizarre text message will continue to crash and reboot.

Popularity: 9%

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Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Seeks Prominence Over Other Smartphones

Posted on 31 March 2015 by GranTorinoGuy

A quick touchy feely run-down of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

The smartphone war is a perpetual battle that has no end. With every new release of a smartphone, the world tends to rock on its axis as the lovely public takes to the internet to find out if it is better than the last smartphone to hit the market. With the introduction of the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, there seems to be a lot of sifting and justification to moving to the hottest smartphone from the South Korean company.

Samsung has certainly made a monumental name for themselves. They are everyone you look, whether it be chips inside of the Apple iPhone, the brand stamped on your new flat screen TV, or a name the synonymous with mainstream electronics and household appliances. Some may go as far as to think Samsung is the new-age Sony. I can see that.

The new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge may not be just another notch in the belt for smartphones. It could very well be paramount for Samsung where the critics are getting enough garnered attention for the company to make some more bold moves in their design and implementation of their latest smartphone.

In their attempt to seek prominence over other smartphones, the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge features a slim, stylish and powerful makeup. Its unique design with the curved glass edges has been marked by most as the most desirable S6 so far. As the flagship of Samsung’s smartphone lineup, the S6 Edge boasts an Exynos 14nm 64-bit Octa Core processor. You can get the Galaxy S6 Edge in 64GB or 128GB versions all with a large 5.1-inch 2560×1440 pixel Super AMOLED display. With such a display, you would be hard-pressed to physically find a single pixel, even if you stared at it for hours upon hours – thought I would not recommend that.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge brings more of the same but with a flare in using the Android OS. Many of the expected features are now faster, such as the ability to use NFC for payments. The pitfalls of the new Galaxy S6 Edge are few, but something worth mentioning, as you don’t have a SD card slot and removable battery. The Apple fanboys are already having a field day with this faux pas. The irony stretches pretty far with this one as Samsung was synonymous with providing a removable battery compartment and an SD card slot for upgrading your storage or just swapping out some photos from another device. Yeah, this isn’t going to win a battle over everything else on the market. The last “bad” part would be the fingerprint sensor; it seems to be a bit finicky through use. However, it does register but not with much consistency.

In living with the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, you will notice how it finds a proper spot in your jeans pocket. It is like the curved glass edges match the ends of your pocket, and it slips down to a spot not to budge out of your outer thighs. Are you happy to see me? No, it’s just that my Galaxy S6 Edge has disappeared into my pants pocket.

Getting down the price of the Galaxy S6 Edge, Samsung could have trumped any shortcomings in their latest smartphone when it comes to the Galaxy S6. With the Galaxy S6 Edge, you can voice your opinion now while we plug our ears. The S6 Edge is respectfully $100 more over the Galaxy S6. For a price starting at $299 with a 2-year contract for the 32GB model and ramping up to $399 for the 64GB and then 499 for the 128GB, that missing SD card slot means more now than ever.

I can say, the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is more than meets the eye, it is, after all, the best smartphone on the market, along with – dare I say, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Geez, be sure to let us know your thoughts on our quick run-down.

Popularity: 9%

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Android and iOS Versions of Superfish Apps Found to Have Device Tracking Capabilities

Posted on 27 February 2015 by GranTorinoGuy

The Superfish program and web browser add-on has caused some major concerns for computer users as it has been identified to contain code that can track users on the mobile versions of the application.

Superfish was ousted recently as a malicious program for computers and mobile devices. Lenovo, one of the largest producers of personal computers, made the mistake of bundling the Superfish program with several of their new laptop computers shipped out between September 2014 and December 2014. Since the discovery of Superfish’s malicious actions of exploiting security certificates leading to attackers infiltrating personal data transmitted over the internet, mobile versions of Superfish were found to be just as dangerous.

Superfish in its mobile version for Android and iOS devices was found to have code that poses a risk by the Superfish root certificate allowing attackers to track users and gather transmitted data.

The Superfish app was originally designed to help users shop for furniture or items by taking pictures of desirables and uploading it so Superfish’s servers can identify the image. Computer security researchers have identified recent versions of Superfish to be quite the malicious program in its ability to disrupt security certificates and now expose mobile devices’ unique ID through EXIF data available in photos taken by the device.

There has been much of a debate about the tracking of cell phones and mobile devices over many years. Furthermore, malware programs designed for mobile devices have become extremely sophisticated to the point that tracking a device and data that it may transmit over the internet and networks is a commonplace event for advanced hackers. Through the use of the Superfish mobile app on Android and iOS devices, it seems information on those devices may be pulled and later sold or used by other hackers and cybercrooks.

Deep in the code of the Superfish app on the Android OS and within Superfish’s LikeThat feature on iOS devices, the malicious program may reveal Mac address, CPU frequency, display type and free space to others who are in tuned to collecting Superfish’s stolen information.

The tracking of a device using Superfish may also be another aspect that hackers can determine. Though it has not been fully explored or verified, Superfish could still be a basis for pulling information from mobile devices. Through GPS positioning abilities found in Superfish’s code, iOS devices that have location services enabled could allow others to track the device. On Android versions, the tracking features may not be fully active. However, the transmitting of a user’s position is present within their SFLocatioAPI class, which is another avenue that sneaky hackers could exploit.

In any instance of Superfish being found on a device of any kind, it should be removed. Use of Superfish could make a mobile device vulnerable to many issues, including being tracked or other data compromised.

Popularity: 17%

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More Hacking Threats Are Expected to Spread As Mobile Phones Continue to Evolve

Posted on 21 December 2009 by admin

Mobile phones are like computers these days. So if you can do with a phone what could only be done on a computer before, then hackers can to.

Mobile phones have become more vulnerable to traditional computer menaces like hackers and viruses. Russian anti-virus company Kaspersky Lab has reported on a new malicious program that stole money by taking over Nokia phones and making small charges to the owners’ wireless accounts. Recently, an Australian student created a worm that spread through “jailbroken” (altered to run software Apple has not authorized) iPhones. The worm did not cause any damage, it uploaded a photo of ’80s pop star Rick Astley. To security experts, this suggested that cyber attacks on iPhones are possible. Where there are security threats, there are always money-hungry cyber crooks looking to capitalize on the innocent.

Earlier in December, Khosla Ventures, a prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm, led an investment group that injected $5.5 million into a fledgling security start-up called Lookout. Lookout is set to introduce security applications for the BlackBerry and iPhone after testing security software for phones running the Windows Mobile and Android operating systems. The software protects phones against rogue programs and gives phone owners the ability to remotely back up and erase the data on their phones.

A basic version of the software is free, while the company plans to charge a monthly subscription for a version with more features. It feels a lot like it did in 1999 in desktop security, according to John Hering, Lookout’s 26-year-old chief executive, who for years has done research demonstrating security vulnerabilities in phones. Hering says people are using the mobile Web and downloading applications more than ever before and there are threats that come with that.

Lookout represents the latest attempt to build a new business that capitalizes on the surge of smartphones. Thousands of companies making mobile games, shopping tools and other programs have sprung up in the last two years as the iPhone, in particular, has taken off. Lookout and its investors believe this is the right time to get into the market. The rules of mobile are different, says Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures, which also recently invested in Square, a mobile payments start-up. He says phones are people’s most personal computer, and needs to be protected.

Companies like Research In Motion, who made the BlackBerry, and Good Technology, a Silicon Valley-based mobile messaging firm, already offer mobile security tools, but their systems are aimed at businesses. Security firms like Symantec also have mobile security divisions, and a five-year-old company, Trust Digital, based in McLean, Va., has set its sights on this market.

Lookout says it can address the unique challenges of protecting cellphones, like preserving battery life. While the company will not give details, it says it has figured out how to get its software to work on the iPhone, which does not allow non-Apple programs to operate in the background, as security software typically does. Hering and his co-founder, Kevin Mahaffey, have been publicly demonstrating the weaknesses of mobile phones for some time.

In 2005, they camped outside the Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood and scanned the phones of stars walking the red carpet, using a short-range Bluetooth wireless connection. They found that as many as 100 of the phones were vulnerable to hacking over such a connection. That year, at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, they hacked into a phone over a mile away using Bluetooth.

Lookout’s founders and backers concede that for now, snoops and bad guys pose much less of a threat to cellphones than to PCs. But they believe there is an immediate need for software that preserves and protects a phone’s data, from email to corporate information, and they say current systems do not work when a family or business has multiple types of cellphones on various wireless networks. For instance, a small business could install the Lookout software on many different types of devices, back up all the data and remotely erase a phone if, say, an employee leaves it in a cab.

Jeff Moss, a security expert and organizer of the Black Hat conference, said mobile security had historically been a solution in search of a problem. But he said that mobile viruses had recently become more common in Asia. His own Nokia N97 phone even caught a bug recently, but the software he was running from F-Secure, a Finnish security company, caught it in time. Moss says the tipping point will be when we start using phone to shop and conduct banking, because the more we do with a phone, the more valuable a target it will become.

Popularity: 31%

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