New Open Source Mobile OS Puts Privacy Front and Center

2018.01.29 02

A renowned Linux innovator has developed a new mobile operating system, called “Project eelo,” in an effort to provide a level of data privacy that traditional Android and iOS devices fail to offer.

The new eelo system will allow mobile phone users to regain control over their personal information at a price they can afford, said Gael Duval, who created Mandrake Linux back in 1998.

Apple has become too expensive, too boring and is “going crazy with its products,” he said, while Google has “become too big” and is capturing too much information about what we do.

“They want to know us as much as possible to sell advertising,” Duval wrote in a post introducing eelo’s Kickstarter campaign, which has more than doubled its goal with 14 days remaining.

“Information is currency, and people are going to want more control over who has information on their behaviors and habits on a mobile device,” said Ryan Spanier, director of research at Kudelski Security.

“Eelo is focused on maintaining privacy,” he told LinuxInsider, “preventing tracking and monetization of your actions without your consent.”

New Open Source Mobile OS Puts Privacy Front and Center

A Screenshot Tour of Allo, Google’s New Smart Messaging App

2016-09-21-10

Google just launched Allo, a new smart messaging app that comes with stickers, emoji, and a powerful assistant who can answer all your questions. Let’s take a look at its biggest features, and see if it’s worth moving all your conversations over to it.

A Screenshot Tour of Allo, Google’s New Smart Messaging App

Google fixes two serious Android security flaws

2016-09-21-02

Google’s mobile security team has definitely been busy cleaning house this week. The company has released an Android update that closes two security holes that could pose a major threat if intruders found a way to exploit them. The first was only designed for “research purposes” and would only have been malicious if modified, Google tells Ars Technica, but it wouldn’t have been hard to detect or weaponize.

The other flaw behaved similarly to the well-known Stagefright exploit, letting an attacker send an altered JPEG image through Gmail or Google Talk to hijack your phone. The issue, as SentinelOne researcher Tim Strazzere explains to Threatpost, is that it’s both easy to find and capitalize on this vulnerability.

There’s more. Security company Check Point also revealed that Google Play had been hosting apps containing two forms of malware (CallJam and DressCode). CallJam both steered phones to websites that made bogus ad revenue and, if you granted permission, would call paid phone numbers. DressCode would also visit shady ad sources, but it could also compromise local networks. Google has since removed the offending apps, but the infection rate may have been high when users downloaded the software hundreds of thousands (or in a few cases, millions) of times.

Google fixes two serious Android security flaws

Facebook test highlights what your friends are talking about

2016-09-07-02

Facebook’s new experimental feature shows you status updates you might have missed otherwise. Mashable has spotted a box marked “What friends are talking about,” which lists a few of your friends’ posts in a single box on top of your feed, in the company’s Android app. We weren’t able to replicate the experience on either Android or iOS (or even on a computer), but that’s not exactly surprising. Only very few people get access to the social network’s features in their experimental stage, so you’ll have to check your own apps to see if you’ve been chosen.

The company has been making changes to the News Feed for months in order to bring status updates you’d actually want to read closer to the top. This test feature, which could change the way you interact with your friends’ posts, is most likely part of that effort. As always, Facebook could eventually give this feature a wider release, but the company could also pull it down, depending on whether it does well during the test period.

Facebook test highlights what your friends are talking about

Opera’s free unlimited VPN service is coming to Android

2016.08.29 06

Opera previously launched an unlimited VPN service for iOS earlier this year as a result of its 2015 acquisition of SurfEasy, and now it’s doing the same for Android users.

Opera VPN will let you appear as if you’re in a different country such as the US, Canada, Singapore, Germany and the Netherlands in addition to allowing you to block ad trackers. You can effectively bypass content restricted by location with the VPN, and without a data limit you can use it as much as you want.

If you’re not well-versed in VPNs, the app automatically handles setting Android VPN settings for you and will also check the security and integrity of your current Wi-Fi connection. This feature may slow down your internet speed while you’re using it, as TechCrunch attests, but not so much that it’s too problematic to use while surfing.

If you’re interested in trying out the app, you can pick it up via the Google Play Store now.

Opera’s free unlimited VPN service is coming to Android

Android 7.0 Nougat: All the features of Google’s new mobile operating system and how to download it onto your smartphone

2016.08.29 04

Google’s latest operating system Android 7.0 Nougat is now available for certain phones to download. Read on for all the key features you need to know about Google has begun to roll out its latest software, Android 7.0, also known as Nougat. The tech giant has a long tradition of naming its updates after sweet treats, including Marshmallow, KitKat and Ice Cream Sandwich, and this year it opened the decision up to its fans.

Although the company has being releasing developer previews of Android N, as it was previously known, as far back as March, the final version is now finally available to download. Here are all the key features in the new update, and how you can download it.

Android 7.0 Nougat: All the features of Google’s new mobile operating system and how to download it onto your smartphone

Google Duo Aims to Make Video Calling Super-Easy

2016.08.18 02

Google on Monday launched Google Duo, a one-on-one video calling app that runs on iOS and Android.

The app will be available worldwide in the next few days, said Justin Uberti, principal software engineer at Google.

Duo switches from cellular service to WiFi, and transitions from high-speed to lower speed wireless service smoothly, promising to let users continue video calls irrespective of their location and service speeds, although video degradation may be apparent on slower services.

A separate account isn’t necessary to sign up for the app — a phone number will suffice.

Google Duo Aims to Make Video Calling Super-Easy

The $99 Peripheral that Turns Your Smartphone Into a Laptop

2016.08.15 01

There’s a good chance your smartphone has more processing power than a 1985 Cray-2 Supercomputer. What it doesn’t have is a display big enough for a spreadsheet, or a keyboard good for more than cramped fumbling.

Enter the Superbook, currently available for $99 through a Kickstarter campaign. It looks like a slim laptop, but it doesn’t have its own storage or processor. Instead, it gets its power and data connection from your Android phone, via a simple USB cable and a free app. In addition to the keyboard and screen, the Smartbook has a battery, which will last 8 hours and actually charge your phone as you use it.

Together, a phone and the Smartbook are plenty for basic word processing, email, and web browsing—all most people really need.

The $99 Peripheral that Turns Your Smartphone Into a Laptop

900 Million Androids Could Be Easy Prey for QuadRooter Exploits

2016.08.10 02Four newly identified vulnerabilities could affect 900 million Android devices, Check Point researchers told attendees at the DEF CON 24 security conference in Las Vegas this past weekend.

The vulnerabilities, which the researchers dubbed “QuadRooter,” affect Android devices that use Qualcomm chipsets. They exist in the chipset software drivers.

The drivers, which control communications between chipset components, are incorporated into Android builds manufacturers develop for their devices, so they’re preinstalled on devices and can be fixed only through installation of a patch from the distributor or carrier.

Exploiting any of the four vulnerabilities will let attackers trigger privilege escalations and get root access to the targeted device, Check Point said.

Attackers can exploit the vulnerabilities using a malicious app. Such an app would not require special permissions, and thus would not be easily detected.

900 Million Androids Could Be Easy Prey for QuadRooter Exploits

Google Beefs Up Phone App’s Spam-Fighting Skills

2016.08.02 03

Google on Tuesday released an updated version of its Phone app for Android with a new spam protection feature that warns users when an incoming call is likely to be spam. It also lets them block numbers and report spam.

The app is available on Google Play.

“Most mobile numbers aren’t listed anywhere, and so spamming has been [difficult] — but automation is rapidly eroding the protection of anonymity,” he told LinuxInsider. “It’s possible for call systems to quickly scan down a block of numbers, identify the ones that get answered, and compile lists of active numbers.”

Google Beefs Up Phone App’s Spam-Fighting Skills