Source: This article was Published thehayride.com By Bethany Blankley - Contributed by Member: Alex Grey

DuckDuckGo is a search engine that doesn’t track its users and offers a level of privacy– for free– that hasn’t existed on the Internet because of Google.

Gabriel Weinberg, CEO & Founder at DuckDuckGo gives 10 reasons why DuckDuckGo is a better, safer service for users. Below are five:

DuckDuckGo doesn’t track its users. Google does.

All of a user’s personal information: medical, financial and anything else should be private, but on Google, it’s not. On Google, your searches are tracked, mined, and packaged up into a data profile for advertisers to follow you around the Internet.”

Weinberg says, “To keep your searches private and out of data profiles, the government, and other legal requests, you need to use DuckDuckGo. We don’t track you at all, regardless of what browsing mode you are in. Each time you search on DuckDuckGo, it’s as if you’ve never been there before.”

DuckDuckGo blocks Google trackers lurking everywhere.

Google tracks users on more than just their search engine. They track everyone on YouTube, Gmail, Chrome, Android, Gmaps, and all the other services they run.
Private alternatives like DuckDuckGo can enable people to live Google-free. Google trackers lurk behind the scenes on 75% of the top million websites. Facebook is the next closest with 25%.

DuckDuckGo provides unbiased search results.

Weinberg notes that when people google information they expect to find unbiased results, but that’s not what they get. On Google, results are tailored to what Google thinks the user is likely to click on, based on the data profile its built on each user over time from tracking everything everyone does online.

Users can search without fear.

“When people know they are being watched, they change their behavior” Weinberg notes. Called the chilling effect, an MIT study found that people began searching less online after Snowden revealed they were being watched. People became afraid that their personal medical issues might be publicized. It reported:

“Suppressing health information searches potentially harms the health of search engine users and… In general, our results suggest that there is a chilling effect on search behavior from government surveillance on the Internet.”

Weinberg says, “Your searches are your business, and you should feel free to search whatever you want, whenever you want. You can easily escape this chilling effect on DuckDuckGo where you are anonymous.”

Google is simply too big, and too powerful.

Weinberg notes that Google is a monopoly, with a market cap of at least $750 billion (at the time of writing) with at least 75,000 employees that dominate search, browsing, online advertising, and more. Its tentacles are in everything tech, online and offline Weinberg warns.

Because of their size, their influence on politics is disproportionate. Last year Google outspent every other company lobbying in Washington, D.C.

DuckDuckGo is a team of 45 worldwide. Its focus is narrow: helping people take control of their personal information online. “The world could use more competition, less focus on ad tracking, fewer eggs in one basket,” Weinberg says.

Categorized in Search Engine

Love GIF? Try these free applications on your phone.

GIFs make for the funnies and interactive modes of communication in the millennial world. GIFs are now integrated on frequently used messaging apps and keyboards. It’s quite easy to search for GIFs and share them online. However, these in-built features do not let you create Gifs.

If you’re looking for GIF-making apps, then take a look at these. These apps are available for both iOS and Android devices.

Giphy Cam

Giphy Cam comes from the biggest GIF search engine online, GIPHY. This app is available for both iOS and Android platforms. Giphy Cam lets you take videos in looping mode or a continuous one for a long Gif. Giphy Cam comes with loads of stickers and filters to choose from.

These effects are also very millennial-approved and blend well with what’s trending on the internet. In addition to filters and stickers, you can choose among clay faces, accessories, hands, magic wand and overlays. Giphy Cam will surely keep you busy scrolling through multiple editing tools and items.

Download: iOSAndroid

PicsArt Gif & Sticker Maker

This app is available only for iOS users and is my personal favorite. It has a very simple and easy-to-use UI. Gifs Art lets you capture images in burst mode, and set the speed limit for your GIF. There are effects you can apply to your Gif like fade, noir.

You can also add animated stickers and text to your Gifs. Another feature which is pretty interesting in Gifs Art is ‘Masks’. These are something like moving filters which add something like special effects to your Gifs. Apart from saving the file in Gif format, you can also save it as a live image on your iPhone.

Download: iOS

Gif Lab

If you’re looking for a straightforward no-nonsense GIF-making app on App Store, it’s Gif Lab. Here, you can capture images in frames or import one from your smartphone. The only tools for editing available on Gif Lab include stickers and text. Unlike Gifs Art, stickers on Gif Lab are quite simple like a hat, mustache, and glasses. You have options to save the file as Gif or video, and share it on social platforms.

Download: iOS

GIF maker, video to GIF, GIF editor

Among the dozens apps, you’ll find on Play Store with the same one, this one does a decent job at creating Gifs. There are basic editing tools such as trim, adjust, reverse, and more. GIF maker also lets you add filters, frames to your videos. In addition to adding stickers and text, you can also draw on your video and make it in a meme format.

Download: Android

Gif Me! Camera

Gif Me! The Camera is one of the most popular Gif making apps on Play Store with over a million download. Similar to other apps, Gif Me! Camera lets you edit videos by changing the speed, keeping it backward and in loop. You can also delete frames from your GIF video that you don’t require. Additional tools include adding frames, stickers, filters, and text to your GIFs.

Download: Android

Source: This article was published hindustantimes.com By Marcia Sekhose

Categorized in Others

Google is now showing six-second video previews in the search results delivered on Android devices.

Google announced they have added video previews to the video carousel that shows up in the search results. Currently, this only occurs when you are using the Google app for Android or using Chrome on Android.

When you toggle through the videos in the carousel, it will show you a six-second preview of the video. Here is a GIF of it in action:

Google said this will only be the default behavior when the user is on a Wi-Fi connection. But users can enable video previews on mobile networks or opt-out of this feature entirely by going to the settings menu within the Google app or adjusting settings for Android Chrome.

Not too long ago, Google was caught testing auto-playing videos in their search results. This implementation isn’t as significant a change as people were seeing in that test, but it still adds a lot more interactivity and motion to the search results.

Source: This article was published searchengineland.com By Barry Schwartz

Categorized in Search Engine

For years, one of the biggest downsides to owning an Android device was how long it took software updates to arrive. Another was how quickly those updates dried up. Google has been working hard with Android OEMs, chipmakers, and wireless carriers to improve the situation, though, and a recently-unveiled project could make a huge difference.

Image: Google

Image: Google

The way things are right now, getting an Android update to your phone isn't nearly as simple as Google tweaking some code and sending it your way. The companies making the processors that power the devices need to perform tests to make sure everything still works the way it's supposed to. Manufacturers need to check for interference with their numerous customizations and pre-installed apps. Last but not least, wireless carriers have test their apps and ensure that connectivity isn't adversely affected.

There's a considerable amount of effort involved and Google's official announcement notes that the current process is "incredibly time consuming and costly." To ease the burden, Google will introduce a major change in Android O it's calling Project Treble.

With Project Treble, the core Android operating system will be fully separated from any of the vendor modifications  that companies like Samsung and AT&T need to make. Those companies will simply be able to re-apply their code to any Android updates Google sends along. That should lead to updates arriving on your device much more quickly, which is a very good thing. Running a fully-patched device is, after all, one of the best ways to avoid a nasty malware infection.

That's one major problem with Android updates tackled, but what the lack of longevity? Project Treble may help there, too. If it's easier for vendors to sign off on updates it's stands to reason that they'll be willing to keep doing it for longer stretches. Catching up to iOS (Apple has provided updates for as long as 5 years) might not be realistic, but most Android users are lucky to receive updates for two years. Any improvement on that would be welcome.

It all sounds very promising, but there is one major downside to Project Treble. While any future devices that launch with Android O will reap the benefits, most current-gen Android phones and tablets won't. So far, only the Pixel and Pixel XL are sure things.

Source: This article was published on forbes.com by Lee Mathews

Categorized in Search Engine

CREDIT: Getty Images

Cloak & Dagger vulnerability uses Android's own features to fool users.

Do you like downloading and trying a wide range Android games and apps? You may want to rethink that habit, or at least proceed with caution. A newly disclosed Android vulnerability means miscreants can use apparently harmless apps to fool you into giving them "permission" to take control of your phone or tablet and watch everything you do with it.

Researchers at UC Santa Barbara and the Georgia Institute of Technology recently revealed a vulnerability they call Cloak & Dagger that can let miscreants use your phone's own permissions against you. It works like this: You download and run a new app. As so many apps do, it pops up an opening screen that asks you to to agree to something. That something could be almost anything: Click here to watch our tutorial video. Or proceed to the game. It doesn't really matter what the app appears to be asking you to do. What it's really doing is asking your permission for administrative powers that let it use your phone for...whatever it likes.

How does it manage to fool you? Using an Android feature called "Draw over other apps," in which an image or dialog box appears on top of anything else that might be on your device's screen. The "chat heads" used by Facebook Messenger are one example of how this works.

Google routinely grants apps the right to draw over other apps if they request it. They can be highly useful, but a cleverly crafted drawing could be laid on top of an Android warning about granting an app extensive permissions, while making it appear that you're saying OK to something completely different. One example is that it can activate accessibility functions. That allows the nefarious app to see and record your keystrokes, as some accessibility functions need to do in order to function.

This (silent) video shows how it works:


What can you do about it? Unfortunately current versions of Android do not ask for your permission for a newly installed app to draw over other apps. So to find out if you're affected, begin by going into Settings, clicking on apps, and then clicking on settings from the app listing (the gear in the upper right). At the bottom of the list that appears, you'll find "Special access." Click that to see which apps have the right to draw over other apps. You can get detailed information about this vulnerability and how to check your device here.

Google has known about this vulnerability for some time now--the researchers alerted the company months before telling the rest of us. And the company says it is able to detect and block Play Store apps that take advantage of it. So a good place to start would be to avoid downloading Android apps from anywhere other than the Play Store unless you know and trust the source. And hope that Google finds a way to close this security loophole soon.

Source: This article was published on inc.com by Minda Zetlin

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Nokia is back — and it’s back with a vengeance. The Finnish company finally launched its first Android-powered smartphone, the Nokia 6, but we’re expecting to see a lot more action this year. While the new devices won’t be made by Nokia, they will follow the company’s design guidelines and will retain the brand name.

HMD Global will be manufacturing these devices exclusively. We originally thought there would be up to four new phones in 2017, but rumors suggest there will actually be as many as six or seven. The rumors come from Malaysian distributor Avaxx, which said Nokia will aim to launch phones in all price ranges.

What’s more, these devices may not be as far off from release as previously thought. A tweet dated May 28 from the official Nokia Mobile account reads: “We plan to release our upcoming Smartphones worldwide before the end of Q2 2017. (June) Stay tuned for updates.”

Here’s everything we know about Nokia’s 2017 Android phones so far.

Nokia 9

A Geekbench page for a device listed as “Unknown Heart” popped up on May 25, and some believe it could represent the Nokia 9. The company’s next flagship has been linked to the “Heart” moniker, and the specs would definitely indicate a top-tier device. According to the listing, the phone could have as much as 8GB of RAM.

Now, these kinds of benchmarks are common in the run-up to the launch of a highly anticipated phone and are hardly confirmation of launch hardware. Even if this is the Nokia 9 we’re looking at, it could be a pre-production unit built to test higher RAM capacities. While 8GB of RAM might sound like overkill, many flagships in China are packing considerably more memory than we’ve ever seen in mobile devices before, and it’s not that much higher than the 6GB found in some phones on the market right now.


Earlier in May, a device believed to be a prototype Nokia 9 was leaked by French Android news site FrAndroid. The phone in these images is clad in a boxy blue case to conceal as much about its exterior as possible, but images of a spec sheet and the rear camera stack give us some clues about the handset.

What we can see is that there’s a rectangular fingerprint sensor on the front, situated between two hardware buttons in what looks to be a rather thick bezel. At the back, the silver camera housing shows two lenses, each believed to be 13 megapixels, as well as a flash and possibly a laser autofocus window. From these shots, the design seems quite underwhelming — but keep in mind, if this is indeed the Nokia 9 we’re looking at, it’s a preproduction unit that may not be entirely representative of the device’s final form.


What about the internals? According to a rundown of specs listed on the device, we’re looking at a 5.3-inch QHD (2560 x 1440 pixels) display, 64GB of storage, and 4GB of RAM. FrAndroid mentions separately that the phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 system-on-chip and runs Android 7.1.1. Other shots show both USB-C and 3.5-millimeter headphone ports.

Back in April, a sketch of a device claimed to be the Nokia 9 obtained by Nokia Power User gave what we thought, at the time, was our first look at the company’s upcoming flagship. The design appeared to follow the example of LG’s recently released G6, particularly in its edge-to-edge display with an 18:9 aspect ratio and slightly rounded corners. It’s important to note we cannot verify the authenticity of the drawing.

 

Around the back, we see a series of vertically arranged cutouts for what would appear to be dual cameras, a flash, and potentially a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor.

This leak followed another report from Nokia Power User that indicated the Nokia 9 — not the Nokia 8, as initially believed — will, in fact, be HMD’s flagship for 2017. Early on, there was confusion about the name of Nokia’s range-topping device, though now it seems the Nokia 8 is lower on the pecking order.

According to Nokia Power User, the Nokia 9 is believed to feature a Snapdragon 835, along with a hefty 6GB of RAM and either 64GB or 128GB of storage. A 22-megapixel rear-facing camera and 12-megapixel front-facing camera are also rumored.

Perhaps most interesting is the claim that the Nokia 9 will reportedly offer an iris scanner, bringing its security features in line with Samsung’s new Galaxy S8.

The same report also notes that the device will be the first to offer the “Nokia OZO audio” enhancements, so it should be pretty good in the sound department. Last but not least, the report suggests the phone will have a 5.5-inch QHD display.

Nokia 8

To date, speculation around the Nokia 8 has been just that — speculation. Now, however, rumors are a little more solid. According to recent reports, the Nokia 8 will be launched alongside the Nokia 3 and Nokia 5 at some point in June. There’s no word yet on a specific launch date. The report, which comes from India Today, also highlighted that the device will likely come with a Snapdragon 835 processor and a 23MP rear-facing camera.

Previously, the Nokia 8 was listed on Jingdong, or JD.com, for pre-sale. The listing did not state exactly when the phone would go on sale officially, but it did list a price of 3,188 yuan, which equates to around $463. It is worth noting, however, that the images listed are very similar to a concept design that was released earlier, suggesting that it could in fact be a fake listing.


In addition to the leaked sketch of the Nokia 9, Nokia Power User shared a similar image of the Nokia 8. The two devices appear to be very much alike from the outside, with the only major differences being the larger bezels surrounding the Nokia 8’s display, and the front-facing fingerprint sensor. The screen still spans from edge to edge, but the rounded corners are notably absent. It is worth noting that the phone pictured here looks very different from one that surfaced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January that was also believed to be the Nokia 8, seen in a video below.

Other rumors from Nokia Power User directly contradict information we originally heard about the phone. While the Nokia 8 has been rumored to feature a flagship-spec processor like the Snapdragon 821 or Snapdragon 835, new reports indicate that instead it will feature a much more midrange Qualcomm Snapdragon 660.

A YouTuber, however, uploaded footage of alleged Nokia devices powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 and 835. The device was at Qualcomm’s booth at CES 2017, and the chipset manufacturer reportedly asked people not to take videos or photos of it. The YouTuber, whose account is named Total Tech, didn’t comply.

Before we take a look at the video — it should be noted that we can’t verify this information, and the devices do not have any “Nokia” branding, so we’re casting a heavy dose of skepticism here. The YouTuber says Nokia and Qualcomm “have been working together on the Snapdragon 835 and the 10 nanometer process for the chip with Samsung for a while, according to inside sources, and Nokia has been their hardware reference provider for the 821 and 835.”

Again, we can’t verify these insider sources’ claims, and whether or not Nokia has been in partnership with Qualcomm. Total Tech claims the device in his video is the upcoming Nokia 8.


The video shows the difference in camera stabilization between a Snapdragon 821 processor and the Snapdragon 835. Total Tech says both devices are the Nokia 8 with the two processors — the one with the Snapdragon 821 will come with 4GB of RAM, and the Snapdragon 835 variant will have 6GB RAM.

Both allegedly also feature electronic image stabilization, a 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display, MicroSD card support up to 256GB, 64GB and 128GB internal storage options, dual front-facing speakers, and LED notification lights.

Total Tech also says the Nokia 8 will have a 24-megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilization, as well as a front-facing camera with 12-megapixels — it’s unclear if this applies to both models.

What’s interesting is the back of the device, which Total Tech briefly shows in the video. There’s a large camera, like the one found on the back of the Lumia 1020 Windows Mobile device. That camera packed 41-megapixels and featured Carl Zeiss optics — it’s quite possible the partnership could come into play again.

Nokia 7

Fresh rumors indicate that Nokia is also working on a Nokia 7 handset — filling in the gap between the Nokia 6 and the so far only rumored Nokia 8. According to rumors from Nokia Power User, the Nokia 7 will feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, and it may feature a 1080p display and a metallic body.

That’s pretty much all we know about the Nokia 7 at this point — but we’ll update this article as we hear more.

DEVICES THAT HAVE BEEN OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCED

Nokia 6

The Nokia 6 is the company’s first Android smartphone, which debuted late last year. It packs some pretty decent specs — including 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and the “latest version of Android.” On top of that, the device boasts a 16MP rear-facing camera, and an 8MP front-facing camera — all for only $245.


Unfortunately, it’s not all good news — the device comes with a somewhat disappointing Qualcomm Snapdragon 430, and it’s only available in China.

Nokia 5 and Nokia 3

Nokia’s presence at Mobile World Congress in February included three devices, two of which were the Nokia 5 and the Nokia 3. Don’t expect flagship specs, though, as the two Android 7.0 Nougat smartphones will have lesser hardware than the Nokia 6 to hit lower price points.

The Nokia 5 features a 5.2-inch screen with a 1,280 x 720-pixel resolution, and is powered by the same Snapdragon 430 processor but with 2GB of RAM. The rear camera will pack 13 megapixels, but the rest of the specs are expected to match the Nokia 6. It’s why the device costs only 189 euros, or about $200.

The Nokia 3 will be the runt of the litter and will only cost 149 euros, or $158.

Built by HMD Global, designed by Nokia

It won’t be Nokia at the helm of the forthcoming devices’ development, technically speaking. HMD Global, a Finnish company co-founded by former Nokia executives Arto Nummela and Florian Seiche, acquired the rights to the company’s mobile brand from Microsoft in May. HMD has a contract with FIH, a subsidiary of iPhone manufacturer Foxconn, and under a strict licensing partnership, follows Nokia’s design and hardware guidelines in exchange for access to the company’s extensive patent library.

In recent years, the company has struggled to gain a foothold in the high-end mobile market. Following the company’s adoption of Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system in 2011 and its acquisition by Microsoft in 2014, sales of its handset suffered — shipments in 2013 alone were down 22 percent year on year, according to Strategy Analytics.

Following Nokia’s divestiture from its parent company earlier this year, things haven’t looked much better. In April of last year, thanks in part to lower-than-expected smartphone shipments, it announced 900 million euros in downsizing measures — a plan which in part involved the layoffs of 1,400 staff members in Germany, 1,300 in Finland, and 400 in France.

Despite the Finnish company’s woes, though, it’s setting its eyes on the future. It teamed up independently with Foxconn to produce the N1, an Android-based tablet. It dipped its toes in virtual reality with the Ozo, a $60,000 professional-grade 360-degree camera. And it acquired French fitness device company Withings last year.

“We have been reinventing ourselves for 150 years using this amazing brand,” Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia’s consumer Nokia Technologies division, told Digital Trends in June. “We’re starting to focus on people’s happiness and health in a way that wasn’t possible before because the technology wasn’t possible before. You can expect some really surprising products in the next year or two directly from this company as we turn a new chapter.”

Article originally published in July 2016. Updated on 05-31-2017 by Adam Ismail: Added tweet from Nokia Mobile.

Source: This article was published on digitaltrends.com by Kyle Wiggers

Categorized in Others

Get the Most Out of Your Android with These Simple Tips

If you have an Android phone, you already know that can customize it to fit your needs. But there's always room for improvement. Here are seven ways to get the most out of your Android smartphone right now. 

1-Customize Your Notifications

Google Nexus 7
 Google Nexus 7. Google

Distracted by notifications? If you've upgraded to Lollipop (Android 5.0), you can customize your notifications quickly and easily. A new Priority mode lets you put up a "do not disturb sign" for certain blocks of time so you won't be interrupted or awakened by unimportant notifications. At the same time, you can allow certain people or important alerts to break through so you don't miss any essential notifications.

 

Track and Limit Your Data Usage

data usage
 Tracking your data usage. Molly K. McLaughlin

Whether you're worried about overage charges or you're going abroad and want to limit usage, it's super easy to track data usage and set limits on your Android phone. Simply go into settings, click on data usage, and then you can see how much you've used each month, set limits, and enable alerts. If you set a limit, your mobile data will automatically shut down when you reach it, or you can set up a warning, in which case you'll receive a notification instead.  

Save Battery Life

Smartphone battery
 Charging your phone, again. Getty

Also a necessity when traveling or running around all day is saving battery life, and there are many easy ways to do this. First, turn off syncing for any apps you won't be using, such as email. Put your phone in airplane mode if you'll be travelling underground or otherwise out of network – otherwise, your phone will keep trying to find a connection and drain the battery. Alternatively, you can shut off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi separately. Finally you can use Power saving mode, which turns off haptic feedback on your keyboard, dims your screen, and slows down overall performance. 

Buy a Portable Charger

Smartphone charging
 Charge on the go. Getty

If those battery-saving measures aren't enough, invest in a portable charger. You'll save time by not searching for outlets and extend your battery life by up to 100 percent at a time. Portable chargers come in all shapes and sizes with varying levels of power, so choose wisely. I always have one (or two) on hand.

Access your Chrome Tabs Anywhere

Chrome mobile browser
 Chrome mobile browser. Molly K. McLaughlin

If you're anything like me, you start reading an article on one device while on the go, and then resume on another. Or you're looking for recipes on your tablet that you've discovered while surfing on your phone or computer. If you use Chrome on all your devices and you're signed in, you can access all open tabs from your Android phone or tablet; click on "recent tabs" or "history" and you'll see a list of open or recently closed tabs, organized by device. 

Block Unwanted Calls

Annoying phone calls
 Another telemarketer?. Getty

Getting spammed by a telemarketer or avoiding other unwanted calls? Save them to your contacts if they're not already there, click on their name in the Contacts app, click the menu, and add them to the auto reject list, which will send their calls straight to voicemail. (May vary by manufacturer.) 

Root your Android phone

smartphone
Getty

Finally, if you need even more customization, consider rooting your phone, which gives you admin rights to your device. There are risks of course (it could break your warranty), but also rewards. These include the ability to remove apps that have been pre-loaded by your carrier (aka bloatware) and install a variety of "root-only" apps to block ads or turn your phone into a wireless hotspot, even if your carrier blocks this function.

Source: This article was published lifewire.com By Molly McLaughlin

Categorized in Others

A TERRIFYING new malware attack – that enables hackers to silently take control of your smartphone and siphon private data – can be used on all versions of the Android operating system, researchers have sensationally claimed.

Cybercrminals can record EVERYTHING you do on your Android phone

A catastrophic new cyberattack has been uncovered – and it affects all versions of the Android operating system up to version 7.1.2, researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have claimed.

Worst of all,  will struggle to stop this latest attack, due to the way it infiltrates your Android device's permissions, the researchers added.

Dubbed Cloak and Dagger, the terrifying new attack allows hackers to silently take control of your smartphone and steal private data, including every keystroke, chats, PIN code, online account passwords, contacts, and more.

Cloak and Dagger doesn't exploit any specific vulnerability in the Android operating system.

Instead, the clever new attack abuses legitimate app permissions that are widely-used by legitimate apps to access certain features on an Android device, researchers have claimed.

Hackers have to use two permissions to initiate the attack.

The first permission, known as "Draw On Top", is a legitimate permission that allows applications to overlap on the screen as well as on top of other apps.

The second, known as "a11y", is designed to help visually impaired Android users, allowing them to enter data with voice commands, or listen to content on-screen using a screen reader feature.

According to the findings from Georgia Institute of Technology, a malicious app submitted to the Google Play Store colds exploit these legitimate app permissions to allow hackers access to your Android smartphone.

Once the malicious app is installed on a device, hackers can make a record of every keystroke you type, install other applications without your knowledge, silently unlock the device without waking the screen.

Cybercriminals would be able to spy on every activity you do on your phone.

Hackers can silently take control of your phone and steal private data, including keystroke, chats, more
Hackers can silently take control of your phone and steal private data, including keystroke, chats,

Researchers have published a number of video demonstrations of the Cloak and Dagger attacks – and it's a little terrifying.

Unfortunately, it's not going to be easy for Google to protect users against this type of attack.

According to Yanick Fratantonio, the Georgia Institute of Technology paper's first author, "changing a feature is not like fixing a bug.

"System designers will now have to think more about how seemingly unrelated features could interact. Features do not operate separately on the device."

Google is set to change the policy around the "Draw On Top" permission with Android 8.0, which is .

That should stop the Cloak and Dagger attack, researchers have highlighted.

However, the next version of Android will take a long time to roll-out to users.

 recently revealed that "About half of devices in use at the end of 2016 had not received a platform security update in the previous year"

Yes, that's right. "About half" of all Android devices did not get a single security update in the last year.

The Android Security Year in Review highlights a number of improvements in the Android ecosystem
The Android Security Year in Review highlights a number of improvements in the Android ecosystem

That's not good news – especially when coupled with the latest findings from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Unlike iOS software update, which are rolled-out simultaneously to all compatible devices by Apple itself,  hands over its software updates to individual device manufacturers, dubbed OEMs.


Unfortunately, a worrying number of these manufacturers are slow to adopt operating system updates and critical security patches. 

Google is well aware of the problem, and has desperately been looking for a solution for years.

The California-based company even considered a plan to publicly name and shame mobile carriers and device makers that drag their feet with important updates.

Thankfully, there is a workaround.

According to technology blog The Hacker News, the best way to disable the Cloak and Dagger attacks in Android 7.1.2 is to manually turn off the "Draw On Top" permission.

Head to Settings > Apps > Gear symbol > Special access > Draw over other apps.

Another precaution is to only download applications from trusted and verified developers on the Google Play Store.

Source: This article was published express.co.uk By AARON BROWN

Categorized in Internet Privacy

A single setting could make all the difference when it comes to keeping your device secure.

Apple's iOS is a real walled garden. With the exception of those brave enough to "jailbreak" their phones, Apple controls which apps get into its App Store, and which don't.

 

On Android, it's not so simple. Google similarly vets its own Play store, but there's a huge loophole: Android users can allow third-party software software installations simply by checking off a button in the settings menu.

The reasons for allowing that outside Android software may range from the benign (beta-testing apps) to the nefarious (pirated software). But as ZDNet's Zack Whittaker recently detailed, by allowing app installs from unknown sources, you're essentially opening up your device to potential malware infections.

How to keep your Android device safe

By default, Google prevents users from installing apps from sources other than the Play store.

The best way to protect yourself is to leave the installation of apps from unknown sources disabled. It's a good idea to double-check that the setting is still disabled, just to be safe.

android-unknown-sources-setting.jpg

Leave this setting disabled. Nothing good can come from turning it on.
Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Exact placement of the option will vary based on the device you own, but it generally is found in the Settings app under Security > Unknown Source.

To be clear: This doesn't make your phone 100 percent safe. Nor does it protect you from non-software security issues, including phishing attacks and cloud-based password breaches.

That said, keeping unknown sources deactivated on your phone or tablet is a strong first line of protection that will prevent the most egregious malware from having open access to your device.

What you're giving up

While disabling access to unknown sources is the safest course of action, it may involve some sacrifices.

For example, Android app site APKMirror requires unknown source installation to be enabled. More significantly, Amazon Underground, the retailer's third-party app store, requires the "unknown sources" toggle to be switched, too. And that's the only way to get the Amazon Prime Video app on Android devices. (For reasons unknown, most of Amazon's other media apps -- including the Kindle app and the Amazon Music app -- are available in the Google Play store, and thus do not require unknown source access.)

But just remember: By allowing apps from those third parties, you're also opening a de facto security hole on your device. And even if Android security is getting better, it only works if you actually keep Google's safeguards turned on.

That's why you should only install applications from official channels such as Google's Play store, or for Samsung Galaxy users, the Galaxy App Store.

Source: This article was published cnet.com By Jason Cipriani

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Over a million devices have already been affected by an Android malware named Gooligan, which compromises Google account data on these devices, giving the attacker access to user’s Gmail, Google Photos, Google Docs, Google Play, Google Drive and other Google related applications.

According to researchers from Check Point Software Technologies, an Israel-based security firm, this malware has been found in 86 apps on the third party marketplaces.

Gooligan malware has infected more than a million devices in the past few months and 13,000 new devices are being infected every single day.

Once a user downloads any of these apps, the malware roots the device and gains system access to the device, allowing the attacker to phish credentials of the user’s Google accounts.

Devices running on Google’s Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich, Jellybean and KitKat) and Android 5 (Lollipop), which account for 74 percent of total Android users, are in threat of being affected by Gooligan.

“We’ve revoked affected users’ Google Account tokens, providing them with clear instructions to sign back in securely, removing apps related to this issue from affected devices, deploying enduring Verify Apps improvements to protect users from these apps in the future and collaborating with ISPs to eliminate this malware altogether,” Adrian Ludwig, Google’s director of Android security stated in a post.

Check if Your Device is Infected

If you’ve been downloading apps from outside the official Google Play Store, then you should access Check Point Software Technologies gateway. It’s easy, just enter your email ID that’s linked with your Android device and it’ll instantly give you a feedback.

gooligan

57% of the total infected devices are located in Asia, 19% in Americas, 15% in Africa and 9% in Europe.

If you wish to personally identify if you haven’t downloaded any app infected by Gooligan, check out the list of apps that carry the malware and delete them as soon as possible to avoid further damage.

If your device is infected, it’ll require ‘flashing’ — a clean installation of the operating system.

This is a complex process and it is recommended that you switch off your device and take it to a qualified technician and request your device to be ‘re-flashed.

After the ‘re-flashing’ is done, you’ll need to change your Google account passwords. It is recommended that you don’t use third-party marketplaces to download Android app as any such app can be a potential threat to your device.

How Gooligan Affects Your Device

As per the findings of Check Point Software Technology’s researchers, “after achieving root access, Gooligan downloads a new, malicious module from the C&C server and installs it on the infected device. This module injects code into running Google Play or GMS (Google Mobile Services) to mimic user behaviour so Gooligan can avoid detection. ”

The module allows Gooligan to:

  • Steal a user’s Google email account and authentication token information
  • Install apps from Google Play and rate them to raise their reputation
  • Install adware to generate revenue

gooligan2

“Nicknamed ‘Gooligan’, this variant used Google credentials on older versions of Android to generate fraudulent install of other apps,” Adrian Ludwig added.

Basically, the attacker can access and use an infected device’s Google accounts after gaining root access to the device using Gooligan malware. Beware of third party marketplaces as they aren’t verified by Google before you download it, as it happens on Google Play, and might carry some other malware if not Gooligan.

Source: This article was published guidingtech.com

Categorized in Internet Privacy
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