Googles takes step back from default encryption on new Android Lollipop devices

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Last fall in the lead up to the release of Android Lollipop, Google let it out that they were planning to enable encryption of storage by default on new devices. This was going to be a change from previous versions of the Android operating system which had the capability of encrypting storage space, but left it up to the user to enable the encryption. As several new devices are starting to finally come to market loaded with Android Lollipop out of the box, Google has apparently decided not to make encryption the default, at least not for their partners manufacturing mobile devices.
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Silent Circle reveals new Blackphone 2, forthcoming Blackphone+ tablet

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In the days leading up to MWC 2015 Silent Circle announced they had bought out Geeksphone, their partner in development of the original Blackphone and their own operating system, PrivatOS. The company has now revealed their plans to provide a complete Enterprise Privacy Platform consisting of hardware devices like a new Blackphone 2 smartphone and Blackphone+ tablet, improvements to their PrivatOS operating system, and apps designed to enhance privacy for end users.
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Beta channel for Android WebView open to Android 5.0 Lollipop devices

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Many were concerned with Google’s decision to unbundle WebView from the core system starting with Android 5.0 Lollipop. Older devices would be left behind, too, without updates and that means compromised security. Fortunately, Google has realized so many Android apps take advantage of WebView that it only makes sense to further support. With the latest version of Android, Google will be able to update WebView independently. Right now, developers can join the new beta channel to gain access to new APIs and other items. Developers will be able to become familiar with the updates before users get to see them.

You can join the beta channel of Android System WebView by clicking here.

Source: Android Developers Blog

Samsung Knox customers will get a complementary free 3 months of Google Drive for Work

Samsung_Knox_456Right on the heels of adding in new features to Knox, Samsung has announced an offer for customers that use the security service. Any customers that sign up for Knox will get a free 3 month trial of Google Drive for Work, which is obviously Google’s own cloud storage service that’s centered around business security.

The offer nets customers a full 1 TB of storage, and if more than 5 users take part, that gets bumped up to unlimited storage. The encryption on the service is top notch, which goes hand-in-hand with Samsung’s take on Knox, so this might be a worthwhile offer for many people.
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Flaw in Marriott app puts company back in the news and not in a good way

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Marriott has recently been in the tech news lately due to plans to block customers’ personal Wi-Fi hotspots when visiting one of the company’s properties. That move earned them a lot of negative press and pressure from the likes of the FCC and eventually caused them to reverse their course. Now it has been discovered that Marriott’s app for Android may have exposed customer data, including credit card information, to possible attack and pilfering ever since its launch in 2011. The flaw was discovered by Randy Westergren, a senior software developer with XDA-Developers, who also found a major hole in Verizon’s mobile app.
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Android Security lead engineer provides further insight to WebView security issues on devices running Jelly Bean and older versions

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It was reported by Talk Android’s Jeff Causey on the 12th of January (link here) that Google would no longer be providing security updates to WebView on devices running Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) and earlier. In fact, it is even deeper than that: Google will not be managing the entire WebKit for these versions any longer, from which WebView is derived.

In a post on Google+ today, Android Security’s lead engineer, Adrian Ludwig, provided clarification and guidance to those nearly 1 billion device owners running Jelly Bean or earlier Android versions.
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Report claims Google not patching older versions of WebView leaving users exposed

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A new report that surfaced today claims that Google has ended support for WebView on Android devices running Android 4.3 or older, a move that could leave users exposed to malicious attacks. WebView is considered a “core component” of Android and is used by applications to display web pages without opening an actual browser session. Starting with Android 5.0 Lollipop, Google decided to unbundle WebView from the core system so updates could be pushed out via the Google Play Store.

The source of the news regarding a lack of updates for Android versions 4.3 or older came from a response by Google’s Android security team to a report of a bug in the AOSP browser which is based on WebView. According to the response to Joe Vennix of Rapid7 and independent researcher Rafay Baloch:
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Qualcomm integrating smartphone kill switch into Snapdragon processors

Qualcomm-Snapdragon-Chip-932Mobile device security was a hot issue in 2014, and it’s likely going to stay that way in 2015. Many device manufacturers looked into adding kill switches to their phones, and Google has even worked on their implementation.

On the hardware side of things, Qualcomm has announced they are working on a solution for stolen and lost devices called SafeSwitch, which will allow users to remotely lock their devices to secure personal information. Once the device is found, it can then be unlocked and re-activated.
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Smart Unlock App Brings Trusted Devices Feature To Non Lollipop Devices

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Are you envious of the Trusted Devices feature introduced in Lollipop? Not content to wait until your OEM updates your phone to Android 5.0? Good news, everybody, XDA recognized developer, hazex, has recently released an app to the Play Store that can bring this functionality to any Android device running 4.1 and above. Furthermore, if you’re shy of rooting your device, this app will not require you to be rooted!

Hazex and his company, Loading Home, not to be one-upped by Google, are also adding in the ability to add WiFi routers to your list of trusted devices. So even if you’re running Android 5.0, you may want to check out this app simply for that feature. Check out the rest of this article after the break for the app’s link to the Play Store, plus some added information if you’re not quite sure what the Trusted Devices feature is.
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Contest: Win 1 of 10 Lookout Premium annual subscriptions [Updated With Winners]

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With over 50 million users, Lookout has always been the leader when it comes to protecting our smartphones and tablets. The app has always been free, but if you want the ultimate protection, than look no further than a Lookout Premium Subscription. With Lookout Premium, you don’t have to worry about losing your data in the event that you lose your phone or tablet since it will automatically backup the important things like photos and call history. What happens if a thief steals your phone? You know they will try to remove the SIM card or enable Airplane Mode so you can’t track the device. Lookout will alert you of such actions and capture the last known location. This stuff is only the tip of the iceberg. How many apps do you think you have installed on your device that can track your personal information? Lookout can tell you instantly. Let’s not forget safe Web surfing and the ability to remotely lock or wipe your device.


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