Coalition of tech companies, others urge Obama to reject encrypted data backdoors

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Leading tech companies like Apple and Google, along with a host of cryptologists and other advisors, have penned a letter to President Obama urging him to protect privacy rights from attempts by law enforcement agencies to create backdoors to encrypted phone data. The move is in response to several months of statements from officials like FBI Director James Comey who have criticized tech companies for building encryption into their devices possibly at the expense of public safety. Against that fear, the letter notes that “strong encryption is the cornerstone of the modern information economy’s security.” Read more

The Chrome Web Store will be the only source for browser extensions from July

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The Chrome browser is a most versatile piece of software, one can find an extension to satisfy almost any need via the Chrome Web Store. Because of its rising popularity though, Google was forced to take the step of disabling the side-loading of extensions for Windows users in May of last year. Following on from that, Google has just announced on its blog that from July onwards, both Mac and Windows users will only be able to install extensions for its web browser directly from the official Chrome Web Store.

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Good Technology announces expansion of Android security support

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The focus for Good Technology has been mobile security for nearly twenty years and now the company has a new offering that Android hardware manufacturers can implement with their devices and installed apps. Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) is an interface that secures applications for work that can be accessed through compatible hardware. The access comes from secure key storage through enterprise mobility management that hardware manufacturers are already using today. Good Technology claims that its Good TEE covers everyone involved in an enterprise and end users can forgo the long process of entering password after password.

Good Technology will launch this offering in the form of a beta program next month.

Hit the break for the full press release.

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Android malware was cut by 50 percent in 2014

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Google’s crackdown on malware has been working, at least according to them. In a new Android Security Report, Google says that the global rate of malware installs fell by 50 percent in 2014.

According to Google, only 1 percent of all Android devices had a harmful application in 2014. There’s even better news for those that only install applications from the Play Store as that number drops to .15 percent.

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Users reporting new “On Body Detection” lock mode in Android

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Based on reports starting to be made by users, Google is either testing or slowly rolling out a new lock mode for Android devices designed to detect when a device is physically in a user’s possession. The lock mode, called “On Body Detection” uses a device’s sensors to detect whether a device is being held in a person’s hand or is in their pocket and will keep the device unlocked. If the device is set on a table or something similar, the device will lock, requiring a user to employ their normal unlock method. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more