According to a recent study, 72 percent of all Android applications in the Google Play Store request access to at least one extraneous permission that it doesn’t inherently need to function properly. This number may seem alarming, but let’s break down some of the research firm’s so-called “results.”
According to the published findings:
- 72 percent of all Android apps (more than 290,000) access at least one high-risk permission.
- 21 percent (more than 86,000) access five or more.
- 2 percent (more than 8,000) access 10 or more permissions flagged as potentially dangerous.
Smishing, or SMS-phishing, is an old scamming technique that baits users into putting in personal information on fake websites by sending bogus text messages. It hasn’t been too common in the past few years, but some researchers at NC State University have found a vulnerability affecting several Android versions that could make phishing popular again. The exploit identified affects Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich, and even Jelly Bean.
Today, T-Mobile and the Lookout team have announced a partnership to bring customers an alternative mobile security solution. Lookout’s Automatic App Security will come pre-loaded on select devices this year on T-Mobile and is expected on most Android devices in 2013, securing smartphones and tablets right out of the box for free.
The second you turn on your T-Mobile Android device that has this pre-installed, your device will automatically be secured upon boot. According to T-Mobile and Lookout:
Lookout will scan all applications upon download, in addition to providing weekly scans for potential threats, using its Mobile Threat Network, the world’s largest database of applications. The user will be notified if the application is determined to be safe or not. If an application is identified as potentially harmful, Lookout will provide information and instructions on how to protect against the threat or uninstall the application.
These days, plenty of people are looking for extra ways to protect their mobile phones. After all, these phones are more like computers these days than actual phones. You can always pay $2.99 extra per month for additional features such as remotely locking your device or backing up photos. Do you guys see this as something you’d love to have or do you see it as something you don’t need and will just add to bloat-ware?
You can check T-Mobile and Lookouts press release after the break for further information!
We love Lookout Mobile Security because not only is it a great service with many features, but they also constantly add new features, and today is no exception. Lookout Mobile Security has a new look and some cool new features such as Signal Flare, an Activity Feed, and Safe Dialer. If you ever lose your phone, there’s a good chance your battery will deplete. The good news is that Signal Flare will automatically flag the last location of youe phone if it has a low battery, which will increase your chances of finding it. No other service offers this. The Activity Feed is a dashboard that categorizes updates, which allows you to quickly get notifications of threats, see your app download history, your data backups, and other security notifications. Last but not least, the Safe Dialer insures that any number you click to call from your mobile browser is safe. This is as a result of the recent USSD security threat found on Samsung devices.
Full press release after the break:
In a move which I’m sure will make plenty of devs and flash-happy consumers elated, Motorola has extended their bootloader unlock program to a couple of their newest devices, the Motorola RAZR HD and Motorola RAZR i. The RAZR HD will be un-lockable in the flowing areas: Europe, Australia, South America and on Rogers in Canada. As for the RAZR i, it will be un-lockable “worldwide.”
Of course, the sad part is that consumers in the US can’t fully take advantage of this, but I suppose that’s where we point the finger to the US carriers, right?
source: Motorola Global Support
It is should be no surprise that every day, threats are targeted towards all desktops as well as mobile platforms. Unfortunately, Android in particular is known to see more malware opposed to other mobile operating systems, due to the ease of installing 3rd-party applications and software.
The threat level for Android is always a “win/ lose” situation. If you have unknown sources enabled to download files from the web, you are invulnerable against cyber attacks. However by only downloading software from trusted users, you may be introduced to less clutter. In any case, you have to owe it to great developers from companies like Kaspersky’s Mobile Security, for around the clock mobile security. Especially with some new improvements and tweaks that the dev team had upgraded under the hood.
Security is a major concern amongst Android users, and this week a major security vulnerability was found on Samsung devices which allowed handsets to be remotely wiped from the Dialer application. While Samsung says the issue has been fixed with a software update, it remains unclear whether or not other phones have been affected. Regardless, the mobile security experts at Lookout have rolled out an update to their official Android application, providing much-needed protection against malicious and hazardous phone numbers.
This makes Lookout Security & Antivirus the first application to successfully block the exploit. The protection works by scanning telephone links before they open. When selecting a telephone number, the service will proceed to warn you if the number is fake or malicious. It does require user input, however, as Lookout will ask if you’d like to scan the tel: link in question. As usual though, when making a selection you can set it as the default within the pop-up box. So, if you haven’t already updated to the latest version of Lookout, you can head to the Play Store link below. For those of you not currently using a security suite for your phone, now is probably a good time to start.
Play Store Download Link
If you are interested in adding some extra security to your Android device, you might want to check out Google’s 2-step authentication feature. If you are already using this function, it is a little bit easier to use now due to an update released by Google through the Google Play store.
2-step authentication adds extra security by requiring a user to have something, in this case their smartphone, to go along with the thing they know, their password, when signing in to web sites or their Google account. The smartphone requirement comes into play thanks to the Google Authenticator app which is used to generate a code to be used along with a password. The update today adds the ability to turn-on 2-step authentication without scanning a QR code or re-entering a password on a device.
If you are not sure whether you are using 2-step verification or want to turn it on, check the security settings for your Google Account on your device. Google also provides some video instructions on setting up your Google Account on your desktop computer to use 2-step verification.
Use one of the download links below to grab the app.
Google Play Download Link
As consumers start to get their hands on a new Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 device, some will certainly want to stretch the capabilities of their new tablet. They will be met with frustration if they decide to pursue a new bootloader as it appears Amazon has locked down the devices extra tight. XDA forum member kinfauns did some digging only to discover Amazon has employed some high security device techniques similar to Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet devices. Unlike a Nook, the Kindle Fire HD 7 does not have an SD card slot that can be used as an alternate boot device. Developers are exploring workarounds for this situation.
There is good news though on the root front. RootzWiki contributor jcase(OP) has determined Amazon failed to secure a known method for gaining root access on Ice Cream Sandwich devices. Using the Android SDK, it is only a matter of minutes to root the device. Just hit the source link for the instructions if you want to give it a try. Just remember though, you are responsible for what happens to your device if you root it and something goes wrong.
Following last year’s Carrier IQ debacle, policymakers around the country bonded together to fight for the American consumer’s right to privacy. Originally drafted in January, the Mobile Device Privacy Act requires companies that sell mobile devices or cellular subscriptions to notify users if any data collecting software is installed.
“Consumers should know and have the choice to say no to software on their mobile devices that is transmitting their personal and sensitive information. This legislation will provide greater transparency into the transmission of consumers’ personal information and empower consumers to say no to such transmission.”
If such software is included, relevant information regarding the type of information being gathered, along with who’s using it and for what purposes, must be made apparent. Furthermore, information can only be collected with consent of the customer. Those that wish not to have their phones monitored by the service will be completely free to opt out, even after initially accepting the agreement.
Violation of these laws could leave companies facing a $1,000 fine for each offense. Sponsored by US Representative Edward Markey, the bill was introduced to the House of Representatives on Wednesday. The bill now awaits a committee review, which will determine when the new legislation will see a vote.
Source: ExtremeTech, Mobile Device Privacy Act (PDF)