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)
Is Chrome for Android your choice when it comes to a browser for your Android device? If so, it has received a nice maintenance update today that improves stability along with some security updates. The version is called M18.1 and includes, but not limited to:
- Location preference now integrated to system level Google apps location setting.
- Youtube videos controls now work in full screen mode; videos continue playing after a screen lock/unlock
- Fixes to make third-party IMEs work better with Chrome
Head on over to the download link or QR code and give it a shot if you haven’t already!
Play Store Download Link
Verizon has teamed up with McAfee to launch a security tool to help beef up your security system on your Android powered handset. While the free version provides protection against spyware key-loggers and potentially harmful sites that are visited in the browser, $1.99 per month (or $1/month if you have Total Equipment Coverage already) gets you remote tracking, audible alarm sounding, locking, wiping your device and App Alert which flags apps that are accessing personal data.
While I feel most of these aren’t needed on an Android device, there are many that feel every precautionary step is worth it. If you’re one of those people, then head on over to the source link to find out more!
source: Verizon Mobile Security
At a developer conference earlier today, Google Wallet development manager Robin Dua announced that the mobile payment service will begin opening up the platform to allow businesses to integrate their services. Dua made it clear that the inevitable goal is for users to be able to go about their day without the need to lug around a wallet.
“One of the types of things we’re trying to do is make it easy for airlines, transit providers, and other types of issuers of credentials to make it super simple for them to get their credentials stored in the wallet…That’s the goal. We want you to be able to leave your leather wallet at home and carry your phone and transact with that as your primary transaction device.”
Additionally, Google wants to add geo-targeting to its Wallet service, potentially allowing for automatic loading of relevant tickets or passes as you arrive at a certain location. A release date for the new features wasn’t given, but with other mobile payment systems creeping up, we’d imagine Google would want to implement these ideas soon. For the full run-down, you can catch the full video after the break.
Android device sales continue to surge in China, with over 683 million subscribers. A large market like that attracts a lot of attention, some good and some bad. An example of bad attention came to light with the discovery of a new malware/virus infecting over 500,000 owners of Android devices. TrustGo, an anti-virus specialist company, identified the malware on July 25th and it has since been dubbed Trojan!SMSZombie.
You can also expect the addition of a brightness slide bar in the notification shade, a new radio/modem and a new kernel that’s been on the new batches of S III’s that have been recently arriving at T-Mobile. While there’s no full proof verification on this, there is a strong possibility that this update will take away the Universal Search feature out of the S III. If you don’t remember, this is the feature that Apple has been trying to take away from numerous Android devices so it wouldn’t surprise me if Samsung took it out as a precaution.
As we get more details on this impending update, we’ll be sure to let you all know.
Lookout Security and Antivirus has always been a great security suite that keeps your phone virus-free, helps you find lost phones, and securely backs up your data to the cloud. Now it got even better with the newly-revamped mobile web site, which allows you to find a lost or stolen device from any browser. The site has always had the ability to find a lost device, but the new layout makes it simpler than ever.
The new mobile site allows you to view your contacts, locate your phone through Google Maps, and remotely wipe and lock your device if you’re a Premium user. The redesign makes it very touch friendly since most people locate their lost phones from other mobile devices (usually a nearby friend’s phone as soon as the user first notices his phone is missing). You can even force your phone to “scream”, even if the sound is off, in case you lost your phone nearby.
So if you’re prone to losing things, or if you just want to be ultra-safe, download Lookout from the Play Store link or QR code below, and be sure to visit mylookout.com from a mobile device to check out the new site.
Play Store Download Link
source: lookout blog