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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Samsung wants to work with BlackBerry, not purchase it

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Last week, a report was published that stated Samsung made an offer to purchase BlackBerry. The obvious reason for Samsung to go after BlackBerry would be for patents with the intent to bolster enterprise and security platform Knox. Both companies, however, moved very quickly to deny the validity of the report. Now, the leader of the mobile division at Samsung has gotten in front of the rumors to state that the company does not intend to purchase BlackBerry.


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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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Yale replaces physical keys with digital in new Real Living NFC Deadbolt

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There are so many household items that can be controlled remotely from a mobile device. The home can even be secured without having to take out keys and locking/unlocking the door manually. The Yale Real Living NFC Deadbolt pairs with an Android device to allow tapping as the unlocking action.

In the even that a user does not have his or phone in-hand, they can enter the passcode on the Real Living NFC Deadbolt’s screen. So Yale’s device features both new and old technologies in the event one is not possible at any given time.

Homeowners can provide family members or any other trustworthy people with digital keys as well. The homeowner is notified when these people have and utilize the digital keys. Also, the access can be revoked and restore access at any time. Yale is providing five digital keys at no cost and each thereafter will be priced at $2 each in the Play Store.

The Yale Real Living NFC Deadbolt will cost $225. That price is appropriate given the fact that the hardware is considered to be indestructible.

Hit the break for the full press release. Click here for our full CES 2015 coverage.


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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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Google introduces new Device and Activity Dashboard

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Today, Google announced new security tools to keep track of the devices attached to an account. The Devices and Activity Dashboard is a hub for connected hardware. It monitors phones, tablets, computers, and Chromebooks to show activity. Where was the device used? When was it used? What browser was used? All of these questions are answered by the Devices and Activity Dashboard. If a user notices something suspicious, he or she can hit the dedicated “Secure your account” button.


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Password managers on Android are not as secure as one would think

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A password manager is expected to be secure, right? Just because it is expected does not mean that is necessarily the truth. There are password managers on Android that have a security flaw in which usernames and passwords can be picked up. It happens when the password manager uses the device’s clipboard to enter information. The security flaw was identified in early 2013 and a fix has yet to be issued.


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PSA: 3rd party apps that bypass the security lock screen (ie Delayed Lock, SkipLock) no longer work in Lollipop

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Android 5.0 Lollipop brought a new feature called Smart Lock, which allows you to set certain locations or Bluetooth devices as trusted so that you don’t have to constantly enter your security PIN, Password, or pattern to unlock your phone or tablet. Third party apps such as Delayed Lock, SkipLock and Secure Settings have already been giving users this ability for a couple of years now. Unfortunately, these apps will not work in Lollipop due to the fact that Google has changed the security in that third party apps can no longer unlock the device.


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