Tag: Android

Google opens up Android in Russia

Google will open up Android  to Russian rival search engines as part of a deal to settle a two year dispute with Russian competition authorities.

The deal sets a new precedent for the tech giant, which faces multiple complaints worldwide that it is abusing its dominant position by imposing restrictions on manufacturers of Android-based devices in order to protect its share of the online search market.

Russia’s competition watchdog, FAS, ruled in 2015 that Google was breaking the law by requiring the pre-installation of applications, including its own search tool, on mobile devices using Android, following a complaint by Russia’s Yandex.

Google will no longer demand exclusivity of its applications on Android-based devices in Russia and will not restrict the pre-installation of rival search engines and other applications, as part of a deal with FAS, the regulator said on Monday.

It will also develop a tool allowing users to choose a default search engine on their Android devices.

“Users will be able to change settings at any time and choose the default search engine which suits their needs,” FAS said.

Google confirmed the deal, saying it met the interests of all parties. It also said it had reached a commercial agreement with Yandex that “provides new opportunities for Yandex to promote its search service within Chrome”.

The deal is for a term of six years and nine months and  Google will  have to pay $7.85 million in fines.

Android phones vulnerable to booby trapped wi-fi signals

 Android phones are vulnerable to attacks that use booby trapped wi-fi signals to achieve full device takeover, a researcher has demonstrated.

The vulnerability resides in a widely used wi-fi chipset manufactured by Broadcom and used in both iOS and Android devices. Before anyone claims it was poor Android programming, the Fruity Cargo-Cult Apple was also vulnerable to the hack but patched the vulnerability with Monday’s release of iOS 10.3.1.

The Google Project Zero researcher Gal Beniamini who discovered the flaw said that an attacker within range may be able to execute arbitrary code on the wi-fi chip.

In a highly detailed blog post Apple said that the flaw  allowed the execution of malicious code on a fully updated 6P “by wi-fi proximity alone, requiring no user interaction”.

Google is in the process of releasing an update in its April security bulletin. The fix is available only to a select number of device models, and even then it can take two weeks or more to be available as an over the air update to those who are eligible.

Company representatives didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment for this post. The proof-of-concept exploit uses wi-fi frames that contain irregular values.

The values, in turn, cause the firmware running on Broadcom’s wireless system-on-a=chip to overflow its stack. By using the frames to target timers responsible for carrying out regularly occurring events such as performing scans for adjacent networks, Beniamini managed to overwrite specific regions of device memory with arbitrary shellcode.

Beniamini’s code does nothing more than write a benign value to a specific memory address. Attackers could obviously exploit the same series of flaws to surreptitiously execute malicious code on vulnerable devices within range of a rogue access point.

Android bug bounties getting huge

bugGoogle wrote more than $3 million in cheques last year in bug bounties as security experts cashed in on Android flaws.

Pay outs in 2016 take Google’s total payments under its bug bounty schemes have increased dramatically 2015 it paid researchers $2 million.

Last year was the first full year Android was covered by Google’s bug bounty, which earned researchers nearly a cool million for finding and reporting issues to the Android security team. That figure is significantly more than the $200,000 it paid in 2015 after launching the Android rewards programme in June.

Google’s acknowledgements to individuals who’ve helped improved Android security has grown in recent years as it has expanded efforts to secure the operating system.

The Android bug bounty appeared when Google started its monthly Android security bulletins, which aims to encourage handset makers to deliver patches regularly to devices and allows end-users to see what date their phones are patched to.

Another million was given to researchers who reported bugs in the longer-running Chrome vulnerability rewards program.

The company says its three rewards programmes attracted over 350 researchers from 59 countries, while it issued over 1,000 individual rewards with the biggest single reward being $100,000.

Android bugs hard to shift from tellies

bugFor a while now security experts have feared that android viruses will find their way into smart tellies and now this is starting to happen quirks in the telly industry appear to be preventing the viruses being fixed.

Software engineer Darren Cauthon found that one of his family members had an LG smart TV infected with ransomware on Christmas day. However, when he rang LG for help, the outfit told him he would have to take the telly into the shop to be fixed.

Based on a screenshot Cauthon posted online, the smart TV was infected with the Cyber. Police ransomware, also known as FLocker, Frantic Locker, or Dogspectus.

The infected TV is one of the last generations of LG smart TVs that ran Google TV, a smart TV platform developed by Google together with Intel, Sony, and Logitech. Google TV launched in 2010, but Google discontinued the project in June 2014.

LG really can’t be bothered with Google TV, and the company’s TVs now run WebOS.

When Cauthon tried to reset the TV to factory settings, the reset procedure available online didn’t work.

When the software engineer contacted LG, the company told him to visit one of their service centres, where one of its employees could reset his TV.

Microsoft gives its most successful program to Android and iOS

ANDROIDSoftware giant Microsoft has shared its most successful program to Android and iOS users.

Since the 90s there has been one program which has seen heavy use by Windows customers –  Solitaire.  It has been responsible for much wasted time and has historically been viewed as bad for business.  However moves to take it out of Windows have always been in vain and it seems it will be part of the Windows furniture for future decades.

But fewer are sitting in front of large desktop computers at home and Vole has not done so well at getting into the mobile market, so it has now sent its Solitaire Collection to Android and iOS stores.

Paul Jensen, Studio Manager of Microsoft Casual Games said Microsoft Solitaire was one of the most-played games of all time on Windows for more than 25 years.

“Microsoft Solitaire Collection, has reached more than 119 million unique players in the last four years alone. Now, those on iPhone, iPad and Android devices can play the popular card game for free.”

You can download Microsoft Solitaire Collection from the App Store, Google Play, and Windows Store and be run over while playing.

Android rules the world

ANDROIDAlthough you would not know it judging by the amount of press it gets, Android is on nine out of ten smartphones.

According to market researcher Strategy Analytics Android captured 88 percent of all smartphone shipped in the third quarter of 2016.

Its growth came at the expense of every major rival platform,” Strategy Analytics’ Linda Sui said in a press release.

“Apple iOS lost ground to Android and dipped to 12 percent market share,” primarily because of “lackluster” sales in China and Africa, she said.

BlackBerry and Microsoft Windows disappeared during 1 July  and the end of September.

So, the question is, why is Apple still being pushed as the archetypal “smartphone” when it clearly isn’t? We did a quick survey of the news feeds this morning and more than 80 per cent of smartphone stories were about the iPhone. What is the point about writing about a phone brand that less than ten per cent of your readers own?

Android’s leading position faces challenges in a market filled with phones made by hundreds of manufacturers, few of which turn a profit. That’s not helped by Google’s new Pixel phone, which competes against the companies that made it popular in the first place, Strategy Analytics said.

About 375 million smartphones shipped in the third quarter of 2016, up 6 percent from 354.2 million units in the same period last year. Shipments of Android-based phones rose 10.3 percent, while Apple’s iPhones fell 5.2 percent.

Anti-trust watchdog barks at Android

31BBE0CB00000578-3471385-image-a-12_1456857331758South Korea’s antitrust regulator has opened an investigation into the Google’s agreements with handset manufacturers over the Andriod operating system.

The watchdog is concerned that the US firm’s Android mobile operating system limits market competition.

Jeong Jae-chan, chairman of the Korea Fair Trade Commission, said the agency will re-examine anti-competition issues over Google’s policies on the Android platform. Sadly the did not say much more and probably won’t until the investigation is complete.

The agency has previously said it was looking into whether Google,  whose corporate parent is Alphabet  has violated South Korean anti-competition laws but did not elaborate on what potential charges might be brought against Google or what particular field it was interested in. Now it appears that it might be focused on the Android arrangements.

Another Tizen arrives in India

Samsung-Z1Samsung is to start peddling its third smartphone powered by the company’s own Tizen mobile operating system in India next week.

The operating system which sounds like a sneeze is being used by Samsung to break free from Google’s iron grip.  As yet the company has not been keen to try it out on more developed markets but it has been able to improve margins in developing countries.

The Z2 phone, equipped with a 4-inch screen and India-specific features such as a safety mode for motorcyclists, will be the cheapest Tizen phone Samsung has launched and costs $68.44.

The phone, the first Tizen-powered device that will run on 4G networks, will start selling in India in a week.

Samsung is getting addicted to Tizen and uses it on tellies, home appliances and wearable products to enable the devices to communicate with each other and phones via the internet.

It is mostly being seen in India and Bangladesh, where many potential customers are still first-time buyers looking for a cheap device and do not necessarily need a big library of apps.  Tizen’s weakness is that it lacks the number of Android Apps.

 

Nice Trump is an Apple fanboy, the nasty one uses Android

trumpuckerSomeone with too much time on his hands has discovered that the spilt (sic) personality in Donald Trump’s tweets are directly linked to the type of phone he uses.

When Trump wishes the Olympic team good luck, he’s tweeting from his iPhone. When he’s insulting a rival, he’s usually tweeting from an Android.

Trump has been seen in public with a Samsung Galaxy, and no one has seen him with an iPhone. The suggestion is that the iPhone tweets are being sent by someone else who is a little more reasonable.

Writing in his bog David Robinson, who is a Data Scientist at Stack Overflow, found that the that the Android and iPhone tweets are clearly from different people, posting during different times of day and using hashtags, links, and retweets in distinct ways.

“What’s more, we can see that the Android tweets are angrier and more negative, while the iPhone tweets tend to be benign announcements and pictures,” he wrote.

Tweets from the iPhone were 38 times as likely to contain either a picture or a link. This also makes sense if the campaign iPhone used to write “announcement” tweets about events.

More “emotionally charged” words, like “badly”, “crazy”, “weak”, and “dumb”, were overwhelmingly more common on Android. This supports the original hypothesis that this is the “angrier” or more hyperbolic account and this is the bouffant buffoon typing in his own words.

 

Android man could save the banks with his blockchain

blockchainA British Google engineer, whose speech recognition software is used in more than a billion Android smartphones, has launched a company that uses blockchain technology to build a better operating system for banks.

Paul Taylor from Cambridge University started working on the system, called Vault OS, two years ago. His blockchain technology has already won the hearts of bankers, which is odd because few people thought they had any. The reason it is so good is that it has the potential to shake up how markets operate. The technology, which shares ideas with the digital currency bitcoin, creates a shared database in which participants can trace every transaction ever made.

The ledger is tamper-proof and transparent, meaning that transactions can be processed without the need for third-party verification.

Taylor’s idea is that the banks are using software which was written in the 80s and 90s, and they just are not ready for the security-conscious internet app age. But blockchain provides a very secure way of storing transactions. It means that there is no need for in-house data centers because everything is on the cloud.

He said that high-street banks were spending around $1.3 billion a year on computer technology, much of which he said was being used for propping up the current “legacy” systems rather than on any innovative technology.

Blockchain could be five to 10 years away from widespread adoption. It street cred was damaged by its association with bitcoin, but it is working with ten banks and a trial of the new system will start in August.