— The Hill (@thehill) April 19, 2015
How people ignored each other before smartphones. pic.twitter.com/OZvhvWLBPK
— Scott E. Bartner (@SBartner) January 18, 2015
Security experts say China is a leading source of hacking attacks aimed at foreign governments and companies to computers in China
HONG KONG (AP) — The Chinese government might be using smartphone apps to spy on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, a U.S. security firm said.
“The Xsser mRAT represents a fundamental shift by nation-state cybercriminals from compromising traditional PC systems to targeting mobile devices.”
The applications are disguised as tools created by activists, said the firm, Lacoon Mobile Security. It said that once downloaded, they give an outsider access to the phone’s address book, call logs and other information.
The identities of victims and details of the servers used “lead us to believe that the Chinese government are behind the attack,” said a Lacoon statement.
China is, along with the United States and Russia, regarded as a leader in cyber warfare research. Security experts say China is a leading source of hacking attacks aimed at foreign governments and companies to computers in China. Read the rest of this entry »
Dave Lewis writes: It seems rather far fetched at first glance. There is news that came out last week that rogue cell phone towers around the US are forcing mobile devices to disable their encryption making it possible that someone might be able to listen in to your call. “That could never happen to me,” you think out loud. But, apparently it could.
In 2010 at the DEF CON in Las Vegas, security researcher Chris Paget did the unthinkable. He built a cell tower of his own so that he could spoof legitimate towers and intercept calls.The device would mimic the type used by law enforcement agencies to intercept phone calls. In this case, he was able to build it for roughly $1500 US. Paget’s device would only capture 2G GSM phone calls. Carriers such as AT&T and T-Mobile would be vulnerable as they use GSM, unlike Verizon which relies on CDMA technology.
I was in attendance for this particular presentation and I had a disposable phone with me at the time. During the presentation when the device was switched on my phone was more than happy to oblige and seamlessly associated with the contraption that was across the room. Had I not been aware that this was going on, it was quite conceivable that I could have not noticed the change to the rogue tower. The point of this presentation was to raise awareness of the security flaws that affect GSM related phones. Read the rest of this entry »
For Gizmodo, Casey Chan writes: In the future, we’ll get the news from fair and balanced android newscasters that’ll somehow terrify us more than the cable newspeople we have today. These android newscasters are frighteningly lifelike and can interact with humans, read the news and Tweets, tell a joke and basically replace the lousy talking heads on TV.
The android newscasters were shown off in Japan at the Android: What is a Human? exhibition in Tokyo. At times, the two robots demoed—Kodomoroid and Otonaroid—look and act so real that they seem like human actors pretending to be a robot.
Japanese scientists on Tuesday unveiled what they said was the world’s first news-reading android, eerily lifelike and possessing a sense of humour to match her perfect language skills. Duration: 01:20
“Any attempt to break open the casing of the device would trigger functions that would delete the data and software contained within the device and make the device inoperable.”
Giuseppe Macri reports: Leading avionics technology developer and manufacturer Boeing is breaking into the smartphone market with “Black” – a Mission Impossible-worthy device that self-destructs if an attempt is made to breach its security.
“Boeing’s Black phone will be sold primarily to government agencies and companies engaged in contractual activities with those agencies that are related to defense and homeland security,” Legal counsel for Boeing Bruce Olcott wrote in the company’s detailed letter to the FCC earlier this month, asking the agency to keep the phone’s specs secret. “The device will be marketed and sold in a manner such that low-level technical and operational information about the product will not be provided to the general public.”
Amazon’s mystery set-top we keep hearing about like an elusive whale that surfaces distantly for moments before plunging into unlit nether regions is making a few new ripples off reports — rumors, to be sure — that the company’s still toiling and troubling to develop a game console that might compete with, well,everything.
It’s an obvious (if too often glossed-over) point, but the one that matters most in the end: If Amazon (or anyone else, Roku to Apple to Android-based game box X) wants to compete with established industry players like Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, it needs what so many have tried and failed, deleteriously, to secure — broad, mainstream, third-party developer support.
Do you ever feel frustrated that you can’t keep tabs on your significant other at all times? Nervous that everyone is hanging out without you? Curious about what the heck your neighbors are doing over there?
Thankfully, there’s a Pocket Drone currently being funded on Kickstarter that will solve these problems and more. It only takes 20 seconds to unpack and launch. Then, you can load it up with any video camera you own, as long as the payload is less than half a pound. Hit record and you’re off, creating surveillance footage of everyone you know.
Control Pocket Drone with an app on your phone or tablet, and you can access hard-to-reach places like the café where that hot neighbor you’ve been Facebook stalking gets his coffee every morning.
Jared Newman reports: By now we’ve learned a lot about how the NSA intercepts private communications, whether it’s tapping into fiber optic cables, bugging laptopsbefore they’re delivered to customers or just collecting mounds of data from tech companies upon request.
Still, a new company called Blackphone believes it can create a smartphone that’s safe from government snooping. Blackphone promises secure phone calls, texts, file transfers and video chats, along with private browsing and anonymized activity through a virtual private network. The phone is a partnership between Silent Circle, which offers encrypted communications services, and Madrid-based phone maker Geeksphone.
Leo Kelion reports: Google has revealed it has taken over seven robotics companies in the past half a year and has begun hiring staff to develop its own product.
A spokesman confirmed the effort was being headed up by Andy Rubin, who was previously in charge of the Android operating system.
The spokesman was unwilling to discuss what kind of robot was being developed.
But the New York Times reports that at this stage Google does not plan to sell the resulting product to consumers.
Instead, the newspaper suggests, Google’s robots could be paired with its self-driving car research to help automate the delivery of goods to people’s doors.
It notes the company has recently begun a same-day grocery delivery service in San Francisco and San Jose, called Google Shopping Express.
That would pitch the initiative against Amazon’s Prime Air Project, which envisages using drones to transport goods to its customers by air.
“Any description of what Andy and his team might actually create are speculations of the author and the people he interviewed,” said Google of the NYT article. Read the rest of this entry »
Vladimir Putin will fight zombies in a new game called “Don’t Mess With Putin”
Olivia B. Waxman reports: Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown he’s a tough guy in real life by hunting whales, riding a Harley Davidson with a biker gang, and horseback riding shirtless. Now, he’s going to fight zombies in a new game called “You Don’t Mess With Putin,” designed by programmer Michele Rocco Smeets and available on Android and iOS around Oct. 31.
The premise, according to RIA Novosti: zombies attack Putin’s press conference on the “Westernization of Russia’s video game industry,” killing everyone in attendance. In order to get revenge, the world leader goes after the zombies with apen of all things, spoofing the time he forced a billionaire to sign an agreement to reboot a struggling factory and then asked for the pen back. Putin’s sidekick, in two-player mode, is a video game expert named Mike, an “alcoholic and aggressive American tough-guy”…
…Putin is far from the first politician to make an appearance in a virtual game. Here are some of our other favs…
Michael Horowitz writes: If an Android device (phone or tablet) has ever logged on to a particular Wi-Fi network, then Google probably knows the Wi-Fi password. Considering how many Android devices there are, it is likely that Google can access most Wi-Fi passwords worldwide.
Recently IDC reported that 187 million Android phones were shipped in the second quarter of this year. That multiplies out to 748 million phones in 2013, a figure that does not include Android tablets.
Many (probably most) of these Android phones and tablets are phoning home to Google, backing up Wi-Fi passwords along with other assorted settings. And, although they have never said so directly, it is obvious that Google can read the passwords.
Sounds like a James Bond movie. Read the rest of this entry »
SPIEGEL has learned from internal NSA documents that the US intelligence agency has the capability of tapping user data from the iPhone, devices using Android as well as BlackBerry, a system previously believed to be highly secure.
The United States’ National Security Agency intelligence-gathering operation is capable of accessing user data from smart phones from all leading manufacturers. Top secret NSA documents that SPIEGEL has seen explicitly note that the NSA can tap into such information on Apple iPhones, BlackBerry devices and Google’s Android mobile operating system. Read the rest of this entry »
My colleague Harry McCracken pointed out last night that Nokia sells nearly 87 percent of all Windows Phones, and that number seems likely to grow. By purchasing Nokia, Microsoft will gain near-complete control over Windows Phone hardware, not just the software.
For smartphones, this is as close to Apple‘s approach as it gets. Apple is famous for its tight integration of hardware and software, which generates lots of satisfied customers as well as huge profits.
By Chris Velazco
Apple made waves this morning when it announced its oft-rumored September 10 event, but Google isn’t giving up the day’s limelight without a fight — according to a post on Sundar Pichai’s Google+ page, over one billion Android devices have been activated to date.
North Korea claims to have domestically manufactured a smart phone, a device called the Arirang, which appears to use a version of Android as its operating system.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency released photos of Kim Jong Un touring a facility where the phones are supposedly made. (Notice that nothing resembling manufacturing is going on in the photos.)
According to KCNA, Kim Jong Un praised the “high pixels” of the phone’s camera function and predicted that the “hand phone” would “instill national pride and self-respect” in the North Korean people. Though the manufacture of the phones began “a few days ago,” according to the report, Kim Jong Un believes they are in “high demand.”
Martyn Williams, the editor of a website on North Korean technology, says the phones were likely produced in China and shipped to the factory.
Cell phones were introduced into North Korea in 2008 thanks to a partnership with the Egyptian telecom firm Orascom, but subscribers are limited to making domestic calls. Presumably anyone purchasing an “Arirang” would be prohibited from using it to surf the worldwide web.
Do you like Android? You should, it’s amazing. iOS? Wow, what a great platform, no wonder it started a revolution. Windows Phone? Seriously, it’s got a remarkable and beautiful interface. BlackBerry? There are plenty of great reasons people love it. And no matter which platform you adore, it’s shockingly possible to both have a preference and respect that other people may prefer an entirely different device. I know. Totally weird. But true.
Or, you can just call anyone who expresses a contrary opinion a jerk, or a fanboi, or butthurt, some other un-clever and deeply unoriginal pejorative that ends with the suffix “tard” and ultimately makes you look dumber than the person you’re trying, vainly, to insult.
The phone wars, the platform wars, should be left to people who work for Apple and Samsung and Google and Microsoft and Nokia and BlackBerry. Do you work for Apple? Do you work for Samsung? No? Then shut up.
Nobody cares what kind of smartphone you believe in. It’s not a religion.
It’s more like a sports team, for some.