Items tagged with Apps

It's not a good time to be an Android user who frequents the Google Play Store for apps. Just over the last few weeks, malware-laden apps that had been downloaded over half a million times were found on the Play Store. Apps from Cheetah Mobile were also found to be committing click fraud and running down the batteries inside user devices. Reports are now surfacing that Google has now pulled another batch of 22 apps from the Google Play Store that had been downloaded over 2 million times cumulatively. The newest apps discovered to be malicious had a so-called "device-draining backdoor" that allowed them to download files from a server controlled by the attacker. The most disturbing part is... Read more...
Android users who think the apps they download on the Google Play store are safe and secure would be wrong in many cases. Malware and other fraudulent apps often run rampant within the Google Play Store. Now a new report claims that seven apps from Cheetah Mobile and one from Kika Tech that have a combined 2 billion downloads via Google Play are part of a massive ad fraud scheme. The two companies are related; Kika Tech reportedly had a significant investment from Cheetah in 2016. The ad fraud scheme was outed by research firm Kochava, and according to the researchers, these fraudulent apps could have stolen millions of dollars. Cheetah and Kika combined claim they have 700 million active users... Read more...
The app market for just about every platform out there is rife with developers who use nefarious techniques to trick users into giving them access to their valuable personal data. You might expect this to be a problem with third-party app stores for Android devices, but some might be surprised to learn that Apple is having an issue with nefarious developers and apps offered for download on the highly-guarded Mac App Store. The tip-off that something nefarious might be going on with apps for your Mac comes when the app asks for access to the home directory in macOS. At least a handful of apps available for Mac users that ask for that permission are using that access to steal user data such... Read more...
Is your smartphone secretly recording your screen activity? It turns out that conspiracy theorists may have some justification for their concern. Computer scientists from Northeastern University determined that some apps do violate a user’s privacy by quietly capturing pictures, videos, and recorded audio.  According to the Northeastern University scientists, their research was the “first large-scale empirical study of media permissions and leaks from Android apps, covering 17,260 apps from Google Play, App China, Mi.com, and Anzhi.” The researchers worked with ten Android devices and an automated program to use the apps and determine whether any media files were sent to... Read more...
Google is rolling out something akin to DRM for Android APKs as a way to verify that apps originated from the Play Store. Rogue apps that are malware-ridden are running rampant these days, so this is just an extra layer of security that Google is implementing to help safeguard Android users from attacks. The new DRM has a single goal, and that is to allow users to be certain that an app they are using is genuine and hasn't been tampered with. The number of apps that have been found with malware inside or to be outright fake is ever growing in the Android realm. Late last year it was found that a fake WhatsApp app had racked up over a million downloads. To be clear, Google isn’t billing... Read more...
Knowledge is power, but it can also be frightening, in a sobering kind of way. Have you ever wondered how much time you spend online, and specifically on Facebook? That's something you might not want to know, especially if you fire up the social network's app on your phone several times throughout the day. If you are curious, however, it looks like Facebook will soon oblige by introducing a new 'Your Time on Facebook' tool. This has not been released yet, or even announced by Facebook. Nevertheless, it will eventually com to fruition, as the unreleased tool was discovered in Facebook's app for Android devices. When selected, the tool shows the average number of minutes per day you've spent in... Read more...
Technology companies that collect any sort of data are scrambling to be sure that they are being as careful in the wake of Facebook's Cambridge Analytica privacy problems. The latest tech firm to take a hard look at user privacy is Apple, with reports that it is cracking down on apps that share location data with third-party companies. Apple has begun removing the apps in question from the App Store if it finds that data is being shared and notifying the developers of the app that they have violated two different listing guidelines (sections are 5.1.1 and 5.1.2 of the App Store Review Guidelines). Those guidelines have to do with transmitting user location data and user awareness of data collection.... Read more...
WhatsApp users have been forwarding a message around that some might find incredibly annoying. The message will cause the app to hang for a bit, after which it will then function normally. No malicious content is transferred with the message according to reports. The message reads "If you touch the black point your WhatsApp will hang." The message is then forwarded by a black dot and in some cases emojis. Naturally, a good portion of the people who get it can't resist the temptation to touch the black dot. As for why the message can cause WhatsApp to hang, it has to do with symbols included in the message that WhatsApp doesn’t recognize. Since the app doesn't recognize the characters,... Read more...
The Android ecosystem has progressed so much over the past decade that it's not only hardware we look forward to anymore but the software that drives it as well. As we've become more reliant on our smartphones, our usage models with these operating systems of choice evolve, as does our taste. It's for those reasons that Google's I/O conference has become such an important part of the mobile landscape every year. Many new technologies announced at the show and developer conference will directly affect Android and Google services users either right away, or in the near-future. Google News App As with every other year since its inaugural event, 2018's I/O conference has been prefaced with some... Read more...
It's April 1 and this day makes many of us around these parts skeptical about oddities we find online. Google is doing something that at first glance seems like an April Fools joke, but it’s a legit thing that might keep your kids (and you) entertained while all those Easter Eggs are being hidden in the yard. Most will be familiar with Where's Waldo, the red and white stripped hide-and-seek master from books and posters growing up. Google and Waldo have teamed up to let you try and find him using Google Maps. Waldo wrote, "I’m always on the lookout for fantastic new places to explore. My last adventure started in sun-sational Mountain View, CA where I visited the terrific team at... Read more...
After blocking an app in the App Store that was designed to alert iOS users of net neutrality violations, Apple took a second look at the application, called Wehe, and decided it was acceptable after all. However, the developer of the app, Dave Choffnes, is still unclear on why exactly Apple chose to banish Wehe from the App Store, which underscores the mysteries of Apple's review process. There are guidelines that spell things out, of course, but even when all the check boxes appear to be ticked, Apple can still decide to refuse an app entrance into its lucrative App Store. That is what happened to Choffnes, who said he had a "very pleasant" conversation with Apple, but that the company "did... Read more...
Many people who download games on their Android devices probably don’t pay that much attention to the permissions they grant an app at install. What you may be missing during that install is a permission that allows the games to listen to what you are watching on TV in your home even when the game isn’t running. The scary part for many people is that the family members being spied on by these games are often kids. Apps like "Honey Quest" (pictured), "Pool 3D", and hundreds more games are loaded with software from a company called Alphonso, a start up that gathers TV viewing data for advertisers. The company's software uses the microphone on your smartphone or tablet and is able to... Read more...
Chrome OS fans will soon be receiving a feature that many have been wanting since support for Android apps rolled out. The new feature is Android Parallel Tasks, and it is tipped for release in Chrome OS 64. This feature will give Chromebook users the ability to have Android apps continue to run in the background when they click away. Currently, if you are running an app or game that needs real-time data like Google Analytics, the second you click away from that app it pauses. With Android Parallel Tasks, the apps would continue to run in the background, just as you would expect on other desktops running Windows, Linux, or macOS. The way Android apps stop running on Chrome OS now is a throwback... Read more...
Google has announced that it has beefed up its efforts to keep Android users safe by expanding the enforcement of its Unwanted Software Policy. The updated policy will help Google to reduce unwanted and harmful behavior on Android. Android users will now see Google Safe Browsing warnings on app and websites that collect the user's personal data without their consent. Google's Paul Stanton wrote, "Apps handling personal user data (such as user phone number or email), or device data will be required to prompt users and to provide their own privacy policy in the app. Additionally, if an app collects and transmits personal data unrelated to the functionality of the app then, prior to collection and... Read more...
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