News and review website CNET has been targeted by a team of Russian hackers called W0rm. CNET's servers were hit over the weekend, but details have only just been released.
Although CNET has not given a concrete confirmation of exactly what happened, the site explains that a representative of W0rm claims to have stolen a database containing the usernames and passwords of over a million users. It seems a security hole in the Symfony PHP framework was exploited, and it is not yet clear what the fallout could be.
A new report suggests that smartphone manufacturers will be bending over backwards to create flexible screens in the next few years.
According to market research firm DisplaySearch, flexible smartphones will constitute 40 percent of the global smartphone market in 2018. That's a whopping increase from just 0.2 percent in 2013.
When we talk about surveillance online, it is almost always with reference to the NSA and activities in the US. But US citizens are far from being the only web users affected by surveillance. The NSA has long arms, but there are also similar activities going on in plenty of other countries. This week in the UK, the government is pushing through legislation that requires phone and internet companies to store information about customers' communication, and to hand it over to authorities on request. What made this particularly unusual was the fact that this was classed as emergency surveillance legislation with little to no debate and, more importantly, no public consultation whatsoever. Edward Snowden has plenty say on the matter, likening the British government to the NSA.
The legislation covers not only UK-based companies, but also those based in other countries who have gathered data about UK customers. It is in direct opposition to a recent European court ruling that said retention of data was a violation of European law. This in itself would be reason for any surveillance-related laws to be debated, but the government chose instead to use emergency measures -- usually reserved for times of war or disaster -- to push through laws it knows will prove unpopular. As we are now used to hearing, the surveillance is not about recording phone calls, or storing individual emails and text messages, but about retaining the related metadata -- who contacted who, when, for how long, from where, and so on.
After months of waiting, Nokia Lumia 930 is finally available. That is, of course, unless you are living in US, where Microsoft will not make the Windows Phone 8.1 flagship officially available. Sure, you can buy Lumia Icon instead, as it offers pretty much the same specs, but what if you are not, or not do want to be, a Verizon customer?
The first option is to import Lumia 930 from Europe, where it is sold by major retailers, some of which offer international shipping. Clove, which is based in UK, carries the smartphones, in black, orange and white, at a price of £362.5 (which is about $621) without any local taxes. Or, you can head over to Expansys US, which sells Lumia 930 for not much more.
As a test, Avast purchased 20 used and supposedly wiped Android phones and discovered that it was able to recover vast amounts of personal user data. My colleague Brian Fagioli reported the story here.
Google responded to the news, stating "This research looks to be based on old devices and versions (pre-Android 3.0) and does not reflect the security protections in Android versions that are used by the vast majority of users". It went on to offer users advice on how to make sure when selling an old mobile phone you aren’t also gifting your personal data to buyers.
Microsoft's Mobile division just released Video Tuner, a new Windows Phone 8.1 app that gives users the ability to quickly edit videos right on their smartphones. The free offering is a Nokia Lumia-exclusive, at least for now, meaning that some platform users will be unable to install it.
Microsoft says Video Tuner offers "basic, yet powerful" tools, which include mundane ones like crop, flip, mirror, rotate, speed change and trim, as well as more advanced features like the option to add a soundtrack and tweak the sound level.
Phones hit the headlines for lots of reasons -- the biggest, the most expensive, the shiniest, or just the newest. We live in times in which security and privacy are major concerns for people in all walks of life. The activities of the NSA, as revealed by Edward Snowden, served only to heighten paranoia -- the prospect of having one's phone calls and text messages intercepted is something that fills few people with joy. Enter Vysk communicastions' Vysk QS1 phone case which can be used with an iPhone 5 or 5s, and a Samsung Galaxy S5 or S4. The selling point here is that it's not just your phone that's protected, but also your privacy.
The privacy features come in mechanical and software forms. On the mechanical front there are "shutters" that can be used to obscure your phone's front and rear cameras, and there's also a jamming system for microphones. This is described by Vysk as "Lockdown Mode", but you can take things a step further. For $9.95 you can subscribe to "Private Call Mode". This introduces encryption to your texts and phone calls, with an onboard processor taking care of encryption on the fly and sent via the Vysk encrypted network. As Vysk puts it: "No one -- not even Vysk -- will know the identity of the caller or the recipient. No data is collected -- no phone numbers, call times or content - so there is no data to record. Because nothing is recorded, nothing is at risk."
Earlier this week we covered the debate on whether Android users need malware protection. If further fuel for the argument was needed it comes in the form of Russian security firm Dr.Web's monitoring of Android threats.
Until recently embedded advertising modules have topped Dr.Web's malicious program rankings, but statistics for recent months indicate that an Android SMS bot Trojan has been spreading at an alarming rate.
Hitting the road means luggage, and luggage is a pain -- all that… stuff… to carry from place to place. Traveling light can help to make the journey less of a chore, but there are some things that simply have to be packed: no self-respecting technology fan would go on vacation without taking a raft of devices with them. But devices need power, and this means chargers are needed. iPhones, MP3 players, Android tablets, iPads, digital cameras, Chromebooks, and countless other devices all need power -- and that means a lot of chargers.
We just took a look at the Lumsing DCH-5U 5-Port USB Travel Wall Charger which enables you to leave the chargers at home and charge up to five devices simultaneously from a single power point. And we have one to give away!
A few weeks ago I took a look at Lumsing's harmonica battery pack. Now from the same stables comes the lengthily titled DCH-5U 5-Port USB Travel Wall Charger. This is a slightly different twist on the idea of providing power to travellers' devices -- this is a wall charger rather than a portable battery pack. If you're going on vacation, taking a trip, or even just hitting the office, there are your devices to consider. Your phone, tablet, MP3 player, and other bits and pieces all need power, all need their own charger.
Except they don’t. Leave all of your chargers at home, and just take a selection of USB cables -- this 5-port hub allows for up to five USB devices (obviously) to be charged from a single wall power point. The 31W/6.2A unit has two 5V 1A ports for phones, and three 5V 2A ports for tablets and devices with higher power demands. Oddly, the ports are labelled, left to right, iPad, iPad, Samsung Tab, iPhone, and Android. It would have made more sense to simply indicate which of the five were the high-powered ports, but this is a minor niggle in the grand scheme of things.
Sixth in a series. On July 1, I officially started my "Microsoft All-In" summer sojourn. Surface Pro 3 is my PC and Nokia Lumia Icon my smartphone for the next couple of months. Google gets the boot -- at least for awhile. I now largely use Microsoft products and services and third-party apps available for the company's platforms. Many commenters wonder why, so let me explain.
I last used Windows as my primary platform in 2010 -- never for Windows Phone. Like other BetaNews reporters, I tend to write about products used regularly. Writing is more authoritative from experience, and often only long-time use reveals hidden problems or benefits. The reality, and it's something obviously seen in comments: Microsoft platform users largely make up BetaNews readership.
With the recent Hurricane Arthur moving up the east coast of the US, power becomes something to worry about and a mobile connection can prove a lifeline for many people in the path of such storms. Keeping a tablet or cell phone alive during a disaster is paramount, but portable power is also handy for mundane times like travel and camping.
Backup batteries are not scarce on the market, you can find any number of them if you look. The real question is, what do you need? Ideally, you want the maximum mAh you can afford, as it will provide the most charges -- remember that battery in your phone is rated, and is usually somewhere in the 2,000 to 3,000 range. Use that number to compare to what you are buying to get a rough estimate of the amount of times you will be able to recharge. If you live in a household with multiple members then that should also be taken into account.
Something of a quieter week this week -- perhaps because of Independence Day and preparations there for. Still, there was plenty of news to keep us busy, including the NSA releasing a transparency report -- for what it's worth. Facebook found itself in the firing line after it transpired that the social network had been conducting psychological experiments by meddling with users' newsfeeds. Security is an on-going concern in technology, but it's something we have tendency to think about only in relation to computers and smartphones. One of the latest targets for malware and attacks is the power grid, and it's hard to tell what sort of havoc could be wreaked.
Microsoft tried to do its bit for security -- arguably in a misguided fashion -- by taking control of dynamic DNS service No-IP, and accidentally taking out a number of legitimate sites in addition to those malware-related ones -- the intended targets. In more positive Microsoft news, enhancements were made to Office 365's collaboration options. Windows Phone is still struggling in the smartphone market, but Microsoft will be hoping that this month's launch of Windows Phone 8.1 will help to improve things -- will the addition of folder support be enough? Looking further into the future, Joe pondered what Microsoft should do with Nokia. He also decided to give Windows another chance, helped along by his new Surface Pro 3.
Consumers looking for a dual-SIM smartphone have many low-end and mid-range options to choose from, offered by dozens of manufacturers in a wide range of configurations. The high-end selection is, however, much more limited, as fewer players compete in this space where, arguably, the value benefit of dual SIMs does not go hand in hand with the premium pricing of such devices.
HTC is among the few top players in the business to launch dual-SIM versions of its Android flagships. The Taiwanese maker did so last year with One Dual SIM and, this year, it gives its critically acclaimed One (M8) the same treatment.
Now is a great time to be looking for a new Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone. The entry-level Nokia Lumia 630 is already available, while the Lumia 930 flagship will launch shortly, as will the more affordable Lumia 635. For those living in US, however, their options are far more limited.
The only Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone that is set to launch in US is Lumia 635. It will reach mobile operator T-Mobile, as well as its MetroPCS subsidiary, in just a couple of days. For Simple Choice customers, it goes for $7 per month for two years (the total cost is $168, when taking into account the $0 down payment).