Articles about Android

2016's top malware threats show a shift in attack patterns

Attack route

The methodology of malware and cyber attacks has shown a significant shift in 2016, according to the State of Malware report from Malwarebytes.

Although ransomware is the favorite attack method used against business, ad fraud malware is growing fast and poses a substantial threat to both consumers and businesses.

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Razer buys Nextbit -- Robin Android smartphone owners shouldn't panic


The Nextbit Robin is a pretty cool Android smartphone. It is a good choice for those that want an unlocked device at an affordable price. Not to mention, it has a very cute and fun design.

Today, startup Nextbit announces that it has been acquired by PC accessory maker Razer. True, it seems like an odd acquisition, but not any stranger than Razer buying THX. With that said, getting into the smartphone game seems like a very risky business, as more established companies -- such as HTC -- are struggling lately. Has Razer made a mistake?

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Samsung Galaxy smartphones can be crashed with a single SMS


Security researchers from Context IS have uncovered serious vulnerabilities in a number of premium Samsung Galaxy phones which allow attackers to crash devices using a single SMS message and initiate ransomware attacks.

The report is part of a series which aims to show "how, even in 2017, SMS-based attacks on Android phones are still viable". As longtime readers might recall, iOS too was vulnerable to such attacks -- but that was nearly two years ago. While the report focuses on Samsung's Android handsets, the researchers suggest that the vulnerabilities could be found in other vendors' smartphones as well.

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WhatsApp update will allow users to track a contact's location in real time


Facebook-owned WhatsApp was in the headlines recently because of concerns over the way it implemented end-to-end-encryption. Analysis of a beta version of the chat app showed that there seem to be plans to introduce message editing and deletion options, and new reports suggest that real-time location tracking could also be on the cards.

As reported by the Independent, version 2.16.399 of WhatsApp for Android and version for iOS include a feature called Live Location Tracking. It's an option designed to make it easier to meet up in the flesh, but it's also something that will be of concern for privacy advocates.

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Warning: most Android VPN apps are insecure

Warning Sign Sky Cloud Cloudy

VPN software can be used to not only circumvent geoblocking, censorship and ISP blocks, but also to remain anonymous online. At least that's the idea. If you're an Android user who has a VPN app installed on your phone or tablet, the chances are that it is not safe.

Research shows that the majority of VPN apps to be found in Google Play contain spyware or malware, leak data, or include tracking components. This is in stark contrast to what most people would expect from such apps, and users are warned to double-check the choice they have made.

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Twitter relegates Moments to a subset of the new Explore tab


If there's one thing that irks Twitter users (actually, there are many things, but stick with us...) it's the disorganized way in which information is scattered hither and thither. Keen to get users to break out of their timelines and see what else it out there, the Twitter app is undergoing a makeover.

The change means that the existing search, Moments, and trends are now combined into a single, more manageable Explore tab. It's a simple change, but one that will make life easier for Twitter explorers.

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Swype keyboard for Android analyzes your texts and suggests emoji


An update to version x.0.1 of an app, you might believe, is unlikely to bring much in the way of major changes. But far from being just a bug fixing release, Android keyboard app Swype 3.0.1 takes predictive text to the next level.

We've all become used to the idea of smartphone keyboards predicting not only which word you are currently typing, but also which word you might want to type next. Taking on board millennials and pre-millennials' apparent dislike of actual words and heavy reliance on emoji, Swype will now suggest emoji you might like to use based on what you are typing.

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OnePlus 3T shipping right away, Open Beta releases paused temporarily

OnePlus 3T

OnePlus has been busy lately, rolling out the Android Nougat update for its 3T flagship killer just hours before passing into 2017 and working hard to make the smartphone more readily available to ship to potential buyers in major markets.

The OnePlus 3T is available to consumers without an invite, but not everyone has been able to get their hands on the smartphone. OnePlus did not always have it in stock, but that is about to change from now on.

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Google starts live testing of Android Instant Apps


A key obstacle that mobile users encounter is clicking a link only to be greeted by the offer to install an app. The relatively slow process of visiting Google Play to download and install an app means that many people simply don't bother -- and this is something that Instant Apps should help with.

The Instant Apps feature was announced last year at Google I/O, and there was much excitement at the prospect of 'streaming' apps on demand. Now Google has started live tests of Instant Apps for Android so you can try out the feature with the likes of BuzzFeed, Wish, Periscope and Viki.

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Android malware HummingBad is back on Google Play

Android smartphone malware

A common recommendation that Android users get for avoiding malware is to stick with Google Play and not download any apps from other sources. Trouble is, as HummingBad proved early last year by penetrating the search giant's defenses, that advice is not exactly bullet-proof.

The malware generated $300,000 in revenue every month and infected over 85 million devices, which, at the time, ran popular versions of Android, like KitKat and Jelly Bean. It was also one of the most dangerous pieces of malware in 2016, representing 72 percent of attacks on mobile and ranking fourth in Check Point's list of "the most prevalent malware globally" in the first half of the year. But that is not the end of the saga, as a new variant, called HummingWhale, has been found on Google Play.

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Google says all new Chromebooks will support Android apps

Acer Chromebook 15 CB3-532_straight on_GWP

For Google, Chromebooks have not been quite the success the company was hoping for, firmly remaining a niche product. As part of a drive to boost popularity, the company announced last year that it planned to bring Android apps to Chromebook.

But there is, of course, the question of which Chromebooks this means: and now we know the answer. Google has published a list of devices that will support Android apps, as well as revealing that all new Chromebooks will have the feature.

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Where can you download LineageOS, CyanogenMod's replacement?


It's only a matter of weeks since we learned that CyanogenMod was closing down and LineageOS would replace it. At the time, little was known about the launch schedule for the open source, Android-based operating system, but that has all changed.

On Friday, the LineageOS team announced that builds will "start rolling out this weekend". At time of writing the downloads have yet to make an appearance, but there is a download portal ready for you to keep an eye on.

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Simplified connection sharing comes to Android with Instant Tethering


Take your phone with you wherever you go, and you can use it to get your laptop online thanks to the wonder of tethering. This seemingly simple technological marvel is a delight for people working away from the home or office, and Google is now making things easier than ever with Instant Tethering.

The new feature is rolling out to some Android devices now, and it takes the 'hard work' out of creating a hotspot with your phone to which your other devices can connect. As the name suggests, the aim is to make the connection instantly.

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Meitu pleads complete innocence against spyware claims


You may have seen our story earlier today about the worrying permissions used by photo app Meitu -- and you have almost certainly seen the disturbing images created in the app and shared on Facebook. The company behind the app -- also called Meitu -- has jumped to defend itself, insisting there is nothing sinister going on.

The company insists that there is a very good reason for asking for so many permissions on iOS and Android. It insists there is a very good reason for gathering so much information about users. It insists this data is stored securely and is not shared with or sold to third parties. The defense is worth reading, but whether users are happy to accept what the company says about transmitting collected data back to a Chinese server remains to be seen.

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Privacy warning: Meitu photo app is spyware sharing your phone's data


There has been a sudden craze for freaky-looking photos created using the Chinese app Meitu. The images the app creates are either cutesy or horrific, depending on your point of view, but it's what's going on in the background that has people concerned.

While Meitu has been popular in China for several years --amassing a huge following -- it has only just caught on over here. What many users are unaware of is that while they are busy applying virtual makeup to their face in the app, data such as a phone's IMEI, Mac address, users' precise location and much more is being gathered and shared. The advice? Ditch the app if you're concerned about your privacy.

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