North Korea-tied hackers use Google Play and Facebook to infect defectors


Researchers said a team of hackers tied to North Korea recently managed to get the Google Play market to host at least three Android apps designed to surreptitiously steal personal information from defectors of the isolated nation.

The three apps first appeared in the official Android marketplace in January and weren’t removed until March when Google was privately notified. That’s according to a blog post published Thursday by researchers from security company McAfee. Two apps masqueraded as security apps, and a third purported to provide information about food ingredients. Hidden functions caused them to steal device information and allow them to receive additional executable code that stole personal photos, contact lists, and text messages.

The apps were spread to selected individuals, in many cases by contacting them over Facebook. The apps had about 100 downloads when Google removed them. Nation-operated espionage campaigns frequently infect a small number of carefully

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The revamped Google News app is now available on iPhones and iPads

Jeff Dunn

Google detailed an overhaul of the Google News app at its I/O developer conference last week, and on Wednesday that redesign officially became available to download on iOS devices. It replaces the previous Google Play Newsstand app.

The new app arrived on Android devices shortly after Google’s initial announcement. Google says the app is available in 127 countries.

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The Trump administration just forced smartphone maker ZTE to shut down

Enlarge / New ZTE Blade V9 at a ZTE stand during the Mobile World Congress Day 2 on February 27, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. (credit: Joan Cros/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

One of the leading Chinese smartphone makers, ZTE, is shutting down global operations in the face of crippling sanctions levied by the US government. ZTE is China’s number-two smartphone maker, and as recently as last year it was the number-four smartphone vendor in the US.

“The major operating activities of the Company have ceased,” ZTE wrote (PDF) in a Wednesday announcement to stock market traders in Hong Kong.

ZTE’s business became untenable after a US government order banned American companies from exporting technology to the Chinese smartphone maker. ZTE is heavily dependent on US-made components, especially Qualcomm chips and Google’s Android software stack.

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Hands-On With Android P’s New Swipe-Based Gesture System

Google yesterday introduced the newest version of Android, Android P, at its Google I/O developer conference held in Mountain View, California. Android P includes a few enticing features like a new Dashboard for monitoring usage and an adaptive battery feature for improving battery life, but what was of interest to iPhone users was the new gesture system.

Android P adopts a new gesture-based system interface that’s reminiscent of the interface of the iPhone X, so we decided to download the Android P beta to check it out for ourselves.

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For years, Android has used a navigation system that focuses on three buttons: home, back, and multitasking. That’s gone in Android P, having been replaced with a small oblong button at the bottom of the display that will be familiar to iPhone X users.

Swiping up on the button brings up a

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Valve will soon let you stream Steam games to phones and tablets

Enlarge / The Steam Link app will go well beyond the functionality of the existing Steam Mobile app shown here, but we don’t have imagery for the Steam Link yet, so….

Users will be able to turn their phones and tablets into de facto portable PC monitors for playing Steam games around the house later this month. That’s when Valve has announced it will be launching its new Steam Link app for iOS and Android, officially bringing Steam’s long-established in-home streaming feature to mobile devices for the first time (though there have been unofficial apps to provide similar functions for a while now).

The free Steam Link app will be available for phones and tablets running Android or iOS (though Android support will be in beta for launch) starting the week of May 21. Apple TV and Android-based TV platforms will also run the software, Valve said, essentially turning those

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Google Shows Off Android P With New iPhone X-Style Gestures

At its Google I/O event taking place in Mountain View, California this morning, Google showed off features that are coming in Android P, a new version of Android that’s set to launch this fall.

Google is focusing on three parameters for Android P: Simplicity, Intelligence, and Digital Wellbeing. Android P has a new gesture-focused interface, which is similar to the interface that Apple introduced for the iPhone X. “The new design makes Android multitasking more approachable and easier to understand,” said Android Engineering VP Dave Burke on stage, after explaining that Google has been working on it for more than a year.

Android P does away with the standard three button home, back, and multitasking lineup that’s been available on Android devices for the last several years.

Instead, As with the iPhone X, there’s a little oblong navigation button at the bottom of the screen that enables several gestures like

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Google details new Android P features, including iPhone X-like gesture controls

Enlarge / The insanely colorful Android P Easter Egg. (credit: Android)

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA—Google I/O 2018 has officially kicked off, and with it comes the traditional release of a new Android developer preview. While Android P, as the next major update is still called for now, still has a long way to go until its final release—Google still has three more developer previews planned, with a final consumer build scheduled for Q3 2018—Google took some time at the keynote of its annual developer conference to detail a few new features Android users can expect to see.

The biggest news in Preview 1 was a new design style that was applied to the notification panel, main settings screen, and some system UI bits.

At Google’s I/O keynote, Android VP of Engineering Dave Burke said the forthcoming update will center on three key pillars: intelligence, simplicity, and digital wellbeing.


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Gmail’s new “smart compose” feature will help you write emails faster

Enlarge (credit: Rom Amadeo)

At today’s I/O keynote, Google announced a new Gmail feature dubbed “smart compose.” This AI-based system will let Gmail users write messages faster by suggesting phrases as they type out emails.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai presented a short demo of the new feature, showing how the AI suggests words and phrases and even completes sentences as you type out messages in a new email window. Smart compose will suggest options for what you may want to say next based on what you’ve already typed. If it works as well as it did in the demo, smart compose should help Gmail users write emails much faster and more efficiently.

We’ve seen features similar to “smart compose” in other contexts, like smartphone messaging apps. However, those apps typically stop at suggesting words and short phrases—Google’s new AI feature for Gmail goes even further to suggest full sentences.

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With Timeline and Your Phone, Microsoft makes a PC the phone’s second screen

SEATTLE—The PC is, for many of us, no longer the central hub for our digital and online activities; the phone has taken that role. In this new world, the relationship between the two has flipped: the phone is not a companion device for the PC, but rather, the PC is now a companion device for the phone.

At its Build developer conference today, Microsoft showed a pair of applications that reflect this new world. First are updated versions of the Launcher for Android and Edge for iOS that include support for Timeline, the big new feature of the Windows 10 April 2018 Update. Timeline gives a historic view of the documents, emails, and webpages that you have visited, making it easy and convenient to go back and resume working on your ongoing tasks. With the updated versions of the apps, the Timeline view is now accessible on your mobile

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Google Daydream VR goes standalone with Lenovo’s Mirage Solo

Enlarge / The Lenovo Mirage Solo headset with its WorldSense cameras clearly visible on the front. (credit: Lenovo)

Daydream, Google’s foray into the crowded virtual reality space, has hitherto used headsets that are simply holsters, a way of holding an Android smartphone right in front of your face so that it works as a pair of VR goggles. This makes Daydream’s cost of entry cheap—the headset can be a completely passive device with no electronics of its own—which is important for making VR accessible.

Lenovo’s $400 Mirage Solo, out today, is the first standalone Daydream headset. You don’t slot a phone into this one—the device has all the hardware it needs to provide a standalone VR experience. The hardware inside the headset is certainly phone-like; it has a Snapdragon 835 processor with 4GB RAM, 64GB of storage, and a 4,000mAh battery. It also contains phone-like sensors, with a gyroscope,

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Drive-by Rowhammer attack uses GPU to compromise an Android phone

Enlarge (credit: John Karakatsanis / Flickr)

Over the past few years, there has been a steady evolution in Rowhammer, the once largely theoretical attack that exploits physical defects in memory chips to tamper with the security of the devices they run on. On Thursday, researchers are unveiling the most practical demonstration yet of Rowhammer’s power and reach: an exploit that remotely executes malicious code on Android phones by harnessing their graphical processors.

Dubbed GLitch, the exploit is the first to show that GPUs can flip individual bits stored in dynamic random-access memory. The advance gives attackers greater flexibility over previous techniques that relied solely on CPUs. It’s also the first Rowhammer attack that uses standard JavaScript to compromise a smartphone, meaning it can be executed when users do nothing more than visit a malicious website. Another key innovation: on average, GLitch takes less than two minutes to compromise a

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Samsung launches preorders for the Galaxy S9 in 128GB, 256GB storage varieties

Enlarge / The big improvement is the lower fingerprint reader, which now lives below the camera module. (credit: Ron Amadeo)

If you’re looking for a US Galaxy S9 with more than 64GB of space, Samsung is starting preorders today for two higher-storage variants of its flagship smartphone. Samsung has announced that 128GB and 256GB versions of the Galaxy S9 can now be preordered in the US, with shipments starting May 18.

The Galaxy S9 originally launched in the US in March with only an entry-level 64GB storage tier. Samsung forfeited the spec sheet bragging rights to its biggest rival, Apple, which launched its latest iPhone with a 256GB storage tier. Extra built-in storage isn’t as necessary on Samsung phones since they have a MicroSD slot, allowing digital pack rats to buy the 64GB phone and slap in a giant SD card later.

The move to only launch with 64GB in

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iOS 11 Now Installed on 76% of iOS Devices, While Android 8 is Installed on 4.6% of Android Devices

The iOS 11 operating system is installed on 76 percent of devices as of April 22, according to statistics Apple shared today on its App Store support page for developers.

That’s up 11 percentage points since January 18, when iOS 11 was installed on 65 percent of devices, and 24 percentage points since November 6, when iOS 11 was installed on 52 percent of devices.

19 percent of devices continue to use iOS 10, while 5 percent of devices use earlier versions of iOS, such as iOS 9. Many of these devices are likely older and unable to be updated to the newest version of iOS.

iOS 11 adoption rates have been growing steadily, but adoption has been markedly slower than iOS 10. In February of 2017, for example, iOS 10 was installed on nearly 80 percent of active devices.

iOS 11 has been plagued by high-profile bugs and

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Did you know that Google Search on Android is a podcast player?

Whether you’re listening to the newest installment of a daily podcast you’re subscribed to or binging the latest true crime series, being able to pause a podcast on one device and pick it back up on another is a useful feature. And according to Pacific Content, it’s a feature that Google offers right now. If you start an episode on your Android phone, for example, you can finish it with your Google Home, and Zack Reneau-Wedeen, Google’s podcasts product manager, says this “device interoperability” will eventually expand to everything on which you use Google. We asked Google about the feature and were told that it’s “not new” but it’s unclear how long the ability has been around.

Source: Pacific Content

Sophisticated APT surveillance malware comes to Google Play

Enlarge (credit: portal gda)

Hackers pushing nation-state-style surveillance malware recently scored a major coup by getting three advanced malicious applications hosted in Google’s official Play marketplace, researchers said. Google removed the apps after receiving notification of their presence.

The mAPTs, short for mobile advanced persistent threats, likely came from two separate groups that both target people in the Middle East, Michael Flossman, head of threat intelligence at mobile security company Lookout, told Ars. The three apps combined received about 650 to 1,250 downloads, according to Google Play figures. All three of them gave attackers considerable control over infected phones.

The apps—two from a family known as ViperRat and the third from the Desert Scorpion family—represent one of the few known times mAPTs have been found in the official Google market. The attackers’ success is largely the result of a modular design where malicious functionality isn’t part of the

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Apple adds music videos to Apple Music app for Android

Apple just shipped an updated version (2.4.2) of its nice and private Apple Music music streaming app for Android users, introducing access to video collections recently added to the service.

A glass of cold water

“Apple Music now includes a new music video experience. Find what’s new and popular in Music Videos within Browse, and play videos back-to-back with exclusive music video playlists,” Apple explains on the Google Play store.

Apple Music has over 38 million subscribers. It seems that over ten million Android users may already have installed Apple Music on their devices, driving the app to achieve a 3.5/5 satisfaction score on the popular shadow IT platform. (It is telling that the largest number of votes in any particular score category is for five-star recommendations of the app).

What you get and how to use it

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Plan group trips in Skype with help from TripAdvisor and StubHub

Bringing TripAdvisor into a group chat is pretty easy — just tap the Add to Chat button and select TripAdvisor from the list of available plug-ins. You can choose a destination, then search for restaurants, hotels and activities in the area. Sharing interesting things from your search is as easy as tapping the Send button, and your TripAdvisor post will show up in the group chat.

StubHub works similarly; you open the add-in and search for an event, location or date and then select the tickets you want. Once that’s done, you can send the StubHub link to the entire group, and then everyone can click through to see the listings on the service, purchasing the seats they want.

Via: 9to5Mac

Source: Skype