I’ll be passing on Google’s new 2fa for logins on iPhones and iPads. Here’s why


This post is by Dan Goodin from Ars Technica


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I’ll be passing on Google’s new 2fa for logins on iPhones and iPads. Here’s why

Enlarge (credit: Google)

Google is expanding its new Android-based two-factor authentication (2fa) to people logging in to Google and Google Cloud services on iPhones and iPads. While Google deserves props for trying to make stronger authentication available to more users, I’ll be avoiding it in favor of 2fa methods Google has had in place for years. I’ll explain why later. First, here’s some background.

Google first announced Android’s built-in security key in April, when it went into beta, and again in May, when it became generally available. The idea is to make devices running Android 7 and up users’ primary 2fa device. When someone enters a valid password into a Google account, the phone displays a message alerting the account owner. Users then tap a “yes” button if the login is legitimate. If it’s an unauthorized attempt, the user can block the login from going through.

The system aims

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Shazam can now ID tracks played through your headphones


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Apple’s music ID app Shazam has always been a handy tool to have on your phone, but it has one small inconvenience – it can only identify music which is either played through your device’s internal speakers or picked up by its microphone.

Via: The Verge

Source: Google Play, Shazam

Google confirms 2017 supply-chain attack that sneaked backdoor on Android devices


This post is by Dan Goodin from Ars Technica


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Man wearing T-shirt that reads

(credit: Alexandre Dulaunoy / Flickr)

Criminals in 2017 managed to get an advanced backdoor preinstalled on Android devices before they left the factories of manufacturers, Google researchers confirmed on Thursday.

Triada first came to light in 2016 in articles published by Kaspersky here and here, the first of which said the malware was “one of the most advanced mobile Trojans” the security firm’s analysts had ever encountered. Once installed, Triada’s chief purpose was to install apps that could be used to send spam and display ads. It employed an impressive kit of tools, including rooting exploits that bypassed security protections built into Android and the means to modify the Android OS’s all-powerful Zygote process. That meant the malware could directly tamper with every installed app. Triada also connected to no fewer than 17 command and control servers.

In July 2017, security firm Dr. Web reported that its researchers

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238 Google Play apps with >440 million installs made phones nearly unusable


This post is by Dan Goodin from Ars Technica


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238 Google Play apps with >440 million installs made phones nearly unusable

Enlarge (credit: NurPhoto | Getty Images)

If the prevalence of abusive Google Play apps has left you numb, this latest report is for you. Carefully concealed adware installed in Google-approved apps with more than 440 million installations was so aggressive that it rendered mobile devices nearly unusable, researchers from mobile security provider Lookout said Tuesday.

BeiTaAd, as the adware is known, is a plugin that Lookout says it found hidden in emojis keyboard TouchPal and 237 other applications, all of which were published by Shanghai, China-based CooTek. Together, the 238 unique apps had a combined 440 million installs. Once installed, the apps initially behaved normally. Then, after a delay of anywhere between 24 hours and 14 days, the obfuscated BeiTaAd plugin would begin delivering what are known as out-of-app ads. These ads appeared on users’ lock screens and triggered audio and video at seemingly random times or even when

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Minecraft Earth gets first live demo, coming to iOS “this summer”


This post is by Sam Machkovech from Ars Technica


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Mojang, the Microsoft-owned studio behind Minecraft, used Monday’s WWDC keynote to unveil the world’s first live gameplay look at its next smartphone-exclusive game, Minecraft Earth. This demo also included the firmest tease yet to when series fans will get their hands on the augmented-reality game: “coming this summer to iOS.” This specific tease didn’t include any indication of whether that means the game’s promised Android version will take longer to land as a public beta.

The onstage demo began with two Mojang employees aiming their iOS devices at a table, where a blocky Minecraft game world appeared that both users could simultaneously interact with. By walking around the table and aiming their devices’ cameras, the staffers could use items and weapons, interact with switches, and drop or plant items in

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Fake cryptocurrency apps on Google Play try to profit on bitcoin price surge


This post is by Dan Goodin from Ars Technica


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Fake cryptocurrency apps on Google Play try to profit on bitcoin price surge

Enlarge (credit: Google)

Google’s official Play Store has been caught hosting malicious apps that targeted Android users with an interest in cryptocurrencies, researchers reported on Thursday.

In all, researchers with security provider ESET recently discovered two fraudulent digital wallets. The first, called Coin Wallet, let users create wallets for a host of different cryptocurrencies. While Coin Wallet purported to generate a unique wallet address for users to deposit coins, the app in fact used a developer-owned wallet for each supported currency, with a total of 13 wallets. Each Coin Wallet user was assigned the same wallet address for a specific currency.

“The app claims it lets users create wallets for various cryptocurrencies,” ESET Malware Researcher Lukas Stefanko wrote in a blog post. “However, its actual purpose is to trick users into transferring cryptocurrency into the attackers’ wallets—a classic case of what we named wallet address scams in our previous

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Google just gave Huawei a wakeup call


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It’s been a tumultuous week for Huawei. Five days ago, President Trump declared a national emergency to ban the sales and use of telecom equipment that pose “unacceptable” risks to national security. While the executive order didn’t explicitly name countries or companies, it tasked the Commerce Department with drafting enforcement plans. Hours later, the department added Huawei to its so-called entity list, indicating it believes the company is violating “national security and foreign policy interest.”

Dealmaster: There’s a bunch of special offers for the new Google Pixel 3a


This post is by Jeff Dunn from Ars Technica


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Pictures of the Pixel 3a.

Enlarge / The three color options of the new Pixel 3a. (credit: Google)

Google launched a new Pixel yesterday, and it looks like a good deal. The Android maker’s latest smartphones, the Pixel 3a and 3a XL, start at $399 but appear to pack many of the things that make Pixel phones what they are in the first place. That includes an optimized version of Android, three years of updates direct from Google, and, most notably, a rear camera that’s virtually identical to the top-notch shooter found on the back of the original Pixel 3, a phone that’s about twice as expensive. Google even added a headphone jack.

There are trade-offs, of course, to hit that lower price point. The Pixel 3a trades the glass-heavy finish of the flagship Pixel 3 for a mostly plastic design, which in turn means there’s no wireless charging. There’s little in the way

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HP Chromebook 14 review: One of the first AMD Chromebooks, tested


This post is by Valentina Palladino from Ars Technica


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HP Chromebook 14 review: One of the first AMD Chromebooks, tested

Enlarge (credit: Valentina Palladino)

AMD wants in on the Chromebook craze. A few OEMs, including HP, Acer, and Lenovo, announced AMD-powered Chromebooks at CES this year, and those devices are just starting to become available. Intel processors power most Chromebooks available today, but now individual customers and businesses will be able to choose from a small, but growing, pool of AMD-powered devices.

Unsurprisingly, HP’s Chromebook 14 with AMD processors and integrated Radeon graphics appeals to the largest group in the Chromebook market—those who want a low-powered Chrome OS device for home or school use. Starting at $269, this Chromebook is not meant to compete with Google’s Pixelbook or the fancier Chromebooks toward which professionals gravitate. Since the new Chromebook 14 borrows a lot from previous models, we tested it out to see the gains (if any) an AMD-powered Chromebook provides over Intel-powered devices.

Look and feel

Manufacturers have been elevating

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Guidemaster: The best Qi wireless charging pads for your smartphone


This post is by Valentina Palladino from Ars Technica


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Guidemaster: The best Qi wireless charging pads for your smartphone

Enlarge (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Wireless charging has a long way to go before it replaces wired charging, but the technology has advanced dramatically in the past few years. Everyone with the newest smartphones, wearables, and other gadgets can get behind the idea—simply place your device on a charging pad or stand and let it sit. Within a few minutes, you’ll have more battery power than you did before, and you didn’t have to fuss with wires or cables to get it.

But quite a bit of technology goes into make an accessory that makes your life that much easier. Most wireless chargers come in the form of circular or rectangular pads, some of which are propped up on legs to make stands that take up minimal space and work well as nightstand or desk accessories. But don’t be fooled by their minimalist exteriors—there are a number of things you should

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Well-funded surveillance operation infected both iOS and Android devices


This post is by Dan Goodin from Ars Technica


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Well-funded surveillance operation infected both iOS and Android devices

Enlarge (credit: Maurizio Pesce Follow)

Researchers recently discovered a well-funded mobile phone surveillance operation that was capable of surreptitiously stealing a variety of data from phones running both the iOS and Android operating systems. Researchers believe the malware is so-called “lawful intercept” software sold to law-enforcement and governments.

Exodus, as the malware for Android phones has been dubbed, was under development for at least five years. It was spread in apps disguised as service applications from Italian mobile operators. Exodus was hidden inside apps available on phishing websites and nearly 25 apps available in Google Play. In a report published two weeks ago, researchers at Security without Borders said Exodus infected phones estimated to be in the “several hundreds if not a thousand or more.”

Exodus consisted of three distinct stages. The first was a small dropper that collected basic identifying information about the device, such as

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Apple Music code hints at Chromecast support


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Whether or not Apple Music is coming to Google Home, there are signs you might get to use it with some Google-powered devices. The 9to5Google team has found multiple lines of code in Apple Music’s Android app that reference Chromecast support, including some added through recent updates. While there’s no guarantee this would be implemented any time soon, it suggests you could soon pipe Apple’s latest Drake exclusive to a compatible Chromecast dongle, speaker, smart display or TV.

Source: 9to5Google

Twitter adds a true dark mode to its iOS app


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While Twitter has had a night mode on mobile since 2016, the feature’s been missing something essential: a black color scheme. Up until today, Twitter’s Dark Mode was just a blue-and-gray user interface, designed to put less strain on your eyes. But now Twitter is adding more options to its iOS app. Not only will you get a true, black-colored dark mode called Lights Out, but you can also start setting up your device to enable the feature automatically. Android users got that option in 2017, and Twitter is finally expanding it. So whenever the Twitter app for iOS knows it’s night time, it’ll turn it on all on its own, if you so choose.

Call of Duty Mobile announced for iOS, Android, made by China’s Tencent


This post is by Sam Machkovech from Ars Technica


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SAN FRANCISCO—Activision has taken the wraps off its first major Call of Duty video game for smartphones. The title is simple enough: Call of Duty Mobile. The online, multiplayer-only game will arrive later this year, but neither Activision nor any of its Western CoD-focused studios will lead the game’s development.

Instead, dev duties will be handled by Tencent, one of China’s leading mobile-game publishing houses. (Activision did not clarify any particular studio taking the lead within Tencent on this game.)

Call of Duty Mobile was unveiled at today’s Unity keynote presentation as part of the 2019 Game Developer Conference, because it has been built in the Unity Engine. An Activision representative at the Unity event said that players can expect “beloved maps, competitive game modes, and signature combat mechanics from [Call of Duty entries like] Black Ops and Modern Warfare.” Teased maps coming to the series’ first-ever mobile

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Gorilla Glass-maker plans to produce glass suitable for folding iPhones


This post is by Samuel Axon from Ars Technica


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A folding phone by Oppo.

Enlarge / A folding phone by Oppo. (credit: Brian Shen)

According to Wired, glass-maker Corning is “working on ultrathin, bendable glass that’s 0.1 millimeters thick and can bend to a 5 millimeter radius” that may be usable for smartphone displays within two years. Corning produces Gorilla Glass used in Apple’s iPhones, as well as in phones made by other manufacturers like LG, Asus, OnePlus, Nokia, Samsung, and more.

Developing Gorilla Glass that can bend or fold like the materials used for the Samsung Galaxy Fold display or other foldable phone concepts could address some shortcomings endemic to these early designs.

The folding phones you see in headlines and gadget blog galleries today rely on plastic polymers that may scratch easier or have other undesirable properties. Generally, smartphone-makers that have announced foldable phones have not allowed us to test-drive these phones, which is otherwise normal practice for traditional

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Google declines to pull controversial Saudi government app


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App store curators frequently have to walk a fine line when deciding what to ban, and Google is proof positive of this. The internet giant told California Rep. Jackie Speier that it wouldn’t ban Saudi Arabia’s Absher app from Google Play despite calls from Speier and other members of Congress to remove it. The mobile software lets Saudi men control and track travel permissions for women and migrant workers, leading to an outcry that Google and Apple were promoting “sixteenth century tyranny.” However, Google determined that Absher didn’t violate its agreements and could remain on the store.

Source: Business Insider

Facebook VPN that snoops on users is pulled from Android store


This post is by Jon Brodkin from Ars Technica


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Facebook logo on a phone.

Facebook has pulled its privacy-invading Onavo Protect VPN app off the Google Play store and will reportedly stop gobbling up data from users who still have the app on their devices.

Facebook “will immediately cease pulling in data from [Onavo] users for market research though it will continue operating as a Virtual Private Network in the short term to allow users to find a replacement,” TechCrunch reported yesterday.

Facebook’s Onavo website still exists, but links to the Android and iOS apps are both broken. Facebook pulled the app from the iPhone and iPad App Store in August 2018 after Apple determined that Onavo violated its data-collection rules. Facebook purchased Onavo, an Israeli company, in 2013.

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Toyota adds Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to its trucks and SUVs


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Toyota dragged its heels on smartphone integration for years, but it’s making up for that in style. The automaker is introducing Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support to its 2020 trucks and SUVs, including the Tacoma (above), Tundra, 4Runner and Sequoia. Yes, you too can navigate with Google Maps or stream Apple Music while you’re off-roading. They also support Alexa in case you’d like to bark commands to Amazon’s voice assistant.

Via: MacRumors

Source: Toyota (1), (2), Android