Tag : android

Do this and not that – Mobile Malware


The three best practices to avoid mobile malware is to use an official app store, resist temptation to jailbreak your device, and keep updates current. Apple and Google app stores remain the most vigilant about mobile malware concerns. Google uses Verify Apps that runs in the background of modern Android systems to scan for spyware, ransomware, and fraudulent apps. The company also checks mobile apps that are submitted to the Google Play Store. Less than one out of every 10,000 devices that only downloads from the Google Play Store has a program in the malicious category.

Jailbreaking your device undermines much of the already pre-installed security on the phone. In addition to this, the ability to restrict applications from accessing personal data on the phone as well as validate applications is disabled. Basically, if you jailbreak your device you better have a pretty good understanding of technology, because you just became the sole provider of security for that device.

This may be a surprise to most, but vulnerabilities actually do not increase the likelihood on malware on mobile devices. Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report released Apple iOS had nearly 8 times as many vulnerabilities as Android in 2014, but near all malware for that year were targeted at Android devices.

The reliance and increased functionality of mobile devices leads developers to push out updates and bug fixes as fast as possible. Users should pay attention to this and keep their applications and software updates current. Android users often wait to update because of the lengthy process involved, but the benefits usually out whey this inconvenience, especially considering Android devices are most susceptible for malware.



If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: www.pcworld.com 

Tiny Lenses Turn Smartphone into Microscope


Smart Micro Optics, a spin-off from the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), has developed two lenses called Blips, that for the small price of $17 transform a mobile device’s camera into a digital microscope that can magnify subjects up to 30 times, or 80 times using the zoom of the camera.

With these lenses, the average user is introduced to a new world of teeny tiny things. The magnification allows one to take high-resolution pictures or videos of insects as small as a dust mite. With the help of a prepared slide, one can even count the red blood cells in a blood sample. Insane! These are the thinnest microscope lenses for smartphones and tablets in the world, adding a mere 1.5mm to the thickness of the device. I mean the camera is the size of a lentil. I don’t think anyone is going to complain about how much space it is taking up.

“Our dream is to put a high-performance microscope in everyone’s pocket, opening up opportunities for people to learn science or simply having fun in discovering firsthand the world at the micro-scale,” Andrea Antonini, who co-founded Smart Micro Optics with his former IIT boss Tommaso Fellin, tells ZDNet.

Of course since the technology is patent-pending, I couldn’t get much information about the construct of the lenses. We do know that the lenses are made of various kinds of plastic, providing better refractive index than silicone, as used in much of the products on the market today. The top surface of the lenses are designed to be non-sticky, to fight dust problems. The lenses adhere to the camera glass through electrostatic attraction. You can keep the lens attached permanently to the camera, or attached with mobility, ready to use when needed.

Before turning to investors the creators really want to see how customers react to the product, and create some buzz. At $17, I think they will get more than enough buzz to support crowdfunding.



If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post, please visit : www.zdnet.com


HummingBad Malware targets 85 million Android devices…


As reported on the blog last week, malware has had a taste for Android devices.

The HummingBad software is another type of Android malware that has infected 85 million users globally. HummingBad infects Android devices in two ways, via drive-by downloads and malicious payloads delivered by websites distributing adult content. By using a rootkit, the malware attempts to gain root access to the device. If successful, the device is full accessible. In the event this method of access is not successful, a fake system update notification is used to trick users into handing over full access to the device.

With access granted, HummingBad will begin the usual malware process, installing fraudulent apps on the infected mobile device. Hackers are making a boatload of cash off this software alone, nearly $300,000 a month.  It’s an easy equation, the fraudulent applications deliver advertisements daily, generating a ridiculous amount of clicks. Engagement with these adds delivers nearly $10,000 to hackers daily, just from HummingBad alone. Researchers estimate that 10 million victims are using malicious applications without even knowing it.

Chinese cyber criminal group, Yingmob, consists of 25 employees spread out across four groups, and is responsible for managing HummingBad. It is suspected that Yingmob is behind the iOS malware called Yispecter, from 2015. China and India are the most affected by the HummingBad software, with 1.6 million devices in China affected, and 1.35 million affected in India. The United States is relatively small in the big picture, with 286,800 devices infected.

At the moment, HummingBad has not encrypted devices in order to steal data, but that doesn’t mean it won’t in the future.



If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post, please visit : www.zdnet.com

Mobile Ransomware Targeting Androids



Mobile ransomware is somewhat less common than ransomware on networks or machines, but the numbers are starting to climb. Security firm, Kaspersky Lab, reports four times as many users infected with mobile ransomware this year compared to last. In April 2015,  35,413 users we affected while in March 2016 that number increased dramatically to 136,532 users affected. The largest mobile ransomware detected is called Fusob, and has been responsible for 56 percent of the attacks during this past year, targeting Android users.  

Fusob hides itself as a multimedia player called xxxPlayer…you can guess where this lies on the internet… and once downloaded Fusob blocks all user access to the device. Users are asked to pay in iTunes giftcards ranging between $100 and $200. Compared to the high demands of ransomware in the enterprise, these amounts sound like pennies. But to the user, that’s a hefty price to pay to get control of a device you should have never lost control of in the first place.

Interestingly, Kaspersky notes that much of the mobile ransomware out there right now does not actually encrypt any information on the users device. As most smartphone users usually backup to the cloud, there is no real point for hackers to actual encrypt the device. Instead hackers will encrypt applications so that users are blocked from the apps and will not be able to use the phone until paying the hackers.

Android users, be extra careful out there!!



To learn more about the information presented in this blog post, please visit : www.networkworld.com

Whats Up HTC 10

The HTC 10 had no choice but to revamp their design in order to compete with the Samsung Galaxy S7. A mere 5.6 ounces the phone feels more solid than previous models especially the G5. The back of the phone is curved, even rocking when placed on a flat surface. The front has a 5.3 inch, 2,560 by 1,440 Super LCD 5 screen. There is a physical home button complete with a fingerprint reader below the screen.

The design may have improved but the hardware still the same as the S7 and G5 with  2.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor and 4 GB of Ram. Although not wireless charging, the phone houses a USB-C jack on the bottom of the phone and supports Quickcharge 3.0.

What really makes the HTC 10 pop in terms of customer attraction is the audio. The 10 uses two speakers, a front facing tweeter at the top and toward the bottom an edge facing woofer. This combination leads to less distortion than you receive on many other smart phones on the market. The 10 comes with a “hi res certified” headset worth about $90. A pretty nice gift if you ask me. You can tune the headset to your hearing preferences and capabilities by listening to a series of tones. The headphone amp is one of the most powerful with 1v amp connected to a 24-bit DAC.

Different than other smartphones, the photo gallery app and calendar have been replaced with Google Photos and Google Calendar. In addition the phone is pre-loaded with Facebook, Messanger, and Instagram. Not a social media wizard? Don’t get your hopes up for a cleaner phone, these pre-loaded apps are not permitted for deletion.

The HTC 10 will be available in the next coming weeks for pre-order from T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon for about $699.



If you would like to educate yourself in more detail about the information presented in this blog post please visit: Hands On With the HTC 10

Google now hits iOS devices

Google now has been on android devices for over a year now and just today it was announced that it is now available on iOS devices. Google now basically helps you manage your day to day tasks. From boarding passes, to appointments, weather, reservations, and more.  It essentially syncs with your desktop as well and you can see it on your phone for hours to come.

Check out the short video.


My Week with the Surface Pro

I recently had the opportunity to spend a week using one of Microsoft’s new Surface Pro tablets, and let me tell you it’s a pretty powerful little machine. It’s very quick, responsive, and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. In the following lines here, I’m going to give you the good, and the bad in my eyes.

The Good:

As I originally stated, the surface is a pretty quick little machine, and boasts some pretty impressive resolution. It has a native 1,080 x 1,920 resolution. The touch screen is responsive.

The front and back facing cameras are also decent and the video quality is quite acceptable.

It comes with a stylus and some of the features are quite neat. I tried writing rather sloppy on the tablet in cursive and it seemed to pick up each and every one of my characters. I thought this was a pretty neat little feature.

The Bad:

If you are someone who has a difficult time seeing the smaller screen of the service, you might want to adjust the resolution. Well it turns out when you adjust the resolution, you can no longer utilize the full screen of the device. You have the black bars at the sides of the screen. I really wish there were some more options in light to adjusting screen resolution to something that will utilize the whole screen.

If you by the entry level 64 GB model of the surface you will soon find that after you install your office apps and small other things, you only have roughly 20 GB of free space available to work with. That is easy to overcome, but it requires you to purchase an additional x-SD card to store items on. After spending close to a $1000 dollars on the device, that is the last thing I want to do.

Mobility: I found quite often that while using it on the go, that I wanted to use a keyboard and a mou


Overall I think this is a very fast and capable machine put out by Microsoft. Like or hate Windows 8, the device itself is quite impressive although I’m not sure it’s for everyone.

Facebook Home

Last Thursday Facebook’s Company Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg introduced us to Facebook Home. This app that changes the lock and home screens to the FB designed ones completely overhaul your phone to all Facebook all the time. The Android based app will be available starting this Friday to download or if you happen to purchase the HTC First in the near future it will come installed already on the phone.

Zuckerberg stated this FB Home is “designed around people not apps” and that “We’re not building a phone and we’re not building an operating system, but we are building something that’s a lot deeper than an app.”

One feature I saw somewhat intriguing is the Chat Heads feature which is an easier way to text or instant message your friend via their profile picture. It seems like more of a convenience factor, but for me I prefer texting rather then calling someone. I am not going to go out and buy that phone just for that feature but it caught my attention nonetheless.

It will be interesting to see how this takes off and if it will catch on. The staff here at bva will keep an eye on it for you, so check back in a few weeks for an update.

Polaris Office for Android

Are you one of the many people (and most of us bva employees) with an Android phone out there and you are looking for the perfect office app for your phone? Well, you may not have to look any further with Polaris Office 4.0 up for grabs. An editor over at PC Mag did a great review of it that I think sums it up quite well! Click here to read all about it’s many pros and few cons.