Headlines

2 years ago

Latest Android Malware scare might be premature

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The folks at Symantec have tipped everyone off about a new piece of Android Malware, calling Android.Counterclank "a bot-like threat that can receive commands to carry out certain actions, as well as steal information from the device."  They note that starting one of the apps "infected" with the apperhand SDK package will show a second service running, and often places a search icon on the home screen.  They have verified this is in 13 applications on the Android Market and are calling it "the highest distribution of any malware identified so far this year."  Some reports on the internet claim it may have affected 5 million users.  That's 5,000,000 -- a huge and scary number. And it makes for a great headline.

But it looks like Symantec might have jumped the gun a bit.

Lookout, a competitor in the Android security field, says that the applications are not malware, and the apperhand package actually is a legitimate, but aggressive, advertisement component.  It's part of an advertising software development kit that's a modified version of the "ChoopCheec" platform” or “Plankton” SDK that was the focus of some privacy concerns in June 2011.  This newer version is cleaner, but it still has capabilities common to many ad networks. Writes Lookout:

  • It is capable of identifying the user uniquely by their IMEI number, for instance. But unlike some networks, this SDK forward-hashes the IMEI before sending to its server. They’re identifying your device, but they are obfuscating the raw data. (That's a good thing.)
  • The SDK has the capability to deliver “Push Notification” ads to the user. We’re not huge fans of push notifications, but we also don’t consider push notification advertising to be malware.
  • The SDK drops a search icon onto the desktop. Again, we consider bad form, though we don’t consider this a smoking gun for malware provided the content that is delivered is safe.  In this case, it is simply a link to a search engine.
  • The SDK also has the capability to push bookmarks to the browser.  In our opinion, this is crosses a line; although we do not believe this is cause to classify the SDK as malware.

We're not sure exactly how far is too far, but if the applications are using practices found in "many" other ad networks, we agree with Lookouts points listed here and have to call this one a non-issue when talking about malware.  On the issue of privacy and wanton sharing of user data, we're not loving it, but it's not malware.  

We're not security specialists, and we never claim to be.  We can tear applications apart and see what's hiding in there, but in-depth scanning and analysis is best left to the experts.  That being said, we are experts at catching bullshit, and this one reeks of it.  Nobody likes ads, but we can't just call them malware anytime we like.  They're a part of the ad-supported app model, and we should expect to see more than we like.  When they misbehave, call for someone's head, but not before.  

But that's not sensational.  Headlines like Computerworld's "Massive Android malware op may have infected 5 million users" cause controversy, and everyone loves a controversy.  Explaining that the 5 million mark is from adding the high end of the download counters, which allows for a 4 million-device margin of error, is conveniently forgotten.  And we'd like to think that if as many as 1 million devices on the low end had been infected, Google and the Android Market team would have said something.

The long and the short of it is, we're sleeping just fine tonight. Move along.

More: Symantec; Lookout

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2 years ago

Drunk Green Robots [Android Quick App]

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What's more fun than playing a game on your Android phone?  Drinking while playing a game on your Android phone, of course.  Enter Drunk Green Robots, a new app from fiveHellions development.  It's easy to get started, just grab a friend or two, a bottle of Kentucky's finest (or less than finest works, too), and your Android phone.  It's the high/low black/red game most of us know, but instead of using a deck of cards you use your Android.  

Dares are included, and the less risqué package is free to download, but the raunchier and more sexually explicit ones require an in-app purchase of "shots".  You get 100 shots for a buck, and ad-removal costs a 100 shots as does the "naughty" dare pack.  It's not going to break the bank.  And everybody knows being naughty is always better while drinking, right?  Anyways, you take a turn guessing if the next card will be higher or lower than the current, or what color it will be.  If you're correct, your turn ends and you pass your phone to the next player.  If you're not correct you win lose and have to either take a shot, or a random dare.  I'd recommend the shot, but to each their own.

It's silly, it's fun, and involves getting hammered.  If you're of age (stay safe kids), check out a few screenshots and grab it for free using the link after the break.  Try not to drop your phone.

Via: Android Central games forum

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2 years ago

1Weather for Android from OneLouder [Android Quick App]

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When it comes to weather applications on Android there is no shortage of options, and quite honestly that is a good thing. 1Weather by OneLouder is one of the latest weather applications to enter the Android market and it has done so with some serious style of its own. So what's it all about?

1Weather provides you with ready access to a full suite of accurate, up-to-the-minute weather information, including animated maps and radar, daily weather alarms and severe condition alerts so that you can proactively prepare for changing conditions.

When looking for new applications to download most of us tend to look for something that is unique, clean, and very functional, and OneLouder has nailed all of this and more with this application. Let's hit the break together to check out some more information about the application and additional screen shots.

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2 years ago

Yahoo cleaning house, lays some of their mobile apps to rest

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I'm not exactly sure how many folks out there use apps from Yahoo but if you're among those that do, you'll want to check the list below. Reason being - Yahoo is laying some of their mobile apps to rest to focus on a whole new set of apps that more so meet users needs. So what apps got the cut?

  • Yahoo! Meme (iPad and iPhone)
  • Yahoo! Mim (iPad)
  • Yahoo! Answers (Android)
  • Yahoo! AppSpot (Android and iPhone)
  • Yahoo! Deals (iPhone)
  • Yahoo! Finance (BlackBerry)
  • Yahoo! Movies (Android)
  • Yahoo! News (Android)
  • Yahoo! Shopping (iPhone)
  • Yahoo! Sketch-a-Search (iPad and iPhone)

That quite a few apps to kill off but from looking at the list, it's looks as though those apps are smaller on the chain and may have a minimal amount of users.

Source: Yahoo; via: Phonescoop

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2 years ago

Shadowgun: The Leftover update live in the Android Market

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We brought you the news back on Tuesday, but today is the day. "The Leftover" update for the brilliant Shadowgun is now live in the Android Market. 

The expansion pack is a direct update to the original app, and brings with it 4 whole new levels among a bunch of other cool new features. We're not going to bore you with details, because we know you'd rather be playing this. Hit the break for download links, and a trailer for "The Leftover." 

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2 years ago

Vlingo responds to privacy issues raised about its Android app

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The popular Android app Vlingo has come under a bit of fire the past several days, as it seems the application is sending a bit more data than they explain in their privacy agreement.  The folks over at Android Pit found some things that raised a few eyebrows, so we reached out to Vlingo to see what was what, and if we need to worry.  We spent some time talking to product engineers, and our conclusion is that everything's on the up-and-up, but there were some issues with the way their privacy agreement was written or presented to the user and a software bug or two at work.  

Things get a little muddy, partially because there's more than one Android version.  One is available in the Market for any device to download, and there's a more customized version offered by OEM's like Samsung on the Galaxy Note.  Different versions with different licenses and agreements simply led to the wrong version of the privacy agreement being presented to the user.  The developers and staff at Vlingo recognize that there's an issue, and were completely transparent about the entire thing.

They also came across a bug that allowed the service to run even if the user initially canceled the request, and another that sends location data when none is requested.  Again, Vlingo was up front about the issue and answered any questions we asked.  They even have set up an opt-out process for folks who don't want to use the product with these issues, and they will delete all user data from anyone who requests it.

Yes, it's bad when software bugs force an application to send the wrong data.  It's also bad when users aren't presented with the correct use policies -- even though most would never read them.  But these types of things happen, and the real test is how the company reacts when presented with issues of this sort.  And Vlingo aced it.  They were courteous, and seemed genuinely concerned about the issues, without trying to back pedal or lay the blame at someone else's feet.  This kind of transparency with the community is exactly what we deserve and expect.  Hit the break for the official statement, in its entirety.

More info about the privacy concerns: Android Pit

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2 years ago

Pulse News - Updated with bug fixes for tablets, dark mode

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If you're a user of Pulse News you'll want to the Android Market and grab the latest update. Getting bumped up to v2.7.4, this releases addresses some issues with dark mode and more importantly takes care of a few bugs for tablet users. It's not a huge update but it's an update either way and we like updates -- especially when they improve the end-user experience. Whether you're looking to give Pulse News a try for the first time or just looking to get updated, you'll find the link past the break.

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2 years ago

GTA III updated, now compatible with Transformer Prime

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The launch of Grand Theft Auto III on Android was a pretty big deal, but initially a lot of devices couldn't play it. Todays update among other features adds compatibility for the Asus Transformer Prime. 

Support is also added for the Medion Lifetab, but even better is the added support for the Gamestop Wireless Controller. Controls are also improved for currently supported gamepads, and for the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play. New video display settings help you to tailor the visuals to your particular tastes. 

And the final piece of the puzzle is that the game can now be installed to an SD card. For some this will be a most welcome update. Download links can be found after the break. 

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2 years ago

New version of Google Music Manager allows easy downloading of purchased tracks

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Here at AC, we love Google Music, and some of us have it cranked high all day long while the lovingly sweet sounds of Led Zepplin or Motorhead coax us through the workday.  But I digress, and maybe that's only me.  We especially love it when changes get made to makes things easier, and today is a good day for easy.  Google has updated the Google Music Manager program to allow for easy downloading of songs you have uploaded or purchased from the Android Market.  Music Manager is the portion of the service you run on your computer to upload and manage your library, and we have to admit when compared to competitors like iTunes or Zune it's a little sparse.  

With today's update, you can download all your legitimately *cough* purchased and uploaded music with just a few button clicks.  Right click on the Music Manager in your system tray, open the options dialog and choose the "Download" tab.  From there you have the option to download your library.  If you've downloaded it before, you'll also have an option to only download newly added songs.  The tracks are saved in the folder you specify as 320 kbps .mp3 files.  Your songs still stay in the cloud, but now you've got a local copy as well.

In addition, server side changes now allow you to share the Youtube video for purchased songs with your Google+ circles.  Click the dropdown next to the song title to share the video with your circles, and they'll see it in their Google+ timeline.  Now if only the rest of the planet could use Google music, it would be perfect.

Source: Android Market support; via +Android

 

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2 years ago

Steam community app available, access limited to beta participants for now

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If you're a PC or Mac gamer, chances are you've used Steam, Valve Software's leading digital distribution platform for games. Today sees the launch of the official Steam app for Android, a new application that gives you access to the Steam store and community features like Steam chat on-the-go. If you're big on Steam and the Steam community, this could definitely be worth a look.

It's worth clarifying that this isn't a fully-fledged Steam client for Android, so you won't be playing Portal 2 on your Galaxy Tab any time soon, unfortunately. All it lets you do is buy PC and Mac games and chat to your Steam friends.

While the app itself is freely available on the Android Market (see the link after the jump), you'll need to be part of the Steam Mobile beta group in order to use it, or you'll be rejected at the login screen. This is a little strange given that the app is openly advertised on SteamPowered.com with no mention that a beta invite is required. So keep an eye on this one, folks. All signs point to a possible public launch in the near future. If you are in the beta group, however, you'll find a handy Market link after the break.

Source: SteamPowered.com

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