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4 years ago

Google responds to Wallet hack, recommends not installing it on rooted devices

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Following the news yesterday that Google Wallet's PIN security has been cracked (for rooted users, on unsecured devices), Google has issued an official statement to clarify a few details, including who's vulnerable, and what users should do to protect themselves.  In a statement given to TheNextWeb, Google confirmed what our own Jerry Hildenbrand said in his write-up yesterday -- only rooted users are potentially vulnerable.

"The zvelo study was conducted on their own phone on which they disabled the security mechanisms that protect Google Wallet by rooting the device. To date, there is no known vulnerability that enables someone to take a consumer phone and gain root access while preserving any Wallet information such as the PIN.

We strongly encourage people to not install Google Wallet on rooted devices and to always set up a screen lock as an additional layer of security for their phone."

So again, only rooted users are at risk, and the recommendation to avoid Google Wallet use on a device with root is a sensible one. For the minority of Wallet users who are rooted, we're sure a fix will come in the days and weeks ahead. And if you're running a nice, clean stock device without any hackery of your own, you've got nothing to worry about.

Of course, news of this vulnerability will likely cause some damage to Google Wallet's reputation, at a time when Google's working hard to increase uptake of its payment method. If and when mainstream news outlets pick up this story, it'll be interesting to see whether they, like Zvelo's original press release, neglect to mention the crucial detail that a pre-rooted device is required.

Source: TheNextWeb

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4 years ago

Google to launch cloud drive service says WSJ

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Google is set to release their own shared cloud storage solution, says the Wall Street Journal.  Their insiders have said that Google will soon launch called "Drive" will rival Dropbox in functionality, being able to "store photos, documents and videos on Google's servers so that they could be accessible from any Web-connected device and allows them to easily share the files with others."  It sounds like it will have some overlap with Picasa, Google Docs, and Youtube, but at this time nobody has all the particulars.  

The new service, expected to launch in the coming weeks or months, will be free for most folks, businesses included.  Google will only charge those who want to "store a large amount of files", so there will be a premium service with more capacity.  If Google does release this one, we would certainly expect it to hit Android devices soon after.  Could this be the big thing at Google I/O this year?

Source: WSJ

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4 years ago

Late-night poll: Do you use lockscreen security?

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Security is important.  We carry a crapload of information in our phones, and with the world of NFC payments slowly becoming a reality, we'll be keeping even more in our pocket and in the cloud.  As we saw earlier today late yesterday, keeping things like PIN codes safe is tough with so many eyes out there trying to find a way around it.  Nobody should have been surprised, nothing is 100 percent secure.  

That's why it's always a good idea to use more than one way to stay safer.  You have secure tokens and password encrypted information on you phone, but keeping people from even getting that far is easy to do with a secure lockscreen.  Android is like Unix, and when someone gets to your homescreen, they're essentially logged in as you.  They can start any application that you can, and start any service.  If you're rooted it's even worse, they can grant super user privileges to anything.

On the other hand, having to unlock your phone every time you get an IM or e-mail gets old fast.  For someone who has never lost a phone, the idea of skipping secure methods seems sensible.  We're not going to argue, your logic is sound (even if others think differently) and it's your device to use the way that makes you happy.  But we're curious.  Answer the poll and let us know!

Thanks, Icebike!

 

Do you use lockscreen security?

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4 years ago

NVIDIA's Mobile World Congress press invite points to quad-core phones

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That NVIDIA is bringing quad-core smartphones to Mobile World Congress should surprise exactly no one. We saw the first quad-core tablet prototype a year ago, and in August NVIDIA told us we'd see phones in early 2012. And we're closing in on Mobile World Congress, just a few short weeks away. And there's a smartphone pictured in this invite. So, yeah. They're coming.

We try not to read too much into these press invites, we really do. Who knows what agency made them. But we can't help but notice what looks like an HTC Incredible S (aka the Droid Incredible 2 on Verizon) in dude's hands there. (We've blown it up for posterity; note the plateaued battery cover and usual HTC positioning of the camera and flash.)

Now, what you see in this invite certainly looks different than the HTC Edge -- long rumored to be one of the first quad-core phones, never mind one of the first from HTC to use an NVIDIA system-on-a-chip -- render that leaked in November 2011. But stranger things have happened.

Will we indeed bear witness to the marriage of HTC and NVIDIA in Barcelona, Spain? Stay tuned, folks, and keep your eyes glued to our Mobile World Congress page for all the latest.

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4 years ago

Google-Motorola deal set to be approved by U.S. Justice Department, says WSJ

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Google's aquisition of Motorola Mobility is set to be approved by the U.S. Justice Department as early as next week, according to the Wall Street Journal and people "familiar with the matter." These sort of deals are never a given, as the various governments across the world always have the final say on matters of commerce. This deal would arm Google with very desirable hardware patents for mobile devices, which really is the reason for the entire investigation.

The Justice Department, as well as European Union legislators, are very concerned that Google allows other companies to use these patents under FRAND (fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory) rules, which prohibit things like overcharging for licenses or blocking access to the patents outright.  They should be -- look at all the legal mess smartphone manufacturers are in now, then muddy that picture further by changing license requirements for the things that make a cell phone work. We're not talking lock screens or rounded corners here, Motorola owns IP that all cell phones need and use to operate. Taking away licenses for core technology would benefit nobody, and Google has pledged not to do it. 

Instead, Google has sent letters to to numerous standards organizations, stating that it would offer FRAND licensing for patents in Motorola's portfolio. They didn't promise not to seek damages or injunctions from potential violators, though. Google stated that it "reserves its right to seek any and all appropriate judicial remedies against counterparties that refuse to license its FRAND patents."  Mutual destruction tactics at their finest.

We tend to take things like this from the Wall Street Journal at face value, and this is no exception.  Their track record stands on it's own.  If this is true, and the EU (whose own deadline for a decision is Feb. 13) gives a green light we should know more next week.  We'll keep you posted.

Source (paid content): WSJ

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4 years ago

Google Wallet PIN security cracked - here's what you need to know

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Google Wallet's PIN security has been cracked, but there's a caveat -- this currently only is an issue if your phone is rooted. Not rooted? No worries. And with that said and done, here's the deal:

Your Google Wallet PIN (Personal Identification Number) is stored encrypted on your device, and a brute-force method was found to expose the SHA256 hex-encoded PIN information inside the database. This method, which was irresponsibly released to the public, can find the PIN without any incorrect attempts in the Wallet app itself, negating the five-try rule the application has for PIN entry.  (See it in action after the break.)

Now here's the not so sexy way to describe it all.  You'll need to have a phone with Google Wallet, AND have rooted your device, AND have not set a secure lock screen, AND then lose your phone. The person who finds it THEN can use the app the fellows at zvleo have made and since distributed to brute-force the PIN and THEN can use your phone to make payments, just like they could if they found your credit card, which likely would be quicker and easier than any of this.

Google has been notified and already knows how to fix the issue, but there's a problem. To make it more secure, Google will have to move the PIN information to be controlled and maintained by your bank. This not only will require some changes to the terms of service, but then we're relying on corporate banking institutions to keep our information safe. I'd wager that Citigroup's servers are easier to break into than Google's, and then you have the same issue all over again.

A better way to fix the problem would be to force users to use a better password. PIN information can be cracked so easy because it only uses four numbers. This means that there are only 10,000 possible combinations, and even a portable computer like your Android phone can pull off that sort of brute-force attack. Change the passcode to something like Fgtr5400&d77 -- using a combination of letters, numbers and symbols -- and it's far less likely to be broken, and even less likely to even be used because it's not convenient.  It's a Catch-22 -- a PIN is easy to use and remember, but it's also more easy to crack.

I'm not going to tell you to stop using Google Wallet, nor am I going to tell you to stop rooting your phone. I am going to tell you to pick it up, and put a passcode on the lock screen now, before you lose it.  

Source: zvelo

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4 years ago

ASUS Transformer Prime gets another OTA; minor fixes to Wifi and Bluetooth included

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If you're rocking the ASUS Transformer Prime, it's time to start hitting that software update button with a vengeance.  There's another OTA update rolling out today for the Prime, and this time we see version bumps for the Wifi software and drivers as well as Bluetooth.  The particulars of today's update:

  • GPS: 6.9.13
  • WiFi: 6.1.1.18
  • Bluetooth: 9.26
  • Build: IML74K.US_epad-9.4.2.13-20120203
  • Kernel: 2.6.39.4-00001-g034d325android@MiuMiu #1

Like all OTA updates, this one is coming in stages so don't be discouraged if you don't see it right away.  To check for your update, hit Settings > About Tablet > System Firmware Update and cross your fingers.  

Source: Android Central forums. Thanks everyone who sent this in!

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4 years ago

Sony Tablet S finally rooted thanks to software exploit

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For the Android rooting and hacking community, the Sony Tablet S has been a tough nut to crack. Locked down with some pretty aggressive security controls, those wanting root access on the device have been, until now, out of luck.

That changes with the release of the first rooting exploit for the Tablet S, created by Linux hacker Dan "djrbliss" Rosenberg of Vulnfactory.org. Dan's root method is a relatively easy one-click process -- simply put your tablet in USB debugging mode, then run the Windows batch file contained within the exploit pack.

Dan notes that the exploit he uses could be fixed in future over-the-air updates -- something which is made all the more likely by the posting of a detailed explanation of how the hack works. However, for eager Tablet S owners who want a little more control over their device, the fact that any software version is rootable will be welcome news. If you want to be one of the first to root your Tablet S, you can grab the exploit file from the source link below.

Source: XDA; Thanks, jeffreytz!

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4 years ago

Google+ app updated with 'massive performance improvements' and some UI tweaks

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If you're a Google+ fan and have an Android phone, you'll want to hit the Android Market because there's an update for Google+ that promises (among other things) "massive performance improvements" across the app.  The full changelog:

  • Massive performance improvements across the app
  • What's Hot!
  • View who +1'd a post or comment
  • Stream posts shortened to fit more per scroll
  • Infinite photos feed in 'From your circles'
  • Stream no longer jumps to the top for an automatic refresh

I never really noticed any poor performance from the app to start with, so I'm not yet ready to judge these massive improvements, but the rest of the list has a bunch of welcome changes.  The addition of What's Hot! and ability to see who +1'd a post or comment are things many have been asking for, and UI improvements like better formatting of posts and no longer bouncing to the top and losing your place when you refresh are always welcome.  Now let's focus on a tablet optimized version, shall we Google?  Maybe walk over and visit the cubes of the folks working on Currents.

Download link is after the break.

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4 years ago

Razr Maxx OTA, On-Screen keyboards [From the Forums]

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We're busting through this week like there was no tomorrow and there has been plenty of news to keep us busy. If you missed anything be sure to get caught up. Once caught up, come hang out in the forums for a while:

If you're not already a member of the Android Central forums, you can register your account today.

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4 years ago

Foursquare updated with better searching, recommendations and further Android Beam support

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Foursquare continues to improve upon their Android app making it better with each new release. This time around they've focused on searching places and recommendations as well as some fixes to improve scrolling within the app:

  • Smarter searching - Every time you search with Explore, we’ll show you results based on the time of day, places your friends have been or left tips, places on lists you follow, and places we think you’ll like based on the 1,500,000,000 check-ins on foursquare. Tap the top right filter button (bottom right on Android), to narrow your results by places you and your friends have been. Try selecting ‘New to me’ and ‘My friends have been’ to catch up on what you’ve been missing out on! With every suggestion, we show you which of your friends have tried that place, so it’s easy to get suggestions and see what’s popular.
  • Recommendations for anywhere - On your way to another part of town, or a new town altogether? One big new feature: you can now drag your map around, or enter a neighborhood, city or address to get recommendations for anywhere you want. Try pinching in or out, or double tapping to zoom quickly. It’s easy to focus in on where you want to go.

In addition to those changes, Foursquare has also added some more support for Android Beam on both the Venue page, and Me page. The update is live now in the Android Market so go get it!

Source: Foursquare

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4 years ago

Samsung not having an MWC press conference for a phone it's not announcing anyway

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Samsung has told PC Mag that it's not having a major press conference at Mobile World Congress later this month in Barcelona, Spain. Bummer, cause they're usually pretty good. It did, however, tell Sascha Segan that it'll still have new products to show off. Sweet.

Samsung apparently has also said it's not announcing the Galaxy S III at Mobile World Congress. It's also not explicitly said that the Galaxy S III exists, but whatever.

So that's where we stand. Samsung is not having a press conference, nor is it planning to show off a phone it hasn't actually announced in the first place. But it'll have other stuff. Gotcha.

Here are a few companies that are having press conferences, just in case you're worried: HTC, Huawei, Sony (Ericsson), Intel, Nokia and ASUS, to name but a few that we can say out loud. That's in addition to meetings and keynote addresses. There will be no shortage of things for us to do.

Source: PC Mag
Keep up with all of our Mobile World Congress news here

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4 years ago

Rovio celebrates Angry Birds 2nd birthday with 15 new birthday cake levels

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Rovio is celebrating the Angry Birds second birthday with the release of their updated version of Angry Birds. The update, available now in the Android Market, brings 15 new cake-inspired levels to the mix bringing the grand total of Angry Birds levels to 300! They managed to input some goodies as well for fans:

  • Party with the amazing expandable orange bird!
  • Check out the spiffy new menus and graphics!
  • Special birthday achievements make this update a treat!
  • As a birthday gift to our fans, all episodes are now unlocked!

Happy Birthday Angry Birds and thanks for the great update. Hit the break for the download, folks.

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4 years ago

Chrome Beta for Android walkthrough

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You might have noticed that the Google Chrome team has released the long awaited build for Android. It's still a beta version, but it's a pretty big deal. It's built for Ice Cream Sandwich only (we're playing with getting it on Honeycomb devices, but no joy yet), so that narrows down the potential user base a good bit. It's also a beta build, which means there are some features missing and some bugs. Luckily, the good outweighs the bad this time around.

We're going to walk through this bad boy in three parts -- design, performance and tips and tricks. It's good to remember that technically Chrome for Android is still in beta. But it could well serve as your day-to-day browser, with a couple caveats.

Hit the break and have a look.

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4 years ago

Seesmic's Android Twitter client gets a long-awaited update

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Along with the introduction of Seesmic Ping this week, the social networking developer has dropped a long-awaited update to its Seesmic Twitter client. There are a bunch of bugfixes rolled into this one, along with support for t.co links, and Seesmic finally dropped support for Google Buzz.

Glad to see a little love and attention to what's one of the best free Twitter clients out there. We've got download links after the break.

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