What We’ve Been Thinking
search, mobile, app marketing, events and some random stuff.
search, mobile, app marketing, events and some random stuff.
Researchers say that Google is ‘cashing in’ by offering spy apps that help stalkers keep track of a victim via their smartphone.
According to a report in The Times, there are more than 3,000 spy apps in Google’s Play Store with subscriptions of up to £30 a month for installing the technology on a target phone.
Google takes between 15% and 30% on all purchases made in Play Store.
The apps reveal the phone’s GPS location, the call logs, text messages and give access to its microphone and camera.
Researchers in the US reveal there are 3,450 apps that are capable of tracking the user’s movements with 500 apps available on Apple’s App Store.
Since the research was published, Google has now stopped adverts appearing when searches for abuse-related terms are carried out and it’s removed a number of apps for violating its policies.
Researchers say there are still nearly 3,500 apps capable of spying that remain.
With the World Cup starting in Russia, football fans are being warned about their use of public and hotel Wi-Fi and consider how they secure their personal data.
The National Cyber Security Centre says football fans should keep their smartphones on them at all times with fears that Russian agencies may try to access personal data or carry out a cyber-attack.
In a blog, the NCSA says that anti-virus software and all apps should be up-to-date and backed up before heading for the football tournament.
They say that devices should always be protected with passwords and for important accounts have two step of authentication enabled.
Industry watchers say that Apple is about to debut the tools that will enable two iPhone users to share augmented reality while limiting the amount of personal data being sent to servers.
Using similar technology to that used in Pokemon Go, the augmented reality would enable the viewer to see a virtual structure being superimposed on their surroundings on a smartphone and other devices.
The market could become big business and Apple last year released tools that enable software developers to create AR apps.
Public Health England has launched a new Active 10 app aimed at encouraging adults to become more active. The app encourages users to build a 10 minute brisk walk into their daily routine.
Research from consumer magazine Which? found that Internet connected appliances are collecting huge amounts of data worth a fortune to corporations who are surveilling people in their home. Most of the devices using apps ask for permission to access other items including photos and cameras with questions over some including a smartwatch that wanted to reboot a user’s phone and a vacuum cleaner that wanted to record audio on the user’s smartphone.
Researchers in Australia are calling into question the effectiveness of health apps currently available and point to one Swedish government app that was created to curb drinking among young people but led to them drinking more. The researchers from Queensland’s Bond University found that only one app worked – it’s called Get Happy.
Brits are being urged to tackle the slave trade when they visit a car hand wash by using a free mobile phone app if they have any fears for those working there. The app has been launched by the Catholic Church and the Church of England.
The growing popularity of mobile banking apps has been highlighted with news that more consumers will use their apps than will use a computer for banking purposes as early as 2019.
According to industry analyst CACI, 22 million people last year managed their current account from their phone.
And it is now predicted that 35 million people, or 73% of the adult population in the UK, will by 2023 bank via a phone app.
This means that customers will now generally visit a bank branch just twice a year.
The biggest increase in mobile app users will be seen in smaller coastal towns and rural areas because of poor broadband access which means users navigate towards mobile networks.
In a report, CACI says: “Mobile is quickly becoming the digital channel of choice and replacing online banking for many customers.”
A bid by Steam to launch a new app for iPhones has been blocked by Apple.
Industry watchers say this is a sign that Apple is increasingly serious about its ability for taking a slice of digital purchases that are made inside games on mobile devices.
Steam was planning to use a free app for gamers to play on their mobile phones when away from the desktop.
Now, Apple has blacked blocked the Steam Link app with Steam saying they hope the firm will reconsider in the near future.
The TeenSafe phone monitoring app has been leaking thousands of Apple ID account logins, says ZDnet.
The popular app helps parents keep track of their children’s phone activity but tens of thousands of account details have been breached.
The app promotes itself as a secure monitoring offering available on iOS and Android to enable parents to check their children’s messages as well as their search and calling history. The app also keeps track of their location.
However, ZDNet says that the apps servers – which are hosted on Amazon’s Web Services cloud platform – have been left unprotected which gives anyone access to the user database without having to use a password.
TeenSafe says it’s now closed one of its servers and is now informing customers that may have been affected.
The number of fraud transactions involving mobile apps has rocketed by 680% since 2015.
The figures come from RSA Security who say that while the number of mobile app transactions has risen by 200% over the same period, fraudulent activity has risen by a much larger amount.
The firm says it is only natural that hackers follow the sharp rise in legitimate app transactions and are targeting mobile channels for fraud purposes.
They say that businesses and consumers alike need to beware of potential fraud risks with their mobile phone apps.
Twitter has unveiled its range of new emojis to help Android users using their service as their outmoded emojis are not showing up properly online. The ‘Twemojis’ will now display as well as they do on Apple iPhones on Android devices.
A new mobile phone control lock called Klevio One will help estate and letting agents dispense with using keys to gain access to a property since owners can grant access remotely. The system uses electronic keys to give others access.
A new app which enables air ambulance services to see patients before arriving to treat them is currently under trial.
The GoodSam app is being put through its spaces in two areas in England with the app sending a link to whoever called 999 on a mobile phone to open live streaming.
The images will then show medics how poorly the patient is before they set off.
Results so far, claim those air crews who have tested it, ‘have been promising’.
The new mobile phone app from HSBC enables users to access up to 21 different banks including Barclays, Lloyds and Santander.
Customers will now be able to see all their accounts on one screen, regardless of who they bank with.
The Connected Money app also allows users to add their savings, mortgages and loans accounts but it’s only available for iOS users currently. Android users will be able to use it ‘soon’.
Users of Apple’s Messages app are being warned over a malicious text called the ‘Black Dot’ which will force their iPhone to freeze and, potentially, overheat.
When the text message is opened there is a black dot followed by thousands of Unicode characters which are invisible and flood the phone’s CPU until the Messages app stops working.
The users that open the text message will find their phone will be paralysed and removing it will be difficult since restarting means they will jump back into the app – and the issue begins all over again.
Indeed, until Apple releases a firmware update to address the problem, users will struggle to overcome the problem.
Meanwhile, WhatsApp users are being warned not to open an innocent looking message since it is malicious.
The subject line reads, ‘This is very interesting!’ but has hidden characters within it which will force the phone to shut down or stop working.
Researchers have questioned Google’s security protection after apps that had been banned from the Play Store simply changed name and were put back on sale.
Symantec say they found seven malicious apps that were previously removed by Google after being flagged up as security risks.
However, they say that the apps have been re-uploaded from new developer accounts with a new name and are available for download.
After the apps were re-reported, Google has now removed them once more.
It has been revealed that the UK government has asked five app consultancy firms to develop an immigration app that will be used to help register’s EU citizens after Brexit.
A class action lawsuit has been launched in California against Facebook after revelations that the firm collected data logs of phone calls and messages through via its smartphone apps.
Android smartphone users are being warned about a sophisticated malware strain that enables hackers to spy on just about any activity on a user’s phone.
The malware steals pictures, contacts, messages, call logs as well as browser data. The strain is also capable of making audio recordings of calls being made and dial numbers.
The malware has been called ZooPark and can steal usernames and passwords because it has a key logging feature.
The revelation is being made by cyber security outfit Kaspersky.
The firm says the malware has been affecting Android phones since June 2015 and is mainly focused on the Middle East but is starting to spread.
As one of the leading mobile banking apps, Tesco Bank has unveiled native mobile registration for users.
It’s the first firm to use the innovative technology which enables customers to set-up and access their account using a smartphone without having to register at Tescobank.com first.
The bank says it’s made the move because when customers were surveyed, they said registering first was a source of frustration and Tesco wants to make banking ‘as easy and simple’ as possible.
The new look app also enables users to block and unblock features for their credit cards and access accounts using fingerprints, Face ID, a five digit pass code or their online banking logging information.
A report is calling for a new WhatsApp style messaging service to be introduced for doctors and nurses in the NHS.
The aim is to have a data compliant healthcare messaging service that can be accessed on mobile devices by NHS care teams.
The paper also lays out a path to improve the take-up of new technology for NHS England that will empower clinicians and patients and help lead to a paperless NHS.
However, a new digital messaging services app will improve communications and help discourage NHS workers using commercial apps, including WhatsApp, which do not meet the relevant standards for sharing patient information.
A school in Guernsey is trialling an app that will lock some functions on students’ smartphones during school hours. Elizabeth College says it wants to restrict what students are able to do during break times with their mobile phones including playing games.
Cattle herders in Kenya are using a new app for use in times of drought where they can find pasture for their livestock. The Afriscout app utilises satellite images to locate water and grass for users.
A children’s charity has unveiled a ‘game-changing’ app aimed at reducing child marriage in Bangladesh. Plan International says the app will enable officers and priests who register marriages to verify the groom’s and bride’s ages by using a digital database; it’s illegal for girls under 18 and for men aged under 21 from marrying.
Google’s new Chat messaging service has started its roll-out and is aimed at replacing text messages on Android phones. The new app will be integrated on Android phones.
Internet security firm Kaspersky is warning that nearly four million smartphone apps are leaking sensitive data about the app’s user.
The data being lost includes phone numbers and email addresses which is being transmitted unencrypted over the HTTP protocol.
This was, researchers say, instead of using HTTPS, a more secure way for data communication.
The firm says that careless design means that a user’s data can be easily intercepted.
In the worst case scenario, they say this data could be used for blackmail purposes.
Microsoft has revealed that more apps for its Windows phone are to be killed off.
From May, support for Teams, Yammer and Skype for B usiness will be dropped.
Users have been told that they have a month to find alternative apps or use the functions using a web browser.
Yammer will still be available as an app for Android and iOS phones and the firm says it will still continue investing in Skype for Business as well as Microsoft teams.
Nearly 90% of jobseekers in the UK looking for new jobs believe that their smart phone is crucial in the jobhunting process.
Research from Textlocal reveals that 89% of those questioned agreed with this sentiment and the firm says there’s been a 55% rise in people opting into recruitment communications.
The firm says that 45% of jobseekers are looking for new jobs on their mobile phones every day and 59% of those questioned us saving a potential job to apply for later.
Researchers say that despite Google’s best efforts to prevent any crypto currency apps being available on Play Store, there are still lots of these apps available.
TheNextWeb says that even after Google took action recently to clamp down on crypto currency apps, many are still available.
The research also highlight that there was a malicious app available, it mimics MyEtherWallet, and it received 500 downloads before Google took the app down.
As part of their research, the firm says that across the mobile phone app sector they uncovered 661 malicious apps and most of these appeared on Google play.
Over the past year, around half of adults in the US have increased their use of mobile banking apps with one in three using their banking app more than any other app on their phone, a survey has revealed.
Swiss drugs firm Novartis has unveiled a mobile phone app that will collect data from those taking part in eye disease studies. The ‘FocalView’ app has been put together using Apple’s ResearchKit and will enable researchers to track eye disease progression from patients without them needing to visit a doctor.
The new Gmail app will feature the ‘snooze’ button, says Google. The function will resend emails when the user chooses – or when they can deal with the emails properly.
Research from Ofcom has revealed that nine in 10 Brits believe that using the Internet has more benefits than risks but nearly all are turned off by digital advertising. The average time spent online is 24 hours a week which has doubled from what it was 10 years ago. The research also highlights that using apps and smartphones is an important part of this growing popularity, with 74% of those aged under 24 saying they could not live without their phone.
Google has revealed that it has begun the global roll-out of a new Chat messaging service which they have designed to replace text messaging on Android phones.
The firm has also revealed that it is pausing development of its Allo app.
The Chat messaging service will have features including group text, read receipts and videos, currently not available with text messaging.
The new service will eventually be integrated as the default messaging app for Android.
However, it still needs mobile phone operators to enable the service and it will not offer encrypted messages.
The Chat messenger is the latest after several failed attempts by Google to create a feature-rich mobile messaging app but these have, so far, failed to attract a large audience.
The popular app which helps people find a handyman for hire, called TaskRabbit, has been taken down after a ‘cyber security incident’.
Professionals and customers alike have been left in the lurch after those behind the app said they are working with police and IT experts to work out what has happened.
Now, app users cannot access their account and service professionals cannot be contacted.
The app works in four locations in the UK: Manchester, London, Birmingham and Bristol, but there is no indication of how many customers or service providers have been affected.
Also, there’s no indication of what information may have been breached in the incident – though users are being warned to change passwords on other accounts.
The TaskRabbit website has also been taken down and the California-based company, which is owned by IKEA, says it’s working hard to resolve the problem.
Netflix has revealed that iPhone users can watch previews of its shows and the app will soon be available for Android phones as well.
The mobile previews are available to boost the video browsing experience on mobile phones and users simply use a slideshow and swipe to find the preview they want to see.
The previews load quickly and have been personalised to the user’s own tastes, Netflix says.
Smart Pension, a workplace pension platform, says it is launching an app that will prove to be a ‘game changer’ and transform the way a new generation saves for a pension.
The app enables users to track in real time their pension balance from their phone and then encourages dynamic engagement so they can opt for self-selecting their own funds and increasing contribution levels.
The app will replace paper annual reports and there’s a planned daily video along with animated financial illustrations and talking avatars.
The firm’s co-founder Will Wynne said: “The young organise their lives around their phones and have high expectations of how transparent and intuitive their mobile interaction is, particularly for their money.”
A drug dealer is the first to be convicted after an image he sent of himself holding ecstasy tablets on WhatsApp led to his identification through a pioneering fingerprint identification technique by South Wales police.
The winners of a competition to design technology that would rectify a social challenge saw students from Worcestershire’s Bishop Perowne College winning for an antitheft bike app they developed.
An Australian tech firm has launched a legal action in the UK accusing Google of abusing its dominant position. The firm, Unlockd, rewards customers for watching adverts on a smartphone but Google is seeking to cut the advertising content to the app.
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