EU Set to Demand More Control of Mobile Messaging Apps

The European Union is looking to take more control over online messaging tools such as Skype and WhatsApp, according to a newspaper.

The Financial Times says bureaucrats in Brussels are looking to treat the services in the same way they treat traditional telecom firms.

The move follows growing concerns over privacy and data handling from companies like Facebook and Microsoft.

The newspaper says new rules governing telecoms will be published in September and will demand that messaging firms comply with EU regulations.

The report also reveals that the move follows complaints from leading telecom firms including Orange that Facebook, Google and Microsoft are effectively unregulated when it comes to communications.

Banks apps hacked by ‘Live Photos’

A security researcher is claiming that two bank apps for mobile phones have a security vulnerability that enable someone to hack an account with just a photograph of the account holder.

Meaghan Johnson of 11:FS says she discovered that people could access her bank account using iPhone’s Live Photo with an image of her.

However, the vulnerability is only applicable to those banks which use an app that utilises facial recognition as a way for account holders to log in. The number of apps that allow this is currently limited but the numbers are growing.

The discovery follows the announcement by Standard Chartered Bank that it is doing away with passwords and introducing biometrics for its 5 million customers to access bank accounts.

Google Ads could hide malware on mobile devices

A new report from security firm Kaspersky Lab says it has found malware on Google’s AdSense network which will download onto a mobile device when users visit certain sites.

Researchers say users do not have to click on any malicious advertisements and when it is activated will prompt the user for admin rights which will make it more difficult for the user and antivirus software providers to remove it.

The malware then steals credentials with fake login screens and also by intercepting text messages.

Google launches answer to FaceTime

It’s taken a while but Google has unveiled an app for use with Android and iOS that is a simple alternative to the Skype with users able to place free video calls easily.

Called ‘Duo’, it’s only available for use with smartphones and it is the latest addition to Google’s list of services that enables video calling.

The app is a one-to-one video chat app and is also a rival to Apple’s FaceTime.

Google says the app should prove popular because users will not need to know whether the person they want to call is using the right device or is on the correct network before calling their mobile number.

Americans top 50 hours of screen time

Researchers have revealed that Americans are now spending more than 50 hours on average using a ‘screen’ every week, whether that’s a smart phone, tablet, television or personal computer.

The Diffusion Group (TDG) says that the growth is being led by smartphones which now account for around 8.6 hours a week which is more than Americans spent watching broadband video.

In addition, users are spending four hours every week on social networking with 63% using services such as Instagram.

A spokesman for the firm said: “Screen time is shifting towards mobile.”

He added that mobile phone usage is also shifting towards social networking apps and these social apps are also making the move towards video which is helping to underpin a trend in the huge growth in social-mobile video.

Medical apps lack privacy policies

An American think tank says users of health and fitness apps should be aware that they lack stringent privacy policies when compared to other apps.

The Future of Privacy Forum says many of these apps fail to reveal to their users how data is collected and used.

Indeed, they say just 60% of health and fitness apps offer information on their privacy compared with 76% of apps generally.

US Marine Corps seeks app ideas

The US Marine Corps has launched a competition for its service personnel to offer ideas to create suitable apps for Android and iPhone devices.

There are three types of apps that the competition is looking for and Marines of all ranks can then submit code for them.

Those behind the competition say the apps must be simple and useful and as a guideline those entering should consider things like ‘workout of the day’ which enables one Marine to challenge another.

Search and Mobile enthusiast, like to tinker in apps, machine learning, big data and currently Python.