Millions of Phones at Risk from App Mistake

Millions of smartphone users have been put at risk because of a simple coding error in 685 phone apps, warns security firm Appthority.

The mistake means that the user’s text messages and calls are at risk of being intercepted by hackers – particularly if app developers have used the Twilio Rest API or SDK platform.

Researchers say the developers have mistakenly coded credentials for accessing services, calls and texts by provided by Twilo Inc.

Apparently, hackers can access credentials by reviewing the app’s code to gain access to data sent via those services. The flaw has been dubbed ‘Eavesdropper’.

Among the affected apps are the AT&T Navigator, which is pre-installed on many Android phones and GPS navigation apps from Telenav though researchers say they have been careful not to name all of the affected apps – and Twilio’s users include Uber and Netflix.

Shares in Twilio fell by nearly 7% after the report from Appthority was published.

The end of paper receipts?

Mobile banking apps could see the end of paper receipts since a new app could see digital receipts being used instead.

Barclays Bank has now teamed-up with tech outfit Flux to trial its new Launchpad app with 10,000 customers.

The new app means there will be no longer receipts clogging up wallets because they will be stored digitally and be harder to lose; the digital receipt will also prove beneficial in finding a receipt should a purchase break or if there is a warranty issue.

However, for the new scheme to work effectively, retailers will need to use software that enables them to send their receipts digitally to customers.

Growing numbers of stores, including New Look and Topshop, are moving away from printed receipts already by emailing them to their customers instead.

With the new system, there’s no need to hand over email details since the Barclays pay machine will send a receipt directly to the customer’s mobile phone app.

In other mobile phone app news …

Smartphone users in the UK are increasingly comfortable sharing their device’s location with an app, compared with two years ago. Around 55% of phone users said they are comfortable doing so while 11% said they always allow their apps to access their location, says marketing firm Verve.

A new app for smartphones may help parents keep their children safe while on social media, particularly to help prevent them from sending explicit images, messages and personal details. The Oyoty app will run automatically to detect whether an image is showing too much flesh and will suggest a rethink before the child user sends it out.

The rise of tracking apps for plane flights has been revealed with the news that 230,000 people followed Priti Patel’s eight hour flight back to the UK before resigning from government. FlightRadar24 says the international secretary’s flight is now the most monitored ever.

Facebook says the UK is the first country outside of the US to get its Messenger payments service. Launched in 2015, the app is used to split restaurant bills and send money, among other uses, with most users sending £38 on average. Facebook says the UK has been chosen because there are so many ‘mobile savvy consumers’ in the country.

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