Posts

Google Criticised for Spy Apps

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.

Football fans warned over World Cup cyber security

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.

Phone-to-phone AR to debut

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.

In other mobile phone app news …

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.

Google and Apple Showcase AR Platforms

Google and Apple are gearing up to go head-to-head with competing augmented reality (AR) platforms.

Both firms have unveiled their new are tools for iOS and Android devices this week that will enable a user to digitally superimpose an object through their phone onto the world around them.

Google’s AR offering will be released with its new Pixel phone and the Samsung Galaxy S8; Apple says the new iOS 11 operating system will be able use the technology on all of its devices.

However, iOS 11 has yet to be released and the apps for them have yet to be presented to consumers.

Among the apps for the Apple platform is one from IKEA that enables users to measure space in their homes and then digitally place a piece of furniture from the IKEA catalogue into the space on their smartphone.

British teenagers spend 40 days year on their mobile phones

A survey has revealed that teenagers spend around two hours and 40 minutes every day using their mobile phones, which is equal to nearly 41 days.

The research from broadbandchoices reveals that youngsters in Liverpool use their phones the most and spend 48 days browsing apps and text messages.

Teenagers in Glasgow and Cardiff claimed second and third places, while London teenagers were ranked in bottom place and use their phone for 37 days.

The firm’s research also reveals that 55% of parents say they wonder how they managed to survive as a teenager without a mobile phone or access to the Internet.

Parents warned of smart phone bingeing

Meanwhile, parents in the UK are being warned to monitor their children’s smartphone use over fears they are overindulging on social media.

In addition, the Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield, says phone companies are increasingly offering unlimited data for streaming apps, messaging and social media.

Her comments came after a new mobile plan was unveiled by Vodafone called Voxi which is aimed at under 25s.

The SIM-only plan allows subscribers unlimited access to a variety of apps such as Instagram, Facebook and Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and Twitter.

Tech coalition squashes botnet

As reported recently, Google was forced to bin more than 300 apps from its Play Store recently because of malware issues.

Now a coalition of tech firms has managed to dislodge a massive botnet that was using Google’s Android platform.

The malware started as a click fraud scheme with hundreds of malicious apps operating on phones but the botnet was tailored to launch distributed denial of service attacks against websites.

Researchers dubbed the botnet ‘WireX’ and it has infected more than 120,000 mobile phones.

Some of the firms that worked to take down the threat include Cloudflare, Oracle and Flashpoint.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

US sanctions have led Apple to remove popular Iranian mobile phone apps from its App Store. Apple accounts for 11% of Iran’s mobile phone market and the government there says it will pursue the company to respect its customers.

A survey by comScore has revealed that most US mobile phone users do not download any apps. They found 51% of people with a mobile phone do not download anything in a month.

Microsoft has unveiled its Mixer Create app which enables gamers to stream mobile games on Android and iOS devices.

Google has revealed that its Android Wear 1.0 will have standalone apps that will enable it to be used independently of smartphone apps.

The new Sony Xperia phone has a 3D scanning app with the phone maker believing there is a big demand from users to create and distribute their 3-D creations.

The new Apple iPhone 8 will be released this month with rumoured features including wireless charging, edge-to-edge display and facial recognition. The iPhone 7S and 7S plus will also be released.