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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.

Mobile Apps Can Boost Child Health

A review of medical research has revealed that parents can help improve health outcomes for their children by using mobile phone apps as well as text messaging.

The review has appeared in a leading American medical journal and focuses on the effectiveness of using apps to tackle childhood obesity.

The researchers say that apps enable children to become healthier by boosting a number of behaviours and ensuring the eat a healthy diet and get the medicines they need.

Researchers wanted to analyse the previously conducted reviews for statistical evidence that proves there is a change in health behaviours for those who are 18 years old or younger if they use apps.

Those behind the study say the use of apps offers a chance to improve public health by utilising ‘mobile health interventions’.

Why Millennials get lost

If you have ever wondered why satnav users do silly things by abandoning their common sense, there’s an explanation.

Researchers have revealed that when people use handy devices, particularly satnavs, they switch off a part of their brain that we use for navigation.

They say that when we navigate, we exercise the brain in a different way to when we follow orders.

As part of the study, researchers looked at the street networks for major cities around the world and found most people struggled to navigate their way around small streets.

Essentially, researchers say that while brain training exercises will improve tasks for a given task, they do not improve performances for learning other tasks.

This is why young people particularly who do not use maps and follow satnav directions are more likely to get themselves lost without having phone apps to help them.

Charities boosted with new a donation app

Charities could benefit from a new platform that enables donations to be made by mobile phone.

DonateToday allows phone users to add a charity donation to their phone bill and also have the option to Gift Aid them.

The donation facility works while the donors are online using the app rather than asking them to make a donation through text messaging or entering credit card details.

The app also has a number of suggested donation amount buttons and whether they want to give a regular donation or a simple one-off donation.

Brits still using apps behind the wheel

Despite the punishments for using mobile phones behind the wheel of a car being increased recently, Brits are still using their phones.

The fines for using a phone while behind the wheel have increased to £200 and the penalty points have been increased to six.

However, a car insurer has now found that one in five drivers admit to checking social media apps while driving since the new punishments were brought in.

Topping the list for most used is WhatsApp with 51%, though 44% of drivers are still making phone calls and 9% of drivers are streaming videos.

In addition, drivers are also posting on and browsing Facebook as well as Twitter.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

Corporations looking to make their cyber security better are faced with staff having at least one app on at least one mobile phone which means they have access to 1,427 cloud services. The findings from CSO say this provides employers with a cyber security challenge and it’s not just down to malware infected apps but also staff using legitimate apps because they enable various permissions as result.

The rapid growth in the number of apps available for gambling on mobile phones has led to a big increase in the number of gambling addicts, says the National Centre for Problem Gambling. Campaigners say the apps make gambling too easy with more than half of those seeking help from one charity admitting to being addicted to gambling on their mobile.

Researchers in India say that the popularity of mobile phone apps in the country has rocketed by 43% over the last 12 months.

Malaysia and Japanese theme park guests say they want queue busting apps to make their day out more enjoyable. The findings reveal that 91% of respondents want to buy time specific slots with a fast-track pass.