New Bank App Will Push Deals to Customers

A new app from the bank First Direct will enable it to push personalised broadband and energy deals to its customers in a move that could see the end of price comparison websites.

The firm says the smartphone app will trawl thousands of deals from third-party providers and will recommend specific products to its customers.

First Direct says the app will allow consumers to hand over their saving and spending data from their financial accounts in return for notifications on money-saving deals.

Consumer groups say the move could lead to a revolution in the way consumers shop for deals and warned that banks that flog poor deals would damage their reputation.

Apple devices to be future ‘AI’ platform

Apple’s chief executive, Jeff Williams, says the new iPhone X offers developers a great platform for apps and those wanting to develop artificial reality functions.

The new phone will use facial recognition and users can pay for goods by simply glancing at their phone.

Mr Williams told a conference: “The neural engines we have in the phone and our watch are a huge piece of our future and we believe these frameworks will enable developers to create apps that will do more.

“I think we are the point with our devices and computing, and with AI’s potential, to really change the world.”

Zombie apps turn up on Google’s Play Store. Again.

According to a report, there’s been a big leap in the number of zombie apps that are generating fraudulent app clicks turning up on Google Play Store.

According to eZanga, they have found 43 fraudulent ‘live wallpaper’ apps which come from three developers but have had more than 1 million downloads.

They work in a similar way to apps identified in July so the phone does not have to be touched before the app will generate a click for a fraudulent advert.

Critics say the issue is a growing problem with Play Store which, unlike Apple’s App Store, does not have the same review processes in place and removes fraudulent apps retrospectively.

Mobile devices are increasingly the choice for online activities

Research reveals that people today are increasingly preferring to use their mobile device for online activities rather than a computer.

The findings from Kaspersky Lab found that people are using their mobile devices more often, particularly for accessing email.

Users are also increasingly shopping online while the use of computers for both of these activities is in decline.

A spokesman for the firm said: “Irrespective of age and occupation, the focus of our digital lives is shifting increasingly onto our mobile devices; people are trusting them with their secrets, confidential information, money, files and other things.”

He added that cyber criminals are changing tactics to attack mobile platforms and says tablets and smartphones need to be effectively protected as a result.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

Vodafone has unveiled passes to help users access apps when burning through their monthly data allowance. There are four passes available and are grouped by the type of app, for instance, the video pass is £9 a month and will cover Amazon Video, Netflix and YouTube, among others.

After two massive earthquakes hit Mexico, the number of users of early warning app start-up SkyAlert has doubled to nearly six million, making it one of Mexico’s most downloaded apps.

Researchers in Norway have reveal some alarming security flaws in smart watches aimed at children. They say hackers can seize control of these watches to eavesdrop and track the young users. The issue comes with those watches that use a mobile phone function for parents to communicate with their child and stay up-to-date with their location via an app.

App Helps Avoid Shopping Queues

A supermarket has unveiled a new app that will enable its customer to scan and pay for their goods on their mobile phones as they make their way around the store.

The money is deducted directly from their credit card or bank account.

Sainsbury says its trial could make queues a thing of the past as customers scan their goods as they put them in their basket.

While it’s still early stages, the app is being tested by the supermarket in a London branch where shoppers buying the £3 lunchtime meal deal can use the app to pay.

Sainsbury’s says feedback has been positive so far though they do not know when the scheme will be eventually rolled out to its other stores.

Investors warned over mobile share trading apps

Cyber security experts are warning that some of the most popular mobile phone apps for trading shares are open to attack from hackers.

IOActive Labs says that criminals could steal money, trade shares and also check the customer’s net worth.

Indeed, the firm has checked 21 of the most popular stock trading apps and say they are worse than the personal banking apps tested by them four years ago.

A spokesman said: “There is better mobile app security when checking bank balances and paying our gas bill than found in trading apps that transfer billions and help shape the financial markets.”

Among the issues found in the apps, two exposed passwords in clear text while two in three of the apps stored sensitive data including account balances and investment strategies in an unencrypted form.

Twitter unveils lightweight mobile app

Twitter has joined the trend to slim down its mobile app for those regions where data may be slow.

The social media platform has confirmed it is testing a lightweight version in the Philippines where limited data and slower mobile phone networks make the standard app impractical.

The firm says the app focuses on Twitter’s core functions without the data chewing media abilities.

While Twitter says its move towards a light app is an experiment, they refuse to reveal whether it will be available in other countries but they have now joined Google and Facebook who are targeting similar regions with their own slimmed down mobile apps.

iPhone X face recognition restriction

Those buying the new iPhone X have been warned by Apple that children should not be using its facial recognition technology.

They say that the faces of children under the age of 13 are too similar to each other and are unable to protect the phone from intruders.

The system, called FaceID, will unlock the phone and enable access to apps and also verify payments.

Now Apple says, in a security paper it has published, that children’s faces are still developing and siblings could unlock the phone.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

Indian mobile phone users are being warned of the dangers of fake ‘Blue Whale’ apps masking malware that will attack their phone. The country is in the grip of Blue Whale, a social media game challenge, mania currently.

Police in Shanghai are using a mobile phone app to deal with food delivery employees committing traffic violations in the Chinese city. Every food outlet must now install the app for their couriers so police can track activities and record on the app the latest violation.

Electric carmaker Tesla has boosted its mobile application in its latest update offering and the app will now open the Model 3’s boot directly from the phone. The app also enables users to unlock and lock the car and also start the engine.

Android phone users are complaining that the latest Android 8.0 Oreo update has led to apps crashing unexpectedly on the firm’s Pixel and Nexus devices.

A security company in Russian has unveiled a smartphone that will prevent apps on it from collecting personal data. The Taiga phone from InfoWatch prevents apps from tracking user activities including work-related emails, photographs and documents. It also prevents an app from sending the user’s data to the creator.