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Flaw in WhatsApp Security Revealed

A security flaw in WhatsApp could enable a hacker to spy on a private group chat, warn researchers.

The vulnerability means that anyone with access to WhatsApp servers can join a private group or insert someone without the chatroom administrator’s permission.

The findings from researchers at Ruhr University in Germany point out that sensitive conversations including those by women MPs at Westminster discussing sexual harassment could be infiltrated by an outsider.

Also, once a hacker accesses a group they then have the phone number of each group member and will automatically share secret keys and have access to all future messages.

The researchers say that for any users who are looking for absolute privacy in their group chat should sign up with encrypted app Signal or restrict their WhatsApp use to simply sending private messages.

The researchers also called on WhatsApp to introduce a new authentication mechanism for any new invitations to a group.

Mobile app growth is slowing down

Researchers at Flurry say that the growth in global mobile apps is slowing down even though smartphone users are still spending more than five hours every day using their device.

Now the firm says that apps need to build-in daily usage habits in a bid to boost growth.

Flurry has now measured app activity growth and found that in 2016, the number of sessions grew by just 6%. In 2015, growth was 11%.

They have tracked more than 1 million apps across more than 2.6 billion devices for their study.

Also, there are big changes in how people use apps; for shopping, use grew by 54% as consumers continue to move their spending online with media, music and entertainment coming a close second with 43% growth.

The steepest decline was seen by lifestyle apps which fell by 40%. Gaming also fell again with a decline measured at 15%.

‘Open Banking’ sparks security fears

New rules imposed from 13 January mean a revolution is about to hit the finance world.

That’s when we will get more power over the data that banks hold about us.

The aim is to boost competition and help us save more money.

However, industry experts say that the growing use of banking apps is creating a big security concern with crooks able to carry out more bank transfer scams.

The rules have been introduced by the European Union so banks and building societies must now allow developers of web and mobile phone apps to plug into the user’s current account data if the customer gives them permission.

Flashlight apps hit by malware

Researchers have revealed that malicious adware has infected more than 22 flashlight apps which have been downloaded between 1.5 and 7.5 million times.

The malware has been tagged as ‘LightsOut’ and will generate ad revenue secretly for its developers.

The malware will bombard constantly the phone’s user with pop-up ads that must be clicked before they can use their device.

The apps are found on Google’s Play Store and after they have been launched, the app hides its icon on the main screen so it is more difficult to find and then uninstall the app.

Child-friendly apps hide malware

Researchers say they have found more than 60 child-friendly apps that are hiding malware designed to rob mobile phone users or display pornography.

The apps are available from Google Play Store and, security firm CheckPoint says, the apps have child friendly themes including ‘Fidget spinner for Minecraft’. They’ve called the malware AdultSwine and Google now says it has removed the apps from Play.

In other mobile phone app news …

Some of Apple’s biggest investors are calling on the firm to limit how long children can use apps and its smartphones. The call has been welcomed by academics who say that imposing restrictions will help youngsters.

Russian smartphone users are being warned over malware that will access their banking text messages to enable criminals to intercept bank security codes. They can then use the codes to access and reset bank account passwords and empty the bank account itself. The malware is dubbed as ‘FakeBank’.

Google Phone Apps Are Listening In

An investigation has revealed that apps on Google’s Play Store are allowing firms to listen in on the TV shows being watched by users so they can target adverts more effectively.

The findings from the New York Times reveals that more than 250 Android apps are using listening software that will control the smartphone’s microphone.

The same method is being used by 24 apps found in Apple’s App Store.

Most of the apps tend to be free games that are being downloaded hundreds of thousands of times and are being rated as suitable for all age groups.

The apps are using software from an American company called Alphonso which collects television viewing data for advertising firms – they say the technology is being used in more than 1,000 apps but refuses to disclose which these are.

They point out that the app’s terms and conditions make clear the app’s monitoring activities and users must give their permission to opt in.

Conflicting advice sees drivers prosecuted

Drivers in the UK are being prosecuted when using their smartphone as a satnav because of conflicting advice which is causing confusion.

Motoring organisations say that police forces and government ministers are creating the confusion by offering advice about what is legal and illegal when it comes to using a mobile phone when driving.

With tougher new penalties being introduced last year to clamp down on drivers using phones to send text messages and make calls, the move also covered the use of satnav apps.

Drivers are warned by the Department for Transport they should not to ‘use’ their phones while at the wheel but police in some parts of the UK say drivers are not allowed to ‘touch’ their phone or it should be placed ‘out of sight’.

With more than 200 drivers being prosecuted every day, motoring organisations are urging clarity over the use of mobile phones and any apps that can be used safely.

App can find people in an emergency

Researchers have developed an app that can find people who have had an accident in a remote area without a phone signal.

The team from Universidad de Alicante in Spain say the app can also be used for other emergency situations including floods, earthquakes and forest fires where the local mobile phone infrastructure has been destroyed.

A spokesman said: “The app can be used with any smartphone and without the signal will emit the WiFi signal which will act as a distress beacon over several kilometres.”

The signal carries the co-ordinates of the person who has had an accident along with a short message that gives brief details about what has happened to them.

To operate, the mobile phone app needs to be activated will which will then activate the distress signal.

In other mobile phone app news …

The new version of the iconic Nokia 3310 phone will soon connect to 4G and will run a number of basic Android apps. One of those will be a stripped down version of WhatsApp.

Apple has unveiled an update to its App Store guidelines including those apps used for exhibitions and live events.

Google has announced that its Android Auto app will go wireless this year without the need for a compatible head unit to access apps.

A report from online travel agent Opodo has revealed that Millennials are so obsessed with their smartphones that 75% of them say that they worry more about their battery life than enjoying the holiday.

Visitors to St Mark’s Square in Venice can use a new app which will tell them when to avoid the area if it’s overcrowded. The implementation coincides with the introduction of traffic lights to help control pedestrian access.

New App Will Protect Against ‘Spies’

A new app unveiled by whistleblower Edward Snowden will turn a phone into a spy system to help protect human rights activists and journalists.

The app uses a spare mobile phone to create a makeshift intruder detection and security system.

The app is entitled ‘Haven’ and uses sensors including the microphone and camera as well as the accelerometer, gyroscope and ambient light to create a motion detector to monitor its surroundings.

The app has been created with help from the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

The former National Security Agency contractor now lives in Russia as an exile and says Haven has been created using open source so the code can be edited by users to suit their needs.

Once Haven detects a disruption or movement, a notification will be sent to the user using an encrypted messaging service.

WhatsApp will stop working on these phones

The popular messenger service WhatsApp will stop working on a variety of phones from New Year’s Day with older operating systems being dropped.

WhatsApp these older system will no longer be supported and instead they are looking to develop further on the Android and iOS platforms.

The devices that will stop working are using BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry OS and also Windows 8 – and older version.

There are now more than 1 billion WhatsApp regular users.

Bank customers can now pay cheques in with mobile phones

Customers with Barclays Bank can now pay a cheque into their account by using their mobile phone camera.

The customers will need to use the bank’s mobile phone app and snap a photo to pay money in.

Once the customer has logged into their mobile app there’s a new option in the menu to ‘pay in cheques’. They are then given on-screen instructions about how to pay a cheque into their account.

While the bank says it still testing the technology, around 175,000 customers have already managed to pay in a cheque successfully.

Other banks looking to introduce the same function include HSBC, Halifax Bank of Scotland, Lloyds and Santander.

Warning over new Trojan

Security researchers say a new Android malware has been detected that can pose as more than 2,200 banks to steal user’s passwords and then plunder the account holder’s account.

The Catelites Bot has been linked to Russian criminal gangs who have infected more than 1 million mobile phones to steal $900,000, according to research from SfyLabs and Avast.

The Trojan works by using fake mobile banking app interfaces which pulls bank names and logos from Google Play Store.

The bot is being spread via third-party app stores, the researchers have revealed.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

A court in Spain has ruled that parents have the right to read their children’s messages on WhatsApp. One mother had complained that her ex-husband had breached the country’s privacy laws after checking his nine-year-old daughter’s phone for messages.

A news story broadcast in the US reveals that Japanese app developers are reliant on Google Play Store to generate most of their revenues. Of the top 12 public firms that generate at least 25% of their income from Google, seven are in Japan.

Researchers from the University of Dundee have revealed a warning system for flooding utilising data extracted from mobile phone apps that use crowdsourced information and also data from Twitter.

A team at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University have developed a system that will correctly guess the PIN for a mobile phone based on information that is provided by its sensors. They have developed an algorithm that analyses the data and the way the phone is held to deduct which numbers are being used for the user’s PIN.

Major Data Leak for Millions Revealed

A popular virtual keyboard has been leaking the data of 31 million users, say security researchers.

The massive data breach is for the app Ai.type used on the Android platform after researchers found an open database online.

Apparently, the database holds the personal data for 31 million Android users including their names, locations and phone numbers. The data also contains the Google search queries of those users.

The revelations come from the Kromtech Security Centre after they found a huge number of customer files had been leaked online and are now publicly available.

The details of data for 31.3 million users of mobile phones and tablets and the discovery has led to questions over how much data is being gleaned by app developers from users.

A spokesman for the firm said: “The database exposure shows just how much data developers can access and they are able to obtain a treasure trove that the average app user is not expecting to be data mined or extracted from their phone or tablet.”

Banking app flaw discovered

A massive security flaw has been discovered in hundreds of apps from major banks leaving account holders vulnerable to hacking.

The findings from the University of Birmingham reveal that the apps for banks such as NatWest and HSBC may have left 10 million account holders vulnerable.

The findings come after researchers developed a tool for performing a semi-automated security test of the banking apps.

Of 400 apps tested, the researchers uncovered a critical vulnerability that could have enabled hackers to retrieve the user’s username and their password.

Banks have now been told of the flaw which has been removed.

Researchers say the issue was over ‘certificate pinning’ which is meant to improve the app’s security  but failed to detect the vulnerability.

Tamagotchi to live again

Back in the 90s, the digital pet Tamagotchi was a must have toy and in 2018, it is due to live again in a new mobile phone app.

The toy’s creator, Bandai, says fans will be able to hatch a digital pet on their phone, play and feed with them and care for them. The app will be free to install on Apple and Android devices.

There will also be augmented reality technology similar to that used for Pokémon Go.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

Whatsapp is reminding users that its app will no longer work on some phone platforms from the end of this month. The popular messenger app will no longer be available for BlackBerry’s OS or 10 and Window’s Phone 8.0.

Google has announced that any apps for the Android platform that will force a user to submit personal information or to click on an ad for advertising purposes before using an app will now be prohibited.

The Netflix app is now found on one in three Dutch smart phones while the Youtube app is on 83% of phones. The Netflix app is being used by 2.7 million people every week, according to a survey of the country’s app market.

Facebook has unveiled a new Messenger app aimed at children. There’s no Facebook account or phone number required for users to access the Messenger Kids app which is aimed at those between the ages of six and 12. The idea is for youngsters to communicate with family and friends on a mobile device but they will not need a SIM card, for example, but they will need a Wi-Fi connection to use the app.

App-addiction Grips the UK

The average Brit will look at their smartphone around 28 times a day, which works out at more than 10,000 times every year, according to a survey.

Researchers say that 4,000 of the checks are being made compulsively without any particular goal in mind.

However, one in 10 smartphone users are opening their device more than 60 times a day and one in three say they are addicted to looking at their various app updates.

A spokesman for the firm that undertook the survey, Casumo, said: “The instances of compulsive checking are higher than we imagined and shows our phones are a habit as they are an aid.”

The survey found that Brits are spending 58 minutes a day using their smartphone with the most popular app being Facebook. In second place is WhatsApp, with Gmail and Instagram in third and fourth places.

However, the survey also reveals that while Facebook takes first place, users believe other apps deliver more benefits with Google Maps being number one for usefulness followed by WhatsApp and Gmail.

Black Friday sees major boost to mobile phone app use

The number of people using mobile phone apps to score a Black Friday bargain has rocketed with 39% of sales online being made over a mobile phone, according to IMRG.

Also, Vouchercloud says that 63% of its online traffic came from smartphones compared with 27% using desktop computers and 10% using tablets.

The report from IMRG says that since Friday is a working day there’s an unusual trend since most people are at work and unlike last year, mobile sales were being used steadily throughout the day.

Apple revealed to have major privacy flaw

Security researchers say a popular app has a major privacy flaw and mines information stored on the smartphone to work out where the user is.

The researchers from Stamford University say that PinMe will use data from the accelerometer and gyroscopes among other information to work out where the user is – even if the apps don’t have access to the phone’s GPS.

The app can calculate whether the person is travelling by car, foot, plane or train and also chart their travel.

The researchers say that phone makers need to introduce software that will enable a user to switch off all sensors in a bid to protect their privacy.

Meanwhile, researchers at the Yale University have found that there are hundreds of Android apps that are riddled with trackers.

They say the trackers are being used for targeting advertising, location tracking and behavioural analytics.

They point out that these apps may have a legitimate application but are operating, most often, without the smartphone user’s knowledge.

Researchers found that of the 300 apps they inspected, 75% had trackers.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

Google has unveiled a new app for Android smartphones that enables users to stay under pricey mobile data limits in developing countries. The new service is called Datally and helps users close down data transmission by various apps easily.

Hundreds of new drivers in the UK have been banned for using their mobile phone while behind the wheel of a car. The bans are automatic for new drivers.

Police in Gwent are trialling a new app for sending emergency images and follows in the footsteps of West Midlands Fire Service testing a similar app. Gwent’s two-month pilot will use a mobile phone app that will enable the public to provide a livestream or photographs of emergency incidents for control room operators to use.

GPs in the UK will soon be able to offer a prescription using a clinically approved app while sitting opposite a patient; a trial will begin in Merseyside from January. The app will see prescriptions for 10 drugs being trialled with a target of 100 more being added in subsequent months.

Android Phones ‘Betray’ Users

Google has come under fire after revelations that Android smartphones still collect the user’s location data and sends it back to the firm – even when the phone’s location services used for apps has been switched off.

The system works by gathering information from nearby mobile phone masts and sharing the information with Google. The data can be used to calculate the user’s position.

The practice cannot be disabled.

A privacy advocate told a news website that the findings are a ‘betrayal’ of Android phone users.

The issue is with Google Play Services running in the background since this is required to access search functions and has been installed on most Android smartphones.

In response, Google says it does not retain the information though it has been collecting data for 11 months and its Android system will be updated shortly to stop the practice.

App helps turn phone into a ‘sonar’ detector

Biometric voice authentication has taken a step forward with a mouth app that turns a user’s smartphone into a ‘sonar’ detector.

The security app will check that the lip movement being monitored really is the phone’s owner speaking.

The app then enables the user’s voice to be recognised as a password for using other apps.

However, critics say it might be vulnerable to ‘replay’ attacks should an identity thief use a recording of the user’s voice.

In a bid to overcome this issue, the app will detect whether someone is using the phone ‘live’ or is misusing a recording.

The VoiceGesture app could, say its creators, help make smartphones more secure and Google is already said to be reviewing the technology which has been created by researchers at State University of Florida.

They say the app can also be extended to include various voice assists including Google Home and Amazon Echo.

Mobile gaming apps take-off in Asia-Pacific

There’s been a huge growth in mobile gaming users in the Asia Pacific region, according to research.

The findings from AppsFlyer and eMarketer point to mobile gaming becoming increasingly important for marketers in the region with the apps delivering strong revenues and audiences.

The researchers at AppsFlyer found that in 40 countries, there are 1,300 apps to choose from and 95 million apps have been installed to generate $150 million of revenue.

Meanwhile, a report from eMarketer is forecasting that around 55% of Chinese Internet users will be playing digital games by the end of this year which equates to 420 million people.

Also, they say that 54% of mobile phone users will be using a gaming app at least once a month.

EU privacy regulators to discuss Uber

The EU’s privacy regulators are to meet to discuss the massive Uber app hack.

The move follows last year’s data breach which saw the personal data from 57 million accounts being exposed.

Now, the regulators are to discuss creating a task force from various EU countries for undertaking the investigation.

The stolen data included the names, mobile phone numbers and email addresses of Uber users around the world and the firm says it paid hackers $100,000 to keep the data breach secret.

News of the data breach of its app only came after senior management were replaced.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

Microsoft has revealed that it has pulled its Skype app from China’s Android and Apple app stores. Apple has also removed several Internet phone call apps after being informed that they did not comply with local laws.

Cyclists in the UK could benefit from a new app that will warn them of potholes in the road ahead. Using smart lights and Bluetooth technology, the lights will detect imperfections and alert the cyclist with data collected via Bluetooth of cyclists avoiding spots on the road to help create a virtual map of Manchester’s roads where the trial is underway.

Newcastle University has created an app that will help protect ancient rock art in Northumberland. Researchers say that the ‘cup and ring’ marks are under threat from climate change and agriculture. The app will help pinpoint the sites so users can add information about its surroundings and conditions.

Mobile Data Usage in UK Set to Soar

The amount of mobile data being used in the UK will grow sevenfold, say researchers, by 2021.

The research from CCS Insight has found that the average mobile phone user will use around 2.5 GB of data every month but by 2021, this will grow to 18 GB.

The firm says that mobile phone networks should begin making attractive offers in a bid to meet the growing demand for data.

This would include offers such as unlimited data plans and with 3 being the only network offering this, CCS says their subscribers are using, on average, 7 GB every month, around 3.5 times more than users on other networks.

However, researchers also say that data usage will not increase massively until 2022 when 5G will become increasingly popular with 17 million subscribers – by 2025, around half of all mobile users will be on a 5G network.

New app will tackle mental health in farmers

A trainee GP has launched an innovative app that will help farmers come to terms with mental health issues from their own homes.

Dr Julian Nesbitt wants to offer reliable and quick access to medical support using smart phone video technology because the farmers are often in isolated locations.

He explained: “The app will help break down barriers of access for farmers who are on the farm all day but most medical services will only be available between 9 and 5pm.”

The app means farmers can do their day job and then speak to someone when it’s convenient and there is a range of therapists dealing with issues including stress, trauma and gambling addiction.

Android malware warning

They may sound like legitimate Android apps but users are being warned of multistage malware lurking in a family of apps.

The warning from ESET has revealed that the malicious apps are being hidden in Google Play Store with names such as ‘World News’ and ‘Cleaner for Android’.

The apps that have been revealed by the firm’s researchers do not raise suspicions from users because they do not ask for app permissions and will behave as an app is designed to do.

However, another malicious app which has been downloaded without the user knowing will, after a five-minute delay, be presented as a legitimate service, for example an Adobe Flash update.

When the prompt is approved, the new app will download a mobile banking Trojan to steal the user’s financial information.

The apps have now been removed by Google and a spokesman for ESET said: “Multistage downloaders have a better chance of creeping into official app stores than a common malware will.”

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

Android users are being warned of a new exploit which will trick a user into recording their phone screen without them knowing. The exploit affects android versions 5.0 to 7.1.

A car thief in Scotland was caught after the owner used a mobile phone tracker app to find their car, a court was told. The thief was caught less than an hour after stealing the car.

Coventry commuters are being urged to use an innovative app aimed at reducing congestion, said to be the first project of its kind in the UK. The Intelligent Variable Message System (iVMS) will enable motorists to plan their route to avoid travel hotspots and help improve congestion and reduce journey times.

Supermarket shoppers can use their mobile phone’s facial recognition system to replace ID checks when buying alcohol, under a pilot scheme. The British identity app Yoti will scan a shopper’s face to confirm their identity and help remove the self-service tills bottle-neck when assistants must check identification when buying goods that are age restricted.

Global App Downloads Reach Record Levels

The growing popularity of apps has been underlined with news that nearly 26 billion apps were downloaded around the world, a rise of more than 8%, over the past year.

The figures are for new downloads and do not cover app updates or reinstalls.

The worldwide consumer spend for apps for Google Play and iOS has also increased by 28% to reach nearly $17 (£12.9) billion.

The researchers also reveal that app usage is also increasing at ‘significant pace’ and the time people are spending an apps is also increasing to 325 billion hours in the third quarter of 2017.

The growth of apps being downloaded is driven by new smart phone owners with the consumer spend on Google Play is nearly double in the third quarter of this year than that recorded by iOS.

The world’s largest market for spending on apps is China which has just recorded its highest ever annual growth figures.

Half of young Brits use banking apps

Banking apps are proving increasingly popular with more than half of British ‘Millennials’ regularly using their mobile phone for their financial affairs, says a survey.

The findings from Visa reveal that 38% of Brits are using banking apps regularly while for 18 to 34-year-olds, the figure rises to 53%.

However, 31% of millennials confessed that they have never used a banking app before.

Of the financial activities, most are using the apps for making payments securely and the users are increasingly keen to use biometric technology for authenticating their identity.

A spokesman for Visa said: “The retail banking industry has been revolutionised with mobile technology and until recently conducting simple transactions meant visiting a bank branch.

“Now banks are embracing the flexibility being offered by apps to enable customers to stay on top of their finances while they are on the move. Anyone with a tablet or smartphone can now take their bank branch with them.”

Dating apps have hacking vulnerabilities

A number of dating apps have been found to have vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers, says Kaspersky Lab.

The Russian firm says the vulnerabilities enable a user’s location to be accessed easily while the Android versions of some apps enable a user’s messages to be accessed.

Hackers can also, in some cases, log into a person’s profile.

The researchers say that the apps, including Zoosk, Tinder, WeChat and Happn, can have their location data hacked.

In separate research, Kaspersky also points out that growing numbers of us prefer to use mobile devices rather than computers for our online activities.

However, they add that there is a blasé attitude from users about their device’s security with online threats increasing.

In other Miratrix mobile app news …

An app unveiled by Facebook which is aimed at making users be more productive is now available as a desktop version. Workplace Chat, which is similar to Slack, could only previously be accessed via a mobile phone and, Facebook claims, around 30,000 organisations are now using the app.

Security experts at Check Point are warning that the Reaper botnet has now infected more than one million organisations and their computers and mobile devices. The firm says that those behind the network may be gearing up to wreak havoc soon.

Travel firm Booking.com says that in 2018 travellers will increasingly use technology and apps when arranging their travelling experiences. They also want to use technology to better understand their accommodation and destination before booking.

Amazon has unveiled a new Kindle app which will, the firm claims, encourage people to read more e-books using their mobile phones. They say the new app has been inspired by books and so the app has the ‘look and feel’ of reading a real book with larger book covers and new fonts. There’s also a new community tab for readers to access the Goodreads community.

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.

Free Service to Test Mobile App Security

A new online service for developers to use when testing their mobile phone app’s security and privacy has been unveiled.

The service from High-Tech Bridge, a web security firm, will perform dynamic (DAST) and static (SAST) testing as well as behavioural analysis of hybrid and native Android and iOS apps.

The system will analyse abilities and weaknesses and provide a user friendly report on remediation guidance.

The firm’s founder, Ilia Kolochenko, said: “Mobile apps are an inseparable part of private life and everyday business and, in light of data breaches, many research reports urge the improvement of mobile app privacy and security.

“Unfortunately, most developers don’t have the time, resources or budget to test properly their mobile app before going to production.”

He added that High-Tech Bridge will fill this gap with their unique and free online service.

WhatsApp will work with landline numbers

WhatsApp has unveiled plans for its new app to work with landline numbers and have a business focused messenger service to enable easier communication.

The new service will be separate from the firm’s regular app.

The firm says that small business owners that sign up to the new app will be able to use the business version and also the regular version on the same mobile phone.

WhatsApp says this will make it easier for business owners a separate their professional and personal lives, save stress and help with organisation.

They will also be open to link their firm’s landline number to their WhatsApp Business app without having to hand out their personal number to potential clients.

When calls or messages from customers reach the landline number, the business account user will access them from their mobile phone.

Guardian unveils new mobile VR app

The Guardian newspaper has unveiled its new mobile app for virtual reality (VR) story content and has given away nearly 100,000 headsets for users to enjoy.

The newspaper now has a five strong team developing the content for the emerging technology and they’ve publish nine projects so far including the experience of solitary confinement and the experiences of an autistic teenage girl.

The headsets are made of cardboard and have been released in partnership with Google and based on their simple design and for use with Android smartphones.

Other media outlets that have been investing in virtual reality and 360° video content include the New York Times and the BBC.

The popularity of the are headsets in the UK have been underlined with research from YouGov that says headsets are more popular than wearable technology and tablets with 6% of the UK’s population now owning one.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news …

Facebook has revealed that its Oculus Go AR device will be launched early next year. The firm has high hopes for the platform with app developers being encouraged to exploit the opportunity which does not need to be linked to a computer to be enjoyed.

The man who designed the iconic iPhone, Sir Jonathan Ive, says people are misusing it by constantly checking their handset. Sir Jonathan told a TechFest that people should not overuse their phones or apps.

Google has revealed that its Duo app will now equal what Apple’s FaceTime app has been doing since 2010. The new level of integration means Android users will quickly and easily place a video call with a contact.

It’s been a long time coming, but it appears that Microsoft’s Window 10 ambitions have now died. Microsoft says it will abandon its smart phone operating system and Bill Gates and the chief of the mobile operating platform have already switched to Android devices.