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.

Mobile Phone Apps for Banking Use Soar

More bank customers are switching to accessing their account information with mobile phone apps rather than using desktop computers.

According to the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), customers were logging onto banking websites from their desktop computers, on average, 4.3 million times every day last year, that’s down from 4.4 million in the year before.

Meanwhile, the use of apps on tablets and mobile phones rocketed to 11 million logins every day last year – up from 7 million logins the year before.

The BBA’s chief executive, Anthony Browne, said that customers are loving the new technology that enables them to do banking around the clock.

The report from the Association also reveals that customers who make payments are still preferring to use their computer rather than a mobile app.

Last year, customers made 417 million payments on the Internet compared with 347 million payments made via a mobile phone app – though the number made by phone rocketed by 54% last year.

There’s also a slew of new app-based banks which make it easier for customers to carry out a range of transactions while they are only move and they include Tandem, Starling and Atom.

Mobile phone app stops Uber

While Uber continues its march to dominate the world’s use of taxis, it has spectacularly failed to launch in one British city after local cabbies launched their own mobile phone app.

Taxi drivers in Oxford responded when Uber announced it would launch a service in the university town.

The firm applied to set-up its service there and said more than 50,000 people had tried to access its service from Oxford even though there was no service available.

However, private hire firms and licensed taxi drivers rallied and in a bid to block the firm, they developed their own mobile phone app which enables users to request a car.

Uber’s bid to set up a service in the city has now been rejected after it failed to submit details in time.

Firms clamour to join Pokemon Go

The world has apparently gone mad for the phone app Pokemon Go and now it’s been revealed that restaurants and pubs in the UK are paying £100 every day to become Pokemon Go destinations.

The idea is they will lure gamers into their premises as they hunt for the game’s characters.

Indeed, Maxwell’s burger restaurant in London says it has boosted its revenues by 26%.

The trend has been dubbed ‘Pokemonomics’ as businesses pay for virtual creatures to be found.

A social club in Reading says its revenues grow by 10% after it paid to become a destination.

Launched on 13 July in the UK, it has been downloaded more than 5 million times and now has more than 21 million users around the world.

However, one leading psychologist says playing the game is bad for people’s health and warned parents to restrict the time their children play Pokemon Go on their mobile phones.

John Oates, a lecturer with the Open University, says the craze will prevent young people from developing their social skills and that no one should play for more than two hours a day – and then only six days a week.

China is new big player in mobile gaming market

Research has revealed that China has now gone past the United States as the leading generator of iOS game revenue.

App Annie says the surge is probably the result of a huge growth in multiplayer collaborative games and these have contributed around 75% of the App Store’s revenue.

Most of the top revenue earning mobile phone games in China are generally developed locally and include Hero Moba.

Now experts say that the huge earning potential in China will boost Western mobile phone app developers to enter the Chinese market.

Free app allows people to donate food

A new app has been unveiled for people living in Cardiff that allows them to give away food rather than waste it.

The app connects neighbours, cafes and independent shops to encourage them to share their surplus food instead of binning it.

Called Olio, it is the first ever food sharing app in the UK and aims to combat food waste in Cardiff.

Described as being the Freecycle for food, smart phone users can share food that is close to its use by date from markets, cafes and shops and also pick up vegetables from allotments as well as cakes from bakers.

Users simply take a photograph of their food, place it on the app and they can also put a price on it but they must tell people when to pick it up. The system then sends an alert out to all nearby users and also reminds them in future when more food is put up for offer.

In other Miratrix mobile phone app news…

The US Congress has released a long delayed report asking what can be done to plug the gap between privacy protection and the use of health gadgets including mobile phone apps. While the report says the law is failing to keep up with the pace of progress, it offered no solutions as to how to protect privacy.

Popular pub chain Wetherspoon’s has launched its ‘Order and Pay’ mobile phone app which enables users to browse its menu and select food and drink items without leaving their table.