March 5, 2014
A report suggests adverts on mobile phones have now overtaken pornography as the biggest malware threat. The BBC reports.
Research by security company Blue Coat suggests web adverts have overtaken pornography as the most common way for users to encounter a malware threat.
...Adverts make up 12% of requested content but are responsible for nearly 20% of attacks.
The adverts are often displayed through "legitimate ad networks" but contain "malicious code" or direct users to "malicious sites".
The report states that the threat of malware from web ads has increased almost three times since it last looked at data relating to the trend in 2012.
Cisco's 2014 Annual Security Report noted that although mobile malware was "not a significant percentage" of web malware encounters "it is still worth noting because mobile malware is clearly an emerging area of exploration for malware developers".
It also found that when mobile malware is intended to compromise a device, it is nearly always targeted at Android devices.
An ap after my own heart.
It’s an image recognition service that matches photos of clothing and accessories to products in its database of thousands of images from retailers including Barneys, Neiman Marcus, and Topshop. ASAP54 launched last Friday after raising $3.75 million in venture capital.
Here’s how it works: Upload a picture of the item you want--one you might’ve surreptitiously snapped of a stylish bag on the subway, for example, or a photo you saw online--and search it by category. The app scans thousands of listed items, comparing fabrics and designs, and delivers results most similar to your item, with links to where you can buy it. As of now, there are about 700,000 pieces in ASAP’s database, but that number should reach 3 million by September.
March 4, 2014
A smartphone-sized device is being used to monitor water pumps across Rwanda, making it easier to locate broken pumps and quicker to fix them. SciDev reports.
Developed by Portland State University in the United States, one battery-powered device is installed on each pump. Its SIM card sends information on water flow and the general state of the system to a central server.
Although the prototype costs around US$500, its developers say this is a worthwhile investment considering that each pump costs around US$15,000.
By the end of the year, 200 devices are due to be installed in Rwanda, helping to improve water access by reducing system failures.
China’s National People’s Congress–a parliamentary session that exists to rubber stamp new laws and policies—is meant to be a show of unity for the Chinese communist party. So officials, according to Quartz, are taking special pains to stage-manage the 10-day conference.
Do not use your phones to send text messages or make phone calls during meeting; do not use your computer or phone to play games. Representatives are not allowed to use means such as Weibo and Wechat to live broadcast the conference.
Read full article.
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Using Our SMS Gateway API
Chinese cybercriminals are increasingly targeting mobile users via a vast underground network of tools and services, according to a security firm study, reports the BBC.
Security firm Trend Micro outlines the popular methods used by Chinese gangs to make money from the mobile web.
The Mobile Cybercriminal Underground Market report outlines some of the key businesses operating in this vast and sophisticated network — and details how cheap some mobile malware kits can be - from as little as 100 yuan (£9.70).
February 28, 2014
Unlike talking on a cell phone or texting while driving, a court of appeals rules that using a map app is OK under the law. C/net reports.
Texting or chatting on the phone while driving is illegal in California, but the law seems still to be catching up with technology when it comes to other aspects of smartphone use behind the wheel.
A court of appeals has reversed an earlier court decision that ruled map reading on a cell phone was taboo under the law, according to the Associated Press. The 5th District Court of Appeal said the law currently applies only to talking and texting on mobile devices and doesn't yet have legal language for app use.
Read full article.
February 27, 2014
The iPhone was only introduced in 2007. Still, it’s sobering to realize that such a significant portion of the population is getting along without smartphones, free from the constant yammering of app notifications.
What might be more shocking still is that just 87 percent of Americans use the Internet. That’s something like 39 million people in this country who aren’t online at all.
Most of those 39 million are in the 65+ age group, but 7 percent of those even in the 30 to 49 age group indicated they live their lives totally offline.
According to a new Nielsen report, the average American now spends more time in front of his or her smartphone than in front of a PC.
From a birds-eye-view snapshot of the mobile landscape, it’s not just smartphone penetration that’s growing. Consumers are also spending more time using them, as time spent using smartphones now exceeds Web usage on computers in the U.S., U.K. and Italy.
-- Americans spent 34 hours using smartphone apps and on the mobile Web in December 2013, up six hours from December 2012.
-- Britons spent a whopping 41 hours using their smartphones during December 2013.
And Italians used their smartphones about twice as long (37 hours) as they spent on the Web via their PCs (18 hours) in December.
[via TIME Techland]
Two years after the original news leaked that Boing was working on the smartphone, the company has filed papers with the FCC to develop a smartphone for people in the business of secrets. The phone, simply called “Black,” will run an Android-variant operating system, be compatible with other technology, and—like any good spy phone—will self-destruct if you try to figure out its secrets.
Boeing is claiming that its hardware specs are exempt from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests because they contains “trade secrets” and are vital to national security. Anyone who is issued a Boeing Black will have to agree in a non-disclosure agreement to stay mum about the phone’s hardware, software, performance, applications, and anything else Boeing decides is “proprietary information.” And the filing has this message for anyone who tries to circumvent those bureaucratic channels.
February 24, 2014
WhatsApp Co-founder and chief executive Jan Koum announced Monday at Mobile World Congress that the text-messaging startup, which Facebook is buying for $19 billion, will introduce voice communication to its 465 million users, part of its goal to reach more than a billion users. C/net reports.
We want to make sure people always have the ability to stay in touch with their friends and loved ones really affordably. "We're going to introduce voice on WhatsApp in the second quarter of this year.
Read full article.
February 16, 2014
Textually has been slow because I'm travelling in Asia. Tomorrow Myanmar for 10 days. Back to blogging on February 25.
February 15, 2014
As it turns out, mobile phones probably aren’t giving us cancer. But the computers inside them could help cure it. Quartz reports.
Smartphones have incredible processing power. Now your phone can serve as part of a sophisticated research computer–even if all you do with it is play Candy Crush. The Power Sleep app, now available for Android devices on the Google Play Store, lets your phone work for a noble cause while you’re not using it.
Created by Samsung Austria and the University of Vienna, the app also works as an alarm clock. When you set the alarm, it knows that you’re done with the phone for the night, and that’s the signal for the data processing to begin. The app uses your phone to process data from the Similarity Matrix of Proteins (SIMAP), a database that computes similarities between different protein sequences.
February 13, 2014
China’s smartphone market may be the world’s largest, but the country posted its first decrease in shipments in more than two years during the final three months of last year. [via TheNextWeb]
That’s according to a new report from IDC, which claims 90.8 million smartphones were shipped during Q4 2013, down 4 percent from 94.8 million in the previous quarter. That’s notable because shipment numbers in China have surged thanks to nine successive quarters of growth.
Before we start proclaiming that China’s smartphone revolution has peaked, it’s important to bear in mind a few caveats. China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier, recently switched on its 4G network. Compatible devices are not expected to arrive until early 2014, so the launch of the 4G network may have affected shipments numbers during the final stages of 2013.
The United Kingdom's 11-years long Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme (MTHR) has today published a comprehensive report that summarizes 31 research projects, which investigated the potential for biological or adverse health effects of mobile phone and wireless signals on humans (e.g. as a cause for various cancers or other disorders). The good news is that the study, which has resulted in nearly 60 papers appearing in peer-reviewed scientific journals, found 'no evidence' of a danger from mobile transmissions in the typically low frequency radio spectrum bands (e.g. 900MHz and 1800MHz etc.)."
February 6, 2014
The tool, called “Flow,” allows shoppers to identify products from their home or brick-and-mortar stores by holding a camera-equipped phone in front of the object. Behind the scenes, Amazon’s technology matches the object’s identifying traits—logos, artwork or other labeling—with its own database of images. If it has a product with similar markings, it adds it to a shopping list.
Flow is Amazon’s attempt to upgrade smartphone barcode scanners, which have given consumers a lot more power to check and compare prices, especially in stores. Barcodes are small and often require the smartphone camera to focus; also, in many cases they must be scanned individually. Flow earned its name because multiple objects can be scanned all at once, by simply waving the phone across them in succession.
Flow has been around for several years in standalone apps, ut this marks the first time Amazon has integrated it into its popular mobile shopping app.
February 5, 2014
A new study released Tuesday by security software firm McAfee titled "Love, Relationships, and Technology" details just how many people send risque photos or intimate texts to people they know or strangers. C/net reports.
McAfee online security expert Robert Siciliano wrote in a blog post that a number of adults share "private details about their lives, including those of an intimate nature such as nude photos and sexts -- all of this on unsecured digital devices -- now, that's just asking for a social scandal."
McAfee wrote than 96 percent of people use their phones to take pictures, and 49 percent send or receive sexual content via video, photo, e-mail, or messaging. People also store this provocative correspondence -- 50 percent of adults store sexts and images they receive. While the majority of sexters, 77 percent, send this racy content to their significant others, 16 percent send it to complete strangers.
Unsurprisingly, the age group that is most keen on sexting is 18 to 24-year-olds -- 70 percent of people in this age group receive sexually suggestive photos and messages. Also, men are more likely than women to send and receive intimate information -- 61 percent of men partake in sexting and suggestive photo taking, while 48 percent of women do.
SMS text messaging is and will remain the most ubiquitous medium for messaging. There already are 326 million text enabled mobile numbers in the U.S., and according to a recent study from the Pew Research Center, 81 percent of mobile consumers use their phone to send and receive text messages. Wired reports.
There has been a lot of attention lately on new “over-the-top” (OTT) messaging platforms and how those apps are giving traditional SMS a run for its money. The OTT fans point to the uniqueness of the applications and how innovative they are: They let users sign in with a name instead of a number. They facilitate group messaging. They let you play interactive games with and send photos to your friends.
It’s true that tens of millions of people (the vast majority of them teenagers) are signing up for these services to give them a try. Why not? They’re the new shiny objects, they’re intriguing, they’re fun — and they’re free.
But are these OTT services truly a threat to the prominence of the SMS medium overall? Are these novelty services ever going to replace text messaging as the preferred form of high priority communications? Absolutely not. When people need to send and receive important messages, they’re going to use the native SMS app on their device that sends a message from the phone number everyone knows.
Everyone is texting. With the evolution of the SMS platform, they can now text to and from any number, to and from any connected device.
Read full article.
February 3, 2014
At the time of its initial public offering last year, Facebook didn’t make any money from its users on phones. Now, for the first time, the majority of its advertising revenue (53%) comes from mobile. Quartz reports.
The company just reported very strong fourth-quarter earnings: $0.31 a share on revenue of $2.33 billion. Those figures beat analyst expectations, and the stock is up more than 10% after hours.
Facebook’s growth, in revenue and users, can be attributed almost entirely to mobile. It had 945 million monthly active users on its mobile apps alone at the end of last year; 59% of them used the app every day.
Read full article.
Related: - Facebook's mobile journey has only just begun, but already makes money (The Guardian)
The number of messages sent this year was double that of last year, an indication of Weixin’s increasing use among the Chinese. The messaging service has an estimated 500 million plus registered users in China alone, while it has 270 million active users worldwide.
January 29, 2014
Mxit makes a popular mobile messaging app and claims 7.4 million monthly active users, with just under a million of those outside South Africa. Some 35 million Indians use WhatsApp and 10 million use the Japanese app Line. Quartz reports.
Mxit makes a popular mobile messaging app and claims 7.4 million monthly active users, with just under a million of those outside South Africa. Some 35 million Indians use WhatsApp and 10 million use the Japanese app Line.
... A big reason for Mxit’s popularity in South Africa has been that it supports feature phones, allowing users to use the app with weak 2G connections on phones never really made for the internet. This leads to network effects; people with many friends on feature phones will want to use a service that can help them connect to all their friends, not just those with smartphones. In poorer countries such as South Africa and India, the likelihood that a group of friends will use a wide variety of phones is greater than in the all-but-saturated mature markets of the west.
Read full article.
January 28, 2014
According to market research firm IDC, 1.004 billion smartphones were shipped last year, marking a 38.4% increase from the previous year.
South Korea's Samsung accounted for the bulk of that figure, followed by Apple and China's Huawei.
Smartphones made up more than half of the 1.8 billion mobile phones sold.
IDC said this was the first time more than one billion smartphone units were shipped in a single year.
"Among the top trends driving smartphone growth are large screen devices and low cost," said Ryan Reith, program director with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. "Of the two, I have to say that low cost is the key difference-maker.
Read full article.
January 27, 2014
According to the WSJ, Apple is laying the groundwork for an expanded mobile-payments service, leveraging its growing base of iPhone and iPad users and the hundreds of millions of credit cards on file through its iTunes stores.
... A payment service would launch Apple into what is becoming a fierce battle over how people pay through mobile devices. Other players include eBay's EBAY PayPal unit, Google Inc. and startups such as Square Inc. and Stripe Inc. Forrester Research estimates that Americans will spend $90 billion through mobile payments by 2017, up from $12.8 billion in 2012.
Read full article.
January 24, 2014
Earlier this week, the Ukrainian government sent out a mass text message to every cell phone-carrying protester it determined to be "a participant in a mass disturbance," alerting them to their eligibility for arrest under a draconian new anti-protest law. Suddenly, every cell phone-carrying Ukrainian in the wrong place at the wrong time was left vulnerable—the state was exploiting smartphones and their signals to try to stamp out dissent. Motherboard reports.
Now, the same authorities are again turning to smartphones as tools by which to suppress dissent, but this time it's the police themselves that are wielding the mobile technology. This disturbing video, filmed with a smartphone, depicts police inflicting brutal, abuse and harassment on a naked protester. It went viral yesterday and has had over a million views.
Read full article.
January 23, 2014
Reading or sending text messages while walking changes a person's balance, according to a latest study. [via ScienceWorld Report]
The study conducted by researchers at the University of Queensland claims that texting on cell phones while walking not only changes the posture but also affects the balance of the person and can cause injuries in some.
January 22, 2014
A Virginia Tech research team unveiled a new sugar-powered battery Tuesday that could replace conventional batteries in cell phones and tablets in as little as three years. TIME Techland reports.
The battery uses chemical reactions to generate electricity from molecules found in sugar. While not the first sugar-powered battery developed, this early prototype reportedly has a higher energy density and needs refueling far less often than other models.
Read full article.
January 21, 2014
The Ukrainian government used telephone technology to pinpoint the locations of cellphones in use near clashes between riot police officers and protesters early on Tuesday. Reason.com reports on disturbing news from the NYTimes.
People near the fighting between riot police and protesters received a text message shortly after midnight saying “Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”
The phrasing echoed language in a new law making participation in a protest deemed violent a crime punishable by imprisonment. The law took effect on Tuesday.
This law and a package of other legislation passed by pro-government political parties in Parliament appeared modeled on rules in neighboring Russia, which has pioneered the coordination of legislation tightening rules on free speech and public assembly with technological capabilities.
Read full article.
During the DLD conference in Germany, WhatsApp CEO, Jan Koum, said WhatsApp now has more than 430 million monthly active users, which makes it the worlds largest messaging app. Morethan 36 billion outbound messages are sent in a day while 18 billion inbound messages are received each day.
Associate Professor of Sociology Professor Bradley Wright of the University of Connecticut has all types of questions for his research: Did you pray in the last 24 hours? To what extent are you feeling nurtured or angry with God? Do you feel a sense of purpose right now? Wireless Week reports.
And he'd like the answers in real time, launching soulpulse.com, a website that sends texts to smartphones that it's time for participants to take the twice-daily survey. It's part of an ambitious look by Wright and other researchers into the role of spirituality in the daily lives of Americans and its links to well-being.
Wright is hoping the effort will shed light on a wide range of issues: Do people feel closer to God or more distant after they're on Facebook? How did attending church service affect them? Does spirituality help with social isolation? Does amount of sleep affect spiritual awareness?
Read full article.
January 16, 2014
According to The Guardian, the NSA has collected almost 200 million text messages a day from across the globe, using them to extract data including location, contact networks and credit card details, according to top-secret documents.
The untargeted collection and storage of SMS messages – including their contacts – is revealed in a joint investigation between the Guardian and the UK’s Channel 4 News based on material provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
It integrates a lot of the privacy functionality of Zimmerman's Silent Circle, which makes Android-based privacy tools (secure calls, messaging, storage and proxies). Blackphone also runs Android, with a skin that switches on all the security stuff by default. The company is based in Switzerland, whose government privacy rules are better than most.
Pre-ordering begins at Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, Spain. February 24, 2014. Image via Engadget.
January 15, 2014
Texting while driving is becoming a big barrier to road safety. In the US, text messaging while behind the wheel makes a crash up to 23 times more likely, and yet over 77% of young American adults believe they’re capable of doing so “safely.”
Samsung, however, has a mobile phone app attempting to fix the problem.
The mobile phone giant just launched an Android app called Eyes on the Road, a game that prevents users from using their phones in potentially harmful ways (for instance, texting) while driving.