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Boeing enlists BlackBerry to help build their military grade secure phone

Posted by wicked December - 21 - 2014 - Sunday Comments Off

boeing

Boeing has long been building aircraft for commercial flight and military application alike, but did you know that they have also been supplying tools for secure communications to the U.S. military and government? Those tools include their self destructing Boeing Black smart phone.

Taking the Boeing Black to the next level, the Chicago headquartered company has teamed up with BlackBerry to leverage the Canadian smartphone maker’s BES 12 Enterprise Service software.

BlackBerry has not been on the greatest roll in the last few years. They were once considered innovators in the smartphone industry, but quickly fell off the radar when Android powered smartphone powerhouses began rapidly iterating their own hardware. Failing to keep up with the specs of the big-name phones from the likes of Samsung, Motorola, HTC, LG and Sony, has all but sent BlackBerry to bankruptcy.

Struggles in the hardware market are not the end for BlackBerry.

BlackBerry Z10 review

I was given a lesson once on BlackBerry’s software, with emphasis on the medical industry and enterprise solutions. I know now, 4 years later, that I should have paid more attention. What I do recall is that, at that time, BlackBerry was the only smartphone vendor that was approved through the Canadian medical system’s requirements for secure communications. Primarily due to their encryption and data compression techniques.

These tools are, in part, what Boeing will leverage for their Black phone, which itself offers full encryption of voice and data using Boeing’s PureSecure architecture.

The Boeing Black promises to be an interesting beast, for those few that will have the pleasure. They tout it as being tamper proof. Not to say that you can’t crack one of these guys open, but to do so will be very difficult, with epoxies holding things shut and fancy screws with heads that are very tamper evident. Worst of all for would-be bad guys, functions are built into the unit that will trigger a full data wipe and software lockdown, a self-destruct protocol.

Finally, the Boeing Black comes with two SIM slots, so users can securely connect to government networks and commercial networks alike, and an expansion port for things like more power or a satellite hook up. Otherwise, the folks at Boeing and BlackBerry are very tight lipped about the terms of their collaboration, as you would hope they would be for a U.S. defense and homeland security project.

Do you think BlackBerry should focus on their future as a securities software company, or do you think their latest consumer hardware is enough to keep them rolling?

Android customization – how to use LG’s Guest Mode

Posted by wicked December - 12 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

LG Guest Mode enter from lock screen

Last week on our Android customization series, we took to the default Android settings menu to control your display timeout. As an added bonus, we showed you where the automatic security lock lives as well, giving you the simplest and most basic control of your device to make it so that your display stays on longer, if that is what you desire.

Today, we would like to break the ‘good for all’ trend, by looking at an LG specific feature, Guest Mode.

The idea of a guest mode, as we will review today, is not exclusive to LG, Android introduced multiple user accounts a while ago. However, LG’s Guest Mode does not create a full separate user account, as the Android solution does. Guest Mode simply creates a new environment with limited access to apps and features, which operates on top of the existing user account.

Before we get started

There are no downloadable apps to install today, but you will need an LG device that is equipped with Guest mode. Guest Mode first became popular on the LG G2, but I will be showing it off on a brand new LG Realm. If this $20 phone, running LG’s skin on top of Android 4.4.2 KitKat, can handle Guest Mode, there is a good chance your newer LG device can too.

Finally, Guest Mode requires that you secure your device with the Pattern type security lock. If you are not already using a Pattern to secure your device, you’ll want to set that up now before you can proceed.

Enable and configure LG Guest Mode

If you are still a little unsure of what Guest Mode is on an LG device, be sure to head back to our previous coverage of the LG G2 and Guest Mode itself. The info is a little over a year old, but the premise remains the same.

To enable Guest Mode, simply head on into your main system Settings.

Under the Personal header, choose Guest Mode.

Look for the On/Off toggle switch and turn it on. If you have not yet set Pattern as your lock screen security, you will be prompted to do so now. Without a Pattern in place, Guest Mode will not turn on.

LG Guest Mode Settings

Tap on Set Pattern.

Create a new pattern that will be used by guests to unlock your device. Hit Continue, repeat the pattern and hit Confirm to complete this step.

LG Guest Mode Set pattern

Last, we need to decide which apps your guests will have access to. At first glance this sounds like a simple task, but keep in mind that Guest Mode is not a unique user account on your device, it is merely a locked down experience using your main account. What this means is that guests will have access to your data in any app that you give them access.

If you are setting up Guest Mode for your children, so that they can access games on your device without being able to access any other features, your privacy is easy enough to manage. However, if you are handing your device over to someone else, you may be tempted to include apps like a web browser, maps and more.

I will leave it to you to think this through, but a couple quick examples to be aware of, providing access to Google Camera allows a user to view your camera roll. More straightforward of an example, providing access to Gmail does not give them a blank slate to work with, it gives them your Gmail.

Simply tap on Set apps.

Hit the Edit button in the top right corner.

Choose the apps your guests get to use. In this particular LG device, you are limited to 20 app selections.

Tap OK to save and exit.

LG Guest Mode Set apps

That is all there is too it. Exit settings and go about your day.

How to use Guest Mode

LG’s Guest Mode is triggered from the lock screen on your device. You will need to turn off your display, and wait for the required time for the auto lock to secure your device. Be sure to look back over last week’s Android customization post if you need a refresher on how to manage this, or the Tasker tutorial on controlling your display, if you are using that.

From the lock screen, enter the Guest Mode pattern you had created earlier.

LG Guest Mode enter from lock screen

Once inside, guests are presented with a basic homescreen with icons for the apps you have provided access. Guests cannot access any other apps, nor can they get to the notification bar or app drawer. Guests can long press each app to re-arrange the layout of the homescreen, but that is about the extent of functionality, aside from running the apps, of course.

When finished, simply turn off the screen and back on again to get back to the lock screen. Enter your normal pattern and go back to your normal use.

One final note, guests can not access the Recents list, but anything they use will show in your list. This is a simple method to monitor what your guest was up to, if needed. Of course, if you are in the habit of keeping an empty Recents list, this just gives you a handful of apps to swipe away.

What’s next

While LG’s Guest Mode is not the absolute best way to secure your data when handing over your phone to anyone else, it does provide a decent method to allow a trusted user to access an app or two without messing with your stuff.

I would not consider Guest Mode to be secure enough to effectively lock out law enforcement, Customs or a TSA agent, if that becomes a situation for you during any holiday travel this Christmas season.

Next week

android 5 lollipop (2)

We hope that the LG users out there found this week’s Android customization post to be useful. We promise not to make a habit of offering tips and tricks on manufacturer and device specific tools, but we like the simplicity of LG’s Guest mode, and we thought you would too. Next week, we would like to take a look at a brand new feature in Android 5.0 Lollipop that allows you to take control of your device for your sleeping hours. I hope you’ll join us.

What tools do you use to secure your device when you hand it over to someone else?

Contest: Win 1 of 10 Lookout Premium annual subscriptions

Posted by wicked December - 10 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

Lookout_App_Large_Icon

With over 50 million users, Lookout has always been the leader when it comes to protecting our smartphones and tablets. The app has always been free, but if you want the ultimate protection, than look no further than a Lookout Premium Subscription. With Lookout Premium, you don’t have to worry about losing your data in the event that you lose your phone or tablet since it will automatically backup the important things like photos and call history. What happens if a thief steals your phone? You know they will try to remove the SIM card or enable Airplane Mode so you can’t track the device. Lookout will alert you of such actions and capture the last known location. This stuff is only the tip of the iceberg. How many apps do you think you have installed on your device that can track your personal information? Lookout can tell you instantly. Let’s not forget safe Web surfing and the ability to remotely lock or wipe your device.

All of this normally costs $29.99 a year and covers up to three devices. An amazing deal considering everything that you get. What if I were to tell you that you can have it for Free? That’s right, we have 10 Free 1-year subscriptions up for grabs. It doesn’t matter if you’re already using the free version or you are new to Lookout.

All you have to do is comment below and tell us what cool new gadget you want this holiday season. We can’t promise that you will get it, but we can promise you that if you’re one of the 10 random winners selected, your device(s) will be fully protected for 1 year at no cost to you.

Your entry needs to be in by Monday, December 15th at 11:59pm ET (One comment per person please). and don’t forget to use a real email address since that is how we will contact you if you win.

Be sure to download the app and give it a spin for free. Good Luck!!

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Play Store Download Link

 

 

Come comment on this article: Contest: Win 1 of 10 Lookout Premium annual subscriptions

Google-supported FIDO is on its way to killing traditional passwords

Posted by wicked December - 10 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

fido-alliance_w_600

For quite some time, Google has been trying to make passwords a thing of the past. Back in October, they announced Security Key, a physical USB key that’s part of the 2-step authentication process. They key is inserted into your computer, letting the computer know it’s actually you logging in. The groundwork for Security Key was developed by the FIDO (Fast Identification Online) Alliance, a group dedicated to developing alternative methods to verify a user’s identity online. Up until now, we haven’t heard much about the Security Key technology or FIDO making any progress.

Today, FIDO has released version 1.0 of their alternative password open standard. Version 1.0 will be more widely available for more sites to adopt the standard, and provide further cryptographic authentication to their users. Google’s Security Key is built on an earlier version of FIDO’s open standard, as is Samsung’s fingerprint scanner. This newer version is more stable and effective, and should be showing up around websites and apps within the coming months. FIDO’s open standard will also be updated next year with support for Bluetooth and NFC, allowing users to unlock their smartphones using even more types of technology.

So, what does this mean for you? Thanks to version 1.0, more online businesses will begin to adopt this technology, allowing you to use a physical USB key, fingerprint reader and/or other “password alternative” hardware (voice, bluetooth, etc) sooner rather than later. Even better, having one standard means that your device should work with services using FIDO technology, regardless of what OEM made it. Of course, this is a very substantial undertaking, so don’t be surprised if your favorite site or app doesn’t adopt the new standard right away.

FIDO wants to rid the world of passwords and lead us into a world of authentication, and it looks like they’re doing a pretty great job so far. With backers like Google, PayPal, Samsung, Microsoft and many other big names, we wouldn’t be surprised if this technology took off in the near future. What do you think of the idea of using fingerprints, voice and USB keys as part of the login process? Are you eager to see the days of traditional, sometimes confusing, passwords come to an end?

Intel’s McAfee Labs makes it security threat predictions for 2015 – singles out IoT

Posted by wicked December - 10 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

SecurityKnox

New York Post

McAfee Labs, part of Intel Security, has released its 2015 Threat Predictions report, with security related analysis and forecasts for the coming year. Like the saying, “meet the new boss, same as the old boss,” before reading these security reports you know it will say that there will be more malware, more attacks and generally more doom and gloom. While it is true that McAfee’s new report does say that, there are some very interesting insights into what 2015 could bring.

IoT

One area that will see a rapid increase in attacks is the Internet of Things. Attacks will increase rapidly due to the predicted fast growth in the number of connected objects, many of which will have poor levels of security. The sheer number and diversity of IoT devices is growing exponentially. Connected devices are appearing in our homes and in our cars. There are even IoT enabled light bulbs. But these present a real danger.

The BBC recently published an article about a website dedicated to streaming live feeds of hacked baby monitors and webcams.

At a white-hat hackers conference in 2013, researchers demonstrated how easily some Internet-connected security cameras can be hacked. Once breached the hackers can steal the video feed from the camera and gain entry to the camera’s network. During 2014 there have been several cases of attackers who have hijacked baby monitors and spied-on or even screamed at babies in their bedrooms. The BBC recently published an article about a website dedicated to streaming live feeds of hacked baby monitors and webcams. This is both creepy and disturbing. The site has 4,591 cameras listed in the US, 2,059 in France and 1,576 in the Netherlands.

As more devices become connected rogue sites will start to appear streaming all kinds of data from all types of IoT devices. The problem is that IoT devices themselves are not often built with security as a basic design goal. Instead the cost and ease-of-use are often the primary design principles, security and privacy are often neglected. The rapid growth in the number of IoT devices coupled with the lack of robust security represents a real threat to the privacy and security of both individuals and companies.

mcafee-global-IoT-forecast

Privacy

Another area which will continue to be a battlefield is privacy. 2014 has already highlighted the challenges and problems of individual privacy in the digital era. This will continue well into 2015, and probably further. If data privacy is defined as “the fair and authorized processing of personally identifiable information,” then the questions arise, what is “fair” and who is “authorized.”

The problem will be that the general populace might not agree with those definitions.

Fair is basically a subjective term, what I deem as unfair access to my data, a nation state or an employer might see as fair. And who is authorized? Many of us have committed a lot of our personally identifiable data to companies like Google. All our emails are there, our files in cloud storage, our photos, the list goes on. But who has access to that data other than myself? Also, sometimes the data collected by various apps and services (especially advertisers) is referred anonymous data or anonymized data. The latter meaning that all the personally identifiable information from data has been removed. However, there is lots of research that shows tat anonymous data isn’t really anonymous data.

As the debate continues, different countries will start to create and/or modify legislation to define what is fair access and who has authorization. The problem will be that the general populace might not agree with those definitions.

Mobile

Looking at smartphones and tablets specifically, McAfee predicts that we will see more attacks against mobile devices. That in itself isn’t shocking, but the reason given is not just because there are more mobile devices and so more opportunity for attacks, but rather that there is a growing availability of malware-generation kits and malware source code that target mobile devices. This lowers entry barrier for cyber-criminals to target mobile devices.

The continued use of third party stores, or direct app download websites will ensure that hackers have a way to spread their malware.

The Google Play store and the various built-in security features of Android will continue to protect users who only use trusted app stores, but the continued use of third party stores, or  direct app download websites will ensure that hackers have a way to spread their malware.

Summary

More malware, yes. More big data breaches like the recent Sony hack, yes. More scams and schemes to defraud honest users of their money, yes. We all knew that, but watch out for IoT, you don’t know who might have hacked one of your connected devices.

Are all flashlight apps really out to get you?

Posted by wicked December - 9 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off
flashlight apps permissions chart

Over the last couple of years, the focus on application permissions has been slowly but steadily gathering traction. This is great news because Android app permissions are the best way to determine what an app is doing without ripping the app apart Ron Amadeo-style and literally looking at what the app is doing in the code. Unfortunately, this has also created a new source of paranoia as users look at a permission that an app needs and immediately think of the worst case scenario which isn’t necessarily the correct mindset either.

A recent study performed by SnoopWall declared all flashlight apps unsafe and that people should get rid of them immediately. They produced a chart (pictured above) that shows the various permissions that the top ten flashlight apps ask for. It may look scary at first and that is kind of the intention. They are, in fact, Android apps and they do need permissions to function properly. However, there is a right and wrong way to do it.

As you can see in the flowchart, Super-Bright LED Flashlight, Brightest Flashlight Free, Brightest LED Flashlight, High-Powered Flashlight, and Flashlight LED Torch Light all seem to require more permissions than the others. The most likely scenario is that they gather data to make a user profile which they then sell. It sounds alarming but a lot of companies do this to make money and that’s what allows them to give away their services and apps for free. Other notable apps and services that have done this include Angry Birds, Dictionary.com, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and yes, even Apple.

SnoopWall recommends that you uninstall your flashlight app immediately and install their security flashlight. They also recommend never using Bluetooth except in your car, never using NFC except for critical applications, and even putting masking tape over your webcam when you’re not using it or pulling the battery from your smartphone when not in use. These are a tad alarmist and unreasonable for most users unless you’re in an airport with a lot of seedy looking people.

Flashlight apps permissions

Aren’t these flashlight apps spyware?

Whether or not these practices are bad are determined by each individual’s opinion on personal privacy. There are many people who don’t mind having their information collected and sold in return for free use of an app or service. On the other hand, there are many people who do mind. The important thing to remember is that neither side is wrong because it’s their data and they can give it to whomever they choose.

Another important factoid is that these apps aren’t spyware or malware. It is true that they act like spyware but the difference is in the details. Spyware collects your information, changes your system settings, and sends data to a third party without your consent. However, thanks to the Android permission system, you can see that these apps distinctly ask for your location, call history, and other information before you install it and thanks to recent changes, all Android apps have permission to access the internet. That means that installing the application gives it permission to access and transmit this data thereby negating the primary characteristics that define spyware.

In most cases, malware doesn’t work on Android at all as long as you have the “install from Unknown Sources” setting in your privacy settings disabled which it is by default. Without the ability to install garbage from sources outside of the Google Play Store, most malware is rendered useless. Since the Google Play Store is strictly regulated, there is almost a zero chance of malware ever making it to your smartphone to begin with.

flashlight apps permissions 2

Are all flashlight apps out to get us?

The answer to that is up to personal interpretation and that’s what makes this subject so volatile. The phrase “out to get us” is fairly ambiguous. Are some of these flashlight apps gathering data about you to sell to third parties to make a few bucks thus justifying them giving you the app for free? Yes. That is something that happens often and not just in flashlights. Whether or not it’s a bad thing depends on your personal view on security. Like I said earlier, some people don’t mind and others do.

It’s also important to note that not all flashlight apps collect data. On that flowchart alone there are two applications that have the bare minimum permissions to function and that is Tiny Flashlight and Color Flashlight. There are dozens, maybe hunderds, more in the Google Play Store that don’t ask for any additional permissions. To come to the conclusion that all flashlight apps are bad based on such a small data set is irresponsible and makes many clean flashlight apps (and the developers of those apps) look bad.

The bottom line is that some of these flashlight apps are out to collect some personal data and sell it. However, these apps are very easy to spot if you read their permissions. There are plenty of others that don’t ask for those permissions. The answer to the question posed above is no, not all flashlight apps are out to get you.

How do we stay safe?

There are varying degrees of safe and that makes recommendations here difficult. If you’re really into protecting your privacy at any cost, the Snoopwall method isn’t half bad. You’ll be spending more time in your settings turning things on and off than most and you’ll be researching permission use for every app you download but it is effective if you plan on going that route.

There is a more pragmatic set of steps you can take to keep you relatively safe. They include:

  1. Read the permissions (and the terms of service and privacy policy where applicable) and if you don’t like them then don’t install the app or use the service.
  2. Leave the Install from Unknown Sources setting disabled. Apps can’t install from anywhere aside from the Play Store as long as this setting is disabled. It’s generally disabled by default so you shouldn’t have to make any changes.
  3. Use Verify Apps (enabled by default) which allows Google to check the app against its database to make sure that it’s safe. You can read more about that here.
  4. Only install applications from the Google Play Store or the Amazon Appstore. These sites are regulated by Google and Amazon respectively and problematic apps are usually stopped at the gate.
  5. If you visit seedy websites, or click on seedy ads, don’t install whatever it is they try to get you to download. It isn’t safe. If you do download something, use a file manager and delete it immediately.
  6. Use your common sense. If something doesn’t feel right then don’t do it.

A lot of people don’t like antivirus apps because following the steps above generally negates the need for one. However, if you’re lazy or you don’t feel confident in your knowledge of permissions or usage habits then having one isn’t a horrible idea. You can find a list of great antivirus apps here if that sounds like you.

Wrap up

The most important thing when it comes to security and privacy is to keep calm and approach the problem with a level head. You know what level of security and privacy you require and it’s just a matter of taking the appropriate steps to avoid complications. These kinds of activities are not going away any time soon because they’re profitable. That may not be preferable but it is nothing to be alarmed about.

Six things to do before selling your Android device

Posted by wicked December - 1 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

new moto x first look aa (14 of 21)

While selling your Android device may seem like a no-brainer, there are actually quite a few steps you should take before you simply hand over your old phone to its new owner. It’s important to make sure all of your information is backed up, removed, and safely in your hands.

Let’s face it, there are some sketchy people out there. A lot of them are well-intentioned, trustworthy people that just want a sweet, inexpensive Android device. But then there are the bad eggs – people who want not only your device, but the data that comes with it – and there are a few things you can do to prevent that from happening.

Here are six important steps you should take before selling your Android device.

Deactivate your phone from your wireless carrier

First and foremost, this step should be done before you even mess with your device. It’s the step that many people forget to do, though it’s one of the most important steps. Not only does it set your buyer up for success, it causes a lot of headaches – for both parties – if skipped over.

If you neglect to remove the device from your service provider, your buyer won’t be able to activate it when the time comes to do so. What if they try to contact you to get it straightened out? They may not have your email address or your new number. In many cases, this will be done automatically if you transfer your existing number to your new phone, or if you have a GSM device and remove the SIM card. It would also be difficult to “forget” that you have an extra line on your account that you’re paying for. But it still does happen, so here’s your reminder to do so!

01 Titanium Backup - Best Root Apps

Back up your data

Before backing up your data to an external drive, it might be best to wait until you get your replacement device first. If you’re replacing a phone or a tablet, the easiest way to complete this step is to simply transfer all of your important data to your new device, rather than transferring it later. Android 5.0 Lollipop makes this step extremely easy, allowing you to copy all of your data to the new device during the set up process. If you aren’t replacing your device, here’s what you’ll need to do.

For most, the most important data is pictures, videos, and music, and that can be done as simply as removing your SD card and putting it in a computer to back up. If your current device doesn’t have an external memory card, you’ll need to connect the device to a computer with your MicroUSB cable. From here, you can drag and drop the files you need to your computer. If you’re using this method, many Android devices store multimedia files in the DCIM folder, so pay attention to that when you hook up your device.

Transferring contacts is even easier, since most users’ contacts are likely already synced with their existing Google account. Once you add in your Google account info to the new device, your contacts will appear automatically. One way to make sure your contacts are backed up is to head to Settings>Accounts>Google>your email address, then make sure “Contacts” is checked and synced.

For those looking for a ‘deeper’ backup solution, there’s plenty of solid software solutions out there to get the job done, including Titanium Launcher or Carbon.

SIM Cards

Remove SIM/microSD cards

On some devices, contacts and call logs can be stored on your SIM or microSD cards, so it’s really important that you remove these before selling. Chances are, you’re not going to want to give up either of these when selling the device, so keeping them to yourself is a great way to ensure security.

If you do plan to give away your microSD card, be sure to at least back up the contents and thoroughly wipe the card.

android encryption

Encrypt/factory data reset

Now here’s the fun part. Completely erasing your data, or performing a “factory data reset”, is the no-turning-back point of the process. Doing so can’t be reverted, so make sure you’ve followed the above steps before you perform this step. Before we get into the process of erasing your data, you’ll need to decide how trustworthy your buyer is. This can be hard to grasp, but there are a few extra steps you can take to ensure none of your data is compromised.

First, let’s start with the basics. Performing a factory data reset will be enough for most users, as it erases everything on the device. Once you perform one, your device will be back to factory settings and all of your information will be removed. The easiest way to do this is to head to Settings>Backup & reset> Factory data reset. You’ll likely need to enter in your PIN or passcode (if you have one set up). After this, your phone will get to work. It usually doesn’t take more than a few minutes for the process to complete. Keep in mind, if you kept a removable SD card in the device, the reset process likely didn’t erase the contents of the card.

A way to more deeply secure your data from being stolen is to encrypt the device before performing the reset

When it comes to factory data resets, it erases most of the data on the device. There is a way to recover some leftover data that the reset likely missed, though it requires some digging. A way to more deeply secure your data from being stolen is to encrypt the device before performing the reset. Encrypting the device will ensure the data won’t be able to be recovered by anyone (except for maybe a super-hacker extraordinaire, but the odds are pretty low..). If you choose to encrypt, use our easy-to-follow guide on how to encrypt your Android device. After you encrypt the device, you can then perform a factory data reset.

Simply resetting the device will be enough for most users, but if you want some added comfort, encryption prior to the reset is the way to go. It’s also worth noting that you might need to relock your bootloader and perform other similar steps if you are someone that has modded your device, though really it depends on the buyer. Some buyers won’t mind if you leave your phone’s bootloader unlocked and/or have a custom ROM on there instead of the ‘default’.

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Include/remove any spare accessories

When selling your device, it’s always important to include the stock accessories and extras that originally came with it, unless you’ve clearly told the buyer otherwise. Make sure to take out any aftermarket batteries you’re currently using. If it’s the only working battery you have for the device, make sure the buyer knows prior to the sale.

Clean it!

This is a small step, but we still find it important. Cleaning your device is a nice gesture, and makes the buyer feel like they’re getting their money’s worth. Wiping of the screen, removing any dust or build-up, and cleaning inside the ports is a great way to ensure your customer will be happy. In addition to cleaning it, it doesn’t hurt to have the device fully charged and ready to go for the new owner once they get their hands on it.


Well there you have it. If you follow these steps, your data will be safe and your selling process will go more smoothly than ever. If you have any questions or suggestions regarding any of these steps, or any additional steps you’d like to share, feel free to tell us about them in the comments.

Google makes it simple to track your account and associated devices

Posted by wicked November - 25 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

Best Android Phones front Nexus 5 LG G2 Sony Xperia Z1 Galaxy Note 3

In an effort to improve device security and give users peace of mind, Google has released a new set of security tools located in your Google Account settings. Although intended for IT managers, anyone can make use of these new features.

The Device and Activity Dashboard, which can be found at this link, lets you track all the devices associated with your Google account that have been active in the last 28 days and those that are currently signed in. You can view where and when different devices logged in, link directly to the Android Device Manager to find your phone or tablet, and can also remove account access from your Android devices, if so required.

Google Device Activity and Security

Alongside the new tracking feature, Google’s security wizard will also help you set-up recovery information for your device, should you ever be unfortunately enough to lose it.  The wizard also guides you through reviewing recent account activities and setting up various app permissions.

It is nice to see that Google is taking account security seriously. Let us know what you think if you try out the new tools.

Google introduces new Device and Activity Dashboard

Posted by wicked November - 24 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

google_devices_and_activity_page

Today, Google announced new security tools to keep track of the devices attached to an account. The Devices and Activity Dashboard is a hub for connected hardware. It monitors phones, tablets, computers, and Chromebooks to show activity. Where was the device used? When was it used? What browser was used? All of these questions are answered by the Devices and Activity Dashboard. If a user notices something suspicious, he or she can hit the dedicated “Secure your account” button.

google_security_wizard_sample

The other item arriving today is what Google calls a “security wizard” for Google for Work accounts. Security features can be activated or adjusted from this area. Features that can be utilized include recovery information, recent activity, account permissions, and app passwords. Users can only make changes to features that they have permission to use.

Source: Official Google for Work Blog

Come comment on this article: Google introduces new Device and Activity Dashboard

Help a stranger return your lost Android device, place contact info on your lock screen

Posted by wicked November - 23 - 2014 - Sunday Comments Off

Android Security Lost device Owner Info Lock Screen

If you’ve ever lost something, something important like a wallet or, say, a smartphone, there is nothing better than that feeling when a stranger calls you up and returns your lost property. In terms of a lost Android device, seeing your gear returned safely is much more likely if you help that stranger out a little bit. One of the best ways to do that is to place your contact info on your lock screen.

Now, we’re not suggesting you place anything critical on your lock screen, the purpose of which, after all, is to keep your data secure. But perhaps your name and a home phone number would be acceptable.

The process is actually pretty simple, fire up your system Settings, head on into the Security section and tap on Owner Info.

Now, tap the checkbox to turn on ‘Show owner info on lock screen‘ and fill in what you would like it to say. Myself, I choose not to put my name, inserting only the text “If found, please call ###-###-####” – with my real home phone number, of course.

Android Security Lost device Owner Info

Go ahead and back out of your settings and go about your day. The next time your Android device turns on, and lands on the lock screen, of course, you will be greeted with your message.

There you have it, if ever you misplace your device, anyone that picks it up will be presented with a straightforward method of contacting you, making it all that much easier, and more likely, that a stranger shall return your beloved, but misplaced, Android device.

Does anyone have any great stories to share of lost phones returned to their owners? Maybe you just want to thank a stranger that did you good, perhaps you met the love of your life this way… OK, that was a stretch, but hey, if it happened to you, we want to hear about it in the comments below.

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