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Safer Internet Day: Do a Security Checkup, get free 2GB Google Drive storage

Posted by wicked February - 9 - 2016 - Tuesday Comments Off

Safer web internet security

Did you know it’s Safer Internet Day today? We just found out a while ago and so we’re curious as to what is it about. How do we celebrate this day? How do you make the Internet safer? There are many ways but you only need to do the most important ones like keeping security settings simple, discussing security measures with the children, or if you’re a teacher, enrolling class for a free digital license.

You can be safe online if you regularly do a checkup like the one Google is offering. Click on the Security Checkup link and you’ll be directed to a page that shows this:

google security checkup

You have total control of your Google Account security settings. Make sure you check your recovery information. Update details like recovery phone, email, and security question. Google will contact you if there is any unusual activity detected. If you get locked out accidentally from your account, Google will reach you using those contact information you provided. Change your password as often as you like to be sure.

You should also check and update connected devices, as well as, check account permissions.

Connected Devices:
check connected devices

Account Permissions:
check acct permission

To motivate you, Google will be giving 2GB of extra space on Google Drive.

Talking to your kids these days is important. You have to explain to them the importance of the Internet in our everyday lives and explain how one can be safe and secure. Don’t let your kinds wander around the Web on their own. Be with them if you can so you’ll know what they are doing. The topic of child’s digital safety is significant so start that conversation with your kids.

You can also utilize a lot of tools online like the YouTube Kids app, 2-factor authentication, Safety Mode in YouTube, and SafeSearch. Set these things up for the children so you can be confident that they are safe and won’t be going to any prohibited area in cyberspace. Of course, the parental controls are there like the ability to turn off the search function or the timer. You can read up more on the subject at the Google Safety Centre.

Teachers can now sign up and enroll the class for a e-Smart Digital License for at least six students. In Australia, Google donated a total of $1.2 million for child safety group Madeline Foundation and Alannah. Over 100,000 children in the country will benefit from the grant. If you’re a teacher, sign up your class for free until the 10th of April.

The Digital Licence will educate the kids on how to:

• use digital devices safely
• do proper searching and researching
• safely communicate online
• manage money and online credits
• create and share
• and do correct social networking and gaming

SOURCE: Google, Google Australia Blog

Newest security update for BlackBerry PRIV rolls out

Posted by wicked February - 2 - 2016 - Tuesday Comments Off

BlackBerry PRIV monthly security patch 2016

It’s that time of the month again. Always true to its promises, here’s BlackBerry with the monthly security patch for the BlackBerry Priv. As if the company’s phone security measures aren’t already strict enough, the Canadian smartphone pioneer is regular in releasing Android security updates. This has always been a practice and it’s not going to change anytime soon especially now that BlackBerry is given another chance to make it once again in the mobile industry.

The PRIV’s privacy and security are high priorities. Even the BlackBerry apps are also updated for the Android smartphone. This only proves that BlackBerry takes the security of the users seriously. PRIV owners are also responding quickly getting the security updates within 24 hours of release. This is good news for both parties because that means there is very little chance for privacy to be compromised. Actually, we’re not expecting that to happen because the BlackBerry PRIV should be very secure.

The release of monthly updates won’t be a success it weren’t for BlackBerry’s carrier partners who also pledged their supports. BlackBerry may be ready with the patches but if it not for fast certifications and approvals, they won’t be released to the users. Good thing they are facilitated quickly.

BlackBerry has proven and set an example that monthly security updates are possible. PRIV has raised the bar when it comes to privacy, security, prevention, and patching. If BlackBerry can do it, other brands can do so too.

Here’s how to get the software update

SOUCE: BlackBerry

BlackBerry Priv February security patch is now rolling out

Posted by wicked February - 1 - 2016 - Monday Comments Off

blackberry priv review aa (1 of 32)

The BlackBerry Priv is starting to receive the February security patch and it’s still the first day of the month. That’s exactly what you would expect from a company as focused on security as BlackBerry, but in all honesty it’s not the kind of behaviour you’d probably ever hold out hope to actually see. This now makes the third month in a row that BlackBerry has managed to roll out its monthly security patch in the first couple of days of the month.

We’ve managed to deliver our security updates the same day as Google’s Nexus devices receive theirs – and in some cases, even before.

Of course, those that bought their Priv through BlackBerry will get the update first, but BlackBerry’s carrier partners have also agreed to fast-track security patches to get them into the hands of users as quickly as possible. After all, BlackBerry’s reputation depends on it.

As BlackBerry noted in a blog post: “The majority of our carrier partners have pledged support to our efforts, and some have even taken measures to facilitate quicker certification of our patches. As a result, we’ve managed to deliver our security updates the same day as Google’s Nexus devices receive theirs – and in some cases, even before.

BlackBerry Priv February security update

BLACKBERRY PRIV VIDEOS:

So check your status bar for the update notification and if you don’t see it yet, you can check for it manually by going to Settings > About > System Updates > Check for Update.

In case you’re wondering how BlackBerry manages to get security updates out weeks ahead of everyone else, it’s because the company pushes the patches itself rather than waiting on carrier partners to do it, much like Google does with its Nexus devices. In fact, BlackBerry only accepts carriers that are willing to agree to this set up. This makes perfect sense because, as mentioned above, BlackBerry’s reputation depends on it.

Screenshots courtesy of Tahir Ally (Twitter) and Will Keaney (Google+).

Android Pay no longer works with latest root methods

Posted by wicked February - 1 - 2016 - Monday Comments Off

Android Pay

One of the major drawbacks of rooting your phone these days is losing access to certain apps. Ones that work with secure data, such as your bank details, often won’t run on rooted devices, although that hasn’t stopped the development community from finding ways around this. However, it seems that Google is now wise to the latest trick and will be updating its server side system to prevent rooters from using app like Android Pay.

Highly regarded developer Chainfire came up with a root method that avoids tampering with the /System memory partition, meaning that the method didn’t trigger SafetyNet detection used by apps including Android Pay. This weekend through, Google appears to have begun rolling out a server side update to counteract this exploit, which is disabling use of SafetyNet protected apps even when using this root method. As this update is being applied to the off-device servers, there’s nothing that root users can do about it. The jig is up, at least for now.


Android Pay AASee also: Your smartphone will start replacing your debit card at ATMs this year17

With increasingly tight security, app restrictions and regular Android security exploits that need patching, rooting seems like more of a hassle these days. Fortunately, users who want to regain full access to apps like Android Pay can simply unroot their device or even go back to a stock ROM image.

‘Orbot: Proxy with Tor’ offers true private internet connection

Posted by wicked January - 26 - 2016 - Tuesday Comments Off

Orbot

Did you know there are proxy apps for mobile? Yup, even mobile Internet needs to have proxy to ensure that your connection is always safe and secure. Not many people think about their mobile access but it’s about time you encrypt your data because you’ll never know what evil lurks out there. A new tool called ‘Orbot: Proxy with Tor’ can be pretty useful as it tells apps to connect to the Internet securely as possible.

Nope, the Orbot isn’t a new game where a robot struggles to protect you from the alien, genius hackers. This proxy app simply encrypts Internet using Tor. The latter is one tool that defends anyone against any threats on personal privacy, state security, confidential business, and freedom as described. Just last week, we featured the Facebook over Tor on Android that allows a more private experience.

Orbot aims to deliver private internet connection. And true enough, with the integration of Tor, any transaction made over the Internet are guaranteed safe. The idea is that data will pass through Tor first. Once approved by Tor, you’re sure that it’s safe.

What Orbot does exactly: it bounces encrypted traffic many times through different computers around the world–making it more robust, having the strongest privacy and identity protection possible. Simply put, Orbot brings a mobile user private internet connection in this time and age where anyone can hack anybody.

Orbot d
Orbot a
Orbot b
Orbot c

Download Orbot from the Google Play Store

January Android security update heading to ‘major’ Samsung flagships

Posted by wicked January - 26 - 2016 - Tuesday Comments Off

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+-16

Samsung seems to be doing its best to continue to roll out those monthly security updates to its smartphones and has announced that it is releasing the January version for its “major flagship models”.

Unfortunately though, this vague statements means that we don’t know exactly which smartphones will be receiving the update. But we can assume that the current generation and probably 2014’s selection of flagship smartphones will see the patch, at some point at least. Samsung has previously applied updates to its Galaxy S5, S6, Note 4, Note 5, Tab S and Tab S2 ranges. Hopefully none of them have been dropped now that the company will soon have the Galaxy S7 to support as well.

We already know that Google patched a couple of critical and a few more minor issues in the January security update, and Samsung has thrown in a few of its own fixes as well, including a couple of specific fixes for the Galaxy S6. It hasn’t released details about all of its fixes though, presumably so they can’t be exploited before Samsung’s update reaches consumers.


Nexus 6P January security update resizedSee also: January security update patches Factory Reset Protection bypass bug17

Keep an eye out for that update notification in the coming days and weeks, as the roll out might take a while to hit everyone.

California lawmakers working to ban phone encryption by 2017

Posted by wicked January - 22 - 2016 - Friday Comments Off

smartphone privacy security 2 Shutterstock

California State Representative Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) is touting a bill that would force mobile devices to come with encryption off by default starting January 1, 2017. Any phone sold after that date would also have to be “capable of being decrypted and unlocked by its manufacturer or its operating system provider.”

As it stands, modern iOS and Android devices have full-disk encryption that prevents even Apple and Google from accessing them. Law enforcement agencies want to be able to more efficiently harvest evidence from confiscated devices rather than go about it the hard way via hacking or brute force. If the AB 1681 passes the Assembly and State Senate and is then signed into law, then any smartphone not meeting these requirements would result in the manufacturers being fined $2,500 per offending device.

california-bill-encryption

The bill’s wording is suspiciously reminiscent of another bill currently pending in New York, but someone has run a find-and-replace on all the arguments supporting it that swaps every instance of “terrorists” for “sex traffickers.” Whereas the New York bill wants to give law enforcers full access to confiscated devices to prevent terrorist attacks, the California bill wants to do it to track down pimps.

In an interview with Ars Technica, Cooper claimed that 99% of Californians would never need to worry about having their phones searched by police officers, because the vast majority of phones are never implicated in law enforcement operations. This is basically a rephrasing of that “if you haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to fear” crockery. Cooper went on to say that “human trafficking trumps privacy, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.”


WazeAppLogoSee also: Law enforcement wants to shut down Google’s Waze for ‘stalking’ police69

In the bill’s presentation, Natalia Luna, the Sacramento County Asst. Chief Deputy District Attorney, described smartphones as tools of the trade of pimping. She says pimps actively use phones “to traffick, exploit, and sell our children.” Engadget accuses these lawmakers as using sex trafficking as a “bogeyman” to force smartphone manufacturers to do the work of the police for them. As one congressman advised law enforcement agencies seeking to overturn cell phone encryption in New York: “to me it’s very simple to draw a privacy balance when it comes to law enforcement and privacy: just follow the damn Constitution.”

apple-samsung-usa-judge

“As for the protect the children argument, I am sympathetic, but there are always limits on law enforcement’s power to investigate crime,” said Andrew Crocker, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “No matter how terrible the crime, we don’t allow the police to disregard other important values like privacy and security, and this is a law that would make us all less secure. Meanwhile the police have access to lots of other tools to get at this evidence, from hacking or brute forcing the device to getting cloud backups to forcing the owner to unlock the phone. Moreover the sophisticated bad guys will resort to third-party tools to cover their tracks.”

What are your thoughts regarding this proposed bill? Is it a necessary bypass of privacy to ensure that justice is served, or is it an unconstitutional breach of 4th amendment rights? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Next: 10 best antivirus Android apps and anti-malware Android apps

PSA: 34% of you aren’t even using a lockscreen password

Posted by wicked January - 21 - 2016 - Thursday Comments Off

lock screen lockscreen security

Android doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to software security. From Stagefright to root exploits, there always seems to be something that could be better. After some pressure, Google is now busy patching away exploits as they appear. But it all might be for naught, as a large number of Android users appear to be failing to use even the most basic levels of security. It’s us at fault this time.

According to data from Duo Labs, which was collected from users who make use of its two-factor authentication system, 1-in-3 Android smartphones aren’t even secured with a lockscreen passcode, which really is the most basic level of protection that everyone should consider.

Although there’s clearly a distinction to be made with elaborate exploits used to gain remote access to your device, smartphone theft is still a major crime statistic across the globe. There’s no easier way to gain access to some of your personal data than by actually having full access to your unlocked phone. Not to mention that today’s smartphones are used for a range of financial transactions and even direct access to bank accounts. We really shouldn’t be making it that easy for criminal types. Collectively, a larger percentage of locked devices makes stealing phones much less appealing too, so we’re in this together.

There are some other rather interesting statistics buried away here too. Android users are much more likely to root their phones than iOS customers. 1 in every 20 Android phones in rooted, while only 1 to 250 iPhone users bother with jailbreaking. While rooting has its benefits when you are watching over it, many malicious bits of software are also looking for ways to gain and exploit root access to bury themselves deep.


Google Play passwordRead more: Are you using one of 2015’s worst passwords? Find out here11

Furthermore, 92 percent of us don’t bother with pre-boot encryption either. While perhaps it might be a little overkill for most users, encrypting your phone is the best way to prevent access to your data, even if someone attempts to factory reset the phone. The group’s data also reaffirms complaints that the vast majority of Android users aren’t receiving the latest and most secure builds of Android, with 32 percent of phones still running Android 4.0 and below.

If you’re unsure how to set a password, just head on over to settings -> lock screen and then pick your preferred method and password. If you’re fortunate, you can even use a fancy technique like your fingerprint or a “knock code” to secure your phone. Come the remaining one third of you, at the very least protect your phone with a lockscreen password or simple PIN.

Cyanogen removing support for WhisperPush secure messaging

Posted by wicked January - 20 - 2016 - Wednesday Comments Off

 

New Cyanogen logo

CyanogenMod is withdrawing its support for the WhisperPush secure messaging service, which has been part of messaging in CM ROMs for a couple of years, beginning February 1. Users of CM 13 would have already noticed that WhisperPush functionality wasn’t officially supported and required a patch to enable via an MMS APK. Now, CyanogenMod has announced it will officially stop supporting WhisperPush at the start of next month.

The removal of official support for WhisperPush will be a server-side change, so all versions of CyanogenMod from CM 10.2 onwards will be affected. The decision came about due to ongoing registration and location-based problems that were creating issues with Cyanogen’s maintenance of the service. Furthermore, recent changes to WhisperPush would have made CyanogenMod’s implementation a “seemingly unnecessary fork”.

DataEncryptionLocked

 

 

The team at CyanogenMod is recommending users of WhisperPush to switch over to Signal, which combines TextSecure and RedPhone for secure SMS and calling. Signal is made by Open Whisper Systems, co-creators of WhisperPush with Cyanogen. Cyanogen’s decision to remove WhisperPush support was also due, in part, to the rapid uptake of the official Signal app.

Install Signal Private Messenger

All WhisperPush phone numbers will be unregistered on February 1 and messages sent after that date will be sent as regular SMS. So if you’re in the midst of a conversation that is in need of encryption, best wrap it up soon and switch to a new service like Signal in the next week or so.

Do you use WhisperPush? What secure messaging service do you like best?

Are you using one of 2015’s worst passwords? Find out here

Posted by wicked January - 20 - 2016 - Wednesday Comments Off

Google Play password

Believe it or not, but following the PRISM scandal, increased cyber-security threats and a growing awareness of just how easy it is to hack a computer or phone, passwords in 2015 actually got worse than in years past. New research from password management software developer, SplashData, shows that while passwords have gotten longer, they haven’t gotten better.

So what constitutes one of the worst passwords of 2015? Well, perennial favorites “qwerty” and “12345” made the list, as did “1234” and “123456” (which actually took the number one spot). The second position was taken by, you guessed it, “password”.

You may scoff at the idiocy of these ultra-weak passwords, but at least some people were paying attention to the need for longer passwords for added security. This is why the list also included “1234567890” and “qwertyuiop” – the entire top row on a QWERTY keyboard. They get an A for effort, but not for security.

Swiftkey keyboard

In fact, every number string from “1234” to “1234567890” was in the 12 most popular passwords. So where did this data come from? From over two million leaked passwords shared online by hackers. But it wasn’t all number strings and QWERTY key layout passwords. Some other high-ranking passwords included sports like “football” and “baseball”, which both made the top ten, and animals including “monkey” and “dragon”.


password manager apps for AndroidSee also: The best password manager apps for Android68

With all the Star Wars hype going on last year, some people were motivated enough to strengthen their passwords by using such unimaginably strong passwords as “starwars” and “solo”. Something tells me the force wasn’t guiding those decisions. Of all the obvious passwords on the list, a couple stand out for at least trying to be good, alpha-numeric passwords: “1qaz2wsx” and “passw0rd” come to mind.

ENpass Password Manager master password fingerprint unlock

Are you using any of these terrible passwords? If you are, then stop. You’re not fooling anyone. In fact, you should never use number strings – especially not in ascending order – or standard English words. Alpha-numeric passwords with a mix of upper and lower-case letters and symbols are best. Names of pets, birthdays, children’s or partner’s names are all a non-no.

If the prospect of making uncrackable passwords seems too daunting, then why not try a third-party password manger? We’ve recently posted about Enpass and LastPass, plus there’s Dashlane and 1Password to consider. These apps let you create one master password to protect all your other passwords, which you can make as complex as you need because you don’t need to remember them. Just don’t make your master password “starwars” OK?

For the curious, here are the top 25 worst passwords of 2015, according to SplashData:

  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. 12345678
  4. qwerty
  5. 12345
  6. 123456789
  7. football
  8. 1234
  9. 1234567
  10. baseball
  11. welcome
  12. 1234567890
  13. abc123
  14. 111111
  15. 1qaz2wsx
  16. dragon
  17. master
  18. monkey
  19. letmein
  20. login
  21. princess
  22. qwertyuiop
  23. solo
  24. passw0rd
  25. starwars
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