Data Security

Free Android apps found tracking personal data

Free Android apps found tracking personal data

The Google Play store is a veritable frontier for apps of varying degrees of quality, while Apple tends to rule its App Store with an iron fist, only allowing thoroughly vetted apps to make an appearance. Only apps that are visibly malicious are barred entry to the Google Play store, leaving room for apps that aren't completely honest with their intentions. Perhaps it's time that Google follow Apple's lead and tighten up on the reins a bit, especially considering that a security team found thousands of free Android apps that are sharing user data by connecting with advertising and tracking sites--all unbeknownst to users.

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Google’s Password Alert already patched but still vulnerable

Google’s Password Alert already patched but still vulnerable

Earlier this week, Google released a Chrome extension designed to protect against phishing attacks, particularly the kind that directs users to a page designed to look like one of Google's own login pages. When on one of these fake Google logins, the Password Alert extension was designed to identify that it was a phishing attempt and alert the user that they were about to enter their credentials on a Web page that isn't part of Google. The problem is that the extension itself was vulnerable, and remains that way despite a patch.

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Slack says they’ve had no government requests for data

Slack says they’ve had no government requests for data

News of government requests for data is oftentimes troubling to read. Companies who transmit data typically fall under the watchful gaze of officials who may want to know what some citizens are up to, where those companies get legal requests for all kinds of data, including who we may have spoken with. Slack, the enterprise-focussed chat service, says they’ve not had a single government request for data of any kind. For such a widely used conversation platform, that’s hard to believe.

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Google’s Password Alert Chrome extension foils phishing attempts

Google’s Password Alert Chrome extension foils phishing attempts

Phishing schemes are one of the more popular ways hackers and other nefarious sorts gain access to accounts that are not their own, and despite attempts to educate users on what to look for, these kind of attacks are still largely successful. Google, however, is working to further quash them with the introduction of a new Chrome extension called Password Alert, which points out to users when they attempt to log into their Google account on a website that is not Google’s own.

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Hackers able to steal fingerprints from Galaxy S5, other Android phones

Hackers able to steal fingerprints from Galaxy S5, other Android phones

Fingerprint readers have quickly become commonplace on our smartphones, and while they are touted as offering some of the best security, it seems that may not be true across the board. A group of researchers at FireEye have reported a flaw in certain Android phones like the Galaxy S5 that could allow hackers to steal fingerprint data. Now, before you start panicking and preparing to set your fingerprint-based phone on fire in the name of security, know that this can only take place in extremely limited situations, and as for Android itself, the loophole was already patched with the release of Lollipop.

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Twitter patents hint at new security API, SDK for apps

Twitter patents hint at new security API, SDK for apps

Twitter, who have been quite busy of late updating their service, have filed for a few trademarks that suggest they’re again ready to combat a competitor. With their trademarks for the term “The Future of Identity” and an icon for what seems to be a service concerned with real-time sharing of news and info (that somehow isn’t Twitter), the microblogging platform may be set to take on one (or more) competitors it hasn't yet dealt with. It also fits Twitter’s current ploy to keep us all tied to them via outlier apps and services.

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Here’s how Google Play scans your Android phone

Here’s how Google Play scans your Android phone

Google has a system enacted through Google Play for Android devices called Verify Apps. Google's latest Android Security State of the Union (for the year 2014) includes clarification on what the company is scanning on your phone - both inside Google Play-downloaded apps and in apps you've downloaded elsewhere. Verify Apps scans your phone's apps for security risks in Google Play apps, and Safety Net provides protection for (and from) apps outside of Google Play. Yes, Google Play is scanning your phone - no, it's not something to freak out about.

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Google’s 2014 Android Security State of the Union

Google’s 2014 Android Security State of the Union

This week Google has released their 2014 Android Security Year in Review, also known as their Android Security State of the Union. The year 2014 was big for Android in that there were two major updates to the ecosystem in a 12 month period, both Android 4.4 KitKat and a preview for Android L, what would eventually become Android 5.0 Lollipop. In this year, Google gave security a kick in the pants. Full disk encryption improvements, secure multi-user support, and improved authentication are just three of the collection of locks Google has snapped on their open mobile operating system Android.

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You can finally opt out and remove Verizon’s “supercookie”

You can finally opt out and remove Verizon’s “supercookie”

Verizon Wireless is finally letting users completely opt out of its tracking program which uses undeletable tracking codes called "supercookies". Prior to this, customers no longer received targeted advertizing after opting out from Verizon's data collection program. Still, customers' browsing history and metadata was being stored by Verizon. Under its data collection program, Verizon tracks personal data by tagging customers with a unique customer identifier code. This "supercookie" code was un-removable under Verizon's previous opt-out policy wherein users could halt the gathering of their browsing habits, but they would still be tagged with a customer identifier code. Now, users can ask Verizon to remove their customer ID code supercookie.

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Infinit brings their file transfer software to iOS & Android

Infinit brings their file transfer software to iOS & Android

Email, cloud storage links, AirDrop, NFC — file storage transfer is a pain. Though effective most of the time, those methods aren’t effective all the time. There’s a better way (I promise). Already available for OS X and Windows, the Infinit file transfer service is also going to be available for iOS and Android, starting today. With a few taps, you can take your files — any size or type — and shuffle them to other devices. The transfer doesn’t compress file sizes, and once initiated, can’t be killed by loss of signal.

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1Password for iOS update rolls in impressive new Safari extension

1Password for iOS update rolls in impressive new Safari extension

AgileBits’ 1Password is, far and away, the best password tool around. It can help create secure passwords, lock them away in a vault, and is typically a few clicks or long-presses away. Available for Android, Windows, OS X and iOS, the team recently updated their iOS app to take advantage of Safari extensions in a big way. Rather than hopping between apps on your phone to enter the correct log-in credentials for a site, 1Password has made their offering a bit more like the desktop offering.

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