News  General
News  General
Phonesoap charger

Mobile phones can have "18 times more harmful bacteria" than a public restroom

When people hear the term "Smartphone Virus" they immediately think of the kind of things we here at, err, constantly worry about - malware, phishing, denial of-service attacks and such aimed at your mobile. However, it should never be forgotton that the computer/mobile industry hijacked the "virus" term from something that existed a long, long time before then. I'm talking about physical viruses - the kind which spread as germs from contact between contaminated surfaces.

By a strange co-incidence, of course that includes something we touch the most throughout the day - the mobile phone itself. Yes, it certainly can spread real viruses and, as the creator of a new device designed to combat this points out, "one in 6 phones contain fecal matter."

News  General
EFF and WhatsApp

EFF publishes annual report

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published its annual "Who Has Your Back" report and its not good news for WhatsApp and AT&T users. With concern over privacy growing daily, such as Snowdens NSA snooping revelations, the non-profit organisation rates organisations according to various measures such as their transparency, responsiveness to breaches etc.

It was better news for Apple, Adobe, Yahoo, Dropbox and, who all achieved the highest scores, but worryingly Google dropped the ball by scoring lower than last year.

The EFF report is now in its fifth year and is fast becoming the bellweather for the industries security performance. A spokesman said "more and more companies are voluntarily speaking out about government data requests and giving users tools to fight back."

News  General
MWC 2105 Smartphone Virus

Users warned to be more vigilant than ever

At the 2015 annual mobile jamboree, MWC, mobile vendors warned users of the relentless increase in malware, phishing and virus attacks aimed specifically at smartphone and tablet users. Throughout 2014, 99% of all smartphone malware was aimed at the Android platform. This is clearly a huge issue for users since its market share in 2015 is now at 84.5%.

Real financial threats

If you can protect the hardware from damage, do not forget the inside too. Android is more open than iOS, and even if you stick to the Play Store, malware can still infect your device. All is not lost, however, as Samsung has wisely partnered with Intel Security to pre-load its anti-malware solution, McAfee VirusScan Mobile, on its phones.

News  General
USB Flash drive

Stop laughing at the back there...

Ever really thought about what USB devices are? Would it surprise you to learn they actually have all the elements of a full blown computer, together with memory, data transfer and an OS? When you connect one to your computer, smartphone or laptop, you are in fact granting it access to the innermost corners of your device - and if the bad guys have got to it first, they are in there as well.

USB devices identify themselves using firmware, that is software on the device itself to tell the kit it's connected to what it is (such as a keyboard, mouse or memory stick etc) and what it can do. The eagle-eye amongst you will have already spotted the key there being "firmware", which is the software onboard the USB device itself. Software which can be reprogrammed. That's right - a keyboard can be told to tell whatever it is being connected to it's a pair of bluetooth speakers, and the host would not know any different and blindly try to play audio through it. Even worse is the way the firmware can actually hide a bad payload completely - so any inspection doesn't show up anything untoward - until the time is right, when it can pounce and infect the host.