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15 Jun 12 Code red! Android app would warn you about angry messages


(CNN) – Would it help you manage your stress level to get a warning that the text message you’re about to read is your boss or partner chewing you out? The creators of a new mobile app think so.

Stress @ Work is an Android app developed by a student at England’s University of Portsmouth. It color-codes incoming messages on Facebook, Twitter and via text, using their choice of language to predict their tone.

Green means positive, blue is neutral and red is a warning of potential nastiness.

Masters student Lorraine Chambers said she created the app so people know whether to expect to feel better or worse after checking in.

“The ultimate objective of this application is to make the user aware of the negative contents they receive so they are able to manage their stress in the best possible way,” Mohamed Gaber, a senior lecturer at the university, added in a news release.

“For example, if most of what is received from social media websites by a user on a particular day was negative, it is important that the user attempts to take an action in order to not get stressed, especially if this may affect the individual’s performance at work and/or their behavior at home.”

On a sample image provided by the school, a tweet from a sender saying he had a great time the night before showed up in green, as did a text wishing the recipient a happy weekend.

Two Twitter posts with links to news stories (a movie review and a political story) earned neutral blue. Another one announcing that the next day’s weather will be bad (“hope you brought a jacket”) and one saying that the sender is tired and had taken the wrong bus were flagged in red.

(No word on whether the app can detect irony or sarcasm.)

Chambers and Gaber plan to present the app at a September conference in Spain. It is still in the testing phase and not yet available.

They said they plan to release it for free in the Android Market. If there is enough interest, they then hope to make a version for Apple mobile devices.

Article source: http://www.abcactionnews.com/dpp/news/science_tech/code-red-android-app-would-warn-you-about-angry-messages

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04 Jun 12 To Hide Android Malware From Google’s ‘Bouncer’, Hackers Learn Its Name …


“LadyGaga.jpg,” one of two photos on the Android Market’s simulated test phone for identifying malicious programs. The other is called “cat.jpg.” Any program that attempts to access either photo and upload it to a remote destination can be flagged as malware.

The antivirus scanner that polices Google’s Android Market is named Miles Karlson. It has one friend, Michelle K. Levin, and a cat. And it seems to be a fan of Lady Gaga.

Those are a few of the many personal characteristics that security researchers Charlie Miller and Jon Oberheide have spent the last several months learning about Google’s newest safeguard for Android users, the scanning program it launched with the codename “Bouncer” in February. And knowing just one of those seemingly random details, they say, would be enough for a malicious app to hide itself from Google’s protective scans and find its way onto a user’s device.

At the Summercon conference in New York this week, Miller and Oberheide plan to present a new method for bypassing Google’s mobile app store’s protections against programs that steal data, send spam or siphon a victim’s money by making calls to premium numbers. Their method takes advantage of the fact that Google’s ‘Bouncer’ tool tests apps by running them in a virtualized environment–a simulated phone created in software–to see how they’ll perform on real users’ devices. And if malware can be designed to detect that it’s running on that simulated gadget rather than the real thing, it can temporarily suppress its evil urges, pass Google’s test and make its way onto a real phone before wreaking havoc.

“The question for Google is, how do you make it so the malware doesn’t know it’s running in a simulated environment?” says Oberheide. “You want to pretend you’re running a real system. But a lot of tricks can be played by malware to learn that it’s being monitored.”

Oberheide and Miller say they submitted a testing application to the Android Market that gives them remote access to a target device to analyze Bouncer’s scans and catalogue the “fingerprints” that malware can use to determine whether it’s in the test environment: And Google’s simulated test phone leaves behind all the identifying characteristics of any bot pretending to be a flesh-and-blood user. Every instance of Google’s simulated Android phone, they discovered, is registered to the same account, Miles.Karlson@gmail.com. To bait malware into trying to steal photos or contacts, Bouncer’s test phone lists exactly one contact (Michelle.k.levin@gmail.com) and stores two photos: Cat.jpg and Ladygaga.jpg. (Pictured above)

Some other giveaways are more subtle: Miller and Oberheide say that they can find evidence in a file subdirectory that the phone is running on QEMU, a type of virtualization software. (Oberheide demonstrates this in the video below.) The virtual phone’s performance is slower than a real phone. And if the program sets the phone to access an outside server, that server can identify its IP address as one that belongs to Google.

“There are a thousand different ways to very accurately and sustainably fingerprint Bouncer,” says Oberheide. “Some are really hard to fix. Some can be fixed pretty easily. But in the long term game, the attackers have a major advantage.”

To prove his point, Oberheide uploaded an application called HelloNeon to the Android Market Sunday night that’s capable of pulling down new malicious code once it’s installed on a user’s phone. It passed Bouncer’s scan and was available for download Monday morning.

Oberheide says he and Miller have spoken to Google’s security staff about their work, and Google may have already changed some of the characteristics of Bouncer to make its simulations harder to differentiate from a real user’s phone. I reached out to Google to confirm Oberheide’s and Miller’s findings and hear the company’s comments, but I haven’t yet heard back.

Both Miller and Oberheide have a long history of poking holes in the security measures for mobile devices. In 2010, Oberheide showed that programs posing as innocuous apps like an Angry Birds upgrade or Twilight photos could pull down new malicious code after making their way onto a user’s device. Miller, one of the world’s top Apple hackers, exploited a bug last year in the iOS app store that allowed an app he created to similarly download and execute new code despite Apple’s code-signing restriction, a measure designed to prevent unauthorized commands from running on iPhones and iPads.

Article source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2012/06/04/to-hide-android-malware-from-googles-bouncer-hackers-learn-its-name-friends-and-habits/

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03 May 12 For the First Time, Hacked Websites Deliver Android Malware


Analysts with Lookout Mobile Security have found websites that have been hacked to deliver malicious software to devices running Android, an apparent new attack vector crafted for the mobile operating system.

The style of attack is known as a drive-by download and is common on the desktop: When someone visits a hacked website, malware can transparently infect the computer if it doesn’t have up-to-date patches.

“This appears to be the first time that compromised websites have been used to distribute malware targeting Android devices,” Lookout wrote on its blog.

Lookout said it noticed that “numerous” websites had been compromised to execute the attack, although those sites had low traffic. The company expects the impact to Android users will be low. The malware that tries to install itself, dubbed “NotCompatible,” appears to be a TCP relay or a proxy.

“This threat does not currently appear to cause any direct harm to a target device, but could potentially be used to gain illicit access to private networks by turning an infected Android device into a proxy,” Lookout said. “This feature in itself could be significant for system IT administrators: a device infected with NotCompatible could potentially be used to gain access to normally protected information or systems, such as those maintained by enterprise or government.”

NotCompatible will automatically start downloading if the hacked website detects an Android device is visiting by looking at the web browser’s user-agent string, which specifies the device’s operating system.

The hacked websites have an hidden iframe, which is a window that brings other content into the target Web site, at the bottom of a page. The iframe causes the browser to pull content from two other malicious websites hosting NotCompatible. If a PC accesses either of those websites, a “not found” error is displayed, Lookout said.

After the malware downloads, the device will ask a user to install the application. But for it to be installed, the Android device’s settings must have “unknown sources” enabled, Lookout said. If the setting is not enabled, only applications from the Android Market, now called the Google Play store, can be installed.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com

Article source: http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/254905/for_the_first_time_hacked_websites_deliver_android_malware.html

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25 Apr 12 android market



Google reboots Android Market, launches Google Play

Google is rebuilding Android Market.

The Internet giant, looking to create a more comprehensive source for movies, apps, music, and e-books, is folding Google Music and Google eBookstore into one store, now renamed Google Play, according to Jamie Rosenberg, director of digital content for Google. The changes go into effect today.

Google Play marks a radical departure from Android Market, which has been a fixture of the company’s mobile platform since the debut of Android more than three years ago. The move is a tacit admission that offering apps, games, and e-books–the main features of Android Market–isn’t enough more

Originally posted at Media Maverick

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/posts/?keyword=android+market

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18 Apr 12 Mobile Android Version of MetaTrader 4 Trading Platform Released


/PRNewswire/ –



MetaQuotes Software Corp. has released the mobile version of the popular MetaTrader 4 trading platform for Android-powered devices. Two months ago the company developers presented the iOS version of MetaTrader 4 to the public; now, it’s the turn of the Android which can be accessed by all users of Android smartphones and tablet PCs. Selection of an appropriate brokerage company on the application is simple as MetaTrader 4 for Android supports 570 servers of brokerage firms and this number will increase.

With this application, all Android users can trade, analyze the market using charts, watch quotes around the clock and examine the history of performed deals. All options are available free after downloading the application from Android Market. The application has native support for tablet PCs, meaning tablet PC users will get the internet trading application adapted specifically for their devices.

“With the release of the MetaTrader 4 trading platform for iOS and Android we cover 70 percent of the total number of smartphone users but we are not going to stop and relax at this stage,” says Gaies Chreis, COO of MetaQuotes Software Corp. “We believe that mobile trading will be extremely popular in the nearest future. Therefore, we pay close attention to the development of other mobile operation systems. It is quite possible that the application for Windows Phone will also be released this year. Of course, we continue the development of the already released iOS and Android applications. We have really big plans and the work is going on at full speed.”

About the Company

MetaQuotes Software Corp. is a professional developer of software applications for financial markets. With more than a decade of experience, the company is a market leader in the field of forex trading software packages. The MetaTrader 4 trading platform developed by the company is the most popular Forex trading application all over the world.

Company’s website: http://www.metaquotes.net

SOURCE MetaQuotes Software Corp.

Article source: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/18/4423524/mobile-android-version-of-metatrader.html

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18 Apr 12 Scammers Target Instagram With Fake Android Apps


The release of an Android app and the $1 billion Facebook acquisition has put Instagram in the headlines of late, and not surprisingly, cyber scammers have already moved in to capitalize on this popularity.

Security firm Sophos identified several fake Instagram apps across the Web, which are intended to “earn money from unsuspecting users,” analyst Graham Cluley wrote in a blog post.

Cluley pointed to a Russian website that claimed to offer the Android version of the Instagram app. But “If you download your app from this site, rather than an official Android marketplace such as Google Play, then you are running the risk of infecting your smartphone,” Cluley wrote.

In testing the app, Cluley said Sophos found that the fake app was sending background SMS messages in order to earn revenue for its creators. Overall, it did a poor job of emulating the Instagram experience.

The malware in question on the app is known as Andr/Boxer-F.

Fake Instagram Android App

The discovery comes shortly after Sophos also identified fake Angry Birds Space apps. “It’s quite likely that whoever is behind this latest malware campaign is also using the names and images of other popular smartphone apps as bait,” Cluley wrote.

Oddly, Sophos points out, the fake Russian Instagram app includes a photo of an unidentified man in the .APK file, who looks vaguely like Will Ferrell.

“Maybe the reason why his picture is included multiple times is to change the fingerprint of the .APK in the hope that rudimentary anti-virus scanners might be fooled into not recognizing the malicious package,” Cluley speculated.

On Google Play, formerly known as Android Market, there are a few apps that take advantage of the Instagram name – Instaroid, InstaPics, Instagram Heaven, and InstaG, among others – but none that appear to spoof it outright in the hopes of pulling in unsuspecting users.

Android malware was big news in 2011. Unlike Apple, Google does not have a strict approval process in place for its Android Market, and while that might make for a more open environment, it also makes the store vulnerable to some dangerous apps.

To address this issue, Google in February added a new layer of security to Google Play, dubbed Bouncer, that will scan apps for evidence of malware.

For more, see PCMag’s full reviews of Instagram for iPhone and Instagram for Android, as well as the slideshow below.

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Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2403207,00.asp

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18 Apr 12 Chrome browser for Android gets new features, languages


IDG News Service - The Android OS version of Google’s Chrome browser is now available in a host of new languages and has gained several new features, but it remains in beta testing and is afflicted with a variety of bugs.

First released in February for tablets and phones that run the 4.0 version of Android, also called Ice Cream Sandwich, Chrome for Android now has its user interface in 31 additional languages and is available in all countries with access to Google Play, which was previously known as the Android Market.

New features include the ability to switch from the mobile to the desktop version of a website and to place bookmarks in the home screen in the form of shortcuts, the company said on Tuesday in a blog post.

In addition, users can now assign applications of their own choosing for launching links opened in Chrome, as well as use the browser with a Wi-Fi network that has a proxy setup.

Also new is the ability to download files to the device and to play “old style” embedded YouTube content via the native YouTube application, Google said in a related but separate post.

As a beta product, Chrome for Android has a number of known bugs, which currently include problems with font sizes, search result languages, website renderings, webpage loading and third-party application interaction, according to the Known Issues page Google maintains for this version of the browser.

People can report bugs they encounter by filling out this form.

This latest upgrade of Chrome for Android puts the application in version 0.18.4409.2396.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

Article source: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9226282/Chrome_browser_for_Android_gets_new_features_languages

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18 Apr 12 Chrome browser for Android gets new features, languages


IDG News Service - The Android OS version of Google’s Chrome browser is now available in a host of new languages and has gained several new features, but it remains in beta testing and is afflicted with a variety of bugs.

First released in February for tablets and phones that run the 4.0 version of Android, also called Ice Cream Sandwich, Chrome for Android now has its user interface in 31 additional languages and is available in all countries with access to Google Play, which was previously known as the Android Market.

New features include the ability to switch from the mobile to the desktop version of a website and to place bookmarks in the home screen in the form of shortcuts, the company said on Tuesday in a blog post.

In addition, users can now assign applications of their own choosing for launching links opened in Chrome, as well as use the browser with a Wi-Fi network that has a proxy setup.

Also new is the ability to download files to the device and to play “old style” embedded YouTube content via the native YouTube application, Google said in a related but separate post.

As a beta product, Chrome for Android has a number of known bugs, which currently include problems with font sizes, search result languages, website renderings, webpage loading and third-party application interaction, according to the Known Issues page Google maintains for this version of the browser.

People can report bugs they encounter by filling out this form.

This latest upgrade of Chrome for Android puts the application in version 0.18.4409.2396.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

Article source: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9226282/Chrome_browser_for_Android_gets_new_features_languages

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18 Apr 12 Chrome for Android Gets New Features, Languages


Chrome for Android Gets New Features, LanguagesThe Android OS version of Google’s Chrome browser is now available in a host of new languages and has gained several new features, but it remains in beta testing and is afflicted with a variety of bugs.

First released in February for tablets and phones that run the 4.0 version of Android, also called Ice Cream Sandwich, Chrome for Android now has its user interface in 31 additional languages and is available in all countries with access to Google Play, which was previously known as the Android Market.

New features include the ability to switch from the mobile to the desktop version of a website and to place bookmarks in the home screen in the form of shortcuts, the company said on Tuesday in a blog post.

In addition, users can now assign applications of their own choosing for launching links opened in Chrome, as well as use the browser with a Wi-Fi network that has a proxy setup.

Also new is the ability to download files to the device and to play “old style” embedded YouTube content via the native YouTube application, Google said in a related but separate post.

As a beta product, Chrome for Android has a number of known bugs, which currently include problems with font sizes, search result languages, website renderings, webpage loading and third-party application interaction, according to the Known Issues page Google maintains for this version of the browser.

People can report bugs they encounter by filling out this form.

This latest upgrade of Chrome for Android puts the application in version 0.18.4409.2396.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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Article source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/253963/chrome_for_android_gets_new_features_languages.html

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17 Apr 12 Chrome for Android gets new features, languages


The Android OS version of Google’s Chrome browser is now available in a host of new languages and has gained several new features, but it remains in beta testing and is afflicted with a variety of bugs.

First released in February for tablets and phones that run the 4.0 version of Android, also called Ice Cream Sandwich, Chrome for Android now has its user interface in 31 additional languages and is available in all countries with access to Google Play, which was previously known as the Android Market.

New features include the ability to switch from the mobile to the desktop version of a website and to place bookmarks in the home screen in the form of shortcuts, the company said on Tuesday in a blog post.

In addition, users can now assign applications of their own choosing for launching links opened in Chrome, as well as use the browser with a Wi-Fi network that has a proxy setup.

Also new is the ability to download files to the device and to play “old style” embedded YouTube content via the native YouTube application, Google said in a related but separate post.

As a beta product, Chrome for Android has a number of known bugs, which currently include problems with font sizes, search result languages, website renderings, webpage loading and third-party application interaction, according to the Known Issues page Google maintains for this version of the browser.

People can report bugs they encounter by filling out this form.

This latest upgrade of Chrome for Android puts the application in version 0.18.4409.2396.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

Article source: http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/article/421803/chrome_android_gets_new_features_languages/

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