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05 Jun 12 Google can’t ‘Bounce’ all bad Android apps


16 min.

Google

You might want to think twice about that Android app you’re about to
download. Even if Google’s built-in malware scanner gave it a green
light, there’s still a chance it could be a fake.

Google was applauded earlier this year for launching “Bouncer,”
a scanning service designed to identify malicious apps in its Play
Market (formerly known as the Android Market) before Android users
mistakenly download them. But, according to two notable security
researchers, the tech giant’s bodyguard feature can be easily tricked.

At this week’s SummerCon conference in New York, Charlie Miller and Jon
Oberheide will demonstrate the specifics of how Google Bouncer tests
potentially harmful apps, and how they were able to exploit their
newfound knowledge to sneak an app right past the doorman.

Google’s Bouncer service tests apps it deems hazardous in a “virtualized environment,” Andy Greenberg from Forbes reported.
Rather than testing the sketchy software on an actual device, Google
creates a simulated phone. But this, Greenberg said, is where the cracks
start to form.

“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,” he wrote.

To press the bouncer-nightclub metaphor, Miller and Oberheide found out
a way to get a weapon-wielding minor in a bar by making him look,
temporarily, like a sweet old lady.

Miller and Oberheide took advantage of the simulated malware testing
environment by submitting a testing app to the Play Market that gave
them remote access to a device in order to analyze Bouncer’s scans. What
they found, Greenberg said, is that every virtualized Android device
used by Bouncer is registered to the same account,
Miles.Karlson@gmail.com, and, to pose as a real phone user, contains
just one contact, Michelle.k.levin@gmail.com.

“The question for Google is, how do you make it so the malware doesn’t
know it’s running in a simulated environment,” Oberheide told Forbes.
“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.”

To poke holes in Google’s facade, the researchers crafted a malicious Android app called HelloNeon to the Play Market June 3. The app made it through Bouncer’s scan untouched.

Google did not immediately return a request for comment from SecurityNewsDaily.

Copyright 2012 SecurityNewsDaily, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

20 days

Android resolutions

Android ‘fragmentation’ visualized in 2 pictures

12 days

Worldwide smartphone OS market share, first quarter 2012

84 percent of smartphone shipments worldwide were either Android or iPhone: IDC

5 days

Chrome and Android

Google: No Chrome OS tablet, but Android convergence coming

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Article source: http://www.technolog.msnbc.msn.com/technology/technolog/google-cant-bounce-all-bad-android-apps-814989

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31 May 12 Google: No Chrome OS tablet, but Android convergence coming


1 hr.

Google

Speaking with TechRadar about the Chrome OS devices announced earlier this week, Google’s VP of engineering Linus Upson dropped a few nuggets of information regarding the future of the company’s operating systems. For one thing, there will be no Chrome OS tablet, so you can give up waiting on that. But he also indicated that Chrome and Android would see “more and more convergence.”

What that means specifically he wouldn’t say, but clearly there are advantages to both approaches. Chrome OS boots extremely quickly and is laser-focused on Web content. Android is highly customizable and features thousands of apps. But they don’t intend to just hybridize the two, he says:

Microsoft demonstrated quite convincingly earlier this century that
if you take one environment and jam it across all devices it wasn’t
going to work so now you see a lot more caution.  Apple doesn’t
try to smash the two together and we’re not trying to do it, but in time
there will be a seamless user experience across all the devices.

The main issue is that people just use phones and computers differently. You’ve got a trackpad on one, a touchscreen on the other. One goes in your pocket, another goes in your bag. One lets you speak into it comfortably, one lets you type into it comfortably.

And neither one is disappearing in the foreseeable future, so it makes sense to cater to both. But that doesn’t mean they can’t learn from each other; why not let Chrome OS run Android apps in little windows? Why not let Android’s browser sync with Chrome OS and borrow its windowed look for multitasking?

There hasn’t been much communication regarding the two platforms’ relationship, and some see it as competitive. But Upson says it’s more collaborative, though they have indeed had to mature at different rates. For one thing, the ARM chips that run Android phones weren’t fast enough to run the full version of Chrome until just recently. So while Chromebooks won’t be moving over from Intel processors just yet, Android devices will be getting more of a full Chrome experience.

We’ll probably know more come late June, when Google has its I/O developer conference. Historically, new versions of software debut there, as well as indications about what’s coming next. This year a new tablet is expected, and news on the next version of Android — rumored to be called Jellybean.

Devin Coldewey is a
contributing writer for msnbc.com. His personal website is
coldewey.cc.

1 day

Chromebook 550

Chrome OS lives: New Chromebook and ‘Chromebox’ debut

113 days


Chrome comes to some Android phones, tablets

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Article source: http://www.gadgetbox.msnbc.msn.com/technology/gadgetbox/google-no-chrome-os-tablet-android-convergence-coming-805659

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30 May 12 Chrome OS lives: New Chromebook and 'Chromebox' debut


10 hrs.

Google / Samsung

Hot on the heels of the new version of Chrome OS come two new pieces of hardware from Samsung: an updated Series 5 Chromebook and a “Chromebox,” which Google is hoping will sell as a low-cost desktop or media device. The new gear won’t be toppling any empires, but it is handsome and possibly practical.

The new Series 5 550 laptop isn’t any bigger, but adds much-needed horsepower in the form of a new Intel Core processor and 4GB of RAM. It also has an improved webcam and a much more modern video-out port: the new one will work with HDMI, DVI or VGA, which means it should be easy as pie to connect to a monitor or TV.

Google / Samsung

There’s been a significant but not drastic redesign: more squared-off corners, a handsome slate finish,and an aluminum palm rest. The trackpad has been “built from the ground up” for the new laptop.

Unfortunately the improved processor results in a slightly lower running time: 6 hours versus 8.5 on the old Series 5. And the build changes have added a third of a pound to the weight; it’s now 3.3 pounds. But the trade-off is almost certainly worth it. It’s available now for $449.

The Chromebox is a “compact, powerful and versatile desktop perfect for the home or office.” It’s a bit underpowered compared to most tower desktops, but the price is right at $349. It too has a new Intel Core processor and 4GB of RAM, but it also has three display ports (good for multiple monitors or connecting to a TV) and a ton of USB ports.

Google

Shipping with the new hardware is the new version of Chrome OS, which features a more desktop-like interface complete with task bar and desktop. They’re adding deep support for Google Drive as well, including offline access, so your files will be available whether you’re online or not.

Google is constantly updating the software, and new features are already on the way. But the addition of more up-to-date hardware makes the Chrome OS device family a bit more realistic for budget-minded buyers. More information can be found at Google’s blog post.

Devin Coldewey is a
contributing writer for msnbc.com. His personal website is
coldewey.cc.

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Article source: http://www.gadgetbox.msnbc.msn.com/technology/gadgetbox/chrome-os-lives-new-chromebook-chromebox-debut-801511

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