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13 May 12 Phony Flash Player Plants Malware on Android Phones


Source: Trend MicroAdobe Flash Player users beware: A website that promises visitors a free copy of the download for all versions of Android is reportedly planting malware on smartphones running Google’s mobile operating system.

The infected web page used to distribute the malware was discovered in a number of Russian domains, wrote Karla Agregado, a fraud analyst with Trend Micro, in a recent company blog. A similar tactic emerged last month to infect Android phones with bogus copies of Angry Birds and Instagram.

When a visitor clicks the download button at the infected site, Agregado explained, a connection is made to another site that, without the guest’s knowledge, sends a malicious APK file to the mobile web surfer’s smartphone.

Once on the phone, the malware starts to secretly send text messages to premium numbers. This scam is a popular one among cyber criminals targeting Android phones. Symantec estimates in its most recent annual threat report that in 2011 some 18 percent of all mobile threats during the year involved premium SMS messages from infected phones.

“Malware that sends premium SMS text messages can pay the author $9.99 for each text and for victims not watching their phone bill could pay off the cyber criminal countless times,” Symantec noted.

Source: Trend MicroAgregado wrote that she identified a bunch of URLs hosted on the same IP address as the infected web site. “Based on the naming alone used in these URLs, it appears that Android is a favorite target for cybercriminals behind this scheme,” she said.

Mobile threats are a growing trend, increasing 93 percent in 2011 over the previous year, according to John Harrison, Symantec group product manager for endpoint threat protection and security technology and response.

“Malware authors are continuing to find ways to monetize a lot of these threats,” he told PCWorld. While mobile threats are small compared to desktop and laptop threats, he observed, “it’s a growing upward trend that we will continue to watch.”

Follow freelance technology writer John P. Mello Jr. and Today@PCWorld on Twitter.

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Article source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/255524/phony_flash_player_plants_malware_on_android_phones.html

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30 Apr 12 Windows Phone Is ‘Beautiful’, Better Than Android: Steve Wozniak


Steve WozniakSteve WozniakSteve Wozniak prefers his Windows Phone to Android, but the iPhone is still his favourite. The Apple co-founder believes that Microsoft has hired a former Apple employee to work on the Windows Phone user interface. Either that, or Steve Jobs has been reincarnated at Microsoft.

On 13 April, Wozniak tweeted that he was waiting to get his hands on a Nokia Lumia 900, which runs the Windows 7 operating system. Since then, he’s been testing out the smartphone to see how it compares to Android and iPhone.

“Just for looks and beauty I definitely favour the Windows Phone over Android,” Wozniak said in a podcast interview with a NewDomain.net. “Compared to Android, there’s no contest.”

Nokia Lumia 900, which runs the Windows 7 operating systemNokia Lumia 900 with a Windows 7 operating system“I’m just shocked, I haven’t seen anything yet that isn’t more beautiful than the other platforms,” Wozniak told aNewDomain.net, leading him to decide that he will be “carrying the Windows Phone everywhere.”

“In my opinion it sets the mark for user interface,” said Wozniak. “I would recommend it over my Android phones.”

aNewDomain.net concluded that the Apple co-founder’s favourite phone was the Windows Phone, but in a note left after the podcast, Wozniak wrote: “Wrong. iPhone is my favorite phone.”

“I surmise that Microsoft hired someone from Apple and put money into having a role in the user interface and appearance of some key apps. I also surmised that Steve Jobs might have been reincarnated at Microsoft due to a lot of what I see and feel with this phone making me think of a lot of great Apple things.”

In January, Wozniak confessed to finding Android-based handsets hard work, but they have plenty of advantages over the iPhone.

Wozniak has also been reflecting on Apple’s sacrifices in its early days this month, as well as expressing his fears about the struggle start-up businesses are facing due to patent wars.

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Article source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/254707/windows_phone_is_beautiful_better_than_android_steve_wozniak.html

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27 Apr 12 Google Details Chrome Browser Security-testing Technology


Since late last year, Google has been using an industrial-strength testing system to identify, analyze and fix security holes in its Chrome browser, helping it significantly cut down on the number of vulnerabilities that slip through to the most recent version product in production.

Google calls the system ClusterFuzz. It’s made up of “several hundred” virtual machines loaded with about 6,000 Chrome instances, subjecting them to about 50 million test cases every day, the company said on Thursday.

The system’s capacity is projected to quadruple in the coming weeks. Since its full deployment late last year, ClusterFuzz has flagged 95 unique vulnerabilities, 44 of which were fixed before making it into the most recent stable release of the browser, according to a Google blog post.

In addition to benefiting users of the product, the detections also help open-source software used by Chrome like WebKit and FFmpeg, because Google submits vulnerability reports to their project teams.

In addition to running the tests and detecting browser crashes, ClusterFuzz is also used to manage the distribution of test cases, analyze the crashes to determine if they involve a security hole that can be exploited, and verify if a vulnerability has been properly fixed.

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/254553/google_details_chrome_browser_securitytesting_technology.html

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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


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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16 Apr 12 Sprint Samsung Galaxy Nexus Available For Pre-Order


Sprint customers the wait is over: The Samsung Galaxy Nexus will be available on Sprint for $199 starting on April 22nd. The Sprint version of the Galaxy Nexus ships with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), and will be compatible with Sprint’s LTE network. Like the Samsung Nexus S, the Sprint Galaxy Nexus will officially support Google’s mobile payment system, Google Wallet.

I got a hands-on with the Sprint Galaxy Nexus at CES, and found it to be nearly identical the Verizon version. The phone features a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 4.63-inch 720p display. Since it’s a Nexus phone, Google will be the one issuing updates–meaning that your Galaxy Nexus will always have the latest version of Android running on it.

If you’re interested in the Galaxy Nexus and want to make sure you get one on the day it’s released, you can pre-order the phone through Sprint’s website. Pre-ordering today gives you the chance to get the Galaxy Nexus two days early, meaning you can flaunt it to those friends who waited on getting their orders in. As an added bonus, Sprint is offering an extra $40 in credit to anyone that activates the Google Wallet service on their phone within a week of receiving their Galaxy Nexus.

So if you’ve been itching to get your hands on the phone we rated best Android phone and best smartphone overall, get in line and place your order now.

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Article source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/253856/sprint_samsung_galaxy_nexus_available_for_preorder.html

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05 Apr 12 New SwiftKey 3 Keyboard App for Android Kills the Need for Spacebar Accuracy


New SwiftKey 3 App for Android Kills The Need for a SpacebarHere’s how SwiftKey 3 Beta inserts spaces for you in typed emails and updates.SwiftKey just re-invented the way that you type on your Android phone or tablet with SwiftKey 3 Beta. This latest version of SwiftKey’s Android keyboard has a new feature called “Smart Space” that allows you to just type continuously without having to remember to insert spaces between words.

Smart Space works like traditional autocorrect software except that, instead of just correcting misspelled words, the software can also detect where you’ve missed a space in your sentence. If you’re anything like me and are always hitting the “b” or “v” keys while trying to hit the spacebar, Smart Spaces will definitely feel like a breath of fresh air.

In an effort to make typing faster and easier, SwiftKey has also added Smart Punctuation. Now, instead of fishing around for a comma, question mark, or exclamation point, simple touch the “.” key and a grid of the other punctuation options will pop for you to choose from and quickly insert into your messages.

Here’s a SwiftKey video that shows how the punctuation feature and the auto spacing addition work.

You’re still on your own when it comes to making sure your sentence is grammatically sound, but now you should have no excuse for including proper punctuation in your tweets or text messages.

These new features are accompanied by two new themes that make SwiftKey look at home in the Ice Cream Sandwich version of the Android operating system. Keys are slightly larger than they were in previous versions of SwiftKey, making them easier to hit while you’re furiously typing an email or updating your Facebook status. And, if you aren’t a fan of the new look, you can always opt to keep your old theme while still being able to take advantage of the new Smart Space and Smart Punctuation features.

If you’re looking to give SwiftKey 3 a try, VIP members can download the beta for free from SwiftKey’s website. VIP registration is currently open to everyone, so I would recommend signing up for the VIP program as soon as possible.

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Article source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/253225/new_swiftkey_3_keyboard_app_for_android_kills_the_need_for_spacebar_accuracy.html

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22 Mar 12 Chrome Beats Internet Explorer — Is it a Sign?


The news that Google’s Chrome browser had briefly surpassed Internet Explorer, based on data compiled by StatCounter, as the most-used on the web last weekend may have taken some by surprise, but this writing has been on the wall for some time.

Since its public release in late 2008, Chrome has quickly begun to supplant Mozilla Firefox as the leading alternative to IE, which as recently as mid-2007 commanded fully two-thirds of the browser marketplace, according to statistics from W3Counter.

Nevertheless, there are some clear caveats to Chrome’s achievement. For one thing, the browser’s pre-loading of web pages based on search results is interpreted by some measurements as a page view, inflating its apparent usage totals.

Additionally, the timing of Chrome’s apparent passage of IE is significant, with ZDNet blogger Zack Whittaker noting that differences between home and work browser use likely favor Microsoft’s program. (Whittaker also pointed out that Firefox and Chrome have both surpassed IE in the European market.)

While there were factors mitigating the scale of the victory won by Chrome, however, there were also obstacles for it to overcome. Google recently penalized the browser’s search engine rankings after admitting that paid links were used to boost its visibility. This slowed Chrome’s market share growth, but clearly did not halt it.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

Read more about software in Network World’s Software section.

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Article source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/252313/chrome_beats_internet_explorer_is_it_a_sign.html

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20 Mar 12 Music Service Deezer Adds Offline Mode to Browser Client


Using HTML5, music service Deezer has added an “offline mode” that can be accessed directly via a browser, the company said on Tuesday.

The new feature will at first be available on Google Chrome, but it will also be available on other browsers soon, according to the company, which didn’t offer any details on timing.

The “offline mode” allows Deezer Premium+ subscribers to download their music library to their computers and to access it without being connected.

This feature also anticipates the future evolution of all mobile applications toward HTML5, which will streamline the development process for services accessible on every device, according to Deezer.

One of the advantages of Web-based applications compared to native ones is that users never have to upgrade, Deezer said.

Deezer isn’t the only company that thinks HTML5 has something to offer. On Tuesday, IDC and cross-platform development vendor Appcelerator published a report that detailed a growing interest among mobile developers for HTML5. Seventy-nine percent of respondents report that they will integrate HTML5 in their apps in 2012, according to a joint statement.

Thanks to its partnerships with Facebook, Orange and Belgacom, Deezer is now available in more than 50 countries and will be accessible worldwide at the end of 2012. The music service announced its global launch plans in December with the goal of launching the service in 200 countries by June.

Unlike competing services Rdio and Spotify, Deezer won’t be available in the U.S., a decision the company has attributed to market saturation and low growth forecasts. Deezer has also decided not to launch in Japan for the same reasons, the company said in December, a decision it is sticking with.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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Article source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/252213/music_service_deezer_adds_offline_mode_to_browser_client.html

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14 Mar 12 Google Chrome to Get a Metro-Style Look for Windows 8


Windows 8 is shaping up to be a new battleground for the browser wars, with Google confirming plans for a Metro-style version of Chrome.

An unnamed Google representative revealed the company’s plans to Mashable. The official said Chrome for Windows 8 will be based off the existing desktop browser, as opposed to the Android version of Chrome. Google will improve touch support on the desktop side, but will also build a Metro version for the tablet-friendly side of Windows 8.

“Our goal is to be able to offer our users a speedy, simple, secure Chrome experience across all platforms, which includes both the desktop and Metro versions of Windows 8,” the Google representative said. Google hasn’t announced any features for Windows 8 Chrome.

Google Chrome to Get a Metro-Style Look for Windows 8This week, Mozilla revealed plans to bring its Firefox browser to Windows 8. In a blog post, Mozilla engineer Brian Bondy explained that browsers can have special privileges in Windows 8. Technically, they’re desktop apps, but they can also include a Metro-style version that runs within Windows 8′s touch-optimized interface. To use the Metro-style app, users must set the browser as the default in Windows 8.

Although Microsoft and Google have become rivals in recent years, Google can’t afford to ignore Windows 8. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 10 serves as the default browser, with Bing as its search engine, which means Google could lose a lot of its bread and butter search business if Windows 8′s Metro interface proves popular. In Windows 8, Chrome’s goal will be the same as it’s always been: Keep users hooked on Google Search.

Follow Jared on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ for even more tech news and commentary.

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Article source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/251747/google_chrome_to_get_a_metrostyle_look_for_windows_8.html

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