Sunday, September 20, 2015

Google fixes an Android Lollipop lockscreen bypass bug - how bad was it?

Google issued its first monthly Android security patch for Nexus devices a few days ago, and one of the items in the changelog was quite interesting. Google patched a lock screen bypass vulnerability that was present in Android 5.0and higher. That’s certainly a serious bug, and something that would be a real problem if it was out there unpatched.
However ,even though the patch has been deployed, many reports are treating this as an apocalyptic security problem for Android. But that’s all due to a fundamental misunderstanding of how Android works.
The flaw in question was discovered by University of Texas researchers and relies on the password field on the lock screen. So right off the bat, this vulnerability only applies if you’re using a password lock method, because it has a text field. A pattern or PIN lock does not present such a field, even if you enter your code incorrectly multiple times. You need that text field because the hack relies on pasting text into that field to crash the lock screen.
Google has patched Nexus devices with build LMY48M and noted that there were no active exploits of this vulnerability in the wild. However, many of the news reports on this issue have pointed out with hyperbolic concern that there are still about one-fifth of Android devices from Samsung, LG, and others running un-patched versions of 5.x. What these hysterical warnings fail to take into account is that none of those phones were vulnerable in the first place.
The flaw relies entirely upon a stock build of Android like you’d find on Nexus devices. All other OEMs have modified lock screens and camera apps. Many also have their own keyboards that don’t work with the bug. Just to make sure, I’ve tested a Samsung Galaxy S6, LG G4, and 2015 Moto G, and none of them seem to be vulnerable. You can’t paste into the password field at all. So what does this mean? Virtually every device with this bug has been fixed, and there’s no need to panic.
This is how software patches work when handled responsibly — an issue is reported, a patch is issued, and the method is disclosed. There’s nothing unusual about this flaw, and there aren’t millions of phones out there with broken lock screens. Don’t believe the hype.
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Saturday, September 19, 2015

A New Name has been given to Sony’s Project Morpheus .

Sony's Project Morpheus Has A New Name

Sony has been divulging more about its virtual reality gadget however so far it has been known by its pet name, Project Morpheus. As of not long ago. At the Tokyo Games Show, Sony uncovered that it is currently called… PlayStation VR. 

So there you have it, Sony has chosen not to run insane with its classification but rather adhere to the nuts and bolts – this is a VR headset for PlayStation all things considered.
PlayStation VR still doesn’t have an official discharge date however we are are looking forward to see in 2016 in real time.
No more Morpheus
Venture Morpheus was initially reported at GDC 2014, yet it wasn’t until E3 this year when we began to see a greater amount of the diversions that would be accessible for the VR headset – including Battle Zone and London Heist.
PlayStation VR will be dispatching into a somewhat swarmed commercial center, with any semblance of the HTC Vive underway and greater and better forms of the Oculus Rift arriving thick and quick.
In our grasp on PlayStation VR audit, we said that: “There’s still work to be done – edges were unpleasant and items appeared a bit not exactly their HD show – yet Sony is plainly resolved to resolve these before it comes to showcase.”
Getting the name right is one  Major Piece of this.
Also, if the recently renamed PlayStation VR headset is to be the first to truly take the standard by tempest then it’s going to advantage more from having a basic, elucidating title than something funkier yet significantly more ambiguous.

With a late report evaluating the VR business is going to hit 30 million headset shipments by the year 2020, there’s a dreadful enormous cut of the pie that Sony could get hold of with PS VR.
Stay Tuned for more updates on this.

Android Lollipop Bug Allows Anyone to Bypass Your Lock Screen Easily

android lockscreen bypass

Most of the bugs you’ll find on your gadget are ones which can only be exploited by a highly-informed hacker or an expert of this domain. Not every time, though, you need to be a hacker to get into someone’s phone.

A new bug in Android’s lock-screen passwords can allow even a non-hacker to intrude your privacy. A combination of hundreds of characters is all that’s needed for the OS to crash in the hands of the exploiter. The bug was discovered by researchers at University of Texas.

From the lock-screen, you enter the emergency dial window and from there you bombard the phone with these commands.The researcher John Gordon also uploaded a video of the bug’s proof on a Google Nexus 4.

It affects Android phones running on unpatched versions of Lollipop between version 5.0.0 and 5.1.1, or before build LMY48M. That means more than 20 percent of all Android devices are affected by it. Google has already released a fix on the version 5.1.1 of the OS on its Nexus devices.

It may or may not affect other Lollipop users, too. Protecting yourself is easy enough. Just don’t use a password to lock your phones. Thankfully, Android comes with other methods including PINs and patterns too, so you aren’t short of options.

Or you can once again try not to give your phone to any strangers, ever, which is certainly an even easier way.
Be Cautious. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Everything New You Missed From Apple’s Mega Event


Apple may have announced the new iPhones and iPads at its September 9th announcement, but there is a lot more stuff which goes through largely unnoticed, either at or in the aftermath of the event. Here is a post which covers everything else that happened:

iPhone 6S, 6S Plus come with 2 GB RAM & the iPad Pro 4 GB

The lack of RAM in Apple devices has long been a documented issue and Apple seldom upgrades hardware unless it absolutely needs to. This time, things have been taken one step further in that domain, as the new iPhones now thankfully come with 2 GB RAM, as confirmed by Apple Support. Before you mention that Samsung has it since the Galaxy S4, let’s not forget that management is the name of the game, here.
What’s more is that its Surface competitor, the iPad Pro comes with 4 GB RAM, unthinkable by Apple’s standards and equal to what the base MacBook Pro includes. This was confirmed by Adobe.

3D Touch: ‘Peek’ or ‘Pop’

It is hard to fully describe the overhauled Force Touch technology in the new iPhones without trying them out first. The pressure of the finger is calculated by the distance between the backlight and the glass screen.
‘Peek’ opens up a small window in a menu for further options or previews. It can bring up additional content in apps. ‘Pop’ allows you to go to actually go inside that app. Both of these work together for a variety of functions in different apps. 3D Touch can bring huge improvements in other areas such as gaming as well.

iOS 9 is coming on September 16th

While the new iPhones will naturally come with iOS 9 installed, the OS veterans will be able to get a taste of the new software on the 16th of September. The OS with its new apps, software improvements and more will be coming to iPhone 4S and later, iPad 2 and later, and all the iPad Minis.

Apple Watch gets slightly better, cooler

The Watch is getting new leather bands from Hermes and a red Product Red band. New rose & gold colours are coming for the Watch Sport. Three new apps, Messenger, GoPro and AirStrip will come pre-installed. The new Watch OS 2 will be coming alongside iOS 9 on September 16th. Already there are over 10,000 apps made specially for the wearable.

Apple TV

The Apple TV is another major announcement from the event though a lot of people look over it due to its limited use in unsupported markets. The $149 media box now comes with Siri and has new remote with a mic, touch-sensitive area and a gesture recognition built-in. There’s also emphasis on gaming thanks to support for all those Made for iPhone game controllers.

Adobe Photoshop Fix

Then you have the Adobe Photoshop Fix, a new app built for the new iPad Pro. Its Sketch app features support for the Apple Pencil, too and offers varying amounts of pressure sensitivity. Photoshop Fix comes with auto face detection for quick edits.
“We’re excited about the capabilities of the iPad Pro for our customers and we’re building new apps that take full advantage of the large screen, precise stylus, and power of iOS 9 multitasking to really bring professional level workflows to the iPad.”

The new iPhones are coming September the 23rd

There are new Upgrade and Apple Care+ programs announced, which are largely irrelevant to us. The new iPhones however will be released on the 25th of September in select markets. Wider availability should follow soon after that. Investors have low expectations, as always, but that may not stop the company from shattering the sales records once again.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Lenovo Vibe S1 Comes With a Dual Front Camera Setup

lenovo vibe s1

The smartphone market right now is so ambiguous that all it needs is one special feature to distinguish yourself from others. The new Lenovo phones do exactly that.

The Vibe S1 uses the selfie-boom totally to its advantage. While others like Sony improve sensors and even add front-facing flashes, this phone puts not one, but two cameras above the front panel.

If you’ve followed the industry for long you’ve probably guessed why. Lenovo uses the same refocusing technique which HTC used for its One (M8) flagship couple of years back. As a result, the regular 8 megapixel camera takes your photo, while the second 2 megapixel camera measures the depth of field vision to replicate human binocular vision. You can also get a plugin flash accessory for selfies in low light conditions.
There are a few photo modes built-in for you to mess with. ‘Blur’ allows you to refocus anywhere on your selfie (up to 3 focal plains). ‘Bokeh’ allows you to stylize or edit your selfies. ‘Cut Out’ allows you to make a collage or crop and place your photo with any modified back. You can also get better Night Vision thanks to the combination.

The rest of the phone is quite acceptable by today’s standards. The front, in case you think we forgot, also comes with a 5” display with Full HD resolution. The phone just has a 7.8mm thickness with a 132g weight.

Under the hood, you get a MediaTek octa-core processor with an impressive 3 GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage, which is expandable. The back also has a 13 megapixel BSI sensor. You get 4G LTE for connectivity.
Not much else is announced about the phone. Pricing is set at $299. It will be available in two colors in November.

Skype Overhauls Android and iOS Apps for Better Consistency

In the era of Hangouts and FaceTime, a lot of people can forget that Skype is still kicking around. The latest development from the Microsoft-owned telecommunications application is a refinement and upgrade to its existing applications on portables.

Rather than using its own Windows Phone-like software tweaks and controls, it has taken inspiration from the corresponding operating systems of iOS and Android.

On iOS, you get on-screen keys on the bottom for main controls. You get can use swipe gestures like on other system apps for checking your messages or making calls. There is a new built-in enhanced search feature, too.
skype-for-iosThe iPad version has also been overhauled as well with the new search engine, location sharing, sending/receiving of photos, seeing URLs and more.

Similarly, on Android the app takes a page out of Google’s Material Design. A new floating action key is debuted for quick management of the basic Skype features like making calls and conversations.

Controlling forms are heavily inspired from the overall Android design. Unviewed messages are displayed better with a new clock icon at the top.
skype-for-androidThe Windows Phone updates stays as it is, though, but a new app is currently being built from scratch for Windows 10 Mobile so that’s not so bad. The updates are not big but will offer better continuity with the design choices of their respective OSes.