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security

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Samsung is switching to a monthly security update schedule for US-unlocked Galaxy phones

When the US unlocked models of the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge were released, many were overjoyed to have a variant that wouldn't be tied to a carrier, yet would be fully compatible with all four major carriers here in the states. Despite these unlocked versions' higher price tags, many picked them up in hopes of less bloat and quicker updates.

Unfortunately, while the unlocked models did come with fewer pre-installed apps, buyers were extremely let down in terms of updates. Not only did they not arrive more quickly, but they were actually being sent out more infrequently and much later than carrier models'.

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Nest finally adds two-factor authentication

Nest recently announced that two-factor authentication is here, finally adding in the often asked for option of secondary security. There does appear to be one caveat in regard to this new security measure, but isn't there always?

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CloudPets user data, possibly including children's voice messages, hacked and held for ransom

Everything can be hacked, as a certain Overwatch character is fond of saying. That seems to be increasingly true of consumer electronics... including stuffed teddy bears and unicorns. According to security researcher Troy Hunt, a series of web-connected, app-enabled toys called CloudPets have been hacked. The manufacturer's central database was reportedly compromised over several months after stunningly poor security, despite the attempts of many researchers and journalists to inform the manufacturer of the potential danger. Several ransom notes were left, demanding Bitcoin payments for the implied deletion of stolen data.

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Google's Verify Apps now shows apps that it has recently scanned

Google rolled out the Verify Apps framework many years ago to scan apps as they were installed. Then, in 2014 it added the ability to constantly scan apps to watch for malicious behavior. You were sort of taking Google at its word as a user that Verify Apps was indeed rummaging around to keep tabs on things. Now you can see some of what it's doing—the settings menu now shows which apps have recently been scanned.

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Two major vulnerabilities found in OnePlus 3 bootloader - OP has patched one, working on the other

OnePlus is something of a darling among Android power users, shipping phones that can be bootloader unlocked without any special permissions or codes. But security researcher Roee Hay found that the OnePlus 3 (and the revised OnePlus 3T) are rather more open than was probably intended. With two native fastboot commands, Hay found he could install unverified boot images and disable the verified boot feature, all without actually unlocking the bootloader with the familiar user-accessible command. Which is, well, bad: it basically means anyone can run malicious code on the phone without resetting the user's data.

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Google releases February security bulletin, OTA and system images available for Google devices

It's that time of month again where Google releases security fixes for Android. The Android Security Bulletin for February 2017 has just been posted, addressing 35 critical bugs - most of which affect Nexus and Pixel devices. The most severe issue that the February patch level fixes could enable remote code execution when processing media files.

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Google adds more enterprise-grade security controls to G Suite

While on the face of things, it may seem like Google steals data and invades privacy, the company is actually very serious about security. That doubles when it comes to the security of G Suite, Google's enterprise accounts product range. Today the company has announced it's adding a few things to make the accounts even more secure.

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Gmail won't allow JavaScript file attachments starting February 13

Malicious emails often attach various forms of executable programs and trick users into running them. These include standard Windows executables (.exe), batch files (.bat), and even JavaScript files (.js). Starting February 13, 2017, Google will not allow JS files to be sent as an attachment, including JS files detected within archives.

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