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security

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Play Store v7.7 prepares to roll out new security features and split notification settings to a separate screen [APK Teardown]

Google is pushing out a new version of the Play Store for Android users around the world. Like most updates to this version, there really aren't any notable changes showing up already, but there are a few interesting things hidden beneath the hood. There are some new features focused on improving security for apps that are updated from unexpected sources and making its security scanner more visible to users. There's also a plan to move notification settings to their own dedicated screen.

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Google and Lookout detail super-sophisticated 'Chrysaor' Android malware

An unusually advanced strain of malware was discovered on iOS last year, dubbed Pegasus by Lookout and other security firms that analyzed it. Now, an Android version of Pegasus has been discovered. The new malware is known as Chrysaor, and a full analysis of its origins and capabilities has been published by Google and Lookout. It's a serious piece of malware, but you don't have to worry about it showing up on your phone.

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An Israeli security researcher takes a good look at Samsung's Tizen, labels it the worst code he has ever seen

Android is a hulking beast as far as global user share is concerned — hell, it's the most-used operating system in the world, surpassing even Windows (in terms of internet usage). When Samsung announced that it was creating its own open-source alternative to Google's mobile OS, it was not really a surprise. We've had several upstarts over the years, like Sailfish, Firefox OS, Ubuntu Touch, and so on, but all of them have failed in some form or another. There were a few people, however, who thought Sammy could be the one to unseat Google and Android with a mobile operating system that it called Tizen.

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Synaptics continues to improve its fingerprint sensor lineup with force sensing, navigation, and more

We've reached a point in the smartphone world where most devices have fingerprint sensors. Some are faster and more accurate than others, but I think that most of us can agree that they're pretty awesome to have. Synaptics is a large player in the industry, although some may recognize the name from the touchpads on their laptops. The biometrics company announced yesterday that it's working on a new fingerprint sensor for security, convenience, and versatility.

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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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