When Google launched the Android Device Manager in early August, I applauded the initiative because we finally got a much-needed security solution that was built into every Android devices that ships with Google's services. Rather, it was a good start, since the functionality was so limited: location, remote wipe, and alarm.
For the last two days, I've been digging around the new Google Play Services APK 3.2.64 that started rolling out to Android devices everywhere.
These days, it seems like everybody is trying to make Android more secure. As usual, rooting and modding are often casualties of this effort. Just over a month ago Android 4.3 broke the existing model for root, forcing updates to existing methods, and now Samsung is rolling out updated Android 4.2.2 firmwares for the Galaxy S 4 which fully enable the company's heavily secured KNOX environment. Fortunately, Chainfire is already on top of it and has updated his popular root software, SuperSU, to be compatible with the new system.
Piper is a nifty little gadget that combines a number of recently deployed technologies to create a connected and hyper-aware home automation hub. The project has been getting a lot of press since it appeared on Indiegogo a couple of weeks ago, and it passed its $100,000 funding goal today. There's another twenty days before the project ends, so the creators won't be wanting for funds.
Piper is essentially is a little box that's stuffed with a ton of sensors and WiFi connectivity, making it the hub of a connected house.
CyanogenMod is already one of the most polished Android ROMs out there, but as the dev team says in the most recent blog post, running a custom OS shouldn't mean you're lacking first-class features. To that end, CyanogenMod ROMs will soon include CyanogenMod Account for encrypted device management. The account provider is already in CM's Github, but don't get too ahead of yourself – the CyanogenMod Account isn't rolling out right away.
When it comes right down to it, few things are much scarier than finding out somebody can track your movements, read your call log and text messages, and even record audio and take pictures of whatever the phone can get, all without your knowledge. Here's the thing - as careful, security-conscious people, many of us already install software like that for our own purposes, usually to recover a phone in the event it should fall into the hands of thieves.
Avast has been busy today. The company has released its new Mobile Backup app in Google Play, and it looks to have an okay feature set (it was previously in beta). The Mobile Security and Antivirus app also got a substantial update. Mobile Backup will grab your contacts, call log, images, videos, SMS, and more, then upload them to the cloud for safe keeping.
Bitcoin is still emerging as an online currency, and that means issues are sure to pop up in the way it's implemented. This time there's an Android-specific problem. It turns out there's a weakness in the way Android generates random secure numbers (the Java SecureRandom class), which most Bitcoin apps use to create wallet IDs. That means an attacker could possibly figure out your wallet key and swipe your digital cash.
How much would you pay for an Android security suite that may occasionally be of use? Maybe $1.99? $4.99? How about $149.00? No? Well, that's what Kaspersky Lab is currently asking for its Mobile Security app in Google Play. Got a lot of cash to burn and very little common sense? Kaspersky Tablet Security is only $199.00. What?
See, the apps for phones and tablets used to cost $4.95 and $9.95, respectively.
Today's Twitter update has a keen focus on security. Back in May, the company introduced an SMS-based two-factor authentication system for signing into the service. Now login requests can be be verified using just the mobile app. Users can sign into Twitter and enjoy the extra security of two-factor authentication without having to provide a phone number or worry about cell reception. The app also generates backup codes just in case your phone isn't available when you want to sign in later on.
Remember when Google's app verification and malware scanning service debuted with Android 4.2? No? Well, that's probably because statistically speaking, you're likely to be one of the 95% of Android users rocking 4.1 or earlier. To help address this, it looks like Google has moved the Verify Apps system to Google Play Services, which at this point should be installed on all Google Play Store-equipped Android devices running Gingerbread or higher.