Google's monthly patches help keep Android safe from malicious attacks (assuming your phone's manufacturer is willing to ship updates on time). So long as you're careful when downloading apps from outside the Play Store, keeping your device secure is pretty easy these days, even as new attackers try to distribute dangerous viruses. This week, mobile security researchers have discovered spyware that pretends to be a system update, only to take total control of the smartphone after being installed. Read More
If you've been using ToTok on any of your devices, you should consider uninstalling it immediately. The new messaging platform that was one of the most downloaded apps last week was swiftly removed from the Google Play Store (and Apple's App Store) before the end of Friday. The abrupt decision came after American officials declared the service was actually spyware backed by the United Arab Emirates government. Read More
Like most Chinese manufacturers, Xiaomi's Android phones come with heavy UI customizations and many pre-installed apps featuring advertisements no one asked for — in fact, this release model is part of the reason why Xiaomi is routinely able to undercut its competition in price. However, the company might be too thirsty about collecting personal data to show individualized ads, as its Quick apps application has been blocked by Google Play Protect because of potential tracking issues. Read More
Last year, there was a rather widely-covered story about a piece of Android malware (rather, an Android malware control suite) called Dendroid. That malware was published for sale on a cybercrime-aligned forum known as Darkode, and it just so happens that the FBI (with assistance from agencies in other nations) just arrested the guy who wrote Dendroid as part of a larger raid on Darkode's operators.
That guy is Morgan C. Culbertson, who has a pretty solid real name, but somehow the most tragically boring and uninventive criminal alias of all time: "Android." Come on, Morgan - you could have done better. Read More