There is practically no week in which we know of a new security breach related to our mobiles. That is a reality, and it is demonstrated once again by episodes like the one we have known today, and that reminds us that the precautions we take when protecting our mobile phone are never enough. The reality is that today any connected device is susceptible to being hacked, that is so, and against it, the only way to defend itself is to keep our terminals updated, if we want to avoid the sharpest solution, disconnect from the network.
The new critical vulnerability of Bluetooth
It is not the first time that we know that a connectivity failure has served as a gateway to hackers when trying to gain control of other terminals remotely to access their data, for example. This security flaw has been identified with the code CVE-2020-0022 and affects the Bluetooth connectivity of Android phones. This bug discovered now what allows hackers to be able to execute specific codes remotely without the user’s permission, and without this knowledge at any time that something is happening.
The versions of Android most vulnerable to this problem are those of Android 8.0 and 8.1, as well as Android 9, being the versions where the hacker can do practically what he wants with the mobile through Bluetooth connectivity and without our permission. In the case of Android 10, this vulnerability still exists, but instead, the only thing that hackers can do with our mobile is to block Bluetooth connectivity. This vulnerability has been discovered once again by an independent security company. In this case, it has been the Secure Mobile Networking researchers who have encountered this problem.
These ensure that with this vulnerability, malware can be sent to any of the devices. And for this, they only need active Bluetooth connectivity, so the hacker should be ten meters or less from us to try to send us the malware. Hackers need to know the MAC address of the Wifi before to find out the MAC address of the Bluetooth, which is the only requirement they need to carry out the attack.
How can you avoid this threat?
Well, everything depends on the mobile you have and how old it is because this vulnerability has been resolved with the Android security patch dated February 1, 2020. An update that mobile phones that have less than two years will receive during this month, or during the following groups. The problem is older phones, those that are already three, four or more years old, and that no longer receive security updates. In those cases, except for an express effort of the manufacturer, they will be left without an antidote to this vulnerability. And the only alternative you will have is to connect the Bluetooth only when it is solely and exclusively necessary.
Opera 60 for Android renews the data synchronization system
A few days ago the new version of the Opera web browser for PC was announced and today it is Opera for Android’s turn, perhaps the most prominent development of the Chinese Norwegian company.
We are talking, however, about the standard version, whose novelties were already present in Opera Touch and are now coming to precisely facilitate the integration between PC and mobile for users.
Opera 60 is the new version of the browser for Android and its new features include the new method to activate data synchronization between mobile and PC using QR codes.
Thus, it is no longer necessary to enter the username and password to access bookmarks, history, passwords, etc .; just read the QR code on the desktop with your mobile and you are all done. This is how it works in Firefox too, by the way.
But that’s not all: data synchronization through QR codes is extended in Opera 60 to Flow, that private space where you can share notes, links, images, and even files with yourself.
As in the previous case, it is a feature that was already available in Opera Touch, and that finally reaches users of the standard version of Opera as well. In case you didn’t know about this function, the following video tells you how it goes.
Flow’s capabilities are enhanced with the new Easy Files or ‘easy files’ feature: “When attaching files in the Opera browser, Easy Files provides a visual display of the most recently downloaded files, helping you select the desired files quickly, without having to look through folders or remember file names, ”the developers explain.
Finally, Opera 60 for Android includes ‘ suggested sites ‘, a sort of bookmarks automatically generated based on the user’s browsing habits, although if you don’t like it, it can be disabled or managed manually. In short, Opera for Android improves its accessibility, but also its functions. It was time for the batteries to be put in.
Malware Hid In Apps On Google Play For Four Years
Movies and series about cybercrime often show viruses and other malware as destructive and scandalous, but in reality, they are the most discreet and quiet that are most successful. An example was a new threat, called Mandrake, which managed to spend years hidden in Android apps undetected.
According to Bitdefender researchers, Mandrake was spyware, developed with the aim of stealing information from all types of smartphones, exposing various sensitive information about the victim.
The threat has been active at least since 2016 and appears to have been developed targeting Australian Android users. Over time, however, infections began to spread throughout the world, with particularly strong outbreaks in the United States and Europe.
To steal user information, Mandrake used several legitimate Android functions but abused them to take complete control of the user. From there, he was able to collect the GPS location and record the smartphone screen, all without exposing his activity to generate distrust, allowing him to steal bank details and passwords for access to all types of internet services.
One of the important points that have made Mandrake successful for so long is the fact that it is hidden in several apps on Google Play. Cybercriminals have gone so far as to create multiple apps with legitimate functionality, published by different front companies, and keep them frequently updated and ad-free, with the aim of keeping their victims satisfied with the service, allowing them to be spied on by more time. The store has already removed the apps after reporting it.
As Bitdefender explained to the ZDNet website, in order to circumvent the detection of Google Play, the infection of the cell phone occurred in multiple stages.
When the user did the installation, the application was clean, but within a short time, he would contact the server to download the malignant part, which would effectively harm the victims. And, because it was downloaded voluntarily, the application asks for abusive permissions, tricking the user into giving them, offering total control over the system.
The researchers do not try to pinpoint the number of infected, however. According to them, the estimate is between tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of people, which is not a very high number, but they speculate that the low volume of infected cell phones is part of the strategy to avoid detection.
Cybercriminals would also be targeting the attack to find more valuable targets and avoid some territories. In countries in Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, the malware has instructions not to work, even in case of infection.
Huawei Could Have Found A Way To Make Up For The Lack Of Play Store: Preinstall 70 Popular Apps
The US trade ban on Huawei prevents the Chinese company from preloading Google’s apps and services on its devices, as well as the Play Store app store.
Although Huawei includes its own App Gallery app store, the most popular applications outside of China are not present. That is a major setback for users since they have to look for alternative ways to download and run apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and many others.
Now it seems that Huawei has found a solution to counteract this limitation and, as we have heard, has shared it with some European partners this week.
To minimize the need for play store, Huawei plans to preload its future android devices with a large number of third-party apps. Specifically, the company will preinstall some 70 popular Android apps on its next smartphones.
In addition to popular apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat, Huawei will also include some third-party alternatives to Google apps like Google Maps. The exact list of apps will depend on the market since the most popular in each country will be preinstalled.
In the next 4 months, Huawei plans to launch at least nine smartphones with a similar set of preinstalled apps. The first new devices under the new strategy are likely Huawei Y7p and P40 Lite E.
The drawback of this approach is that future Huawei smartphones will be loaded with a multitude of apps that, if you are not going to use them, will be nothing more than bloatware to erase.
On the other hand, even if 70 applications are installed, users are likely to have to install apps not included in that list (for example, apps from their bank, college, university, town hall, insurance company, telephone operator, etc. .), so the problem of the absence of Play Store will remain there.
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