232 Banks with Android Apps hit by a Trojan

Quick Heal, an organization for cyber-security informed news sources of  detection of an Android Trojan malware associated with banking apps . It is called Android.banker.A2f8a. Users are directed to download Flash player from third party stores, which is fake and harmful. It obtains personal data from banking and crypto currency apps, based on reports by News 18.

“Users are expected to keep their records on the apps safe. They should avoid downloading any third party store apps,” opined Sanjay Katkar, Chief Technology Officer and Joint Managing Director of Quick Heal Technologies.

The Indian Express informed that banking apps of Axis, HDFC, SBI, ICICI, IDBI, Union Bank and Bank of Baroda are some names from many others who have been targets of data theft. Users are requested to provide administrative rights to this app after setup. It continues to pester users till they do the needful. After obtaining rights, the app connects with these financial apps with a hidden app icon. It tries to obtain data from 232 such apps.

This app is not only limited to access of banking information. It mentions locations, divulges contact lists and messages. These are transferred to a vindictive server. “After Android 4.1, Adobe Flash Player is not available on the Google play store and consumers who have banking apps on their phones need to beware of such an issue,” mentioned Quick Heal sources.


Sources: Indian Express, News 18

From Apple and Windows PCs to Android devices, Intel bug affects them all

A major design flaw has been discovered in the Intel processors. It is found that the bug is affecting devices as old as 20 years. Initially, reports only talked of the damage it wascreating towards Mac OS and Windows computers. However, it is now being noticed that Android smartphones are being affected too. While Google has patched the bug on several platforms, Microsoft and Intel have confirmed the bug to be 2018’s first major widespread flaw.

As per Engadget, “We are in the process of deploying mitigations to cloud services and have also released security updates to protect Windows customers against vulnerabilities affecting supported hardware chips from Intel, ARM, and AMD,” said Microsoft.

The Gadgetsnow reported that Google’s Project Zero has confirmed that the bug is running on both Android and ChromeOS platforms. An update will be rolling out on January 23 for the Chrome users so as to help them mitigate the attack. For now, users can enable the ‘site isolation’ feature as a temporary method for protection.

The chipmaker has acknowledged the existence of the vulnerability; the vulnerability being towards gathering sensitive data from the computers. However, Intel also stated that the bug cannot corrupt, delete or modify data.

“Contrary to some reports, any performance impacts are workload-dependent, and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time,” said the company’s newsroom website.

Also, the company has sent out updates about its firmware and hardware to its partners to decrease the level of impact. Intel is yet to give out details pertaining to when and how will it be rolling a fix to this flaw.

Sources:  Gadgetsnow , Endgadget


WhatsApp AndroidBeta gets drawing tools and Snapchat-like features; iOS will connect with Siri

A takeover from Facebook seems to have done some real good to Whatsapp which is the world’s most popular chat app. WhatsApp has consistently been adding new features to its iOS and Android apps. You will now be able to scribble on pictures, make video calls, click pictures in the dark and make voice calls.

Now, the latest beta version of its Android app (2.16.264)  has been updated with two new features – the selfie flash for capturing better photos in low light or in the dark, and Snapchat-like feature to doodle on top of photos where one can add emoticons too.

The messaging platform is reportedly looking to add a host of new features to iOS as well. The iOS 10 users will soon be able to make voice calls and send messages using Siri. iOS 2.16.10 will also have video calls and GIF support. A host of new features are in the pipeline including one-finger video zoom, which will be available only while taking pictures via WhatsApp’s camera and also a front facing flash.

Let us have a look at the features in detail.


WhatsApp’s new editing tool is similar to that of Snapchat which will allow users to crop, add stickers and scribble on pictures after clicking them from the app’s camera and also add stickers. Spotted on the Android Beta version of the app, there’s a whole new bunch of stickers including arrow sign, balloons and some of the most popular emojis. These features come with an undo option to reverse changes along with a a colour palette to choose colours from while drawing with the pencil or scribbling.

Front-facing flash

Clicking pictures with WhatsApp’s  front camera is supposedly going to get better with its screen flash which enables the user to get better pictures in low-light conditions. The feature, lights up the screen while taking pictures in the dark or low light conditions.

Another feature is that of a one-finger video zoom which would make it easier for the users to zoom in and out while recording videos. This feature enables the users to simply slide their finger up for zooming-in and down for zooming-out. First seen on Snapchat and Instagram these features only work with WhatsApp’s camera.

Siri, Video Calls and GIF support

WhatsApp’s video call feature was first spotted on Android beta version some time ago, but was later taken down by the company.

Looking to integrate Siri to its platform for iOS 10, Whatsapp users will now be able to send out messages and make voice calls directly via Apple’s virtual voice-assistant. A WhatsApp button will show in contacts to make the call or send a message and users will able to reply to WhatsApp calls directly in the lock screen.

Among the host of updates, WhatsApp has also recently added the voicemail feature that lets the user send a voice mail to recipient if the call is unanswered or rejected. The company also added a quote feature which is similar to that of Twitter, allowing users to reply to messages with a quoted text.

With all these new changes rolling out WhatsApp is just getting better with every new update.

Google launches Duo to rival Apple’s FaceTime

For many years Google and Apple have fought with each other for consumer loyalty with their products. Apple’s iPhone is a success, while on the other side Google’s Android operating platform is popular for its flexibility and wider range of applications.

In recent years, Google has made its software such as Google Maps, Photos and Documents compatible with Apple software. These were viable alternatives to Apple’s apps used for the same purposes because they worked on a wide variety of devices including Macbooks, Windows PCs, Androids and iPhones.

Google has now released a new mobile app to rival Apple’s FaceTime(an app to make video calls) with it’s own version, namely Duo. The additional feature, allows one to make calls between iPhones and Android users – increasing the number of conversations possible with people.

The idea is to try and attract more iPhone users to switch over to Android. Nick Fox, Google’s head of communications spoke to The New York Times and played down the incentive to switch as secondary. He said the top priority was to build a great product to increase the use of video calling among Android users.

The app is in contrast to Google’s earlier product Hangouts, which allows groups of people to make video calls over mobile devices and computers. Duo is designed for one-to-one video calling on mobile devices, and is expected to roll out globally over the next few months.

Samsung launches Galaxy Note 7 in India with iris scanner

Technology giants Samsung launched its top of the line phablet Galaxy Note 7 in India according to The Times of India. The South Korean company introduced the Note 7 at the Galaxy Unpacked event in New York.

The company’s Knox software uses the bio-metric authentication and iris scanning features to improve security. The smartphone will also house a “Secure folder” which keeps confidential documents locked with the help of bio metrics.
This is the first Samsung device to feature an iris scanner – it includes a separate camera at the front to perform iris readings. The human iris forms a design of lines from it’s outer to inner boundary which are unique in each eye and also vary from person to person. The phone will scan these lines and authenticate the user. This is different from a retina scanner, which instead “looks” inside a person’s eye to unlock the device.

The device comes bundled with a Reliance 4G SIM, allowing the user three months of free data. Running on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow – the phone has a 5.7-inch Quad HD dual-edge S-Amoled display.
The phone will be priced at Rs 59,900 and will be available on e-commerce websites starting September 2.


Malware on mobile devices sees a spike in figures

According to a report published by Kaspersky Labs, malware targeting mobile devices tripled in the year 2015. Ransomware, a particular type of malware that prevents users from using their device tops the list in this particular category.
Ransomware, as the name implies, uses pop-ups to warn the user of carrying out illegal actions. Device unlocking would require a figure ranging from 12-100 dollars. Between 2014 and 2015, the number of users running Kaspersky protection services, and infected with malware rose from 1.1% to 3.8%.The users that witnessed the worst of these malware were reported from Germany, Russia and Kazakhstan.
As fraudsters capitalize on this technique, the current year is expected to see variations of the malware, with greater regions targeted. Last year witnessed the rise of intrusive mobile advertising, with nearly half of them in top 20 Trojan category. Some notable Trojans are Leech, Fadeb, Gorpro, Rootnik and are hidden in games, applications, and web banners.
Most of these malware target android devices, with the ability to gain root access. With the open source nature of android operating system, getting root access translates to ‘Administrator’ privileges. Once the malware installs itself, it becomes almost impossible to delete it, even after a factory reset. These types of malicious programs have been identified since 2011, and are expected to be the most widely reported one’s in the current year.

source: http://www.dnaindia.com/scitech/report-volume-of-new-mobile-malware-tripled-in-2015-kaspersky-lab-2183042


Whatsapp to stop supporting Blackberry and older Windows and Android devices

Few days ago, a blogpost by Whatsapp revealed that it will be withdrawing its services from various operating services like Blackberry, Symbian 40, Symbian 60, Android 2.1 and 2.2 devices and Windows Phone 7.1 by the end of 2016. Newer version of Windows, like Windows 10 will continue to receive the services.

The blog said that as the market consists 99% of Android, Windows Phone 8, iOS and above device. Though many platforms will suffer due to this decision there is some relief for Blackberyy 10 users as they have access to android applications within the Operating System. Loss of Hub integration will still be present, but for the usage of Whatsapp that is the only way.

Whatsapp said that though these mobile devices have been an important part of their journey, lack of capabilities hinder the expansion of the application’s features for the future. Despite being a tough one, Whatsaapp told that for giving better options to keep in touch with friends and family it had taken this decision.