Microsot Edge coming to iOS and Android smartphone

You read it right.

Microsoft announced that their Edge web browser would be coming to iOS and Android – phone only – not tablets for now. On iOS, Edge is based on the WebKit engine, and on Android, the Chromium browser project. Both will probably be released by year end

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Smart TV can be hit with randomware

This is getting ridiculous.

A guy posted online on Christmas day that a relative’s smart TV appears to be infected with a version of the Cyber.Police ransomware, also known as FLocker, Frantic Locker, or Dogspectus.

The infected TV is one of the last generations of LG smart TVs that ran Google TV, a smart TV platform developed by Google together with Intel, Sony, and Logitech. Google TV launched in 2010, but Google discontinued the project in June 2014.

The guy tried to reset the TV to factory settings, but the reset procedure available online didn’t work. When the software engineer contacted LG, the company told him to visit one of their service centers, where one of its employees could reset his TV and charge supposedly $340.

The relatives said they downloaded an app to watch a movie. Halfway through the movie, TV froze and booted to this screen below. Unknown where the app came from.

Symantec and Trend Micro [in separate reports] concluded that removing ransomware from smart TV’s won’t be easy for most to remove.

Google has started working on Android TV, an Android-based smart TV platform, similar to Google TV, meaning that Android malware remains a valid threat for a large chunk of the smart TV market.
Here’s a link created by the guy on how to reset a LG smart TV
[jump to about 4:50 to find out how to reset, if you are bored]. The guy yacks a bit too much. Could of done this in just a couple of minutes at the most.

There was a comment elsewhere that it could be a hoax, but the screen in the video looks legitimate.

lg_tv

 

 

Some warnings about a toolbar and cellphones

Almost three million Android phones, many of them used by people in the US, are vulnerable to code-execution attacks that remotely seize full control of the devices. Researchers have cataloged 55 known device models that are affected. The most affected manufacturer is US-based BLU Products, which accounted for about 26 percent, followed by multinational Infinix with 11 percent, Doogee with almost 8 percent, and Leagoo and Xolo with about 4 percent each.

Each of these manufacturers sell low priced Android cell phone. The firmware was developed by a Chinese company called Ragentek Group and doesn’t encrypt the communications sent and received to phones and doesn’t rely on code-signing to authenticate legitimate apps.

 

According to a report, the ask.com Toolbar Updater is currently being compromised to deliver malware. The program and its updater is often downloaded by unsuspecting users and considered by some to be a potentially unwanted application.

Therefore if you have it, remove it. To check:

  1. Go into your Control Panel.
  2. Click on Programs and Features.
  3. Look for ask.com Toolbar and/or ask.com Toolbar Updater [the names may vary].
  4. If found [for each], right click on the line and select Uninstall. Follow the directions and agree to everything during the uninstallation [that makes sense]. If brings you to a web page, close that page.

 

Not fixing Android bug affects 930 million users

Recently a security issue came up that is affecting about 60% of Android OS users [or about 930 million users] worldwide.

Google has decided not to fix the WebView bug in Android versions before 4.4 because of the “complexity” in doing so.

A lead engineer for Android security revealed the decision was due to the complexity of applying patches to older branches of WebKit – the browser engine that was used in WebView and Chrome until Google forked WebKit into Blink for Chrome. To start off with, WebKit alone is over five million lines of code and hundreds of developers are adding thousands of new commits every month.

But this is the same company that “stung” both Apple and Microsoft [and probably others] by revealing vulnerabilities before they could be fixed.  I am wondering what Google would have replied with if Apple or Microsoft revealed the bug before that did.

That said, Google has already announced that by not fixing this issue, 930 million users will be vulnerable.

For those running older versions of the OS, I wonder if this will speed up the process for those phones to be upgraded to a newer version of the OS. Problem is that it is usually the phone’s carrier that decides when an upgrade can be done because of the carrier’s own tweaking of the OS.

In comparison, with Windows, manufacturers are expected to support the latest service pack, updates, etc. They are also required to keep their own software updated to work with the newer updates.

Google is suggesting that if you have an affected OS is not to use the built in web browser but one that is getting updated like Firefox or Chrome.

If you are stuck at 4.3 or slightly before, complain to your carrier.

Can the built in browser be disabled or uninstalled?

[My phone is using OS 4.4.2 and still waiting for them to go to either 4.4.3 or 4.4.4 or maybe even 5.0 like some US carriers have done for the same model. But other than a security updated last fall, there has been nothing.]

The web browser war ended…

… long ago.

Finally after 5 years, Microsoft can official ditch the dumb browser menu enforced on them in Europe by the European Commission.

If you remember, in 2009, the EC decided that Internet Explorer had too much of a monopoly and wanted to level the playing field. So they told Microsoft to have a menu so that users can choose the web browser they want or they can’t sell Windows in Europe.

Quietly this week, Microsoft released a knowledgebase article which shows how to disable the update. New systems [at this time it only applies to Windows 7] will not receive the update.

This was always a joke. Windows users in Europe had this stupid menu to choose a browser – as if most don’t already know what browser they wanted and where to find it.

So why is it that OS X users didn’t have a menu system to choose another browser besides Safari [who wouldn’t choose another browser?] or even Linux distributions with a choice as well?

It was just as dumb when European Windows users couldn’t have Windows Media Player with Windows.

This plus recent decisions show that the EC just don’t know what they are doing.

Now the talk of Google splitting has a similar feel because Google has a large majority in both search and ad engines and the two combined is not a good thing to be king.

While Internet Explorer still has the lead on laptops and desktops, Google’s Chrome browser has the overall lead if you add devices such as tablets and smartphones to the mix.

Samsung to release Galaxy S5 in mid-April

Expect Samsung’s latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5, to be released in 150 countries on April 11th.

It will offer an ultra-power-saving mode, improved battery life, and better WiFi support. It will also have a dimpled backing and a slightly larger screen than the current flagship, the S4.

It will also have biometrics [i.e. finger print scanner] to unlock the phone and maybe authorize purchases made on Google Play and the Samsung app store. The scanner will be integrated into the home button. [Hmmm. I’m wonder if Apple’s lawyers are already checking some laws on that.]

The camera on the Galaxy S5 will support up to 16 megapixel still photos and allow recording of ultra-high-definition video [3840*2160] if reports are true. Also included is the latest Android version out [as now required by Google] which means 4.4 unless 5.0 gets released by then as well as a download booster that combines the LTE signal with WiFi to download files faster.

If you are into running, the smartphone will also offer a new Gear Fit accessory to monitor heart rate and act as a pedometer.

Expect the Galaxy S5 to strengthen Samsung’s hold as the leading phone manufacturer as well as the Galaxy series will take over from Apple’s iPhone as the leading brand.

Have a Samsung device? Don’t upgrade the OS yet.

Are you using a Samsung device such as a Galaxy S4 [or other recent tablet models]? If so, a word of warning:

Don’t upgrade to Android OS 4.3.

Doing so will also require you to upgrade the syncing software to Kies 3. Problem is that Kies 3 doesn’t include the option to sync anymore – at least not with Windows applications such as Outlook.

There are some discrepancies regarding whether the syncing part will return. I chatted online with someone from Samsung [or works for them] and was told that the syncing option will return.

If so, why was it pulled in the first place?

But if you look at the link, the document says on the second page that the contact syncing has been removed because of a lack of usage. Tell that to the complainers on the Internet.

Samsung also does not warn you that the feature has been removed.

So what do you do?

Well, in the online chat, the guy suggested Android Sync. But that is a paid application. Why pay something now that was included and may be included in the future.

Someone online suggested syncing through Outlook Social Connector – but that means abandoning your non-Outlook.com/Hotmail account or forwarding messages. Messy.

The people who make CompanionLink gave a promotional price – but you are still paying and it sounds like you may be forced to install an application that isn’t needed.

I found an application called MyPhoneExplorer. It’s free and half decent – at least as a temporary workaround. You can find it here. [As usual, use suggestions on the site as your own risk.]

Do you have any suggestions?