Android mobile security threats today

June 21st, 2017

As bring your own device policies becomes common practice for companies today, business owners must keep in mind the possible cyber security implications of deploying more devices connected to the company network. If your employees are using Android devices, here are the top five security threats they need to be aware of as well as how to steer clear from them.

Unsafe devices

Sometimes, the device itself might not be safe due to faulty production or configuration. In fact, Checkpoint found 36 Android devices earlier this year at a telecommunications company and multinational technology company that were infected out of the box. This means that the infection was not caused by users, but the malware was pre-installed via apps somewhere along the supply chain before users even received them.

Malicious apps

Judy is an Android app, and although it sounds completely harmless, this software is actually designed to infect a device and activate an auto-clicking command used for malicious advertising campaigns. Believe it or not, this malware got 18.5 million downloads.

Information leakage from useful apps

Many applications are installed for legitimate uses. But don’t let that fool you, as these apps can be used to extract confidential information such as contact information from your mobile device. According to recent research, 0.3 percent of the 20 million Android transactions resulted in some level of privacy leakage. This is primarily due to cybercriminals tapping into an organization's network traffic, which requires skills but isn’t impossible to do.

Banking malware

This is when cybercriminals use phishing windows to overlap banking apps so that they can steal credentials from mobile banking customers. But that’s not all, as cybercriminals can overlap other apps and steal credit card details, incoming mobile transaction authentication number, and even redirect calls. Even worse, file-encrypting features now allow them to simultaneously steal information and lock user files.

One such banking malware that Android users need to look out for is Faketoken. According to Kaspersky Lab, Faketoken is designed to generate fake login screens for more than 2,000 financial applications in order to steal login credentials. The app also displays phishing pages to steal credit card information, can read and send text messages, and even has the ability to encrypt user files stored on a phone’s SD card.

Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks a device and demands for a payment in order for the device to be unlocked. The latest ransomware, WannaCry, spread like a wildfire and greatly affected the global healthcare industry. Ransomware continues to be a cyberciminal’s weapon of choice and attacks targeting Android devices have increased by over 50 percent.

If you think ransomware is bad enough, ransomworms can be your worst nightmare. Basically, it’s ransomware attached to a network that copies itself to every computer on a local network it could reach  with no warning whatsoever.

All this sounds horrific, but the worst is yet to come if you don’t act fast. Having said that, we’ve rounded up some security best-practices that will help keep your Android devices secure:

  • Enforce device passcode authentication
  • Monitor mobile device access and use
  • Patch mobile devices quickly
  • Forbid unapproved third-party application stores
  • Control physical access to devices
  • Conduct application security assessment to ensure compliance
  • Implement an incident response plan for lost or stolen mobile devices
While it’s easy to turn a blind eye against cyber threats, the question is are you willing to take that chance? If you’re looking for an advanced security solution to keep your Android device safe, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
June 2nd, 2017

There’s a lot of buzz surrounding Google’s latest Android operating system known as “Android O.” Whether it will continue the trademark snack-theme name is yet to be confirmed, but what we do know is users can expect longer battery life and an improved notification system. Besides that, here are six other OS changes you don’t want to miss.

Picture in picture This is one of the so-called "fluid experiences" coming to O devices. You'll be able to watch a YouTube or Netflix video in a small window while using another app. The small window can even be used for a video call. Simply swipe it away when you're done.

Notification dots If an app is trying to get your attention, a dot on the icon will appear. You can pull them down from the top of the screen to view the notification or press down on the app icon to view the notification in place.

Autofill Reminiscent of autofill on computers, this feature will be available for apps on O devices. This makes it easier to log in and set up phones and applications since personal information like your name, address, and credit card details will be automatically filled in.

Better copying and pasting Another component of O device's fluid experience is the enhanced copy-and-paste feature, which will be based on machine learning. You won't have to drag handles to highlight everything you want to copy -- just tap once on names, phone numbers, or addresses and Google will automatically highlight the rest.

Vitals This is the group of optimizations that will improve your device's battery life, startup time and performance, stability and security.

Android for the entry level Normally, the latest operating systems are exclusive to the most powerful phones. However, Google doesn't want to reserve O to state-of-the-art devices. That's why Google developed a variant called Android Go, which aims to provide a seamless Android experience for affordable O phones, including those with fewer components and/or less storage.

Android Go includes a customized set of Google apps that require less memory, storage, and mobile data. Google Play Store will also highlight the apps that will work better on such entry-level phones (regular apps will still be available). The operating system is being designed for O phones with limited memory: anywhere between 512 megabytes and one gigabyte.

The OS will be available this summer. In the meantime, if you want to know more or have any questions about Android O, feel free to contact us today!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
May 19th, 2017

One of the most common ways hackers infiltrate networks is by using phishing scams -- fraudulent emails to trick unwitting users into giving away login credentials or downloading malware. Although this is the oldest trick in a hacker’s arsenal, it’s still an incredibly effective attack method. To blunt the potency of these scams, Google released an anti-phishing feature for Gmail apps on Android devices. Read on below to find out how it works.

Phishing warnings The new Gmail app feature uses Google’s Safe Browsing technology to examine billions of URL links per day and identify websites impersonating legitimate ones, like an online store, bank, or social media. It will then check whether these websites are embedded with malware or have elements of a phishing attack (e.g., asking for login credentials, private information, etc.).

If it has reasonable evidence to think that the website is indeed malicious, Gmail will display a warning prompt: “The site you are trying to visit has been identified as a forgery, intended to trick you into disclosing financial, personal, or other sensitive information.”

Keep in mind that Gmail may come up with false positives, and for this reason, Google does not completely block access to using a link but advises that you take extra caution if you choose to proceed.

The tech giant also reported this update is available only for Android users and will eventually reach other devices; so if you have an iOS, be extremely careful when interacting with any links in your Gmail accounts.

Safety for Gmail and Google Docs In other news, a widespread phishing attack affected thousands of Gmail and Google Doc users earlier this month. The attack uses a spoofed email from a known contact attempting to share a ‘document.’ If opened, the fraudulent link redirects victims into an innocent-looking Google page that asks for account permissions. If users grant access, a worm collects your contact list and proceeds to attack other users. Fortunately, Google quickly responded to the scam, removed the fake pages, and updated anti-phishing detection to account for similar threats.

Security training While Safe Browsing features are extremely helpful for Android Gmail users, they shouldn’t be a total substitute for good security awareness. Remember, phishing exploits human trust, so make sure to train your employees to have a healthy skepticism of every unsolicited link or file and download security updates whenever possible.

For more information and advice on security training or Android-related news, give us a call today. We’ll make sure your business is completely up to date with shifting mobile security trends and issues.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
May 3rd, 2017

In the past, “scanning documents” meant using a dedicated scanner to convert the physical document into a PDF or image file. Nowadays, however, you can simply scan documents on your phone. The camera feature has made it incredibly easy to capture an image of your document. But if you want to create a PDF with your smartphone, you’re going to want to use Dropbox’s doc scanning feature for Android.

Doc scanner The new doc scanner feature is fairly straightforward. Simply open the Dropbox on your Android device, tap the “+” button, and select Scan Document. Then, take a snapshot of any printed or handwritten documents within Dropbox, and the app will quickly convert the image into PDF format. To maximize capture accuracy, make sure your document is not crumpled, minimize glare on your photo, and hold your Android directly above the document.

Once you’ve captured the document, you can go to the Edit options. From there, you can crop, rotate, or adjust the contrast of your scans. Under the Arrange menu, you can even group multiple scans to create a single PDF. After you’re satisfied with the changes, the document will then be uploaded to your cloud storage, ready for you to access anytime, anywhere.

Dropbox also announced that if you are on a Dropbox Business Team, you can search for keywords inside any of your scans. Unfortunately, there are still no features that allow you to edit the text within a scanned document directly.

For many Android users, this update has been a long time coming. iOS versions of Dropbox have had this feature for almost a year, but we guess it’s better late than ever.

Bonus feature: Paper update On top of the scanner update, Dropbox Paper -- a shared platform where employees can collaborate on files and communicate -- is getting an offline mode. This feature allows you to continue working on any documents you’ve stored in Dropbox while you’re offline, and immediately sync any edits or changes once you find an internet connection.

Although the changes may seem small compared to other feature releases, both the doc scanner and Dropbox Paper update are welcome additions for Android users who want to work on the go.

If you’re looking for more apps and updates that will make your Android device even better, call us today. We can provide cloud productivity apps that will empower your increasingly mobile workforce.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
April 15th, 2017

2017April14Android_AWhen moving from one Android phone to another, how smoothly you are able to migrate contacts and settings often ends up determining how happy you are with the new phone. Even though there’s more than one way to go about it, each approach is a simple affair. Check them out.

Backing up to Google

Google’s free services are so tightly integrated with the Android operating system that it would be crazy not to sign up for a Google account. If you do have one, it’s usually the easiest way to migrate your contacts between phones.
  1. Open the Settings application on your phone.
  2. Scroll down and select Accounts (depending on the phone manufacturer it may be labeled something slightly different).
  3. Tap Google.
  4. Select your preferred Gmail address.
  5. Enable Sync Contacts and select Sync Now at the bottom of the screen.
  6. Visit google.com/contacts and confirm that everyone is there.
Good, from this moment on contacts from that phone will automatically be synced to your preferred Google account. Then all you need to do is add that account to your new phone.
  1. Return to the Account window in your settings app (step #2 above).
  2. Scroll to the bottom and select Add account.
  3. Choose Google and enter your account login information.
  4. Open the settings window for that account (step #4 above).
  5. Select Sync Contacts.
That’s it! The first set of instructions exports contacts from your old phone to Google.com, and the second set downloads them to your new phone.

Backing up to your SIM card

SIM cards are how your cellular provider keeps track of your phone number and who you are. If you’re lucky, you can just pop your existing SIM into your new phone and the majority your data will move with it. Double-check that’ll happen with these steps:
  1. Open your Contacts application (sometimes named People).
  2. Tap the More option (sometimes this is three dots stacked vertically).
  3. Select Import/Export.
  4. Choose Export to SIM and pick which information you want to store on the SIM card.
Once that’s finished, everything should be downloaded to the new phone as soon as you plug in the SIM card!

Using a third-party app

Verified apps, downloaded from the Google Play store, further simplify this process if you’re willing to go through the hassle of choosing one of the dozens of options. If you pick this approach, most apps are no more complicated than a checklist of which contacts you want to transfer with a Send button at the bottom. As long as you’ve installed the app on your new phone as well, and linked the two with a password, that’s all it takes.

Contact migration sounds easy enough, but it’s no simple task if you’ve got an entire fleet of company phones to migrate. Our fully-managed solutions cover all your Android needs, and if you’d rather we take care of some menial task, we can do it in no time. Just drop us a line to find out more!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
March 30th, 2017

170px-01The good news? Google will be rolling out more features for Android 7.0 Nougat and Marshmallow devices earlier than expected! The bad news? Google hasn’t yet confirmed which devices are eligible for the latest upgrades. In the meantime, here are four prominent features you should be keeping your eyes on:

Quick Switch What this feature allows you to do is to quickly jump between the two most recently used apps with a double-tap on the Overview button. (That’s the square icon located to the right of the three virtual navigation buttons at the bottom of the display.)

Multi-Window After ensuring the application’s compatibility, simply long-press the square Overview button to shrink the app to fill half the screen. This feature allows you to easily run two apps side-by-side on your smartphone or tablet.

Better battery First introduced with Marshmallow, Doze is a power-saving tool that prevents your apps from sending or receiving data without disabling your mobile data. It gets a boost in Android 7.0 Nougat. Doze utilizes sensors to detect when the device is idle -- even when it’s being moved around -- and lowers power consumption.

Data Saver After activating this function from the notification dropdown, Data Saver mode reduces cellular data used by applications. It does so by blocking background data usage, limiting bit rate for streaming, reducing image quality, just to name a few.

Enhanced encryption In Android Nougat, each file and folder saved on the device is individually encrypted and protected as opposed to being encrypted as a whole, like previous versions of the mobile operating system were.

The latest tech innovations might succeed in enticing consumers, but it’s usually the operating system that seals the deal.This is merely a preview of Android 7.0 Nougat’s capabilities. By no means does this list detail all the awesome functions that await Android users. If you’re interested in getting the latest updates or would like to have your Android-related questions answered, just give us a call!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
March 15th, 2017

2017March14Android_AThe average smartphone user doesn't give nearly enough consideration to mobile phone security. In fact, smartphone users are more likely to get anxious about their phone’s physical safety than the more serious threat of malware. Malware and other forms of cyber threats are far more common in desktops and laptops particularly for business users, but with the increasing sophistication of cyber crimes, disregarding your other ‘lower risk’ devices’ security can mean disaster.

Mobile malware MO

Malware and other threats pose risks that are as harmful as those that infect desktops and laptops. Some of the threats include messing up your phone bill, ruining your mobile phone’s data, remotely locking and unlocking devices, intercepting messages, prompting fraudulent log-in commands, and sending fake notifications, among others.

Most malware comes from applications downloaded from third-party app stores. Once a phone is compromised, the hacker will have access to passwords, user accounts, and other sensitive personal data. Since some Android devices are linked, there is also more than a passing chance that bugs on one device find their way to linked devices.

Who is responsible?

The burden doesn’t fall solely on smartphone users; app stores such as Google Play Store are responsible, too. Some of the infected banking and weather forecast apps that were widely reported were downloaded from the Google Play Store. Aside from taking swift action against the apps, infected companies were urged to provide as much information and updates as possible regarding the malicious applications so they could be removed from the store to protect users.

Of course, Android users are responsible for their own safety, and there are several measures they can take to avoid becoming victims.

How to avoid being victimized by malware

Yes, the Google Play Store isn’t 100% secure, but downloading from the Google store and other more established app stores -- and not from little-known and less secure third-party stores -- reduces the probability of downloading malicious apps. In case an infected app makes its way to the store and gets thousands of downloads, Google is usually quick to remove the threatening app from their environment and block other malicious entities.

It also pays to read the user reviews. Despite app stores’ best efforts, the proliferation of apps in today’s marketplace makes it nearly impossible to prevent mobile malware from getting through to the store and, afterwards, users’ device.

If an app poses significant risks, someone is bound to post a review or a warning. Regularly updating your mobile device’s software also helps prevent attacks, as the latest software version often comes with stronger security patches or quick fixes.

Malware doesn’t discriminate. Regardless of your computing or communication device of choice, it will find a way to infect and destroy. Ascertain your business devices’ safety by consulting our security experts today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
February 23rd, 2017

2017February22_Android_AAt its I/O 2016 conference, Google introduced us to Android Instant Apps. This built-in feature allows users to access a cloud version of an app without having to download it from the Google Play Store. While the technology isn’t yet available to the general public, Google is running a limited test of the technology for a few devices. Here’s how you can opt in and test Instant Apps.

Activating Instant Apps To enable Instant Apps, go to your phone’s Settings menu, find Google under the Personal category, then select Instant Apps under Services and toggle it on.

Since this feature has limited availability some Android users might not have this option. Reports indicate that Google Pixels running Android 7.1.2 and Nexus 6P devices with Android 7.1.1 installed are able to access Instant Apps.

However, don’t worry if you don’t have any of these phones. Google usually rolls out new updates in waves, so make sure to update your Android OS as often as possible and check for the Instant Apps feature every week.

How to use it If you manage to activate Instant Apps, simply go to Chrome, search for an application -- so far, Wish, Periscope, Viki, and Buzzfeed are the only Instant Apps available for testing -- look for a search result that includes the word Instant, then click on Open App.

Once you’ve loaded up the app, you can use it like you would any other local app. For example, you can open up the Wish Instant App to access your online shopping account, browse through product catalogs, and even make a purchase right from your phone’s web browser.

But if you want a local version of the application, pull down the Instant Apps Menu and tap on Install.

What’s the reason for the new feature? The lack of quick and easy access to applications dramatically slows down app adoption rates. Sometimes users just want to access an app quickly, get what they need, and move on.

Another case for Instant Apps is when users are dealing with a crowded WiFi or 4G/LTE connection. In these situations, downloading full applications would take too long, whereas Instant Apps give you access to only what you need without using too much bandwidth.

And although the Instant Apps feature is still in its testing phase, it does present eCommerce and online services companies with new possibilities to market their applications and their business.

The only downside is, users have to be patient for just a bit longer to get their hands on Instant Apps. Fortunately, we’re always on top of the latest Android and Google developments. Contact us today, and we’ll make sure you get Instant Apps the moment it rolls out to all users.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
February 8th, 2017

2017February7_Android_AThanks to Google, the apps on your Android phone that you wish you could use on a larger device might finally find their way to a bigger platform. Even though Android apps are designed for a mobile platform, the apps are also available for the Google Chrome OS-powered Chromebooks. Does this mean Android is taking over the more established players in laptop apps? Not necessarily, but they’re taking the first steps in turning that into reality.

Simplicity, functionality, variety

Chromebooks are marketed as no-frills computers that bank on their simplicity, functionality, and security. By giving Chromebooks access to Google Play, the search engine giant’s application store, users can access thousands of apps, including Skype, and manage Office files more seamlessly.

Certain types of Chromebooks are now able to install Android apps, but they are few. The good news is that 2017 Chromebook models from manufacturers such as Acer, Asus, Dell, H&P, and Lenovo are included in the list of Chromebooks that will work well with Android. If this move proves successful, other operating systems, especially Windows, may struggle to find a way to keep up.

Benefits of a Chromebook-Android combination

The most obvious benefit would be the increased number of options for Chromebook users. While Chromebooks have their own set of useful Google apps, having the capability to download Android apps is a substantial enhancement. For instance, users can now download and use Skype on their Chromebook.

As Chromebooks welcome Google Play in its environment, they usher in more capacity without increasing the prices. Manufacturers such as Lenovo and Acer have Chromebook models that are competitively priced at just under $300.

A caveat for those looking to switch to Chromebook

If you’re thinking of switching to Chromebooks to get the most of Google apps, there are a few things you should remember. Since Android apps are designed for touchscreen devices, it might be a bit of a letdown for users of Chromebooks that have no such feature. Android will definitely adjust the specifications of Chromebooks apps, but non-touchscreen Chromebook users won’t enjoy the same benefits that users of the new models have. Moreover, not all Android apps may be fully optimized for laptop (or Chromebooks), although the masterminds behind this merger will certainly make the necessary tweaks soon after the initial verdict comes in.

Is it time to buy a Chromebook?

If you’re a Google apps power user, Chromebooks are a good way to go. They’re sleek, functional, and adaptable. But don’t ditch your current laptops or Macs just yet. The integration is yet to be finalized, so the Android-powered Chromebooks may well be “unfinished products” at this stage.

There’s always a good reason to assess the computers your business uses. Your system’s speed, functionality, and security dwindle over time and upgrades or replacements may be necessary. If you need dependable recommendations on computers that are best for your office, get in touch with us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
January 19th, 2017

2017January18_Android_AGoogle Now has been around for years, but the service still doesn’t have the name recognition of Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. Considering that it is delivered on nearly every new Android device, it’s a crime that it doesn’t get more use. For a crash course in some of Google’s best AI-powered voice-commands, take a look at five of our favorites.

Before you can start playing with Google’s AI, you need to turn on the service. On your Android device, press and hold the home key at the bottom of the screen, then swipe upwards. This will open the Google Now interface. Tap the search bar at the top of the screen, then the Google icon on the left-hand side of the search bar.

From there, tap the three stacked lines in the upper left corner of the screen, followed by Settings, and then Voice. Once you’ve toggled the “From any screen option,” saying the phrase “Ok Google” any time your phone is unlocked will prompt it to start listening for a command. Turn it on and try some of the examples below!

Tip #1: Reminders

Google Now can certainly help with information discovery, but what about when you just need a little help managing your calendar? The phrase “Remind me to [action] + [time]” is all you need to set a quick reminder before you have a chance to manually add it to your calendar.

And if you’re not sure when you need to be reminded, ask Google to set the notification based on location. “Remind me to buy eggs next time I’m at Safeway.” If you have location services turned on, your phone will prompt you next time you're near the store.

Tip #2: Anything involving your clock app

Whether you want to “Set an alarm/time for [time]” to achieve productivity goals, or you need to know “What time is it in [location]” before calling a client in another time zone, Google Now can essentially perform any task from your native clock app with a simple request.

Tip #3: Convert/calculate anything

As the business landscape becomes more and more globalized, we’re constantly calculating currencies, units of measurement, and simple sums. For example, “What is X dollars in euros?” could help you easily convert the price of an invoice, or “How many kilometers are in X miles?” could shorten the time required to calculate how much material you need to order for a new product.

Tip #4: Retrieve documents from Gmail

Searching Google from your desktop, you may have noticed that important documents from your email account occasionally show up at the top of a search page. That’s because Google can recognize official documents such as flight itineraries, hotel receipts, and utility bills. Just say “Show me my flight to Phoenix” and Google Now will pull it up immediately.

Tip #5: Basic phone commands

The majority of the applications that came with your phone can receive voice commands. “Take a photo,” “Open acme.com,” “Turn on Wi-Fi,” and “Open Salesforce1,” are just some of the ways you can minimize the time you spend tapping your phone.

There are dozens more, and while such small tasks may seem silly, they represent a fundamental shift in the way we interact with our technology. Smartphones should help you do more, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for, it’s just a waste of time. Spend a few moments tinkering with your Google Now and give us a call today to find out more.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android