What is Android Things?

December 31st, 2016

2016december30_android_aGoogle is the driving force behind a wide variety of devices and operating systems today. It is well-established that Google is in charge of Android devices and operating systems. However, Google has announced its latest operating system, Android Things, and people are wondering what this will mean for operating systems from Google going forward. Get to know more about Android Things and what impact it may have on your business dealings and customer base.

Android Things is a Google operating system designed for use and compatibility with connected speakers, routers, security cameras, smart thermostats, and more. Essentially these are the "things" that need to be connected through WiFi to a smartphone or tablet to be controlled as part of a larger network or system.

Google originally announced an Internet of Things operating system referred to as Brillo. However, Brillo did not do as much or as well as expected, and it has rarely been mentioned since. Rather than continue to allow Brillo to fade into obscurity, Google decided to rebrand Brillo as Android Things, an improvement that offers the same developer tools as other Android operating systems.

It is important to keep in mind that Android Things is a background operating system rather than an obviously visible system like the system on a phone or tablet. But the fact that it can accomplish more complex tasks quickly and efficiently can mean big things for its use in business.

If you are interested in knowing more about Android Things or about using devices that put this OS to use, contact us right away. We’ll help you keep up with the latest development updates so you can be the first in line when Android Things products are widely released.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
December 16th, 2016

2016december15_android_aGoogle has to contend with yet another malware attack that targets older Android users. Gooligan is a variation of the very successful Ghost Push malware that infected more than four million phones in 2015. This time the point of attack is the Google account. The malware does not attempt to glean info, but rather to initiate downloads. Read on to find out more about the Gooligan virus and how it is affecting your business

It is estimated that since Gooligan’s August 2016 appearance, the malware has infected more than 1.3 million Google accounts -- one of the largest single thefts in recent history.

With the range of personal data available in Google accounts, it is interesting to note that Gooligan's purpose isn't to steal the valuable information; instead, it’s to distribute advertising fraud. With as much as $320,000 a month going into the pockets of Gooligan developers, it is obvious that the ploy is working.

How Gooligan is Moving Through the Internet Consumers are falling prey to the virus when they attempt to download a fake app from a third-party app store. Instead of getting the program that they were promised, they inadvertently allow the Gooligan malware to root into their Android OS and take control of it. Once in control, the virus downloads apps using your Google information. These apps are infused with ads that belong to Gooligan developers, bringing them a never-ending stream of income.

Where Gooligan Came from and Where it's Going Gooligan appears to be a variation of the 2015 Ghost Push malware, which was also wildly successful at infecting Android users. Google is currently working with Android engineers and Internet security firms to quelch the malware; they believe that through cooperative efforts, it will disappear from public attention. As it is, those who have updated Android versions of 6.0 or greater are not affected by the malware.

You can lower your chances of contracting the Gooligan malware by downloading apps only from Google Play and checking your system through the security firm Check Point to ensure your Android hasn't already been infected. For more information on Gooligan and how you can protect your company, contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
November 30th, 2016

2016november29_android_aAndroid users may have reason for concern regarding their device security as well as the information transmitted by their phones. A backdoor security breach has recently been identified in Android devices that could cause user data to be sent to China. Because of the major risks that this security breach poses, it is important for Android users to learn about this vulnerability as soon as possible.

Android devices are made with various software and firmware from a variety of companies. One company that creates firmware and software for numerous companies around the world is known as Adups, a Chinese company based in Shanghai. One of the features of the offerings is that the firmware or software automatically sends data back to Adups every 72 hours. The data sent includes information like contact lists, phone call lists, and text messages.

A company known as Kryptowire, a security firm that specializes in detecting potential risks and breaches, found that the firmware developed by Adups may have been installed on a wide array of Android devices, unbeknownst to consumers that purchased the products. Adups, for its part, claims that the software was developed for a specific client that needed to track such information to determine customer service and satisfaction.

Even if the software was designed only for one specific client, Kryptowire found it on the product of at least one other Adups client and has concerns that other companies and devices that work with Adups may also be affected. The leaking of data to Adups or other companies and persons in China (or anywhere in the world) represents a huge security risk for both business and individual Android product users. The backdoor access to the device does not just let data get transmitted to Adups but makes it possible for someone to access and take control of the device without the Android device owner knowing or allowing the access.

As of yet, Google is attempting to catch up with Kryptowire's findings and the known affected clients to try to close this backdoor access and keep user data as safe and secure as possible. Contact us for further information or to find out whether your device is one of those known to be affected by this significant and worrisome data breach.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
November 17th, 2016

2016november16_android_aWith new technological devices released almost on a daily basis, your new Android tablet can become obsolete before you've even gotten any productive use out of it. But instead of tossing it into the drawer with your old cell phone and other electronic gadgets, recycle it into something you can use long into the future. Keep reading to find five new uses for your old Android tablet.

Security Camera As long as your Android has a workable battery and screen, you can turn it into a webcam security system. Simply download a security app like Salient Eye (easily found on Google Play) or At Home Video Streamer, set it up as per the directions and place it where you want to observe. It can even be rigged to turn on as it senses movement.

Digital Camera Photo Frame Don't spend $30 on a digital picture frame when you can use an old Android tablet. Again you will have to visit the Google Play or other app store, search for a program similar to Photo Slides, plug the Android into a wall socket, and you have pictures you can scroll through whenever you want and display on your mantel.

Portable Reference Library You have probably used your Android for book storage already, so why not turn it into a functional library? Visit Amazon Kindle or Google Play Books and download your choice of reference books and eBooks. Kwix, the offline version of Wikipedia, can provide you with encyclopedia-like entries without having to go online.

Radio or Wireless-only device You can download Pandora or I Heart Radio and use your Android to play your favorite music without interfering with other open computer programs and without using valuable memory.

Universal Remote It is so easy to lose the remote in the folds of the couch or slots in a magazine rack. It's not so easy to lose an Android tablet. By installing a universal remote app like Peel Smart Remote, AnyMote, or Irdroid, you can use your old Android as a universal remote for televisions and other electronic systems in the office.

There is no reason to throw your old Android tablet into a drawer when you upgrade -- especially not when there are so many apps available that can help you repurpose your device into something useful and unique. For more information on how to recycle your old tech devices, give us a call. We'll be glad to help you save money and find a new use for your old tablet.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
October 29th, 2016

2016october28_android_aAndroid developers are on the lookout for a malicious malware that is attacking app stores and users across the United States, France and other European countries. The malware, known as DressCode, is particularly dangerous to corporations that allow employees to use their own devices for work. Read on to find out more about the DressCode malware and what you can do to keep it from affecting your online activity.

DressCode

The malware in question is part of the DressCode family of malicious programs. It has the potential to invade and spread through large corporations, infiltrating and downloading sensitive files directly from their networks. There are currently more than 3,000 cases of the ‘trojanized’ apps being sold in popular app stores, including 400 instances in the Google Play store alone.

The real danger of DressCode malware

This new Android malware is particularly hard to contain, as it hides within games and optimization boosters, occupying very little of the programming footprint and thus being very hard to detect. When an app containing it is downloaded, DressCode can invade whatever network the infected device is connected to. For corporations that allow employees to bring their own devices into the office for work, this ability to springboard from one device to another can be devastating.

The DressCode malware, once in control of a system, can communicate with the trojan’s developers and receive orders from them. It can turn infected devices into digital zombies than can be commanded to send spam and carry out attacks on other systems.

Avoiding the Impact of DressCode

There's no doubt that this new Android malware is a vicious infection that can leave hundreds of thousands of Android users suffering. But there are ways that you can avoid being one of those suffering from its effects.

To ensure that the apps you want to download are legitimate, it’s a good idea to start by checking their reviews. And while it should go without saying, we must remind you to never download anything from an app store that isn’t backed by reliable providers like Apple and Google.

Another solution is to install a mobile security program that blocks malware from being downloaded onto your Android device. Finally, always avoid unsecured networks, including public Wi-Fi.

We absolutely love our Android devices. Unfortunately, mobile devices, regardless of their brand, are some of the most vulnerable pieces of technology on the market. They switch between networks like you switch between apps, and that means a lot of security exposure. The only way to truly minimize these concerns is to hand off the management of your mobile device protocols to the professionals. Get in touch with us today to start the conversation about how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
October 14th, 2016

2016october13_android_aTechnology companies have been pushing phone-based payment methods for years now. And the various vehicles for this type of transaction are surprisingly similar, right down to their names: Apple Pay (for iPhones) and Android Pay (for Android devices). For those who have been waiting for Google’s mobile wallet to find its footing, we believe that time has come. Read on for a quick review of how the service works.

Google introduced Android pay in September of 2015 as a successor to its simpler, less functional Google Wallet. And for the majority of its lifespan, Android Pay has been available only in the US, but as of July this year it’s also available in the UK, Singapore, and Australia. With the addition of those three countries came hundreds of supported financial institutions, totaling nearly 400 in all.

So, we know the who and the where...but what exactly is Android Pay? One of its functions is to safely store credit card, debit card, membership card, and gift card information until you need those details to complete a financial transaction. After installing and opening the app, you’ll see credit cards that are already associated with your Google account, and an option to add new cards -- which is as simple as taking a picture of it.

Obviously, we wouldn’t write an entire blog on a service that just stores this information, so you’ve probably guessed that you can also make payments from your phone as well. If technology is all about making things easy, Android Pay is way ahead of the curve. To make a payment, just unlock your phone and place it near any point-of-sale device that is compatible (usually marked by an Android Pay sticker). You don’t need to open up the app; the two devices automatically exchange a one-time encrypted token to create a secure connection, and you can tap which card you’d like to use.

All your transactions are organized in the app for quick reference and tracking, including payments made online rather than via tapping your phone at physical locations. All you need to utilize this futuristic service is a smartphone with Android 4.4 or higher and near field communication (NFC) hardware. Both are common on most modern smartphones.

Details on the security protocols for Android Pay are a bit complicated for this venue, but in a nutshell your accounts are even more safe than using physical credit and debit cards. Previously, when breaches of major retailers took place, attackers had access to records detailing customer card numbers. With Android Pay, all they have access to is the randomly generated tokens that authorize the transaction -- your account numbers are never transmitted wirelessly to prevent snooping criminals from grabbing them out of thin air.

It seems like every day there is some new technology or service that feels like something from a distant future. Between work and a personal life, most of us don’t have a lot of time for adopting groundbreaking technology, be it social or business-related. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Get in touch with us today, and your Android device will never be behind the times again.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
September 28th, 2016

2016september27_androidtablet_aHuawei is one of the biggest manufacturers of networking and telecommunications equipment in the world. While Huawei ranks highly among smartphone manufacturers in Asia, it has yet to break into the North American market. In the most recent development, Huawei and Google are planning a partnership that would propel Huawei into the American tablet market. Keep reading for more details. People spend a lot of time looking for and comparing the best tablets on the market. Obviously, some prefer the iPad Pro 12.9 for its gigantic screen, but for those who just can't get enough of the customizations available for Android devices, a Google Nexus Android tablet is best.

But whether Google retains the ‘Nexus’ name remains to be seen. On October 4, the tech giant will host an event to release devices in their new ‘Pixel’ line and may add a Huawei tablet to this family. With its rumored 4GB of RAM and top-of-the-line specifications, the new device from Google and Huawei will enable users to enjoy an experience on par with that of a full-fledged desktop computer -- all while stripping the out-of-the-box model of any unnecessary manufacturer software and bloatware.

In 2015, Huawei manufactured Google’s Nexus 6P smartphone, which was lauded as "the most premium Nexus ever." That fact, combined with Huawei’s existing tablet prowess from its experiences with the MediaPad M3, make this an all-star team-up.

Although we only know a handful of specifics about this new tablet, we do know that we love the Huawei/Google smartphone collaboration and can expect good things. Being a leader in the industry means constantly keeping your ear to the ground for new and exciting releases. You can trust us to always be one step ahead of the competition with our insider knowledge. For all your Android and mobile device questions, we’re the authority. Get in touch with us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
September 10th, 2016

2016September9_AndroidPhone_AThe reason why we gravitate toward the latest smartphone or the newest clothes can be attributed to our insatiable appetite for novelty -- in layman's terms, we really like new stuff. That’s why many go bonkers over the latest operating system update, Android Nougat. Aside from its connotations to a confectionary treat, the latest Android update comes with many nifty functions both apparent and subtle. Here’s the lowdown on 9 lesser-known features.

Split-screen multitasking

With the new split-screen multitasking view, users are able to use two apps simultaneously. Hit the overview button and select the app you want to use to the top of the screen, then the second one beneath it. Windows are resizable as well.

Out with the old and in with the new (emojis)

The update comes with an additional 72 new emojis to the roster, with brand new characters such as the selfie, bacon, and even an avocado emoji as well. On top of skin tone variations, 14 new emojis are added to the “animals and nature” category and 12 to the “activities” category.

Customizable quick settings

Quick settings, aka the school of shortcuts, are now fully customizable. This means you can rearrange them or even add new ones as you see fit.

Notification reply

The latest update allows you to reply to notifications without the hassle of switching apps -- totally ideal for quick replies to emails and texts.

Quick Switch

This new multitasking feature allows you to quickly shift between your two most recently used applications. Simply double tap the overview button to toggle between the two.

Split-screen gesture shortcut

Ideal for power users, the split-screen gesture shortcut generally requires a few steps for activation. There is a hidden setting that allows you to do the same with just one gesture. Start by enabling the “Systems UI Tuner” by tapping the settings icon from the notifications shade. Wait for a vibration and then let go to activate it.

From there, go to Settings > System UI Turner > Other > Enable split-screen swipe-up gesture and turn the setting on. From there, you can switch to split-screen from any app by simply swiping over the overview button.

Advanced notification controls

Enable the setting for “Power notification controls” by going to System UI Turner > Other > Power Notification Controls. This allows you to prioritize settings by the application as well as designate the actions a notification can take.

Data Saver

The Data Saver mode reduces the amount of data your applications use in the background.

Call blocking

Numbers that you’ve blocked from texting and calling are now shared with other applications, ensuring that the same numbers will remain blocked across all applications.

Much like when you move residences, the intricacies of a newly updated operating system require patience and a willingness to learn new things. After a while, you get used to the system and the novelty wears off quicker than you can say ‘Nougat.’ If you have any questions concerning the aforementioned updates, do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We’ll get you the answers in no time.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
August 24th, 2016

2016August25_AndroidPhone_ABugs have come a long way, and they’re not just creepy-crawlies anymore. So we have to worry not only about the bugs that we contract and make us physically ill, but also the bugs that threaten the security of our beloved smartphones. Most people overlook bugs since they’re so tiny, but what they lack in size they make up for in their capacity to wreak havoc on innocent devices. What are the consequences of failing to address these security matters? Read on and find out.

Recently, researchers from the mobile security firm Lookout confirmed that “an estimated 80 percent of Android phones contain a recently discovered vulnerability that allows attackers to terminate connections and, if the connections aren't encrypted, inject malicious code or content into the parties' communications.” The statement itself might be new, but many have already suspected a flaw in version 3.6 of Linux, dating as far back as 2012. It’s thought that the flaw itself was introduced into Android version 4.4 (aka KitKat) and is still present today, including in the latest developer preview, Android Nougat.

As numerically backed up by the Android install base and quoted by statistic provider Statista, over 1.4 billion Android devices (about 80 percent of users) are currently vulnerable. What Android users can do is to ensure that their communications are encrypted by using VPNs (virtual private networks) or by making sure that whatever sites they visit are encrypted. Encryption allows you to travel without being tracked; if the predator can’t see you, you’re no longer a target.

If you’re vulnerable, you welcome anyone with an Internet connection to determine whether or not two parties have been communicating via a long-lived transport protocol connection. This includes Webmail, news feeds as well as direct messages. Unencrypted connections allow attackers to utilize malicious code or inject content into the traffic. This doesn’t mean that encrypted connections are safe; attackers are still be able to determine and terminate the existence of channels as well. This vulnerability has been dubbed as CVE-2016-5696.

One of the more likely methods used to compromise Android users is the the insertion of JavaScript into legitimate Internet traffic that isn’t HTTPS cryptographic scheme-protected. This may display messages claiming that users have been logged out of their accounts and prompting them to re-enter their usernames and passwords. Having sent the login credentials to the attacker, similar exploits may also be used to target unpatched browsers, emails or chat apps the Android users use.

To initiate the attack, the attacker must spend about 10 seconds to establish whether two specific parties are connected, then another 45 seconds to flood their traffic with malicious content. Because it takes a certain amount of time for the attack to fully commence, these attacks aren’t suited for opportunistic attacks that affect more than one individual. Instead, this technique is ideal for the infection or surveillance of one specific target, especially if the hacker knows some of the sites the target frequently visits.

We can breathe a sigh of relief with a Google representative’s statement that company engineers are aware of the situation and are “taking appropriate actions.” He also noted that among the various vulnerabilities on Google’s patches, the Android security team has officially rated the risk as “moderate” as opposed to “high” or “critical.” Maintainers of the Linux kernel have successfully patched CVE-2016-5696. They are working toward incorporating a fix into a new Android release in the coming months.

Matters of security should never be taken lightly, especially when it comes to your personal device. For more information on this sensitive and intricate matter, please feel free to contact us anytime. We are more than happy to answer your questions. The more you know, the better.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android
August 10th, 2016

2016August9_AndroidTablet_AYou don't need to be an economist to understand the issue of scarcity when it comes to the storage space on your Android device. This is even more true if you own a one that has lower space storage. With this in mind, we have come up with 6 ways to free up storage space so you can make the most out of what you already have.

1.Buy a microSD card

The easiest fix is to buy a microSD card, if your device is compatible that is. Do keep in mind that you cannot use the extra storage for apps or system files but only for music, videos, photos, and other media files.

2.Erase apps you don’t really use

Downloading apps are like snowballs, because before you know it there are too many of them and your device just freezes over. If that’s the case, simply delete the ones you don’t need. Deleting an app doesn’t mean it’s gone forever, you can always download it again. Normally, gaming apps take up a huge chunk of storage space. You can go to Settings > Storage and tap Apps to see how much space each app uses so that you can decide which apps to get rid of, for now.

3.Clear app cache

Apps that remain on your device will still have loads of cached files, so it might be a good time to do some spring cleaning. Don’t worry since clearing app cache will not delete important files on your device. Go to Settings > Apps then go through each app to clear its cache. Or if you want to erase all the cache in bulk, you need to go to Android’s recovery mode and choose to wipe the app cache. Since each Android device is different, you’d better google to see how to enter the recovery mode for your model.

4.Make use of the cloud

Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, iCloud and more. You name it. These are services that allow you to send your media and document files to the cloud and free up space on your device. Google Photos gives you unlimited storage for both photos and videos. The only limitation is that the size of the photos must be smaller than 16 megapixels and less than 1080p for videos. It also has an option that allows you to delete files that have been sent to the cloud. In order to do so, open Google Photos app and go to Menu > Setting, then hit Free up device storage and all the backed-up files will disappear from your device.

But for privacy’s sake, note that by using these services, you’ve granted the cloud service providers access to your files. Make sure you know which photos or videos you should sent to the cloud, since the cloud is essentially other people’s (or in this case, your cloud service provider's) computers. It’s best that you keep naughty photos to yourself.

5.Stop storing and start streaming

Unless you are heading somewhere with no internet connection, there’s no need to store all your music files on your device. Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music, Napster, Tidal are some examples of music streaming services you can use, at a certain price of course. So if you’re a fan of freebies, Plex might be another viable option. Plex is a media server software that runs media content from a personal library and streams them on your device.

6.Add external storage

This option might be a little bit bulky and might require prettiness to give way to functionality. External storage comes in two forms: a plug-in drive similar to USB flash drive, and a wireless media hub. The first one enables you to download files from your device to your PC so you can have some more space left on the device. Or you can just stick the plug-in drive to your device and play files from it directly. Wireless media hubs like Western Digital MyPassport Wireless or Ravpower Filehub can be used to backup your files and let you access them wirelessly. Noted that you cannot play DRM-protected music or videos with this external storage--only your own media files.

Dealing with limited storage is just one of the numerous issues regarding Android devices. Compared to its iOS counterpart, Android gives users a lot more flexibility, which means there are many more functions to be explored. Why not get in touch with us today? Our experts are ready to advise you on how to boost your overall productivity.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic android