Researchers Test Phones to See if They're Secretly Listening

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Siri, are you spying on me?

Researchers put an iPhone and a Samsung phone into a room, playing cat and dog food advertising for 30 minutes.

The security specialists kept apps open for Facebook, Instagram, Chrome, SnapChat, YouTube, and Amazon with full permissions granted to each platform…They repeated the experiment at the same time for three days, and noted no relevant pet food adverts on the “audio room” phones and no significant spike in data or battery usage.

The results won’t surprise those in the information security industry who’ve known for years that the truth is that tech giants know so much about us that they don’t actually need to listen to our conversations to serve us targeted adverts.

For some people, maybe the belief that phones secretly spy on us is less terrifying than learning how much data these corporations actually have on us.

News+: Should Apple Leak the iPhone 11 Design?

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In the latest issue of Macworld, Michael Simon says that Apple should leak the iPhone 11 design like Google did for the Pixel 4.

We already know it’s coming in September. And we kind of know what it will look like too. There have already been bountiful leaks that have revealed a giant square camera bump—which incidentally looks a whole lot like the Pixel 4—and it’s expected that all three models will be pretty much identical from the front. So what’s the harm in confirming what we already know?

If we accept two conditions: 1) Many Android phones tend to mimic iPhones; and 2) iPhone 11 mockups are close to or exactly the real design; Then I think the Pixel 4 was also the iPhone 11 leak.

This is part of Andrew’s News+ series, where he shares a magazine every Friday to help people discover good content in Apple News+.

Last Month Google Play Had 205 Malicious Apps With Over 32M Installs

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In July alone, Google Play had 205 malicious apps with over 32 million installations, most of them containing hidden ads.

The bulk of the suspicious software – 188 to be exact – contained hidden ads, accounting for 19.2 million installs. The rest of the offenders fell under the categories of subscription scam, ad fraud, stalkerware, fake apps, fake antivirus tools, adware droppers, and software with built-in backdoors, according to data compiled by ESET malware researcher Lukas Stefanko.

A Bill Gates Regret: How It Cost Microsoft $400B

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Bill Gates Microsoft

At Roughly Drafted, Daniel Eran Dilger, diagnoses a recent assertion by Bill Gates regarding Microsoft, iOS and Android.

As Apple prepares the release of iOS 13 and splits off the new iPadOS 13 for specialized mobile tablets, Microsoft’s former chief executive Bill Gates mused this week that it would have been the “natural thing” for Microsoft to have been the “standard non-Apple phone platform.” But he’s wrong, here’s why.

Google Pixel 4 Gives us a Hint of iPhone XI

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Google just shared a photo of its upcoming Pixel 4 phone, and I think it gives us a hint of what the iPhone XI will look like. Android manufacturers are notorious for copying the appearance of iPhones, like the notch. The Pixel 4 shows a square camera module on the back, so I think it’s likely the rumors and mockups of a square iPhone XI camera module with three cameras are probably correct.

Well, since there seems to be some interest, here you go! Wait ’til you see what it can do. #Pixel4

Comparing Android Security Versus iOS Security

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Keiran Dennie tweeted an interesting chart that compares the security of various smartphone operating systems.

Wondering about Android and Apple phone security? Here’s an objective chart to help you decide.

It’s a well known fact of Android that people have to rely on their carrier to push out security updates. This can take weeks, months, and sometimes they don’t get released at all.

This Weird Trick Will Make Five Eyes Countries Hate You

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Michael Grothaus argues that it’s the perfect time for Android iMessage thanks to Facebook’s plans to unify its messaging apps.

The iPhone maker’s messaging app is widely regarded as one of the best messaging apps ever, thanks to its clean, simple design, its ability to send and receive both encrypted iMessages and regular SMS text messages in the same interface, and its end-to-end encryption.

It’s not the first time this has been suggested, but I think Android iMessage would be great for users. We need an end-to-end encrypted messaging app from a company with a better track record than Facebook.

Google Investigation Shows Apple Was Right About Face ID

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Take this with a grain of salt because this tweet is all I’ve seen about this. But David Ruddock of AndroidPolice mentioned a Google investigation trying to determine if certain types of fingerprint sensors are secure.

Another CES Story: I’ve heard Google is currently investigating whether current optical fingerprint sensor designs are secure enough to be used for TrustZone auth (mobile payments, banking apps, etc). There is real concern optical FPRs may be too easy to spoof.

Although facial recognition came to Android first, it was there for convenience as a way to unlock your device. But Apple added it for security, and it looks like they bet on the right horse.

Apple's Services Future. It's Going to Be Different.

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Apple’s growing services business, and its increasing openness to having its software on other people’s hardware, is one of the most fascinating stories in tech at the moment. Tech blogger turned venture capitalist M.G. Siegler has written an excellent summary of the situation on Medium. As he says, the future for the company “is going to be… different.”

Incidentally, it was a pod that really started to change the equation. The iPod. In order to reach a wider audience with that device, Apple had to do something that was seemingly against Steve Jobs’ DNA: make software for Windows. (Ice water! In Hell!) And the slope ultimately proved slippery, albeit in a slow way. Eventually, we got (and then lost) Safari for Windows. And in the more recent era, Apple Music for Android. And Alexa.

Millions of Android Users Infected with Adware by Apps on Google Play Store

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adware TrendMicro

Adware disguised as games, TV apps, and remote control simulator apps infected millions of devices with adware. Security firm TrendMicro revealed in a blog that 85 apps containing the adware made it on to the Google Play store. The apps were subsequently downloaded 9 million times. The adware could display full-screen ads, hide itself, monitor a device’s screen unlocking functionality, and run in the background on the device. TrendMicro said Google removed the apps from the Play Store quickly after verifying its report.

The app informs the user that it is loading or buffering. However, after a few seconds, the app disappears from the user’s screen and hides its icon on the device. The fake app still runs in a device’s background after hiding itself. Though hidden, the adware is configured to show a full-screen ad every 15 or 30 minutes on the user’s device.

Apple's Public Billboard at CES: 'What Happens on Your iPhone, Stays on Your iPhone'

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What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone

I heart this so much. There aren’t enough emojis in the world to describe how much I love Apple’s giant message to CES: “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.” It’s on a massive outdoor sign hanging on the side of a ::checks notes:: Marriott…wait, is Apple trolling Marriott, too? Fitting, if so. Whatever, the target is ostensibly Google, Facebook, Amazon, Android, and the myriad of companies whose customers are the product. And that message is being delivered to CES in Las Vegas, a show Apple doesn’t bother to attend. Chris Velazco of Engadget tweeted the first image I could find (below), and Mashable‘s Adam Rosenberg pitched it as, “Apple spent money to publicly troll everyone else’s privacy issues at CES.” Again with the feels, Apple. Thanks for brightening my day.