Tags Posts tagged with "Android"

Android

Yes, Google wants you to keep your bits and bytes as safe as possible through encryption.
With the launch of Android 5.0 Lollipop last year, Google wanted to make full disk Encryption mandatory, but unfortunately, the idea did not go too well.
However, Google thinks the idea will go right this time, and it will try again to require full-disk encryption by default for devices that release with the newest Android 6.0 Marshmallow and higher versions.
Google has published the new version of the Android Compatibility Definition Document (PDF), mandating Android encryption with a couple of exceptions in Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
The document reads:

“For device implementations supporting full-disk encryption and with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) crypto performance above 50MiB/sec, the full-disk encryption MUST be enabled by default at the time the user has completed the out-of-box setup experience.”

New smartphones and tablets that ship with Android 6.0 Marshmallow and have certain performance standard must be encrypted by default.

The new Android Compatibility Definition Document for Marshmallow states: If the device implementation supports a secure lock screen… then the device MUST support fulldisk encryption [Resources, 1 32] of the application private data (/data partition), as well as the application shared storage partition (/sdcard partition) if it is a permanent, non-removable part of the device.

For device implementations supporting full-disk encryption and with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) crypto performance above 50MiB/sec, the full-disk encryption MUST be enabled by default at the time the user has completed the out-of-box setup experience. If a device implementation is already launched on an earlier Android version with full-disk encryption disabled by default, such a device cannot meet the requirement through a system software update and thus MAY be exempted.

Encryption MUST use AES with a key of 1 28-bits (or greater) and a mode designed for storage (for example, AES-XTS, AES-CBC-ESSIV). The encryption key MUST NOT be written to storage at any time without being encrypted.

What is Full Disk Encryption?

Full disk encryption (FDE) is the process of encoding all user’s data on an Android device using an encrypted key. Once encrypted, all data on the device is automatically encrypted before ever written to disk.
In turn, the data is automatically decrypted before it returns to any calling process that asks for it. All you need is the correct key.
Full Disk Encryption is done with a kernel feature that acts directly on the block layer of the storage and has been available in devices since Android 3.0 Honeycomb.
However, Android 6.0 Marshmallow brings some pretty big changes and improvements in the overall working of the full disk encryption.
New Android devices running Marshmallow and having AES crypto performance above 50MiB-per-second require supporting encryption of:
  • The private user data partition (/data)
  • The public data partition (/sdcard)
In other words, Full Disk Encryption is damned secure, and Google has done a pretty good job by making full disk encryption mandatory on Android devices.

What’s the Problem with Full Disk Encryption?

Last year when Google implemented full disk encryption by default on the Nexus 6 devices, you had probably heard about poor device performance for disk reading and writing.
It’s true — the problem with full-disk encryption is a hit on the device performance because when you need to encrypt or decrypt on the fly, disk Input/Output speeds suffer.
In short, there are some drawbacks if encryption becomes mandatory:
  1. Slower Performance: As mentioned above, Encryption always adds some overhead, which causes your device a bit slower.
  2. Encryption is One-Way Only: If you forget the decryption key, you’ll need to factory reset your device that will eventually erase all the data stored on your phone.
 

Do we Really Need Full Disk Encryption By Default?

In older devices, there is an option to enable full disk encryption, but by default it is turned OFF. This left us with a choice — Do we need full disk encryption?
Many of us will find full disk encryption useful. This helps us to keep secure our sensitive information that we never, ever want to fall into the wrong hands. Full disk encryption also keeps our data secure from snoopers and government agencies who need to see it.
But for others, just the standard lock screen security is enough. If they lose their phone, they have Android Device Manager or other utilities to remotely wipe their data. They quickly change their passwords of Google and other accounts, and they even don’t have a reason to fear any consequences if government snoops into their data.
So, do you need Full Disk Encryption by Default? Share your views with us; Hit the comments below.

Google is introducing an app to connect Android smartwatches with Apple’s iPhone, escalating the rivals’ battle to strap their technology on people’s wrists.

The move puts Google on to Apple’s turf in an attempt to boost the lackluster sales of watches running on its Android Wear software.

Until now, Android watches only worked with smartphones powered by Android software, just as the Apple Watch is designed to be tethered exclusively to the iPhone.

Google’s new app will enable the latest Android watches to link with the iPhone so people can quickly glance at their wrists for directions, fitness information and notifications about events, emails and Facebook updates.

But the devices will not be able to be tied together in a way that will allow the Android watches to communicate with all the other apps that a user might have installed on the iPhone.

That roadblock is likely to discourage many iPhone owners from defecting from Apple to buy an Android watch unless Google eventually finds a way to overcome the obstacle, said IDC analyst Ramon Llamas.

For now, the Android watches are most likely to appeal to iPhone owners reluctant to spend a lot of money on a device that remains more of a novelty than an essential gadget.

Google expects the prices of Android watches compatible with the iPhone to range from $100 to $400. Apple, which has a long history of demanding premium prices for its products, sells most of its watches for $350 to $1,000, though its luxury models cost more than $10,000.

Android watches aren’t going to be bought by “the fan boys and fan girls that have to have absolutely everything with an Apple logo on it,” Llamas said. “We are talking about going after people who are open to other possibilities with what they can do with their devices.”

Although Apple was a late entrant into the smartwatch market, the company quickly surged to the front of the pack after its April release.

About 4m Apple Watches were sold during the three months ending in June to command three-fourths of the worldwide smartwatch market, based on estimates from the research firm Strategy Analytics. The combined sales of Android watches made by various device makers during the same period totaled 600,000 units for an 11% market share. Samsung watches running on Tizen software grabbed most of the rest of the market with a 7.5% share.

Google is hoping the next wave of Android Wear watches will help to shift the tide in its favour. The upcoming Android watches that will work with the iPhone include the Asus ZenWatch 2 and the Huawei Watch. LG Electronics already makes an Android Watch, the $300 Urbane, that’s compatible with the iPhone. Working with the new app, the Android smartwatches will be compatible with iPhones dating back to the 5, as long as their operating systems have been updated to at least iOS 8.2.

“This is a shrewd move by Google to expand its potential market,” Llamas said. “There is only so much space available on each wrist.”

Google appears to be quietly rolling out a new addition to the Smart Lock Feature in Android Lollipop, bringing an extra unlock option that works with motion sensors inside Android devices. “On-body detection” is designed to use your phone’s accelerometers to figure out when it’s been set down on a surface, and lock — with whatever lock pattern or PIN code you’ve set — when it’s not on your person.

The new feature is only available to Lollipop users, though you don’t have to be on a stock ROM in order to get it. However, activating it does seem to require the latest Google Play Services version, 7.0.97.

Using the accelerometer of the phone, the feature can figure out when you are holding the phone or have it in your pocket, and lock it when it is away.If you unlock the device once, it will stay unlocked till you are holding it or keep it in your pocket. Once you keep the phone away, it will lock again; while picking it up again will require you to manually put in the passcode.

Whether you should actually use this kind of feature is another question entirely. It’s potentially much less secure than tying your lock screen security to a Bluetooth device on your person, or simply keeping a passcode on at all times. It is perhaps preferable to no security it all, though, and Google’s probably targeting those who wouldn’t normally bother with lock screen security with on-body detection. Nevertheless, it’s far from an iron-clad defense for your personal data.

Android One users in India are in for some good news, as Google has started rolling out its first Lollipop update in a phased manner so that random devices receive the new OTA update.

Today one of our daily reader “Sumeet Vashisht” Inform Professional Hackers India About this update and he also posted a screenshot of the Android 5.1 Lollipop update for the Android One, showing the Update OTA message.

Google’s Caeser Sengupta informed on 24 Feb, 2015 via a Google+ post that the Android update will be pushed gradually to all Android One phones. He has not clarified whether the update will be based on Android 5.1. It’s worth pointing out that the Android One phones launched recently in Indonesia and Philippines run Android 5.1 so it’s likely that even the Indian version of the firmware would be based on the same build.

Here is what Caesar had to say while breaking the news to his followers and avid Android One fans on GooglePlus:

To those with +Android One phones in India, here’s where we are with the over-the-air (OTA) update that will bring Android Lollipop to you soon. We’ve already started rolling out Lollipop to a small number of phones in India. This is a gradual process and so each week we’ll push the OTA update to more phones selected at random (pro-tip: connecting over WiFi will increase your odds). We thank you again for your patience, and please stay tuned for further updates.

 

Microsoft is getting ready for a newer and unexpected battle with Google. This time, Microsoft plans to take on Android by investing in Cyanogen.

Cyanogen is a startup which makes and maintains its own version of Android. Cyanogen is currently being used in the OnePlus One, the flagship killer, a smartphone which has garnered rave reviews last year.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft is investing $70 million in Cyanogen which is best known for its customized version of Android. Cyanogen has reportedly raised $100 million to date. This should be noted that Cyanogen recently refused an offer from Google and hopes to live its dream of being an open version of Android alive.

WSJ writes:

“Microsoft would be a minority investor in a roughly $70 million round of equity financing that values Cyanogen in the high hundreds of millions.”

What could be Microsoft’s intentions?

This is important and unusual because Microsoft is owner of its very own Windows Phone operating system and is gearing up for the upcoming launch of Windows 10 for mobile devices. This move of Microsoft can be attributed to its commitment to embrace open source and maybe some mischief.

Cyanogen claims to have a team of 9,000 volunteer software developers. Cyanogen’s Chief Executive Kirt McMaster told WSJ last week:

“We’re going to take Android away from Google.”

Apart from different versions of Android for the smartphone makers, Google also releases the Android core under an open-source license. This version is free for everybody and anyone can use and modify or fork this core without linking the Google services. The best examples are Amazon’s products which run on forked Android. These independent versions are already very popular in China where Google has struggled to leave its mark.

These types of Android versions, which are not under Google’s control, are a problem for Google because not every forked version promotes and uses Google’s services and hence, Google makes no money. Due to this Microsoft’s investment in Cyanogen, it will be harder for Google to bring all version of Android under its control.

Microsoft and Cyanogen, both have declined to comment. By investing in Cyanogen, Microsoft can get more users and claim a bigger share of the mobile market. Under the new CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft has shown such commitments to open source in the past.

Android: A faulty charger can cause your smartphone a world of hurt. If you’re running Lollipop on your phone, free app Ampere tests your charger’s output.

Ampere tells you how well your battery is charging and if there’s a problem. It doesn’t work on all phones, but you can see the compatible list on its Google Play page—I tested it on a Nexus 5. It found one old charger that wasn’t pushing enough of a charge, and all the rest tested fine. 

With the advent of fast charging technologies from almost all major manufacturers, and from chip makers themselves, the quality of the bundled cell phone chargers and cables is starting to become more and more important. Oppo’s VOOC rapid charging tech, for instance, bundles a juicer with the breathtaking 5A output, which would probably make other models emit smoke from their motherboards.
How do we rate the quality of cables and chargers from one unit to the next even if they have the same output rating, though? Most of us aren’t homegrown electrical engineers with off-the-shelf equipment, after all.

Sony, for instance, sometimes bundles eco-friendly 0.8A chargers with its phones, which top up slowly but surely, while Samsung and some others offer 2A, and even beyond rapid chargers.

Enter Ampere – a new app that takes advantage of Android 5.0 Lollipop’s built-in Project Volta APIs to tell you the exact difference in charging quality between two wall chargers and/or cables. The app will even out the current oscillations, and show you the real average throughput of the charger/cable combo you are using at the moment in a few seconds.
This way you can test if that third party charger, or the one you borrowed from a friend, can really do the deed properly, and stick with the one that charges your phone best.
Needless to say, you have to have Lollipop on your handset, and the app is reported to have issues with a few phone models, like the HTC One line, or some LG G3 versions, so check the developers description before you plug your phone in, and wait for Ampere to return the benchmark current.

Micro blogging site Twitter, has just launched a new version of their Vine video-sharing app. This time it is aimed squarely at children. The Vine Kids app promises to filter out any inappropriate content. Vine Kids has initially launched for iOS and it will provide a feed of “hand-selected” six-second videos that loop from Vine’s community. The videos will contain no swearing or other forms of adult content in order to keep kids entertained, yet safe.

To make the app appealing to kids there has been an addition of animated characters to host the app. In a recent blog post announcing the new app, Vine’s Carolyn Penner wrote, “We’ve seen for ourselves – and heard from parents, siblings and others – that kids love Vine…The idea came about during an office conversation in early January. One of my colleagues was talking about how much his two-year-old daughter loves Vine – he said he wished there was a separate app she could use to more easily watch posts that are appropriate for kids.”

The new app was developed by staff during the company’s ‘Hack Week’, where employees are encouraged to work on sideline projects.

Currently, the clips that have been chosen for the app are a little, how shall I say, cat- and dog-centric. There are also some other characters, such as singing eggs and Elmo from Sesame Street. Rather interestingly, some animated aliens and a hedgehog that plays the piano can also be seen on the new app; the kind of things that small kids love.

This new launch comes after a year of growth for the video looping app. Vine’s original app was launched by Twitter back in January 2013 just after buying Vine, the developer start-up of the same name.

By August 2014, Vine said their videos were watched by more than 100 million people per month via the app and the web. The videos themselves chalked up 347.2bn “loops” in the last nine months of the previous year.

So with this kind of growth, it appears as though Vine has aimed the new app at the right time, but I guess we will have to wait and see what the kids think of it.

Micro blogging site Twitter, has just launched a new version of their Vine video-sharing app. This time it is aimed squarely at children. The Vine Kids app promises to filter out any inappropriate content. Vine Kids has initially launched for iOS and it will provide a feed of “hand-selected” six-second videos that loop from Vine’s community. The videos will contain no swearing or other forms of adult content in order to keep kids entertained, yet safe.

To make the app appealing to kids there has been an addition of animated characters to host the app. In a recent blog post announcing the new app, Vine’s Carolyn Penner wrote, “We’ve seen for ourselves – and heard from parents, siblings and others – that kids love Vine…The idea came about during an office conversation in early January. One of my colleagues was talking about how much his two-year-old daughter loves Vine – he said he wished there was a separate app she could use to more easily watch posts that are appropriate for kids.”

The new app was developed by staff during the company’s ‘Hack Week’, where employees are encouraged to work on sideline projects.

Currently, the clips that have been chosen for the app are a little, how shall I say, cat- and dog-centric. There are also some other characters, such as singing eggs and Elmo from Sesame Street. Rather interestingly, some animated aliens and a hedgehog that plays the piano can also be seen on the new app; the kind of things that small kids love.

This new launch comes after a year of growth for the video looping app. Vine’s original app was launched by Twitter back in January 2013 just after buying Vine, the developer start-up of the same name.

By August 2014, Vine said their videos were watched by more than 100 million people per month via the app and the web. The videos themselves chalked up 347.2bn “loops” in the last nine months of the previous year.

So with this kind of growth, it appears as though Vine has aimed the new app at the right time, but I guess we will have to wait and see what the kids think of it.

iMicrosoft is getting ready for a newer and unexpected battle with Google. This time, Microsoft plans to take on Android by investing in Cyanogen.

Cyanogen is a startup which makes and maintains its own version of Android. Cyanogen is currently being used in the OnePlus One, the flagship killer, a smartphone which has garnered rave reviews last year.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft is investing $70 million in Cyanogen which is best known for its customized version of Android. Cyanogen has reportedly raised $100 million to date. This should be noted that Cyanogen recently refused an offer from Google and hopes to live its dream of being an open version of Android alive.

WSJ writes:

“Microsoft would be a minority investor in a roughly $70 million round of equity financing that values Cyanogen in the high hundreds of millions.”

What could be Microsoft’s intentions?

This is important and unusual because Microsoft is owner of its very own Windows Phone operating system and is gearing up for the upcoming launch of Windows 10 for mobile devices. This move of Microsoft can be attributed to its commitment to embrace open source and maybe some mischief.

Cyanogen claims to have a team of 9,000 volunteer software developers. Cyanogen’s Chief Executive Kirt McMaster told WSJ last week:

“We’re going to take Android away from Google.”

Apart from different versions of Android for the smartphone makers, Google also releases the Android core under an open-source license. This version is free for everybody and anyone can use and modify or fork this core without linking the Google services. The best examples are Amazon’s products which run on forked Android. These independent versions are already very popular in China where Google has struggled to leave its mark.

These types of Android versions, which are not under Google’s control, are a problem for Google because not every forked version promotes and uses Google’s services and hence, Google makes no money. Due to this Microsoft’s investment in Cyanogen, it will be harder for Google to bring all version of Android under its control.

Microsoft and Cyanogen, both have declined to comment. By investing in Cyanogen, Microsoft can get more users and claim a bigger share of the mobile market. Under the new CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft has shown such commitments to open source in the past.

Motorola has started rolling out the Android 5.0 Lollipop update for the first-generation and second generation Moto G – aka Moto G (2013) Moto G (2014) , Moto G (XT1033), Moto G (2nd Gen) and Moto G (Gen 1) – in India.
The Android 5.0 Lollipop update for the dual-SIM enabled Moto G (XT1033) is now available OTA (over-the-air) and comes with build number 220.21.28.en.03.

The Moto G (Gen 1) users will either receive a notification for the OTA update to Android 5.0 Lollipop, or they can also check manually for the update by visiting Settings>About phone>System updates. With either method, users will have to then select ‘Yes, I’m in’, to authorise the download of the update, and then click ‘Install now’.

One of our member Miss Prachi Soni inform PHI About this update and she also posted a screenshot of the Android 5.0 Lollipop update for the Moto G (Gen 1), showing the build number and changelog.

Notably, the company has also posted the changelog for the update on ‘Release Notes’ support page and it includes the new Material Design UI with fluid animations to new application and system themes, colours and widgets, as well as the new notifications UI that will now appear on the lock screen. Other new features part of the Android 5.0 Lollipop update for the first generation Moto G include Smart Lock; new interruptions and downtime settings that will offer the option to tailor how interruptions behave; redesigned multitasking; Ambient Display now showing notifications without turning on the full display; revamped Motorola Assist, and the new flashlight option as part of Quick settings in Lollipop.

Also listed are smarter Internet connections and performance improvements via new the Android Runtime (ART) to help optimise app performance.

The Lenovo-owned company had last week updated its ‘Motorola Update Services’ app in Google Play ahead of an impending Android 5.0 Lollipop update for the first-generation Moto G. Users last week were also reporting that Motorola had started the Android 5.0 Lollipop ‘soak test’ in India with members of the Moto Feedback Network.

Last month, the company officially announced the OTA rollout of the latest Android update for the Moto G (Gen 2) and Moto X (Gen 2) smartphones.

Are you one of those victims whose WhatsApp app has recently been banned?? Then you must have installed a 3rd-party version of WhatsApp client, like WhatsAppMD or Whatsapp PLUS in your mobile phone for sure.
Reportedly after 12 AM IST on 21st January 2015, WhatsApp, the widely popular messaging application, has started temporarily banning users for 24 Hours who are currently using any third-party WhatsApp clients and are being directed to download the official app on the Play Store instead.
Just in last few hours, large number of users have started complaining on Social media websites that they are being banned from the messaging service for 24 hours. Though the ban is temporary and the users facing the issue now could access their app after the period of 24 hours.
In an attempt to clear up why this is happening, Whatsapp team explained via its FAQ website, that it is against ‘Terms of Service’ to use WhatsApp Plus or any other 3rd-party unofficial app.
Why am I banned for using WhatsApp Plus and how do I get unbanned?
WhatsApp Plus is an application that was not developed by WhatsApp, nor is it authorized by WhatsApp. The developers of WhatsApp Plus have no relationship to WhatsApp, and we do not support WhatsApp Plus. Please be aware that WhatsApp Plus contains source code which WhatsApp cannot guarantee as safe and that your private information is potentially being passed to 3rd parties without your knowledge or authorization. Please uninstall your application and install an authorized version of WhatsApp from our website or Google Play. Then, you will be able to use WhatsApp.
WHATSAPP PLUS
WhatsApp Plus is an altered version of the official WhatsApp for Android which is pretty popular among advanced users, who want sleeker design and some other features. WhatsApp Plus provides some extra features compared to WhatsApp like:
  • Disabling your last seen and still being able to see others last seen time
  • 700 new Themes
  • Extra new emoticons/emojis
  • You can edit file sharing options
  • Option to change the font, and color
  • More..
Even rumours from several popular news websites had suggested that WhatsApp is working on a new version of its instant messaging client, WhatsApp PLUS, in order to provide its users a lot of handy new features. However the news came out to be completely fake!!
If you have one installed in your smartphone, we suggest you to uninstall it if you don’t want to go through that 24 hour ban. We will keep an eye on what’s is going on… Stay Tuned to Professional Hackers India.

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