Is your phone safe? Google detects Tizi app that steals FB, WhatsApp data

The company has removed the app from Play Store, notified all known affected devices and suspended the account of the app developer


Today’s PaperGoogle has detected an app ‘Tizi’, which has been stealing information from call records and also from social media apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, and also take pictures from mobile phones without even displaying them on the screen of the device.

Tizi App is a fully featured backdoor that installs spyware to steal sensitive data from popular social media applications. The Google Play Protect security team discovered this family in September 2017 when device scans found an app with rooting capabilities that exploited old vulnerabilities,” a post on Google security blog said.

The company has removed the app from Play Store, notified all known affected devices and suspended the account of the app developer, the post dated November 27 said.

The post said that earlier variant of Tizi did not have rooting capabilities but it developed later on and thereafter started stealing sensitive information from devices.

“The rooting capabilities give an app full control of the device. It can bypass all restriction posted on it by the Android security system. An app with rooting is like a user using the device. Presence of such app on Google Play Store raises concerns about secure apps on the app store,” cybersecurity expert Jiten Jain said.

The post said that after gaining rooting capability, Tizi steals sensitive data “from popular social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Viber, Skype, LinkedIn, and Telegram.”

The backdoor capability of Tizi was common to commercial spyware, such as recording calls from WhatsApp, Viber, and Skype, sending and receiving SMS messages, and accessing calendar events, call log, contacts, photos, Wi-Fi encryption keys, and a list of all installed apps

“Tizi apps can also record ambient audio and take pictures without displaying the image on the device’s screen,” the post said.

The post said that in and after April 2016 vulnerabilities in devices which could have been affected by Tizi were fixed with new software codes.

“If a Tizi app is unable to take control of a device because the vulnerabilities it tries to use are all patched, it will still attempt to perform some actions through the high level of permissions it asks the user to grant to it, mainly around reading and sending SMS messages and monitoring, redirecting, and preventing outgoing phone calls,” the post said.


Emojis might be your next password. Here’s why

People commonly use emojis to express moods, emotions and nuances in emails and text messages


Would you rather unlock your smartphone with a plain four-digit PIN or with a smiley-face emoji? Would it be easier and more pleasant to remember emojis for example, or “2476”?

Smartphone users commonly use emojis to express moods, emotions and nuances in emails and text messages – and even communicate entire messages only with emojis. In 2015, a British company tried using emoji passcodes in place of PINs at bank ATMs. But there had been no formal study of how easy they were to use, or how secure they were in comparison to other methods, like PINs.

To learn more, in the lab and in the real world, a team of researchers from the Technical University Berlin, Ulm University and University of Michigan, led by TU Berlin Ph.D. candidate Lydia Kraus, developed EmojiAuth, an emoji-based login system for Android smartphones. How well would users remember their emoji passcodes? Could they be more secure, too? And might they be more fun, adding a bit of enjoyment every time a user unlocked her phone?

Creating emoji passcodes
Most smartphone users keep their screens locked and need to unlock them numerous times a day. Many people use numerical PINs, but research tells us that images are easier to memorize and recall than numbers or letters. PINs can also only be composed from a small number of symbols: the numbers 0 to 9. Passwords can be created from a larger set of characters but are difficult to type on smartphones. Using emojis, on the other hand, allows us to draw from over 2,500 emojis, which promises passcodes that are more resistant to cracking and casual observation.

In our initial experiment, we gave 53 participants an Android phone and divided them into two groups. The first group of 27 people selected a passcode made up of any of 12 emojis on an emoji keyboard individually generated for each user from the library of all possible emoji icons. (Once set, each user’s emoji keyboard stayed the same.) The remaining 26 people picked a numeric PIN. (READMORE…)

Indians prefer Xiaomi over Samsung, Apple: Report

Android buyers looking to upgrade their devices in 2017 list Xiaomi as their preferred brand


Xiaomi has become the most preferred smartphone upgrade choice for Indian consumers in 2017, beating popular brands like Samsung and Apple, market research firm Strategy Analytics said on Friday.

According to the report, 26 per cent of potential Android buyers looking to upgrade their devices in 2017 list Xiaomi as their preferred brand.

“With an array of devices selling in the Indian market, it is remarkable that Xiaomi has witnessed a whopping 125 per cent growth in India and has become the most preferred brand for Android buyers looking for an upgrade in 2017,” said Rajeev Nair, Senior Analyst, Strategy Analytics.

Xiaomi India has become the number one selling smartphone brand in the online market, with 29.3 per cent share, and the second largest smartphone brand in India with 10.7 per cent market share in the fourth quarter of 2016.

“Our phones are built with a vision to make technology innovation affordable to everyone. We do not compromise on our cost to value proposition, our fan engagement or our quality,” added Manu Jain, Vice President and Managing Director, Xiaomi India. (readmore…)

Good news for Windows 10 users: Netflix allows download, offline streaming

The option is labelled as Download and Go


In a big move, entertainment company Netflix is now bringing the download option to the desktop. The company announced that Windows 10 users would have the option of downloading its entire video library, reported the Independent.

Labelled as ‘Download and Go’, the feature allows desktop users to save all the videos that are available. Earlier, only a select few shows could be downloaded on to the desktop, unlike the Android and iOS apps.

Like the mobile apps, the Windows 10 PC app does have a few limitations when it comes to downloading content, reported The Verge. Offline downloads are available only for a seemingly random swath of the Netflix catalogue (unsurprisingly, most of Netflix’s own original series and films are eligible), but there’s some good lot available, including Stranger Things, all the Star Trek shows, and the whole run of Breaking Bad.

The update is rolling out to all Windows 10 users through the Windows Store on Wednesday, though it’s still unclear whether the Windows 10 Mobile or Xbox One versions of the app will be getting a similar update presently. (readmore…)

Gionee launches A1 smartphone in India with selfie-focused 16 MP camera

While the pre-booking started from March 3, the price of the device is yet to be announce


Chinese smartphone maker Gionee  on Tuesday launched a new selfie-focused smartphone in India that comes with a 16MP front camera with selfie flash and houses a 4,010 mAh battery.

While the pre-booking for Gionee A1 started from March 3, the price of the device is yet to be announced.

“Today’s generation views the world from their front camera and they live for creating and celebrating experiences out of moments,” said Arvind R Vohra, Country Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director (MD), Gionee India, in a statement.

The device is powered by 2 GHz octa-core P10 Helios processor paired with 4 GB RAM, has 64 GB internal memory that can be expanded up to 256 GB and runs on Amigo 4.0 on top of Android 7.0 Nougat.

A1 is equipped with a fingerprint sensor and claims to unlock the phone in just 0.2 seconds. For humid conditions, the sensor unlocks the device even with moist fingers.(read more…)