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

malware

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.

 

YouTube Go app launched in India for spotty internet signals

A beta version of the app has been released in the Google Play Store in India

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Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Tuesday it would roll out a mobile YouTube application designed for India, boosting the search company’s presence in a burgeoning market with spotty Internet access.

Since the fall, Google has been conducting extensive tests in India of YouTube Go, which allows users to save videos to watch offline and monitor their data use.

A beta version of the app has been released in the Google Play Store in India, and will be released in other emerging markets later, company executives said in an interview.

Analysts have been forecasting a surge in video consumption in India since Reliance Jio, the telecom unit of Reliance Industries Ltd, upended the industry last year with cheap data plans that have prodded rivals to lower prices.

Silicon Valley has long regarded India, with its population of 1.3 billion people and poor connectivity, as a prime place to test products for emerging markets.

YouTube executives said they sought to build a product for Indian users from the ground up rather than releasing a slimmed-down version of their primary app.

“As we talked to people in the market, they didn’t want something that felt like a stripped down version of YouTube – they wanted the full experience,” said John Harding, vice president of engineering at YouTube.

Due to the frustration of trying to load video at slow Internet speeds, the YouTube team had contemplated showing users a series of images from a video with the audio, like a slideshow. But Indian consumers reacted poorly to the feature.

The final design helps users discover videos that trending in their region while minimising data usage. Users can preview videos before watching to ensure that is what they want.

While Reliance Jio’s entry has boosted video consumption in India, analyst Neil Shah of Counterpoint Technology Market Research questioned whether YouTube Go would remain popular as cheap data plans become more prevalent.

“The only future I see for YouTube Go is for feature phones or basic phones,” he wrote in an email.

But with 180 million mobile users in India and mobile watch time climbing 400 per cent year over year, YouTube has strong momentum in India, Jay Akkad, a product lead at YouTube, said. (readmore…)