Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Mobile Phone Theft

I was chatting to mobile security expert @drogersuk yesterday and today, on the subject of mobile phone theft, about mobile phones that are stolen dialling premium rate numbers out in Afghan and India, and the real owner of the phone being charged several thousand dollars/pounds for calls they didn't make, so figured I'd make a blog post on my thoughts on this, how can this issue be resolved? is it an unsolvable problem?

Nothing is really "unsolvable" per se, but the steps I think are needed to combat this problem aren't small by any means. It's a two sided issue, on behalf of network providers and the end user.

Are we looking at a social issue rather than a technological one? Does new technology such as NFC and basing our lives in the cloud increase the risk of theft? Would the introduction of biometrics on phones put us as users at more of a risk than if we didn’t have it?

Technically - yes. Technology continues to evolve, people put more and more risk into the cloud, personal data, even as far as putting their life into the cloud and when their phone is stolen - their life is screwed.

Not too sure on the biometric thing right now, we need more time to see how the whole facial recognition unlock screen works out in Ice Cream Sandwich - personally it's a good idea, so only 1 person can unlock it but whether it will have that effect remains to be seen.

So what can network providers do?

Surely to god making a deal/partnership with a decent antivirus company like Lookout or BitDefender to offer customers to have protection software pre-installed on phones would be a good thing for the security community (although would that fall under the anti-competition issue MS is suffering with W8?)

As others have noted and pointed out, network providers need to start blocking calls to premium numbers if they notice them, I mean someone calling a number that everyone knows is going to charge a hell of a lot of money can't be normal right? or at least block them and contact the real owner via another contact number, home landline or something along those lines? Just like the malware on PC issue, it's a constant game of cat and mouse but it's better than nothing.

What can the end user do?

Be responsible! this applies more to adults than younger kids who have phones but my point remains. All the information about mobile phone security/safety and mobile phone theft and the risks involved is out there - they just have to search for it!

Sadly I still see people not treating their smartphone like any normal computer, antivirus, passwords, etc. To the very least - install antivirus - at least if people who do use the cloud can then access their phone remotely, lock/wipe it before ANYONE has a chance to use it - then phone their provider and ask them to cancel the SIM/contract so it can't be used to call premium numbers.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Steve Jobs Hates Android & More News

About time I made another blog post, so here goes. This weeks news, a biography on Steve Jobs and how much he hated Android, he vowed to destroy Android. Here's what he said:

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong… I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

I don’t want your money… I want you to stop using our ideas in Android

Now, lesson 1. You can't own an idea, you can't control an idea, once it's out, then it's out. Much like the internet, once something is posted, it can't be removed. I've said this before and I'll say it again - your greedy Steve, it's first come first serve in today’s world.

Honestly though, I think it's this hatred runs deeper than just people "stealing" ideas. I've watched Apple & the iPhone grow in popularity and market share, and I've watched Android grow to what it is today. I personally think Steve is/was jealous of Android and it's huge success. Apple is just 1 company who made a (slightly more secure) product, but when it comes to Android and Google, Google has many companies working on Android. Samsung/HTC/Motorola/Sony, Apple may have had the best innovator as it's CEO, but Jobs is just 1 person competing against 5 different companies designing different phones, using different versions of Android.

That's just 1 fact. The next fact is the openness of Android, that's what attracted me to Android. I'm not paying for the OS, I don't have to be locked down in what I can do to my Android, root it, change the ROM, overclock it, etc and that's what's attracting the huge fan base Android has today. The speed at which Android is developing compared to Apple is outstanding, and the awesome devs at work, the folks over at XDA are amazing. Android has iPhone beat hands down right now and probably forever more. Apple might always exist, but Android will always be a few steps ahead. Linux is the future now, people want openness - which brings me onto the next subject of this blog post.

Ed Bott made a blog post this week on ZDNet about the W8 UEFI Secure Boot system, published with the title "Why do Linux fanatics want to make Windows 8 less secure?"

We don't want to make it "less secure", we just want to have the option to disable the feature so us advanced users are able to use Linux.

I hear that Microsoft (and others) are pushing for this to be mandatory, so that it cannot be disabled by the user, and it would be required for OS badging.

THAT is what I personally am against. I think I made it obvious I am a person all about the freedom of information and the freedom of choice and more so when it comes to being able to use Linux. I've loved Windows for many years (even if I refuse to leave XP) and MS are going in a way I don't like. I only speak for me but I think we all would be fine if we are just given the choice of weather we want this feature on/off. Yes the OS is more secure with it on, but I don't go about getting myself infected and thus I don't need the feature to be on and that lets me use Linux - yay a bonus, we all love bonuses right? The powers of Linux devs are incredible, I don't fully understand why some people want this option forced upon us and not being able to switch it off, but hey whatever.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Verizon Tracking Customers

I aren't a Verizon custom, but this caught my eye so decided to write about it. Verizon have updated their TOS to include the fact they are now tracking their customers mobile devices... and monitoring their customers at the same time?

There is a few different things they are tracking, but what caught my eye was this; they monitor a devices location... for marketing purposes? that doesn't make sense.

What information are we talking about?

Location of your device ("Location Information")

How information will be used

1. To create business and marketing reports.
2. For other companies to create business and marketing reports.
3. To make mobile ads you see more relevant.

Basically, when they collect information about a devices location, they also collect information of the persons location at the same time, lets face it, no one leaves their smartphone unsupervised. Verizon offer it's customers an opt-out option, I advise anyone using Verizon to opt-out A.S.A.P, this is a breach of customers privacy. It doesn't matter to me that they say they wont share this information with anyone - it's the fact I don't want to be tracked of my location by people I don't know.

But back to the point I want to make. I don't see how ANY of that is relevant to where a customers device is, it's basically saying a GPS that customers aren't allowed to switch off if they are included in this. Something tells me law suits are heading the way of Verizon.

To opt-out of the program, visit THIS LINK

Thursday, 6 October 2011

The Day Apple Died?

Fairly certain by now 90% of the internet has heard Steve Jobs has passed away after his long hard fight with Cancer.

I want to keep this seperate from the other thread, but quite a few people across several sites now saying today is the day Apple died. Apple the company will live on, but a lot of people saying Steve put the love into Apple products and they wont the same without him.

Apple are fighting Android as hard as they can, but the demand of the public for open source and freeware is just too great and Android is attracting lots of people, but Apple are just one company, Google has many companies working on the Android project as a whole, Samsung, Sony, HTC, Motorola and now Amazon Kindle using the Android OS, will Apple still stand as strong as they once did? Is there any flare left in Apple now?

I agree Crush. I forgot to mention Motorola and the Intel deal Google have for their Android hardware.

Steve will always be remembered for what he did, revolutionizing the computer industry, but will Apple really want to fight this patent war with Amazon as well now? I'm sure Amazon wouldn't mind siding with the awesome power that be Google, Apple have taken a major blow today and I can't see fighting Amazon would be a good move, that would only push them right into Googles arms, that would only end up as a Apple loss Google win situation.

After the show Apple put on the other day (which wasn't at all impressive, rushed at best), it makes me wonder how much longer Apple will hold together.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Lets Talk iPhone Event

Must say watching the event from a live blog posts updating every minute or so is no where near as entertaining as watching a proper live online flash stream, I hate having to sit and read, webcasts are the way forward, listening to updates while carrying on with my work is just my preference.

But anyway, my thoughts right? overall, not too bad I suppose if your an iPhone/Apple lover.

Apple started out talking about a few of the different products, iPad/iPod and the Mac OSX Lion, apple blathered on about how many apps were downloaded from the App Store, yeah high figures but that's Apple, kinda not suprising really, but nothing worth mentioning, just Apple adding hype.

Down to the actual things worth mentioning.

Apple announced a "Find My Friends" app that uses GPS and from the screenshot I've seen, it looks risky, it used pin pointing in an overhead eagle eye view showing who is where, don't think I want random people even if they are my friends knowing where I am unless I say so. But then again, how well do you know someone? if you have the GPS enabled, I can imagine it would pose a risk to burglary.

Apple then moved on to the new hardware in the phone. Mostly about the new dual core processor, and as stated in a blog post on Android And Me site, Android has been using dual core for a while now, it seems to me Apple are the ones playing catch up with the ever expanding Android. There was also the subject of data network speeds. So, the topic of selling prices for the 4S. 16GB - $199 32GB $299 64GB $399 that's quite a lot of money no matter which size version you go for, personally I don't know if it's worth it.

Fun fact: Apples shares dropped 3.6% at the announcement of the iPhone 4S... that doesn't seem right to me, a new product that carries the Apple brand, and Apple LOSE shares? LOL, oh well.

Honestly there is nothing in the 4S that my Galaxy S can't do, including the new camera hardware. My phone can do stunning 1080p HD quality pictures and not lose any quality in sports mode, under the fast shutter. Apple also threw in a quick slag off of Android phones, made a suggestion that an Android user could make a coffee while waiting to take a picture? no really Androids aren't that slow, screw you Apple you ego based jerks.

Siri, Apples voice recognition app now in the 4S, it can understand English US, UK and Australia, and German/French included and will be released as beta. ... I don't know, probably not worth it, my Android already has this for text messaging, searching, anything that requires the keyboard basically, but if I talked to it in another language, it uses Google Translate for me, this probably isn't something Apple will be able to do, although more and more languages will come to the 4S eventually I imagine.

The whole event seemed rushed and not enough detail on anything Apple showd off. Ah well, onwards as ever.