Apps

Beware: Lots of fake Pokémon Go and Minecraft apps are still on the loose

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Despite constant warnings not to download apps outside of Google Play and Apple’s App Store, people are doing it anyway, and it’s getting increasingly worse. Security experts at Trend Micro noticed a rise in the number of adware installed on smartphones, and repackaged Pokémon Go and Minecraft software are at the heart of the problem.

While adware-infected apps have been around for ages, dubious third-party sources have been getting better at tricking people into downloading them. According to Trend Micro, a Vietnamese group named HiStore has already achieved over 10 million downloads for its counterfeit Pokémon Go app on iOS alone. That’s a crazy number when you think about it, considering how tight Apple’s ecosystem is. They also have fake versions of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.

China-based Haima adds to the staggering amount by achieving over 68 million downloads for its fake Minecraft mobile app. How do they manage to trick so many people? You’d be surprised; social media is their main front, and clickbait titles distract users from downloading from the official App Store instead.

Luckily for those who got scammed, the damage shouldn’t be too critical. Trend Micro explains that the adware’s primary purpose is to dig into your smartphone and push targeted ads onto it. The scammers get paid by the advertisers for each appearance, and you have to suffer with pop-ups while playing what you thought was a legitimate copy of the game. Pokémon Go became a major success for Haima and HiStore, since lots of people wanted to get a head start over the competition during the slow global rollout.

What’s the lesson here? Don’t get too excited about downloading the newest game until it hits the official servers. As long as you download from Apple or Google’s certified stores, you’re in the clear. Trend Micro is also advising developers to fortify their software in order to prevent more fraudulent apps from being distributed.

[irp posts=”4643″ name=”Pokémon Go Plus wearable is out, doesn’t really do much”]

Source: Trend Micro, via Wired

Apps

Twitter adds draft, schedule tweets on the web

Sending tweets just got more flexible

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Photo by Yucel Moran on Unsplash

Sending tweets just got more flexible. Twitter is now adding an option for users to draft a tweet which they can continue later. Plus, there is now an option to schedule when a tweet should be posted.

Users don’t have to do anything to take advantage of these new features. Twitter has enabled these features just recently to everyone after experimenting with them in November.

For users who want to draft a tweet, they simply have to click “X” on the tweet window. A prompt to save the tweet will appear. Clicking “Save” will send the tweet to the “Unsent Tweet” where users can see a list of their drafted tweets.

It is important to note that drafted tweets will sync only on the web version of Twitter. There’s no option yet to see web version drafted tweets on the mobile app.

Meanwhile, those who wanted to schedule their tweets can do so by clicking on the new calendar icon on the bottom left of the tweet window. By doing so, a schedule option will appear, and users can change the date and time of the tweet’s post schedule.

Twitter Support prepared a little video for those who prefer to watch these new features in action:

These new features are surely a welcome addition to the platform. Perhaps, users who wanted to clarify their thoughts first before tweeting should greatly benefit from this feature. Now, if only Twitter would give its users an option to edit tweets. It’s still a pipe dream, but with new changes being introduced to the platform, it’s not impossible.

Source: The Verge

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Microsoft adds new spellcheck system for Chrome on Windows

Embracing an open-source ecosystem

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There’s no error in the headline, Microsoft is indeed helping Google’s Chrome browser work better thanks to a new spellcheck system. This move will not just help Chrome though, it’ll also enable Edge browser with improved spellcheck. Getting too confusing? Here’s a simple explanation.

The Chromium project is a free and open-source repository, just like Android. Anyone can use it, edit it, or build upon it. Google’s Chrome browser is based on this project, and so is Microsoft’s Edge. Other browsers utilizing this backend technology are Torch, Brave, Amazon Silk, and many more.

How is Microsoft helping Google? It’s bringing a new spell checker on Windows 8.1 and newer for all Chromium browsers.  Until now, Chromium browsers were leveraging open-source proofing tools for spell checking. By collaborating directly with Google’s Chromium engineers, Microsoft has enabled Windows Spellcheck for all Chromium browsers.

The new Windows Spellcheck will support URLs, acronyms, email addresses, additional languages along with various dialects, and a shared custom dictionary. The new system replaces Microsoft’s Hunspell Spellcheck tool.

The update is among more than 1,900 such changes Microsoft has contributed to the browser’s project. The new spell checker is live on Edge with version 83.

While this announcement may not seem to be very exciting, it underlines an essential change in Microsoft’s strategy. The software company has a notorious reputation of being against open-source. However, it has radically changed its position in the last handful of years. After the fall of Windows Mobile, it was a clear lesson that the future is about embracing an open eco-system instead of a partial one.

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IGTV will soon have ads and share revenue with creators

Can it take on YouTube?

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There’s some good news as well as bad news. How you perceive it, depends on your role. If you’re a content creator on IGTV, Instagram will share ad revenues with you. And, if you’re an IGTV viewer, the bad news is you’ll have to watch that ad, just like YouTube.

Facebook-owned Instagram has announced it’ll start serving IGTV with ads and share the revenue with influencers who create content for the platform. Instagram already has ads embedded while scrolling posts or sifting through stories. We expected the roll-out to happen in the near future considering Facebook’s reputation with ads and hunger for user data.

Instagram will share at least 55 percent of the revenue from these ads with creators. This should encourage users to upload more content on the platform and the strategy is a proven one today. Google’s YouTube has created a thriving community of YouTubers who’ve become a millionaire thanks to their regular content push and subscriber base.

It’s testing IGTV ads with a handful of U.S. based creators and advertisers and plans to expand that slowly in the coming months. Furthermore, creators can also charge for virtual badges that shall be visible during Instagram Live.

Currently, the most sought monetization method for influencers is to directly cut deals with brands. But this removes Instagram from the equation completely. Instead, it has already rolled out features like Shopping, and Live Shopping to keep the user within the app and complete the transaction.

IGTV was launched in June 2018 as a spinoff of Instagram where users can watch longer videos made for mobile devices. Viewers access IGTV videos directly through Instagram or the stand-alone IGTV app.

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