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Cybersecurity report reveals millions of Android devices affected by exploits

Affected phones include ASUS, Essential, LG, and ZTE

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Despite cybersecurity efforts, smartphones are still one of the most vulnerable devices you can ever own. Besides viruses, our handy phones constantly go through bugs and backdoors. Among all of the phones available today, no variant suffers more than Android devices.

According to cybersecurity firm Kryptowire, millions of Android phones might have already shipped with dangerous vulnerabilities. In the recent Black Hat security conference, the firm revealed that ten popular phones come with exploits out of the box.


Unfortunately, the report did not reveal all of the devices affected by the issue. In fact, the firm promises to uncover more exploits and affected devices in the future. Meanwhile, the concealment aims to give the devices’ companies a chance to respond. Thankfully, the report names five devices to use as examples.

These examples originate from one main source — unauthorized app installs. Because the conventional Google Play Store is usually a safe haven, these attacks rely on outside sources like APKs. Unlike installs from the former, malicious APK installs can bypass permissions to illegally access the phone’s data.

Despite sharing the same source, the results can vary greatly due to the device. Accordingly, the report names five devices from four companies — ASUS, Essential, LG, and ZTE — as examples.

For the most part, these exploits affect and obtain data from the phone. For example, attacks on the ZTE Blade Spark and Blade Vantage allows hackers to access sensitive data and personal information. On the other hand, attacks on the LG G6 and the Essential Phone can enable hackers to lock users out of their devices and reset the phone manually.

Sadly, the extent of the attacks spread far beyond illegal data access. Attacks on the popular ASUS ZenFone V Live completely surrenders the device to the whims of an attacker. This means that hackers can invariably control the phone as if it were their own.

To respond, all four affected companies have stated that they are working on patches to the devices. Unfortunately, Android’s open-source nature hinders the quick distribution of patches. Patch developers must adapt to both the device’s and the telco’s custom code.

Sadly, this means that the exploits still exist in one form or another. Currently, the only reliable course of action is to remain vigilant with security updates and patches.

SEE ALSO: US temporarily lifts ZTE sanctions for security updates, bans China Mobile

India

OPPO K3 is a fancier looking Realme X at the same price

The design is also inspired by OPPO Reno

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Realme operates as an independent brand now, but when it first started last year, it was technically a sub-brand of OPPO. Since then, the Indian smartphone market has changed quite a lot. Realme has been successful in taking up a huge chunk of the market, Xiaomi is slowly inching forward, and Samsung is no longer sleeping.

In the midst of all the noise, OPPO and Vivo are treading cautiously. They’re focused on grabbing the offline market that relies on brick and mortar stores. Taking a step forward, OPPO has launched a new phone called the K3 in India, and it looks eerily similar to the Realme X. In fact, even the specs sheet is pretty much the same.


What sets it apart is that it shares the new design language OPPO’s Reno line first introduced, which OPPO said will serve as the catalyst for the company’s smartphone development for the next 10 years.

While OPPO and Realme are busy sharing resources, it’s the best time for a consumer to buy a new phone. There are simply too many options to choose from and pricing has never been this competitive.

To start with, the OPPO K3 sports a 6.5-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display that also integrates a fingerprint scanner. The phone ships with ColorOS out of the box and relies on a Snapdragon 710 chipset to chug along.

The rear has a 16-megapixel primary camera coupled with a 2-megapixel secondary lens. The front camera is housed in a pop-up sliding module and consists of a 16-megapixel lens. The software incorporates standard AI-backed scene recognition and Ultra Clear Night View 2.0 feature. Lastly, backing these internals is a 3765mAh battery with VOOC 3.0 fast charging technology.

The 6GB+128GB option is priced at INR 16,990 (US$ 245) and the 8GB+128GB variant costs 19,990 (US$ 290). It’ll be available in Aurora Blue and Jade Black from July 23 via Amazon.in and offline retail stores.

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The Pixel 3a’s DxOMark score proves how capable its single-lens camera is

It’s just one point behind the Pixel 3

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Google has released three flagship phones till now and they’ve all had one thing in common: a single-lens camera on the rear. The internet giant is trying to make a mark in the smartphone industry by directly supplying the hardware, and it hasn’t actually worked out for them yet.

The Pixel brand intended to take on Apple’s iPhone lineup but is far from it. The idea that the maker of Android will also supply a closely-knit smartphone was exciting, but the end result has been lukewarm. The number of units shipped has been below expectations and a budget-friendly phone was built to counter this.


One thing that Google actually got right was the camera. Using its onboard image processing unit and constantly learning AI (algorithm), the phones are able to capture stunning pictures in well lit as well as low-light scenarios. In fact, the rear has a single-lens camera while the competition relies on an array of sensors to get the right mix.

This same setup of software and hardware was made available on the budget Pixel 3a. The results have been amazing like always. DxOMark released their review of the Google Pixel 3a’s camera and we’ve got a deeper insight on how good it actually is.

The Pixel 3a scores almost identically to the flagship Pixel 3’s DxOMark scores, in some cases, scoring higher thanks to better colors and noise. It has scored 100 points overall, with 103 for pictures and 95 for video.

In comparison, the iPhone XR scored 103 but costs a whopping US$ 749 against the Pixel 3a’s US$ 399.

Keep in mind, DxOMark scores are just for comparison and the testing rounds have a few flaws. For example, the Pixel 3a has scored pretty much like the Pixel 3, but the former lacks Google’s Visual Core chipset and yet able to score better. This either means the testing metrics are flawed, or Google’s chipset brings nothing extraordinary to the table.

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Revamped Galaxy Fold passed durability tests, ready for launch

When will we see it again?

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After much ado, the Galaxy Fold is finally ready for action… again. The controversial foldable smartphone passed its final durability test, prefacing an eventual relaunch.

Previously, Samsung called off its huge Galaxy Fold launch considering widespread durability issues. The foldable phone’s first testers found interesting ways to destroy the device’s flexible screen. Samsung forcibly shelved the project for further tweaking. The company even canceled pre-orders after delaying the launch. They went back to the drawing board.


After months in redevelopment, Samsung has sparked the conversation anew. Last month, the company declared that the phone is ready for manufacturing. They have a new design. However, how much better will it be? Samsung’s high hopes did not reveal the new design, leaving the foldable phone’s future shrouded in mystery.

Fortunately, a new report hints at a more optimistic outlook. According to an insider, Samsung has tested the new design under a team of experts. The testing team reportedly consisted of “industry professionals and professors at Seoul National University.” The Galaxy Fold passed gloriously. The phone will launch very soon.

In another report, Samsung is restarting marketing efforts for the foldable phone. The company is on an incredibly fast track, facing both internal and external pressure. On the inside, the Galaxy Fold faces an internal competition with the impending Galaxy Note 10 launch. The premium smartphone will launch next month.

Externally, Samsung is in an arms race with Huawei. Like Samsung, Huawei delayed its own foldable phone launch to prevent a similar mishap. However, they have also hinted at a renewed launch soon. Samsung and Huawei are locking horns for foldable phone supremacy.

Regardless, we’re finally getting the foldable phone again soon. All that’s left is to ensure the new design’s durability out in the real world.

SEE ALSO: Samsung’s rescheduled Galaxy Fold launch ‘will not be too late’

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