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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

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Xiaomi Mi 9 SE: the first Snapdragon 712-powered smartphone

The new Xiaomi midrange star

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Alongside the launch of the Mi 9, Xiaomi unveiled the Mi 9 SE. Like its predecessor, the Mi 9 SE is a step below the main flagship offering, but it’s a star on its own. It borrows the looks of the Mi 9 with some changes to meet its price point.

The Mi 9 SE is the first phone in the world to sport the new Snapdragon 712 chipset, the slightly faster version of the Snapdragon 710. The new processor is paired with 6GB of memory and up to 128GB of internal storage.

Much like the Mi 8 SE from last year, Xiaomi has a strong midrange contender here. It’s also just a bit smaller than Mi 9 with its 5.97-inch AMOLED display with a waterdrop notch.

You might forget that the Mi 9 SE is below than the Mi 9 because Xiaomi still gave it triple rear cameras. It has a main 48-megapixel sensor, a 13-megapixel super wide-angle lens, and an 8-megapixel telephoto shooter.

To top the camera department, it even has a 20-megapixel front camera for taking selfies. Of course, the cameras are powered by AI and has beauty filters to boot.

A 3070mAh battery powers up the Mi 9 SE and it quickly charges through the phone’s USB-C port using an 18W fast charger. The phone has an in-display fingerprint reader as well, just like the expensive phones out there.

The phone will come in shades of blue, violet, and black starting at CNY 1,999 (US$ 300) and will go as high as CNY 2,299 (US$ 340) in China.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi Mi 9 beats iPhone XS Max and Galaxy Note 9 on DxOMark

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Galaxy S10

Samsung Galaxy S10: Price and availability in Singapore

Pre-order now for freebies!

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It won’t be long before Samsung’s newest flagship devices hit the market, and Singapore is one of the first countries to get them.

A few hours after their global launch in San Francisco, the Samsung Galaxy S10, S10+, and S10e have been unveiled in the country today. All three models run on the same high-end 8nm chipset, and a new design that Samsung likes to call Infinity-O Display.

The S10e is the smallest and most affordable of the bunch. It looks a bit different from the usual Samsung flagship as it doesn’t have a curved display. Instead, you get rounded corners and flat but symmetrical bezels all around.

On the back, you only get two cameras: a 12MP wide-angle lens, and a secondary 16MP ultra-wide-angle shooter. The power button of the S10e also doubles as a fingerprint sensor.

The S10 and S10+ share a squarish body similar to the Note series as well as Samsung’s signature curved displays.

For the first time on Samsung phones, there’s an in-display fingerprint reader on both models. Samsung uses ultrasonic, instead of optical, making this the fastest and most accurate under-display fingerprint scanner we’ve used to date.

Both the S10 and S10+ also have three rear cameras; they get an extra 12MP telephoto lens. On the S10+, you also get dual front-facing cameras — one of which is an ultra wide-angle camera — which enables Live Focus for selfies.

All three models also get an upgrade in the battery department: S10e, 3100mAh; S10, 3400mAh; S10+, 4100mAh.

Pre-orders for the Galaxy S10 and S10+ start 12pm of February 22. Users may register with local carriers M1, Singtel, and StarHub, as well as Samsung Store Online, Samsung Experience Stores, Galaxy Studio, Lazada Singapore, and other select stores.

Pre-ordered S10 and S10+ units will come bundled with the Wireless Charger Duo Pad (SG$ 148) in white, and the Galaxy Buds (SG$ 238) in white as well.

The Galaxy S10e, S10, and S10+ will be available in the country starting March 8 and will retail as follows: Galaxy S10e (6GB+ 128GB), SG$ 1,078; Galaxy S10 (8GB + 128GB), SG$ 1,298; Galaxy S10+ (8GB + 128GB), SG$ 1,398; Galaxy S10+ (8GB + 512GB), SG$ 1,798; Galaxy S10+ (12GB + 1TB), SG$ 2,198.

All 128GB configurations will be available in Prism White, Prism Black, Prism Green. The 512GB and 1TB models will come in Ceramic White and Ceramic Black.

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Samsung Galaxy S10: Price and availability in the Philippines

10th generation of the Galaxy S flagship

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Samsung has officially unveiled the Galaxy S10 family earlier today and we now have three new flagship phones to choose from.

The new Galaxy S10 series is composed of the Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+, and the latest addition, the Galaxy S10E. The three phones feature the new Infinity-O Super AMOLED display. They are also powered by Samsung’s very own 8nm processor: the Exynos 9820.

The Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+ feature 6.1- and 6.4-inch displays, respectively. Both also have 8GB of memory and 128GB of expandable storage. Camera-wise, the two models come with triple rear cameras, while the Galaxy S10+ has dual front cameras. Samsung is also releasing a limited edition Galaxy S10+ with 1TB of storage and 12GB of memory.

The Galaxy S10E, on the other hand, is pretty pocketable with its 5.8-inch display, 6GB of memory, and 128GB of storage. It only has two rear cameras, but it essentially shares a lot of features with its bigger siblings.

Samsung Galaxy S10E and Galaxy S10+

The Galaxy S10E is the cheapest among the three at PhP 39,990 and it’ll come in Prism White. If you want something more premium, the Galaxy S10 will retail for PhP 49,990 and it’ll be available in Prism White and Prism Black. The bigger Galaxy S10+ will go for PhP 55,990 and it’ll come in both black and white, plus the new Prism Green.

The top-dog limited edition Galaxy S10+ with 1TB storage and 12GB of memory will only be available via pre-order for PhP 89,990. All pre-orders come with their respective freebies worth up to PhP 28,500.

The whole Galaxy S10 family will be available in stores starting March 8. While we wait for the orders to be delivered, check out our hands-on below:

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S10 Hands-on: A refinement of everything

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