News

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

Lifestyle

Netflix is testing engagement by putting ads between episodes

Netflix, no chill

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How would you feel if, after a long day at work, you were relaxing and catching up on a series you’ve been excited to binge, and it gets interrupted by “But first, check out…” followed by a trailer of another show? If you’re miffed at the thought then you should sip your most calming tea, because that’s exactly what Netflix has started to do.

The streaming big shot has confirmed to Ars Technica that this move is a test to see whether or not inserting these ads would help speed up viewers’ discovery of new titles that they’ll like. Right now, these ads only appear for some people globally, but Netflix did not confirm how long this test will last.

The move has garnered some backlash from users encountering the ads, but Netflix has said that, although they are aware of the “chatter on social channels,” their focus is more on the engagement to these ads and that this is what will determine a wider rollout in the future.

If you find yourself faced with these ads though, apparently you can opt out of these tests. That way, you’ll still be able to Netflix, chill, and binge watch the night (and/or day) away.

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India

Huawei’s Nova 3 to go on open sale starting August 23

More than 50 million units have been shipped globally

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Just last month, Huawei launched the Nova 3 and 3i in India, and since then the duo has been up for purchase via flash sales in India. The company says the two phones have garnered incredible response globally and more than 50 million units have been shipped as of now.

Huawei has announced that the Nova 3i’s next flash sale will be held on August 21. On the other hand, the more powerful Nova 3 will be available via open sales (not flash) starting August 23, 1 PM. Both phones are exclusively sold on Amazon.in, and Prime members can order the Nova 3 from 12 noon itself.

The Nova 3 is priced at INR 34,999 (US$ 500) and competes against the mighty OnePlus 6. The phone has an edge over the OnePlus counterpart thanks to the beautiful glass backing that has nice color gradients. It features Huawei’s latest processor along with added AI capabilities and a GPU Turbo mode for a more refined gaming experience.

The phone comes with a host of offers including zero fee EMI and screen protection insurance. American Express cardholders are eligible for an instant cashback of INR 3,000, while telecom operator Jio is bundling along 100GB of data worth INR 3,300 along with the phone.

The Nova 3i is a midrange phone that features the same premium glass backing along with a slightly weaker processor. Though, it also houses a host of AI-powered features along with the popular GPU Turbo mode.  The phone is priced at INR 20,990 and competes against the Honor Play, Nokia 7 Plus, and the Mi A2.

The Nova 3i too has many offers bundled along, including an instant five percent discount when purchased via HDFC credit and debit cards. Zero-fee EMI options up to nine months are also available.

The two phones are cheaper siblings of the P20 Pro and feature the same high-end design language along with a suite of smart features thanks to EMUI.

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News

Vivo X23 teased online with small notch, in-display fingerprint reader

It’s Vivo’s turn to have a new phone

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OPPO‘s newest phones, the F9 and R17, now have smaller display notches. This is actually a trend among Chinese phone brands with Vivo aboard the wagon.

The upcoming Vivo X23 has just been teased on the company’s website with some of its key features. The main one is probably the latest fourth-generation under-display fingerprint reader which should be faster and more accurate than the NEX’s. It’s pretty obvious that the X23 will not have a complicated front camera setup ala OPPO Find X or iPhone X.

Image credit: Vivo

The X23’s front will have a teardrop notch and reportedly a 91.2 percent screen-to-body ratio. The dual-camera setup on the back of the X23 will now have a secondary super wide-angle camera rather than just a depth sensor for bokeh.

As for the material on the back, it appears to have a glass panel with a 3D color layer with blue or violet colors.

Vivo didn’t unveil much about the X23 apart from its physical design but since it has an under-display fingerprint reader, it’s safe to assume that its display will be an AMOLED panel.

There are no pricing and availability details yet, but Vivo is set to announce it in the coming days.

Source: Vivo

SEE ALSO: Vivo NEX Review: Worth it?

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