Apps

Duterte Fighting Crime app popular among Android users

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It seems Philippine presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte isn’t just popular among respondents of election surveys; he’s favored among Android users as well. Or at least his image of a crime-busting vigilante is anyway.

A 2D side-scrolling action game called Duterte Fighting Crime has been trending on the Google Play store lately. In it, you take control of the admittedly foul-mouthed mayor as he takes to the streets to dispense vigilante justice using assorted firearms.


Developed by Tatay Games, the app has already hit 100,000 downloads on the Android app store, which is fairly impressive given its novelty and the simple nature of its design.

Controls are straightforward, with the game relying on just three on-screen buttons to move forward or back and shoot. Players earn a point for every enemy killed, unless a multiplier is in effect. The objective is to earn as many points as possible without getting whacked or stabbed by enemies ranging from a bank robber to a Jason Vorhees (of Friday the 13th fame) stand-in.

Duterte Fighting Crime trending Google Play

I’ve played the game, and found the fun doesn’t last past a few rounds. But hey, it doesn’t cost anything so I can’t complain too much. For what it’s worth, I did find the game’s avatar to be a faithful representation of the seven-term mayor of Davao. The app even incorporates audio clips from past interviews.

Interestingly enough, there’s a growing number of Duterte-branded games and apps on Google Play and the iOS App Store, but none for other presidential candidates. Is it just coincidence? Or are these apps cogs of a clever propaganda machine to spread the narrative that Duterte is hope made physical, the unorthodox yet effective challenger to the status quo?

Duterte Fighting Crime app (1)

Major opinion polls suggest Rodrigo Duterte is the front-runner to be the next Philippine president when election results come in on May 9. Duterte represents a paradigm shift for traditional politicians, with his tactless comments and take-no-prisoners approach to crime and desire to radically change the current political system.

He has won millions of supporters after transforming Davao into one of the country’s safest cities, but faces allegations of death squads and human rights violations.

The 71-year-old politician once again found himself in hot water four days ago after a video of him telling a rape joke went viral. Duterte later apologized for the incident, only to flip-flop on the matter later.

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Apps

SIM card vulnerability puts your sensitive information at risk

It’s called the SIMjacker

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SIM cards are very important. However, a new SIM card vulnerability found out by AdaptiveMobile Security might be putting our information at risk. The Simjacker exploit, which was recently found out and still being investigated on, allows malicious hackers to steal sensitive information from your phone through a SIM card.

Mechanism of attack

Infographic explaining the attack using Simjacker vulnerability | Photo by Simjacker.com

How does the Simjacker vulnerability work?


First, a hacker sends a malicious code to your phone through SMS. Then, the malicious code is read directly by your SIM card. The code then causes the [email protected] browser to send sensitive information to an accomplice device through SMS.

According to the report pulished by AdaptiveMobile Security regarding the vulnerability, the [email protected] browser is found on most SIM cards even though its development was abandoned many years ago. [email protected] browser was never updated, so it carries the risk of sending sensitive information to hackers when exploited successfully.

Sensitive information retrieved and transmitted by the [email protected] browser include location and the IMEI of an exploited device. The IMEI is a shorthand for International Mobile Equipment Identity, which is a 15 digit number unique to your smartphone that has some information about your device including its brand and model. As such, hackers can determine your exact location if you have a compromised SIM card, regardless of what device you have.

And the worst part of the attack is that you have no way of knowing that it has already been done since it all happens within the SIM card.

Origin and scope of the attack

The purpose for carrying an attack varies. However, the report traces the origin to an unspecified private company that works with governments to monitor individuals. So, there is a real possibility that it has been used to spy on us. And rightly so, since specific individuals were targeted in a certain country.

The report also warned that over one billion smartphones across all continents could be at risk to the vulnerability — and you could be one of them.

Response to the attack

In response to the discovered vulnerability, industry association SIMalliance has already put up recommendations for network providers to secure their networks. At this point in time, you can’t do anything to secure yourself from the vulnerability, unless you decided to go SIM-free.

But as a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t just give your smartphone number like a free lunch. It also pays to update your smartphone once in a while, since some updates are designed to secure your phone from these kind of vulnerabilities and attacks.

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Apps

Apple TV+ launches with ridiculously low pricing

It’ll be free for a year for some users

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Apple has announced that it will begin streaming some of its original content for Apple TV+ starting November 1 for US$ 4.99. The subscription price is extremely affordable and meant to undercut rivals like Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney.

It will additionally be available through tv.apple.com on the web, select 2018, 2019 and newer Samsung smart TVs, and on Amazon Fire TV, LG, Roku, Sony and VIZIO platforms in the future.


Apple TV+ is expected to launch in over 100 countries, with up to six members to share one subscription at no extra cost. To lure more users, purchasing a new iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV in the coming weeks will get you a one year of subscription for free.

The service is launching with a panoply of star-filled titles, including Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon in The Morning Show and Hailee Steinfeld’s drama series Dickinson.

Apple named nine total titles that would be available at launch on Apple TV+. “All of these incredible shows for the price of a single movie rental,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said Tuesday on stage.

Though, critics say Apple’s offering isn’t actually comparable to the competition because they also have tonnes of licensed TV shows and movies. Focusing on original production is just a part of it and brands like Netflix have invested heavily in getting exclusive rights to many blockbuster creations.

Apple TV+ is in-line with the company’s attempt to monetize its virtual offerings. Instead of completely relying on hardware for revenue, Apple is slowly amping up its subscriptions models. Right now, other products include Apple Music, Apple News+, iCloud, and Apple Arcade.

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Apps

Facebook Dating is now live with Instagram integration

Hopefully, this doesn’t get awkward

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A few months back Facebook announced it’ll be releasing a matchmaking feature on its app. People who opt into Dating can create a profile that’s separate from their main Facebook profile with one tap and meet potential romantic partners among their friends of friends.

Then there’s a whole thing called “Secret Crush” where you can add up to nine Facebook friends or Instagram followers to a list, and if they secretly crush you back, you’ll both get notified.


Users of Instagram will also be able to integrate their posts directly into their “Facebook Dating” profile and give people the ability to add Instagram followers to “Secret Crush” lists. Eventually, the site will offer the ability for users to add Facebook and Instagram Stories to a dating profile.

Facebook’s blog post said the dating feature was designed to be “safe, inclusive and opt-in.” Users are able to report and block other users, and users are not allowed to send photos, links, payments or videos in messages. The feature is also restricted to users who are 18 and older.

And obviously, an algorithm will determine who you “may” like based on your previous activity. Critics have also pointed out that Facebook has a thin white line because users shouldn’t be too affected because of the service. Getting ignored by strangers is different, and getting ignored by one of your “friends” is different.

Modern tech-based brands are ruling the world and among the top is Tinder. The dating app is widely used and recognized. It was also the first one to come up with the infamous left or right swipe design. Other options include Ok Cupid, Bumble, and more.

For now, the matchmaking feature is limited to the US and we expect a gradual roll-out in other regions soon.

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