Android Malware

Google removed a bunch of malicious apps, most disguised as legitimate apps, from the Android Market after they were found to contain malware. The malware, dubbed DroidDream, uses two exploits to steal information such as phone ID and model, and to plant a back door on the phone that could be used to drop further malware on the device and take it over.

There is a scanning software for known malware signatures but this system isn’t good at detecting brand new malware or existing malware that has been modified enough to slip past the antivirus programs.  Depending on the handset used, Android versions may be patched by now, but others are not. The vulnerabilities exploited by the malicious apps have been patched in Android 2.3, also known as Gingerbread, but older versions could still be vulnerable.


iStuff & Android face off (Mobile 7 far behind)

Android or iPhone/iPad/iTouch/iPod, either way the fight is on between Apple and Google.  The latest front in the ‘Cloud’ wars is the application and subscription market.    Apple put in their opening position only to get taken off at the knees by Google (see below):

Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission are interested in whether Apple may be violating antitrust laws by routing customers through Apple’s App Store and taking a 30 percent cut of each subscription, sources told the newspaper. Regulators’ interest in the subscription terms is reportedly preliminary and might not lead to a formal investigation.

Then, the day after Apple officially shared details of its subscription plan, Google announced the launch of One Pass, its online charging service for newspapers and magazines. Google’s rival service offers two big differences from Apple’s: content providers will get to keep 90 percent of revenue from One Pass sales, and publishers will retain control of consumer data

Read more:

So the phone market is a little intense but we have yet to see where Microsoft will appear in all this with the new Mobile 7 phones.  I have a Mobile 7 and at this time and 2 weeks later I’m still stunned to see you cannot transfer files to/from your computer to the phone via the USB cable.  One would have thought the Sync Center of Windows 7 would have been the perfect vehicle for this, but Microsoft now uses Zune (just a really, really bad iTune clone) instead.

The 1st update/servicepack for Mobile 7 is due in March.. let’s hope it includes a file transfer system.  I’ll do a detailed Mobile 7 review once the service pack is out, until the I’ll just bite my tongue.

Geo-Tagging from your Phone

When you take a picture from your cellphone you can tell people a lot more than the date stamp.

GPS information can be recorded as part of the Exif, or exchangeable image file format, that is has been the de facto digital photo standard since 1998. Among the other information it saves is what allows you to see a thumbnail of a photo you’ve taken or a photo’s date and time.  It can be found with a simple right click on the properties section of the picture, and it’s easily accessible in a number of places on the Internet, but not all, where people share their photos.

Some social networks don’t accept location information or Exif information at all. So when you upload it, even if it does have location information, it’s not going to show it to anybody.  Facebook strips the location information but other social networking sites are a different story.  Services like Flickr do allow location information, so does the popular Twitpic.  The good news is you can protect yourself. Most sites have some sort of privacy control, allowing you to manage the information that gets out there.

To avoid having your friends reveal your location on Facebook.

  1. Go to your Facebook account.
  2. Click Account in the top right corner.
  3. Click Privacy Settings.
  4. Click Customize settings in the Sharing on Facebook section, 
  5. Scroll to Things others share and make the option next to Friends can check me into Places read “Disabled.”

 To disable tagging on handhelds and phones: provides step-by-step instructions for disabling geotagging on iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Palm devices.