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Google removes over 500 ‘spying’ apps from Play Store



Play store

San Francisco, Aug 23: Google has removed over 500 apps that included mobile games for teenagers from its Play Store on account of a spyware threat.

The decision came after US-based cyber-security firm Lookout discovered more than 500 apps that could spread spyware on mobile phones, Fortune reported late on Wednesday.

According to Lookout, the apps used certain software that had the ability to covertly siphon people’s personal data on their devices without alerting the app makers.

The impacted apps included mobile games for teenagers, weather apps, online radio, photo editing, education, health, fitness and home video camera apps.

The researchers discovered that the ‘Igexin’ advertising software development kit (SDK) embedded in the apps caused these to communicate with outside servers that had earlier spread malware.

The bug in SDK was discovered when an app appeared to be downloading large, encrypted files from those servers.

Many of the developers of the impacted apps were unaware of the security flaws, the report added.



Mobile-first workforce to drive SaaS Cloud growth in India: Oracle



Vice President-Applications at Oracle India

As more and more businesses in India shift their focus to building a mobile-first workforce, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Cloud solutions will connect not only people to solutions but also networked devices, machinery and products in the near future, a top Oracle India executive said on Monday.

With over 40 per cent of all business owners using their smartphones daily to manage their operations, the demand for mobile applications and solutions is increasing significantly in the country.

“We will see streamlined mobile dashboards, allowing users to increase sales and track, and tag and convert more leads from anywhere, at any time,” Prasad Rai, Vice President-Applications at Oracle India, told IANS.

“Emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and predictive analytics will also be better integrated to transform customer experiences through SaaS solutions and open new avenues for revenue generation,” Rai emphasised.

Last year was a “pivotal” year in expanding Public Cloud service adoption globally, according to market research firm IDC.

SaaS remains the largest bucket by some distance at $74.8 billion globally, with IDC predicting the SaaS market will hit $163 billion by 2022.

The SaaS market — accounting for 72 per cent of the total Public Cloud services market and forecast to grow at 20 per cent (CAGR) over the forecast period — is dominated by Cloud solutions such as enterprise resource management (ERM) and customer relationship management (CRM).

“At Oracle, we are observing a substantial year-on-year growth in our SaaS revenues, making India one of the significant contributors to the APAC revenues for Oracle,” Rai noted.

The Cloud major sees the demand for its SaaS solutions coming from industries like manufacturing, retail, hospitality, social welfare, engineering and construction, logistics, oil and gas, etc.

“Industries governed by regulatory compliances like governments, banks, insurance agencies, telecom operators and IT services continue to see benefits from Oracle SaaS solutions,” Rai told IANS.

Oracle is enabling businesses of all sizes in the country to innovate and to succeed in the cloud.

“The simplicity of our solution and quick deployment ability — some in as less as 30 days — comprehensive SaaS portfolio and a 600-strong partner ecosystem are some of the factors attracting customers to Oracle SaaS. We are the fastest-growing Cloud company in the world today,” Rai informed.

Oracle last week reported revenue of $9.2 billion for its fiscal first quarter (Q1 2019) — up from $9.1 billion in the same period last year.

“The vast majority of ERP applications running in the Cloud today are either Oracle Fusion or Oracle NetSuite systems,” said Oracle CEO Mark Hurd.

“The Oracle Fusion ERP customer count is now nearly 5,500, while the NetSuite ERP customer count is over 15,000. Virtually every analyst ranks Oracle as the market leader in Cloud ERP,” Hurd added.

Oracle expects more and more organisations going for advanced solutions to eliminate redundancy and create harmony, with a unified Cloud suite like ERP and HR as an integrated single Cloud offering.

Oracle ERP Cloud’s biggest contribution to Religare Healthcare Trust (RHT) has been the reduction of the time spent on routine transactional activities.

“ERP Cloud has helped RHT streamline its several databases and related information. As a result, RHT is now no longer dependent on manual checks and balances,” informed Rai.

With Oracle “Taleo” solution, BPM services firm Genpact has successfully enhanced experience for its workforce. “Oracle ‘Taleo’ has helped Genpact in bringing down onboarding time from one day to one hour, while ensuring compliance to processes,” said Rai.

Oracle’s human capital management (HCM) Cloud offering has helped Airtel adapt a culture of ownership by driving employee practices from HR-led mechanisms towards a more self-service mode.

“All employee-relevant information and services, such as those related to payroll and performance, have been made available online, with automation helping reduce time, better employ resources while making processes more regular at Airtel,” said the Oracle executive.

Keeping the changing SaaS trends in mind, Oracle is organising an “Impact for Business” event in Mumbai and Delhi this week, showcasing the emerging technologies in the SaaS segment.

According to Rai, emerging technologies like AI, Automation and Blockchain have triggered strong stimulation and are driving discussions across the board.

“The purpose of ‘Impact for Business’ event is to showcase how all these innovations are embedded in our Cloud offerings so there is no need to purchase any additional solutions and how we differentiate ourselves from competitors,” Rai noted.

(Nishant Arora can be contacted at [email protected])

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Now a hair dryer made of 23.75 karat gold



Hair dryer dyson
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New Delhi, Sep 26: A new hairdryer made of 23.75 karat gold has been launched.

Dyson has introduced the Dyson Supersonic™ 23.75 karat gold hair dryer. Designed by James Dyson and priced at Rs 37,900, the product is gold leafed using a traditional hand-gilding method and is the first of its kind.

“Gold is one of the most resilient materials in the world and has been used in design, sculpture and architecture for centuries. As an element, I’m fascinated by its properties. Like the engineering process we pride ourselves on, gilding is a true example of meticulous craftsmanship,” said James Dyson in a statement.

Dyson design engineers and model makers first learned the skills for gilding under a master guilder, learning the process and technique to gild. Once learnt, the design and engineering team sought how to scale the process, making it more repeatable and perfecting the surface finish specifically for this application.

“We aren’t afraid to take on a new challenge. We weren’t experts in gold or gold leafing but we broke down the technique into individual steps to understand how each parameter affects the finish and how we could best apply it to our hair dryer.

“Using our expertise in design processes, adhesives, paint and model making, we managed to learn a very traditional skill and translate it to a 21st-century application,” said Design and Engineering Lead Britta Stockinger.


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Google discusses data privacy before Senate hearing




Washington, Sep 26: As US lawmakers geared up to grill tech giants again on data privacy, Google said the organisations must operate with respect for individuals’ interests when they process personal information.

In a three-page framework, Google said companies must be transparent about the types of personal information they collect, why they collect it, and how they use or disclose it, particularly when used to make decisions about the individual.

The Google framework came as the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation was set to discuss data privacy on Wednesday with tech companies including Google, Apple, AT&T, Amazon and Twitter.

In a blog post on Tuesday, Google Chief Privacy Officer Keith Enright said the users have long entrusted the company to be responsible with their data and they take that trust and responsibility very seriously.

“Google products and features cannot launch until they are approved by the specialists in our Privacy and Data Protection Office, which solicits input from across Google, as well as periodically from users and experts worldwide,” said Enright.

“More than any other time I have worked in this field, there is real momentum to develop baseline rules of the road for data protection. Google welcomes this and supports comprehensive, baseline privacy regulation,” he added.

Enright, who will be present at the Senate panel meeting, shared the company’s thoughts on what data protection regulation should look like in the US.

“People deserve to feel comfortable that all entities that use personal information will be held accountable for protecting it.

“We believe that regulation can support a dynamic marketplace for businesses of all types and sizes,” Enright noted, adding that he looks forward to working with policymakers and all stakeholders on regulation that protects consumers and enables innovation.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai is also heading to Washington, DC amid “concerns about privacy, suspicion about his company’s relationship with China” and a reported “censored Search” engine for the country.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Pichai will meet with Republican lawmakers on Friday and plans to testify before a House Judiciary Committee hearing after the mid-term elections in November.


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