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Google removes over 500 ‘spying’ apps from Play Store

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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.

IANS

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Nokia 7.1: HMD Global nearly perfects this one

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New Delhi, Dec 15: HMD Global, the Finnish company that manufactures and markets the iconic Nokia-branded phones, has launched devices in India at a steady pace this year.

Its mid-priced smartphones, including the Nokia 7 Plus that was launched in April, were received fairly well in the highly-competitive Indian smartphone landscape.

The handset maker’s focus has been on manufacturing value-for-money devices for the price-conscious Indian buyers with good hardware and neat Android One experience.

Its latest offering, the Nokia 7.1 Plus, is a new mid-ranger that comes in a single configuration of 4GB RAM with 64GB on-board storage for Rs 19,999.

The device is the first to feature “PureDisplay” screen technology for HDR10 cinematic-quality entertainment.

Here’s how the Nokia 7.1 fared in real-life usage.

Talking about its biggest USP — “PureDisplay” screen technology that enables HDR10 support on the display — indeed translated into deeper contrast and vivid colours on supported applications.

HDR10 essentially converts SD content into HDR content on supported apps.

The full HD+ 5.84-inch screen with 19:9 aspect ratio was the best feature of the smartphone.

However, the smartphone doesn’t compromise on design either, which was clearly visible as soon as we picked it up; the aluminium frame laid over glass rendered an appealing design to the phone.

Our gloss midnight blue review unit looked beautiful when held up in light. However, the glass back also meant the phone becomes a fingerprint magnet.

Despite the use of glass in the front and back, the phone felt every bit solid in our hands.

In the middle sits a vertically stacked dual-lens camera set-up while the fingerprint sensor sits just below it.

Talking about the front of the phone, there’s a notch, though it was smaller than many other handsets, thus giving us ample space to either side for the status bar.

The addition of a standard 3.5-mm headphone jack and futuristic USB type-C fast-charging surely were added bonuses.

The rear camera set-up includes a main 12MP sensor with an f/1.8 aperture, and a secondary 5MP lens. The ZEISS tuned camera let us take some pretty good pictures with enough details and good dynamic range. We particularly liked how the shooter handled close-up shots.

Low-light imaging was satisfactory and at par with most smartphones in the same price segment. There’s an 8MP lens in the front for selfies that also supports the much-talked about portrait-style Bokeh effect.

Thanks to Android One, this is an easy to understand device sans any bloatware which also means there are no unnecessary apps.

There’s a Qualcomm SnapDragon 636 system on chip (SoC) on-board which certainly isn’t a flagship chipset. However, the handset handled most tasks, including browsing multiple social media accounts and videos pretty smoothly.

What doesn’t work?

The 3060mAh battery is typically average and would barely last a day on a single charge. We also noticed the phone was performing a bit sluggishly on certain occasions that included heavy gaming.

Conclusion: The Nokia 7.1 stands out in this price segment, courtesy its design language. The sleek, glass sandwich design is to be considered and so does the neat Android One experience.

By Krishna SinhaChaudhury

(Krishna SinhaChaudhury can be contacted at [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]>)</mailto:[email protected]>

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Pre-order Microsoft Surface Go now on Flipkart in India

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New Delhi, Dec 15: With an aim to take on the Apple iPad Pro and Samsung Galaxy Tab S4, Microsoft on Saturday brought its smallest and affordable Surface Go device to India, starting at a price of Rs 38,599.

Weighing at just 1.15 pounds and 8.3 mm thin, the 10-inch, two-in-one device is now available for pre-order with Flipkart, the company said in a statement.

The Surface Go with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage will cost Rs 38,599 while the 8GB RAM and 128GB variant can be purchased for Rs 50,999.

The Surface Go type cover (black) will cost an additional Rs 8,699 and the signature type cover (colour) will cost Rs 11,799.

Microsoft launched the Surface Go globally earlier this year.

The 2-in-1 device comes with the Surface Pen — with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and a 3:2 high-resolution “PixelSense” custom calibrated display designed to render the pages of most school textbooks.

Powered by the 7th Generation Intel Pentium Gold Processor 4415Y and protected by Gorilla Glass 3, the device offers up to nine hours of battery life.

Surface Go also has several ports for various needs, including Surface Connect for charging and docking, USB-C 3.1 for data, video, and charging, a headphone jack and a MicroSD card reader for storage expansion.

For users who require connectivity via video calls, the Surface Go features a 5-MP HD camera and rear auto-focus 8MP HD camera, along with dual microphones.

“Commercial customers can opt for Windows 10 Pro which brings essential business security features to protect devices and infrastructure from modern threats,” said Microsoft.

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6.8 million users possibly affected by latest photo bug: Facebook

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San Francisco, Dec 15: US top social media network Facebook admitted that about 6.8 million users may risk their private photos being exposed to third-party apps.

The company on Friday said more than 1,500 apps built by 876 developers may have also been affected by the bug that exposed users’ unshared photos during a 12-day-period from Sept. 13 to Sept 25, Xinhua news agency reported.

Facebook said it has fixed the breach and will roll out next week “tools for app developers that will allow them to determine which people using their app might be impacted by this bug.”

Those affected by the bug were apps “that Facebook approved to access the photos API and that individuals had authorized to access their photos,” Facebook added. The bug allowed those apps to see pictures of Facebook users that they were not granted access to.

Facebook said it will give its users notification about the possible exposure of their private photos, and that it will be working with developers to delete those copies of photos from impacted users.

The disclosure is another example of Facebook’s failure to properly protect users’ privacy that may drew more criticism of its privacy policy.

The world’s largest social media network has been grilled over the past year for its mishandling of user data, including its involvement in a privacy scandal in March when Cambridge Analytica, a British political consultancy firm, was accused of illegally accessing the data of more than 87 million Facebook users without their consent.

The private information of Facebook users was alleged to be used to influence the U.S. 2016 general elections in favor of President Donald Trump’s campaign.

Last month, Facebook announced that up to 50 million users could have their accounts controlled by hackers due to a security bug that its CEO Mark Zuckerberg called “very serious.”

IANS

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