Samsung's Jay Z album delivered by Android Spyware app

Friday, July 5, 2013

You may have recently seen the myriad of ads for Jay Z's new album Magna Carta that co-promotes Samsung's new phones. Samsung paid $5 million to prerelease the album via their Android app, which as it turns out is reportely spyware. According to Symantec, upon installation, it immediatley harvests all of the user's contacts, phone numbers, call history and device ID as well as tracking the user's location.

There are no indications that Jay Z had any knowledge or participation in this. He must however be aware of it by now. I wonder if the irony of the album's title The Magna Carta is lost on Jay Z.

A differing philosphy between Samsung and Apple

The collection of personal data is a very hot topic these days. The difference in approach to user privacy by Apple and Samsung is highlighted by this example. Samsung's app requires access to a wide range of user data unessarily. When in reality, all it does is play back an album. It appears to some that the sole purpose of this promotion via the app is to gather user data. 

Apple on the other hand has steadily made efforts to lock down user data and keep it private from prying eyes. Anytime an app wishes to have access to user data such as contacts or GPS location, it asks for permission. It is a real choice as well. You can still install the app and it will function if you decline to let it have access to your private data.

This differing approach to their business models is more important than many think. Droid users will often tout that they can download their apps from anywhere they like. Meaning, the apps do not have to go through any screening process as they do with a closed system like Apple's iTunes store. This may seem like an advantage to Android users, but it really is not. The risks with an open system that has no quality or security control are off the charts. The proliferation of malware on smart phones has skyrocketed. With the exception of those who jailbreak their iPhones, all of the malware is on Android or Windows phones. This is another good reason not to jailbreak your phone.

Warning! Russian Malware attacking routers.

According to the FBI Russian malware called Fancy Bear has infected thousands of routers and has the potential to spread quickly. The malware can allow the perpetrators to collect information by reading people's internet activity, like email, web browsing, passwords etc..

Netflix Scam

There is a new assault on Netflix subscribers by scammers, that isn't so new. However, it is more sophisticated than in past attempts.

Netflix subscribers are being targeted by phishing scam

Apple releases iOS 11 and tvOS 11 today.

Today Apple released iOS 11 & tvOS 11. It is a major release to be followed OS 11 for the Mac on September 25th. These updates come along side the exciting new hardware updates, iPhone X, iPhone 8, Watch series 3 and Apple tv 4k. 

Say "Yes" scam alert

The Federal Communications Commission is warning consumers about a new scam that is hooking consumers with just one word: Yes.

say yes scam

Swift-based ransomware targets Mac pirated software seekers

There is a new ransomware for Macs that has been discovered. It is "poorly coded" in Swift programming language. It encrypts the user's files and demands payment to get your files back. In the end, regardless if you pay or not, your files will not be decrypted.

The ransomware is found in Bit Torrent sites with the name Patcher. It poses as a crack for removing copy protection and licensing systems that are used with popular software like Adobe Premiere Pro and Microsoft Office 2016. It is possible that it is circulating under different names.