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Mobiles,

Google’s Rajan Anandan is now IAMAI Chairman

Rajan Anandan

, Vice-President, South East Asia and India, Google, is the new Chairman of Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), a statement said here on Thursday.

Anandan takes over from Kunal Shah, Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer, FreeCharge.

Deep Kalra, Chairman & Group CEO, MakeMyTrip, is the new Vice Chairman of IAMAI.

(Image Credits: ET)

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Mobiles,

Hackers hit Russian bank customers, planned international cyber raids

Russian cyber criminals used malware planted on Android mobile devices to steal from domestic bank customers and were planning to target European lenders before their arrest, investigators and sources with knowledge of the case told Reuters.

Their campaign raised a relatively small sum by cyber-crime standards – more than 50 million roubles ($892,000) – but they had also obtained more sophisticated malicious software for a modest monthly fee to go after the clients of banks in France and possibly a range of other western nations.

Russia’s relationship to cyber crime is under intense scrutiny after U.S. intelligence officials alleged that Russian hackers had tried to help Republican Donald Trump win the U.S. presidency by hacking Democratic Party servers.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied the allegation.

The gang members tricked the Russian banks’ customers into downloading malware via fake mobile banking applications, as well as via pornography and e-commerce programmes, according to a report compiled by cyber security firm Group-IB which investigated the attack with the Russian Interior Ministry.

The criminals – 16 suspects were arrested by Russian law enforcement authorities in November last year – infected more than a million smartphones in Russia, on average compromising 3,500 devices a day, Group-IB said.

The hackers targeted customers of state lender Sberbank , and also stole money from accounts at Alfa Bank and online payments company Qiwi, exploiting weaknesses in the companies’ SMS text message transfer services, said two people with direct knowledge of the case.

Although operating only in Russia before their arrest, they had developed plans to target large European banks including French lenders Credit Agricole, BNP Paribas and Societe General, Group-IB said.

A BNP Paribas spokeswoman said the bank could not confirm this information, but added that it “has a significant set of measures in place aimed at fighting cyber attacks on a daily basis”. Societe General and Credit Agricole declined comment.

The gang, which was called “Cron” after the malware it used, did not steal any funds from customers of the three French banks. However, it exploited the bank service in Russia that allows users to transfer small sums to other accounts by sending an SMS message.

Having infected the users’ phones, the gang sent SMS messages from those devices instructing the banks to transfer money to the hackers’ own accounts.

The findings illustrate the dangers of using SMS messages for mobile banking, a method favoured in emerging countries with less advanced internet infrastructure, said Lukas Stefanko, a malware researcher at cyber security firm ESET in Slovakia.

“It’s becoming popular among developing nations or in the countryside where access to conventional banking is difficult for people,” he said. “For them it is quick, easy and they don’t need to visit a bank… But security always has to outweigh consumer convenience.”

CYBER CRIMINALS

The Russian Interior Ministry said a number of people had been arrested, including what it described as the gang leader. This was a 30-year-old man living in Ivanovo, an industrial city 300 km (185 miles) northeast of Moscow, from where he had commanded a team of 20 people across six different regions.

Four people remain in detention while the others are under house arrest, the ministry said in a statement.

“In the course of 20 searches across six regions, police seized computers, hundreds of bank cards and SIM cards registered under fake names,” it said.

Group-IB said the existence of the Cron malware was first detected in mid-2015, and by the time of the arrests the hackers had been using it for under a year.

The core members of the group were detained on Nov. 22 last year in Ivanovo. Photographs of the operation released by Group-IB showed one suspect face down in the snow as police in ski masks handcuffed him.

The “Cron” hackers were arrested before they could mount attacks outside Russia, but plans to do that were at an advanced stage, said the investigators.

Group-IB said that in June 2016 they had rented a piece of malware designed to attack mobile banking systems, called “Tiny.z” for $2,000 a month. The creators of the “Tiny.z” malware had adapted it to attack banks in Britain, Germany, France, the United States and Turkey, among other countries.

The “Cron” gang developed software designed to attack lenders including the three French groups, it said, adding it had notified these and other European banks at risk.

A spokeswoman for Sberbank said she had no information about the group involved. However, she said: “Several groups of cyber criminals are working against Sberbank. The number of groups and the methods they use to attack us change constantly.”

“It isn’t clear which specific group is being referred to here because the fraudulent scheme involving Android OS (operating system) viruses is widespread in Russia and Sberbank has effectively combated it for an extensive period of time.”

Alfa Bank did not provide a comment. Qiwi did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Google, the maker of Android, has taken steps in recent years to protect users from downloading malicious code and by blocking apps which are insecure, impersonate legitimate companies or engage in deceptive behaviours.

The company declined to comment for this story, saying they had not seen the Group-IB report.

FAKE MOBILE APPS

The Russian authorities, bombarded with allegations of state-sponsored hacking, are keen to show Russia too is a frequent victim of cyber crime and that they are working hard to combat it. The interior and emergencies ministries, as well as Sberbank, said they were targeted in a global cyberattack earlier this month.

Since the allegations about the U.S. election hacking, further evidence has emerged of what some Western officials say is a symbiotic relationship between cyber criminals and Russian authorities, with hackers allowed to attack foreign targets with impunity in return for cooperating with the security services while Moscow clamps down on those operating at home.

The success of the Cron gang was facilitated by the popularity of SMS-banking services in Russia, said Dmitry Volkov, head of investigations at Group-IB.

The gang got their malware on to victims’ devices by setting up applications designed to mimic banks’ genuine apps. When users searched online, the results would suggest the fake app, which they would then download. The hackers also inserted malware into fake mobile apps for well-known pornography sites.

After infecting a customer’s phone, the hackers were able to send a text message to the bank initiating a transfer of up to $120 to one of 6,000 bank accounts set up to receive the fraudulent payments.

The malware would then intercept a confirmation code sent by the bank and block the victim from receiving a message notifying them about the transaction.

“Cron’s success was due to two main factors,” Volkov said. “First, the large-scale use of partner programs to distribute the malware in different ways. Second, the automation of many (mobile) functions which allowed them to carry out the thefts without direct involvement.”

($1 = 56.0418 roubles)

(Image Credits: Thinkstock)

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Mobiles,

All the Sensors in Your Smartphone, and How They Work

The iPhone 7. Image:
iFixit

Your smartphone is a remarkable feat of engineering. It’s half a dozen or more gadgets packed into a single slab. Much of it’s coolest feats are accomplished with a wide range of sensors – but what are they and what do they all actually
do
?

How does your phone count your steps and replace your fitness tracker? Does GPS use up your data? Which sensors should you make sure are in your next handset?

Here’s all you need to know.

Accelerometer

The best use of an accelerometer-bitmoji cars in Snapchat. (Image: Screenshot)

Accelerometers handle axis-based motion sensing and can be found in fitness trackers as well as phones-they’re the reason why your smartphone can track your steps even if you haven’t bought a separate wearable.

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They also tell the phone’s software which way the handset is pointing, something that’s becoming increasingly important with the arrival of
augmented reality apps
.

As the name kind of gives away, accelerometers measure acceleration, so the map inside Snapchat can put a cute toy car around your bitmoji when you’re driving, plus a host of other actually useful applications.

The sensor is itself made up of other sensors, including microscopic crystal structures that become stressed due to accelerative forces. The accelerometer then interprets the voltage coming from the crystals to figure out how fast your phone is moving and which direction it’s pointing in.

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From switching apps from portrait to landscape, to showing your current speed in a driving app, the accelerometer is one of your phone’s most important sensors.

Gyroscope

The gyroscope’s extra precision comes in handy for games and 360-degree photos. Image: Screenshot

The gyroscope helps the accelerometer out with understanding which way your phone is orientated- it adds another level of precision so those
360-degree photo spheres
really look as impressive as possible.

Whenever you play a racing game on your phone and tilt the screen to steer, the gyroscope rather than the accelerometer is sensing what you’re doing, because you’re only applying small turns to the phone and not actually moving through space.

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Gyroscopes aren’t exclusive to phones. They’re used in altimeters inside aircraft to determine altitude and position, for example, and to keep
cameras steady
on the move.

The gyroscopes inside phones don’t use wheels and gimbals like the traditional mechanical ones you might find in an old plane-instead they’re
MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) gyroscopes
, a smaller version of the concept embedded on an electronics board so it can fit inside a phone.

The first time MEMS gyroscopes really hit it big was
with the iPhone 4
in 2010. Back then, it was incredibly novel to have a phone that could detect orientation with such accuracy-nowadays, we take it for granted.

Magnetometer

Your phone’s compass app works courtesy of its magnetometer. Image: Screenshot

Completing the triumvirate of sensors responsible for working out where a phone is in physical space is the magnetometer. Again the name gives it away-it measures magnetic fields and can thus tell you which way is north by varying its voltage output to the phone.

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When you go in and out of compass mode in
Apple Maps
or
Google Maps
, that’s the magnetometer kicking in to work out which way up the map should be. It also powers standalone compass apps.

Magnetometers are found in metal detectors as well, as they can detect magnetic metals, which is why you can get
metal detector apps
for your smartphone.

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However, the sensor doesn’t work alone for its primary purpose, which is inside mapping apps-it operates in tandem with the data coming from the phone’s accelerometer and GPS unit to figure out whereabouts you are in the world, and which way you’re pointing (very handy for those detailed navigation routes).

GPS

GPS satellites give your phone a lock on its position. Image: Screenshot

Ah, GPS-
Global Positioning System
technology-where would we be without you? Probably in a remote, muddy field, cursing the day we ditched our paper maps for the electronic equivalents.

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GPS units inside phones gets a ping from a satellite up in space to figure out which part of the planet you’re standing on (or driving through). They don’t actually use any of your phone’s data, which is why you can still see your location when your phone has lost signal, even if the map tiles themselves are a blurry, low-res mess.

In fact, it connects with multiple satellites
then calculates
where you are based on the angles of intersection. If no satellites can be found-you’re indoors or the cloud cover is heavy-then you won’t be able to get a lock.

And while GPS doesn’t use up data, all this communicating and calculating can be a drain on your battery, which is why most
battery-saving guides
recommend switching GPS off. Smaller gadgets like most smartwatches don’t include it for the same reason.

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GPS isn’t the only way your phone can work out where it is-distance to cell towers can also be used as a rough approximation, as

Serial

taught us-but if you’ve got some serious navigating to do then it’s essential. Modern-day GPS units inside smartphones actually combine GPS signals with other data, like cell signal strength, to get more accurate location readings.

The best of the rest

Your phone will adjust screen brightness to match the ambient light, if you let it. Image: Screenshot

You’ve got plenty more sensors in your handset, though they’re perhaps not all as important as the four we’ve just mentioned. Many phones, including
the iPhone
, have a
barometer
that measures air pressure: it’s useful for everything from detecting weather changes to calculating the altitude you’re at.

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The
proximity sensor
usually sits up near the top speaker and combines an infrared LED and light detector to work out when you have the phone up to your ear, so that screen can be switched off. The sensor emits a beam of light that gets bounced back, though it’s invisible to the human eye.

Meanwhile the
ambient light sensor
does exactly what you would expect, taking a measuring of the light in the room and adjusting your screen’s brightness accordingly (if indeed it’s set to auto-adjust).

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Like the rest of the tech packed inside your handset, these sensors are getting smaller, smarter, and less power-hungry all the time, so just because phones five years apart both have GPS doesn’t mean they’re both going to be as accurate. Add in software tweaks and optimizations too and it’s more reason to upgrade your handset on a regular basis, even if you’ll almost never see these sensors listed on a specs sheet.


Hat tips to
Live Science
,
Quora
,
Virtual Reality Society
,
iFixit
,
HowStuffWorks
, and
RotoView
for a lot of the information we’ve covered.

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Mobiles,

Sony Mobile to discontinue mid-range Xperia line up

Telecommunications company Sony Mobile has confirmed plans to discontinue the mid-range Xperia line up of smartphones and will only focus on flagship devices going forward.

The dropped line up which the company considers “premium standard” includes models like the Xperia XZ Premium and XZs at the top end, and mid-rangers like the Xperia XA1 and XA1 Ultra.

“Sony is seeking to try and recover market share in 2017 and hopes to differentiate its products with technologies that only Sony can deliver,” the company said in a blog post.

The company will also only focus on markets, where it can leverage its brand strength including territories such as East Asia, APAC, Middle East and Europe.

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Mobiles,

12 Tools and Apps That Make Working From Home Easier

Image: RescueTime

With around 34 percent of the US workforce now freelancing, more and more of us are ditching the traditional office environment for anywhere we can get wi-fi, and if you’re a resident of New York City you’re probably stuck working at home anyway, trapped by the crumbling infrastructure of the NYC subway system.

Working away from an office presents it’s own unique set of challenges. If you haven’t yet made the switch to an online office suite (like the ones made by Google, Apple, or Microsoft), then we’d recommend that as a first move. Not only does it mean you can log in and work from any computer, it makes sharing your work and collaborating with others much more straightforward.

But from there there’s a whole slew of apps and tools available to make your job easier. These are our favorites.

Workfrom (web)

Image: Screenshot

Working in pajamas has its appeal, but eventually you’ll need to leave the house or risk going insane. But scrolling through the lists of Starbucks on Yelp is not the easiest or fastest way to find a good place to crank out some work product. That’s where Workfrom comes in-a human-curated list of good remote working spots in more than 1,250 cities worldwide. If you want to know where the best Wi-Fi and the most power sockets are, from coffee shops to co-working spaces, Workfrom will tell you, and if you find a new spot yourself you can add it to the main database.

Wi-Fi Map (iOS, Android)

Image: Wi-Fi Map

If you’re too anti-social to seek out a coffee shop or a sharedworkspace and you want to be able to get online when you’re out and about, then Wi-Fi Map is one of the best apps at directing you to some safe, fast public wi-fi you can tap into-you can read up on the comparable speeds of each network, and even get passwords if they’ve been submitted by other users.

Dropbox (iOS, Android, web)

Image: Dropbox

Nearly ever office suite and operating system has some kind of cloud storage solution. Yet Dropbox was mastering the file backup and sync routine when OneDrive and iCloud were just respective twinkles in the eyes of Microsoft and Apple, and if you need a central repository of files that’s accessible everywhere from the web, updated across all your machines instantly, and not dependent on OS then it’s ideal (though unfortunately not free beyond the basic 2GB). It also excels at sharing files and folders easily over the web with people regardless of their own cloud storage solution., essential for remote working.

Asana (iOS, Android, web)

Image: Asana

There’s no shortage of time-tracking project-managing tools and to do lists out there, but Asana is one of the best options and has been for a while. Originally aimed at businesses large and small, it works well for sole remote workers and freelancers too. Especially as the basic functionality is free. The app lets you set up your projects and tasks intuitively, keep track of where your time’s going, set reminders of urgent jobs, and juggle multiple commitments at once. It’s also one of the prettiest task managers out there. And if you happen to be collaborating it’s very easy to add additional people, and even assign them tasks

NowDoThis (web)

Image: Screenshot

Speaking of managing tasks, sometimes Asana is simply too complex for your needs. If you’re not juggling dozens of projects with lots of moving parts you might need a much simple to do list. We’ve used a lot of to do list managers down the years, and NowDoThis is one of the most basic and one of the best. Tap out the jobs you’ve got to get through, click Ready, and you tick them off one by one, with no other distractions or options. It’s particularly helpful when you want to stay focused and plough through your work as quickly as possible, but if it’s not for you there are a host of other options as well.

TeamViewer (iOS, Android, web, Windows, macOS)

Image: TeamViewer

It’s hard to overemphasize the importance of being able to log into computers remotely for the average remote worker. Many of us have a solution forced upon us by our IT team, but if you’ve got flexibility (or no IT team) than TeamViewer makes the whole process simple and trouble-free (and if you’re just using it for yourself, there’s no charge). Get the files and apps on your home computer from wherever you happen to be, easily. Do it without messing with IP forwarding or fussy settings in your operating.

Noisli (iOS, Android, web)

Image: Noisli

If you can’t make it to a coffee shop or shared work space than you might be wanting for a soundtrack for your day. We’ve been consistently impressed by both the polish of Noisli’s apps and the difference they make when we’re doing our own remote working. Noisli can generate sounds artificially, from the hum of the wind in the trees to the clatter and buzz of a coffee shop, and you can pick from a listed mix of audio or configure your own. The sounds are top quality and effective, and cover weather, travel, and white noise to help you focus.

Calmly Writer (web)

Image: Screenshot

One of the challenges of working remotely is staying concentrated and avoiding distractions when there’s no manager looking over your shoulder. While distraction free word processors will never replace something as full featured as Microsoft Word they’re fantastic for that first, rough draft of what you’re writing. Calmly Writer, which works in your browser, sticks to the basics. There’s no messing with syncing services or lots of add-ons. Just a nice clean page to put text into that saves using your browser’s cache system. If it’s simply syncing method makes you uncomfortable another option we’ve been impressed by lately is the online Paper tool from Dropbox.

RescueTime (Android, web, Windows, macOS)

Image: RescueTime

Working remotely means no fixed start or stop time, so any tool that helps you monitor and log how you’re using your hours can be useful. RescueTime works across all your devices (except iPhones) to measure how long you’re spending on each website and in each app, showing you where you can be productive and just how much of a time sink Reddit has become. Just maybe have a drink before you turn it on, as seeing a breakdown of your time online can be too sobering sometimes.

FocusBooster (web, Windows, macOS)

Image: FocusBooster

Another app in the vein of RescueTime which you might prefer is FocusBooster-it’s a bit more streamlined and simple to use in some ways and very useful for contract employees who need to track their hours. It employs the pomodoro technique to make sure you’re working in effective bursts. As well as aiming to cut out distractions, the app collates timesheets automatically based on sessions, and can even show how your time is split between clients and how much money you’re making through the week.

Qi-Infinity 35,000 mAh external battery ($149.99)

Image: Qi-Infinity

Aside from the apps you need to keep on top of your workload and environment, some carefully-chosen devices can make a big difference to your productivity as well-such as this chunky 35,000mAh battery for your primary mobile computing device, be it tablet or laptop or phone. It means less time hunting for a power socket when you’re out and about, and more time working.

Peak Everyday Backpack ($259.95)

Running down all of the compact, travel-ready, laptop-holding backpacks you can buy would take up a whole other article, so we’ll leave you to do your own comparisons, but the Peak Everyday Backpack has been picking up a lot of fans in the last year or so: it’s supremely adaptable to the amount of gear you’re carrying, is easy to get your stuff in and out of, and comes with internal dividers to keep everything organized. It looks the part too.

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Mobiles,

What’s the Most Secure Way to Lock Your Smartphone?

Image: Samsung

Smartphone owners today have a plethora of ways to lock and unlock their phones: face scans, finger presses, PIN codes, location detection, and so on. Are some of these options more secure than others? And which one should you use?

First, let’s recap of what’s actually available.
iPhone owners
have the option of Touch ID fingerprint scans and a PIN code, which these days has to be six digits long. Rumors are swirling that the next
iPhone
will offer some sophisticated face recognition tech as well as, or instead of Touch ID, but we’ll have to wait until September to find out.

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On the Android side there are more manufacturers and models to consider, and thus more variety in options-fingerprint sensors and PIN codes are standard virtually everywhere now, while the
Galaxy S8
from Samsung was one of the first major flagships to introduce iris scanning as an option. Most Android handsets also support pattern unlock, which is slightly more convenient than a PIN, with a smaller number (including the Galaxy S8) offering their own take on face recognition too.

Additionally, Google has made a suite of Smart Lock options available for unlocking your Android handset: Trusted Places (unlock at a specific location), Trusted Devices (unlock when connected to a specific Bluetooth device), Trusted Face (facial recognition), Trusted Voice (voice recognition) and On-Body Detection, which attempts to detect when your phone is actually on you and unlocks at at those times.

Image: Screenshot

Look a little closer and it quickly becomes apparent that these newer, “smarter” methods of phone locking and unlocking are all about convenience. They usually get you into your phone quicker, but they also have some security shortcomings.

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“There is no one biometric approach, such as fingerprints or iris scans, that is universally superior to other approaches,”
Synopsys
senior principal consultant Amit Sethi told Gadgetlayout.

Sethi said part of your decision about which phone locking protection tech to use should be based on how long it’s been on the market and how mature it’s become. You can also keep your eyes on the tech news of the day to see how security researchers are finding ways around the safety measures on your phone-and you don’t have to look far to find examples.

Hacking season

Just about every smartphone locking measure out there has been hacked or exposed at some point, but it’s worth remembering that in a lot of cases these technologies are getting beaten under lab conditions that aren’t easy to replicate in the real world. In other words, just because someone can spoof a copy of your iris doesn’t mean they’re going to go through the trouble of doing so.

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Take the case of German minister Ursula von der Leyen-security researchers were able to
create forgeries
of her fingerprints based solely on some high resolution photos of their target, one of which was issued by von der Leyen’s own press office. Academics say the same trick
is possible
using high-resolution photos of people showing the peace sign.

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As for iris scanning, the hackers of the Chaos Computer Club were able to
get around
the iris scanner built into a test Galaxy S8 using a high-resolution photo of its owner. To do the same, you would need an infrared-enabled camera, a photo taken from five meters away or closer, a laser printer, and a contact lens to shape the fake iris.

Image: Chaos Computer Club

Maybe the phone hackers in your town aren’t going to go to that level of effort to get a sharp photo of you, but the point is that biometrics can be spoofed, and you can’t change your fingerprint as easily as you can change your PIN code. Fingerprint, iris, and face data is usually safely stored on your device and your device alone, but if your biometric details have made it to a database somewhere, that’s
another avenue
for hackers to exploit.

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Considering you can get around iris scanning, it’s unsurprising that face scanning isn’t foolproof either. It’s actually the weakest of the set security tool in the set: photos have
been shown
to be enough to hack it, and Samsung doesn’t allow it as a method of authenticating Samsung Pay transactions, which tells you all you need to know.

The list continues: voice recognition can be hacked using
audio recordings
, and computers are
getting smarter
at generating audio from voice samples all the time. Like the other biometric protections we’ve mentioned here, voice recognition is enough to stop the average man on the street, but it’s not as secure against a dedicated hacker.

Image: Screenshot

It’s worth noting that iris scanning is theoretically
more secure
than fingerprint scanning, because there are more data points to match up with, but again, it depends on the specific implementation. All of these biometric authentication methods are continually improving and getting smarter-Apple’s
rumored
face detection system is said to be one of the most sophisticated yet-but as far as the flagships of 2017 go you shouldn’t consider any of them as unbeatable ways of keeping your phone protected.

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“If we want something to stop
anyone
from hacking our phone, even if they know us or have access to information about the owner, then no security measure is technically secure,” Mark James, security specialist at
ESET
, told Gadgetlayout.

“If you want something to stop
someone
from accessing your private data if it gets lost or stolen, and they do not have any information on you, then most of the current phone locking techniques will do that job,” James added.

Choosing the right protection

A security mechanism’s infallibility depends not just on its technical specs but also on a host of other factors, like how often you’re photographed in public, how often you’re without your phone, how much effort someone might expend to unlock your phone, how you combine methods together, and so on.

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Based on the views of our experts, the old PIN code is most frequently cited ads the best way to lock your phone. In short, experts like it because it’s long, and it’s impossible to guess. That’s a very difficult hurdle for hackers to get over.

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“When protecting mobile devices I highly recommend having a PIN code to wake a phone,” said
Scott Schober
, CEO of BVS Systems. Still, he added that no one security method is totally perfect. “All of these authentication methods are actually convenience features disguised as security… [and] users will always compromise security for convenience. That is why I come back to layered security-use an iris or fingerprint scan as an additional authenticator to password security.”

Image: Alex Cranz/Gadgetlayout

Leigh-Anne Galloway, Cyber Security Resilience Lead at enterprise security firm
Positive Technologies
noted that PIN codes have their vulnerabilities but remain technically the safest option for locking a phone: “In my opinion, the most secure way… to manage your phone locking is to use a randomly generated password,” she said. “Yes, it’s hard to remember, but all the other techniques make the authentication process more simple both for you and for potential attackers.”

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While acknowledging there’s “good reason” why PIN codes and passwords are considered weak security measures-not least because
we’re so bad
at choosing decent passwords-
Comparitech.com
security researcher Lee Munson said the alternatives have yet to be proven to be significantly better.

“While biometrics and other authentication mechanisms do have a part to play in proving someone’s identity, none are sufficiently foolproof to stand alone just yet and are best utilized as part of a two-factor authentication setup,” advised Munson. “Long live the password.”

Image: Gadgetlayout

As for Google’s various Smart Lock options, the Trusted Devices option is the safest and the On-Body Detection is the least safe,
according to AVG
. Getting round the trusted devices option means stealing two devices rather than one, while on-body is really just there as a convenience measure and can’t tell you from anyone else (something
Google admits
as well). Trusted Locations can work well, as long as they’re set to your home address rather than every bar and restaurant you frequent.

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To answer the question we came in with, getting multiple methods of protection set up is ideal, but a PIN code or password is safest (and the least convenient) of the bunch. Where you’re willing to draw the line between security and convenience is up to you.

On the one hand, watching you enter your smartphone PIN at a coffee shop is a lot easier for a would-be thief to do than build a working replica of your thumbprint; but on the other hand, your fingerprints, voice, iris and other biometrics are all vulnerable to being spoofed to some extent, and can’t ever be changed in the event of a breach. If you’re careful and clever about it, your PIN code only exists in your head, and that’s a very hard place for a hacker to get into.

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Mobiles,

An Indian smartphone user to consume 11GB data a month by 2022: Report

Fuelled by fast smartphone adoption, changing users’ behaviour and disruptive pricing strategies, the data traffic per smartphone user in India will reach 11GB per month by 2022, communications technology and services provider Ericsson forecast on Wednesday.

According to the “Ericsson Mobility Report 2017”, the total mobile data traffic in India is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 40 per cent, reaching nearly eight exabytes of data per month compared to around one exabytes of data consumption by the end of 2016.

By 2022, 97 per cent of mobile data traffic will be smartphone traffic.

“As new apps continue to emerge and usage behaviour evolves, network performance will play an even bigger role in determining smartphone users’ loyalty towards their operators. In fact, mobile broadband experience in India is five times more effective in driving loyalty than tariff structure and pricing,” said Nitin Bansal, Head of Network Products, Ericsson India, in a statement.

GSM remained the dominant technology in 2016, accounting for over 70 per cent of total mobile subscriptions. LTE and WCDMA/HSPA technologies together are expected to represent 85 per cent of all Indian subscriptions by 2022 while 5G subscriptions are forecast to become available only in 2022 — representing 0.2 per cent of total mobile subscriptions reaching three million.

As of 2016, there were 23 million cellular IoT connections and by 2022, this is estimated to reach 191 million.

“Driving this growth is the government’s ‘Digital India’ vision, focus on ‘Smart Cities’, new use cases for IoT and the launch of 5G,” the findings showed.

VoLTE subscriptions are projected to reach 4.6 billion by the end of 2022. By this time, the VoLTE subscriber base in India is pegged at 370 million .

“VoLTE represents a great opportunity for telecom operators in India who are looking to route voice calls over 4G LTE networks enabling lower cost per minute for voice calls as well as free up legacy spectrum bands for re-farming,” added Bansal.

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Mobiles,

Alibaba names Damon Xi UCWeb head in India, Indonesia

Alibaba Mobile Business Group on Thursday announced it was elevating Damon Xi as head of Damon Xi in India and Indonesia. In his new role, Damon will be in charge of the UCWeb ecosystem and content co-operation.

Earlier, Damon was General Manager of UCWeb India, leading business development for the company.

UCWeb’s flagship product UC Browser has over 50 per cent market share in India and Indonesia, ahead of Google Chrome and Opera.

UC Browser is also the sixth most downloaded application on Android platform in India with over 100 million monthly active users.

“Over the last six years, UCWeb has transformed itself from being the largest mobile browser to a leading content distribution platform in India through the launch and integration of UC News,” the company said in a statement.

Alibaba announced a Rs 2 billion investment in January to build UCWeb in India and Indonesia over the next two years.

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Mobiles,

Millennials selling, buying maximum pre-owned mobile device: Study

Nearly 75 per cent of pre-owned mobile phone buyers and 55 per cent of pre-owned mobile phone sellers on leading consumer-to-consumer marketplace OLX are millennials in the age group of 19-29 years, a new study said on Wednesday.

According to the study by OLX, the desire to aupgrade is the primary reason for selling mobile phones for 68 per cent of the households in India.

This is followed by 27 per cent respondents who cited ‘boredom’ as the main reason for selling mobile phones, the study pointed out.

“With high penetration and frequent updates, consumers often upgrade to new models within months. This results in good-quality and fairly new pre-owned phones entering the market within months of their launch,” Amarjit Singh Batra, CEO of OLX India, said in a statement.

“Along with the consumers we are also seeing interest from leading mobile brands, leveraging our platform to reach out to users looking to upgrade. Mobile phone is our biggest category in terms of listings and is growing at 45 per cent year-on-year,” Batra added.

Nearly 10 million mobile phones and mobile accessories were listed on OLX in financial year 2016-17.

The study noted that people get 25 per cent higher value when they sell devices online as compared to offline selling and 47 per cent higher than that through exchange.

The last financial year also saw Chinese brands witnessing a spike in listings on OLX, with the listing share of market leaders as well as Indian manufactures declining.

“During financial year 2016-17, the listing share of Chinese brand Xiaomi climbed from 4.2 per cent to 12.8 per cent on OLX,” the report said.

Also, the average price of each mobile phone on OLX is Rs 9,000, as compared to Rs 10,000 that was the average selling price of new smartphones sold in India in the first quarter of 2017.

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Mobiles,

The Best Apps for Hearing the News Before Anyone Else

Image: Gadgetlayout

You might have noticed we’re in
a crazy news cycle
right now, and in these times of political and civil uncertainty, staying on top of breaking news is more important than ever. If you want the most relevant stories delivered to your phone in the shortest possible time, we’ve got the apps for you.

You can pick up news apps of all shapes and sizes for Android and iOS, but here we’ve tried to focus on the candidates that excel in one particular area: breaking news. That means push notifications that surface the stories most relevant to your interests, and delivered as fast as possible.

The number of alerts you get varies depending on how you configure each app, but having carried these apps around for a couple of days, both AP Mobile and News360 are the most consistent for throwing up news stories that are just breaking, with the AP app best for local news stories (if you’ve set local news stories up).

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Each of these apps has their merits though, so we’d recommend trying out a few to see which ones work best for your news taste.

Nuzzel

Image: Screenshots

Nuzzel scans what your friends on Twitter and Facebook are sharing and uses that as an indicator of what news you might want to hear about. The app’s ability to filter news headlines based on their timeliness as well as their popularity on your social graph is handy.

in general, Nuzzel doesn’t show alerts for as many stories as other apps, but when something big is breaking on Facebook or Twitter, it seems to do the best job at showing the news first. Indeed, the app’s breaking news alerts consistently impressed us with their speed and relevance. Additionally, you can customize the threshold used to trigger a breaking news alert as well as limit the number of push notifications you get a day in the app settings.

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  • Nuzzel
    (free) for
    Android
    and
    iOS

Google Now

Image: Screenshots

Google Now or the Google app or whatever you want to call the service (it varies based on who you ask and which platform you’re on) isn’t the most advanced news app in the world but it
is
smart. (One advantage of letting Google track you just about everywhere is that it does a good job of working out which news stories you’re going to want to read.)

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You can turn on push notifications for news (and traffic updates and the weather) from inside the app settings, and we’ve seen numerous timely headlines appear while we’ve been using the Google Now launcher that comes on stock Nexus phones. It’s less aggressive on iOS, but you can still configure push alerts on the news you want.

  • Google
    (free) for
    Android
    and
    iOS

Flipboard

Image: Screenshots

Everyone’s favorite mobile magazine maker is also useful for breaking news alerts too, and you can either tap into the shared knowledge of your social media feeds or rely on Flipboard to ping you regularly based on the topics of your choosing. The app was recently redesigned so flicking through your curated stories works more smoothly than ever.

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You don’t get all that much control over which stories prompt alerts and how often they come through, but there’s an impressive level of customization when it comes to the topics that Flipboard pulls together for you, and a host of news sources to pore through. When you’re ready to read something, the interface is hard to beat.

  • Flipboard
    (free) for
    Android
    and
    iOS

AP Mobile

Image: Screenshots

A lot of news outlets pull their stories from the Associated Press wire anyway, so why not go straight to the source? The new organization’s app design won’t win any beauty contests, but when it comes to getting notifications relevant to your interests, the AP is killer.

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AP Mobile doesn’t tap into your social feeds and doesn’t even require any kind of registration, so it’s a more straight-up take on the day’s news, sorted into the categories or the parts of the world you specify. Inside the app settings you can set up a ‘quiet time’ when you won’t be buzzed by whatever breaking news story is about to hit the headlines.

  • AP Mobile
    (free) for
    Android
    and
    iOS

News360

One of the more venerable news apps out there, News360 has been treading the beat for a while now, but still comes up with the goods if you’re after fresh, relevant news headlines pushed straight to your phone. It’s one of the best at sifting the genuinely important stories from the rest, and you can go pretty specific in terms of news topics.

News alerts can be switched on or off for certain categories, if you want push notifications on tech news but not sports scores, and there is the option to link your Facebook and Twitter for a more personalized feed, though this isn’t essential. You can like or dislike stories you read too, which means News360 learns more about what you want over time.

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  • News360
    (free) for
    Android
    and
    iOS

Squid

Image: Screenshots

Squid is worth checking out for the way it blends standard features like topic selection with more innovative touches, including the option to annotate articles with text and scribbles before sharing them with your contacts. The special reader mode for articles is friendly on the eyes too.

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You don’t get much control over the push notifications the app sends out, so you’re relying on the curation you’ve already done inside the app in terms of sources, but we found Squid did a decent job at keeping us up to date with happenings across the world.

  • Squid
    (free) for
    Android
    and
    iOS