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Mobile Ransomware Has Mushroomed: Report
July 8, 2016
The number of mobile ransomware victims across the globe has increased fourfold compared to a year ago, suggests a Kaspersky Lab report. Kaspersky software protected 136,532 users targeted by ransomware from April 2015 to March 2016 -- up from 35,413. "The growth curve may be less than that seen for PC ransomware, but it is still significant enough to confirm a worrying trend," the report notes.
HummingBad Mucks Up Android's Works
July 6, 2016
More than 85 million Android devices worldwide have been taken over by the Yingmob, a group of China-based cybercriminals who created the HummingBad malware, according to Check Point. HummingBad establishes a persistent rootkit on Android devices, generates fraudulent ad revenue, and installs additional fraudulent apps. HummingBad reportedly has been generating revenue of $300,000 a month.
New Apple Health App to Serve as Organ Donation Matchmaker
July 5, 2016
Apple and Donate Life America have partnered to offer an organ donation app with the next iOS 10 update. iPhone users will be able to register for the program with a couple taps of a button. They'll be able to sign up to make organ, eye or tissue donations, automatically entering their information in the National Donate Life Registry, which is managed by Donate Life America.
BlackBerry Lets Go of Its Classic Phone
July 5, 2016
BlackBerry on Tuesday announced it will cease manufacturing the BlackBerry Classic. "The Classic has long surpassed the average lifespan for a smartphone in today's market," noted COO Ralph Pini. "To keep innovating and advancing our portfolio, we are updating our smartphone lineup with state-of-the-art devices." BlackBerry intends to continue supporting its BlackBerry 10 platform, however.
Gadget Ogling: Artsy Audio, Stress Detectives, and Wee Violins
July 2, 2016
I don't think any product range beats speakers for running the design gamut from gorgeous to ghastly. There are so many to choose from, in all shapes, sizes and colors, that there's something for everyone -- plus a few things no one should buy. But what if your sound system were a piece of art, literally? Case of Bass has created a boombox print that houses a speaker system in a shadow box.
Nothing Ghostly About Devialet's Phantom Gold Sound
June 30, 2016
Devialet, the French company that has built a reputation in the audio market for high-end wireless speakers, on Tuesday announced its newest addition: the $3,000 Phantom Gold. The Phantom Gold looks something like a futuristic Faberge egg, and it's priced like one, too. That said, it has some ear-pleasing and ear-splitting specs. Devialet has given it a power boost to 4,500 watts.
Clinton Issues Clarion Call to Boost Tech in the US
June 30, 2016
Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party's presumptive presidential candidate, this week unveiled a technology and innovation agenda that calls for a broader commitment to improving computer science and STEM education, expansion of broadband Internet to the entire United States, and deployment of 5G wireless networks. Clinton's plan calls for advancing high-tech training in American schools.
The Internet of Medical Things, Part 1: A New Concept in Healthcare
June 30, 2016
Manufacturers are eager to lay the bricks and help pave the road to better, more personalized healthcare through integration of connected devices in the new Internet of Medical Things. Compared to other industries, healthcare has been "inherently conservative and slow" to embrace innovations such as the cloud and the Internet of Things -- but that's changing.
The 4 Fundamental Attributes of Customer Loyalty, Part 1
June 29, 2016
As I see it, there are four basic capabilities, or attributes, needed to build better customer loyalty. I learned about them from two McKinsey researchers. Those attributes, according to David C. Edelman and Marc Singer -- and I agree -- are the following: automation, proactive personalization, contextual interaction and journey mapping.
Study: Third-Party Apps Pose Risks for Enterprises
June 23, 2016
Since mobile computing put an end to the good old days when IT departments had absolute control over software deployed in the enterprise, there's been a rise in employees' use of third-party applications -- a rise that poses security risks to corporate environments. That is one of the findings in a report CloudLock released last week.
Headphone Jack-less iPhone 7 Rumor Gains Ground
June 22, 2016
The rumor that Apple will get rid of the headphone jack in the iPhone 7 resurfaced Tuesday. Apple is expected to launch the new iPhone later this year. The iPhone's Lightning connector reportedly will do double duty as its charging port and headphone connector. The result will be a thinner device and better water resistance. If true, the move "is right in terms of timing," said analyst Jeff Orr.
Instagram Blows Past Competition to 500M Mark
June 22, 2016
Instagram on Tuesday said it had passed a milestone, with its community having grown to more than 500 million members -- more than 300 million of them using the site on a daily basis. The Instagram community has become more global, with more than 80 percent of Instagrammers living outside the United States. Instagram's user base has more than doubled in two years.
Google Makes It Easier to Do the 2-Step
June 21, 2016
Google on Monday began rolling out a new two-step authentication feature, Google Prompt, targeting enterprise employees. The new option consists of a pop-up that displays a mobile user's name and profile image, and that specifies the location and device involved in the attempted sign-in. The device owner is asked whether to allow or deny the sign-in.
Gadget Ogling: Pliable Phones, Clever Kicks, and Sumptuous Speakers
June 21, 2016
Lenovo has peeled back the curtain on a smartphone that you can wrap around your wrist, sporting a full-color screen. The "CPlus," as Lenovo calls the prototype, runs Android and has a 4.26-inch display. It will be available in 12 colors if and when it goes on sale. It's clear bendable smartphones will be a viable consumer product in the near future.
Plume Podifies Home WiFi
June 21, 2016
Plume last week introduced its eponymous self-optimizing WiFi system for the home. Plume adapts in real life to the different network demands made by various devices and ensures that each gets the fastest speeds possible, according to the company. The recommended setup is one pod per room and connecting space, such as a hallway, plus any cable or DSL modem or any modem/router combination.
How Private Is iOS 10?
June 20, 2016
Almost lost among the deluge of new features in the upcoming version of iOS Apple touted last week was the company's announcement about privacy. "All this great work in iOS 10 would be meaningless to us if it came at the expense of your privacy," Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president for software engineering, told attendees at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.
Google: Dare to Daydream
June 18, 2016
Google's Cardboard has proved to the masses that virtual reality is more than a pipe dream. Inexpensive cardboard headsets leverage smartphones to create makeshift head-mounted displays for low-level VR experiences. For those whose fancies of owning a US$600 Rift or a $900 Vive were out of reach, Cardboard was a way to keep their imaginations captive while Google was dreaming of Daydream.
Facebook Gives Messenger More Jobs to Do
June 17, 2016
Facebook on Thursday unveiled its redesigned Messenger app, which replaces the list of conversations it previously displayed with a home screen that will let users perform more actions within a chat. The Home tab now organizes Messenger into recent conversations, favorites, active users, and messages awaiting a response. It has a shortcut that reminds users about Facebook friends' birthdays.
Apple's iOS 10 Goes to Eleven
June 14, 2016
Apple on Monday kicked off its Worldwide Developers Conference with the biggest-ever release of its iOS mobile operating system. CEO Tim Cook called iOS 10, coming this fall, "gigantic" and "the mother of all releases." Among the new offerings in the upcoming version of iOS are more features in Messaging, and all new designs for News, Music and Photos.
Snapchat Rolls Out Ad-Friendlier Design
June 14, 2016
Snapchat recently began rolling out its redesigned Discover page. It now displays images and headline previews of the content inside Discover channels and Live stories on the Stories page. It previously displayed only logos for publishers or events on those sites. Publishers now can include an image and a headline to promote each day's story.
Drops and Spills Don't Faze Samsung Galaxy S7 Active
June 11, 2016
The water- and shatter-resistant Samsung Galaxy S7 Active on Friday became available exclusively from AT&T. Consumers who have eligible service can get the Galaxy S7 Active for $26.50 monthly for 30 months on AT&T Next, or $33.13 monthly for 24 months on AT&T Next Every Year. With a new two-year wireless agreement, customers who opt for AT&T Next also can get a free Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch.
Apple to Boost App Store Money-Making Opportunities
June 9, 2016
Apple is planning a major overhaul of its App Store, including the introduction of a new subscription model for developers and the implementation of a paid search ad program, SVP Phil Schiller indicated in interviews ahead of next week's WWDC. To encourage developers to sell their apps on a subscription basis, Apple plans to change the current 70/30 revenue-sharing structure.
New Samsung Fitness Trackers Have Music Built-In
June 8, 2016
Samsung last week unveiled its Gear Fit2 fitness band and Gear IconX earbud set. The Gear Fit2 will be available for $180 this Friday at major retailers. The IconX will hit shelves in the third quarter of this year. The Gear Fit2 has a built-in GPS and a heart rate monitor. The Gear IconX is a pair of Bluetooth earbuds that can track fitness information.
Uber Tosses Its Drivers a Few Bones
June 8, 2016
Facing growing pressure from labor unions and regulators across the U.S. and key overseas markets, Uber on Monday introduced a series of new apps and benefits for its core group of drivers. The goal is to make their working hours more productive and profitable. Among the new apps are Driver Destinations, which lets drivers restrict ride requests to their current routes.
Microsoft, Xiaomi Become Office Mates
June 1, 2016
Microsoft on Tuesday announced plans to sell 1,500 mobile technology patents to China-based Xiaomi, in a deal that will expand both companies' access to new markets. Microsoft's office apps will gain a stronger foothold in China, while Xiaomi's smartphones will gain a stronger global presence. The agreement calls for Xiaomi to ship Microsoft Office and Skype on its Android smartphones and tablets.
Coalition Wants FCC to Look Into Data Cap Exemptions
May 27, 2016
A coalition of technology companies and advocacy groups earlier this week wrote to the Federal Communications Commission, urging it to open a public investigation into zero-rating practices, in which mobile providers allow some video or music providers to be excluded from data caps. The group called on the FCC to examine the zero-rating practices to determine whether they harm competition.
Tiny HopperGo Neatly Stashes Loads of Mobile Entertainment
May 26, 2016
Dish Network continues to change the way we view recorded TV. It made location-shifting as easy as time-shifting via its Sling technology, and its Hopper let users transfer recordings to a mobile device. Now it has introduced another option for taking recorded content anywhere: the HopperGO, a compact DVR hard disk drive that lets users transfer content from a set-top box to the portable unit.
Microsoft Drastically Scales Down Smartphone Biz
May 25, 2016
Microsoft on Wednesday announced plans to streamline its smartphone business by cutting 1,850 jobs. It will record an impairment charge of $950 million, with severance payments accounting for $200 million of the charge. The restructuring will entail up to 1,350 job losses at Microsoft Mobile Oy in Finland, and 500 more cuts around the world.
OnePlus Offers Free Headsets to Lure Crowd to VR Smartphone Launch
May 25, 2016
The 30,000 virtual reality headsets OnePlus announced it would give away as part the unveiling of its OnePlus 3 smartphone were snapped up Monday, the day they became available. OnePlus has set up a VR space called "The Loop" in which it will unveil the OnePlus 3. The Loop can be accessed only by users of the OnePlus Loop VR headsets, made by AntVR.
Google's Abacus May Count Out Passwords
May 24, 2016
By the end of the year, Android devs will be able to use a trust API from Google's Project Abacus in their apps, Google ATAP Director Dan Kaufman suggested at last week's I/O conference. The API, which will run in the background continually, is aimed at doing away with passwords. It will use a smartphone's sensors to create a cumulative trust score that will authenticate users.
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How do you feel about technology and security?
Very insecure -- I would gladly pay extra for better security.
Very insecure -- I'm using technology less as a result.
Very insecure -- but I'm willing to make the trade-off.
Secure enough -- I take reasonable precautions.
Secure enough -- I'm not a likely target.
Very secure -- I trust tech companies to protect me.