Android will be able to share apps offline via Google Play

Google is constantly improving its system of apps and services to make them easier to use. This often happens unexpectedly for users who themselves do not know how much they needed the new feature implemented by Google – the company processes a huge amount of information in order to analytically, at the tip of the pen, understand the nuances of user interaction both with the interface itself and within the program system…

That is, in the near future, users will be able to exchange applications without an Internet connection, that is, they will be able to send applications downloaded from Google Play offline, using the P2P data transfer Protocol, completely without using any intermediate third-party services – the implementation of this function will be “sewn” into the Google store app itself.

 

Implementation is assumed as follows:

 

  1. Sign in to the Google Play app;
  2. Application selection;
  3. View the nearest devices on the network;
  4. Pairing devices via Bluetooth or NFC;
  5. Directly transfer files over WiFi.

Additionally, it is planned to rename the Google Play page “My apps” – it will be called “manage apps and device” with two additional sections: “Overview” and “Management”.

The “Overview” section will contain information about installed applications (in particular, those that need to be updated), as well as data on storage capacity, reviews and ratings.

In the second section, “Management”, there will be all other applications with a choice of options for filtering and ordering them according to user-friendly criteria.

 

The release date of the current Google Play update for this feature will be announced soon.

“Text bombs” for WhatsApp – by whom and for what they are created.

For sure, almost any modern person who uses Whatsapp for everyday communication in various networks knows the expression “text bomb”.

 

This expression describes a message in a special format that causes the app to freeze or even restart a smartphone running both Android and iOS.

 

Not so long ago, journalists discovered entire “factories” for the production of such messages. And although the problem itself is several years old, there is still no clear explanation of the reasons why “enthusiasts” make such messages and send them to other users.

At this time, Whatsapp developers can not completely eliminate the ground for exploiting such a vulnerability, and the reason is not in the desire to continue this epic: when a message in a non-standard format appears on the smartphone screen, the SOFTWARE tries to make calculations for pixel optimization of the image. With specially selected character groups in the message, calculations are either, as experts say, “looped”, or reset and the calculation is repeated again – in any case, up to cyclic device reboots – and it is almost impossible to fully predict the appearance of new text messages of this class.

 

There is, of course, an antidote – you can simply install either a “redesigned” Whatsapp, or install, for example, extended support for various types of encodings, including the so-called Sidhi language that sends such texts.

 

But, of course, this is not a panacea: you can always run a message in another rather rare language, or just create a compilation – for such purposes, it is now quite possible to use artificial intelligence programs…

 

Of course, at this time, the easiest way to avoid the appearance of such miracles in your smartphone is to simply prohibit messages from at least unknown contacts and regularly back up.

 

It is also important to have access to the browser version of Whatsapp (which, fortunately, is not affected by such vulnerabilities) to be able to delete such a critical message if necessary.

New feature for the may version of Windows 10: downloading viruses via Windows Defender.

After the may update of Windows 10, the antivirus built into the operating system received a completely original and potentially dangerous feature – namely, the ability to download files from both the local network and the Internet via the command line.

 

 

After conducting a security study of this function, it turned out that it was possible to download a file that the antivirus would not have missed – that is, the built-in antivirus does not check the downloaded files…

 

Thus, a security expert (Mohammad Askar) was able to download “Cobalt Strike” (SOFTWARE designed to test system protection) in this way (via the download function in the Windows Defender command line).

Initially, the Cobalt Strike program is designed for conducting penetration tests. It includes a multifunctional Trojan Beacon, which is the main “payload” and provides extensive opportunities for remote management of systems. The attackers used it to install a program in ATMs that interacts with their XFS framework and gives the command to issue cash.

In 2017, 21 attacks were carried out on Russian banks using the Cobalt Strike program, 11 of them were successful. 240 credit institutions were hit, from which the criminals managed to steal 1.156 billion rubles.

The Cobalt Strike program gave its name to the Cobalt group, which has been known since 2016 and specializes in cyber attacks on banks, exchanges, insurance companies and investment funds in order to steal money. Suppliers and contractors of financial organizations have also been hit: criminals use their infrastructure and accounts of real employees to send phishing emails. This approach provided a high level of trust for recipients and helped avoid being blocked by filtering systems on mail servers.

Cybercriminals used unsuspicious email topics, content and names of attachments: “procedure for determining the amount of penalties”, “Invoice for servicing your ATMs”, “documents for signature”, “balance Reconciliation”. The emails sent contained various malicious attachments: a document with an exploit (. doc, .rtf,. xls), an archive with an executable dropper file (. exe,. scr), an archive with an LNK file.

 

To ensure that the presence of malware in the network was not detected immediately, the criminals acted mainly at night, cleaned up their tracks, deleting data, and actively using legal programs for implementation and distribution: Ammyy Admin, TeamViewer, Mimikatz, PsExec, SoftPerfect Network Scanner.

 

According to the REGNUM news Agency, – it is unlikely that the developers have added a feature for PC users to download viruses from the network in this way, but this possibility exists and it seems that it was added to Windows 10 at the time of the next OS update in July 2020.

 

Also, IA REGNUM gave information that Microsoft has disabled the ability to disable “Windows Defender”. This change also occurred after the last (in may 2020) update of Windows 10.

 

Previously, it was possible to disable “Windows Defender” permanently when making changes to the registry, but at this time, Microsoft said that this is an “outdated parameter”.

Difficult choice for TikTok – who will buy it?

At this time, The Tiktok buyer is expected to be announced to the General public within the next 24 hours.

 

Among the possible bidders to acquire TikTok assets in Australia, New Zealand and the United States are such whales as Microsoft together with Walmart and Oracle.

 

Interesting fact: due to recent changes in the export legislation of the PRC-bytedance Corporation (owner of TikTok) you will have to go through the procedure of obtaining permission from the Chinese authorities before purchasing part of the company in the United States.

 

 

 

At this time, it is known that ByteDance has previously decided on buyers – but only Microsoft, Walmart, and Oracle have so far refrained from any comments on this issue.

At the same time, according to the Decree of Donald trump, the procedure for transferring ownership to TikTok should be completed by November 2020.

Otherwise, it is planned to completely block the app in the United States due to potential threats to state security due to possible contacts between the company and the Chinese government.

Thus, TikTok still has almost two months left, but it is definitely worth hurrying because of the complexities of the asset registration procedure: the Chinese government has activated a law that has not changed since 2008, which now requires that when transferring property or exporting technologies related to artificial intelligence, as well as face recognition – to obtain a special permit, with a 30-day review period…

Of course, it was immediately suggested by the analytical services of potential buyers that this situation arose in connection with the intention of the PRC to prevent or delay the process of selling TikTok abroad.

 

Additionally:

In late August, it was reported that Facebook CEO mark Zuckerberg could direct the attention of the US government and President trump to TikTok, providing them with information about a potential threat from such an app, whose parent company is located in China.

 

Last fall in Washington, Zuckerberg, meeting with lawmakers, put forward the idea of Chinese applications and their potential threat to US national security.

 

Such information distributed by the media, of course, suggests the influence of Facebook on a competitor – but, speaking sensibly, of course, you can immediately understand that TikTok has too many competitors, and if you link all the statements of the heads of companies, the list will not be on one page, especially since the decision was made by trump much earlier, and based on completely different sources, as GPDHost in its blog already informed its readers a few months ago – in relation to Chinese companies in General.

iOS will change the structure of the advertising system – a new version of Apple’s IDFA.

When Apple announces the new iOS 14, analysts predict risks for the advertising industry.

 

Now, after the release in September 2020, all apps installed with the App Store must explicitly get the user’s consent on whether they agree to “share” (that is, provide data about themselves) with advertising platforms (that is, first of all, analytical databases that accumulate data about the client).

 

 

 

In order to assess the importance of what is happening, let’s analyze the current system for purchasing ads on Apple mobile devices.

 

Question: what does the user care about all these purchases and what does this have to do with practical digital side effects for specific consumers?

 

Let’s assume that most users are tired of advertising offers from various companies after surfing the Internet (especially after accidentally clicking a banner in a mobile browser)…

Now iOS has a so – called IDFA-an identifier for advertisers that guides marketers on the effectiveness of campaigns.

 

And how does it work?

  • the app developer launches a campaign (to search for and” purchase ” users);
  • a click on an ad is determined by the developer’s mediator (advertising partner) using IDFA as the final action (installing the program or clicking a link) on a specific device;
  • this way you can find out which ad network worked;
  • at the same time, it helps you determine spending within the app and how it relates to your ad campaign;
  • allows you to give information in advertising networks about the preferences of a specific IDFA identifier.

In connection with the appearance of a choice to provide information about yourself – this is a strong blow to the mobile advertising market, which will lose stability and relative transparency acquired not so long ago.

 

For Internet marketing, the main question in this situation is how to conduct preliminary audience checks as part of scaling various types of promotions and companies…

 

However: everything is not so clear. Apple has in its stock a tool that “cares about the security of personal data” – this is SKAdNetwork, a framework for mobile attribution (the company’s introduction of such measures is a concern for privacy).

 

In other words, despite these changes in the ad ID system, you can still use SKAdNetwork to find out the following information:

– which ad worked;

– exactly how it worked (including getting conversions, data about repeated downloads, the app that is the traffic source, and other related data).

 

At the same time: there is no user geolocation, gender segmentation, and other nuances.

 

This puts all advertising partners on an equal footing (Google, Facebook, and everyone else). They all get the same information from Apple…

 

Of course, the possibility of using data from already installed apps is not excluded.this is where Apple can coordinate its innovations and adjust them as it sees fit.

Google’s Fuchsia smartphone OS abandons Linux, it has a new crazy interface.

Google is working hard on the third operating system after Android and Chrome OS. This is an open source real-time operating system called “Fuchsia”. The OS first appeared in August last year, but then it was just a command line. Now the mysterious project has a crazy new interface that we can take a look at.

Unlike Android and Chrome OS, Fuchsia is not based on Linux – it uses a new microkernel developed by Google called “Magenta”. With Fuchsia, Google would abandon not only the Linux kernel, but also the GPL: the operating system is licensed as a combination of BSD 3, MIT, and Apache 2.0. Abandoning Linux may cause some shock, but the Android ecosystem seems unwilling to keep up with previous versions of Linux. Even the Google Pixel is still stuck on the Linux 3.18 kernel, which was first released in late 2014.

Google’s documentation describes Magenta as aimed at “modern phones and modern personal computers with fast processors, non-trivial amount of RAM with arbitrary peripherals that perform open computing”. Google has not made any public official comments about why Fuchsia exists or what it is intended for, leaving us with only guesses. The cry “modern phone” certainly sounds like something that could eventually compete with Android, but at the moment the OS is so early that it’s hard to tell.

It is impossible to talk about Fuchsia without mentioning a hundred other related projects that also have code names. The interface and apps are written using the Google Flutter SDK, a project that actually creates cross-platform code that runs on Android and iOS. Flutter apps are written in Dart, a reload of Google’s JavaScript that on mobile devices targets high-performance apps at 120 frames per second . It also has a Vulkan-based graphic renderer called ” Escher “that lists” Volumetric soft shadows “as one of its features, which is created to fulfill Google’s”Material Design” shadow interface guidelines.

All this brings us to an interesting point right now: the Fuchsia interface is written using the Flutter SDK, which is cross-platform. This means that right now you can take chunks of Fuchsia and run them on your Android device. Fuchsia first went public in August 2016, but then its compilation gave you nothing but the command line. The Fuchsia System user interface called “Armadillo” is actually quite interesting right now.

You can download the source code and compile the Fuchsia System UI into an Android APK and install it on your Android device. It consists of a crazy reinterpretation of the home screen along with a keyboard, home button, and (sort of) window Manager. Nothing really “works” – it’s a set of placeholder interfaces that do nothing. The Fuchsia source also has a great readme file that describes what actually happens.

The main screen is a giant list with vertical scrolling. In the center, you will see a profile image (placeholder), date, city name, and battery icon. Above the “History” cards – mostly “Recent apps” – and below them is a scrollable list of offers, like a Google Now placeholder. Leave the main screen and you will see a Fuchsia-colored home button pop-up at the bottom of the screen, which is just a single white circle.

You can click on the Central profile image, and here is a menu that looks a bit like quick Android settings. The top row of icons shows the battery and connection. Below are sliders for adjusting the volume and brightness, as well as icons for flight mode, “Do not disturb” and auto-rotate. You can interact with buttons and sliders, but on Android they don’t actually do anything. Below are the “exit” and “more” buttons, which do not work at all.

Above the profile section is a stack of cards labeled “History”. The readme file describes stories as “a set of applications and modules that work together to achieve a user’s goal”. This seems pretty close to the recent list of apps, possibly (eventually) with some sort of grouping feature. Clicking on any map will load it as a full-screen interface, and since one of them is marked as “email”, it is quite obvious that these are apps. The list is sorted by “last opened”, so the most recently used maps will be located at the bottom of the list.

This list also includes some window management features. You can tap and drag the card for a long time, and if you place it on top of another app, it will trigger split-screen mode. A split-screen system seems really capable, and it probably needs to be changed a bit. You can make a 50/50 split vertically or horizontally. You can drag the third app and split 33/33/33 horizontally or vertically, or split 50/50 next to the app at full height, or display the tab bar for three full-screen interfaces. You can drag four apps and split 75/25 on one side of the screen and 25/75 on the other, and then you can keep dragging apps until everything fails. Go back to the list of stories and you will see that the split screen layout is also reflected on the card, which is nice.

The bottom “Google Now” panel starts with the layout of the search bar. When you click on it, a keyboard will appear, but it is not the Android system keyboard, but the Fuchsia user interface. It has a new dark theme, and things like long-tapping for characters or settings don’t work. Below, this is similar to Google Now, which has several cards with “offers”. They seem to be slightly different from the Google Now news, weather and calendar offerings, although the documents say: “Conceptually, a sentence is a representation of an action that a user can take to Supplement an existing story or start a new one.” This almost makes it look like an app launcher.

With any new project on Google, it’s hard to predict the scale of the project. Is this a “20 percent” project that will be forgotten in a year, or something more important? Fortunately, we have a direct statement from the Fuchsia developer about this. In Fuchsia’s publicly available IRC channel, Fuchsia developer Travis Geiselbrecht said in a chat that the OS “is not a toy, it’s not a 20% project, it’s not a dump of dead things that we don’t need anymore. ”

Android was conceived long before the iPhone. It started as a camera OS, then became a BlackBerry clone, and then was quickly retooled after the iPhone presentation. With Android, Google is still tied to the decisions it made years ago, even before it learned anything about managing the mobile OS that comes on billions of smartphones. The two biggest problems with Android:

  1. Getting OS updates in a third-party hardware ecosystem
  2. Lack of attention to the smooth operation of the user interface.

Although nothing was said about the upgrade plan, the OS’s dependence on the Dart programming language means that it is focused on high performance.

Fuchsia really seems like a project that asks the question: “How would we develop Android today if we could start over?» This is a completely new core developed by Google, which runs a completely new SDK developed by Google, which uses a completely new programming language developed by Google, and all this is designed to run the material Design interface from Google as quickly as possible. Google can get rid of Linux and the GPL, it can get rid of Java and the problems it caused with Oracle, and Google can actually isolate itself from all the upstream Android projects and move all the development inside the company. To do this on the Android scale today would be a large-scale project.

The most difficult thing may not even be developing an OS, but developing some kind of transition plan from Android, which has become the most popular operating system in the world. The” cross-platform ” nature of the Flutter SDK seems important for the transition plan. If Google could get developers to start writing apps on Flutter, it would create an app ecosystem running on iOS, Android, and eventually Fuchsia. Google has also shown that it can and wants to make Android Runtime work on non-Android platforms with Chrome OS, so if Google does decide to implement a transition plan, it might be able to migrate the entire Android stack to Fuchsia as a temporary application solution.

Back in August, when Fuchsia went public, Geiselbrecht told Fuchsia’s IRC channel: “the Magenta Project [started] about 6 months ago,” which should have happened sometime in February 2016. Android remained inside Google for about five years before it was launched on the real market. If Fuchsia goes the same way and everything goes well, perhaps we can expect a consumer product sometime around 2020. Again, this is Google, so it can all be undone before it ever sees the light of day. Fuchsia has a long way to go.

Trump and Tik-Tok: the relationship moves to another plane.

On August 6, 2020, President Donald trump, in his letter to the speaker of the House of representatives and the President of the Senate on countering the threat from TikTok, presented facts that, in his opinion, pose a threat to the national security of the country under the international emergency economic powers Act and the National emergency law.

 

All this data is reflected in an Administrative order that launches additional measures regarding information and communication technologies by the Chinese company ByteDance Ltd and Its Tiktok application.

 

 

In addition, another Chinese app, WeChat, owned by Tencent, also poses a threat to the economy and national security.

The key points of the President’s address are as follows:

– automatic selection of arrays of user information;

– access to personal and confidential information of Americans (which could potentially give China the ability to track the whereabouts of Federal employees and contractors, create dossiers with personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage;

– censorship of politically sensitive content (for example, regarding protests in Hong Kong, the situation of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in China);

– possible misinformation in favor of China’s policy.

 

And US Secretary of state Mike Pompeo also said that the leadership of the media social network is engaged in propaganda, collecting and transmitting data to China.

 

That is, given that the document specifies a period of 45 days – Microsoft, which negotiated the purchase of the app, it makes sense to hurry up within the deadline specified by the President.

 

In the meantime, the app is currently prohibited from being used by employees of the state Department and us military personnel.

Microsoft does not consider it necessary to ask users about installing Windows 10 updates in 2020.

Microsoft made the decision to install service packs before the final build of 2004 and may 2020, bypassing the explicit consent of operating system users. This forced update is a prerequisite for maintaining technical support after 2020.

 

In order to determine which version or build of Windows is used on users ‘ computers, the company first began using an artificial intelligence system.

In other words, all previous versions that, according to Microsoft, do not meet the requirements of confidentiality, security, and software flaws in the operating system will be updated.

 

However, support for the Enterprise and Education versions (enterprise and education, 1890 and 1903) will continue until may 2021.

For other users, the support period will be limited to November (for versions 1890) and December 2020 (for versions 1903).

That is, those users who are critical of those updates that will eliminate newly discovered vulnerabilities and introduce new protection mechanisms against attacks will have to get a comprehensive update (in fact, just do not resist it – the Corporation will do everything itself)…

 

In General, such update options have been introduced regularly since 2015, when many users received the first comprehensive massive update in Windows 10, after which the company began to receive complaints about unauthorized updates to their systems (after an unexpected update from Windows 7 and 8 to version 10) – that is, for users, the system was installed independently, with automatic updates configured, completely without additional user participation.

Therefore, since the system is configured to automatically launch update files when downloading updates, version 10 installation files were downloaded and started automatically… Consequence: by agreeing to install patches (for example, to fix any vulnerabilities), the user automatically inadvertently gave their consent to upgrade to Windows 10…

 

Of course, Microsoft later admitted that the automatic update system was incorrectly configured to automatically start installing a different operating system.

By the way, the build from may 2020 is also not a model of stability. It initially revealed many shortcomings related to both network protocols (with the security level at the obvious expense of functionality) – in particular, such as, for example, the inability to connect more than one Bluetooth device and others (as soon as the manual WiFi connection after coming out of sleep mode).

There were failures and incorrect operation of some video drivers, after the promotion of the new driver packaging system in the system – there were artifacts in the form of longitudinal and transverse lines, on the part of the printing subsystem-unstable operation of printers and scanners connected via USB ports was detected.

 

All these bugs were treated with a simple reboot of the system – that is, there is, on the one hand, the company’s work in the direction of optimizing the use of RAM, on the other-a few raw results, however, regularly corrected by updates.

Microsoft and TikTok-amid trump’s statements, negotiations are underway.

“Bloomberg” and “new York times” through their sources provided information about the conduct of “Microsoft” negotiations on the acquisition of the Chinese video application “Tik-Tok”.

 

“Tik-Tok” has long been under attack from many governments, including in the United States, where President Donald trump recently announced plans to ban the use of this video application in the country.

The essence of criticism from the trump administration is problems with national security, the privacy of underage users, and the possibility of the Chinese government’s influence on the owners of the app.

 

And, although TikTok is not a public company, some bytedance investors value TikTok at about $ 50 billion, and The Times at $ 100 billion.

 

In the light of all this information, as well as the strategy that all The bigtech giants have followed in the past six months, it is not surprising that such news as the negotiations on the proposed purchase of Microsoft, which, like other similar companies, has long developed special operating conditions for itself, has its own views on international legislation, and in some surprising way receives a “green light” in the financial difficulties of competitors or absorbed companies.

Apple makes its users ‘ iOS dreams come true… – concepts from Android

Apple has finally given iOS users the opportunity to become full participants in testing beta versions of new releases of operating systems for smartphones and tablets.

Currently available for testing iOS14.

There was also a parallel not so much with the interface, but with the features and functions that have long been implemented in Android, namely:

The ability to place widgets in any place (page) on the desktop (and not in a specialized menu);

The ability to place two widgets in the menu (in iOS13 and previous ones – strictly one in a row);

“Picture in picture” video viewing Mode (although there is no official Youtube app yet, but this is easily fixed by viewing via Safari);

Due attention to user privacy (notifying the user about the use of a microphone, camera, access to the device’s memory, including the clipboard);

Changes in incoming call notification mode (now the call notification does not interrupt what You are doing at the moment);

In Siri: now works as a large icon at the bottom of the screen;

Sound Recognition: for people with impaired hearing and music lovers who prefer to listen to music at high volume;

The Only new app – “Translation” (similar to “Google Translate” – it is available for translation from 11 languages, dictation and insertion of copied parts of texts from other applications, the ability to work offline).

What is the result? Undoubtedly, Apple has pleased its fans with the expected changes.