What’s Up With Google?

In fairness to Apple in regard to yesterday’s comments about ransomware beginning to appear on OS-X, I should note that Google is having similar issues.

Last month, Infoworld reported that ransomware is showing up on Android devices. They cite an alert from mobile security vendor Symantec about a fake anti-virus app that masquerades as a legitimate app. When launched, it appears to be doing a security scan, and then reports that viruses have been found and asks you to pay for the full version of the scanner to remove them.

If you decline to pay up, it escalates its actions with more virus warnings, pop-up messages, alerts claiming that pornographic images have been found on the device, preventing other apps from being launched, and (of course) preventing itself from being uninstalled. Eventually it gets so bad that the phone is quite literally unusable, and with some versions of Android the app even manages to block access to the factory reset functionality.

There’s a video of the ransomware’s activity in the article linked above, and it’s worth watching even if you don’t have an Android phone. It’s fascinating in a strange, sick sort of way.

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In cheerier Google news, many people have been wondering when we’re going to get some clarity about new versions of Android. Multiple sources are reporting that Google has just sent out invitations for an “event” hosted by Sundar Pichai, the head of the Android and Chrome groups. The event will be next Wednesday, 24 July. No details about the topics for discussion have been released, leading to mass speculation that we’ll find out what’s up with Android 4.3 and/or 5.0.

Several sources, including Engadget are reporting that OfficeMax has leaked planning and pricing documents that state that an updated Nexus 7 will be arriving in stores as early as 20 July, which dovetails nicely with the Google event. Android Central has pictures of what it believes to be the new hardware, though they note that it could be a prototype. If their information is correct, it’s a small but significant upgrade over the current version.

-=*=-

Good news, bad news: The good news is that Google has fixed a major security vulnerability in Google Glass. The vulnerability allowed an attacker to take over a Glass by showing the wearer a QR code–the mere act of Glass’ camera seeing the code resulted in it acting on the code. The bad news: as with any other software project, there are undoubtedly more security flaws lurking. Realistically, not all of the will be found, let alone fixed, before Glass starts shipping to the public.

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Let’s end on a cheerier note. Dorky as “OK, Glass” may sound as the trigger for Glass to do something, it could have been much, much worse. Multiple sources are linking to Amanda Rosenberg’s post describing the origin of the phrase. Several rejected options are included: “Listen up Glass”, “Device, please” (I suspect that would quickly have become “Please, please, please, please, please), and “Glassicus” (what?)

Unfortunately, the list also includes the one choice that would have made me want to use it:

Yes, “Pew, pew, pew” is on the rejected list. Alas. Not as cheery an ending as I had hoped.

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