Android

Another coordinated malware attack on Android devices has been detected. This particular family of malware has evolved through at least three modifications, each apparently to evade the defenses and tools that have been created to prevent their infection of Android devices, and make their removal very difficult, if not impossible.

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Now that smart devices, including smart phones and tablets, have arguably become the most widely used devices now in use to surf the Web, it may be time for those users to consider an alternative browser, rather than the one that came factory installed on their devices. As has typically happened on desktops and laptops regardless of the operating system, the default Internet browser is the one that tends to be most widely used, as many users are either unaware or reluctant to try another browser.

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In recent weeks, at least two potentially frightening new vulnerabilities have been discovered that could threaten an estimated 95 percent of the one billion devices running the Android operating system. The good news is that as of this writing, there have been no documented attacks on Android devices that take advantage of these two security vulnerabilities.

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At a recent meeting, I was asked to put together a presentation on my favorite Android apps. While all of the people present had a smart phone of some type, about three quarters of those present had some form of Android phone, while about one-fourth had an iPhone of some type. What brought about this request was a discussion that we were having, and using selected apps on my phone, I was able to come up with answers and resolve problems faster than anyone else present.

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Weeks ago in this column, I reviewed several Android and iPhone apps that can be used to possibly locate lost or stolen phones and tablets. While several of the apps were free, most were limited in capabilities without a paid, usually nominal, subscription fee. Now Google, known for its innovation and services, has offered a pair of very simple and free ways to locate almost any lost or stolen Android device, totally for free. 

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In recent months, I have written several columns about Internet and smart device privacy issues. Apparently, a large number of popular apps for both Android and Apple iOS devices utilize access to personal information of various types for other than the legitimate functioning of those apps.

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If you have a smartphone or tablet, there is about a 75 percent chance that it is running some form of the Android operating system. As of last year, the latest figures available, the installed user base of Android powered devices, both existing and newly sold, is more than Windows, Mac OS X, and Apple iOS devices combined. More than 81 percent of all smartphones sold in 2013 were running the Android operating system. For those who may be unaware, Android is an open source Google product, based on the established Linux kernel.

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About a year ago, I wrote about my then new favorite real-time smart phone road routing program Waze. At the time, Google had recently purchased Waze from its Israeli developer for over a billion dollars, a princely sum that the developer generously shared with his handful of employees.

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