Category Archives: Technology

Android O Joins Ransomware Battlefield

Android O by Symantec

Android O by Symantec

I read an interesting article about Android O and its joining the battlefield against Ransomware but first I’m addressing the big issue, well not really THE big one but still a sticking point. Lots of people are second guessing Android O’s name I’m still banking on Android Oreo with an Android KitKat style tie in deal. Lots of others are saying it will be Oatmeal Cookie because Orea is a trade mark, but that didn’t stop them with Kitkat. My second guess would be Opal Fruit but that’s also another tie in. I don’t know if Opal is global or not, and in lots of parts of the world Opal is a car company, so less than ideal. 

Back on the topic of Ransomware, Google has decided certain vendors are cretins and not heeding their security warnings and utilising protective features so staring with Android 8.0 (Oreo :P), they are going deprecate (remove) certain things and give us another some beastly weapons. Android 8.0 is due to be released early in the last quarter of 2017. Google will be killing the following Window Types: TYPE_SYSTEM ALERT, TYPE_SYSTEM_ERROR and TYPE_SYSTEM_OVERLAY. 

These are basically urgent or critical windows which appear on top of any other running window, think of Windows modal pop ups where you MUST click to close it, or something like a Blue Screen of Death message that sort of thing. These are the window types which Ransomware often use to lock users out of their devices. 

Permission Classifications

Previously there were only two classifications for permissions, which were Normal Permissions and Dangerous Permissions. Normal permissions were simple things like access the phones IR Sensor, Alter the Time Zone, Set A Wallpaper. Dangerous Permissions are like Access the Camera, Use the Microphone or get phones GPS Location etc. 

Google introduced a third class which they called “Above Dangerous“, really should have been called “Toxic Waste” or “Radioactive” to drive home the danger. As it happens it wouldn’t have made a huge difference since many OEMs decided not to move the toxic permissions into the Above Dangerous category. OEMs are people like Samsung with Touchwhiz and HTC with Sense and the various others who modify Android to their own front end. 

Normal Permissions the Android OS could grant with no interaction from the user, Dangerous Permissions you get the pop up at install time or when needed and had to OK it. Above Dangerous permission requests needed 100% human interaction, apps which required it had to do so by providing instructions where you had to physically go into android settings and carry out the action yourself. Some OEM’s decided this were a hassle to users, and users would prefer paying Ransom in Bitcoins (BTC) to criminals instead.

Google Nuclear Weaponry

Google has been introducing a series of weaponry against Ransonware, in the previous release Android Nougat (7.0) google disabled applications from being able to programmatically change a phones PIN, Security Codes and Passwords. They have now introduced another bunker busting nuke, in case anything does manage to get through and try to lock your screen. The notification bar will always be accessible along with a button which will kill any application trying to hold the screen.

The evidence shows that Ransomware Criminals don’t bother trying to circumvent Googles moves to block them, instead the criminals choose to target older versions. Worst hit are versions Lollipop (5.0) and below, the older the version of android the more targeting it. Jellybean, Ice Cream Sandwich and KitKat are the hardest hit. This would show Google is slowly nailing all the hatches shut.

 

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Are You Apples New Cash Cow or Dongle Buyer

Splitter Keeper Keyring

Splitter Keeper Keyring

Its no secret I’m not an Apple fanboi, more about their alledged theft of *nix code and theft of other peoples ideas and products (see the info graphic at the bottom). I’ve also been saying for a while since Steve Jobs passed, Apple has lost its creativity and innovation, no new products since this time kinda reinforced this opinion. All they have done is made them larger and thinner and much of the same-same. The recent lapse in updates from their portable market where they were effectively selling 3-4 yr old technology for modern day prices and other such shyster moves adds to the pile. 

However it appears Apple has been slowly been creating its new cash-cow in the background built on top of Jobs work. Much like a wolf in sheep clothing they disguised it as a feature and enhancement to make their products thinner and lighter with the promise of better products.

It seems its been more about moving the fan bois and fan girls into kill box as it were. Sheep to the Slaughter.  

Apples New “Cash Cow” Product

Apple iDongle List

Apple iDondle List by  Drew Breunig

It seems the new product from Apple, is iDongle or rather iDongles. Currently none of the flagship products are able to communicate with each other, straight out of the box without a middleman.

What happened exactly to “it just works” ?. 

I challenge you to link your new iPhone 7 to a Macbook without needing a middle-man to handle the exchange.

Challenge #2, show me how you charge your Macbook, and connect to a printer ?

Challenge #3, show me how you charge your iPhone and listen to music with your supplied earphones ? 

While everyone were getting their rocks off about how “shiny and slender” or “pretty and dainty” the new Apple products were because they removed this connector and that connector. All because those connectors were big and bulky, but it seems secretly Apple were positioning their new product line.

From Drew Breunig’s Twitter Post (image right), that’s a tonne of different connectors and dongles you need to make all your Apple products work together. Don’t forget there are Firewire, USB, USB-C, Lightening, New Lightening, Magsafe, VGA, HDMI, HDMI Mini, 3.5mm Jack, Micro USB and Mini USB off the top of my head, possibly other connectors too.

Out of the 17, yes SEVENTEEN dongles that Apple has released, NONE of them make a common task like charger, printer and speakers all connected at once possible. The most you can connect is 2 devices, for more than that, you need to Daisy Chain them, and link 2 or 3 different dongles, and CHING CHING, you’re being milked by Apple like a good cash cow. 

Secondary Market

Uncourage with Adaptor

Uncourage with Adaptor

Apple has recognised that even fan bois and fan girls are showing discontent, so they have reducing the price of cable bag you now need, some discounted 50% or more. This doesn’t change the fact you need carry a tonne of connectors, the fact many many people are losing the connectors but I guess it is a little less painful on the wallet… not much though.

This has spawned a secondary market of new gadgets. When I say new gadgets I more mean a re-appropriation of an old DJ Gadget. 

One of my friends who is a DJ were ALWAYS losing his keys, so back in the late 1990s he made a keyring with a Headphone Jack, some speaker wire, a ring loop and a small carabena and stuck his keys into a spare jack point so he always knew where they were. The same guy also had one of those whistler things on his keys so he could find them in the dark. He even had a sample whistle he used to play via the club speakers to light them up. 

I saw some years later a better constructed version of this, or a more highly polished remake. Back on track a company called Uncourage took this old method and created a keeper for your required 3.5mm speaker dongle, so you don’t lose it so easy or so often.

I used to have one of those pictured, which includes the safety keeper and a splitter for a few quid. 

A History of Apple Theft

Take note of Steve Jobs quote about Apple Shamelessly stealing good ideas 😉

Idea's Apple Stole and Claimed for Their Own

Idea’s Apple Stole and Claimed for Their Own

Infographic by Best Masters Programs

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.