Android 6.0 (Marshmallow)

Android 6.0 (Marshmallow)

Android Marshmallow

Hear is how to fix failed upgrades, solve wireless-connectivity problems and bring back a ‘bricked’ device on Googles new OS Marshmallow

Marshmallow upgrade unavailable

Sometimes you might have to force your device to manually check for the update. To do this you will want to Launch settings, tap ‘About Phone’ (or ‘About’), followed by ‘System Updates’, the ‘Check for Update’. If you don’t get offered the chance to update, then you will have to wait for your devices manufacture to make the new update available unfortunately this can take weeks or months. If you are tired of waiting you might be able to download the Marshmallow system image and manually force the update. This can be very complicated and the method can vary a lot between devices, so you will be best searching google how to do the update on your particular device.

Upgrade failed or phone unusable

How you recover your device from a failed upgrade depends on what went wrong, if your device is still working normally simply try again but make sure your device is plugged in and has a stable and reliable internet connection – Wi-Fi is generally better then using 3G/4G. If your device has crashed and is frozen on one screen or won’t turn on, you can reset it by holding down the power key, volume down for about 10 seconds. If this does not work and you think your device might be ‘bricked’, try and boot in to Recovery Mode: holding down both the volume up and down buttons and holding the power button for about 5 seconds, if it works you will see a text based interface that you will navigate using the volume buttons and power button as enter. From this menu you can reboot your device or wipe and restore it to factory settings.

Notations work intermittently

If you feel that the notification are less reliable in Android 6.0 you might not be imagining it: In Marshmallow there is a new battery-saving feature called Doze but has the side effect of stopping some of your apps from behaving how you might want them to. So to stop it go to settings, then Battery, followed by the menu button (The three dots, top right). Then Choose ‘Battery optimization’, tap ‘Not optimized’, then choose ‘All apps’. You then want to tap on the apps whose notifications are affected, then choose the ‘Don’t optimise’ button, then tap ‘Done’

Can’t Connect to 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi

Wireless connectivity problems are nothing new for Android devices, but Marshmallow has done little to fix them. If you can’t get a signal, then you should try turning the relevant connection on and off. To get to Android’s Quick Settings your simply have to swipe down with two fingers from the top of the screen. You will then want to tap on the Wi-Fi or mobile-connection, wait a few seconds then press the icon again to switch the antenna back on. If this does not work you can always try resting your device by holding the power and the volume down button for about 10 seconds. If this does not work last resort would be to launch settings, tap ‘Backup & reset’, followed by ‘Networking settings reset’, then ‘Reset settings’.

USB connection doesn’t work

With earlier Android versions you could simply connect your device to your PC via USB and as long as your device was unlocked you could use Windows Explorer to navigate the folders on your device. In Marshmallow, you will have to do a bit more work. From the home screen, swipe down from the top left, tap ‘USB for charging’ then choose either the ‘Transfer files (MTP)’ or ‘Transfer photos (PTP)’ button.

Camera app won’t launch

Unfortunately, there is no single fix for the ‘Can’t connect to the camera’ error message in Android 6.0 – it is simply a bug that Google need to hurry up and fix. While you are waiting the one sure fire way to clear the error is to restart your device, just hold down the power button, then tap power off, then turn device back on. You can take some preventative steps to stop it from happening. If you are using apps other than the Camera app that can use the devices lens, then close them before launching the Camera: just tap on Recants Button then swipe left or right across the apps you want to shut down.

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Switched You Phone Off? Hackers Can Still Spy On You

Switched You Phone Off? Hackers Can Still Spy On You

Andriod

Security experts have detected a type of Android malware that is tricking people in to thinking they have turned off their phone.

When you press the ‘Power off’ button the malware will show you a fake box designed to look like the real Android ‘Power off’ Menu.

The phone then shows a black screen, and looks like it has been switched off. You won’t see any notifications or get any alert sounds.

However the phone is still switched on. The malware has actually inserted a line of code into the Android’s shutting down process that lets the hackers remotely access the devices, theoretically allowing them to do what ever they wanted to your device.

They could for example, make calls and send text messages to a premium-rate number, which could cost you a small fortune. In effect, your phone becomes a device the hackers can use to spy on you.

The malware which has yet to be named was discovered by security researchers at AVG. In a blog post they said it originated in an unofficial Android app store in China, infecting devices when users downloaded the malicious apps. AVG said the malware has already infected 10,000 devices worldwide, all of them running Android KitKat (4.4) or earlier, but they did not reveal which apps contain the malware.

The best way to stay safe is make sure you only install apps from the Google Play Store.

AVG said that its free ‘Antivirus for Android’ app will find and remove the malware. Other security experts have said the only way to be completely sure your phone is off it to remove the battery but this is not always possible on the new smart phones.

Unlike the criminals behind ransomware, these devious hackers don’t want you to know your device is infected, because the longer you remain oblivious, the more money they can steal off you. It is relatively easy to stay safe, Rather than just removing your battery at the end of every night, which is not always possible, simply restrict your app downloads to the Goole Play Store. Hackers are now finding it a lot harder to smuggle malicious apps past Googles Security.

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How to Spot a Fake App

How to Spot a Fake App

watch-out-for-fake-android-apps

We all need to be careful as the next app we download could be a dangerous Trojan. Below I will explain how to spot fake or malicious apps for your phone or tablet.

Android malware is on the rise. Kasperkys (in partnership with Interpol) latest Mobile Cyber Threats Survey found there were six times the amount of malicious apps in July 2014 than in August 2013.

You can see the attraction of targeting Android devices from a hacker’s point of view. Your Android devices contains things like your personal details, logins and passwords, private notes, messages and of cause your photos, it could even be linked to your bank account or credit card too.

Hackers simply have to create a Trojan and disguise it as something you might want and they can then get their hands on all that valuable data. Facebook fakes, video apps and too-good-to-be-true antivirus apps are circulating in there thousands right now, just waiting for you to download and install them.

Hackers, like all conmen, give themselves away by making simple mistakes.

Its ‘Facebook’ but not as you know it

Genuine social apps never ask for 'device administrator' permissions

Genuine social apps never ask for ‘device administrator’ permissions

Mobile malware makers love Facebook. According to Cheetah Mobile the makers of Clean Master, no fewer than 15,000 fake social networking and messaging Android apps have appeared between January and August 2014, More than half of these were dodgy Facebook clones. Thousands more are pretending to be WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram.

Hackers use the apps to steal your username and password, which they assume you are probably going to use the same details on other accounts to.

Malicious clones often have really poor spelling and badly reproduced branding, but you might not always notice this until its to late and you have downloaded the app and entered your password and username. By that time its to late as the app has done its job.

There are a few ways to check and see if a big-name app is the real thing before downloading it. First, see how many people have downloaded if from the Google Play Store. At the time of writing this the real Facebook app for Android has been downloaded almost 23 million times. If you are looking at a ‘Facebook’ app that has only been downloaded 200 times or only has a few “user” reviews its not the real deal.

You need to be wary of believing everything you read in the Play Store reviews. It’s very easy for app developers to buy fake reviews and ratings from feed back touts like App Reviews Mart, and get 5 star reviews from BestReviewApp. If in doubt its always best to click on the reviews name and see what else they have reviewed. If all there reviews are worded exactly the same or sound suspiciously generic (“Great App, Just what I needed”), take them with a large pinch of salt. You can report apps, reviews or comments that you think are suspicious to Google.

Lots of generic, short reviews may be a sign of a fake app

Lots of generic, short reviews may be a sign of a fake app

It’s not in the Google Play Store

If you are not sure that the brilliantly reviewed, but badly spelled app is legitimate, bookmark the Play Store page and then come back to it a few days latter. Fake apps don’t last long in the Play Store. Those that are not blocked instantly by Google’s app-scanning tool, Bouncer are usually removed within a few days according to F-Secure latest Mobile Threat Report.

Google can’t police the entire Internet; so bogus apps always find other ways to get distributed, like Facebook comments, emails, online adverts or an independent Android app website like AppBrain. All the fake apps identified by Cheetah, were downloaded from outside they Play Store.

Never download apps via adverts or links in Facebook Comments

Never download apps via adverts or links in Facebook Comments

Independent Android sites are not always dangerous, but please bare in mind they don’t scan the apps as thoroughly as Google. Earlier this year security firm Opswat found a third of all Android apps outside the Plat Store were infected with malware.

Similarly, if you are using an iPad you should only download apps from the App Store and iTunes (not that you get much choice). The tightly controlled nature of iOS tends to prohibit third party app markets and this helps keep hackers at bay, which I think is a good thing.

It’s too Good to be True

Hackers know that we can all be slaves to our desires, so if they promise to give you exactly what you want, you are less likely to trust your better instincts.

In June of last year, Ransomeware on Android arrived in the shape of Simlocker Trojan; it was packaged as a porn-video app. Not long after that, hacker’s striked again this time exploiting political fervor by spreading spyware among Hong Kong protesters, who thought they were downloading a pro-democracy app.

The Angry Birds Transformers app contained a "vandal' Trojan that destroyed data

The Angry Birds Transformers app contained a “vandal’ Trojan that destroyed data

You also need to be on the lookout for apparent collaborations, because in September last year, there was a new Angry Birds app called Angry Birds Transformers in the Google Play Store, which turned out to contain the Elite Trojan. Security researchers at Dr Web discovered the Trojan in October Last year and they categorized the Trojan as a “Vandal Program” as it destroys the victim’s data. When you launched the app for the 1st time it would ask for ‘device administrator’ permissions (These are normally only needed by apps that let you lock or wipe your phone remotely) and then immediately format your SD card if you have one installed, and block all of your messaging apps.

If an app ever says it can remove all of the manufactured pre-installed software with out you having to root you device or reveal who is looking at your Facebook profile, its lying!!

 

You Have Never Heard of it

New apps from companies you have never heard of that promise the earth are very unlikely to be what they seam. According to Kaspersky, fake antivirus apps are a big problem.

April Last Year, an antivirus app, called Virus Shield by the developer Deviant Solutions managed to sneak through Google’s app scanner and it was downloaded 30,000 times, and cost £2.38 the app its self was not malicious but it was totally useless (expect to its developer who became quite rich from it). When the scam was found Google was forced to refund all of the 30,000 customers who had purchased it.

Don’t be tempted by ‘novel’ antivirus apps. Most of the big antivirus companies out there make safe reliable tools to help protect your devices from malware and fake apps; they are also regularly updated to help keep your devices safe from the latest treats.

So be aware of the apps you are downloading are what they say they are. Stay safe and keep alert for the scammers, all they want is your money and to cause as much trouble as they can!!!!

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Apple Watch

Apple Watch

After lots of rumours Apple have at last announced their first smartwatch, but is this just an expensive gimmick or a tech breakthrough?

Dif Versions OF Apples Watch

What is it?

This is Apples latest attempt to reinvent the world of technology, and persuade you in to emptying your banks. Scepticism aside, the Apple Watch might just surprise everyone, and not just because its not called the iWatch.

Whys that then?

apple watch activity appBecause it’s jammed packed with features that sound really good. It can runs apps, will notify you when you get a message just like all good smartwatches, but apple have put there stamp on the smartwatch with things like a touchscreen that is ‘force-sensitive’, this allows the screen to distinguish between a light tap or a press. To control what’s on the screen you use a dial on the side which Apple have called the Digital Crown, it also has a heart-rate tracker which can be used to measure things like calories burned.

One of the most impressive innovations would have to be the ‘Taptic Engine’; that tells you when you have a notification, by tapping you on the wrist. Apple has said you will feel a tactile sensation and each notification interaction is recognisably different.” It can even act as a walking navigation aid, tapping a different pattern on your wrist when you need to turn left or right. These do sound like genuinely useful features and not just gimmicks, and at the very least should help reduce the number of smartphone zombies lumbering blindly through the streets.

The watch does look nice, with its stainless steel case and can be used with any of the stylish straps making is easy to find a style to suite everyone’s taste. And best of all it tells the time

Apples Video Introducing Apple Watch

Do you need any other Apple products to use it?

You need to have an iPhone 5 (or later) to ‘pair’ with the watch. That’s not the only drawback. Experts are suspicious about battery life, as Apples boss Tim Cook never mentioned this at the watches reveal. An Apple source has said it will need to be charged every day.

How much will it cost?

When it launches in the US next year it will be around $349, that converts to around £215, but is most likely to be priced a lot higher when it arrives in the UK next year. There is also the Edition range comprising of six 18-carat gold watches with a polished sapphire crystal display. Apple have yet to say just how much they are going to be, but my guess is a lot, so if you want one you had better get saving now!!!!

Is it like wearing an iPhone on your wrist?

Time Cook said at the big reveal they did not want to just shrink the iPhone and strap it on your wrist. Smartwatches are portable computers like a smartphone is the screens are just way to small, But they can be a very usefull companion to a smartphone or tablet.

Should you buy one?

Not if you are an Android users, you will have to wait till a decent watch running Android Wear. The new Moto 360 for £199.99 looks good.
Even if you are an iOS user, I would wait till the second version so they can work out all of the bugs.

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Celebrity Photo Hack has Raise Security Fears for iCloud Users

Celebrity Photo Hack has Raise Security Fears for iCloud Users

Has the leak of high-profile celebrities private photos made you think twice about what you store online?

iCloud security risk

What happened?

100 celebrities got hacked, which lead to some of them having nude photos being leaked. Jennifer Lawrence, Winona Ryder and Kirstin Dunst were just some of the celebrates that had pictures stolen, and then posted on a message board on 4chan. Some of the photos were confirmed as real by the celebrities, but some clamed the pictures were faked.

At the time of writing, it’s not yet clear just how such a large number of celebrities got hacked in just one go. Initial reports have suggested Apples iCloud was the culprit, as iPhones will automatically sync images to the cloud as part of a back up, and some of the users might not of been aware of this. A security researcher has revealed a way of braking into iPhone accounts that uses a script to guess the password and will not trigger the automatic lockdown if the password is typed in wrong to many times.

In some of the naked selfies that were taken by celebrities, the phone used could be identified as Android and not an iPhone, this suggests the leak was not limited to just the iCloud. The developers behind the iPhone password hack only made the details of the process available the day before the photos got leaked, this left little time to hack so many people, Security experts Rik Ferguson and Trend Micro have suggested the celebrities were victims of a phishing attack instead.

The victims of the hack and people following the story may never get the full answer to how it happened, but the FBI and Apple have both said they will investigate it. Since the hack Apple have added some new security features to their iCloud services called two-step verification to try and stop this in the future. Twitter has suspended several accounts that were posting the stolen nude images, however this did not stop the images from spreading across the web.

How will it affect you?

Don’t try and find or share theses photos as Lawrence has said she will take legal action against anyone that posts the images online, other celebrities may also follow suite.

You might want to consider if your own photos (naked or otherwise) are stored being securely, you should make sure your phone is protected, with a password or PIN. While typing a PIN in every time you want to use your phone might be annoying but if you lose it or it gets stolen you will be glad you took the time to make it secure. When using websites or online services you should always have a complicated password, it might be hard to remember it but you can get password managers like 1Password or LastPass to help you.

If the hack was through iCloud many of the victims might not even realise their photos have been stolen, as they might not know Apple uploads them to its online storage service automatically. You should turn off automated back ups if you have sensitive photos you don’t want leaked.

On iOS:

  • Go to iCloud
  • Settings and then disable Photo Stream

On Android:

  • Open the Photos app
  • Tap Settings
  • Auto-Backup and un-tick ‘Back up local folders

What do I think?

We are all smart with the benefit of hindsight, but I bet most of the celebrities that got hacked will be kicking themselves for being stupid enough to take photos they would not want anyone else to see and then not protect them properly. I bet most of us don’t always take the necessary precautions when it comes to online services, how many of us can say they have a strong and unique password for every site or services we use? Hackers may not be hell-bent on finding naked photos of us (we don’t all have Lawrences figure), but we are all targets, whether it’s for our email logins, eBay account or bank details. We should not blame the victims, instead we should reprimand the hackers and criticise the poor or bad security systems. When iCloud or any other big online services gets hacked they are rarely held responsible, instead we blame the victims for using weak passwords.

I think tech companies could do a lot more to protect their users. Hopefully, this invasive and upsetting hack will be enough to make people think twice about what password they use and how important it is to have secure communications and storage, hopefully tech company’s will understand they need to take better care of their customers, we can all hope right?

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