Mobile Privacy & Security

Apple Reportedly Blocked Police iPhone Hacking Tool and Nobody Knows How

Apple’s latest iteration of iOS has reportedly turned the GrayKey hacking device into an expensive doorstop. Law enforcement around the world has taken to using GrayKey to break into locked iPhones but it appears Apple has finally gotten ahead of the device’s crafty manufacturers. For now.

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One Of the 1st-known Android DDoS malware infects phones in 100 countries

Last year, a series of record-setting attacks hitting sites including KrebsOnSecurity and a French Web host underscored a new threat that had previously gone overlooked: millions of Internet-connected digital video recorders and similar devices that could easily be wrangled into botnets that challenged the resources of even large security services.

Source: One of 1st-known Android DDoS malware infects phones in 100 countries

Are You Being Inundated by Automated Scam Calls on Your Mobile Phone?

There have been rising complaints among consumers regarding the noticeable increase in robocalls over the past few years. Robocalls are cheap to make and garner the services making the calls, millions of dollars in return. Remember the federal "Do Not Call List" which was implemented years ago? Although it does block many fraudulent calls, many calls come from overseas who disregard our laws. The Do Not Call List registry received 4.5 million complaints in 2017, but it's not difficult to understand the tenacity of robocallers when you understand how they try to defraud you; interest rates, credit cards, student loans, business loans, IRS (you owe money to the IRS), search listing, travel, pre-approved loans, home security, and utilities.

I remember when I purchased my first mobile phone. Robocalls were never an interruption to my day. Now it is. I receive up to 5 or 6 robocalls per day; sometimes everyday. My favorite are the calls who use what appear to be local phone numbers in the attempt to make me feel more confident in answering the call. Although some phone companies offer blocking services, not all individuals have access to the blocking tools, free or otherwise, necessary to circumvent robocalls. It will be a difficult problem to resolve across phone networks, but it appears that some state legislators are working to cirumvent companies who are basically coming after your personal information. Rule of thumb: don't give your personal information out to anyone. Companies with whom you do business will not call you and ask for personal information, credit card number or logon information.

Related information: "Google Phone Spam Filtering Beta Program" and "Yes, It's Bad, Robocalls and Their Scams, Are Surging"

Google Phone Spam Filtering Beta Program

Google Phone Spam FilteringIn 2016, the Google phone app began alerting users to potential spam calls via Caller ID by flashing a large red banner, indicating the "call may be from a suspected spammer". The Google phone app maintains a thorough directory of businesses, so if a call is received by a business with bad history, the screen alerts the user that the call may be from a suspected spammer. Users can block the number and report the call as a spammer, and conversely, they can mark it as legitimate.

Google is taking additional steps to help users ignore spam calls by automatically sending them to voicemail instead of letting them ring; filtered calls will appear in history and voicemails will show up in the respective tab. In the coming weeks, Nexus, Pixel and Android One devices will gain spam filtering. Users who want to join the beta will be required to provide in-app feedback as with most beta programs and are reminded that the beta Google Phone app is in development, that it may be unstable and have a few problems. Users wanting to participate in the app can do so by going to the Google Play Store listing for the Phone app and scroll down to “Become a tester” in order to join.

Fake ad blockers in the Chrome store had over 20 million installs

Google removed the impostors from the Web Store after AdGuard revealed their existence.

If you can't find that ad blocker you recently installed from the Chrome Web Store, you might want to do some browser spring cleaning. Google has killed five top-ranking ad blockers after AdGuard published a report revealing they're fake extensions with extra code that harvest info on the websites you visit.

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Beware of Verizon Wireless Scam

Today I got a call that claimed to be from Verizon’s Fraud Department. They claimed that a fraudulent purchase was made on the account out of Florida and that they needed to get my account password. I let the guy  talk, as opposed to just hanging up on them (or falling for the scam and providing him with my account information).

Verizon doesn’t do this. They have an SOP and cold-calling their customers isn’t part of it. Same with calls from barely-understandable  “Technical Support Department” people telling you that a computer in your house has a virus. It’s all a scam.

Anyway, the moral of this story is to treat calls like this with hostile skepticism. Hang up, pick up the phone and call the company in  question directly. Provide the company with the information you secured from the phone call and the number from which they called. You never know who will be helped by this share.

iOS Content Blockers

Mobile device browser content blockers are becoming popular as more websites offer up more advertising in the way of ads and tracking, images, scripts, social media buttons and comments making the browsing experience less than enjoyable. Content blocking has become more popular among consumers and are a way of telling publishers and companies who advertise on websites that they want a less intrusive web experience. There are many ad blocker apps available with some differences in terms of options, and many allowing what is called “whitelisting” for those consumers who want to support sites they visit frequently by allowing advertising impressions.

Some ad blockers are free to download and try out, but to get a full list of features which enable the software more effective, you will need to pay via an in-app purchase.

How does an ad blocker work?

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