Look out for Android “police” malware

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The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has issued some advice on how to remove Android-Trojan.Koler.A Malware that displays a warning message which appears to come from the police.

You will know your device is infected when a pop appears on your screen displaying a warning message, which claims to come from the police or other crime agencies.

The pop up states that your device been locked, and can be unlocked if you pay a fine. This type of malware is designed to prevent you from accessing your home screen as well as other apps on your Android device. The malware achieves this by disabling the back space button.

How do if get infected?

This type of malware can only infect your device if you install it, usually through the download of a new application.

One method seen is being asked to download new video software to view premium videos. Once accepted the Trojan launches a browser, which briefly displays the logo of the app it is impersonating. Whilst the download is occurring, the Trojan accesses the phones Geolocation to establish the country you live in, it also takes note of your IMEI number.

How to remove the malware?

This type of malware can be removed from your phone and it is recommended that you don’t pay to remove the warning message, as it is unlikely to resolve the issue.

Two methods:

1. Although the back space button is disabled there is a limited period (5secs) given to access the home screen where the app can be uninstalled. This is done by pressing the home screen button, navigating to the app, then dragging it to the top of the screen where the uninstall control is located.

2. Removal can also take place by booting the device in safe mode and then uninstalling the app.

Not all Android devices will have the same method to enable safe mode, it is recommended that you check how to do this based on your device make and model.

Although the malware can be removed, fraudsters will still have gained your IMEI number. IMEI is a 15 or 17 digit unique number to identify mobile devices, as well as some other devices. It is usually found printed on the phones back under the battery.

If you think you have been a victim of this type of fraud you should report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre. Please state the device being used, the website and the application downloaded.

Apple enlists ‘Chinese authorities and 200 security men’ to catch leakers

peoples-phone-apple-iphone-6-concept

Apple has launched the mother of all crackdowns on its ever more porous supply chain, one of the world’s premier iDevice leak artistes claims, as more and more details of the iPhone 6 surface online ahead of its debut later this year.

Just today, what look very much like the first images of the backplate for the next-gen handset are doing the rounds on tech blogs and the mainstream media.

And in recent weeks, we’ve been treated to a series of snaps of the handset’s screen, alongside a welter of dummy devices based on Apple schematics.

But, fun as it is to get sneaky looks at Apple kit, we shouldn’t expect this state of peak leakiness to last forever. Not according to perennial thorn in Apple’s side Sonny Dickson anyway, who has uncovered evidence that the tech giant is ramping up its efforts to stem the tide.

According to tweets from Sonny, whose track record with iPhone leaks is exemplary, Apple has approached Chinese governing bodies and has enlisted the services of 200 security officers to catch anyone selling accessories, such as cases, to media bods and bloggers.

Leaked cases for the iPhone 6 were crucial to the dummy, mock-up smarties that have been making tech-news waves of late.

Apple’s tightening-up programme comes as more and more phone-makers, such as HTC, seemingly look to plug leaks with a more aggressive approach.

Earlier this year, HTC, whose One M8 was probably history’s most-leaked handset, came down hard on a teen blogger who posted a pre-release walkthrough video of the phone. The video wasn’t up for much longer after that….!

 

 

 

 

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Samsung K zoom goes on sale

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The Galaxy K zoom will be the second from the manufacturer to combine a smartphone and follows the Galaxy S4 Zoom from last year. It will go on sale in the UK from tomorrow, available from networks and retailers on peoplesphone.co.uk.
 
The Korean manufacturer unviled the product at the end of last month and is the second from the firm to combine a smartphone and a digital camera following the release of the Galaxy S4 Zoom last July.
 
The Galaxy K Zoom is powered by a combined 1.3GHz quad-core and 1.7 dual-core processor, runs the Android 4.4 KitKat OS and has a 4.8-inch HS touchscreen.
 
There is a 20.7 megapixel rear camera that comes with retracting lens technology that provides 10x optical zoom. It includes ‘Optical Image Stabliser’ to reduce blur caused by movement and a Xenon flash that Samsung said provides a brighter light than LEDs.
 
Camera features include ‘Auto Focus/Auto Exposure Separation’ which the company said provides the right balance of light and clarity, ‘Pro Suggest mode’ which offers 10 optimised filter settings and ‘Selfie Alarm’ so users can take timed selfies of themselves.
 
Other features on the device include video recording and playback in HD, ‘Ultra Power Saving Mode’ to minimise battery consumption, 2GB of RAM and 8GB of internal memory that can be expanded by up to 64GB with a microSDXC card.

 

  

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Mobile firms urged to unlock phones

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Customers who have reached the end of their mobile phone contract should have their phones unlocked from the network for free, says consumer group Which?

It believes that keeping phones locked prevents customer finding a better deal by switching providers.

Pay-as-you-go mobiles should not be locked at all, it said.

One mobile operator said its phones were locked to prevent fraudulent activity.

When a mobile phone is purchased from an operator it is locked to that particular network until the contract expires or until the customer requests it is unlocked. This means the phone will not work if the Sim card from another network is used in the device.

Which? said that companies should also be forced to tell customers which is the best deal for them once their current contract has expired.

“Mobile phones are an essential part of daily life for many people and consumers shouldn’t be locked into contracts that do not suit their usage,” said Which? executive director Richard Lloyd.

‘We want to send a message to mobile phone companies that they should help customers get a better deal by alerting people that their contracts are about to end and by unlocking handsets for free.”

Some 70% of the 2,100 people surveyed told Which? that if companies did unlock phones at the end of contracts it would encourage them to find a deal that was better value for money.

Currently mobile phone operators charge to have phones unlocked and generally will do so only if a customer requests it.

O2 does not charge customers who are on a contract but levy a £15 fee for pay-as-you-go users. “Pay and Go handsets may be subsidised at point of sale and can be exploited for fraudulent purposes through box breaking. Our charge to unlock the phone covers the handset subsidy, the administrative costs of unlocking, but also acts as a deterrent for fraud activity,” an O2 spokesperson told the BBC.

Box breaking is the name given to the purchase of locked handsets that are then unlocked and sold at a profit to dealers overseas where there are little or no subsidies on phones.

EE charges both contract and pay-as-you-go customers £20.42 to unlock a handset and will only unlock a phone after six months. Vodafone charges its customers £19.99 to unlock their devices. Three said that since January all its devices were now sold unlocked and anyone who purchased a handset before this time could get it unlocked free of charge.

Peoplesphone.co.uk says that even with an upfront charge for unlocking a mobile, the savings should quickly outweigh the outlay. It could also give you better access to promotional deals and potentially make it cheaper to use a phone overseas as foreign Sim cards could be used in the device.

 

 

 

Mobile phone companies must unlock better deals for their customers

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Which? launches a new campaign to help people Unlock Better Mobile Deals as they find many don’t trust their provider to put them on the right deal for their usage.

New Which? research reveals only four in 10 (40%) currently trust their mobile phone provider to put them on the best deal for their usage at the end of their contract, and many think it is unfair phones are locked to one provider.

One in ten (12%) weren’t confident when taking out their contract that it was the best tariff for them and four in ten (42%) think there is probably a better value tariff for their usage than the one they’re currently on, suggesting mobile phone companies could be doing more to help people identify the best deal for them.

When Which? surveyed mobile companies, the majority don’t contact customers proactively about the date their contract is due to end, but more than half (53%) of people said they would like to be notified.

Seven in ten (69%) said this would make them spend more time considering deals or haggling with their current provider and many (78%) also said this would prompt them to put more time into finding a deal that is better value for money.

Mobile phone companies also tend to charge people to unlock their phone and will often only do it when asked, which can act as a barrier to switching. However, two thirds (66%) think it’s unfair that phones are locked to the provider’s network and three-quarters (77%) say it’s frustrating that phones need to be unlocked to use them on a different network. Eight in 10 (82%) think providers should unlock a phone for free when the contract comes to an end.

Which? want mobile phone companies to:

Unlock the best possible deal: Provide customers with their contract expiry date, one month’s notice before their contract ends, and details of all the available deals to best match their needs.

Unlock handsets for free: Sell pay as you go handsets unlocked and automatically unlock contract phones for free at the end of the contract.

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said: “Mobile phones are an essential part of daily life for many people and consumers shouldn’t be locked into contracts that do not suit their usage. We want to send a message to mobile phone companies that they should help customers get a better deal by alerting people that their contracts are about to end and by unlocking handsets for free.”

People can support the campaign at www.which.co.uk/unlockmobiles

Which? also found wide variation in the rules around unlocking handsets between providers, in particular around cost. Virgin told them it charges £15.32 to unlock pay as you go phones, while Tesco charges £20 within the first 12 months, and although O2 charges £15 for pay as you go users, those with a contract can have it done free of charge at any time. GiffGaff and Three provide all devices unlocked. They think all mobile phone providers should offer this service for free at the end of a contract and at point of sale for pay as you go phones.

As always you can compare all the available deals on mobile phones at peoplesphone.co.uk to ensure you are getting the best value for your current circumstances.

 

 

 

 

 

Apple to buy Dr Beats

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Apple today announced it has agreed to acquire the critically acclaimed subscription streaming music service Beats Music, and Beats Electronics, which makes the popular Beats headphones, speakers and audio software.
 
As part of the acquisition, Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre will join Apple. Apple is acquiring the two companies for a total of $3 billion, consisting of a purchase price of approximately $2.6 billion and approximately $400 million that will vest over time.
 
“Music is such an important part of all of our lives and holds a special place within our hearts at Apple,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “That’s why we have kept investing in music and are bringing together these extraordinary teams so we can continue to create the most innovative music products and services in the world.”
 
“I’ve always known in my heart that Beats belonged with Apple,” said Jimmy Iovine. “The idea when we started the company was inspired by Apple’s unmatched ability to marry culture and technology. Apple’s deep commitment to music fans, artists, songwriters and the music industry is something special.”
 
Iovine has been at the forefront of innovation in the music industry for decades, and he has been an instrumental partner for Apple and iTunes for more than a decade. He has produced or collaborated with some of the most successful artists in the history of the iTunes Store, helping make it the world’s number one music retailer. Iovine and Dr. Dre are sound pioneers, artists and entrepreneurs.
 
Beats Electronics has brought the energy, emotion and excitement of playback in the recording studio back to the listening experience and has introduced an entirely new generation to premium sound entertainment. Beats Music was developed by a team of people who have each spent their entire career in music and provides music fans with an incredible curated listening experience.
 
“Music is such an important part of Apple’s DNA and always will be,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “The addition of Beats will make our music lineup even better, from free streaming with iTunes Radio to a world-class subscription service in Beats, and of course buying music from the iTunes Store as customers have loved to do for years.”
 
In just five years since launch, the Beats “b” has become the brand of choice in the music and sports worlds, and is the market leader in the premium headphone market. Music superstars including Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj have designed their own customised Beats headphones and speakers. Fashion designers and street artists such as Alexander Wang, Futura and Snarkitecture have collaborated on special limited products, while renowned athletes including LeBron James, Serena Williams and Neymar use Beats as a critical part of their training and game day process. Beats has quickly become part of pop culture in the US and with the acquisition the Beats product lineup will be offered in many more countries through the Apple Online Store, Apple’s retail stores and select Apple Authorised Resellers.
 
Formally established in 2008 as the brainchild of legendary artist and producer Dr. Dre and Chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records Jimmy Iovine, Beats Electronics (Beats) comprises the Beats by Dr. Dre family of premium consumer headphones, earphones, and speakers as well as patented Beats Audio software technology and streaming music subscription service Beats Music. Through these offerings, Beats has effectively brought the energy, emotion and excitement of playback in the recording studio to the listening experience and has introduced an entirely new generation to the possibilities of premium sound entertainment.
 
Beats Music is a subscription streaming music service that focuses on providing a personalised music experience for each user through a unique blend of digital innovation and musical passion. Programmed by a trusted team of well-respected music experts with over 300 years of experience across all genres, Beats Music delivers the right music for any situation, any time, and any preference, personalised to your tastes. The result is an artist-friendly digital music service that does more than simply offer access to music, but one that establishes an emotional connection to it as well.
 
Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.
 

LG unveils flagship G3 smartphone

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LG has unveiled its G3 smartphone – the follow-up to last year’s flagship G2 device.

 

Carphone Warehouse, O2 and Three have become the first UK retailers to confirm stock of the handset, with it going on sale from early July. It will be available in black, white, gold, violet and red, with pricing to be announced in due course.

The G3 was unveiled last night at launch events taking place in six cities around the world – London, New York, San Francisco, Seoul, Singapore and Istanbul.

It is powered by a 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and runs the latest Android 4.4.2 KitKat operating system.

The smartphone has a 5.5-inch Quad HD screen with a pixel density of 538ppi, which LG said is four times the resolution of HD and almost two times the resolution than a full HD screen.

It has a 13-megapixel rear camera with Optical Image Stabilisation’ for steadier images, as well as ‘Laser Auto Focus’, which enables the G3 to take a picture by measuring the distance between the subject and the camera using a laser beam.

LG has also added a feature whereby rather than having to focus on a subject in preview mode and then pressing the shutter button, tapping the subject to focus will simultaneously also trigger the shutter.

There is also a 2.1-megapixel camera, with LG adding gesture controls to those who are fans of ‘selfies’. When a user is ready to shoot, they can clench their hand into a fist and the G3 will recognise that and begin a three-second countdown.

A number of other features have also been added with the aim of simplifying usability. ‘Smart Keyboard’ reduces input errors by up to three quarters by tracking and analysing typing habits and “knowing” what word the user intended to type.

‘Smart Notice’ reminds a user of a missed call and asks if they would like to call the person back. It will also ask them if they would like to delete or uninstall unused files or apps that might be taking up too much space on the phone.

A number of security features are included too. Knock Code lets users unlock their device with a pattern of taps, with users creating a personalised code that can be entered anywhere on the screen. When the G3 is connected to a PC, ‘Content Lock’ prevents file previews so data is hidden from view. ‘Kill Switch’ enables users to disable their phones remotely if it is lost or stolen.

 

   

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O2 no extra cost for 4g on prepay

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O2 has launched a range of new prepay tariffs which include 4G data for the same price as 3G data, undercutting rival EE.

Its ‘Big Bundles’ PAYG tariffs are available in three different bands costing either £10, £15 or £20 per month. The entry-level price will offer users 100 minutes, 1000 texts and 500MB of 3G data.


For £15 per month customers will get 200 minutes, 2000 texts and 1GB of 3G or 4G data. For an additional £5 per month, all these allowances would be doubled. A variety of bolt-ons are also available including 100MB of data for £3, 500 MB and 20 picture messages for £6, or 1GB of data and 50 picture messages for £10.


This is the first time that O2 has made no differentiation between the price of its 3G and 4G data on prepay and is a further sign that the service is now mainstream. It has also differentiated its pricing from 4G market leader EE.


EE launched the UK’s first 4G prepay contracts in October 2013. It currently offers 1,000 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of 4G data for £16.99 per month, while for £3 per month extra customers can double their data allowance.


Meanwhile, all Three customers who have a 4G enabled handset and can receive a 4G signal, also get the service at no extra cost.
O2 ‘Big Bundles’ will be available from Thursday 29th May 2014.

Check the availability and latest deals for o2 here

 

 

 

 

Apple iPhone ‘ransomware’ hack

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An iPhone feature designed to discourage theft by letting users shut down their smartphone remotely has reportedly being compromised by hackers using it to hold mobiles to ransom.

 

Posts from Apple’s official support forums describe how users’ Find My iPhone feature (also available for the iPad) has been hijacked by fraudsters who shut down the gadget before demanding money over PayPal.

“I was using my iPad a short while ago when suddenly it locked itself,” wrote a user from Melbourne. “I went to check my phone and there was a message on the screen (it’s still there) saying that my device(s) had been hacked by ‘Oleg Pliss’ and he/she/they demanded $100 USD/EUR (sent by PayPal to lock404(at)hotmail.com) to return them to me.”

Other users responded with stories of similar hacks, some noting that troubleshooting tips suggested by Apple helped them regain control of their mobile, while others complained that these steps had only worked temporarily, with the hackers regaining control soon after.

The first reports on the Apple forum were posted on 26 May with multiple individuals reporting identical hacks by someone identifying themselves as ‘Oleg Pliss’. One user noted that this is the name of a well-known San Francisco-based software engineer, suggesting perhaps that the hacker is familiar with professional computing circles.

The vast majority of complaints have come from Australia, but the problem might be spreading. One individual said they were based in New Zealand while another named Werewabbit said “I live in the UK and this has also happened to me yesterday. Very worrying. And not a peep from Apple yet.”

The hack doesn’t appear to be limited to a single network operator and with Apple declining to comment it’s not clear where the security breach might have occurred.

Speaking to Australian news site WAtoday, IT security expert Troy Hunt suggested that the hacks might be caused by individuals re-using passwords lost in previous data breaches for their iCloud account, the Apple log-in system that grants access to the Find My iPhone feature.

“Regardless of how difficult someone believes a password is to guess, if it’s been compromised in another service and exposed in an unencrypted fashion, then it puts every other service where it has been reused at risk,” Mr Hunt told the paper.

An Apple spokesperson said the company has yet to issue a statement.

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

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Virgin saves customers £1.2 million

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Virgin Media says that users of its VoIP app have made 3 million minutes worth of calls, saving £1.2 million in the last six months.

Its SmartCall app was launched in October 2013 and Virgin claims that 670,000 calls have been made using the service globally. The app is available to anyone who takes a fixed-line service from Virgin Media.

On average, calls made via the app last four and a half minutes, 80 per cent longer than those made via a standard mobile call. This could be related to the fact that calls on the service are more likely to be made over WiFi, when users are not on the move.

Iphone users have taken to the service in the greatest numbers with 45 per cent of calls made by users of the device, while Samsung users have made one in three of the calls via the service (37 per cent).

Virgin also claims that SmartCall users make one in ten home phone calls via the app.

Joe Lathan, director of broadband and home phone at Virgin Media, said. “It’s great to see SmartCall liberate customers’ landlines and save people money. Whether it is a parent making a SmartCall home when working abroad or the kids using WiFi to save their pre-pay minutes, using our free app is a smart call. This gives Virgin Media customers another way to harness the power of their superfast broadband when at home and take the value of their landline with them wherever they go in the world.”

 

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