Monthly Archives: February 2016

Beware – Android Malware That Erases Your Phone With a Single Text

It’s been a bad week for people’s phones, and it’s not getting any better: A Danish security firm’s found malware that ravages your Android phone with a single text—erasing data or sending rogue calls and texts.

Denmark-based security firm Heimdal detected the malware, called “Mazar,” which sends text messages that include an ostensibly harmless multimedia message link to users. Click through, and it downloads Tor to your phone, and then the actual malware, whose source the Tor software hides. (By the way, a little reminder for living in the twenty-first century, friends: Don’t click on text message links from random senders.)

Heimdal thinks that over 100,000 phones have received the Mazar text in Denmark, the BBC reports, and the firm isn’t yet sure if it’s spread to other countries.

We’ve heard of such one-text menaces targeting Android before. Last year, a University of Cambridge study found that 85 percent of Android devices could face at least one crucial security vulnerability. This report is just the latest confidence crusher threatening the operating system’s security.



Hulu Comes To Windows 10

Hulu’s streaming service was already available on nearly all major platforms, including desktop, mobile, tablet, gaming consoles and other TV-connected devices. However, it was lacking support for one major computing platform: Windows 10. That changes today, as Microsoft and Hulu announce a new version of Hulu application, which includes Windows 10 specific features like Live Tiles and universal voice search via Cortana integration, for example.

In the Windows 10 Start Menu, the Hulu’s support for Live Tiles will give you a preview of what’s inside. That is, the tiles will feature still images and those that pan across the tile in order to showcase the content that Hulu’s app is currently promoting on its masthead. This is typically five featured shows that the service is trying to call attention to.

Meanwhile, the other standout Windows 10 feature is the built-in voice search powered by Microsoft’s virtual assistant, Cortana. Similar to other Cortana integrations in Windows 10 applications – as in Uber, NPR or Netflix – you’ll need to say “Hey Cortana” to kick off your voice command.

For example, you could say “Hey Cortana…Hulu watch Empire.” Talking to Cortana is a bit more involved, when compared with the way that voice assistants work when on dedicated streaming media players, like Apple TV, where you can just dictate what’s to be done (e.g. “Play episode 3;” “show me funny movies”). If anything, the experience is more like communicating with Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa on the Echo speaker where you have to call her up by name, then tell her which app needs to be launched.

At launch, Cortana can only perform a couple of tasks on Hulu: it helps you search for shows or episodes, and it can play a show for you. Here, the app is smart, too, as it will resume the show or series where you left off. That is, if you were halfway through an episode it will pick up where you had paused it earlier, and if you were working your way through a series, it will play the next one in line.

This is not the first Hulu app to have some sort of voice integration – the company already has an Apple TV app as well.



Apple Promises to Fix the 1970 Bug But Still Won’t Say What Causes It

Apple posted on its website this morning that it “officially acknowledges” setting your iOS device’s date to May 1, 1970 or earlier will render it completely unusable. But an upcoming software update will prevent the insidious bug from bricking your handheld.

Some internet tricksters want you to believe that setting your iPhone’s date to 1/1/70 unlocks a retro Apple theme. In reality, however, this will brick your phone, likely due to an old quirk with Unix time. Apple still hasn’t explained exactly what’s causing the bug, and it’s unclear if the update that the company’s pushing to prevent the bug will help the poor souls with functionless phones. Regardless, you should contact Apple support if you fell for the evil Easter Egg and now own a $700 paperweight.