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Android warning: Delete these apps from your phone or pay the price – Herald Planet

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Android is by far the most popular mobile operating system with over 2.5 billion users. That makes it a prime target for malicious third-parties that want to infect devices across the globe with malware. Most recently, the team at Barracuda Security discovered almost 200 apps that contained either adware or a suspicious combination of device permissions. And now cybersecurity company White Ops has identified 116 apps – with more than 4.6 million downloads between them – it claims are performing ad fraud.

The firm said the apps are leveraging a type of code it nicknamed “Soraka” and a similar variant named “Sogo”. In a nutshell, the code allows the programmes in question to display adverts over an Android device under certain circumstances.

White Ops performed a deep dive into one of the apps in question that remains on the Google Play Store at the time of writing, Best Fortune Explorer. The app seems a tantalising premise – get a glimpse into your future – but the reality is much more frustrating.

The app was noted to leverage a framework called AppsFlyer that’s used for mobile attribution and marketing analytics. According to the security firm, if you download the app through any kind of promotion (such as on a website for example), then intrusive adverts will plague the device in question.

White Ops showed a GIF of the frustrating promotions in action. Best Fortune Explorer was exhibited to be capable of displaying full screen adverts (that last up to 20-seconds in some circumstances) over a user’s home screen.

Android is by far the most popular mobile operating system with over 2.5 billion users (Image: Getty • Google)

Best Fortune Explorer was shown to display intrusive ads under certain circumstances (Image: White Ops)

Best Fortune Explorer remains on the Google Play Store at the time of writing (Image: Express Newspapers)

All of the apps discovered were noted to demonstrate similar behaviours. The adware being used was noted to be capable of hiding, making it harder to detect by apps designed to root out malware like VirusTotal.

Speaking with Forbes, White Ops’ John Laycock said: “Those hiding behaviours are significant. The fraudsters are getting smarter—they know this is now an arms race, they’re trying to slow down analysis with these tactics. We’re seeing these types of behaviours more and more.”

You only need to take a read of Best Fortune Explorer’s reviews to see that something is seriously wrong with the app. Numerous comments note after installing it their phone has been burdened with annoying adverts.

One Android user said: “Totally useless. After installing, you get so many unnecessary ads. While writing this also, I got 4 ads. This is like a virus for your phone.”

Another wrote: “Don’t download it. You will just time pass. And main problem after download is you will get non-stop adds and adds. Even you cannot get to use anything. And also there is nothing like shown in adds. It is like a virus.”

At the time of writing, Best Fortune Explorer has amassed over 100,000 installs and has an average review rating of three stars.

According to Forbes, Google has been informed of the apps discovered by White Ops. However, it seems some of the 116 programmes remain on the Play Store.

White Ops urged Android fans to remove any of the apps in question if they have them installed and provided the package names for each.

They were listed as being:

• art.photo.editor.best.hot

• bedtime.reminder.lite.sleep

• com.am.i.the.best.friends.hh

• com.appodeal.test

• com.beauty.mirror.lite

• com.bedtimehelper.android

• com.bkkmaster.android

• com.calculator.game

• com.card.life

• com.cartoon.camera.pro.android

• com.code.identifier.android

• com.code.recognizer.android

• com.color.spy.game

• com.cute.kittens.puzzlegame.android

• com.cute.love.test.android

• com.daily.wonderfull.moment

• com.dailycostmaster.android

• com.dangerous.writing.note

• com.data.securite.data

• com.days.daysmatter365.android

• com.days.remind.calendar

• com.detector.noise.tool

• com.dodge.emoji.game

• com.dog.bark.picture.puzzle

• com.drink.water.remind.you

• com.ezzz.fan.sleep.noise

• com.fake.call.girlfriend.prank2019

• com.fakecaller.android

• com.fake.caller.plus

• com.false.location

• com.fancy.lovetest.android

• com.fast.code.scanner.nmd

• com.filemanagerkilopro.android

• com.filemanagerupro.android

• com.filemanageryo.android

• com.filemanagerzeropro.android

• com.find.difference.detective.little

• com.find.you.lover.test

• com.frame.easy.phone

• com.frank.video.call.lite

• com.free.code.scanner.nmd

• com.free.lucky.prediction.test

• com.funny.lie.truth.detector

• com.funny.word.game.english

• com.game.color.hunter

• com.ice.survival.berg

• com.idays.dayscounter.android

• com.important.days.matter

• com.instanomo.android

• com.isleep.cycleclock.android

• com.led.color.light.rolling

• com.lite.fake.gps.location

• com.lovetest.plus.android

• com.love.yourself.women

• com.lucky.charm.text

• com.lucky.destiny.teller

• com.magnifying.glass.tool

• com.math.braingame.puzzle.riddle

• com.math.iq.puzzle.riddle.braingame

• com.math.puzzles.riddle.braingame

• com.multiple.scanner.plus.nmd

• com.my.big.days.counter

• com.my.constellation.love.work

• com.my.pocker.mobile.mirror

• com.nanny.tool.data

• com.nice.mobile.mirror.hd

• com.nomophotoeditor.android

• com.non.stop.writing

• com.phone.lite.frame

• com.phone.mirror.pro

• com.pocker.pro.mobile.mirror

• com.prank.call.fake.ring

• com.phonecallmaker.android

• com.pro.test.noise

• com.puzzle.cute.dog.android

• com.scan.code.tool

• com.simple.days.counter

• com.sleep.comfortable.sounds

• com.sleep.in.rain

• com.sleepassistantool.android

• com.sleeptimer.android

• com.smart.scanner.master.nmd

• com.test.find.your.love

• com.test.fortune.tester

• com.test.lover.match

• com.tiny.scanner.tool.nmd

• com.wmmaster.android

• com.word.fun.level.english

• good.lucky.is.coming.hh

• mobi.clock.android

• my.lucky.goddness.today.test

• newest.android.fake.location.changer

• nmd.andriod.better.calculator.plus

• nmd.andriod.mobile.calculator.master

• nmd.android.best.fortune.explorer

• nmd.android.better.fortune.signs

• nmd.android.clam.white.noise

• nmd.android.fake.incoming.call

• nmd.android.good.luck.everyday

• nmd.android.location.faker.master

• nmd.android.multiple.fortune.test

• nmd.android.scanner.master.plus

• nmd.android.test.what.suitable

• photo.editor.pro.magic

• pic.art.photo.studio.picture

• relax.ezzz.sleep.cradle

• super.lucky.magican.newest

• test.you.romantic.quize

• well.sleep.guard.relax

• your.best.lucky.master.test.new

• com.ssdk.test

• bedtime.reminder.lite.sleep

• com.frank.video.call.lite.pro.prank

• com.personal.fortune.text

• com.daily.best.suit.you

• com.false.call.trick

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Chromecast with Google TV vs the "old" Chromecast series – Android Authority

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Google Chromecast with Google TV on table straight downGoogle Chromecast with Google TV on table straight down

In 2013, Google launched the first version of its Chromecast TV dongle. It was designed to cast smartphone apps, including video streaming apps, to big-screen televisions. Seven years later, the market for streaming TV apps has changed, and Google is changing with it. Today, it officially announced Chromecast with Google TV.

So what are the similarities and the differences of Chromecast with Google TV vs Chromecast? Good question.  As you will see, the original Chromecast is still very useful. However, the new Chromecast with Google TV offers a lot more, and it’s not that much more expensive.

Read more: Best video streaming devices

Chromecast with Google TV vs Chromecast: Features

Third-gen ChromecastThird-gen Chromecast

Back in 2013, smart televisions were still something of a novelty. The first Chromecast allowed TV owners to quickly turn it into a smart television, and inexpensively. If you had a smartphone, and your apps supported Chromecast, you could connect the dongle to your TV’s HMDI port. Then you could cast and watch movies, play games, and more from your phone to your TV.

Later versions of Chromecast did basically the same thing as the original. However, the current third-generation Chromecast streamed smartphone content at 1080p resolution. The more expensive Chromecast Ultra. which launched in 2016, increased the streaming resolution to 4K. It also added support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision video formats and an Ethernet port. It also allowed users to stream high-end PC and console games to their TV via the Google Stadia service.

Google Chromecast with Google TV on table style photoGoogle Chromecast with Google TV on table style photo

The new Chromecast with Google TV is a very different device. While it can still cast smartphone apps to your TV, it has Android TV built-in as well. That means you can watch streaming TV and apps directly, with no smartphone required. It comes with its own hardware remote for controlling those apps. It also supports Google Assistant to control apps with your voice, again via the remote.

Google Chromecast with Google TV for you tabGoogle Chromecast with Google TV for you tab

In fact, for this product, Google has installed a new UI on top of Android TV. That’s where the “Google TV” part of the brand comes in. It allows you to watch movies and TV shows across several streaming apps and services on one screen, rather than switching between apps. It’s very similar to what you will find on the Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV apps. The device supports up to 4k resolution, along with HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision video formats.

Read more: Google TV – All you need to know

Unfortunately, the new Chromecast with Google TV does not yet support the Google Stadia game streaming service. That support is supposed to be added sometime in 2021. If you want Stadia gaming on your big-screen TV right now, you need to either keep or purchase the Chromecast Ultra.

One other minor addition to Chromecast with Google TV are color choices. You have snow, sunrise, and sky colors to pick from.

Chromecast with Google TV vs Chromecast: Price

The current third-generation Chromecast is available for $29.99, while the Chromecast Ultra is priced at $69. The Chromecast with Google TV is on sale now in the US for $49.99.

Which one should you buy?

If you own a 1080p TV, and want an inexpensive way to stream video and other content on your television, the regular Chromecast is your best best. If you want to try out Stadia game streaming, get the Chromecast Ultra. However, if you have a 4K television, and want a better movie and TV show streaming experience without the need for a smartphone, Chromecast with Google TV is a must.

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Trudeau to resume briefings after his national address boosted downloads of COVID Alert app

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is planning to resume regular briefings similar to those he held early in the pandemic after a plea he made to Canadians during his national address led to a significant bump in the number of downloads of the COVID Alert app.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), COVID Alert had been downloaded 2.75 million times by last Tuesday, the day before the throne speech, which Trudeau followed with a national address that was broadcasted by each of the country’s major television networks.

During Trudeau’s address — which critics said failed to focus on the severity of the second wave of COVID-19 in favour of highlighting the government’s just-revealed agenda — the prime minister drew attention to the notification cellphone app, while talking about how Canada can contain the pandemic.

“In the spring, we all did our part by staying home,” Trudeau said. “And this fall, we have even more tools in the toolbox. People are wearing masks. That’s critical. So keep it up.

“We’ve got the COVID Alert app. Take the teacher who felt fine, but she gets a positive (test result) after the app warned her she’d been exposed. COVID Alert meant she went home instead of the classroom.

“It’s a powerful, free tool that’s easy to use and protects your privacy,” he continued. “So if you haven’t already, download it off the App Store or Google Play. It’s one more way to keep ourselves and others safe.”

Searches of “COVID Alert” spiked on Google immediately after the prime minister’s address. Google Play statistics provided to iPolitics by the PMO show that downloads of COVID Alert also soared immediately after the prime minister’s address.

Between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. last Wednesday, about 15,000 people downloaded COVID Alert onto Android phones alone.

Higher-than-usual download rates continued throughout the evening, as well.

From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., it was downloaded close to 8,000 times on Androids, and between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., it was downloaded about 5,000 times.

By Friday, the app had been downloaded 2.91 million times.

Responding to the bump in downloads, which the government hopes to replicate to counter the spike in COVID-19 cases, specially in Ontario and Quebec, Trudeau will resume the semi-regular updates he made from Rideau Cottage in the pandemic’s early days.

With the House of Commons sitting again, Trudeau likely won’t hold the briefings outside his home, a senior source in the PMO told iPolitics. While a schedule hasn’t been set in stone, the PMO envisions Trudeau resuming regular briefings “at the very least” once per week.

Federal officials have been tirelessly trying to convince Canadians to download the COVID Alert app since it was released at the end of July.

COVID Alert does not force users to surrender any personal information and doesn’t track users’ locations.

It relies on Bluetooth technology to exchange randomized codes with other phones that users are close to. Although the app is available across Canada, to function, it relies on users inputting single-use key codes when they test positive for COVID-19. That way, their phone automatically alerts anyone they encountered to the possibility of exposure to COVID-19.

Provincial health authorities are responsible for delivering codes to people who test positive for the coronavirus. So far, only users in Ontario, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador are able to report a diagnosis in the app.

Quebec’s government has spent weeks very publicly rejecting COVID Alert, insisting it wants a made-in-Quebec application instead. That stance shifted on Monday.

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé said Quebec would likely adopt COVID Alert in “a matter of days.”

Speaking to reporters again on Tuesday, Dubé said his Ontario counterpart told him she was “not totally satisfied” with how many people were using (or not using) the app.

While Dubé said his government plans to talk to opposition parties about beginning to use the app, he said, “The straight answer is: Yes, we will have the application.”

Quebec Premier François Legault also said the province will launch an advertising campaign to encourage people to download COVID Alert.

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How to get a free pair of Bose QC 35 II with your Pixel 5 or 4a 5G – Android Authority

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Bose QuietComfort II headphones resting against an open notebook.Bose QuietComfort II headphones resting against an open notebook.

Bose and Google teamed up to promote the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, one the best noise-cancelling headsets you can buy. Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G pre-orders include a free pair of Bose QC 35 II headphones, but this promotion is limited to certain regions.

Anyone pre-ordering the Pixel 5 may take advantage of this offer from September 30 through October 19 at 11:59 p.m. BST. Pixel 4a 5G pre-orders must be made from November 5 through November 18 at 11:59 p.m. BST in order to snag a pair of free Bose QC 35 II headphones. Residents must be 18 or older and reside in the UK, Ireland, Germany, or France to take advantage of this offer. This offer is only good while supplies last.

How to get your free Bose QC 35 II

Google Pixel 5 Google’s first 5G smartphone

The Google Pixel 5 may not be the high-end Pixel we were expecting, but it’s a pretty compelling mid-range option. Google is going back to basics with the Pixel 5, ditching higher-end features like face recognition and the quirky Motion Sense gestures.

Go to the Google Store, or any participating retailer, and purchase your Pixel 5 or Pixel 4 5G between the specified date and times above. Then, you must wait 14 days from your order before submitting a claim for the Bose noise-cancelling headphones. Once the waiting period ends, you may submit a claim for your free headphones, but it must be done within 45 days of the original purchase date. This means that you have up to 31 days to submit your claim.

You must provide the Google with the following information:

  • Order date
  • Retailer
  • IMEI number and other product information
  • Personal details
  • Proof of purchase

Opia, a Google partner, will then validate the information and process the claim. If all is well, your claim will be approved within two business days, and you’ll receive your free Bose QC 35 II headphones within 50 days of claim validation.

Google Pixel 4a 5G Affordable 5G, Google-style

Pixel 4a 5G is a value-oriented phone made for people who don’t want or need a flashy high-end phone. Like the Pixel 4a, the 4a 5G model’s strong points are its cameras, smooth software, and rock-solid update policy.

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