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:
B.C. boy with autism who only eats brand of discontinued waffles gets home recipe – Global News
Jerico Roman won’t be going hungry any time soon.
The nine-year-old from Surrey, B.C., has autism along with extreme oral aversion and complex eating challenges, and will eat virtually nothing but a particular type of maple cinnamon waffle.
Jerico’s mother, Jenna, says the growing boy usually puts down two boxes of the waffles a day.
But earlier this year, panic set in when she learned the product, manufactured by Nature’s Path, had been discontinued.
Now, the company has followed through on a pledge it made last month to ensure Jerico has all the waffles he can eat for years to come.
Nature’s Path was able to adapt the recipe for the product — which is usually made in massive batches — for home use. On Friday, it delivered that recipe, along with the necessary ingredients to the family.
It’s a major relief for his mother, who had started a GoFundMe in an effort to track down and buy every remaining box of the product in North America amid fear she wouldn’t be able to feed her son.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
OnePlus partners with Hasselblad to develop cutting edge camera tech – MobileSyrup
OnePlus is bringing Hasselblad’s expertise into its camera development fold for the next three years to improve its mobile photography.
Starting with the OnePlus 9 series on March 23rd, OnePlus will reveal a revamped camera system that will hopefully put more eyes on its rather underrated camera system.
If you’re unfamiliar with Hasselblad, the company makes high-end cameras and is notable for creating the first camera used on the moon.
On top of the Hasselblad partnership, OnePlus says it will invest around $150 million USD (roughly $190 million CAD) to ensure it’s delivering the best camera experience possible to its customers. This includes two new imagine labs and other tech improvements that will be announced over the next few years.
OnePlus calls the OnePlus 9 Series camera system “vastly improved.” It goes on to mention that the partnership started with colour tuning and sensor calibration and that it will extend to other parts of the camera in the future.
One of the interesting improvements that OnePlus is teasing for the OnePlus 9 series is a new ‘T Lens’ that removes edge distortion in ultrawide photos.
Further, OnePlus has revamped the Pro camera mode on its new devices to make them look more Hasselblad-like and to include 12-bit RAW image files.
The OnePlus 9 series uses a Sony IMX789 sensor that’s touted as featuring great low-light performance, as well as 4K 120fps and 8K 30fps video recording.
I’ve been a fan of OnePlus’ camera colour science over the last few years. Still, I had issues with consistency between lenses, so hopefully, by partnering with a camera company like Hasselblad, OnePlus can really hone its camera tech to be better.
B.C. woman's anxiety app featured in Apple's International Women's Day promotion – CTV News Vancouver
This International Women’s Day, a Vancouver Island woman is being recognized for a smartphone app she developed to help people who experience anxiety and panic attacks.
Ania Wysocka’s app Rootd will be featured in Apple’s App Store on International Women’s Day as part of a celebration of app developers who are women.
The Victoria resident told CTV News Vancouver she developed the app, which has been downloaded more than 600,000 times, in response to her own struggles with anxiety.
Wysocka had her first panic attack during her fourth year as an undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia.
“I really had no idea what (panic attacks) were beforehand, and I was really caught off guard,” Wysocka said. “I was far away from home, I had no family doctor, I was on a student loan budget, so I really relied on things I could find in textbooks and different resources online to figure out what was happening.”
Years later, she would look back on the experience and think about how much better it could have gone if she had known what to expect.
“That’s what inspired me to start Rootd,” she said.
The app has everything from guided meditations to an actual panic button, and Wysocka said users tend to embrace the features that help them with their specific needs.
“People really use it differently depending on what they are experiencing,” she said.
At the centre of all the app’s features is Ron, a little monster who serves as Rootd’s mascot. He’s a visual representation of anxiety, but he’s also friendly and supportive, Wysocka said.
“He was really a representation of how I felt at the time,” she said. “Through learning cognitive behavioural therapy, you kind of realize that you have to befriend some of these emotions that are otherwise really overwhelming, and so Ron became the symbol for that.”
Some of Rootd’s users really relate to Ron, Wysocka said.
“They talk about him like he is a person,” she said. “There’s reviews that come in along the lines of, you know, ‘Ron is the only one there for me,’ ‘I feel so alone, but then I have Ron and Ron gets me through the night.'”
Wysocka said she’s happy that the app has been a success and that Apple has decided to feature it for International Women’s Day.
That said, the stories of everyday people who use the app are more important to her than how many downloads it gets.
“(People) use Rootd to go back to school, they use Rootd to go back to work, they use Rootd to rebuild confidence that panic attacks and anxiety have taken away from them,” Wysocka said.
The app is available in the App Store and on Google Play, and more information is available on the Rootd website.
With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Nafeesa Karim
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