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Telegram Premium subscription now available with faster downloads and more extra features – Firstpost

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The popular instant messaging platform, Telegram, has announced that its premium subscription version, is now available for users. Telegram Premium is now available to users around the world, and will allow subscribers for faster downloads and a whole lot of extra features.

In a blog post, the platform revealed that ot has over 700 million monthly active users. The premium subscription, Telegram believes, with help the developers make the app even better and more popular.

Rather than making Telegram a paid app, the Premium subscription adds extra features that enhance the messaging experience. At the same time, current Telegram features will remain free for all users. The paid subscription will not only help keep the app free of advertisements but also will support the free version of Telegram for everyone.

Benefits of Telegram Premium
One of the main benefits that Premium subscribers will have is the ability to send and receive large files. Currently, all users can send and receive files up to 2GB in size. Premium users can send files up to 4GB in size. This will come in handy when users want to share 1080P movies or 4K videos. 

Premium users will also experience faster upload and download speeds than regular users. There’s also a built-in audio-to-text message converter and a bunch of exclusive stickers and reactions. Premium users also get to create custom folders and use animated profile pictures, custom app icons and a “Premium Subscriber” profile badge.

Telegram Premium also doubles the limits when it comes to groups and channels, pinned chats, public links, and saved GIFs. For instance, each premium user will be able to join up to 1,000 groups and channels instead of 500, while the limit for favourite saved GIFs goes from 200 to 400.

Free Telegram getting new features
The blog post highlighted some of the new features that regular Telegram or free Telegram is getting. Public groups now have the option to add a ‘Request To Join’ button so that admins can review and vet members before letting them write into the chat. Furthermore, the platform is expanding its verification program for groups and channels and making it much easier.

Free Telegram users will also get improved chat previews on Android and a new interface to show file sharing progress on iOS. Another enhancement coming for all Telegram users on iOS is full ProMotion support on supported iPhone and iPad models to render smooth animations at 120Hz. Telegram says that some of the new free features will arrive first for Premium users.

Pricing for Telegram Premium 
Telegram Premium is now being rolled out to users. The subscription costs $4.99 per month. You can download the latest version of Telegram for iOS and Android for free.

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Google's Making It Easier to Sync Photos, Wi-Fi Passwords to Chromebooks – PCMag

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Google is taking a few pages from Apple’s playbook with the release of Chrome OS 103.

The company says(Opens in a new window) the operating system update will introduce the ability to automatically sync photos and share Wi-Fi settings between a Chromebook and a paired Android smartphone. The former sounds a lot like iCloud Photos, which syncs images between Apple devices, but Google is actually planning to make the feature a lot more powerful than its competitor’s offering.

“With the latest update, you’ll now also have instant access to the latest photos you took on your phone — even if you’re offline,” Google says. “After taking a picture on your phone, it will automatically appear within Phone Hub on your laptop under ‘recent photos.’ Just click on the image to download it, then it’s ready to be added to a document or email.”

The company’s answer to sharing Wi-Fi settings between devices seems a bit less compelling. Google says that users will have to follow a multi-step process on their Android phone to share the information to a nearby Chromebook; Apple’s offering prompts users to share a Wi-Fi password if their device is unlocked and connected to the network in question.

A new feature called Fast Pair designed for Bluetooth headphones

But Google has another trick planned for Chrome OS. It’s called Fast Pair, and the company says that it will allow Chromebooks to “automatically detect when a new pair of Bluetooth headphones are on, are nearby, and are ready to be set up.” The devices can then be paired with a single press (or tap) on a pop-up that appears whenever those conditions are met.

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“Whether you want to use new headphones to watch a video, join a virtual meeting or listen to music, Fast Pair will make it hassle-free,” Google says. “This feature will be compatible with hundreds of different headphone models — and counting.” The company says that it plans to release Fast Pair in a separate update to Chrome OS “later this summer.”

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Google warns of 'hermit spyware' infecting Android and iOS devices – Mashable

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As part of Google’s efforts to track the activities of commercial spyware vendors, the company’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) released a report Thursday on spyware campaigns targeting Android and iOS users.

Google TAG researchers Benoit Sevens and Clement Lecigne go into detail about the use of entrepreneurial grade spyware dubbed “Hermit.” This sophisticated spyware tool allows attackers to steal data, private messages and make phone calls. In their report, TAG researchers attributed Hermit to RCS Labs, a commercial spyware vendor based in Italy.

Hermit poses many significant dangers. Due to its modularity, Hermit is quite customizable, allowing the functions of the spyware to be altered to the will of its user. Once fully situated on a target’s phone, attackers can harvest sensitive information such as call logs, contacts, photos, precise location, and SMS messages.

Sevens and Lecigne’s full report details the ways in which attackers can access both Android and iOS devices through the use of clever tricks and drive-by attacks. Potential targets of this scam will have their data disabled through their ISP carrier before sending a malicious link via text to get them to ‘fix’ the issue. If that doesn’t work, targets will be tricked into downloading malicious apps masqueraded as messaging applications.

Just last week, cybersecurity firm Lookout reported the use of Hermit by agents working in the governments of Kazakhstan, Syria, and Italy. Google has already identified victims in these countries, stating that “TAG is actively tracking more than 30 vendors with varying levels of sophistication and public exposure selling exploits or surveillance capabilities to government-backed actors.”

The Milan-based company claims to provide “law enforcement agencies worldwide with cutting-edge technological solutions and technical support in the field of lawful interception for more than twenty years.” More than 10,000 intercepted targets are purported to be handled daily in Europe alone.

When reached out for comment by The Hacker News, RCS Labs said its “core business is the design, production, and implementation of software platforms dedicated to lawful interception, forensic intelligence, and data analysis” and that it “helps law enforcement prevent and investigate serious crimes such as acts of terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime, child abuse, and corruption.”

Still, the news of the spyware being used by state government agents is concerning. Not only does it erode trust in the safety of the internet but it also puts at risk the lives of anyone a government considers an enemy of the state such as dissidents, journalists, human rights workers, and opposition party politicians.

“Tackling the harmful practices of the commercial surveillance industry will require a robust, comprehensive approach that includes cooperation among threat intelligence teams, network defenders, academic researchers, governments, and technology platforms,” Google TAG researchers wrote. “We look forward to continuing our work in this space and advancing the safety and security of our users around the world.”

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iPhone, Android users ALERT! Google warns of Italian spyware out to hack your phone – HT Tech

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An Italian company’s hacking tools were used to spy on Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Android smartphones in Italy and Kazakhstan, informs Google. Check details here.

In a shocking development it has been revealed that your iPhone and Android phones are at risk. As per the information a tool has been developed to spy on personal messages and contacts of the targeted devices. Alphabet Inc’s Google has said in a report that an Italian company’s hacking tools were used to spy on Apple Inc and Android smartphones in Italy and Kazakhstan. According to the report, Milan-based RCS Lab, whose website claims European law enforcement agencies as clients, developed tools to spy on private messages and contacts of the targeted devices. However, Google said it had taken steps to protect users of its Android operating system and alerted them about the spyware.

“These vendors are enabling the proliferation of dangerous hacking tools and arming governments that would not be able to develop these capabilities in-house,” Google said. According to a report by Reuters, commenting on the issue, an Apple spokesperson said the company had revoked all known accounts and certificates associated with this hacking campaign. RCS Lab said its products and services comply with European rules and help law enforcement agencies investigate crimes.

Also read: Looking for a smartphone? To check mobile finder click here.

Also Read: 5 million Facebook accounts in danger! This phishing scam will steal your money- how it works

Reuters was further informed via an email, “RCS Lab personnel are not exposed, nor participate in any activities conducted by the relevant customers.” RCS Lab further said that it condemned any abuse of its products.

It can be known that the global industry making spyware for governments has been growing, with more companies developing interception tools for law enforcement. Anti-surveillance activists accuse them of aiding governments that in some cases use such tools to crack down on human rights and civil rights, said Reuters in a report.

Also Read: Google Workspace will NOT be Free anymore; here are top 5 alternatives

As per the report, the industry came under a global spotlight when the Israeli surveillance firm NSO’s Pegasus spyware was in recent years found to have been used by multiple governments to spy on journalists, activists, and dissidents.

Though not as stealthy as Pegasus, RCS Lab’s tool can still be used to read messages and view passwords, said Bill Marczak, a security researcher with digital watchdog Citizen Lab. “This shows that even though these devices are ubiquitous, there’s still a long way to go in securing them against these powerful attacks,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters.

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