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  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 1, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Android, , , Google Play Store, , , , ,   

    Scam Round Up: Android Apps, Recorded Calls, and more 

    Scam Round Up: Android Apps, Recorded Calls, and more

    By Greg Collier

    Today, we’re closing out the week with another trio of scams that you may not normally come across in your daily life.


    Internet security experts are reporting about a wave of apps from the Google Play Store that have scammed Android users. The apps vary from photo editing to astrology, but their real purpose is to add charges to your phone bill. The apps tell users that they’ve won some form of free gift. All the user needs to do is enter their phone number into the app. However, instead of receiving a gift, the app signs users up to a monthly subscription fee of $42 a month that’s added to the user’s monthly phone bills. For some users, that’s more than double their monthly phone bill. Even though there’s an app in the Play Store, that doesn’t make it automatically secure. Always checks the permissions the app is asking for and avoid giving the app makers any more personal information than they need.


    Robocalls have been a scourge plaguing humanity for a few years now. It’s safe to assume that most of us have received a call asking us about our car’s warranty, even if some of us don’t own cars. However, some of these spam robocalls are more sinister than they appear. According to security experts, your only response to these calls should be to hang up. The last thing you want to do is say anything on these calls. The call will ask you if you want to stop these calls, just say yes. If you say yes, scammers can record your voice and use it to authorize a fraudulent purchase on your credit card. It also shows that there is someone at your phone number, which could result in you being targeted for more scam calls. While some people like to engage scammers, it’s a better strategy to just hang up.


    And of course, we can’t talk about scams without usually talking about gift cards in some form or fashion. A couple in North Carolina randomly received a gift card in the mail that was supposedly worth $400. The couple contacted their local news channel to see if this was a scam and of course, it was. How the scam works is the letter will contain a web link you need to go to in order to activate the card. Once you go to the link, you’re asked to input personal information such as your name, date of birth, and social security number. If you do this, your identity is almost immediately stolen. Please keep in mind that gift cards are the currency of scammers and should only be used for their intended purpose.


    Thank you for reading, and have a great and safe weekend.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Android, China, ,   

    Has Huawei been cut off by Google? 

    Has Huawei been cut off by Google?

    Last week, president Trump issued an executive order that claims foreign threats to communication networks are a national emergency. This order makes it extremely difficult for communication companies from China from doing business in the US. The Trump administration added Chinese phone manufacturer Huawei to a sort of blacklist that makes it almost impossible for the Chinese firm from purchasing hardware and software in the US that’s needed to make their devices.

    In order to comply with the executive order, Google has suspended any business with Huawei. This means that in the immediate future, Huawei will not be able to use the Google-supported Android OS On any of their new devices. Huawei could use the open source version of Android, however, this would not include any technical support from Google or any Google apps such as Gmail or the Google Play Store. Huawei claims that they have made preparations for such an event but without support for Google apps sales outside of China could badly impact the world’s 2nd largest smartphone manufacturer.

    Consumers in the US who may currently own a Huawei phone could see their devices no longer receiving security updates from Google. However, it is believed that apps like Gmail and YouTube will continue to be supported on already existing on current Huawei devices. The Trump Administration believes that Huawei is allegedly committing espionage for the Chinese government even though there has been no concrete evidence to prove such an allegation.

  • Geebo 10:40 am on January 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Android, , ,   

    Many Android users can’t delete Facebook even if they wanted to 

    Many Android users can't delete Facebook even if they wanted to

    Nothing is more frustrating to an android user than when you have limited storage space and there are bloatware apps on your device that can’t be deleted. A number of phone companies include these indestructible apps in order to make money through various partnerships by nudging their customers into using these apps. However, unlike a computer where you can delete just about anything, many Android users are locked into these apps for the life of their device. Now, it’s being reported that a company not known for its security or privacy is allegedly paying at least one major phone manufacturer into making its app irremovable.

    Bloomberg has reported that Facebook is not only coming pre-installed on many of Samsung’s flagship phones but that the Facebook app can’t be deleted as well. While the app can be put in a disabled app that hasn’t stopped Samsung customers from being concerned about what personal data may have been sent to Facebook. Considering Facebook’s less than stellar year when it came to privacy and security, this seems to be a valid concern. Facebook claims that when their app is in disabled mode that it’s the same as if the app had been deleted. That’s not reassuring to many users who want the app off of their phone for good which puts Samsung in an anti-consumer light even though Samsung has said they’re trying to give consumers the best out of the box experience.

    Unfortunately, Samsung isn’t the only manufacturer that includes permanent apps and Facebook isn’t the only company pushing them. Most cellular carriers include apps for their various services that can’t be deleted as does Google who created and maintains the Android operating system. While Facebook may be taking the brunt of criticism right now it’s just a symptom of a larger problem where consumers do not have the freedom to do what they want with the phones that they’ve paid for. Considering how expensive some of these devices are shouldn’t the choice of whether or not the customer wants to have Facebook on their phone be left up to them?

  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Android, ,   

    Facebook has been collecting Android user data for years 

    Facebook has been collecting Android user data for years

    While the Cambridge Analytica scandal continues to find its way into the headlines, Facebook is undergoing yet another perceived breach of user trust. Over the weekend, tech news site Ars Technica reported that Facebook has been allegedly collecting data for years from users who use its mobile application on Android devices.

    The report states that Facebook has been collecting information not just on your contacts on Android, but information about your calls and text messages such as who you contacted and how long the call may have been. Facebook tries to defend itself by saying this an optional and voluntary feature, but as the Ars Technica report points out, that particular check box is pre-checked when you install Facebook to your device. Forbes has an article on how you can see how much of your data Facebook has and how to prevent Facebook from gathering this data in the future.

    Even Silicon Valley, which is normally protective of its own, has been coming down hard on Facebook lately. Not only has Elon Musk removed the Facebook pages for Tesla and Space X, but Apple CEO Tim Cook said that “well-crafted” rules toward Facebook privacy may well be needed.

    It’s long been said on the internet that if you’re using a free service as much as Facebook is used, you’re not the customer but the product. With each passing day, Facebook continuously seems to prove that adage correct.

  • Geebo 9:08 am on September 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Android, Family Link, ,   

    Google’s new parental app for Android leaves a lot to be desired 

    Google's new parental app for Android leaves a lot to be desired

    Recently, Google announced the public release of their parenting app for android devices called Family Link. For a family of Android phone and tablet users this is a welcome announcement as Android has had no built-in child safety apps until now. Unfortunately, there are still some major kinks in the system which could make the app pointless.

    In theory, once you install the Family Link app on yours and your children’s Android devices you’ll be able to see what apps they’re using, restrict control to some apps and even set a time when the device is to be shut off at night. You’re able to basically monitor your children’s devices from your own device. However, that comes with several caveats.

    The first hurdle is your children’s devices will need to be running Android Nought (7.0) or higher. That’s fairly recent and many budget Android devices are not currently running Nougat. The second and most glaring problem is that Family Link can only be set up on new Google accounts and not preexisting ones. Depending on the age of your child, this could be a deal breaker considering the email address they’ve been using for a while may be tied into that account.

    Google has valiantly tried to bring parental control to Android with this app, unfortunately it’s fallen short of its goal.

  • Geebo 9:02 am on May 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Android, , ,   

    Netflix to stop working on certain Android devices 

    Netflix to stop working on certain Android devices

    Video streaming service Netflix is available on just about every modern electronic device known to man. It’s available on laptops, Blu-ray players, video game consoles, smart phones and tablets. Nowadays, you might even be able to stream Netflix on a 1985 Betamax that you found at a thrift store. Netflix recently announced they will no longer support a certain select group of Android devices, and those would be devices that have been rooted by their owners.

    Rooting an Android phone means that you can perform a small hack on the phone in order to be able to have more control over the apps on your phone. Most Android phones come with pre-loaded bloatware that can’t be removed from the device by normal means. When you have an Android phone where storage space is at a premium, sometimes you have to root a phone in order to make space for crucial apps that you may need in your everyday life. This is usually due to the phone manufacturers loading their phones with proprietary apps that many users don’t need or use.

    While not coming right out and saying it, Netflix is giving the impression they’re blocking these devices in order to fight piracy. While that’s well within their right, it feels like their trying to kill flies with a shotgun. The number of people who root their Android devices are a minuscule amount compared to the number of Android users and the majority of them are only rooting their phones and tablets out of convenience, not for piracy.

    By taking this step, Netflix is risking a minor backlash from rooted Android users, but in the long run, Netflix’s numbers are so large they can afford to alienate a number of niche Android users.

  • Geebo 10:58 am on December 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Android, , , ,   

    Keeping your kids safe on their new devices 

    Keeping your kids safe on their new devices

    With Christmas fast approaching many children will be receiving new devices this year, whether they’re tablets or smart phones. With these new toys come new responsibilities, not only for the children but for parents as well. In the age we live in you can’t just hand your children one of these devices and send them on their merry way and expect no problems. Unfortunately, in our society not only are there the predators that we’re all concerned about but there are financial predators as well who want to take advantage of your kids disguised as apps and data caps.

    Many games for children on these devices have what they call ‘in app purchases’ which means that the players of the game can buy in-game items with real world money. Not only that, but many of these games use data from your cellular providers data plan and can either run up quite the data bill or burn through your allotted data rather quickly.

    To help you and your children avoid these pitfalls we’ve found two good resources on how to protect your children and your wallet while using these new devices. iOS devices, which are the ones made by Apple, are relatively simple to enable safety and financial restrictions. Android devices on the other hand, the ones made by companies like Samsung and various other manufacturers, are a little more difficult to restrict, but can be done.

    Just look at setting up your child’s new device as the modern equivalent of having to assemble the toys that our parents did on Christmas Eve for years, except now not only are you keeping your children engaged but you’re keeping them safe as well.

  • Geebo 10:02 am on July 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Android, , ,   

    Apple sells billionth iPhone: Best product ever? 

    Apple sells billionth iPhone: Best product ever?

    Earlier this week, the little company that could from Cupertino, California, tech goliath Apple, announced that they had sold their billionth iPhone. To put that in perspective, Apple has sold more iPhones in the past 9 years than Sony has sold PlayStations since their debut in the late 90s, and has sold more iPhones than Rubik’s Cubes have been sold since the 80s. This has led some people to ask, is the iPhone, the best product ever?

    Before the advent of the iPhone, even the most sophisticated smart phones were rudimentary in their design and purpose. The biggest seller at the time, the Blackberry, had a small screen and a physical keyboard. For anyone that did not have a smart phone probably only had a flip phone that could only text message through the T9 way of texting. Now we live in a world where most of us can’t imagine not having our smart phones within arm’s reach. Without Apple developing the iPhone there’s no reason for Google to try to develop the Android operating system in order to compete with Apple and without Android smart phones would not be as affordable as they have become in the past decade. A reasonably well-functioning smart phone can now be purchased for less than a $100. What really launched the iPhone into the proverbial stratosphere was the development of its app store. Because of that we have had brand new economies and business built solely around apps.

    While it’s no cure for polio, in the grand scheme of things, the iPhone can’t be denied its profound impact in the shaping of our current culture.

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