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Best thing about Google’s 2016 Nexus phones: They’ll finally copy the iPhone properly

For the first time in its history, Google launched two new Nexus handsets last year including the Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P, copying Apple’s new iPhone launch strategy. But Google didn’t get it right on the first try. Thankfully, it looks like things are about to change thanks to a big new update – assuming the latest Nexus leaks are accurate, that is. DON’T MISS:  A roundup of original iPhone reviews that got everything completely wrong When Google launched the Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P last year, it quickly became apparent that Google thought the Nexus 6P should be the flagship device when it comes to hardware. It got a better processor, more RAM, more generous storage, a better cameras setup and a higher screen resolution. This year, however, Google isn’t going to make the same mistake again. The HTC Sailfish (Nexus 5X successor) and HTC Marlin (Nexus 6P successor) will apparently have the same specs. That’s what Apple does with its iPhones, which are virtually similar – though the bigger iPhone model does have better resolution, a larger screen and battery, and optical image stabilization. After finding the specs for Sailfish a few days ago, Android Police dug up hardware details for Marlin, with the site having offered consistent leaks about previous Nexus devices. And from the looks of it, the phone will be a copy of the Sailfish. The device would still offer better resolution, but that’s just because this is the larger of the two new Nexus phones. According to the Android blog, the phone features a 5.5-inch 2560 x 1440 AMOLED display, quad-core Qualcomm processor, 4GB of RAM, 32/128GB storage, 12-megapixel rear camera, 8-megapixel front camera, rear fingerprint sensor, bottom speakers, Bluetooth 4.2 and a 3,450 mAh battery. Pricing details and launch dates are still a mystery and we have no pictures for either phone. Even so, HTC might be on the verge of launching two of the hottest Android phones of all time this year, so start saving your money now.

Google confirms Android Nougat’s version number in new statue video

The month of June ended with a massive revelation from Google  — Android N’s final name was unveiled. And I can’t blame if you if you’re disappointed with "Nougat," which is probably one of the first things that come to mind when having to choose a dessert name for Android N. There’s nothing wrong with Android Nougat as a name for this year’s major Android update, and we shouldn’t really care what Android N ended up being called. But Google set us up for what appeared to be something far more interesting. For the first time in Android history, Google allowed fans to vote on the Android N and even made us believe the OS update might get a cool name like Nutella . That would have been a major hit for Google — globally, Nutella might be an even better-known brand than KitKat. DON’T MISS: This is the iPhone 7 leak we’ve been waiting for That said, Google still hasn't revealed many details about Android N other than its name. The final version of the operating system is expected this summer, but Google didn’t offer any hints regarding a potential roll out date. In fact, Google didn’t even say what version number Android Nougat is. Many suspected Android N will be Android 7.0... and it turns out that’s indeed the case. But you have to see Google’s Nougat statue video below to get that confirmation. Well, it’s actually in the video’s description so you don't have to watch it at all: “On June 30th, 2016 we unwrapped our latest treat, Android 7.0 Nougat.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xn9iq3lG_w We expect Android 7.0 to be rolled out at some point this summer, likely alongside new Nexus hardware. As for the Nougat name, we have plenty of time to get used to it.

Android malware earned a Chinese hacking group over $500,000 per day

Android malware is a serious issue that affects millions of people, no matter what you hear from Google. It's one of the reasons the iPhone is still better than Android after all these years. We recently learned about a new type of malicious application can masquerade as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Uber to harm users, and now a new report notes that a trojan-type of Android application has infected millions of users, netting the Chinese group of hackers who developed it about $500,000 per day at one point. MUST READ:  5 ways the iPhone is still better than Android after all these years A new report from the Cheetah Mobile Security Research Lab details Hummer, this newly discovered family of malware apps. In the first half of the year, the Hummer trojan infected nearly 1,4 million devices per day – see the following graphic. The security firm estimates that the virus developer made $0.50 every time the virus installed an application on a smartphone, or over $500,000 per day at its peak. When a device is Hummer'd , the malware app will root the handset or tablet to obtain administrator privileges. Then, it will display pop-up ads and install apps silently in the background, including other malware. One of the side-effects of the malware is that it will consume a lot of data, which could incur overage fees. A Cheetah test showed that the trojan accessed the network 10,000 times to download 200 APKs, consuming 2GB of network traffic in the process. It’s not unreasonable to assume that all that action could also significantly decrease performance and battery life on certain devices. Hummer is the number one trojan across the world, Cheetah says, and the virus can’t be removed with factory resets or by some antivirus tools. The company says its antivirus Android apps have all been updated to clear it. As always, the best way to avoid malware on Android is to refrain from installing apps from untrusted sources. In fact, rather than sideloading apps, simply download them from the Google Play Store, even if that means you have to pay for some of them.

This app will help you get rid of all your old photos in an instant

A few weeks ago, I started receiving incessant notifications on my iPhone that my iCloud storage was nearly full. You won't be surprised to learn that a vast majority of that storage space was being taken up by photos and videos I hadn't sorted through in months, so I proceeded to scroll through the list and delete the ones I didn't want, one at a time. Had I known about Magic Cleaner, this process would have been much easier. DON'T MISS:  Watch the first 10 minutes of ‘Batman v Superman: Ultimate Edition’ right here Magic Cleaner is a free app for iOS and Android that analyzes all of your photos in batches of 500 and sorts them into categories such as Greetings & Memes, Screenshots, Scans, Quotes and Cartoons. Once all your photos have been sorted, you can choose to delete all of the "junk photos" that the app has discovered. My phone had recently been purged, so I didn't have too many photos to sort through, but the Doctor Kleen (the app's mascot) managed to find 44 junk photos during his search through the annals of my phone. Each and every one of those 44 photos should probably have been deleted the first time around: screenshots (accidental and intentional), receipt scans and funny memes were taking up precious megabytes on my device. The sorting was less than perfect, with several screenshots slipping into other categories, but not a single actual photo got caught in the app's algorithm. So before you start scrolling through your camera roll, trying to pick out every pointless image taking up storage space on your phone, give Magic Cleaner a try.

You should care about this Facebook Messenger security flaw no matter what Facebook says

Yes, Facebook says that anyone can see any of the three million links that are shared every hour in private conversations. That’s a feature, not a bug. But before you get too freaked out about this type of Messenger “feature,” you should know that your privacy isn’t exactly breached, and a hacker would have a seriously hard time figuring out who shared which link with whom. DON'T MISS:  5 ways the iPhone is still better than Android after all these years Belgium-based security researcher Inti De Ceukelaire revealed in a post on Medium earlier this month that links shared in Messenger chats are found by Facebook’s crawler tool, which gives them a numerical identifier so that they can be displayed over and over after being shared once. It turns out that developers can request any object in Facebook by its number, including these shared links. The researcher was able to extract 70 links in 10 minutes, without being able to obtain information about the chats from which they originated. Facebook, meanwhile, told The Daily Dot that De Ceukelaire indeed contacted the social network about the flaw, but said that it's not a flaw at all. It’s how Facebook works, and it can’t be used by hackers for malicious purposes. Facebook is "confident that the risk to URLs people share in messages is very low." The company has various protections in place to prevent abuse, including rate limiting on requests and throttling that "can detect suspicious activity and which we have recently strengthened further." The company said that the technique used "could only return random URLs and would not tie the sharing of a link to any particular person on Facebook. We have not seen abuse of this matter, and we are constantly working to make the security of our systems stronger.” "As always, we are focused on keeping your message content safe," Facebook added. From the looks of it, people can’t spy on other anyone's Messenger chats as a result of these publicly available links. That means you can still send links in Messenger without worrying who reads them, other than Facebook. But you should still be wary of this flaw. If you’re looking to share personal data hosted on some site or a personal server, then absolutely avoid sharing links on Messenger because these links can indeed be found. Send private links using Signal instead. Or WhatsApp. Or iMessage. All these chat apps feature end-to-end encryption, with the first two working across platforms.

Ukraine central bank flagged cyber-attack in April: memo

Headquarters of Ukrainian central bank is seen in central Kiev By Natalia Zinets KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's central bank urged lenders in April to review security procedures, saying thieves had attempted to steal money from a Ukrainian bank using fraudulent SWIFT transfers, according to a confidential message obtained by Reuters. The warning, issued on April 28, did not identify the bank or say if the cyber attack had been successful, but said it had been similar to the theft in February of $81 million from Bangladesh's central bank. A spokeswoman for SWIFT had no immediate comment.


Apple’s iPhone turns nine: 5 ways it’s still better than Android

Apple changed the world nine years ago when it released the first iPhone. It sounds hyperbolic but I assure you, the original iPhone quite literally reshaped the mobile industry. It also changed the way we access information and connect with each other. The giants of the industry at the time have now all but vanished. Android, which was being developed as a terrible BlackBerry copy , was reimagined and released as the platform we now know. There have been plenty of retrospective pieces covering the iPhone to celebrate its nine-year anniversary, and some have been fairly interesting. But in light of all the negativity currently surrounding Apple's next-generation iPhone , I thought it might be nice to look at some of the ways Apple's mobile phone is still far better than its chief rival, Android. MUST READ:  The iPhone 7 nightmare User Experience Beginning with the most broad advantage the iPhone and iOS have over Android devices, Apple's UX is still in a league of its own. Google has taken tighter control of Android in recent years and we see "pure Android" shine through more and more with each new handset generation. This has had a huge positive impact on the overall Android user experience, which had for a long time been a muddled mess. Even pure Android can't quite compare to iOS though, which offers levels of simplicity and fluidity that are unmatched. Tight inter-device integration and proprietary services also add to the experience. Products like iMessage and FaceTime don't just lock users in, they offer superior quality and consistency. Sharing content between iPhones is also a snap. And if you own multiple Apple devices like an iPhone, iPad and MacBook, Continuity features bring better and tighter integration than you'll find anywhere else. Apple controls the hardware and the software experiences so the company is able to offer a product that aligns perfectly with its vision. Rumors suggest Google may finally be working on its own phone, but the company has quite a bit of ground to make up before it can even approach the experience Apple has crafted. Software Updates I wrote just about everything there is to write on this matter earlier this year . In a nutshell, the open source Android distribution model that led to the platform's success is also one of its biggest disadvantages. Almost no Android users have access to new updates when they're released. Instead, they have to wait months or longer before they gain access to the latest features and security updates. Many Android phones will never have access to new releases even after just a couple of years. The most widely used version of Android in the world right now was released in 2014. And Android Lollipop's market share (35.4%) is just a few points higher than KitKat (31.6%), which was released all the way back in 2013. Security Apple's iOS security is an advantage in so many ways. From encryption to general policy, Apple has a very pro-consumer approach to the way it protects its devices and services. And then you have app development and distribution to consider, which are controlled much more tightly by Apple than they are by Google. There is no question that Android apps have exciting capabilities you won't be able to enjoy on an iPhone. But all that freedom brings serious risks. Scary new malware that targets the Android platform is discovered on a weekly basis at this point. Meanwhile, as security expert Graham Cluley pointed out in a recent post , iOS hasn't ever had a major malware incident. Third-Party Apps It's as true today as it was seven years ago when the App Store first launched: iOS apps are better than Android apps. "Better" is subjective, so I'll elaborate. Apple's stricter guidelines for developers result in a far more consistent user experience across all iOS apps, first- and third-party. They look similar, they're fast, they're smooth, and they're far more reliable than apps on rival platforms. As I've written before, the same app from the same top-tier developer will always offer a better experience on an iPhone than it does on an Android phone. The third-party app ecosystem Apple has created is the main reason I can't ditch the iPhone and switch to my favorite smartphone, which just happens to be an Android phone. Customer Service and Support Last but certainly not least is customer support, which is an area where Apple has no competition. When you have a problem with your iPhone, Apple employees do everything they can to fix it. The best experience comes in Apple Stores, where friendly reps work with customers one-on-one to resolve any issues. And if an issue can't be resolved, the customer walks away with a new iPhone that has already been filled with all of his or her data. Apple's phone support is nearly as impressive. In some ways, it's even more impressive. Phone reps are friendly and patient, and they always do everything they can to resolve any issues and avoid having a device sent in for inspection. Often times you'll even receive a follow-up call to ensure your issue was resolved and your device is still working properly. Making a sale is the easy part and Apple knows it. After-sale service is yet another area where Apple shines far brighter than rivals, and it's one of the main reasons iPhone buyers keep coming back.

Google Maps for Android is getting the desktop feature you’ve been waiting for

One of the coolest Google Maps tricks is being able to set multiple destinations. You no longer have to plan simple A-to-B trips, and then request new directions whenever a new destination comes along. With multiple stops, A-to-B-to-C-to-D routes are easy to set up. However, as useful as the feature is, it also used to be pretty annoying in one significant regard: it was only available on the desktop website, which is hardly convenient when most people rely on iPhone and Android for their navigating. Thankfully, that just changed, and you’re going to be able to use multiple destinations on mobile as well. DON’T MISS: The iPhone 7 nightmare As is often the case with Google Maps, Android users will be the first to get the new feature as soon as update 9.31 rolls out. As Android Police reports , a beta version of the update shows that Google is actively working on implementing the multiple stops feature, and the feature is finally going live for users. The following screenshots show you what setting up multiple destinations looks like on mobile. The site says the feature is likely activated by “a server-side switch,” not an actual update to Maps, but you should still update Google Maps to the latest version available and wait for Google to make the feature available in your area. It’s likely that Google Maps for iPhone will also receive the future in the near future. After all, Google likes to offer iPhone users the same set of features that are available on Android, especially considering the increased competition from Apple Maps . UPDATE: Google confirmed that Android is going to soon receive the multiple stops feature, with iOS getting it next. Read more about it at this link .

Don’t fall for this Android malware that pretends to be Uber, Facebook, or WhatsApp

Security researchers from FireEye recently uncovered a new piece of Android malware that can mimic the look and feel of app interfaces from the likes of Uber, WhatsApp and Google Play. The malware reportedly struck first in  Denmark and is now making its way through a handful of other European countries, including Italy, Germany and Austria. According to researchers, the malware is spread via a basic yet cleverly deceptive SMS phishing scheme. When a user receives and subsequently clicks on an ostensibly legit link, the malware is downloaded and begins to monitor which apps are active and which apps are running in the background. What happens next is extremely clever: when a user attempts to use an app that the "malware is programmed to target", the software overlays a fake user interface with "nearly identical credential input UIs as seen in benign apps." In turn, the malware than asks unassuming users to enter in sensitive information such as their banking credentials or credit card information. DON'T MISS:  The iPhone 7 nightmare All the while, victims of this attack believe that the UI screen in front of them is 100% authentic because it only sprung into existence once they decided to launch whatever app they happen to be using. All told, the malware is designed to mimic 8 separate apps, including WhatsApp, WeChat, Uber, Facebook, Viber, the Google Play store and more. Notably, the authors of this particular are seemingly becoming more sophisticated and ambitious now that they're targeting a larger array of popular apps. FireEye notes: For example, later campaigns usually targeted more benign apps than earlier campaigns, focusing on messaging apps, for example, as opposed to banking apps. Also, the malicious apps used in later campaigns are often harder to analyze because obfuscation techniques were adopted to evade detection. In addition, some new functionality was added; in particular, we noticed that more recent samples leveraged reflection to bypass the SMS writing restriction enforced by the App Ops service (introduced in Android 4.3). All of this suggests that threat actors are actively improving their code.   Additionally, the malware authors have begun sending out more enticing and seemingly benign links via SMS, with one message stating, "We could not deliver your order. Please check your shipping information here.” In one particular malware campaign targeting users in Denmark, one SMS link managed to generate more than 130,000 clicks. More information on this particular strain of malware can be viewed via the source link below.

Tennis-Not my usual Wednesday, says unlikely lad Willis

By Martyn Herman LONDON, June 29 (Reuters) - With a huge dollop of understatement and a wry smile, rank outsider Marcus Willis described the day he faced the greatest player of all time on Wimbledon's Centre Court as "not my standard Wednesday". "It's not playing Roger Federer on Centre Court," added the 25-year-old. Then to earn a crack at seven-times Wimbledon champion Federer, he had to bridge a yawning rankings gap of more than 700 to oust Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis in the first round.

Google just shamed the antivirus software you probably use, so update immediately

Whether you’re looking to protect your PC or an entire fleet of computers, chances are you’ve either considered or have ended up purchasing products from Symantec. The company sells consumer software under the Norton brand, in addition to Symantec Endpoint Protection that targets enterprises. The bad news is that both products were just shamed by  Google’s Project Zero security team , which found critical errors that leave users at risk. In fact, Google’s security hacker Tavis Ormandy discovered numerous vulnerabilities in 25 different Norton and Symantec products, and he said they are “as bad as it gets.” MUST READ:  The iPhone 7 nightmare "These vulnerabilities are as bad as it gets," Ormandy  wrote . "They don’t require any user interaction, they affect the default configuration, and the software runs at the highest privilege levels possible. In certain cases on Windows, vulnerable code is even loaded into the kernel, resulting in remote kernel memory corruption." Rather than protecting users from malicious programs, the anti-virus programs could end up helping hackers by making it even easier to target these machines – essentially, a hacker could simply have to attack the software intended to protect a computer, rather than the computer itself. "Just emailing a file to a victim or sending them a link to an exploit is enough to trigger it – the victim does not need to open the file or interact with it in any way,” Google’s researcher said. Google’s team looks for zero-day security holes in various products and found issues in antivirus products from Trend Micro in the past. The researchers give companies 90 days plus a two-week grace period to fix issues, after which point they’re revealed to the public. The good news is that Symantec has taken swift action  and all the issues were fixed in an update that was already sent to customers by the time Ormandy published his findings. Even so, while antivirus software on some systems is updated automatically, not all computers are set up that way. Admins might have to perform the updates themselves. It’s still disconcerting to find out that one of the top antivirus makers out there had so many bugs in software meant to protect users from malicious hackers. More details about the software issues found in Symantec and Norton products are available at the source links – and make sure you update all your Symantec products immediately.

ACLU files lawsuit over U.S. anti-hacking law

By Dustin Volz WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The American Civil Liberties Union said it filed a lawsuit in U.S. federal court on Wednesday challenging the constitutionality of an anti-hacking law, arguing it prevents academics and others from collecting data to investigate whether online algorithms may be discriminatory. The lawsuit claims the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) infringes the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment protections of speech, the press, and a right to petition the government. It was brought by the ACLU on behalf of a group of university professors and First Look Media, which publishes the news site The Intercept, against U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

China appoints new internet regulator

Xu Lin, deputy director of China's internet regulator, attends a Shanghai delegation group discussion at the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing China on Wednesday appointed a new head of its powerful internet regulator, a man who has publicly vowed to maintain the ruling Communist Party's tight grip over cyberspace. In a brief report, the official Xinhua news agency said Lu Wei will no longer head the Cyberspace Administration of China, naming one of his deputies, Xu Lin, as his replacement. Xu, 53, was in charge of propaganda in China's commercial capital Shanghai from 2013-15 before being moved to Beijing to become a deputy to Lu, according to his biography.


Noodles & Co reports possible data security incident

(Reuters) - Fast-casual restaurant chain operator Noodles & Co said on Tuesday a recent data security incident may have compromised the security of payment information of some its customers. The company said the possible data security incident has affected customers who used debit or credit cards at some of its locations between Jan. 31 and June 2. Noodles & Co confirmed that malware may have stolen credit or debit card data from some cards used at some of its locations.

EU leaders tell Britain to exit swiftly, market rout halts

EU and British flags are adjusted before the EU summit in Brussels By Michael Holden and Elizabeth Piper LONDON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European leaders told Britain on Tuesday to act quickly to resolve the political and economic chaos unleashed by its vote to leave the European Union, a move the IMF said could put pressure on global growth. Financial markets recovered slightly after the result of Thursday's referendum wiped a record $3 trillion (£2.25 trillion) off global shares and sterling fell to its lowest level in 31 years against the dollar, but trading was volatile and policymakers said they would take all necessary measures to protect their economies. Chancellor George Osborne, whose attempt to calm markets had fallen on deaf ears on Monday, said the country would have to cut spending and raise taxes to stabilise the economy after a third credit ratings agency downgraded its debt.


Why Are Government Hacks Often Bigger Than First Disclosed?

Updated on June 28 at 12:00 p.m. The U.S. government sure has been getting hacked a lot. In July 2014, The New York Times reported that Chinese hackers broke into the servers of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the agency that functions as a kind of government-wide human-resources department.

Meet your favorite new Google search feature

Wait, what on Earth did Drake just mumble in that new single? And what the heck is Rhianna saying in the hook on her new song? Is that Fetty Wap track even English? There's a reason lyrics sites like Genius have exploded in popularity over the past few years — fans have no idea what anyone is saying anymore. There are dozens of apps and services that offer lyrics for millions upon millions of songs, and soon you won't have to use any of them ever again. Why? Because song lyrics will appear right within your search results on Google.com and inside Google's mobile search apps for iOS and Android. DON'T MISS:  How to get paid every week just for using one Google app Google and a Toronto-based company called LyricFind have both confirmed a deal that will bring song lyrics directly to search results. As Billboard confirmed , the ink on the deal is dry and the new lyrics feature will begin rolling out to users in the United States on Tuesday. This is more than just a big win for LyricFind, which will undoubtedly pull in some nice additional cash as a result. It's also more than a win for Google, which takes yet another step toward realizing a future where users never actually have to leave Google's own sites and apps. Music publishers and songwriters will also see benefits from the deal, according to LyricFinder CEO and co-founder Darryl Ballantyne. "It should be a significant revenue stream," Ballantyne told Billboard . "I can’t get into the rates, but we expect it to be millions of dollars generated for publishers and songwriters as a result of this. It’s all based on usage. Royalties are paid based on the number of times a lyric is viewed. The more it’s viewed, the more publishers get paid." Here's a screenshot of a lyrics search:

This malware steals data using your Internet-less computer’s fans

So you have an air-gapped computer , or unconnected to the Internet, and you think your data is secured just because it’s not accessible online? In most cases that might be true, but that’s not 100% accurate. There are ways to steal information from computers that are not connected to the web, and smart hackers will not stop looking for such tricks. The newest such malware would let attackers steal information from supposedly secure computers with the help of the sound made by its fans and processor. DON’T MISS: Leaked iPhone 7 photos point to intriguing new camera design Researchers from the Ben Gurion University in Israel explained in a new paper that they would be able to retrieve data from an isolated computer that’s not connected to the internet and doesn’t have cameras or audio hardware in such a manner. What they did was to control and listen to the speed of the computer’s fans and CPU, Motherboard explains . The information can be transmitted in Morse code up to eight meters, and a smartphone could pick up the signals and turn it into usable information. Even so, to work, the malware has to be installed on the air-gapped computer. That would be done using a stick, or any other external storage device that would carry the virus. Once installed, it locates data on the machine and starts transmitting it by controlling the speed of the CPU and cooling fans. The acoustic waveforms would probably be ignored by the computer user, but a nearby listening device would pick it up and translate it for the attacker. Because this is still morse code, hackers can’t really steal large amounts of data. Researchers expect speeds of 900 bits per hour which isn’t a lot. But it might be enough to get passwords and encrypted keys without leaving a trace. Of course, this type of attack still needs two things to happen: 1) the malware needs to be installed on the air-gapped computer, and 2) the attackers need to be in the range of the hacked device to pick up the signal. But it’s more than clear that people are actively devising ways to compromise even the most secure computers. The full paper on the matter is available at the source link.

More Clinton emails released, including some she deleted

Rev. Jessie Jackson listens at left as Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a Rainbow PUSH Women's International Luncheon at the Hyatt McCormick in Chicago, Monday, June 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) WASHINGTON (AP) — An additional 165 pages of emails from Hillary Clinton's time at the State Department surfaced Monday, including nearly three dozen that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee failed to hand over last year that were sent through her private server.


Sharp new satellite imagery makes Google Earth way better for stalking

Google Earth and Street View already combine to make the tool for stalking people since the phone book went out of print. With a brand-new set of imagery captured by the Landsat-8 satellite, Google has made the day of satellite imagery nerds and stalkers worldwide. The new imagery was debuted in a blog post , which explains how Landsat-8 and better image processing have combined to give some spookily pretty satellite images. DON'T MISS:  Burger King’s Mac n’ Cheetos is exactly what America needs Landsat-8 went into orbit in 2013, and has sensors that are a step above other satellites in NASA's Landsat program. We've been seeing the results for years from NASA releases, but this is the first time comprehensive imagery of the entire globe has been stitched together. And what imagery! Google has some before-and-after shots prepared , and the contrast is stark. Take these images of New York City: everything is far sharper, showing things like building shadows and baseball fields in Central Park. In order to assemble one complete cloud-free mosaic of the Earth, Google used its Earth Engine API to sort through imagery. In total, it had to mine data from a petabyte of imagery, representing over 700 trillion individual pixels. Good thing Google has computers big enough to be seen from space to do the work for it. The new images are already available to the general public -- go to the Google Earth app, if you're still using that, or enable the satellite overlay on Google Maps. Most of all, I'm excited for what the latest version of Google Earth means for satellite image wallpapers.

One of Google’s biggest partners probably isn’t dumping Android after all

For the foreseeable future, Android will be the number one mobile operating system on the planet. It has continued to build an impressive lead over iOS and the countless stragglers who can't even top 1% of the market share, but that hasn't stopped some of the industry's leading Android phone makers from planning for a future that is significantly less dependent on Google's mobile OS. DON'T MISS:  Forget 2016 Nexus phones, Google is said to be making an iPhone 7 killer Just last week, The Information reported that Huawei had put together a team of engineers to build a new operating system that could one day replace Android as the company's go-to software for smartphones and tablets. Although Huawei hasn't directly responded to the report, the company's CEO Richard Yu took to social media site Weibo over the weekend to confirm that his team will continue to use Android as long as Google keeps it open. This is not exactly an outright denial, but it should be Google at ease for the time being. Even if Huawei is working on its own mobile platform, Samsung has already shown just how long it can take to get any traction whatsoever with a new OS. Tizen has been in various stages of release since 2012, but you'd still be hard-pressed to find someone on the street who had ever even heard of it. The smartphone market will continue to have a decidedly green tint for the coming years, but don't be surprised if other operating systems begin to rise up in the wake of fragmentation and dissatisfaction with Android.

Interview: Spaces is the most exciting VR startup you’ve never heard of

Virtual reality startups like Spaces , a new Los Angeles-based VR shop, are in a race for eyeballs. For some companies in the space, it’s about the wow factor of shiny hardware that gives users awe-inspiring VR experiences. For an enterprise like Spaces, which was launched by veterans of DreamWorks Animation with $3 million in funding, a key piece of the game plan is teaming up with bigger companies like media brands to get the startup’s VR content in front of as many people as possible. That’s one reason, for example, Spaces secured a $30 million joint venture announced earlier this month between it and China-based Songcheng Performance Development Co. Ltd., one of the biggest theme park operators in the world. Spaces will be using tools and technology it’s developing specifically for theme parks to help bring VR and mixed reality into Songcheng’s properties, which drew almost 23 million people last year, according to Spaces. Not bad for a company that’s only a few months old and was born out of its founders’ itch to capitalize on the exploding market for VR content and experiences. DON'T MISS:  Why the boring iPhone 7 is the smartest thing Apple has done in years The founding team includes CEO Shiraz Akmal, who prior to January had spent more than two years developing technology, experiences and games for VR at DreamWorks Animation. He’s also worked for almost a decade at THQ as vice-president of operations-product development and helped establish THQ China. Brad Herman, meanwhile, is Spaces’ CTO who also came from the trenches at DreamWorks. He served as head of DreamWorks Animation’s DreamLab, among other things, and served as crowds supervisor on DreamWorks Animation productions like “Kung Fu Panda 2” and “Monsters vs. Aliens.” The name they chose for their new venture refers to the base unit of virtual reality. “We’re a technology company that has creativity at its core,” Herman told BGR a few days before the Spaces team met with development partners at E3. “We make creative software, predominantly in the enterprise space. We’re about creating spaces and enabling people to create spaces.” One example is the agreement with Songcheng, which Spaces is co-managing from its L.A. headquarters. In Songcheng’s theme parks, VR and mixed reality elements will be added to existing attractions, including elaborate stage shows. The Songcheng-Spaces venture also plans to build unique, standalone virtual reality attractions and parks throughout China. Spaces appears set to tap into something spelled out in the 2016 Virtual Reality Consumer Report released a few days ago that presents the latest consumer research on this topic from Greenlight VR. The bottom line, according to the report — when more than 1,200 survey respondents were asked about their personal interest in different VR use cases, gaming came in at number six. The top use cases were actually things like travel, tourism and adventures; movies and recorded video and live events. “I think this is where our customers and partners like Songcheng — all these companies believe in this kind of future,” Akmal said. “It’s not because they think it’s cool. Of course they think it’s cool. But they also see all these other trends, like the fact that there’s all this major investment money pouring in and all the major companies — from Microsoft to Google to Facebook and Apple — all investing in this perceptual computing wave that’s coming our way. “So I think for us, we see that and say that for all of that to be successful, people are going to want something cool to do. They’re going to want something interesting to use their hardware for. And that’s where content and technology tools will help enable our mission of helping our partners bring their content libraries and brands onto these devices.” Another important point to note: forget the video game console war between Sega-Nintendo or Xbox-PS4. Same with iOS vs. Android. The Spaces team decided that there’s enough of a multiplicity of VR devices — and not, Akmal argues, likely to be one dominant platform or winner — that made now the right time to dip their toe in the water and formally launch their own company. “If you’re a media and entertainment company, these discussions started happening 12 months ago,” Herman said. “Like, every large media and entertainment company 12 months ago started having these discussions, like ‘We have to have a 360-video/VR strategy because our competitors are doing it.’ Kind of like the early mobile era. They didn’t necessarily realize why they were doing it, they just realized the market was going in a certain way and they have to do it. It’s going to take a little longer for it to reach something like your neighborhood pizza place, but I don’t think it’s going to take as long as people think.”

Microsoft pays woman $10,000 for auto-upgrading her PC to Windows 10

Windows 10 auto-upgrades are like a sick, cruel joke being played on us by this point. Most stories that start with "my Windows 10 PC auto-upgraded" tend to end with "and then all my data was lost," but this particular version has a happy ending, because it involves Microsoft paying out a lot of money. A California woman has won $10,000 from Microsoft, after the tech giant gave up challenging a court case. Teri Goldstein alleges that after her computer was upgraded to Windows 10, it became slow and unreliable. DON'T MISS:  Leaked iPhone 7 photos point to intriguing new camera design “I had never heard of Windows 10,” Goldstein said. “Nobody ever asked me if I wanted to update.” Goldstein subsequently took Microsoft to court, suing for lost wages and the cost of a new computer (running OS X, I hope). Goldstein won the initial court case, and although Microsoft initially appealed, it just dropped that case. So, Goldstein should be seeing a $10,000 check show up from Microsoft sometime soon. In a statement to the  Seattle Times,  Microsoft said that "“we’re continuing to listen to customer feedback and evolve the upgrade experience based on their feedback.” As well as being a great Monday morning story of justice, the ruling has to be worrying for Microsoft. Ever since Windows 10 upgrades became more pushy ( bordering on "malware" in some cases ), horror stories of Windows 10 upgrades gone wrong have been doing the rounds of the internet. If even a tenth of affected customers can get a payout on the level of Tori Goldstein, this might be the most costly software update in history.

German who held Swiss boy investigated for sexual abuse

BERLIN (AP) — German prosecutors say they are investigating a man on suspicion of kidnapping, sexual abuse and possession of child pornography after police found a missing 12-year-old Swiss boy at his home.

China moves closer to adopting controversial cybersecurity law

The Google logo is seen on the top of its China headquarters building, behind a road surveillance camera in Beijing China moved closer on Monday to adopting a controversial cybersecurity law, after parliament held a second reading of the draft rules, which carry significant consequences for domestic and foreign business and threaten greater censorship. China enforces widespread controls over the internet that it has sought to codify in law, and Chinese laws often go through multiple readings and drafts before they are adopted. The draft, presented before the standing committee of the National People's Congress, requires network operators to comply with social morals and accept the supervision of the government and public, official news agency Xinhua said.


Bangladesh central bank ends FireEye investigation into cyber heist

Commuters pass by the front of the Bangladesh central bank building in Dhaka Bangladesh's central bank has ended a contract with U.S. cyber security firm FireEye to investigate February's online theft of $81 million, turning down a proposal to extend the agreement, a senior official said on Monday. More than four months after hackers broke into the computer systems of Bangladesh Bank and transferred money from its account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, investigators in Bangladesh and the United States are still trying to identify them. FireEye's Mandiant division had asked for 570 hours of additional work to complete its investigation into the biggest cyber heist in history, sources at the bank had said earlier.


Don’t fall prey to this clever piracy extortion scam

For as detestable as they are, scammers are undeniably clever and resourceful. In the most recent example which highlights the lengths to which scammers will go to swindle people out of the hard-earned money, Torrent Freak directs us to a new phishing scheme where ISPs are the primary target. DON'T MISS:  iPhone 7 will be Apple’s riskiest iPhone release yet According to the report, an individual or group of individuals are masquerading as representatives from IP Echelon, the IP tracking arm of Lionsgate. These malicious actors are reaching out to ISPs with takedown notices which are then passed along to consumers, and bundled with such notices are fines which users are encouraged to pay in order to avoid legal proceedings. And because the consumer sees correspondence from their official ISP, they assume that it is 100% legitimate: TorrentFreak was alerted to a takedown notice Lionsgate purportedly sent to a Cox subscriber, for allegedly downloading a pirated copy of the movie Allegiant. Under threat of a lawsuit, the subscriber was asked to pay a $150 settlement fee. ... For a phishing scam the fake DMCA notice does its job well. At first sight the email appears to be legit, and for Cox Communications it was real enough to forward it to their customers. The report notes that U.S. law enforcement agencies are already looking into the matter. In the meantime, you should independently reach out to the legitimate rightsholder if you receive such a notice, rather than just paying up directly.

HTC’s LG Nexus 5X successor will not kill the headphone jack

There’s much ado about a certain headphone jack these days. The iPhone 7 is expected to ditch the standard 3.5mm port, just like Motorola’s 2016 flagship devices that were announced a few weeks ago . But not all phones will stop supporting the audio standard, and at least one of the two upcoming HTC-made Nexus devices is rumored to have a headphone jack. In fact, a new leak gives us a preview of the rumored hardware of the smaller 2016 HTC Nexus handset. DON’T MISS: Galaxy Note 7 shaping up to be Samsung’s most powerful smartphone yet A trusted source shared with Android Police the supposed specs of the HTC Sailfish, which is the codename of the 5-inch Nexus handset made by the Taiwanese handset maker this year. HTC is rumored to have partnered with Google to launch two distinct Nexus devices this year , likely the successors of the LG Nexus 5X and the Huawei 6P. The HTC Sailfish will reportedly feature a 5-inch Full HD display, 64-bit 2.0GHz quad-core processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, 12-megapixel rear camera, 8-megapixel front camera, Bluetooth 4.2, rear fingerprint reader, USB-C port, at least one speaker on the bottom, and the headphone jack on top. It’s not clear at this time what type of mobile processor the HTC Nexus will get, whether the phone will have any other storage versions, or whether it’ll have dual speakers on the bottom. But the headphone jack is explicitly mentioned. Information regarding pricing and release dates has not been leaked, and there are no images available for the handset. The specs for the HTC Marlin Nexus handset have not leaked.

DOJ's refusal to turn over code complicates child porn cases

SEATTLE (AP) — The Justice Department's refusal to disclose information about a software weakness it exploited during a major child pornography investigation last year is complicating some of its prosecutions arising from the bust.

Clinton failed to hand over key email to State Department

FILE - In this March 12, 2012 file photo, then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her mobile phone after her address to the Security Council at United Nations headquarters. Newly released emails show State Department staffers wrestled in December 2010 over a serious technical problem with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's home email server. They temporarily disabled security features, which left the server more vulnerable to hackers. Weeks later, hackers attacked the server so seriously it was shut down. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File) WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Secretary Hillary Clinton failed to turn over a copy of a key message involving problems caused by her use of a private homebrew email server, the State Department confirmed Thursday. The disclosure makes it unclear what other work-related emails may have been deleted by the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.


FBI did not need warrant to hack child porn suspect's computer -court

The FBI did not need a search warrant to hack a suspect's computer during an investigation of a large child pornography website, a U.S. judge has ruled, in a decision one group of private advocates called "dangerously flawed." In a decision unsealed on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Henry Morgan in Newport News, Virginia, rejected a bid to suppress evidence against Edward Matish, one of at least 137 defendants charged in the probe of the website Playpen. Morgan noted the widespread nature of hacking today, and compared the hacking of Matish's computer to a police officer looking through someone's broken window blinds, which the Supreme Court has said does not violate the U.S. Constitution. As a result, he said, a computer normally afforded protection in other circumstances against unreasonable searches "is not protected from Government actors who take advantage of an easily broken system to peer into a user's computer." The ruling drew sharp criticism from Mark Rumold, a senior staff attorney Electronic Frontier Foundation, who in a blog post called the decision "dangerously flawed." "To say the least, the decision is bad news for privacy," he wrote.

Banks are killing the password, and they can thank the iPhone for that

Many distinct entities are looking to kill the password, or replace it with better, more secure ways of logging into several online services. Banks are among them, and it’s easy to understand why. They want to protect their money. In light of the many security breaches that have put at risk the identities and online assets of millions of users, banks are encouraging customers to sign up for in-app biometric authentication methods. Scanning a fingerprint, the eye, or recording voice is a lot easier, and more secure, than logging into online banking services using credentials that hackers can steal or social engineer. And the iPhone is a big reason why banks are looking to kill the password. DON’T MISS: Galaxy Note 7 shaping up to be Samsung’s most powerful smartphone yet In an extensive piece, The New York Times explains the various password alternatives banks use, all related to a certain extent to biometrics. Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo have millions of customers who log into their bank accounts using fingerprints on mobile phones, a feature iPhone introduced with the iPhone 5s, and which later became an integral part of the Apple Pay wireless payments feature. Apple equipped smartphones with fingerprint sensors all the way back to 2013, and many competitors followed suit. A year later, Apple opened Touch ID to developers and launched Apple Pay. However, it’s only recently that banks have released apps that can take advantage of the feature. Other biometrics used include eye scans (Wells Fargo), voice (Citigroup), and facial contours (USAA). It’s important to note that banks are worried that regular username and password logins aren’t secure because of all the many breaches in the last few years that allowed hackers to steal millions of credentials for various services as well as other identifiable information such as social security numbers. Financial institutions have toyed for years, with the idea of adding biometric-based security layers to customer accounts but the available technology was cumbersome and expensive. The iPhone and other devices solved that problem, making smartphones practically ubiquitous. Smartphones are advanced enough to let apps read fingerprints, scan eyes, and record voice in crystal clear quality. Also, smartphones also act as a second layer of protection. “If you have your phone and you are authenticating with your fingerprint, it is very likely you,” Twin Mill founder and biometrics security expert Samir Nanavati told the Times . The problem with biometric-based logins is that customers have to agree to make fingerprints, eye scans, and voice accessible by banks. And there’s always the theoretical possibility that clever hackers might find ways to compromise this type of security as well. But banks to not store actual fingerprints or eye patterns. Instead, they’re keeping templates made of hard-to-predict numerical sequences. Other safeguards are also in place, including voice prompts that ensure the user isn’t playing a voice recording to log in. Eye-scanning apps tell users to blink and/or move the eyes to avoid someone using a photo to log into an account. Wells Fargo teamed up with EyeVerify, whose technology creates a maps of the veins in the whites of the eye. In addition to securing accounts better than passwords, biometrics can also transform the entire banking experience, making it faster than before. However, while logins are almost instant, certain operations, like transferring funds, might still require good-old passwords, at least for the time being. The Times ’ full article on the matter is worth a read and it’s available at the source link.

Bankruptcy filing by Brazil's Oi rattles global supply chain

By Brad Haynes and Ana Mano SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil's biggest bankruptcy filing ever is sending shockwaves far beyond the recession-hit country's borders as operator Oi SA seeks creditor protection from global telecoms suppliers and export banks around the world. Oi is seeking protection on over 500 million reais ($150 million) of accounts payable to international providers from Nokia Corp and Ericsson to IBM Corp and Alcatel-Lucent SA, according to court documents reviewed by Reuters. The biggest Brazilian fixed-line carrier also owes about $1 billion to foreign development banks in China, Finland, Canada and Germany, which encouraged exports to Brazil during a recent surge in spending on wireless and broadband networks.

Google’s two biggest partners are both working toward ditching Android

Today, Google's Android platform and Apple's iOS platform dominate the mobile landscape. It's difficult to imagine that ever changing considering how far behind other platforms are at this point, but people said the same thing more than a decade ago when operating systems like Symbian and Windows Mobile ruled the world. Things change and what goes up must come down. What's interesting, however, is that major Android vendors are already starting to prepare for life after Android despite the platform's strong position at the moment. MUST READ:  Why the boring iPhone 7 is the smartest thing Apple has done in years According to market research firm Gartner, Android's worldwide smartphone market share was 84.1% in the first quarter of 2016. The next closest platform was iOS at just 14.8%, which was down from 17.9% in the same quarter a year earlier. No other mobile platform had a market share that even reached the single digits of a percent — Microsoft's Windows Mobile/Phone was closest at a pathetic 0.7% In other words, it's Android's world and we just live in it. Despite Android's firm grasp on the smartphone and wider mobile markets, the platforms biggest partners are also working toward someday abandoning the platform. Samsung, the world's biggest Android vendor by a massive margin, has developed its own open source Tizen operating system and it sells phone models that run Tizen in a few regions. Now, a new report reveals that Huawei is following suit. Huawei was the third-largest smartphone vendor in the world in the first quarter of the year, with estimated handset shipments that totaled 28.7 million units. According to The Information , Huawei has a team of engineers that is currently beginning to build a new mobile operating system. Details are scarce for the time being but the report says that this small team is based in Scandinavia and it includes some former Nokia engineers. Hopefully it's not the same team that built MeeGo. This is absolutely something that Google needs to keep an eye on. The company's two biggest Android partners are now both taking steps to dial back their reliance on Google's mobile platform, and perhaps someday abandon it entirely.

Emails: State Dept. scrambled on trouble on Clinton's server

FILE - In this March 12, 2012 file photo, then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her mobile phone after her address to the Security Council at United Nations headquarters. Newly released emails show State Department staffers wrestled in December 2010 over a serious technical problem with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's home email server. They temporarily disabled security features, which left the server more vulnerable to hackers. Weeks later, hackers attacked the server so seriously it was shut down. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File) WASHINGTON (AP) — State Department staffers wrestled for weeks in December 2010 over a serious technical problem that affected emails from then-Secretary Hillary Clinton's home email server, causing them to temporarily disable security features on the government's own systems, according to emails released Wednesday.