Google

Google Is Too Slow At Clearing Junkware From the Chrome Extension Store 45

Posted by timothy
from the imperfect-world dept.
Mark Wilson writes Malware is something computer users — and even mobile and tablet owners — are now more aware of than ever. That said, many people do not give a second thought to installing a browser extension to add new features to their most frequently used application. Despite the increased awareness, malware is not something a lot of web users think of in relation to extensions; but they should.

Since the beginning of 2015 — just over three months — Google has already received over 100,000 complaints from Chrome users about 'ad injectors' hidden in extensions. Security researchers have also discovered that a popular extension — Webpage Screenshot — includes code that could be used to send browsing history back to a remote server. Google is taking steps to clean up the extension store to try to prevent things like this happening, but security still needs to be tightened up.
Security

Apple Leaves Chinese CNNIC Root In OS X and iOS Trusted Stores 100

Posted by timothy
from the trusted-by-whom dept.
Trailrunner7 writes When it was revealed late last month that a Chinese certificate authority had allowed an intermediate CA to issue unauthorized certificates for some Google domains, both Google and Mozilla reacted quickly and dropped trust in CNNIC altogether. Apple on Wednesday released major security upgrades for both of its operating systems, and the root certificate for CNNIC, the Chinese CA at the heart of the controversy, remains in the trusted stores for iOS and OS X. The company has not made any public statements on the incident or the continued inclusion of CNNIC's certificates in the trusted stores.
Android

Popular Android Package Uses Just XOR -- and That's Not the Worst Part 277

Posted by timothy
from the ightray-onyay-ethay-urfacesay dept.
siddesu writes A popular "encryption" package for Android that even charges a yearly subscription fee of $8 actually does nothing more than give a false sense of security to its users. Not only is the app using a worthless encryption method, it also uses weak keys and "encrypts" only a small portion of the files. One wonders how much snake oil flows through the app stores, from "battery savers" to "antivirus." What is the most worthless app purchase you made? Did you ask for a refund?
Software

Developers and the Fear of Apple 269

Posted by Soulskill
from the think-different-except-about-us dept.
An anonymous reader writes: UI designer Eli Schiff has posted an article about the "climate of fear" surrounding Apple in the software development community. He points out how developers who express criticism in an informal setting often recant when their words are being recorded, and how even moderate public criticism is often prefaced by flattery and endorsements.

Beyond that, the industry has learned that they can't rely on Apple's walled garden to make a profit. The opaque app review process, the race to the bottom on pricing, and Apple's resistance to curation of the App Store are driving "independent app developers into larger organizations and venture-backed startups." Apple is also known to cut contact with developers if they release for Android first. The "climate of fear" even affects journalists, who face not only stonewalling from Apple after negative reporting, but also a brigade of Apple fans and even other journalists trying to paint them as anti-Apple.
Security

Fraudulent Apps Found In Apple's Store 89

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-bad-apple dept.
snydeq writes Angry support queries citing problems with mystery iOS apps has led InfoWorld's Simon Phipps to discover the existence of several scamware apps in Apple's App Store. "If you're a scammer looking to make a fast buck, it appears that [Apple's App Store] process can be defeated," Phipps reports. "The questions originated from a support link for a $2.99 app in Apple's iTunes Store," which pointed angry customers to the Apache OpenOffice community, which doesn't even have an iOS app. The app in question, Quickoffice Pro, "simply displays a gray screen with the word Tap. When you tap the screen, the app exits." Further investigation has uncovered two other scam apps thus far.
Advertising

Apple Swaps "Get" Button For "Free" To Avoid Confusion Over In-App Purchases 103

Posted by timothy
from the for-the-low-low-price dept.
New submitter lazarus (2879) writes Apple is falling in line with the European Commission's request that app sellers do more to stop inadvertent in-app purchases. Following Google's lead, Cupertino has removed all instances of the word "free" within its iOS and Mac app stores (with the exception of its own apps, like iMovie), and replaced them with the term "Get." The new label clarifies what users can expect when downloading an app. Apps previously labeled as "Free" will now have a "Get" label. If those apps include in-app purchases, a small gray "In-App Purchase" label will appear below the "Get" button.
Android

Android Apps Now Unofficially Able To Run On Any Major Desktop OS 101

Posted by timothy
from the crash-early-and-often dept.
An anonymous reader writes A developer who goes by the handle Vladikoff has tweaked Google's App Runtime for Chrome (ARC) to allow any Android app to run on any major desktop operating system, not just the handful announced last week which were also limited to Chrome OS. His tweaked version of ARC is re-packaged as ARChon. The install isn't very straightforward, and you have to be in developer mode on Chrome. But there's a support forum on reddit. The extension will work on any OS running the desktop version of Chrome 37 and up as long as the user also installs chromeos-apk, which converts raw Android app packages (APKs) to a Chrome extension. Ars Technica reports that apps run this way are buggy, fast, and crash often but expresses optimism for when Google officially "opens the floodgates on the Play Store, putting 1.3 million Android apps onto nearly every platform."
Music

Apple Outrages Users By Automatically Installing U2's Album On Their Devices 610

Posted by samzenpus
from the do-not-want dept.
Zanadou writes "Apple may have succeeded at breaking two records at once with the free release of U2's latest album, titled Songs of Innocence, via iTunes. But now, it looks like it's also on track to become one of the worst music publicity stunts of all time. Users who have opted to download new purchases to their iPhones automatically have found the new U2 album sitting on their phones. But even if iTunes users hadn't chosen automatic downloads, Songs of Innocence will still be displayed as an "iTunes in the Cloud" purchase. That means it will still be shown as part of your music library, even if you delete all the tracks. The only way to make the U2 album go away is to go to your Mac or PC and hide all of your "iTunes in the Cloud" purchases, or to use iTunes to manually hide each track from your purchased items list. Other reactions include rapper Tyler, The Creator saying that having the new U2 album automatically downloaded on his iPhone was like waking up with an STD. Update: 09/16 15:06 GMT by T : Note: Apple has released a fix.
Software

Apple Reveals the Most Common Reasons That It Rejects Apps 132

Posted by timothy
from the too-fat-too-thin-too-talkative dept.
mrspoonsi writes One of the great mysteries of the App Store is why certain apps get rejected and why others don't. Apple has let a surprising number of ripoffs and clones through the store's iron gates, yet some developers face rejection for seemingly innocent apps. "Before you develop your app, it's important to become familiar with the technical, content, and design criteria that we use to review all apps," explains Apple on a new webpage called "Common App Rejections." Rejections include: Apple and our customers place a high value on simple, refined, creative, well thought through interfaces. They take more work but are worth it. Apple sets a high bar. If your user interface is complex or less than very good, it may be rejected; Apps that contain false, fraudulent or misleading representations or use names or icons similar to other Apps will be rejected.
Windows

Microsoft Dumps 1,500 Apps From Its Windows Store 126

Posted by timothy
from the bad-actors dept.
redletterdave writes: Microsoft announced on its Windows blog Wednesday that it's removed more than 1,500 apps from its Windows Store in a bid to clean up the store and restore trust with Windows 8 and Windows Phone users. Microsoft's new certification process, in particular, asks for clear and accurate names that "reflect the functionality of the app," more accurate categories, and differentiated icons to ensure apps aren't confused with one another. Microsoft reached out to developers with apps that violated its policies; some agreed to make changes to their software, while those who were "less receptive" saw their apps removed from the Windows Store. That might be just the beginning.
Businesses

Microsoft's Windows 8 App Store Is Full of Scamware 188

Posted by samzenpus
from the needs-a-cleaning dept.
Deathspawner writes Windows 8 brought a lot to the table, with one of its most major features being its app store. However, it's not a feature that Microsoft seems too intent on keeping clean. As it is today, the store is completely littered with misleading apps and outright scamware. The unfortunate thing is that to find any of it, all you have to do is simply open the store and peruse the main sections. Not so surprisingly, no Microsoft software seems to be affected by this, but many open-source apps can be found at the store from unofficial sources that have a cost, or will lead the user to download a third-party installer. It's only a matter of time before malware sneaks its way in, if it's not there already.
IOS

Apple's App Store Needs a Radical Revamp; How Would You Go About It? 249

Posted by timothy
from the hammer-and-tweezers dept.
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes Given the hundreds of thousands of apps currently on offer, it's hard for any one app (no matter how well designed) to stand out on Apple's App Store, much less stay atop the bestseller charts for very long. In an August 10 blog posting, former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée offered Apple CEO Tim Cook some advice: Let humans curate the App Store. 'Instead of using algorithms to sort and promote the apps that you permit on your shelves, why not assign a small group of adepts to create and shepherd an App Store Guide,' he wrote. 'A weekly newsletter will identify notable new titles, respond to counter-opinions, perhaps present a developer profile, footnote the occasional errata and mea culpa.' Whether or not such an idea would effectively surface all the good content now buried under layers of Flappy Bird rip-offs is an open question; what's certain is that, despite Apple's rosy picture, developers around the world face a lot of uncertainty and competition when it comes to making significant money off their apps. Sure, some developers are making a ton of cash, but the rising tide doesn't necessarily float all boats. If you had the opportunity, how would you revamp/revise/upgrade/adjust/destroy the App Store to better serve the developers who put apps in it?
Businesses

Critics To FTC: Why Do You Hate In-App Purchasing Freedom? 171

Posted by timothy
from the it-does-seem-a-bit-overreachy dept.
jfruh writes The FTC has moved aggressively recently against companies that make it too easy for people — especially kids — to rack up huge charges on purchases within apps. But at a dicussion panel sponsored by free-market think tank TechFreedom, critics pushed back. Joshua Wright, an FTC commissioner who dissented in a recent settlement with Apple, says a 15-minute open purchase window produced "obvious and intuitive consumer benefits" and that the FTC "simply substituted its own judgment for a private firm's decision as to how to design a product to satisfy as many users as possible."
Cellphones

Is the App Store Broken? 258

Posted by Soulskill
from the honeymoon-is-over dept.
A recent post by Instapaper's Marco Arment suggests that design flaws in Apple's App Store are harming the app ecosystem, and users are suffering because of it. "The dominance and prominence of 'top lists' stratifies the top 0.02% so far above everyone else that the entire ecosystem is encouraged to design for a theoretical top-list placement that, by definition, won’t happen to 99.98% of them." Arment notes that many good app developers are finding continued development to be unsustainable, while scammy apps are encouraged to flood the market.

"As the economics get tighter, it becomes much harder to support the lavish treatment that developers have given apps in the past, such as full-time staffs, offices, pixel-perfect custom designs of every screen, frequent free updates, and completely different iPhone and iPad interfaces. Many will give up and leave for stable, better-paying jobs. (Many already have.)" Brent Simmons points out the indie developers have largely given up the dream of being able to support themselves through iOS development. Yoni Heisler argues that their plight is simply a consequence of ever-increasing competition within the industry, though he acknowledges that more app curation would be a good thing. What strategies could Apple (and the operators of other mobile application stories) do to keep app quality high?
Businesses

3-D Printing Comes To Amazon 62

Posted by Soulskill
from the world-goes-plastic dept.
An anonymous reader writes Promising "an appstore for the physical world," Amazon has just unveiled their new online market for products created using a 3-D printer. "Customization gives customers the power to remix their world," explains the co-founder of Mixee Labs (an Amazon partner), "and we want to change the way people shop online." Amazon's ability to sell you things before they've even been built is currently limited mostly to novelties like iPhone cases, jewelry, and bobbleheads that look like you. But this could be the beginning of mainstream 3D printing.
Encryption

CNN iPhone App Sends iReporters' Passwords In the Clear 40

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the safe-reporting dept.
chicksdaddy (814965) writes The Security Ledger reports on newly published research from the firm zScaler that reveals CNN's iPhone application transmits user login session information in clear text. The security flaw could leave users of the application vulnerable to having their login credential snooped by malicious actors on the same network or connected to the same insecure wifi hotspot. That's particularly bad news if you're one of CNN's iReporters — citizen journalists — who use the app to upload photos, video and other text as they report on breaking news events. According to a zScaler analysis, CNN's app for iPhone exposes user credentials in the clear both during initial setup of the account and in subsequent mobile sessions. The iPad version of the CNN app is not affected, nor is the CNN mobile application for Android. A spokesman for CNN said the company had a fix ready and was working with Apple to have it approved and released to the iTunes AppStore.
United States

FDA: We Can't Scale To Regulate Mobile Health Apps 123

Posted by samzenpus
from the hard-work-is-hard dept.
chicksdaddy writes Mobile health and wellness is one of the fastest growing categories of mobile apps. Already, apps exist that measure your blood pressure and take your pulse, jobs traditionally done by tried and true instruments like blood pressure cuffs and stethoscopes. If that sounds to you like the kind of thing the FDA should be vetting, don't hold your breath. A senior advisor to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that the current process for approving medical devices couldn't possibly meet the challenge of policing mobile health and wellness apps and that, in most cases, the agency won't even try. Bakul Patel, and advisor to the FDA, said the Agency couldn't scale to police hundreds of new health and wellness apps released each month to online marketplaces like the iTunes AppStore and Google Play.
Blackberry

BlackBerry Back In Profit 67

Posted by Soulskill
from the bouncing-back dept.
An anonymous reader sends word that BlackBerry, hit hard over the past several years by the emergence of smart phones, has come back to profitability. BlackBerry has been fighting an uphill battle to stay relevant in the world of mobile devices. It has lost market share to Apple, companies like Samsung that offer gadgets running on Google's Android operating system, and Microsoft. But John Chen, who took over as CEO in November, has injected new life to the company. Chen, who says BlackBerry is getting close to breaking even on its hardware business, has steered the company's focus more towards software. He's made several product announcements that Wall Street has cheered. Last month, the company launched its Project Ion, an initiative to develop more connected devices ... a trend dubbed the Internet of Things. On Wednesday, BlackBerry reached a deal with Amazon that will let users of BlackBerry's newest operating system access Android apps in Amazon's appstore later this fall.
Blackberry

Amazon's Android Appstore Coming To BlackBerry 76

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the qnx-used-to-be-cool dept.
New submitter Hammeh (2481572) writes "BlackBerry announced they have reached a licensing agreement with Amazon to provide the Amazon Android Appstore to be shipped with BlackBerry OS 10.3, which is due to be released this fall. The Amazon Appstore will exist alongside the current BlackBerry World, bringing more than 200,000 Android apps directly to BB 10.3 devices. As part of the announcement, BlackBerry also outlined how they will be closing the Music and Video sections of BlackBerry World, as they will be provided by the Amazon Appstore. The question: is it enough to save BlackBerry in the consumer market, or is it too little, too late?
Businesses

Amazon Turns Off In-App Purchases In iOS Comixology 244

Posted by Soulskill
from the their-way-or-the-highway dept.
whisper_jeff writes: "Under the bold assumption that, since they were able to do it with books, they must be able to do it with comics, Amazon has decided to avoid Apple's 30% cut of in app purchases by removing the option from digital comic book platform Comixology for iOS users. It will be interesting to see if digital comic readers leap through the extra hoops to read digital comics on their iOS device or if Amazon has just signed the death knell for their new purchase. Readers may decide that buying a book and buying a comic aren't the same thing — that the extra hoops they're being forced to leap through simply aren't worth it for a comic that takes five minutes to read."