Friday, July 26, 2013

Google Chromecast Unveiled

Google Chromecast was introduced by Google on July 24, 2013. Chromecast is a neat HDMI stick that lets you stream online video, as well as music, to your high-definition TV from your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

This new device is compatible with Android, iOS, Chrome for Windows, and Chrome for Mac. Essentially, you can play online video from online platforms like YouTube, Google Play, and Netflix. Also, you can stream media via Google's Chrome browser.

As you can see, the Chromecast device is similar to a flash drive, but it plugs into the HDMI port of your TV. You then connect it to your Wi-Fi network and stream media from your smartphone, tablet or computer, to your HDTV. Google's Chromecast priced at $35 makes it affordable, especially when compared to online media streaming devices like Roku ($80) and Apple TV box ($99).

When purchased, the package includes the Chromecast device, an HDMI extender, a USB power cable, and a power adapter. With the launch of Chromecast, Google offered a free 3-month Netflix subscription for a limited number of purchases. This offer has now expired and no longer available. To learn how to set up Google Chromecast, check the video tutorial below:

Monday, July 15, 2013

Vulnerability in Android Smartphones

If you’re an Android smartphone user, you may want to pay attention to this security vulnerability which was first reported by Bluebox Security.

Essentially, with this Android vulnerability, hackers are able to take control of any app installed on your smartphone and turn it into a malicious Trojan. And all this activity takes place under the radar without being detected even by the Google App Store because this vulnerability enables the app APK code to be modified without detection. Having done so, the hacker gets complete access to the exploited smartphone(s).

According to Bluebox, this security vulnerability was reported to Google in February 2013. To protect Android smartphone users, it’s manufacturers’ responsibility to provide firmware, however, this is not a consistent process and could leave users vulnerable to security breaches via their smartphones. So Android users are encouraged to be proactive and protect the security of their smartphones.

One thing you can do is beware of the types of apps you download to your smartphone. Secondly, check the Android apps you’ve already got installed on your phone and the settings for automatic updates. Some users may have hundreds of apps installed and therefore opt into the automatic app updates. This can leave your mobile phone vulnerable to updates that may contain malware and spyware. You can check the video below to learn how to disable the auto-update app feature.

Also, Bluebox has come up with a free app called “Bluebox Security Scanner” which can be downloaded at the Google Play (Google’s app store). Basically, this app will check to see if your smartphone is vulnerable; if your phone settings allow non-Google apps to be installed; and will identify specific apps installed on your smartphone that may be attempting to take advantage of this security vulnerability.