Your smartphone and / or tablet is just begging to get updated. From time to time, these mobile devices are blessed with maintenance refreshes, bug fixes, custom ROMs and anything in between, and so many of them are floating around that it’s easy for a sizable chunk to get lost in the mix. To make sure they don’t escape without notice, we’ve gathered every possible update, hack, and other miscellaneous tomfoolery from the last week and crammed them into one convenient roundup. If you find something available for your device, please give us a shout at tips at engadget dawt com and let us know. Enjoy!
Official Android updates
Android 2.3.4 for the Motorola Droid X2 is ready for download. It includes minor fixes to the keyboard, video quality, the mobile hotspot and more. [Droid-Life]
Reports are starting to trickle in that the HTC Desire S on Orange UK is getting the bump up to Android 2.3.5 and Sense 3.0, though it seems to be unannounced at this point. [XDA]
Unofficial Android updates, custom ROMs and misc. hackery
The CyanogenMod team is getting close to having CM7 ready for the Motorola Droid 3. [Droid-Life]
The recently released LG Esteem for MetroPCS has been rooted. [AndroidNerds]
The BlackBerry PlayBook now has an upgrade available. Nope, not the one with native email. Instead, this one is more of a security and stability enhancement with the latest version of Flash Player thrown in for kicks and giggles. [PhoneArena]
The 6th-gen iPod Nano received an update to version 1.2 to help bring it to speed with the 7th-gen models unveiled this week. It offers larger app icons, new clock faces, easier adjustments of the accelerometer for the fitness feature as well as several bug fixes. Thanks, Eric! [MacObserver]
T-Mobile’s BlackBerry Bold 9900 will get a maintenance release in November that adds WiFi calling, a feature that many have sorely missed. [Electronista]
Refreshes we covered this week
Refresh Roundup: week of October 3, 2011 originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 09 Oct 2011 11:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Unlocking your phone doesn’t get any easier than a simple patterned swipe or pre-set pin. But for the fussy amongst you, there’s an alternative solution to make you feel both confidently futuristic, and downright ridiculous. Facelock, the facial recognition security app announced back at Nokia World 2010, has finally mosied on over to the Ovi Store, beta tag in tow. The screen lock tech functions pretty much as you’d expect: once you’ve set a static image of your face as a code, the front-facing camera will then match it up to your mug and, presto magico, you’ll have access to your device. The free app is apparently compatible only with Symbian 3 handsets, although those rocking Anna and Belle shouldn’t encounter any difficulties. Ready to face / off with your phone? Then hit up the source link below to download the gratis goods.
Facelock app hits the Ovi Store, Symbian handsets frame your face for security originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 08 Oct 2011 04:43:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, privacy settings
We’re not exactly lacking in opportunities for Minority Report references these days, but sometimes they’re just unavoidable. According to a new report from CNET based on documents obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the US Department of Homeland security is now working on a system dubbed FAST (or Future Attribute Screening Technology) that’s designed to identify individuals who are most likely to commit a crime. That’s not done with something as simple as facial recognition and background checks, however, but rather algorithms and an array of sensors and cameras that can detect both physiological and behavioral cues that are said to be “indicative of mal-intent.” What’s more, while the DHS says that it has no plans to actually deploy the system in public just yet, it has apparently already conducted a limited trial using DHS employees — though no word on the results of how well it actually works, of course. Hit the source link below for the complete (albeit somewhat redacted) documents.
US Department of Homeland Security developing system to predict criminal intent originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 08 Oct 2011 02:31:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, homeland security
The man on your left is Dr. Peng Ning — a computer science professor at NC State whose team, along with researchers from IBM, has developed an experimental new method for safely securing cloud-stored data. Their approach, known as a “Strongly Isolated Computing Environment” (SICE), would essentially allow engineers to isolate, store and process sensitive information away from a computing system’s hypervisors — programs that allow networked operating systems to operate independently of one another, but are also vulnerable to hackers. With the Trusted Computing Base (TCB) as its software foundation, Ping’s technique also allows programmers to devote specific CPU cores to handling sensitive data, thereby freeing up the other cores to execute normal functions. And, because TCB consists of just 300 lines of code, it leaves a smaller “surface” for cybercriminals to attack. When put to the test, the SICE architecture used only three percent of overhead performance for workloads that didn’t require direct network access — an amount that Ping describes as a “fairly modest price to pay for the enhanced security.” He acknowledges, however, that he and his team still need to find a way to speed up processes for workloads that do depend on network access, and it remains to be seen whether or not their technique will make it to the mainstream anytime soon. For now, though, you can float past the break for more details in the full PR.
Continue reading NC State researchers team with IBM to keep cloud-stored data away from prying eyes
NC State researchers team with IBM to keep cloud-stored data away from prying eyes originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 07 Oct 2011 09:24:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
HTC held true to its promise to look into the security vulnerability that surfaced over the weekend, an apparent glitch that allows any app requesting internet access to take a peek at a user account information, GPS location, system logs, and other potentially private data. While HTC assured us that user data isn’t at risk of being harmed by its own software, a third party malware app could exploit the security flaw and cause some trouble. The outfit is already building a patch, and will ship it out in an over the air update after a short testing period with its carrier partners. Until then? HTC recommends steering clear of apps from publishers you don’t trust. Hit the break to see the official statement.
Continue reading HTC confirms security hole, says patch is incoming
HTC confirms security hole, says patch is incoming originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 04 Oct 2011 01:47:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Remember all that iPhone tracking hubbub back in April? Sure you do — you probably also recall Apple’s denial, the subsequent Senate hearing, and the rest of the fiasco’s dramatic fallout. Amid the ballyhoo, Microsoft stepped out to admit that its Windows Phone also collected location data, but quickly promised to knock it off following the next scheduled update. According to ChevronWP7 collaborator Rafael Rivera, Windows Phone 7.5 cinches it: Mango “no longer sends location data prior to being granted permission to do so.” Redmond previously told the US House of Representatives that it only collected location data if a user expressly allowed an application to send it along — a claim which Rivera debunked last week, noting that simply launching the camera application captured and transmitted “pin-point accurate positioning information.” The big M maintains that the collected location data was anonymous, and that it shouldn’t have been sent at all unless the user allowed it. Either way, Microsoft’s chapter in the big location tracking blunder of 2011 seems to be at a close, squaring the firm with Congress, its developers, and hopefully its customers.
Mango kills Microsoft’s always-on location tracking, makes good on letter to House of Representatives originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 03 Oct 2011 02:06:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, microsoft windows phone
, phone tracking
The folks at Android Police
seem to have stumbled across a rather jarring security vulnerability
handsets running Android, giving common apps with internet access a peek at the device’s vital statistics, user information and more. Demonstrated in the above video, developer Trevor Eckheart found that a recent HTC update packed in a suite of logging tools that collects data on user accounts (including email addresses), recent GPS locations, SMS data and encoded text, phone numbers, system logs, running processes and more — all of which can be accessed by common apps requesting access to android.permission.INTERNET
HTC is already looking into the issue, stating, “HTC takes our customers’ security very seriously, and we are working to investigate this claim as quickly as possible. We will provide an update as soon as we’re able to determine the accuracy of the claim and what steps, if any, need to be taken.” If you’re too antsy to wait for HTC’s update, head on over to the source link below — Eckheart says the issue can be resolved by removing HTCloggers from a rooted device.
HTC security vulnerability said to leak phone numbers, GPS data, and more, HTC responds (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 02 Oct 2011 19:17:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, security vulnerabilities
The MiniStation Extreme and DriveStation Axis Velocity aren’t exactly ground-breaking products, but they’re certainly nice additions to Buffalo’s lineup of USB 3.0-packing storage solutions. The Axis Velocity is a pretty standard external drive for a desktop, with platters inside it spinning at 7,200 RPM. What sets it apart from a good chunk of the crowd is the 256-bit AES hardware encryption, which is tough enough to meet even the government’s stringent security standards. The MiniStation Extreme goes truly portable and rugged — for those who have a tendency to drop things or hit them with a hammer. The MiniStation ships in 500GB and 1TB capacities for $95 and $130 respectively, while the Axis Velocity starts at $95 for the 1TB model and goes up to $135 for 2TB and $180 for three. Check out the gallery below and the complete PR after the break.
Continue reading Buffalo adds super secure DriveStation Axis Velocity and rugged MiniStation Extreme USB 3.0 storage lineup
Buffalo adds super secure DriveStation Axis Velocity and rugged MiniStation Extreme USB 3.0 storage lineup originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 27 Sep 2011 07:27:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Tags: 256-bit aes encryption
, ministation extreme
, usb 3.0
Old Uncle Sam seems determined to crack down on botnets, but he still needs a little help figuring out how to do so. On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published a request for information, inviting companies from internet and IT companies to contribute their ideas to a voluntary “code of conduct” for ISPs to follow when facing a botnet infestation. The move comes as an apparent response to a June “Green Paper” on cybersecurity, in which the Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force called for a unified code of best practices to help ISPs navigate through particularly treacherous waters. At this point, the NIST is still open to suggestions from the public, though Ars Technica reports that it’s giving special consideration to two models adopted overseas. Australia’s iCode program, for example, calls for providers to reroute requests from shady-looking systems to a site devoted to malware removal. The agency is also taking a hard look at an initiative (diagrammed above) from Japan‘s Cyber Clean Center, which has installed so-called “honeypot” devices at various ISPs, allowing them to easily detect and source any attacks, while automatically notifying their customers via e-mail. There are, however, some lingering concerns, as the NIST would need to find funding for its forthcoming initiative, whether it comes from the public sector, corporations or some sort of public-private partnership. Plus, some are worried that anti-botnet programs may inadvertently reveal consumers’ personal information, while others are openly wondering whether OS-makers should be involved, as well. The code’s public comment period will end on November 4th, but you can find more information at the source link, below.
US government to beat back botnets with a cybersecurity code of conduct originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 23 Sep 2011 14:34:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, voluntary code
Micron may think it’s simply “bolstering user security” but, if you ask us, it seems like the company is providing the machines with a tool to protect their plans for insurrection. The RealSSD C400 SED has a special, security-focused firmware and hardware-based AES-256-bit encryption that keeps all of its precious data safe from prying eyes. The hardware self-encryption solution also frees up a computer’s processor to focus on more important tasks (like planing the enslavement of mankind), rather than waste precious resources on protecting sensitive information. The C400 SED will ship sometime during Q4 in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB varieties. Price has yet to be announced, but we’re not sure that Skynet really cares what the cost is. After all, it can just tell Micron’s order-processing system to send a bunch out free of charge.
Continue reading Micron adds self-encryption to RealSSD C400, protects plans for world domination from prying eyes
Micron adds self-encryption to RealSSD C400, protects plans for world domination from prying eyes originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 21 Sep 2011 17:32:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, realssd c400
, solid state drive