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Twitter data shows Samsung users are happier with their phones than iPhone users

Are you loyal to your iPhone?  Ever thought about getting a different device but don’t know if you will be happy with it or not? According to LikeFolio analysis of consumer sentiment on Twitter, Samsung Galaxy phone owners are happier with their phones than Apple (AAPL) iPhone customers.   

LikeFolio uses social-data research to discover consumer trends on public companies, in this case measuring how positively consumers are reacting to the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy phones. The chart below shows that tweets about a Samsung Galaxy phone are significantly more positive than tweets about an Apple iPhone.

3fbb3_spaceball Twitter data shows Samsung users are happier with their phones than iPhone users3fbb3_spaceball Twitter data shows Samsung users are happier with their phones than iPhone users

iPhone vs Galaxy

That huge dip on the chart for Samsung in the fall of 2016 is from the S7 exploding battery recall. Although iPhone’s sentiment has been very consistent around 60%-70% positive, Samsung has recovered in the eyes of consumers and has had a higher percentage of positive sentiment throughout the last year.

Bottom line, Samsung is creating happy consumers with its Galaxy line of phones.

Lower sentiment for the iPhone X

While the new X has a beautiful display, outstanding camera capabilities and new facial recognition, Apple still might have some work to do. The lower sentiment for the iPhone is likely due in part to the X still having a lackluster battery life and it not being very durable, which can result in costly repairs or replacements. 

After all the hype around the release of the iPhone X, we are now finding out that,  according to Consumer Reports, the iPhone X ($999.99-$1,149) is not the best smartphone you can buy despite being Apple’s best iPhone yet.

Samsung still took the first three spots in the Consumer Reports ranking, with the Galaxy S8 ($724.99), S8 Plus ($849.99), and S7 ($594.99). These large price differences could be one reason that iPhone customers seem less thrilled with their device than Samsung Galaxy owners.

The good news for Apple is that the shortcomings of the iPhone X could actually benefit the company. Analysts encourage investors to buy Apple because the iPhone X will lead to a super long cycle for the company. 

Analyst Michael Olson, from Piper Jaffray, expects Apple will release three iPhones next year with the X’s better OLED displays. In addition, he notes 3D sensing component suppliers are being asked to increase their volume by three times next year, according to the firm’s checks.  “iPhone X ‘offspring’ can expand upgrade interest to a larger portion of iPhone Users in Fall-18,” he wrote. “As options for the ‘X’ generation iPhone expand, the ‘shots on goal’ for upgrading increases.”

We still think Apple will continue to dominate with their iPhone X but when it comes to creating happy smartphone users, Samsung seems to be doing things right.

See also:

New retail winners emerged in the Black Friday fight against Amazon  

Here’s a big clue that Amazon will continue to dominate with the iPhone X

These 2 companies could be bucking the devastating real-estate trend

Tech support scams hitting more computer users online

For consumers who turn over control of their computers to remote technicians online, the fix may already be in.

A growing number of remote tech support scams are popping up, in which users facing “crashed” computers give online access for repairs that do nothing more than drain their wallets, according to a study released Monday by the Better Business Bureau.

“We’re getting a lot more calls on these types of scams,” said Steve Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois. “But what’s really alarming is most consumers don’t realize they’ve been scammed.”

For many users, the scams begin with pop-up warnings saying their computers have been infected by viruses or malware. The computers may lock up, issue piercing alarms or even mimic the dreaded “blue screen of death” that appears when a computer has crashed completely.

Google just fixed a year-old Android Auto bug that caused users to see temperatures in Fahrenheit instead of Celsius …

The love story between Google and bugs is one that will seemingly never end. Case in point: the company has just solved a problem first reported 13 months ago on its Google Product Forums concerning the incorrect temperature scale being shown on Android Auto head units.

Basically, people in the US (one of the only places in the world that uses Fahrenheit) randomly began seeing temperatures in Celsius on their Android Auto head units, whereas users overseas in countries like the UK, Canada, Italy, and so on had Fahrenheit pop up on their screens. For some, the unit of measurement would flip-flop, causing a few people to first report that the problem had miraculously righted itself, only to come back a few days later with the same issue. Clearing the Android Auto app’s cache was recommended, but it didn’t really do anything.

While the problem had initially been reported back in November 2016, it began picking up speed again in October. And now, in December 2017, the issue has finally been resolved. This seems to have been due to a mishap with Google’s servers, as an app update isn’t required (but is encouraged) to finally show the correct unit of measurement.

Let the comments regarding how stupid the US is for using Fahrenheit ensue!

Google Contacts syncing not working for some users — here’s how to fix it

Data not syncing for your Google Contacts? This is what to do.

You might not consciously think about it, but chances are you use Google Contacts every single day. It’s a fairly unexciting service, but it’s also one of the most important when it comes to communication. Unfortunately for some users, one of Contacts’ biggest features – data syncing – simply hasn’t been working.

9c6be_Google-Contacts_0 Google Contacts syncing not working for some users — here's how to fix it

If you’re affected by this bug, you’ll see that contacts that are saved to Google Contacts aren’t showing up on your phone as they should. This is something that appears to only affect devices running Android Oreo (both 8.0 and 8.1), and users have been reporting it on Google’s Product Forums, Reddit, and even our own Android Central Forums.

The issue stems from contacts added through Google+.

Community Manager Orrin on the Google Product Forums says that he’ll be reaching out to Pixel users to gather bug reports and other information, but if you want a fix right now, Ambassador and Moderator of the Android Central Forums, LeoRex, has something for you to try out.

Per LeoRex’s findings, the bug stems from contacts that have been added through Google+. When you add a contact this way, the profile URL for that entry in Google Contacts is a web link for their Google+ profile. You’ll be able to see this contact when viewing Google Contacts from Chrome or on your computer, but not through the Contacts app on your Android phone.

To fix this, head to the Google Contacts website, find any contacts added through Google+, and remove the profile URL that’s there. Once the contact is saved, it should show up on your phone like normal.

Responses to LeoRex’s solution are all positive so far, so if you’re running into this bug, it’s worth giving this a shot. We’re still waiting on an official fix from Google, but in the meantime, this should work just fine.

Google Pixel 2 on ATT gains ATT gains HD Voice with Oreo 8.1 update

Google Contacts syncing not working for some users — here’s how to fix it

Data not syncing for your Google Contacts? This is what to do.

You might not consciously think about it, but chances are you use Google Contacts every single day. It’s a fairly unexciting service, but it’s also one of the most important when it comes to communication. Unfortunately for some users, one of Contacts’ biggest features – data syncing – simply hasn’t been working.

9c6be_Google-Contacts_0 Google Contacts syncing not working for some users — here's how to fix it

If you’re affected by this bug, you’ll see that contacts that are saved to Google Contacts aren’t showing up on your phone as they should. This is something that appears to only affect devices running Android Oreo (both 8.0 and 8.1), and users have been reporting it on Google’s Product Forums, Reddit, and even our own Android Central Forums.

The issue stems from contacts added through Google+.

Community Manager Orrin on the Google Product Forums says that he’ll be reaching out to Pixel users to gather bug reports and other information, but if you want a fix right now, Ambassador and Moderator of the Android Central Forums, LeoRex, has something for you to try out.

Per LeoRex’s findings, the bug stems from contacts that have been added through Google+. When you add a contact this way, the profile URL for that entry in Google Contacts is a web link for their Google+ profile. You’ll be able to see this contact when viewing Google Contacts from Chrome or on your computer, but not through the Contacts app on your Android phone.

To fix this, head to the Google Contacts website, find any contacts added through Google+, and remove the profile URL that’s there. Once the contact is saved, it should show up on your phone like normal.

Responses to LeoRex’s solution are all positive so far, so if you’re running into this bug, it’s worth giving this a shot. We’re still waiting on an official fix from Google, but in the meantime, this should work just fine.

Google Pixel 2 on ATT gains ATT gains HD Voice with Oreo 8.1 update

TV app now rolling out in UK to Apple TV, iPhone and iPad users

The TV app for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV is now rolling out for UK users. Apple has posted the localized version of the TV app webpage confirming the launch.

In the UK, the TV app integrates TV shows and movies from iTunes, BBC iPlayer, ITV, Amazon Prime Video, Channel 5, and more.


2f432_vxd168-evergreenassociateads-benefit-assoc-300x250 TV app now rolling out in UK to Apple TV, iPhone and iPad users

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Original story below regarding BBC iPlayer update: The popular UK video service BBC iPlayer has released an update for its iOS and tvOS universal app with some interesting release notes, suggesting that the TV app will be launching in the UK imminently.

The update notes say the update introduces support for the new TV app, which will be available to users running iOS 11.2 or later.

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BBC iPlayer is heavily featured by Apple on its UK marketing for the Apple TV device, and is a significant partner that Apple would certainly work with for the TV app unveiling.

As of right now, the TV app is not available – when it rolls out, it will replace the Videos app on iPhone and iPad, in addition to appearing on Apple TV. The TV app integrates movies and TV shows from a variety of sources into one application with discovery, watch queues and other features. Users still have to buy subscriptions for each paid service and actually playing a video still happens in the respective third-party apps, however.

At the iPhone X September media event, Eddy Cue said the TV app would roll out to the UK before the end of the year. He also promised that other major UK channels would add support for Apple TV with video-on-demand apps, including the ITV Hub and My5. These launched earlier this week.


Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

Raspberry Pi, Linux on ARM Users: Now You Get a New Browser Option with Vivaldi

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Steam now lets developers know how many users want their game on Mac and Linux

There’s now a way for Steam users to signal their interest in a game being available for their preferred platform.

Valve has made a change to the developer side of Steam that gives developers a breakdown of the different platforms people choose when adding a game to their wishlist.

This is helpful because it also shows platforms that the game does not currently support, letting the developer know how much interest there is for ports on platforms other than Windows. This is obviously only limited to PC operating systems, so Mac, Linux, and SteamOS.

If a Steam user has a single preferred platform in their personalised store preferences, every game they wishlist – regardless of whether or not it’s available on that platform – will be sent to each respective developer.

d05b9_steam_platform_wishlist_breakdown_1 Steam now lets developers know how many users want their game on Mac and Linux

For instance, if a Steam user only plays on Mac, and they’ve set their store preferences to only show Mac games, Steam will notify the developer of every game they wishlist that doesn’t have a Mac version. This brings no change for users, but it’s one way you could push for a Mac or Linux port of your favourite game.

Internet users wrongly accuse Michigan bus driver of racist email, school says

Editor’s note: The social media post in question and some of the comments in response include strong language.

GENESEE COUNTY, MI – A Genesee County school bus driver has been “wrongly associated” with sending a racist email to a television news anchor in Atlanta, Georgia, school officials say.

The Genesee Intermediate School District issued a statement on Thursday, Dec. 7, saying that a personnel investigation has determined that GISD transportation employee Kathy Rae Szuch is not the author of an email calling CBS Atlanta anchor Sharon Reed a racial slur.

The email to Reed went viral on Twitter and Facebook this week after the Georgia anchor responded to the message on-air, saying that she will let Kathy Rae’s words “speak for themselves,” BuzzFeed News reported

Individuals on social media then incorrectly tied the email message to Szuch, a Flint-area school bus driver with a similar name and email address, the GISD’s letter claims.

“Through (the personnel investigation) in which our employee thoroughly cooperated, it has become clear that the email used to send these disparaging remarks to Ms. Reed in Atlanta is not owned by, or associated with, our employee,” the district’s statement said. “The results of this misidentification have been terribly difficult for our employee who has been inundated with hurtful messages via social media.”

GISD Superintendent Steve Tunnicliff said that through the “thorough investigation,” the district is “extremely confident” that its employee was not the sender of the email. He declined to elaborate on the details of the investigation. 

“As an institution of nearly 1,700 educators working to positively impact children and families in Flint and Genesee County, Michigan, we share the outrage with the comments made to Ms. Reed,” the district’s statement said. “We would never condone such comments, and especially would never stand behind someone who would make such comments and serve children as an educator. However, it is clear to us that Kathy Rae Szuch has been wrongly associated with this act via social media.”

Since Tuesday night, the GISD’s Facebook page has been flooded with comments calling for the bus driver to be fired.

On a quest to find the sender of the email, social media users have linked Szuch and others across the country to the message.

Apple to iPhone, Mac users: Here’s why our data gathering doesn’t invade your privacy

45122_emojitogetherlarge2x Apple to iPhone, Mac users: Here's why our data gathering doesn't invade your privacy

The results of Apple’s massive data collection allow it to see, for example, differences across keyboard locales.


Apple

Apple has added a new post to its Machine Learning Journal that explains how it’s using differential privacy to protect users, even when collecting very sensitive data such as keystrokes and the sites users visit.

This type of data collection occurs when users opt in to share usage analytics from macOS or iOS, allowing Apple to collect “privatized records”.

Apple introduced differential privacy in iOS 10 in support of new data collection aimed at improving QuickType, emoji suggestions, Spotlight suggestions, and media playback features in Safari.

The system works on the basis that statistical noise can be added to data on the device before it’s shared with Apple.

The post, Learning with Privacy at Scale, is Apple’s seventh issue in its first volume on the site that goes into detail about its machine-learning projects and how they impact its products. This one offers a deeper dive into its differential privacy framework and serves to reassure users that it’s not slurping up extremely private information.

It says its approach to differential privacy on the device allows data to be “randomized before being sent from the device, so the server never sees or receives raw data”.

The records arrive at a restricted access server where IP addresses are dropped. Apple says at that point it can’t tell if an emoji record and a Safari web domain record come from the same users. Apple then converts the records into aggregate compute statistics that are shared with relevant teams at Apple.

When users opt in to share device analytics, Apple defines a “per-event privacy parameter” and limits the number of records that are transmitted by each user per day.

Users can see the reports in iOS by going to Settings Privacy Analytics Analytics Data in entries that begin with ‘DifferentialPrivacy’. Mac users can see them in the Console in System Reports. Apple also offers sample images to show users how the reports can be identified.

Apple has what it calls an ‘injestor’ where metadata such as timestamps of records is removed and the records are grouped by use case. The records are then passed to an ‘aggregator’ for statistical analysis.

The end result of all this processing is that Apple can now, for example, tell which are the most popular emojis, and in different languages, which in turn helps it improve predictive emoji on the iOS keyboard.

Apple can also identify websites that are energy and memory hogs in Safari on iOS and macOS. Apple’s browser can detect these domains and report them to Apple using its differential privacy framework.

It also helps identify the websites that users want Auto-play enabled, which Safari began automatically blocking with macOS High Sierra.

The third benefit to Apple is that can discover new words, which help it improve its on-device lexicons and autocorrect.

Previous and related coverage

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Device and requests went down, but secret and classified orders spiked by more than three-fold.

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Deep dive analysis: Apple says it will ‘follow the law’ wherever it does business. But questions remain over what happens — and how the company will react — when the laws fall foul of the company’s privacy promises.

Android keyboard app leaks personal data of 31 million users

72597_security-privacy-hackers-locks-key-6778 Android keyboard app leaks personal data of 31 million usersEnlarge Image


James Martin/CNET

Personal data for more than 31 million users of an Android keyboard app called AI.type has leaked online, according to ZDNet and researchers at the Kromtech Security Center

The app’s database server wasn’t password-protected, which meant anyone could access more than 577 gigabytes of personal data, according to the report that was released today. The data was eventually secured after ZDNet attempted to contact the app’s creator, Eitan Fitusi.

Fitusi said in an email that the database in question contained about 50 percent of users’ basic data “about user use patterns of the keyboard.” He said the app is not collecting, storing or sending any password or credit card information.

According to ZDNet, each user record contains the user’s location and basic info such as the user’s full name, email addresses and how many days the app was installed. 

72597_security-privacy-hackers-locks-key-6778 Android keyboard app leaks personal data of 31 million users

Global internet users to reach 3.47 billion in 2017

With the biggest surge in smartphone adoption happening in India and Vietnam and user base expected to grow by almost 20 per cent in both countries, the year will see 3.47 billion people using the Internet, market research firm eMarketer has said.

Internet users will represent 46.8 per cent of the global population and mobile phones will be the primary device for Internet access, used by 2.73 billion people, the firm added.

The number of Internet users in India is expected to reach 450-465 million, said the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and market research firm IMRB International. The report said overall Internet penetration in India was currently around 31 per cent.

Developing digital markets in Asia-Pacific region, Latin America and the Middle East and Africa will see the fastest Internet user growth from 2017-21, driven by widening mobile broadband coverage and smartphone adoption.

By 2019, more than half of the world will access the Internet regularly and in 2021 more than four billion people will be online.

However, Internet user growth will fall from 6.1 per cent this year to 3.5 per cent by 2021 as Intenet use hits saturation, the report said.

Meanwhile, tablet penetration among Internet users will decline this year.

About 32.9 per cent of Internet users worldwide will access a tablet this year, down from 33.2 per cent in 2016.

Raspberry Pi, Linux on ARM users: Now you get a new browser …

002c1_59282857e4b039651ca5bce1-1280x7201may262017144126poster Raspberry Pi, Linux on ARM users: Now you get a new browser ...

Raspberry Pi users now have one more browser to choose from besides Chromium, Firefox, and Midori, with the newly-announced availability of an experimental version of power-user-focused Vivaldi.

The Blink-based browser from former Opera CEO Jon von Tetzchner is expanding beyond Windows, macOS, and Linux PCs to a range of ARM-based developer boards, including the Raspberry Pi, CubieBoard, Asus Tinker Board, and more.

Vivaldi doesn’t yet have a mobile browser but it was its work on one that helped spawn the build for Raspberry Pi, according to the company. It also points to Samsung’s DeX project as a potential new platform for Vivaldi. DeX aims to run full Linux on a Galaxy phone connected to a display.

With over 14 million Raspberry Pi units now having been sold since 2012, it and other ARM-based developer boards offer a fringe but growing market for Vivaldi.

Vivaldi developers in Oslo point out that the browser can be helpful on a Raspberry Pi connected to a TV as an alternative to the basic browsers that come with smart TVs.

The Vivaldi build for ARM is currently considered experimental and so may not get regular bug fixes. However, Vivaldi will take reports from users.

002c1_59282857e4b039651ca5bce1-1280x7201may262017144126poster Raspberry Pi, Linux on ARM users: Now you get a new browser ...

Vivaldi’s developers say their browser is better suited to Raspberry Pi users than Chromium, which ships with Raspbian, because of Vivaldi’s customization options.


Vivaldi

To install Vivaldi on the Debian-based Raspbian, users need only double-click on the downloaded installer. The company has a set-up page to help users get the browser running on non-Debian based Linux distributions, too.

Vivaldi’s developers argue that their browser is better suited to Raspberry Pi users than Chromium, which ships with Raspbian, because of Vivaldi’s customization options.

Perhaps most importantly, Vivaldi can help Raspberry Pi users scrimp on resources by turning off animated GIFs. There’s also a Reader View for easier reading, and Pi users can take advantage of other features like tab grouping, screenshot capture, and note taking.

Vivaldi is using its new ARM browser to build its community and tap into the Pi community. The company is offering fans the chance to win a Raspberry Pi Model 3, a Vivaldi case, and 16GB microSD card with Vivaldi pre-installed in exchange for sharing a crazy Pi project on its blog.

“We are excited to unveil Vivaldi for the popular development board Raspberry Pi and other Linux-based ARM devices. Enthusiastic Raspberry Pi users who are looking for a more feature-rich and flexible browser, will find Vivaldi a thrilling experience,” said von Tetzchner.

Previous and related coverage

Google offers Raspberry Pi owners this new AI vision kit to spot cats, people, emotions

Google’s Vision Kit lets you build your own computer-vision system for $45, but you’ll need your own Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi supercomputer: Los Alamos to use 10,000 tiny boards to test software

Los Alamos National Lab finds its answer to ‘exascale’ software development in the tiny Raspberry Pi.

Read more on Vivaldi

The newest Android software is boring for users, but exciting for developers

The new and improved Android operating system, Android 8.1, is finally here. 

The update introduces a ton of new developer tools that incorporate artificial intelligence and machine learning. 

Most users won’t notice much of a difference, but developers will now have a bunch of new commands at their disposal. 

The most important new tool is the Neural Networks API, which will help developers incorporate machine learning into their apps. 

With the new API, developers can train apps to do things like classify images, predict user behavior, and respond to queries. 

Additional new commands will help developers improve autofill functionality. Your apps may soon show more detailed views of what information will be saved for autofill purposes, and will less frequently display invalid autofill options. 

The release includes a number of smaller optimizations as well. Apps can now only make a notification alert once per second, where before they could make multiple in quick succession. 

Additionally, developers can now direct their apps to automatically take a specific action each time they arrive at a webpage that Google has marked as unsafe. 

The release is bundled with the release of Android Oreo (Go Edition), a data-saving, storage-saving Android operating system optimized for entry-level smartphones. 

Android 8.1’s sources are now available on the Android Open Source Project, and the update will roll out to supported Pixel and Nexus devices next week. 

WATCH: Can the Google Pixel Buds translate faster than expert interpreters?

Raspberry Pi, Linux on ARM users: Now you get a new browser option with Vivaldi

ca47f_59282857e4b039651ca5bce1-1280x7201may262017144126poster Raspberry Pi, Linux on ARM users: Now you get a new browser option with Vivaldi

Raspberry Pi users now have one more browser to choose from besides Chromium, Firefox, and Midori, with the newly-announced availability of an experimental version of power-user-focused Vivaldi.

The Blink-based browser from former Opera CEO Jon von Tetzchner is expanding beyond Windows, macOS, and Linux PCs to a range of ARM-based developer boards, including the Raspberry Pi, CubieBoard, Asus Tinker Board, and more.

Vivaldi doesn’t yet have a mobile browser but it was its work on one that helped spawn the build for Raspberry Pi, according to the company. It also points to Samsung’s DeX project as a potential new platform for Vivaldi. DeX aims to run full Linux on a Galaxy phone connected to a display.

With over 14 million Raspberry Pi units now having been sold since 2012, it and other ARM-based developer boards offer a fringe but growing market for Vivaldi.

Vivaldi developers in Oslo point out that the browser can be helpful on a Raspberry Pi connected to a TV as an alternative to the basic browsers that come with smart TVs.

The Vivaldi build for ARM is currently considered experimental and so may not get regular bug fixes. However, Vivaldi will take reports from users.

ca47f_59282857e4b039651ca5bce1-1280x7201may262017144126poster Raspberry Pi, Linux on ARM users: Now you get a new browser option with Vivaldi

Vivaldi’s developers say their browser is better suited to Raspberry Pi users than Chromium, which ships with Raspbian, because of Vivaldi’s customization options.


Vivaldi

To install Vivaldi on the Debian-based Raspbian, users need only double-click on the downloaded installer. The company has a set-up page to help users get the browser running on non-Debian based Linux distributions, too.

Vivaldi’s developers argue that their browser is better suited to Raspberry Pi users than Chromium, which ships with Raspbian, because of Vivaldi’s customization options.

Perhaps most importantly, Vivaldi can help Raspberry Pi users scrimp on resources by turning off animated GIFs. There’s also a Reader View for easier reading, and Pi users can take advantage of other features like tab grouping, screenshot capture, and note taking.

Vivaldi is using its new ARM browser to build its community and tap into the Pi community. The company is offering fans the chance to win a Raspberry Pi Model 3, a Vivaldi case, and 16GB microSD card with Vivaldi pre-installed in exchange for sharing a crazy Pi project on its blog.

“We are excited to unveil Vivaldi for the popular development board Raspberry Pi and other Linux-based ARM devices. Enthusiastic Raspberry Pi users who are looking for a more feature-rich and flexible browser, will find Vivaldi a thrilling experience,” said von Tetzchner.

Previous and related coverage

Google offers Raspberry Pi owners this new AI vision kit to spot cats, people, emotions

Google’s Vision Kit lets you build your own computer-vision system for $45, but you’ll need your own Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi supercomputer: Los Alamos to use 10,000 tiny boards to test software

Los Alamos National Lab finds its answer to ‘exascale’ software development in the tiny Raspberry Pi.

Read more on Vivaldi

Android keyboard app leaks data on 31 million users

ANOTHER DAY, another dodgy Android app discovered, this time in the form of the personal data leaking ai.type Keyboard.

Uncovered by security researchers at Kromtech Security Centre, the keyboard app that offers an alternative to the native keyboards on Android and iOS devices was found to be extracting personal data from some 31 million users and flinging it over to an unsecured database server owned by the app’s co-founder Eitan Fitusi.

The data leak, according to the researchers, only affects the app on Android and not iOS, so iPhone users can keep feeling smug.

After the researchers apparently repeatedly tried to contact Fitusi, the app maker eventually added password protection to the database that held more than 577GB of user data, after it had been previously been left open to anyone who wandered by on the digital highways of the internet.

Had any of the malicious types that lurk on the web found the server they could have extracted all manner of user data, from full names, email addresses, and location, basically a treasure trove of information for people who get their kicks from identity theft and fraud.

Furthermore, security researcher Bob Diachenko noted that the app seemed to hoover up quite a lot of data for what would appear to be a simple keyboard tool.

“It raises the question of why would a keyboard and emoji application need to gather the entire data of the user’s phone or tablet? Based on the leaked database they appear to collect everything from contacts to keystrokes. This is a shocking amount of information on their users who assume they are getting a simple keyboard application,” he said.

Now it’s worth pointing out that the ai.type Keyboard app does note that it’ll suck up data and requires permissions to the user’s mobile contacts database, though it points out that “all information is locally stored on smartphone’s vocabulary”.

And the app touts privacy as a big focus, noting that text tapped into the keyboard is private and encrypted.

But the security researchers found that this isn’t the case, given that not only was there an unsecured server sitting full of user data, but the texts weren’t encrypted either as they were able to download and look through the database files where they found a table containing 8.6 million entries of text that had been typed into the keyboard app.

So pretty much the promise of privacy, which ai.type outlines on its website has appeared to have a strong whiff of BS.

Whether the data protection and encryption failings are deliberate or just down to some server setup fumbling, is still up for debate. We’ve attempted to contact ai.type for comment and clarification as to what the hell it was playing at.

Such breaches in data protection are worrying as ai.type Keyboard is a widely used app that’s been well reviewed and comes from a legit developer, basically raising the question as to who can you trust these days. We’ll console ourselves by sticking with default keyboards for the time being. µ

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Data of 31 million users of iPhone add-on keyboard ai.type potentially leaks

Conflicting accounts have emerged about a security breach involving the ai.type add-on keyboard for iOS and Android, with researchers claiming that 31 million people’s data has been compromised —with a user’s contacts also potentially included in the leak.

a73c9_23918-30783-aitype-l Data of 31 million users of iPhone add-on keyboard ai.type potentially leaks

The Kromtech Security Center discovered on Tuesday that a MongoDB database used to collect data on ai.type keyboard users was misconfigured, and was available on the internet. Contained in the database is reportedly “data and details of 31,293,959 users” of the ai.type keyboard.

According to the researchers, user information includes phone numbers, full names, device name and model, mobile network name, SMS number, screen resolution, user languages enabled, Android version, IMSI number, IMEI number, emails associated with the phone, country of residence, links and the information associated with the social media profiles including birthdates and photos, IP, and location details.

Making the situation worse, it appears that 6.4 million records contained data gleaned from a user’s Contacts, including names and phone numbers, leading to a total of 373 million records in the briefly publicly available database.

a73c9_23918-30783-aitype-l Data of 31 million users of iPhone add-on keyboard ai.type potentially leaks

Other information in the database includes average messages per day, words per message, and ages of users.

“It is logical that anyone who has downloaded and installed the Ai.Type virtual keyboard on their phone has had all of their phone data exposed publicly online. This presents a real danger for cyber criminals who could commit fraud or scams using such detailed information about the user,” said Kromtech’s Head of Communications Bob Diachenko. “It raises the question once again if it is really worth it for consumers to submit their data in exchange for free or discounted products or services that gain full access to their devices.”

Upon installation, ai.type asks for “Full Access.” If permission is granted, the add-on keyboard can transmit absolutely anything typed through the keyboard to the developer. However, the company claims that it will never use personal information it collects —but if Kromtech is correct, the company appears to have stored a fair amount of information from the user’s device anyhow.

Ai.type tells a different story about the data contained in the database —but does not deny that a database was available publicly for a period of time.

Speaking to the BBC, Chief Executive Eitan Fitusi says that the stolen information was a “secondary database.” Additionally, he claims that the IMEI information was never collected by the company, user data collected only involves what ads are clicked by the user, and that the location data wasn’t accurate.

Fitusi claims that the database has been secured since the breach.

The company that found the database, Kromtech, is the company that develops and sells the poorly regarded MacKeeper suite of applications.

Raspberry Pi, Linux on Arm users: Now you get a new browser option with Vivaldi

e6e18_vivaldiraspberrypi Raspberry Pi, Linux on Arm users: Now you get a new browser option with Vivaldi

Vivaldi’s developers say their browser is better suited to Raspberry Pi users than Chromium, which ships with Raspbian, because of Vivaldi’s customization options.


Vivaldi

Raspberry Pi users now have one more browser to choose from besides Chromium, Firefox and Midori, with the newly announced availability of an experimental version of power-user focused Vivaldi.

The Blink-based browser from former Opera CEO Jon von Tetzchner is expanding beyond Windows, macOS and Linux PCs to a range of Arm-based developer boards, including the Raspberry Pi, CubieBoard, Asus Tinker Board, and more.

Vivaldi doesn’t yet have a mobile browser but it was its work on one that helped spawn the build for Raspberry Pi, according to the company. It also points to Samsung’s DeX project as a potential new platform for Vivaldi. DeX aims to run full Linux on a Galaxy phone connected to a display.

With over 14 million Raspberry Pi units now having been sold since 2012, it and other Arm-based developer boards offer a fringe but growing market for Vivaldi.

Vivaldi developers in Oslo point out that the browser can be helpful on a Raspberry Pi connected to a TV as an alternative to the basic browsers that come with smart TVs.

The Vivaldi build for Arm is currently considered experimental and so may not get regular bug fixes. However, Vivaldi will take reports from users.

To install Vivaldi on the Debian-based Raspbian, users need only double-click on the downloaded installer. The company has a set-up page to help users get the browser running on non-Debian based Linux distributions, too.

Vivaldi’s developers argue that their browser is better suited to Raspberry Pi users than Chromium, which ships with Raspbian, because of Vivaldi’s customization options.

Perhaps most importantly, Vivaldi can help Raspberry Pi users scrimp on resources by turning off animated GIFs. There’s also a Reader View for easier reading, and Pi users can take advantage of other features like tab grouping, screenshot capture, and note taking.

Vivaldi is using its new Arm browser to build its community and tap into the Pi community. The company is offering fans the chance to win a Raspberry Pi Model 3, a Vivaldi case, and 16GB microSD card with Vivaldi pre-installed in exchange for sharing a crazy Pi project on its blog.

“We are excited to unveil Vivaldi for the popular development board Raspberry Pi and other Linux-based ARM devices. Enthusiastic Raspberry Pi users who are looking for a more feature-rich and flexible browser, will find Vivaldi a thrilling experience,” said von Tetzchner.

Previous and related coverage

Google offers Raspberry Pi owners this new AI vision kit to spot cats, people, emotions

Google’s Vision Kit lets you build your own computer-vision system for $45, but you’ll need your own Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi supercomputer: Los Alamos to use 10,000 tiny boards to test software

Los Alamos National Lab finds its answer to ‘exascale’ software development in the tiny Raspberry Pi.

AI.type virtual keyboard leaks personal data for 31 million Android users

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AI.type virtual keyboard leaks personal data for 31 million Android users

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