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Stagefright Targets The Android Platform

Edwin Kee

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stagefrightEver experienced stagefright before? I suppose imagining the audience to be naked might help, but when we talk about Stagefright: The Malware, then it is a different story altogether. If you are an Android user, then you might want to arm yourself with more information concerning this piece of text-message based malware, so hopefully your vendor or device manufacturer will be able to send out a fix to prevent this malware from causing havoc on your device.

Basically, Stagefright works this way – it has the ability to attack any Android smartphone, tablet, or other device that has Android 2.2 or higher. This is a very wide range of devices – more than a billion Android-powered devices, making it among the worst Android vulnerabilities discovered to date.

Stagefright will be sent to you in the form of a multimedia text message, perhaps a short video of kittens playing via Google’s Hangouts app, and that’s it – the attack will begin. You do not even need to open the text message app. Google had already been informed of the problem in April, where “Google acted promptly and applied the patches to internal code branches within 48 hours.”

While Google has provided the Android source code patches, it is the responsibility of smartphone carriers and original equipment manufacturers (OEM)s ensure that updated firmware carrying these source code patches are sent out – and so far, none of the major Android OEMs or carriers have made any plans to deliver the patch, which is a scary thought. The safest thing to do now? Block any and all text messages that arrive from unknown senders.

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Fairphone 2 Begins To Ship

Edwin Kee

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fairphone2The Fairphone 2 was first unveiled in June earlier this year, where this particular handset carried a modular design while featuring majority of its components that have been sourced from conflict-free mines. It seems that this particular handset that you can purchase with a clear conscience has begun to ship to those who happen to live across Europe.

Fairphone announced in a blog post, “It’s been almost two years in the making, and some of the earliest buyers have been patiently waiting since July to receive their new phones. As community manager, I want to personally welcome the new batch of Fairphone owners to our community.” The initial 1,000 units are tipped to ship this month, before the other pre-orders follow in January 2016.

In terms of hardware specifications, the Fairphone 2 will run on a Snapdragon 801 chipset, has a 5″ 1080p screen with Gorilla Glass 3 protection, 2GB of RAM, an 8MP camera, with Android 5.1 Lollipop in tow. It will be a dual SIM capable handset with a microSD memory card slot and plays nice with 4G LTE networks, retailing for approximately €525 a pop.

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Xiaomi Mi 5 Carries NFC Feature

Edwin Kee

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xiaomi-zimiIt looks like the upcoming flagship model from Xiaomi will feature NFC support, at least based on a document that was released by China UnionPay. Just in case you are scratching your head and wondering who China UnionPay is, they happen to be the only domestic payment gateway supplier and card organization, and hence, to see them offer detailed support concerning the newly released NFC-based payment system points to the very real possibility of the upcoming Xiaomi Mi 5 featuring NFC capability.

After all, the Xiaomi Mi 3 was also mentioned on the list, which so happens to feature NFC, and there is no mention of the Xiaomi Mi 4 which does not come with NFC. Still, such a new payment system would be the ideal tool to see the reintroduction of NFC to the flagship model.

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OnePlus X Ceramic Limited Edition Available From Today

Edwin Kee

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oneplus-x-ceramicOnePlus did make an announcement in the previous month that the Ceramic variant of the OnePlus X will be released on November 24. True to their word, they did exactly that – although only a pitiful number of units were made available, and not only that, this was through a charity auction. Thankfully for the rest of the masses who are on the lookout for this device, it has gone on sale officially already.

Needless to say, this particular variant is available only by an invitation, although do bear in mind that standard OnePlus X invites are not good here – you will still need to snag yourself a specific Ceramic variant invite before you make a purchase. OnePlus is also on the lookout to offer additional methods of picking up this smartphone, although no further details were revealed.

The OnePlus X Ceramic will be available only in select markets, where among them include Europe, India, and Hong Kong. To date, we do know that OnePlus had made only 10,000 units of the handset available. A case of the early bird getting the proverbial worm here?

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