Be cautious when installing free apps from Google Play Store; over 1,600 bugs found in backend systems

Around top 5,000 free apps available in the Google Play Store were found to have vulnerabilities.

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The vulnerabilities, affecting multiple app categories, could allow hackers to break into databases.
NEW YORK: Cybersecurity researchers have identified more than 1,600 vulnerabilities in the support ecosystem behind the top 5,000 free apps available in the Google Play Store.

While the researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology and The Ohio State University studied only applications in the Google Play Store, applications designed for iOS may share the same backend systems.

The vulnerabilities were found in the backend systems that feed content and advertising to smartphone applications through a network of Cloud-based servers.


The vulnerabilities, affecting multiple app categories, could allow hackers to break into databases that include personal information - and perhaps into users' mobile devices, said the study scheduled to be presented at the 2019 USENIX Security Symposium in the US on Thursday.

"These vulnerabilities affect the servers that are in the cloud, and once an attacker gets on the server, there are many ways they can attack," said Brendan Saltaformaggio, Assistant Professor in Georgia Tech's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Vyng, Drupe, Sonar Ruler: Download These 6 Brilliant Apps To Liven Up Your Smartphone
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By Rajarshi Bhattarcharjee

Liven up your smartphone like never before with a digital assistant, video ringtones, stripped back music and more.

Image: Getty

By Rajarshi BhattarcharjeeLiven up your smartphone like never before with a digital assistant, video ringtones, stripped back music and more.Image: Getty

Vyng is a video ringtone app for Android handsets which lets users play a new video with every incoming call. This app from a Los Angeles-based startup aims to transform how you start mobile conversations by introducing emotions to the lock screen from its library of more than 60,00,000 music videos.

(Image: play.google.com)

Vyng is a video ringtone app for Android handsets which lets users play a new video with every incoming call. This app from a Los Angeles-based startup aims to transform how you start mobile conversa..
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What started as an experiment by Google is now a standalone app — Just a Line. It is an augmented reality doodling tool that lets you make AR drawings in 3D space around you. You can then share your creation with a short video. It lets you doodle in the air and draw with friends in the same space by pairing your phones. The app works on any Android phone that supports ARCore and the latest iOS devices.

Image: play.google.com

What started as an experiment by Google is now a standalone app — Just a Line. It is an augmented reality doodling tool that lets you make AR drawings in 3D space around you. You can then share your ..
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It’s a popular cross-platform dialer app from which you can voice and video call, message, schedule, tweet, email, set remind ers and do more from one place. Drupe lets you dial or WhatsApp someone who is not on your contacts list and comes with a call blocker feature. The app also has a record feature for incoming or outgoing calls.

Image: play.google.com

It’s a popular cross-platform dialer app from which you can voice and video call, message, schedule, tweet, email, set remind ers and do more from one place. Drupe lets you dial or WhatsApp someone w..
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Sonar Ruler from Laan Labs is an innovative app that uses echoes to measure distances with your iPhone. The app makes your iPhone send a short pulse from the speaker and measures how long that pulse takes to bounce off something and return to the phone. It then estimates how far away you are. Sonar Ruler offers a distance measurement range up to 60 feet.

Image: play.google.com

Sonar Ruler from Laan Labs is an innovative app that uses echoes to measure distances with your iPhone. The app makes your iPhone send a short pulse from the speaker and measures how long that pulse ..
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The smart assistant is now also adept at recommending what movies or TV shows to play through your Chromecast and controls multiple devices straight from your smartphone. The app can now show all your devices in one view and organises them by room. It also lets you manage devices like a smart thermostat as well as smart lights without having to go into their respective apps.

Image: play.google.com

The smart assistant is now also adept at recommending what movies or TV shows to play through your Chromecast and controls multiple devices straight from your smartphone. The app can now show all you..
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If you are a fan of low-frequency beats and stripped back music, Loffee is a must-have app on your handset. While the playlist ranges from music for focusing to music for setting the vibe on a lazy Saturday afternoon, the platform also recognises talents from around the globe. The best thing about the app is that it works offline — perfect for flights or a long journey.

Image: play.google.com

If you are a fan of low-frequency beats and stripped back music, Loffee is a must-have app on your handset. While the playlist ranges from music for focusing to music for setting the vibe on a lazy S..
Read More

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The researchers were still investigating whether attackers could get into individual mobile devices connected to vulnerable servers.

"It's a whole new question whether or not they can jump from the server to a user's device, but our preliminary research on that is very concerning," Saltaformaggio added.

In their study, the researchers discovered 983 instances of known vulnerabilities and another 655 instances of zero-day vulnerabilities spanning across the software layers - operating systems, software services, communications modules and web apps - of the Cloud-based systems supporting the apps.

To help developers improve the security of their mobile apps, the researchers have created an automated system called SkyWalker to vet the Cloud servers and software library systems.

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SkyWalker can examine the security of the servers supporting mobile applications, which are often operated by Cloud hosting services rather than individual app developers.

Seven Apps That Every Man Should Have On His Smartphone
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In a mobile-driven world, smartphone apps bring a wealth of infotainment and services at your fingertips. Here are a few that you can consider.
In a mobile-driven world, smartphone apps bring a wealth of infotainment and services at your fingertips. Here are a few that you can consider.
Nike+ Training Club

It's a comprehensive and aesthetically pleasing app that has more than 150 workouts, including endurance, strength, mobility and yoga. You are given the choice of workouts according to your goals, a body tone and level of preparation. Nike+ Training Club's new series of athlete workouts also feature health and motivation tips from Cristiano Ronaldo's 360-degree approach to training.
Nike+ Training Club It's a comprehensive and aesthetically pleasing app that has more than 150 workouts, including endurance, strength, mobility and yoga. You are given the choice of workouts accord..
Read More
SoundCloud

One of the largest music and audio streaming platforms, SoundCloud is a must-have if you love music. It boasts of 150 million tracks from emerging and established artists around the world. It gives track suggestions based on your likes and listening habits, helps to interact with the artists, and much more.
SoundCloud One of the largest music and audio streaming platforms, SoundCloud is a must-have if you love music. It boasts of 150 million tracks from emerging and established artists around the worl..
Read More
Doit.im

Sure there is no dearth of apps to manage your to-do list. And one of the best is Doit.im. It syncs across multiple devices and makes it easy to work through your list. The app synchronises your tasks with the cloud, lets you sort your goals, projects, next actions, edit tasks and support multi-level view — goals, projects, tasks, etc.
Doit.im Sure there is no dearth of apps to manage your to-do list. And one of the best is Doit.im. It syncs across multiple devices and makes it easy to work through your list. The app synchronises ..
Read More
Flochat

It is your go-to messenger for accessing every service you could possibly require — food, ride sharing, deals, entertainment, search (Microsoft Bing), gifts, etc. Apart from letting you use your frequently-used apps in its platform, Flochat comes with a personal chat assistant and allows you to edit and delete chat messages even after they are sent.
Flochat It is your go-to messenger for accessing every service you could possibly require — food, ride sharing, deals, entertainment, search (Microsoft Bing), gifts, etc. Apart from letting you use ..
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Guides by Lonely Planet

Packed with offline maps, audio phrasebooks, a currency converter and advice from experts, it's a great travel app. You can download the guide for the city that you intend to visit, and then select the category you want information on — restaurants, things to see, places to sleep, shopping destinations etc.
Guides by Lonely Planet Packed with offline maps, audio phrasebooks, a currency converter and advice from experts, it's a great travel app. You can download the guide for the city that you intend to..
Read More
Car Locator

If you tend to forget where you have parked your car in a maze-like parking of a mall, Car Locator can help you get over the embarrassment. Just shake your smartphone to save your location when you park and the app will In a mobile-driven world, smartphone apps bring a wealth of infotainment and services at your fingertips. Here are a few that you can consider Seven apps that every man should have on his phone help you find your car. It also lets you beam your current or saved location to another phone.
Car Locator If you tend to forget where you have parked your car in a maze-like parking of a mall, Car Locator can help you get over the embarrassment. Just shake your smartphone to save your locat..
Read More
Flipboard

The news and social network aggregator has something for everyone — from travel to technology, politics to entertainment. Pick your passions and Flipboard wil l creat e a smart magazine for you. It lets you read, like, and share stories on social media, while you access the best content from all sources, person, publication, and even hashtags.
Flipboard The news and social network aggregator has something for everyone — from travel to technology, politics to entertainment. Pick your passions and Flipboard wil l creat e a smart magazine fo..
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