Back in April, researchers at Google discovered an Android malware, called Chrysaor, that could give an attacker remote control of the infected device. Android Security was able to find and block potentially harmful apps (PHAs) with that family of spyware, but in the process of doing so discovered a new spyware family called Lipizzan.
Researchers believe that the new spyware is unrelated to Chrysaor, and has the ability to monitor and exfiltrate a user’s email, SMS messages, location, voice calls, and media. The code behind the spyware has been traced to a cyber arms company, Equus Technologies.
On the Android Developers blog, researchers say that the newly discovered spyware works in two stages. It is firstly distributed through several channels, including Google Play, and hides behind a harmless app like “Backup” or “Cleaner”. After installing such an app, Lipizzan would load a second “licence verification” stage, which check out the infected device and validates certain abort criteria. Once the all-clear is given, the spyware proceeds to root the device with known exploits to take control of the device and exfiltrate data to a Command & Control server.
Once Lipizzan gains full control of the infected device, it has the ability to record call, track the user’s location, take screenshots and photos with the device’s camera, fetch information and files stored in the device and other user information such as contact, call logs and more. Researchers say that the PHA had specific routines to retrieve data from apps like Gmail, LinkedIn, Skype, Snapchat, and WhatsApp.
The most notable thing about the new spyware is how easily the authors can change the branding of the implanted apps. Soon after Google detected and blocked the first set of apps on Google Play, new apps began cropping up with the same spyware. These apps changed from ‘backup’ apps to apps like “cleaner”, “notepad”, “sound recorder”, to name a few. Google says that it has so far detected the spyware in fewer than 100 devices that checked into Google Play Protect. Now that Lipizzan is detected, Google Play Protect has managed to remove the family from affected devices and will block installs on new devices.
Google says that Android users can protect themselves by making sure they opt into Google Play Protect, and making sure apps are downloaded exclusively from Google Play. The company also urges users to keep their phones patched to the latest Android security update.
There have been a bunch of Android malware-related reports such as SpyDealer, LeakerLocker, and CopyCat in recent months that have raised an alarming concern over the safety of the platform and the potential risks of storing personal information over the digital space.
Java became a go-to language for Web-facing applications and Internet projects. However, the use of Java is not without its potential pitfalls, and that’s something that’s important for developers to keep in mind. In this article, AJ Philips teaches you how to get your Java errors under control with error monitoring.
The Java programming language is immensely popular with developers and has been for many years. It’s not just a case of having another object-oriented programming language to build applications with – Java’s rise coincided with the emergence of embedded web programming.
Java became a go-to language for Web-facing applications and Internet projects.
However, the use of Java is not without its potential pitfalls, and that’s something that’s important for developers to keep in mind.
The root of the problem(s)
Some of the common code problems in Java relate to the semantics that programmers use to build a code base. Without the right syntax, compiler errors and other errors can result.
Consider the omission of a closing bracket or parenthesis on a declaration or command. This type of mistake will generate an “expected” error and has to be fixed for proper execution. Another similar error is the “unclosed string error” where a string is not closed out with a quotation mark.
Another common error called “incompatible types” happens when integers or strings or other data types are used improperly, or combined in ways that don’t work for the program. Trying to assign one type of data type variable to another may create an “incompatible type” error. Other malformed syntax can produce an error called “invalid method declaration” or an “unreachable statement” error, or one stating an operator cannot be applied correctly.
What all of these mistakes have in common is that they arise from syntax that’s not properly and precisely controlled. It only takes one keystroke to make the errors, and they’re a minefield for programmers who may be meticulous in their writing, but still experience the occasional misplaced character while typing.
SEE ALSO: The error tracking tools Java developers should know
Automating the error correction
In the early days of object-oriented programming, there weren’t a lot of tools to catch the errors. Code base work could be tedious and labor-intensive – programmers had to catch the errors or fight them when trying to compile the program. This generated a lot of protocol in programming offices and oversight of individual programmers and their work.
Today’s developers have other options — the advance of digital analytics means programs can be created to automate some of the error correction that used to be done by hand.
These types of automation programs are immensely valuable in developer communities. Developers understand that they can bring products to market more quickly, fine-tune a codebase, and work more efficiently with tools that feature automated processes. Many of these tools also have combined features offering more research capability, so that developers can work better on the fly and do various kinds of required investigation while they are putting code together.
Improving the world of Java
The Stackify platform has a lot of this valuable functionality in place. Stackify looks at blogs, monitoring, metrics and available tools, and offers developers real assistance or getting where they need to go. The company calls the products “a magical developer map” in which professionals can find problems quickly and solve them actively and decisively.
When it comes to assisting developers, insight and transparency are key. Troubleshooting application problems can lead developers down some very dark paths — and without modern tools like Stackify, troubleshooting can take a lot of time. However, with these new tools and platforms, there is a way through these complicated processes. Stackify Retrace helps developers to effectively retrace what the code is doing so that bugs and glitches have nowhere to hide. Take a look at how Stackify can improve the world of Java.
For many Mac owners, the built-in Disk Utility is all they’ll ever need. After all, Apple’s software handles the basic task of formatting HFS+, FAT32, and exFAT volumes and partitions, along with the occasional need for one-click verification and repair of native OS X disks. (And with macOS Sierra, the RAID tools make a return.)
However, there are plenty of valid reasons for wanting to do more with your drives, and not all are exclusive to technically inclined users. A few examples would be optimizing OS X, Windows, and Linux file systems, performing a secure wipe, or backing up data in a more effective manner than Time Machine.
If there’s anyone who knows what makes these file systems tick, it’s Paragon Software. Founded over two decades ago, the company makes it easy to format, read, and write NTFS or ExtFS volumes on a Mac with the simplicity and performance of native media. Now they’ve gone one step beyond those drivers with an all-in-one storage utility that makes Apple’s Disk Utility look positively feeble by comparison.
At your service
Making its debut on the Mac after years of services as a suite of Windows tools,Paragon Hard Disk Manager is an impressively solid OS X debut for a first version. Functionality is divided across two tabs: Disks and Partitions, where the majority of storage management tools reside, or Backup and Restore, used to create snapshot-based archives.
Hard Disk Manager is compatible with OS X Mavericks 10.9 and later, including support for the latest macOS Sierra courtesy of a free update. At first launch, HDM installs a few required under-the-hood “auxiliary components,” then displays a warning if System Integrity Protection (SIP) is enabled.
Introduced with OS X El Capitan 10.11, SIP prevents Mac software from gaining root privileges—great for combating potential malware, but a hindrance in the case of a utility like HDM. Senior contributor Glenn Fleishman explained how to manually disable SIP in a post last year, but HDM provides a one-click, Terminal-free method using bootable media that doubles as an OS X Recovery disk.
As a safeguard, HDM doesn’t immediately run most tasks, instead queuing them up awaiting further confirmation from the Apply Operations button before proceeding; there’s also an option to undo tasks from the queue. It’s great for preventing potential mistakes, but the extra clicks do tend to slow things down a bit.
Disks and partitions
Like Disk Utility, Hard Disk Manager’s Disks and Partitions tab displays a list of all mounted volumes. But unlike Apple’s dumbed-down approach, HDM provides more detailed disk maps, which represent partitions and logical disks as color-coded bars based on the file system in use: Purple for HFS+, light/dark blue for FAT16/32, aqua blue for NTFS, teal for exFAT, green for ExtFS, or orange for free space.
Needless to say, this approach is vastly superior to Disk Utility, which displays information by content type, like an iOS device. There are two ways to use the utility—you can wipe or copy an entire disk and edit sectors by clicking the gear in the upper right corner, or act upon individual partitions from their respective settings below.
Hard Disk Manager also displays partition information as a list at the bottom of the window, with available options only a contextual menu away. Oddly, this method doesn’t work from the graphical drive map, one of my few quibbles with an otherwise excellent utility.
Although HDM can format, partition, and otherwise work with non-native NTFS or ExFS volumes, you’ll still need Paragon’s replacement drivers installed to access files. Also, despite the name, HDM works equally well with solid-state storage (SSD), USB flash drives, and Apple’s hybrid Fusion Drives as it does with traditional platter-based disks.
Backup and restore
One of Paragon’s pride and joys is its Snapshot technology, which allows users to create an exact sector-level copy of the operating system and all user data. Compared to Time Machine and other Mac-native backup solutions, Snapshot offers improved performance, with system recovery times in minutes rather than hours.
The Backup and Restore options are laid out in a straightforward manner, and the Create New Archive wizard detects mounted OS X or Windows operating systems automatically, or you can manually select one or more partitions from the disk map. There’s currently no way to schedule backups as part of a regular routine, but Paragon plans to introduce this functionality in a future update.
HDM saves archives as Paragon Virtual Hard Drive (PVHD) images by default, which supports incremental imaging. This approach minimizes the time and storage space required for subsequent backups of the same volume(s). The installation also includes a VMDK mounter utility for those who prefer this format.
Paragon maintains a nice balance between ease of use and more advanced features, although novices will want to spend a little time getting accustomed to the unique UI before they start tinkering with existing volumes.
If you’re longing for the more robust features of earlier Disk Utility versions or want complete command over connected storage devices, Paragon Hard Disk Manager is the way to go.
The Microsoft Band marked Microsoft’s venture into the wearable industry, followed up a year or so later with the more evolved Band 2. Focused on the fitness aspect of the wearable technology industry, the Microsoft Band 2 features GPS mapped running guides, elevation monitoring, heart rate monitoring, and more. While these built-in features are awesome, Microsoft has expanded on the possibilities of the band and recently released an SDK to enable developers to build their own web apps for the wearable device. One Reddit user has taken this SDK to heart and designed a Windows Phone app that allows your Microsoft band to control your camera.
Reddit user vixez originally posted frustrations about using timers when taking pictures, so the Redditor decided to solve the problem by coding the ShutterBand app for the Microsoft Band. The Redditor’s app is truly genius and allows Band users to use their Microsoft wearable to take pictures, record videos, toggle the flash, focus, and switch between back and front facing cameras.
The app is a Universal Windows 10 App and is completely free to download. Weighing in at about 2 MB, the app is available by clicking the link below. The developer has promised that more features are planned for the app in the coming weeks, and so it’s best to download now to get any future updates!