Finding Secret Keys In Android Apps, Heartbleed Heartache, And More… [Tech News Digest]
Also, Google’s Nest buys Dropcam to monitor your home, Google launches Made With Code to inspire girls to program, Yo woz haxored, the tangled earphones mystery is solved by science, and a little girl begs Google to give her dad a day off.
Researchers Find Google Play Security Flaw
Researchers from Columbia University’s School of Engineering have discovered a major security flaw in Google Play. Developers have been using secret keys to store data inside their apps, thus risking this personal information being exposed and exploited by hackers.
This discovery was made using PlayDrone, a crawler which indexes and analyzes Google Play apps on a daily basis. The bad news is these apps have been leaking data since the inception of Google Play; the good news is that the researchers are working closely with Google and others to identify the risks and plug the holes.
The same research also revealed other interesting factoids about Google Play . Such as a quarter of all free apps being clones of other apps, and that even the worst-rated app — which purports to accurately weigh an object on a touchscreen but which actually just displays a random number — was still downloaded more than one million times. Because people are gullible.
Heartbleed Is Still A Huge Problem
Heartbleed , a bug in the OpenSSL protocol, is alive and kicking, with more than 300,000 servers still affected. This is according to security researcher Robert David Graham, who has been tracking the problem since it was first discovered in April of this year .
The numbers are rather worrying, because they aren’t dropping anywhere near fast enough. Immediately after the discovery of Heartbleed around 600,000 servers were found to be affected. One month later and the figure was 318,000. One more month on and the figure is 309,000.
While the major websites acted quickly to plug the hole, hundreds of thousands of smaller sites just haven’t bothered, whether through ignorance or laziness. The conclusion has to be that thanks to Heartbleed the Internet is going to remain vulnerable for years to come. Causing heartbreak for those adversely affected .
Nest Is Acquiring Dropcam
Nest, which was acquired by Google for $3.2 billion in February, is buying Dropcam in a deal worth $555 million. Dropcam is a company specializing in making it simpler to monitor your home via cameras. So, Google owns Nest, Nest owns Dropcam, and Dropcam is watching over us all . Scary much?
Google Believes Girls Are Made With Code
Google has invested $50 million to encourage young girls to become programmers. Via an initiative called Made With Code, Google hopes to help close the disparity between the number of men and women choosing technology-related careers. Whether or not you agree with the methods, the end goal is an honorable one.
Yo Was Hacked To Reveal Phone Numbers
Yo hacked…. well that didn’t take long.
— Dave Oliver (@daveoli) June 20, 2014
Yo, surely the stupidest app ever developed , has been hacked by a bunch of college students. The hack exposes everybody’s phone numbers, has led to Yo spamming, and enabled the students to pretend to be people such as Jason Calacanis and Elon Musk.
Yo founder Or Arbel admitted the company was “having security issues,” before telling TechCrunch, “Some of the stuff has been fixed and some we are still working on. We are taking this very seriously.” Unlike the app itself, which is all kinds of dumb.
Why Your Earphones Always Get Tangled
Hey, wanna see a magic trick? *looks away from untangled earphones, looks back at now tangled earphones* TA-DA!
— Jake (@TheSecretJake) June 22, 2014
Physicists at the University of California, San Diego, have unravelled the mystery of why your earphones always get tangled. In a research project suggesting physicists have far too much time on their hands they discovered that it all comes down to length and stiffness. Need I say more?!
Little Girl Loves Her Dad More Than Google
And finally, Google once declared “Don’t Be Evil,” and a little girl has held the company to that promise by persuading the search giant to give her dad some time off from work.
The girl wrote a note to Google asking that her dad be given a day off work for his birthday, and Google responded by “giving him the whole first week of July as vacation time.” And now we all know how to get through to Google… blue crayon and a childish scrawl.
Your Views On Today’s Tech News
Does the discovery of a security flaw in Google Play cause you any great concern? What should be done to force more websites to fix the Heartbleed problem? Did the story of the little girl battling Google melt your heart as it did mine?
Let us know your thoughts on the tech news of the day by posting to the comments section below. Alternatively, let us know of any technology news stories we may have missed.
Image Credit: Kris Krug via Flickr