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States pass ‘kill switch’ legislation against wireless industry wishes

secure-our-smartphones
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by 2 months ago
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On Thursday, California and Minnesota took steps toward becoming the first states in the country to pass laws requiring smartphones to feature stronger anti-theft technology. The California Senate approved a measure that would require every smartphone sold in California to include a so-called kill switch that allows victims of theft to disable a stolen device. The bill fines retailers between $500 and $2,500 for selling smartphones without a kill switch. Apple and Microsoft dropped their opposition to the bill once tablets were excluded from the requirement and extending the deadline to July 2015.

Google plugs more services vs Heartbleed; bug biting millions of Androids

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by 3 months ago
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While Google was quick to patch its services to close the security hole caused by the Heartbleed bug in OpenSSL, the same bug may still be hounding millions of Android devices worldwide. Google patched most of its services last week (including Search, Gmail, YouTube, Wallet, Play, Apps, and App Engine). Recently, the search company also updated the list of patched services to include Google AdWords, DoubleClick, Maps, Maps Engine, Earth, Analytics, and Tag Manager — all of which the company claims to have been patched last week but were “inadvertently left out” of the original list. In the same announcement…

Smartphone users are unwitting participants to widespread surveillance effort, says security expert

Crowd using mobile phones
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by 3 months ago
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The ubiquity of mobile devices has prompted government agencies to piggyback on corporate efforts to collect our information all in the name of marketing, says security expert Bruce Schneier. Depending on which study you reference, smartphone penetration in the US reportedly ranges from 62 percent to 71 percent, according to analytics firms like comScore and NPD. Regardless of the actual figures, one thing is for sure: smartphones, tablets and wearable devices like smartwatches and smart glasses are gaining ground among consumers. The convenient fact is that these devices offer an unprecedented level of connectedness among users, that we are plugged…

Why don’t we have kill switches in smartphones?

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by 4 months ago
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We explore the idea of smartphone kill switches as legislation is presented in the U.S. to make them a legal requirement. What would a kill switch offer over current solutions, what are the potential drawbacks, and would it work anyway?