Tag Archive: Cellphone Repair


Blacklist created to fight smartphone theft

Canada’s wireless carriers are targeting smartphone theft by setting up a database that will blacklist lost or stolen phones to prevent them from being reactivated.

The move would also help protect personal data on such devices, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association said Thursday.

Smartphones are worth $600 to $700 and can be resold on the black market, noted association president Bernard Lord.

“With this database, it makes that a lot less attractive because the buyer of the stolen phone will not be able to connect to any network in Canada,” Lord said from Ottawa.

“It eliminates the incentive for stealing a device.”

The idea is also to reduce the black market value of a smartphone in the eyes of criminals, Lord added.

Once consumers call their wireless carrier to report their smartphone lost or stolen, the device’s internal identification number goes on the electronic blacklist.

Lord said even though more smartphones are lost than stolen, law enforcement officials have raised concerns about the issue.

The database for the Canadian wireless industry will be up and running by September 2013 and Canada’s carriers will also be contributing to an international database to help prevent smartphone theft, he said.

However, consumers who have their smartphones lost or stolen are “not off the hook” for paying their smartphone contracts.

A website will also be set up by the association to help consumers protect their smartphone data and help protect themselves from theft.

Lord said the smartphone’s ID number — called the international mobile electronic number — will be verified by carriers to make sure the device has not been lost or stolen.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission congratulated the wireless industry for the initiative, but would like the database running sooner rather than later.

“I would strongly encourage the industry to implement the database before September 2013 to ensure Canadians benefit from this added protection as soon as possible,” chairman Jean-Pierre Blais said in a statement.

The creation of a database and collaboration to make sure stolen or lost devices aren’t reactivated will help make them less desirable to thieves, Blais said.

“The CRTC has been concerned for some time about reports of an increase in crimes involving lost or stolen cellphones.”

Telus said while the wireless industry, law enforcement, and regulators all have a role to play, smartphone users need to think about where they’re buying their devices.

“We ask consumers to reconsider buying phones on sites like eBay, Craigslist, or Kijiji and instead buy their devices from a verified dealer,” Telus spokesman Shawn Hall said.

“If you buy a phone from Craig’s List it might be legitimate, but it could be stolen and then you will likely be unable to get it activated,” he said.

Smartphone use in Canada is among the highest in the world and penetration has exceeded 50 per cent, Lord said.

Canada’s wireless industry will spend about $20 million on the initiative, he said.

The United States is also taking steps and will have a similar database to fight the black market for smartphones in November 2013, Lord said.

Ryan says:  This should change the market in the way deals are made on classified for sale sites.  Phones will be checked first to see if they work properly before buying.  New tricks will be implemented ie. IMEI / IMSI masking so I do not see this as a long term solution for blacklisting phones but its a move in the right direction.

Source:  CTV News

If You Have a Smart Phone, Anyone Can Now Track Your Every Move

Location services company Navizon has a new system, called Navizon I.T.S., that could allow tracking of visitors in malls, museums, offices, factories, secured areas and just about any other indoor space. It could be used to examine patterns of foot traffic in retail spaces, assure that a museum is empty of visitors at closing time, or even to pinpoint the location of any individual registered with the system. But let’s set all that aside for a minute while we freak out about the privacy implications.

Most of us leave Wi-Fi on by default, in part because our phones chastise us when we don’t. (Triangulation by Wi-Fi hotspots is important for making location services more accurate.) But you probably didn’t realize that, using proprietary new “nodes” from Navizon, any device with an active Wi-Fi radio can be seen by a system like Navizon’s.

Navizon’s technology is also reminiscent of the location data provided to retailers and marketers by Skyhook’s Spotrank system, which has a different set of pros and cons: That data is available for every point on the planet, but it only includes devices running Skyhook software.

The rollout of this technology means there are now at least three ways that users can track their locations indoors, where GPS is generally useless — bluetooth beacon, Spotrank (and proprietary vendor) databases of Wi-Fi hotspots, and Navizon’s I.T.S. nodes. It also marks the second way (that I know of) for you to be tracked via the location of your phone, whether you want to be or not. (The first requires access to your cell phone carrier, and is used for example to locate your position when you make a 911 call.)

It shouldn’t be surprising that carrying around a little RF transmitter in your pocket makes you visible to all sorts of tracking technology. Maybe it’s simply the (inevitable) commercialization of this fact that is somehow unnerving.

 

 

Source: Technology Review

WARNING: Factory Resetting your Android may leave private data on your device

It’s never fun to have to issue a warning, but a new study by the LA Times indicates that the Factory Reset function on Android devices may not work as advertised. The site worked with a security expert to run a test on BlackBerry, Android, and iOS devices as well as PCs. It discovered that important, sensitive data could be retrieved on a large portion of Android devices even after the Factory Reset feature had been properly used.

Robert Siciliano, an identity theft expert from McAfee performed the experiment, where he purchased 30 used devices (mostly smartphones and laptops) from random users on Craigslist. His goal was to see how smart people were about removing their personal information from phones, but as it turns out, even though a majority of owners did correctly Factory Reset their Android devices, he was still able to retrieve vital data like “Social Security numbers, child support documents, credit card account log-ins, and a host of other personal data.” This finding is all the more disturbing since he could find no problems with the way iPhones, iPads, or BlackBerry devices delete their data. The only other weak link was Windows XP, which is so old it’s almost expected.

We’ve reached out to Google’s Android team to try and learn more about this potential vulnerability, but have not heard back as of publication. We’ll update this article if and when we get some answers.

Until we learn more, we don’t recommend that you don’t sell your used Android devices to anyone that you don’t know or trust. It’s quite possible that personal information could be leaked from it.

Ryan: I’ve owned a couple Android phones and I also have the Galaxy Tab.. I am back to BlackBerry and using the 9900, I find Android Phones to drop calls and bug out with force close errors more often like I like when using a phone.  And I can’t seem to drop this keyboard.. emails are much quicker on a BlackBerry than other devices. It would be interesting if RIM decided to let other companies use their keyboard design.

Source: DigitalTrends

Apple wins ‘device destroying’ injunction against Motorola

Apple, which continues to disrupt the mobile space with its patent litigation, has successfully won a case against rival Motorola, in which a photo management patent was infringed.

The German court ruling said that the “zoomed in” mode for viewing photos on Motorola’s Android handsets infringed the Apple-held patent, but not the “zoomed out” mode. EU Patent No. EP2059868 originally derived from another patent, which allowed photos to ‘bounce’ when they are over-scrolled; because people will attempt to claim anything nowadays.

FOSS Patents author Florian Mueller understands that Apple could order the destruction of devices if it chooses so.

“If Apple enforces the ruling, it can even require Motorola to destroy any infringing products in its possession in Germany and recall, at MMI’s expense, any infringing products from German retailers in order to have them destroyed as well.”

Having said that, Motorola played down the fears that devices could be subject to such ghastly ends by saying that doesn’t expect the ruling to affect future sales, and that it has “implemented a new way to view photos”, reports Bloomberg with a spelling mistake.

While Motorola can continue selling the devices, it did not comment on Mueller’s comments that would lead to ultimately the mass graves of Motorola phones. Motorola has said that it has already sought a workaround to prevent its smartphones from infringing Apple’s patent, thus rendering the court’s judgement effectively useless.

It appears from this, that not only is Germany a hot bed of patent activity, litigation — and frankly, trolling — but while one company sues another, the defendant in each case is more often than not forced to simply modify the software of the phones.

If you thought the patent wars were all in Apple’s favour, you would be wrong. It was just over a week ago when Apple pulled the plug on its iCloud and MobileMe push email feature within the borders of Germany, after Motorola won a patent claim of its own.

Source: ZDNet

Any GSM phone vulnerable to new scam: researcher

A well-known expert on mobile phone security says a vulnerability in a widely used wireless technology could allow hackers to gain remote control of phones, instructing them to send text messages or make calls.

They could use the vulnerability in the GSM network technology, which is used by billions of people in about 80 percent of the global mobile market, to make calls or send texts to expensive, premium phone and messaging services in scams, said Karsten Nohl, head of Germany’s Security Research Labs.

Similar attacks against a small number of smartphones have been done before, but the new attack could expose any cellphone using GSM technology.

“We can do it to hundreds of thousands of phones in a short timeframe,” Nohl told Reuters in advance of a presentation at a hacking convention in Berlin on Tuesday.

Attacks on corporate landline phone systems are fairly common, often involving bogus premium-service phone lines that hackers set up across Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia. Fraudsters make calls to the numbers from hacked business phone systems or mobile phones, then collect their cash and move on before the activity is identified.

The phone users typically don’t identify the problem until after they receive their bills and telecommunications carriers often end up footing at least some of the costs.

Even though Nohl will not present details of attack at the conference he said hackers will usually replicate the code needed for attacks within a few weeks.

Source: Reuters

Next-Gen BlackBerry Products Don’t Work, Source Says

Bad products, horrible software and no cohesive vision have seemingly turned Research In Motion into a company without motion at this point.

Throw in a huge delay before BlackBerry 10 smartphones start shipping, and it’s clear why people are losing, or have lost, faith in a company that played a tremendous role in making the smartphone industry what it is today. Thanks to one of our most trusted sources, BGR now has new information on what’s going on inside Research In Motion, and the picture isn’t pretty.

Our source has communicated to us in no uncertain terms that PlayBook 2.0 — the next-gen tablet operating system RIM is developing — is a crystal clear window into the state of BlackBerry 10 on the upcoming smartphones RIM is building.

And the view is none too good.

“Email and PIM [is better] on an 8700 than it is on BlackBerry 10,” our contact said while talking to us about RIM’s failure to make the company’s upcoming smartphone OS work with the network infrastructure RIM is known for.

We also have more background on why RIM’s BlackBerry 10 smartphones are delayed, and it has nothing to do with a new chipset that RIM is waiting on. Our source told us that CEO Mike Lazaridis was lying when he said the company’s new lineup was delayed for that reason.

“RIM is simply pushing this out as long as they can for one reason, they don’t have a working product yet,” we were told.

At the end of our conversation, our source communicated something shocking for a high-level RIM employee to say. He told us that RIM is betting its business on a platform and ecosystem that isn’t even as good as iPhone OS 1.0 or Android 2.0. “There’s no room for a fourth ecosystem,” he stated.

 

Source: BGR / Fox News

AirDroid flies between your Android device and your computer

The tagline reads “enjoy your Android over the air,” but perhaps more accurate would be “enjoy your Android over your computer.” AirDroid connects your Android device to your desktop, laptop or tablet — really anything that can browse the web — and lets you send messages, browse photos or files, set ringtones, uninstall apps, and many other things that can be done more easily through a larger screen and perhaps a mouse and full-sized keyboard. If you want this type of functionality, don’t hesitate to download this free app.

I’ve used other apps that claim to provide the same or similar features, but this is the best that I’ve personally tried. It’s easy — just launch AirDroid and it shows a specific URL (IP address) to type in your browser and a password to keep it secure. It’s fast, too. Once your browser connects, just click through the big icons on the web page to navigate into picture and files, view the call log, read text messages, and a lot more in a second. It’s also secure. AirDroid doesn’t store any of your info on its systems, and the password changes with each use (or you can set your own password if you prefer). All this, and it’s 100 percent free.

Once you control your phone over a computer screen, you’ll want to do so every time you’re near a computer. It’s very convenient. The app works its magic over a Wi-Fi connection.

Source: Appolicious