Tag Archive: Ryan Phone Repair


Android and Windows smartphones to get ‘kill switch’

Google and Microsoft have both revealed that they will integrate a ‘kill switch’ into the next versions of their smartphone operating systems, allowing customers to disable their devices if they are lost or stolen.

Google told Bloomberg that it will add a “factory reset protection solution” to its next version of Android

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s vice president for US government affairs, Fred Humphries, said that the company would be adding new anti-theft capabilities to its Find My Phone feature in Windows Phone before July 2015.

“With these additional features, we’re hopeful that technology – as part of a broader strategy – can help to further reduce incentives for criminals to steal smartphones in the first place,” Humphries said in a blog post.

The news comes after Apple introduced ‘activation lock’ and ‘delete phone’ to its Find My iPhone app in September 2013.

As a result, robberies involving the company’s products reportedly decreased by 19 per cent in New York in the first five months of this year. San Francisco and London have also seen Apple-related robberies drop.

New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman said the statistics illustrate the “stunning effectiveness of kill switches”, and has called for other smartphone companies to add theft-deterrence features to their devices.

US Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, and Jose Serrano, a New York Democrat, have both introduced bills that would require phones sold in the US to include kill-switch technology.

Last summer, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson also wrote to eight companies – including Apple, Samsung and Google – stating that about 10,000 handsets are stolen every month in London, and manufacturers have a “corporate responsibility” to help tackle thefts.

“If we are to deter theft and help prevent crimes that victimise your customers and the residents and visitors to our city, we need meaningful engagement from business and a clear demonstration that your company is serious about your corporate responsibility to help solve this problem,” Mr Johnson told manufacturers.

“Each of your companies promote the security of your devices, their software and information they hold, but we expect the same effort to go into hardware security so that we can make a stolen handset inoperable and so eliminate the illicit second-hand market in these products.

“We hope you would support this objective. Customers and shareholders surely deserve to know that business cannot and must not benefit directly from smartphone theft through sales of replacement devices.”

Source: The Telegraph

Canada’s new wireless rules are great, but let’s not kid ourselves

The CRTC, determined to reform Canada’s usurious wireless phone cartel, has just issued a strict new “Code of Conduct.”

Effective this December, three-year phone contracts will be available, but unenforceable. If you’re stuck in one of these abusive long-term relationships, you’ll be able to sever it at the two-year mark without penalty.

You know those bill-shocker stories about customers getting hit with thousands of dollars in data overage fees after letting their kids watch YouTube on their iPhones while vacationing in Cuba? Roaming data overage will now be limited to $100 a month, domestic to $50.

You’ll be able to have your subsidized phone unlocked after 90 days, you’ll have a right to a simpler contract and you’ll be able to negotiate changes to that contract.

Hooray, right?

Yes and no. The CRTC’s new pro-consumer stance is, without question, a good thing. But our big three carriers (Bell, Rogers and Telus) still control 95 per cent of the mobile market. Canadians are not going to start using less mobile anytime soon, regardless of the terms we’re offered. In fact, a wireless industry lobby group just sponsored a major study which (they claim) proves that Canadians are actually willing to pay more than we already do for our smart phones. Industry lobbiests are already using the report to suggest that Canadian consumers are getting a bargain. I say charging $50 for an umbrella during a thunderstorm isn’t a good deal just because people would still buy them at $60.

The point is, if the big three can’t maintain their globally-envied RPUs (revenue per user) under the old rules, they’ll find other ways to keep profits up while colouring within the lines of the new ones.

What will that mean? You can expect monthly fees to climb, and new “bonus” add-ons to be fabricated  marketed. We already see carriers offering 4G speed-upgrades — for a fee. I predict that any new speed capacity will be chopped into separate products at separate price points, in a move akin to offering regular, premium and super-premium gasoline. That’s off the top of my head. If there are other ways to sneak new costs into our bills, wireless companies will find them.

The missing ingredient in Canadian wireless is not a tough regulator, but tough competition, backed by unrestrained foreign investment. However, even if Ottawa steps in to untangle the red tape and make this possible, our international reputation may be too tarnished. After the recent experiences of Mobilicity and Wind, who felt “left to the dogs” by Canada’s government once they were wooed in, the Canadian market may be a no-go zone for international mobile firms.

All around the world, smart phones are getting cheaper, wireless speeds are getting faster and people are doing more and more new things with their mobile devices. It’s happening here too. Just less so.

Ryan:  Having worked for the big 3 (Rogers, TELUS & Bell) I can speak on behalf of most Canadians by stating that this is a positive step in the right direction.  Now they just need to adjust the price fixing problems / incorrect roaming bills.  Why not just shut off service to phones when a certain point is reached? Why are we as Canadians still paying for Call Display / Voicemail?  

Source: Maclean’s

Researchers Say They Took Down World’s Third-Largest Botnet

On Wednesday, computer security experts took down Grum, the world’s third-largest botnet, a cluster of infected computers used by cybercriminals to send spam to millions of people. Grum, computer security experts say, was responsible for roughly 18 percent of global spam, or 18 billion spam messages a day.

Computer security experts blocked the botnet’s command and control servers in the Netherlands and Panama on Tuesday. But later that day, Grum’s architects had already set up seven new command and control centers in Russia and Ukraine. FireEye, a computer security company based in Milpitas, Calif., said it worked with its counterparts in Russia and with SpamHaus, a British organization that tracks and blocks spam, to take down those command and control centers Wednesday morning.

The researchers said they were able to vanquish the botnet by tracing Grum back to its servers and alerting Internet service providers to shut those computers down.

Technologists have taken the lead in combating digital crime rather than waiting for law enforcement authorities to act. Earlier this year, Microsoft employees assisted federal marshals in a raid on botnet servers in Pennsylvania and Illinois. Those servers were used by criminals to run Zeus, a botnet that siphoned people’s personal information, like online bank account passwords and credit card numbers, from infected computers. Almost simultaneously, a separate group of cybersecurity researchers in San Francisco were busy eliminating another botnet, called Kelihos.b, which was used to send spam.

While computer security companies are quick to publicize botnet takedowns, their gains tend to be temporary. The blocking of Kelihos.b lasted less than a week before a modified version of the botnet started infecting computers. Microsoft’s takedown of Waledac, another spam botnet in 2010, lasted only as long as the time it took its creators to modify its architecture slightly and create a new botnet.

So what’s to say Grum’s creators will not just run their botnet from a new command and control center tomorrow?

“It’s not about creating a new server. They’d have to start an entirely new campaign and infect hundreds of thousands of new machines to get something like Grum started again,” said Atif Mushtaq, a computer security specialist at FireEye.”They’d have to build from scratch. Because of how the malware was written for Grum, when the master server is dead, the infected machines can no longer send spam or communicate with a new server.”

Source: New York Times