The sky is NOT falling (is it?)

The Summary Version:

The impending Android Malware Apocalypse is overrated, over-hyped and overused to sell more apps and extend control onto mobile devices. That said, it is a perception widely pushed by the media who copy and paste vendor news releases thus the public are beginning to accept the threat as being real. My opinion is that the available attack vectors are currently quite limited and nowhere near as bad as the industry press and mobile vendors are making out. You can’t blame them for pushing the stories though, one group makes its money getting eyeballs to articles, the other by selling cures to the risks…

What we can do as an industry is limited by the overall reluctance for users to double check what they are doing, coupled with the difficult situation created when differentiating device/product or service in a low-margin, rapidly evolving market.

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NetHui 2011 – Day 1: Digital Citizenship – 21st Century Parenting

21st Century Parenting – Challenges and Solutions

Lee Chisholm, Operations manager, NetSafe

This was an obvious choice as a session for me to attend, and it opened with an attention grabbing quote…

“Three times as many smart phones every minute are activated than there are babies being born” – Hans Vestberg, CEO of Ericsson

This quote sets the stage for the overwhelming influx of technologies into our lives and especially the lives of our children. The problem is, parents are being fed these lines time and again to the point where many throw in the towel and give up trying to stay current with what their children are doing.

Even more worrisome than the parents giving up, is the parents abdicating the responsibility of teaching and modelling these skills to schools. Schools do not have the resources to do this stuff alone

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These *are* the Droids you’re looking for…

Hat tip to @VodaphoneNZ for re-igniting my interest in having another crack at the following post which I originally wrote for an internal publication for my employer. I’ve changed some of the phraseology,but the basic content – apart from the opening paragraph – remains pretty similar. Once again, these are my personal opinions and are presented as such.

Vodafone NZ Tweets about it's new Android lineup [24th June 2010]

If you are in any way connected to the mobile phone world, you would have heard of the Android phones, an increasing number of which are now starting to make their way into the New Zealand market. Vodafone have been quietly selling android phones since the middle of last year, and third party importers have been importing them in increasing numbers since around the same time. With the release today of ‘FroYo’ (Android 2.2), Vodafone NZ have come out with an impressive looking list of devices sporting the Android stack.

The disappointment for me being that, like other Telcos in the space, a number of the devices announced are running some fairly old versions of the stack, and there is no clear message for the as to how to update their devices, or indeed if this is even possible. I’d certainly like to see the Telcos, or the community, or a collaboration of the two – to come out with some simple HOWTO guides (or simple “Sorry – but you can’t” messages) around updating the device to more recent software. Let me know in the comments if you have come across anything which may help the average Joe (or Jane) with this…


What is ‘Android’

‘Android’ is a software stack including an operating system, middleware and core applications – kind of like Windows on your PC. It was first unveiled in 2007 by a firm who was subsequently bought by Google, who’ve since released most of the code under the Apache (software and open source) license. And that decision is what has captured the attention of the community.


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What is this “Android” thing that people are talking about?

The first week of April 2010 saw the announcement of Telecoms first Android handset, with the exclusive launch for the XT network of the LG GW620.

Telecom is not alone in the New Zealand market with Android handsets. Vodafone have been selling the HTC Magic since the end of June 2009 and independent device importers also have a range of Android phones.

Globally, the industry is expecting big things from the handset manufacturers as well as the Android platform in 2010. At the Mobile World Congress (the world’s premier mobile event) in February, it was announced that 60,000 Android handsets are shipped every day (though what ‘shipped’ means was not clarified).

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spyPhone or iPhone?

BlackHatI’ve just finished reading this interesting article on an iPhone vulnerability which (could) propagate via SMS messaging and is due to be revealed at Black Hat in Las Vegas on Thursday (US time).

While currently unpatched, I imagine it’s got the attention of the team at Apple (though they haven’t responded – yet) so, in the meantime – be careful what you should you receive a txt message with a small square as the contents, the vulnerability allows the attacker to take control of many of the devices functions – including the microphone and camera. 😯

The Power of Social Networks

Given my not so recent addiction to Twitter it was no surprise, that a few minutes after a friend of mine Tweeting a story on the Australian iPhone release, I would be reading the referenced article. What did surprise me that, on the next refresh of my Twitter client – I had a tweet from a 19 year old biology student in Auckland, NZ telling me that she’d been sent my way by the original tweeter.
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