Genius Smartphone Apps

Posted by Theresa Hietpas

May 14, 2015 10:00:00 AM

A Genius in Your Pocket

The number of Smartphone users keeps increasing each year. But are you aware of all the things it can do for you? There’s more computing power in that device than existed ten years ago, and some of the things it can do are nothing less than magic.  Here are just a few:

Genius_Scan_Receipt

For those times when you need to make a copy of something or scan and email a document,  or even fax back a reply, there’s Genius Scan+.  Genius Scan, by The Grizzly Labs (www.thegrizzlylabs.com) is available on Android and iOS, and even Windows.  There’s a free version and a $6.99 “Plus” version that is worth every penny. Just use your camera to snap a photo of the document. Genius scan overlays it with a grid to make sure it knows what you intended to scan, use your finger to adjust the grid if necessary, confirm the shape of your document, and it automatically adjusts the perspective to straighten out the text, enhances the document to make it easier to read, and in just a second or two, you have a perfect copy.  With the “Plus” version, email your document or save it to your favorite cloud service automatically. 

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Topics: Microsoft, Apps, Smartphone, Android, Office 365, Workflow, applications

3 Ways Mobile Devices Become Infected with Malware

Posted by Eric Torres

Jul 26, 2011 9:39:00 AM


mobile securitySocial engineers have been using various dirty tricks to fool people for centuries. Social engineering, the art of gaining access to buildings, systems or data by exploiting human psychology, rather than by breaking in or using technical hacking techniques, is as old as crime itself and has been used in many ways for decades.

For the past several years online, social engineers have been trying to fool unsuspecting users into clicking on malicious links and giving up sensitive information by pretending to be old friends or trusted authorities on email and social networks.
And now that mobile devices have taken over our lives, social engineering is an attack method of choice to gain access to a person's smartphone or tablet.

Here are three examples of current cons being used by criminals to get inside your mobile device.

Malicious apps that look like legitimate apps

One example is the case of a popular and legitimate application Android users were purchasing that caused a virtual "steam" to appear on the screen of a smartphone. You could move your finger to scrape the virtual steam off, people love this sort of thing, although it served no real purpose.

But a malicious application that looked exactly like the virtual-steam application was created and many were conned into purchasing that one, instead of the authentic application. From a users perspective it is very hard to distinguish between an app that is legitimate with an app that turns out to be malicious.
What users ended up with was an application with unwanted things behind it. In some cases, the malicious application activated an SMS message from the victim's phone that was sent to request premium services and the user was charged. The attacker, meanwhile, would delete any return SMS messages acknowledging the charges so the victims had no idea they were being billed.

The best advice, don't install applications that come from un-trusted sources.
 
Malicious mobile apps that come from ads

In some cases, legitimate applications on a smartphone run bad advertisements. If the user clicked on the ad, they are taken to a web site that tricks the victim into thinking their battery is inefficient. The person is then asked to install an application to optimize the battery consumption, which is instead a malicious application.

Our advice is the same as with PC’s, be leery of any advertisement that is asking you to install an application.

Apps that claim to be for "security"

Another new mobile attack vector is a ZeuS malware variant that actually originates with an infected PC. When a user visits a banking site from an infected computer, they are prompted to download an authentication or security component onto their mobile device in order to complete the login process.

The attackers realize that users are using two-factor authentication. In many cases that second factor is implemented as a one-time password sent to the user's phone by the banking provider. Attackers were thinking: 'How can we get access to those credentials?' Their answer is: 'Attack the user's phone.'
The way this ruse works is once the PC is infected, the person logs onto their bank account and is told to download an application onto their phone in order to receive security messages, such as login credentials. But it is actually a malicious application from the same entity that is controlling the user's PC. Now they have access to not only the user's regular banking logon credentials, but also the second authentication factor sent to the victim via SMS. In many cases, people thought they simply were installing security applications, or in some cases, a security certificate.

Mobile devices, pure and simple, are hand-held computers and should be treated as such. The best way to protect yourself is to be cautious of not only the applications you install, but the links you click on in the web browser. If asked to download a file, application or security certificate, be leery and only download from trusted sources.




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Topics: Phishing attacks, Communications, Browser, Malware, Apps, Smartphone, Android

What Happens on the Internet Every 60 Seconds

Posted by Eric Torres

Jun 17, 2011 8:51:00 AM

in 60 seconds

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Topics: iPad, Internet Explorer, Google, Firefox, Apple, Apps, Android

River Run Tech Blog: Verizon To Offer The iPad

Posted by Eric Torres

Oct 14, 2010 10:48:00 AM

Verizon Wireless has made it official, they are going to begin selling the Apple iPad as of October 28th. Verizon just issued a iPad1press release announcing the launch of the Apple iPad in over 2,000 Verizon Wireless stores. Could this mean the start of a new frontier in the Android vs. Apple war?

This is indeed a bit of good news, but it comes with some potentially bad points. The Verizon iPad will NOT be sold as a CDMA device – rather it will be a Wi-Fi only iPad that is bundled with the company’s MiFi service allowing a mobile modem of sorts. Whereas the AT&T iPad can simply roam around and get service via AT&T’s 3G signal. 

Here’s the deal, Verizon will be bundling the iPad with a MiFi Mobile Hotspot modem. Not entirely a bad idea, though this does mean an extra device to keep charged while on the go. That aside, this comes with some good and some bad points. First the good, the data plan will be contract free and only set you back $20 per month. The bad, you will only be given 1GB of data per month. Let’s just say that you are not going to be streaming Netflix with only 1GB. Another downside is the steep sticker price. Verizon will be offering the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB iPad with Wi-Fi for $629.99, $729.99 and $829.99 respectively.

Either way you look at it, this is a huge symbolic shift in the way mobile politics are being played and it definitely foreshadows changes to come. Android and Apple have been very secluded in their own little carrier worlds. AT&T has had the exclusive contract on the iPhone for quite some time. Since the launch of the Motorola Droid, Verizon and the “Droid” campaign have been the dominating Android influence. The Verizon vs. AT&T war has run parallel to the Android vs. Apple war, accentuated by AT&T being the last carrier to get an Android device.

The implications are obvious, the fact is that Verizon and Apple are now officially working together definitely opens the door for the Verizon iPhone 4G early next year. There is a clear partnership and the remaining hurdle is stuffing CDMA specs inside Apple devices. This is something that hasn’t been done yet, but something that will surely come soon. And of course with Verizon getting the iPhone, and other carriers possibly getting the iPhone as well, it makes Android’s competitive landscape in the United States much different.

The Apple & Android showdown has been pretty fun for everyone involved. Not to mention, it’s been great for consumers who are seeing manufacturers and carriers push devices, capabilities, and prices to the limits. With an Apple product being sold within the House That Droid Built, let the games begin!

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Topics: iPad, Tablet, Communications, Apple, Android, Tech News

River Run Tech Blog: Apps Come to Google TV

Posted by Eric Torres

Oct 5, 2010 2:29:00 PM

Google launched a new Google TV site yesterday, and announced some new content and application partnerships. A few of the apps that will come pre-installed on Google TV devices are Twitter, Pandora, Napster, Amazon and Netflix.  

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Topics: Google, New Products, Apps, Android

How Much Sensitive Information is Stored on Your Phone?

Posted by Eric Torres

Jan 7, 2010 10:21:00 AM

If you carry a smartphone (or even just a "semi smart" model with text messaging and email), you might be surprised at how much someone phone could find out about you by examining the contents of your phone. "It's like a computer," says the forensics specialist in this article, but that's not quite right. The iPhone he was talking about is a computer, albeit a small one. Today's phones have faster processor, more memory and more storage space than our desktop machines had a short fifteen years ago. Raise your awareness by clicking on the article below.

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Topics: Communications, Apple, Apps, Smartphone, Android, How To

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