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Analysis Finds Blurry Lines Between Rovio, Advertisers

Rovio, the maker of the massively popular Angry Birds, makes no secret about collecting personal data from those who download and play its games. But an analysis from the advanced threat detection firm FireEye is helping to expose the extend of data harvesting, and also to sketch out the blurry line that separates Rovio and third-party advertising networks it contracts with. In a blog post on Thursday, FireEye analysts Jimmy Suo and Tao Wei described the findings of an investigation into the interaction between Rovio’s mobile applications, including the latest version of Angry Birds, and third party ad networks such as Jumptap and Millenial Media. Using FireEye’s Mobile Threat Prevention (MTP), the two gathered and analyzed network packet capture (PCap) information and analyzed the workings of Angry Birds and its communications with third-party ad networks. The two were able to reveal a multi-stage information sharing operation, tracking code paths from the reverse-engineered […]

Perverse Security Incentives Abound In Mobile App Space

Podcast: Play in new window | Download () | EmbedSubscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Email | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS | https://www.securityledger.com/subscribeSecurity problems abound in the mobile device space – and many of them have been well documented here and elsewhere. While mobile operating systems like Android and iOS are generally more secure than their desktop predecessors, mobile applications have become a major source of woe for mobile device owners and platform vendors. To date, many of the mobile malware outbreaks have come by way of loosely monitored mobile application stores (mostly in Eastern Europe and Russia). More recently, malicious mobile ad networks have also become a way to pull powerful mobile devices into botnets and other malicious online schemes. But my guests on the latest Security Ledger podcast point out that mobile application threats are poised to affect much more than just mobile phone […]

Google Readies SDK For Wearable Tech

Google will soon release a software development kit (SDK) for adapting its Android mobile operating system to wearable technology such as smart watches, according to statements by Sundar Pichai, Google’s Senior Vice President of Android, Chrome and Apps.   Pichai was speaking over the weekend at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas. He said that the SDK for wearables will be available sometime in the next two weeks and is intended to help flesh out the company’s vision for how wearable technology should work. The news was first reported here by The Guardian. Wearables are just another “platform” on which small, powerful sensors will be deployed, he said. “Sensors can be small and powerful, and gather a lot of information that can be useful for users. We want to build the right APIs for this world of sensors,” he is quoted saying. [Read more Security Ledger coverage […]

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Can Google Hold Back Facial Recognition For Glass?

The New Yorker blog has an interesting, short piece by Betsy Morais on the challenges posed by facial recognition and wearable technology that’s worth reading. The post, “Through a Face Scanner, Darkly” picks up on recent reports about a proliferation of facial recognition applications for the Google Glass platform, addressing the ethical implications of the intersection of wearable technology with powerful sensors and analytics capabilities, including facial recognition. Specifically, Morais zeros in on an app called NameTag that adds a face scanner to the Glass. “Snap a photo of a passerby, then wait a minute as the image is sent up to the company’s database and a match is hunted down. The results load in front of your left eye, a selection of personal details that might include someone’s name, occupation, Facebook and/or Twitter profile, and, conveniently, whether there’s a corresponding entry in the national sex-offender registry,” Morais writes. NameTag’s focus […]

In Next Phase: Web Tracking Cookies Grow Legs

It’s easy to focus on the low hanging fruit in the Internet of Things revolution – the Internet-connected thermostats, connected vehicles and lawn sprinklers that you can manage from the Web.   But the biggest changes are yet to come – as powerful, wearable technology, remote sensors and powerful data analytics combine to map and record our every waking (and sleeping) moment. I got a glimpse of that reading this article over at the blog StreetFightMag.com, a site that concentrates on the hyperlocal marketing sector. Hyperlocal was a big thing about six or seven years ago, as online media outfit (and their advertisers) decided that consumers were losing interest in the thin gruel that online mass-media provided, but remained intensely interested in local news and affairs. Alas, capitalizing on the relatively small-scale opportunities in ‘hyperlocal’ proved harder than anyone thought, as this week’s decision to shutter AOL’s remaining Patch web […]