Tech Friday

posted by Brian Thomas -

  • Your Android phone's patch level may be wrong:
    • Google introduced monthly Android updates in 2016
    • They typically release two patch levels a month. One just for Android bugs, and another for bugs in the kernel and drivers 
    • Google's 2017 Android security review reported that 30 percent more devices had been updated compared to 2016 
    • A recent study found a "hidden patch gap" with Google's monthly Android patch system
    • The study by Security Research Lab (SRL) found that critical patches aren't on devices despite the patch level indicating they are
    • The study showed that some Android devices are missing as many as a dozen patches that should be there based on the patch level displayed
    • SRL reported that some Android manufacturers seem to be gaming the patch level system to improve their image
    • Unfortunately, this leaves users with a false sense of security
    • The SRL study reviewed all 2017 patches on a range of devices
    • One of the researchers, Karsten Nohl said "Sometimes these guys just change the date without installing any patches. Probably for marketing reasons, they just set the patch level to almost an arbitrary date, whatever looks best"
    • Researchers determined the average number of missing patches for each patch level over the year
    • Google, Sony and Samsung were missing up to one patch. TCL and ZTE were missing as many as four. LG, and Motorola were missing between three and four
    • SRL has released a tool, SnoopSnitch, to verify the true patch level of a device. You can get it here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.srlabs.snoopsnitch
    • Read the SRL report here: https://srlabs.de/bites/android_patch_gap/
  • A fingerprint in a photo used as evidence:
    • In what is believed to be a first, an image of a man holding ecstasy tablets in his palm was used to arrest and convict a dealer
    • The image was found on the mobile device of someone arrested for drugs
    • The image was sent to South Wales Police's scientific support unit and ultimately led to 11 convictions
    • Officers have called this approach groundbreaking 
    • Law enforcement officers can now examine photographs on phones for potential evidence 
    • The police scientific support unit was able to scan the image into its system where it was enhanced
    • Police reported that the scale and quality of the photograph made it challenging, but it ended up being enough to identify the dealer
    • South Wales Police Officer Dave Thomas mentioned that many people have mobile phones that are used to record incidents
    • The high quality of the cameras means that it is possible to download and enhance images and video that can be used as evidence
  • Facebook rolls out updated privacy tools:

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Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas

Based in Cincinnati, OH, the Brian Thomas Morning Show covers news and politics, both local and national, from a conservative point of view. Read more

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