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Google Accidentally Breaks Important Google Photos Feature

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Users of Google Photos are reporting that one of the app’s most frequently-used features is currently broken. The bug comes into play when selecting multiple photos at once, but fortunately, it looks like there’s a workaround for anyone affected.

When sharing pictures it’s common to want to select multiple images to send together in one go. Thankfully, the Google Photos app makes this very easy: simply hold your finger down on the first thumbnail image and then drag your finger along the gallery until you get to the last one you want to share. This will select all of the images between the first and last, marking them with a tick.

At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work.

However, as picked up by Android Police, some users on Reddit have reported that this feature has now disappeared since updating their apps, leaving them forced to select each image individually. This is a minor inconvenience when selecting just a few pictures but quickly becomes a chore when larger numbers are involved.

Today In: Innovation

The bug seems to affect a wide range of Android smartphones from various manufacturers, but only for a certain group of users and it turns out that a seemingly unrelated Android system setting is the trigger. As luck would have it, one eagle-eyed reader of the Android Police post discovered that the problem is related to an unexpected interaction with Android’s accessibility settings.

I can confirm that enabling Android Accessibility features on the Amazon Shopping app caused the Google Photos multi-select problem to appear on my handset while disabling the feature enabled Google Photos to work as normal once again.

For now, it seems the workaround to the problem is to disable Android Accessibility on any applications which may be using it.

To do this, go into your Android settings menu and search for ‘accessibility’ then scroll down to locate the relevant options. The actual layout will vary from phone to phone, but sections to look out for are ‘Downloaded Services’ where apps such as Amazon Shopping are likely to appear, and ‘Screen Readers’ where you may find functions such as ‘Select to Speak’ or ‘Talkback’ available.

Tapping on any of these will enable you to turn off its accessibility service. Turning them all off should then cause Google Photos to work correctly once again.

Obviously, the downside to doing this is that you’ll lose any accessibility functions you may have been relying on until Google comes up with a fix.

Method two

Alternatively, you may be able to restore the multi-select function by reverting to an older version of Google Photos. You can download previous versions of the app from sites such as apkmirror.com and sideload them onto your device, although I’d recommend waiting for an official update instead.

With any luck, a forthcoming fix from Google will then enable us to revert our Accessibility settings back to the way we want them.

I’ve been working as a technology journalist since the early nineties. My passion is photography and the ever-changing hardware and software that creates it, be it traditional cameras and Photoshop or smartphones and tablets with their numerous apps. I have also worked extensively on computing titles such as PC Magazine and Personal Computer World and managed the PCW hardware testing labs. This has seen me testing and reviewing all manner of technologies in print and on line. I take on both written and photographic assignments and you can get in touch with questions, tips or pitches via email. Find me on Instagram @paul_monckton.

Source: Google Accidentally Breaks Important Google Photos Feature

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Google Photos was designed to make it easier for people to organize a lifetime of memories. The recently announced API now lets you harness the best of Google Photos in your own product. In this session, you’ll see how you can create experiences that eliminate the friction associated with finding, transferring, and sharing photos. Rate this session by signing-in on the I/O website here → https://goo.gl/Cuv8ta See all the sessions from Google I/O ’18 → https://goo.gl/q1Tr8x Watch more Android sessions from I/O ’18 → https://goo.gl/R9L42F Watch more Chrome sessions from I/O ’18 → https://goo.gl/5fgXhX Watch more Firebase sessions from I/O ’18 → https://goo.gl/TQEeBQ Watch more Google Cloud Platform from I/O ’18 → https://goo.gl/qw2mR1 Watch more TensorFlow sessions from I/O ’18 → https://goo.gl/GaAnBR Subscribe to the Google Developers channel → http://goo.gl/mQyv5L #io18

 

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Google Is Planning to Offer Checking Accounts in Partnership With Banks

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Google is increasingly involved in more areas of its users’ lives. It’s where we turn every day for answers to pretty much everything from simple questions to complicated research. It’s where we get our email, store our photos, manage our calendars, and manage our files. It’s already the most dominant mobile operating system, and it now makes smart home devices. With its purchase of Fitbit, it’s clear Google also wants to dominate wearable technology.

Or, said another way, Google is everywhere.

Now, according to The Wall Street Journal, Google is working on a new project called Cache that involves offering checking accounts. Yes, Google wants to be your bank.

Well, more specifically, Google plans to partner with banks to offer its customers access to banking products like checking accounts. In this case, accounts would be offered by Citigroup, as well as a credit union at Stanford University, and those financial institutions would provide all of the financial services and account management.

Google would provide the convenience, along with loyalty rewards. For example, users would access their accounts through Google Pay, much like Apple’s users access its branded credit card through Apple Pay.

 

Speaking of which, with recent moves by other tech companies into the personal finance space, it was probably inevitable that Google would follow suit. Apple recently introduced its own credit card with Goldman Sachs, and Facebook has announced its plans to launch a digital currency called Libra. It might be worth mentioning that both of those have come under intense scrutiny, with New York regulators launching an investigation into Apple Card for discriminating on the basis of gender when extending credit limits.

I actually think this is less a deviation for Google than it might seem. In fact, as TechCrunch pointed out, by providing users with checking accounts, “Google obviously stands to gain a lot of valuable information and insight on customer behavior with access to their checking account, which for many is a good picture of overall day-to-day financial life.”

It’s helpful to remember that for all the useful services Google provides, the company is, at its core, an advertising platform. That is the underlying business model that makes it huge amounts of money, and it’s the driving force behind every product or service it offers.

And while Google hasn’t suffered the same level of scandal as the next-largest advertising platform, Facebook, the strategy is the same–monetize people’s personal information.

Of course, that lack of scandal is reflected in the fact that consumers say they are more likely to trust Google with their financial information than some of its competitors. Only Amazon was rated higher in a McKinsey & Company survey included in the Journal’s report. Fifty-eight percent of consumers said they would trust Google for financial products.

The Journal also reports that Google won’t sell financial information to advertisers, which is great, but that doesn’t mean it won’t use that information to target specific advertising at customers based on their income or spending habits — which is really the only reason Google would get into financial products in the first place.

It’s also the only thing you need to know when considering whether this is a good idea. I’m not sure any amount of “loyalty program” or convenience can make up for the cost of having even more of your personal information monetized.

Jason AtenWriter and business coach

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Google is planning to launch consumer checking accounts next year in partnership with Citigroup and Stanford University, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Wednesday (Nov. 13). Code-named Cache, the accounts will be handled by Citigroup and a credit union at Stanford University. The branding will reflect the financial institutions and not Google. “Our approach is going to be to partner deeply with banks and the financial system,” Google VP of Product Management Caesar Sengupta told WSJ. “It may be the slightly longer path, but it’s more sustainable.”

As Apple Improves Its Maps App, Google Responds By Adding A Popular Waze Feature To Google Maps On iOS

Google is expanding a feature within the Google Maps app on iOS that allows users to report driving incidents on the app.

The reporting feature has been available for Android users since earlier this year. Google Maps iOS users are now also able to report crashes, speed traps and traffic slowdowns directly through the app, in hopes of creating more accurate, real-time data for traffic estimations. Google said the reporting features have been popular with Android users. Google-owned Waze has offered similar features for years.

Drivers will also be able to report objects on road, disabled vehicle, lane closures or construction. Interested users can report these road hazards by tapping the “+” sign on the app, and then selecting “Add a Report.”

Today In: Innovation
Facebook And Google Chase Waze Inc. Map Software

BLOOMBERG NEWS

Google Maps, once the default maps and navigation app for iOS users, continues to be challenged by consistent improvements to Apple’s own Maps offering.

In a recent update, Apple Maps users can now share their estimated time of arrival with contacts, a feature that is also offered by Waze. Apple has also added a new “Look Around” feature, a direct challenge to Google Maps’ “Street View” offering.

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I’m a Los Angeles-based contributing writer for Forbes covering Google and Alphabet. I’m also a writer and curator for Inside.com, where I have covered a variety ot topics, ranging from automotive to Google. Send tips, pitches or notes via email (johanmore@gmail.com), on Twitter (@dudejohan) or on Signal (714-331-5730).

Source: As Apple Improves Its Maps App, Google Responds By Adding A Popular Waze Feature To Google Maps On iOS

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Apple introduced updates to many of the built-in iOS apps in iOS 13, and Maps is no exception. The updated version of Maps has a long list of new features that are designed to make the Apple Maps app better able to compete with mapping apps from other companies. There’s a new Look Around street view level feature, a Collections feature for aggregating lists of your favorite places, a Favorites option for getting to your most frequently traveled places quickly, and some other smaller updates that are worth knowing about. read more – https://www.macrumors.com/guide/maps/

DuckDuckGo Research Makes Bullish Case For Bitcoin And Cryptocurrency

DuckDuckGo, which is a privacy-focused online search engine, recently surveyed the general public’s view on the importance of privacy on the internet. The results indicated that people care about the amount of information being collected about them online, and many respondents even claimed they have taken action to better protect their personal data.

“The results are clear: not only are privacy concerns widespread, but people are, indeed, taking action,” said a DuckDuckGo blog post regarding the study.

This greater interest in online privacy should have a positive impact on Bitcoin adoption over the long term, as the cryptocurrency is basically the financial equivalent of deleting one’s Facebook account.

DuckDuckGo Research Shows People Care About Their Privacy

According to the DuckDuckGo survey, which involved a random sample of 1,114 Americans aged 18 and older, nearly 80% of respondents adjusted their privacy settings or reduced their use of social media in the past year. Additionally, almost a quarter of those surveyed claimed they had deleted or deactivated social media accounts due to privacy concerns.

Today In: Money

The changes social media users have made to their accounts include the removal of location tags on posts and taking their profiles private.

Outside of the social media realm, 38.6% of respondents in the survey said they have used a password manager in the past year and 24.1% said they had used a virtual private network (VPN).

On top of the numbers shared related to the survey, the blog post from DuckDuckGo also claimed the privacy-focused search engine company has seen 68% growth over the past year. Notably, a Pew Research survey from 2018 found results similar to those found in this new evaluation from DuckDuckGo.

The Bitcoin Connection

Now, those who do not quite understand why Bitcoin was created in the first place may be wondering what this DuckDuckGo research has to do with the world’s most popular cryptocurrency. In short, the increased desire for online privacy and true ownership over one’s data should also lead to greater interest in and adoption of Bitcoin because the cryptocurrency is the only option when it comes to digital financial self-sovereignty.

The only way for financial privacy and a form of digital money that doesn’t rely on trust in a third party to exist online is through a decentralized system like Bitcoin. In the past, centralized digital currency systems that allowed for a greater degree of privacy, such as E-gold and Liberty Reserve, were shut down by government agencies. When it comes to Bitcoin, lawmakers are aware that they are unable to regulate, control, or ban the cryptocurrency network.

The importance of the existence of something like Bitcoin becomes increasingly obvious as the world moves towards a cashless society.

According to Castle Island Ventures Partner Nic Carter, this focus on digital financial self-sovereignty is something that is often overlooked by the altcoins.

Although the Bitcoin price has struggled recently, this utility of Bitcoin to provide increased financial privacy and seizure-resistant properties in the digital realm is why some investors are predicting the crypto asset could go as high as $100,000 in a couple of years.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

I’m a writer who has been following Bitcoin since 2011. I’ve worked all over the Bitcoin media space — from being editor-in-chief at Inside Bitcoins to contributing to Bitcoin Magazine on a regular basis. My work has also been featured in Business Insider, VICE Motherboard, and many other financial and tech media outlets. I’m mostly interested in the use of Bitcoin for transactions that would be censored by the traditional financial system (think darknet markets and ransomware) in addition to the use of bitcoin as an unseizable, digital store of value. Altcoins, appcoins, and ICOs don’t make much sense to me. Find all of my work at kyletorpey.com. Disclosure: I hold some bitcoin.

Source: DuckDuckGo Research Makes Bullish Case For Bitcoin And Cryptocurrency

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Why DuckDuckGo is the best website…? Quora page: https://www.quora.com/Why-should-I-us… DuckDuckGo: https://duckduckgo.com/ Thanks for watching… duckduckgo duckduckgo.com vs google twitter im just adding random keywords in for seo Music: Bakin by Kid Ocean https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvoMU… Gonk

Could Google Be About To Break Bitcoin?

Google sent shockwaves around the internet last month when it was claimed the search giant had built a quantum computer able to solve formerly impossible mathematical calculations–with some fearing bitcoin could be at risk.

Details of Google’s so-called “quantum supremacy,” meaning it can solve calculations impossible with traditional computers, were posted to a Nasa website before being deleted, it was claimed by the Financial Times, a business newspaper.

Google’s quantum supremacy could mean it is able to perform in 200 seconds what would take a powerful computer 10,000 years and potentially mean bitcoin, and the encryption that underpins it, could be broken.

Bitcoin, cryptography, and encryption rely on complex mathematical problems and the fundamentals provide the basis of the internet and digital communication trust.

Today In: Money

A powerful enough computer, similar to Google’s quantum computer, could solve these classical equations quickly enough to crack not only bitcoin but also the encryption that the internet is built on.

An explosion in bitcoin investors and the bitcoin price over recent years have made many worried that their newfound crypto-based wealth could be under threat from these powerful quantum computers.

However, steps can be taken to prevent the likes of Google or any other quantum computer breaking into bitcoin and digital communication.

“Cryptocurrencies can be updated with quantum resistant tech,” said Charles Hayter, chief executive of bitcoin and cryptocurrency data website, CryptoCompare. “This is just a continuation of the age old arms race between crackers and enciphers.”

It would appear Google is still some way away from building a quantum computer that could be a threat to bitcoin or other encryption.

“Google’s supercomputer currently has 53 qubits,” said Dragos Ilie, a quantum computing and encryption researcher at Imperial College London.

Qubits, or quantum bits, are the basic unit of quantum information which use the properties of a quantum system, such as the polarization of a photon or the spin of an electron, where as traditional computers store and process data as a series of ‘1’s and ‘0’s.

“In order to have any effect on bitcoin or most or most other financial systems it would take at least about 1500 qubits and the system must allow for the entanglement of all of them,” Ilie said.

Google may not even be as far along as thought, with subsequent reports suggesting the original post was removed from Nasa’s website because it had not been confirmed.

Meanwhile, scaling quantum computers is “a huge challenge,” according to Ilie.

“As you add more qubits the system becomes more and more unstable … [though] researchers can try different approaches for solving these issues so maybe there are ways to mitigate these problems but right now we are quite far from breaking bitcoin.”

In short, “don’t dump your bitcoins yet,” Ilie added.

Follow me on Twitter.

I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk I reported on how technology is changing business, political trends, and the latest culture and lifestyle. I have covered the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2012 and have charted its emergence as a niche technology into the greatest threat to the established financial system the world has ever seen and the most important new technology since the internet itself. I have worked and written for CityAM, the Financial Times, and the New Statesman, amongst others. Follow me on Twitter @billybambrough or email me on billyATbillybambrough.com. Disclosure: I occasionally hold some small amount of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Source: Could Google Be About To Break Bitcoin?

Everyone should see it! Click here! http://youtube.com+watch=@3162039724/… Best cryptocurrency exchanger: https://700.by/101 Best cryptocurrency trading platform: https://700.by/102 The crypto community is reacting to a new report claiming Google has achieved a massive breakthrough in quantum computing. According to the Financial Times, a leaked document written by Google’s researchers says the company has achieved “quantum supremacy.”
In other words, Google has created a quantum computer that can perform a calculation that no other computer on earth has the power to process.“A paper by Google’s researchers seen by the FT, that was briefly posted earlier this week on a NASA website before being removed, claimed that their processor was able to perform a calculation in three minutes and 20 seconds that would take today’s most advanced classical computer, known as Summit, approximately 10,000 years.”
Quantum computers use the properties of atoms and molecules to create systems that can simultaneously explore multiple possible solutions to a problem. Many experts believe quantum tech could be used to crack the modern methods of cryptography that keep the internet secure. The threat to the world of cryptography is real enough that the National Security Agency (NSA) is now working to create new techniques that are resistant to quantum computing. News of Google’s apparent breakthrough made it to the front page of the cryptocurrency subreddit, where crypto proponents pondered the potential impact the advancement could have on blockchain technology.
The question is if and when quantum computing can crack the long strings of letters and numbers known as private keys, which Bitcoin users need to access their funds. So far, Google’s researchers say their quantum computer can “only perform a single, highly technical calculation,” indicating it will still take years until the technology can solve real-world problems.
But according to the document cited by the Financial Times, Google expects the tech to evolve at twice the speed of traditional computer processors. Steve Brierley, an adviser on quantum technologies to the UK government, says Google has taken a major leap forward.“It’s a significant milestone, and the first time that somebody has shown that quantum computers could outperform classical computers at all. It’s an amazing achievement.”So far, Google itself has refused to comment. #quantum #cryptocalculator #bitcoinblockexplorer #cryptocurrencynews #cryptocurrencyexchange #cryptonews #cryptoexchange Will Google’s ‘Quantum Supremacy’ Achievement Break Bitcoin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haRLj…

New Google Android Warning As Malicious Apps Hit 300 Million Play Store Users

Malicious Google Android apps seem to be hitting the Play Store increasing rapidly at the moment–or at least, reports of them are. This was the thinking behind ESET security researcher Lukas Stefanko’s report detailing the harmful apps on Google Play that hit the news in September.

The results are far from pretty: Stefanko’s analysis shows that 172 harmful apps with over 335 million installs were found on Google’s Play Store, according to various news reports written during the month. Of course, the installs would have taken place over a longer period than just the month of September.

In August, I reported that a dangerous spyware app had hit the Play Store twice. It came after Trend Micro researchers reported adware containing apps had been downloaded 8 million times.

Meanwhile, among reports in September, Forbes contributor Zak Doffman wrote how two apps with over 500 million downloads were revealed to contain dangerous adware.

And Adware was the top attack vector, with 48 apps that had over 300 million installs in total.  Subscription scams were another area of concern, with 15 apps found and 20 million installs. That was followed by apps containing hidden ads, with 14.5 million installs across 57 apps.

Google Play: Out of control?

So, is the number of malicious apps increasing, or are security researchers and as a result, journalists reporting them more? It is difficult to say but one thing is clear: Many people, including Android users, are worried that the Google Play Store is getting out of control.

This data highlights the problem that Google faces, says security researcher Sean Wright. “Unfortunately, this issue only seems to be getting worse. It would be interesting to see if Google has any plan in place to try tackle the problem.”

With multiple players involved in the Android ecosystem, coupled with Google’s less than stringent app store policies–at least compared to Apple–it’s really down to users to assess what’s safe and what’s not.

It’s certainly not ideal, but there are some best practices you can follow. As well as ensuring your operating system is as up to date as possible, you should use anti-virus and read app reviews.

Wright advises: “Only install apps that you are going to use. Pay close attention to details such as required permissions. If you are installing a flashlight app and it is asking for permissions to read your contacts, this should serve as an immediate red flag.”

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I’m a freelance cybersecurity journalist with over a decade’s experience reporting on the issues impacting users, businesses and the public sector. My interests within cybersecurity include critical national infrastructure, cyber warfare, application security and data misuse. I’m a keen advocate for women in security and strive to raise awareness of the gender imbalance through my writing.

Source: New Google Android Warning As Malicious Apps Hit 300 Million Play Store Users

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Subscribe: https://bit.ly/2x9BOFg Blog: https://channelworldnews.blogspot.com Android warning: Stay clear of these Google Play Store apps which stalk youANDROID fans have been put on alert and warned about several malicious apps found on the Google Play Store which stalk users.Android fans are being warned to stay clear of a number of apps found on the Google Play Store which stalk users of the Google mobile OS.Android is the most poplar pieces of software in the world, with it used by more than two billion people each month.However Android users are no strangers to security alerts, with some recent widespread threats being circulated via apps found on the Goole Play Store.Six Android apps that were downloaded a staggering 90million times from the Google Play Store were found to have been loaded with the PreAMo malware.While another recent threat saw 50 malware-filled apps on the Google Play Store infect over 30million Android devices.And now Android users are being warned once again about a security threat spread through the Google Play Store.Security experts at Avast have discovered seven apps on the Google Play Store that were loaded with stalkerware.This is a malicious form of software that stalks users and other people.These apps in total were downloaded more than 130,000 times, with the most popular one along being installed more than 50,000 times.The Android apps all have the capacity to collect information on users without their consent.Data collected by the stalking apps include call logs, contact information, as well as the location of the victim and text messages, according to an Avast blog post.The apps can also reportedly intercept WhatsApp and Viber messages on rooted devices.Nikolaos Chrysaidos, Avast’s head of mobile threat intelligence and security, said: “These apps are highly unethical and problematic for people’s privacy and shouldn’t be on the Google Play Store.“They promote criminal behaviour, and can be abused by employers, stalkers or abusive partners to spy on their victims.“We classify such apps as stalkerware, and

Google Warns LastPass Users Were Exposed To ‘Last Password’ Credential Leak

Google Project Zero is a team of highly talented security analysts with a brief to uncover zero-day vulnerabilities. If a vulnerability is found, Project Zero reports to the vendor concerned and starts a 90-day countdown for a fix to be issued before full public disclosure is made. LastPass is also in the security business, being one of the most popular password management solutions with more than 16 million users, including 58,000 businesses. Project Zero has just disclosed that a security vulnerability left some of those 16 million users exposed to the risk of credential compromise as, in an ironic twist, LastPass could leak the last password used to any website visited.

How could the LastPass ‘last password’ vulnerability be exploited?

In a tweet posted September 16, Google Project Zero analyst Tavis Ormandy stated that “LastPass could leak the last used credentials due to a cache not being updated,” adding “this was because you can bypass the tab credential cache being populated by including the login form in an unexpected way!”

Ormandy reported the vulnerability on August 29, as Project Zero issue 1930, which showed how the credentials previously filled by LastPass could be exposed to any website under certain circumstances.

Today In: Innovation

Ferenc Kun, the security engineering manager for LastPass at LogMeIn, which owns LastPass, said in an online statement that this “limited set of circumstances on specific browser extensions” could potentially enable the attack scenario described.

“To exploit this bug, a series of actions would need to be taken by a LastPass user including filling a password with the LastPass icon, then visiting a compromised or malicious site and finally being tricked into clicking on the page several times,” Kun said, “any potential exposure due to the bug was limited to specific browsers (Chrome and Opera.)”

The answer, thankfully, is nothing. LastPass has already patched the vulnerability, and the fix was comprehensively verified with Project Zero. Indeed, the fix was rolled out on September 13, and Kun confirmed that “we have now resolved this bug; no user action is required and your LastPass browser extension will update automatically.”

As a precaution, the LastPass update was deployed to all web browsers and not just Chrome and Opera.

How severe was this vulnerability and should you stop using LastPass?

Let’s deal with the last part of that question first; there’s absolutely no reason to stop using LastPass or your preferred password manager for that matter. “Although password managers like any other software have flaws the benefits of using one far outweigh the risks,” says ethical hacker John Opdenakker. “It’s far more likely that your accounts will get compromised by attacks that exploit poor passwords,” Opdenakker says, “such as through credential reuse, than by attacks against password managers themselves.”

OK, so how serious was this particular vulnerability? It certainly sounds serious enough, right? Tavis Ormandy at Project Zero allocated the vulnerability a “high” severity rating. Opdenakker isn’t so sure it merits that. “I think it’s most important that LastPass fixed this bug, which is certainly not a critical one, within a reasonable amount of time,” Opdenakker says, “it’s debatable whether it’s high or medium because, as Ormandy says, it doesn’t work for all URLs.”

LastPass security recommendations

Ferenc Kun said that LastPass continues to recommend the following best practices for added online security:

  • Do not click on links from people you don’t know, or that seem out of character from your trusted contacts and companies.
  • Always enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for LastPass and other services like your bank, email, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  • Never reuse your LastPass master password and never disclose it to anyone, including us.
  • Use different, unique passwords for every online account.
  • Keep your computer malware-free by running antivirus with the latest detection patterns and keeping your software up-to-date.

More at Forbes

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New Security Warning Issued For Google’s 2 Billion Chrome Users

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I’m a three-decade veteran technology journalist and have been a contributing editor at PC Pro magazine since the first issue in 1994. A three-time winner of the BT Security Journalist of the Year award (2006, 2008, 2010) I was also fortunate enough to be named BT Technology Journalist of the Year in 1996 for a forward-looking feature in PC Pro called ‘Threats to the Internet.’ In 2011 I was honored with the Enigma Award for a lifetime contribution to IT security journalism. Contact me in confidence at davey@happygeek.com if you have a story to reveal or research to share

Source: Google Warns LastPass Users Were Exposed To ‘Last Password’ Credential Leak

This is a short intro to how to use LastPass. Links: https://www.lastpass.com https://youtu.be/M4Z0xwzpQrk (My Diceware Video) ======================================== Follow me on Twitter: @redfalconsec Like me on Facebook: search “RedFalcon Security” Fonts used: Digitalt by gluk (http://www.dafont.com/digitalt.font) Royalty free ClipArt provided by LibrOffice Impress and clker (www.clker.com). This video made entirely in Linux using open source tools.

Google Just Gave 2 Billion Chrome Users A Reason To Switch To Firefox

Berlin, Germany - February 26: In this photo illustration the app of Google Chrome is displayed on a smartphone on February 26, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo Illustration by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)

Berlin, Germany – February 26: In this photo illustration the app of Google Chrome is displayed on a smartphone on February 26, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo Illustration by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)

Google is planning to restrict modern ad blocking Chrome extensions to enterprise users only, according to 9to5Google. This is despite a backlash to an announcement by Google in January proposing changes that will stop current ad blockers from working efficiently.

And the software giant is not backing down: It says the only people who can use ad blockers following the change will be Google’s enterprise users.

The proposal–dubbed Manifest V3–will see a major transformation to Chrome extensions that includes a revamp of the permissions system. It will mean modern ad blockers such as uBlock Origin—which uses Chrome’s webRequest API to block ads before they’re downloaded–won’t work. This is because Manifest V3 sees Google halt the webRequest API’s ability to block a particular request before it’s loaded.

People aren’t impressed. Many have complained about the move, which effectively takes control away from the user and creates an incentive to use other services instead.

9to5Google highlighted a single sentence buried in the text of Google’s response to the complaints, which clarified the changes: “Chrome is deprecating the blocking capabilities of the webRequest API in Manifest V3, not the entire webRequest API (though blocking will still be available to enterprise deployments).”

In other words, paid enterprise-only users will still have the ability to block unwanted content. It probably means enterprise customers can develop in-house Chrome extensions, not for ad blocking use, 9to5Google says. For everyone else, the changes announced in January will remain the same.

It’s annoying, to say the least, but the reason for these changes is obvious: Ads are at the heart of Google’s business model.

“We are starting to see Google’s conflict of interest arising,” Sean Wright, an independent security consultant told me. “Google relies on the revenue of advertising, so one can see why they would make such a move.”

What to do

There are many users who won’t use Chrome without an ad blocker, so it will see some switch to other providers such as Firefox. However, Firefox has had its own issues over recent weeks.

It’s important to note that the changes won’t stop all ad blockers from working, but exactly who is affected isn’t totally clear. Google sent me a statement by email, which reads: “Chrome supports the use and development of ad blockers. We’re actively working with the developer community to get feedback and iterate on the design of a privacy-preserving content filtering system that limits the amount of sensitive browser data shared with third parties.”

For now, Wright thinks people should use Brave instead: “Brave is built upon Chromium so all existing Chrome plugins and even themes work on it. This is perhaps why it’s seen an increase in user numbers.”

Another option is using something like Pi-Hole, says Wright. “This works on the DNS level and has blacklists of adverts as well as malicious URLs.”

I’m a freelance cyber security journalist with over a decade’s experience reporting on the issues impacting users, businesses and the public sector.

Source: Google Just Gave 2 Billion Chrome Users A Reason To Switch To Firefox

How Google’s Work With Motorbike Riders In India Demonstrates Its Plan For Emerging Markets

India is the world’s largest market for motorbikes, with two-wheelers making up 70% of all vehicles registered by its 1.3 billion residents. It’s these motorbike drivers, more so than car owners, that Google needs to please as it competes for mindshare in this emerging market. So when user research showed that motorbikers in India didn’t find Maps useful, a team in Google’s Seattle office was tasked with figuring out how to change it.

A dive into the data revealed that motorbike drivers would only open the app for about 30 seconds and then close it. The team of product experts hypothesized that drivers needed more guidance on their route, so they spun up a prototype that would provide more in-ride prompts. But when they tested it with users in Jaipur, the largest city in the Indian state of Rajasthan, the prototype flopped.

The trials and errors to make Maps work better in India were a wake-up call, says Lauren Celenza, lead designer on Google’s two-wheeler project. As Google aims to reach more users in emerging markets like India, South East Asia, Africa and Latin America, the company needed to better integrate user research with product design.

“Opening up of the process beyond the walls of our offices is a playbook that we’re looking to for future projects,” Celenza says.

After actually spending time in India talking to people, the product team realized that the exact opposite of their initial assumption was true: Motorbike drivers didn’t want to look at or listen to their phones at all as they navigated the crowded and often chaotic roads. Instead, they wanted clearer guidance before starting out.

That initial design process highlights the too common tech industry hubris wherein companies launch tools for people far away without proper preparation or understanding of regional wants, needs or cultural differences. At its most anodyne, this approach leads to unpopular products. But it can also fuel real-world crises, like fake news and hate-speech going viral in Myanmar because Facebook didn’t have enough Burmese-speaking moderators.

The Google Maps team on the project ended up building a “two-wheeler mode” with customized routes for motorbikes that simplifies the maps and highlights landmarks to make it easier for drivers to understand and memorize the way before starting out. Since that product launched about a year and a half ago, its usage has grown from one million daily users to 5 million, and Google has launched the feature in more than a dozen new markets.

Two-wheeler mode falls under the domain of what Google calls its “Next Billion Users” initiative to reach users in emerging markets, either by launching new products or adapting old ones. For example, Google launched data-light and offline versions of Search, YouTube and Maps, and created an India-specific payments service called Tez.

At Google’s I/O developers conference last week, the company announced several other features geared at emerging markets. For example, it will start allowing people to pay for Android apps using cash and demoed an automatic text-to-speech service that will initially launch in Google’s Go app for entry-level devices.

“We need to do a lot more work to make sure our technologies and our services actually work really well for these users, including designing the right products for their unique needs,” Caesar Sengupta, vice president of Google’s Next Billion Users group, tells Forbes. “The amount of work we have left to do is still huge.”

In the past year, Google has faced a handful of controversies about how it cooperates with foreign governments. In August, the Intercept reported that the company was working on a version of its search engine in China that would comply with the country’s strict censorship laws. U.S. politicians, human rights activists and Google employees criticized the project, describing it as a tool for oppression and a slap in the face of Internet freedom. Google eventually told Congress in December that it has “no plans” to launch a search engine in China.

This spring, Google (and Apple) received widespread criticism for offering a Saudi Arabian smartphone app that allows husbands to track their wives. The country’s “male guardianship system,” which requires women to obtain male approval for certain actions, makes tracking legal, and Google said it would not remove the app.

Sengupta, who reportedly had a leadership role in the Dragonfly project, said that the company is “really engaged” in debates about the services it provides.

“The world is evolving fast,” he said. “We need to be constantly looking at what we’re doing and what are the right ways to be doing something.”

Contact this reporter at jdonfro [at] forbes.com. Have a more sensitive tip? Reach Jillian via encrypted messaging app Signal at 978.660.6302 using a non-work phone or contact Forbes anonymously via SecureDrop (instructions here: https://www.forbes.com/tips/#6ebc8a4f226a).

I’m a San Francisco-based staff writer for Forbes reporting on Google and the rest of the Alphabet universe, as well as artificial intelligence more broadly.

Source: How Google’s Work With Motorbike Riders In India Demonstrates Its Plan For Emerging Markets

Why Google’s Theme For Its Big Developers’ Conference Could Fall Flat

This week, thousands of visitors will swarm Google’s home city of Mountain View, California, for the company’s annual I/O developers’ conference. The event serves as a state of the union of sorts for Google, allowing it to parade out new products, share milestones for existing ones, and lay out its vision for the future as techies and press from all over the world tune in.

“This year, you’ll hear a lot about how we’re building a helpful Google for everyone,” the company wrote in a press teaser ahead of the show, which starts Tuesday (the bold emphasis is the company’s).

But while Google hopes to wow audiences with presentations on artificial intelligence and accessibility, that rosy messaging may fall flat in light of the company’s recent controversies.

In the past year, Google has faced an unprecedented level of criticism from experts and its own employees on issues like censorship, workplace misconduct, and AI ethics. One consistent theme of the various accusations has been how Google has not, in fact, been helpful for everyone. Google’s timeline since its 2018 conference is studded with complaints of exclusionary behavior.

Take, for example, last fall when The Intercept revealed that the company was secretly developing censored search products in China. Lawmakershuman rights activists, and Google employees alike denounced the plans, and in an open letter, workers admonished the company for building technology that would “aid the powerful in oppressing the vulnerable.” Google ultimately said it has tabled its plans.

Not long after, employees staged a massive walkout to protest what organizers described as a “workplace culture that’s not working for everyone” following a New York Times report on how Google shielded executives from misconduct claims. Demonstrators shared stories of inequity and harassment, including for Google’s “shadow workforce” of temporary and contract workers, who have less job security and fewer protections than their direct-employee peers. Google has updated a handful of policies and practices since the walkout, but its organizers have continued to push for other changes.

More recently, employees and outsiders called out Google for including Kay Coles James, the president of a conservative think tank, on a new advanced technology advisory council, citing her anti-LGBTQ views. Google eventually disbanded the so-called AI ethics board, saying in a statement that it had “become clear that in the current environment, [the council] can’t function as we wanted,” but didn’t address protestors’ arguments about underrepresented groups, like LGBTQ people, being especially at-risk for unintended consequences for AI.

For Google to hang its conference on the theme of being helpful for everyone without acknowledging its slew of exclusion-based issues may make the company’s intended theme seem hollow or ironic.

This wouldn’t be the first time Google has undermined its own messaging: Last year it sabotaged its recurring I/O mantra about developing “responsible AI” by launching a product that imitated humans but didn’t self-identify as a robot, which raised major ethical red flags.

Gartner research director Werner Goertz, who plans to attend the conference, doubts that any of the many product managers and executives who get up on the main stage will directly address Google’s litany of recent controversies. Viewers will hear details about a cheaper Pixel smartphone and the next edition of Android, but no atonement.

“Remember, I/O is a developers’ conference,” he says. “Google will focus on addressing the technical details, and I don’t think these other topics will really distract from that message.”

Perhaps they should.

Contact this reporter at jdonfro [at] forbes.com. Have a more sensitive tip? Reach Jillian via encrypted messaging app Signal at 978.660.6302 using a non-work phone or contact Forbes anonymously via SecureDrop (instructions here: https://www.forbes.com/tips/#6ebc8a4f226a).

I’m a San Francisco-based staff writer for Forbes reporting on Google and the rest of the Alphabet universe, as well as artificial intelligence more broadly.

Source: Why Google’s Theme For Its Big Developers’ Conference Could Fall Flat

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