Millions of Android Phones Could Be Affected by the Heartbleed Bug. Check to See if Yours Is One of Them

Disturbing news: The now-infamous Heartbleed security flaw might reach further than your favorite websites.

It could affect your mobile device, too.

According to an announcement by Google, smartphones and tablets running a specific version of Android were affected by the widespread web security bug, which could potentially spill your sensitive login information (like passwords).

The company assured Android owners in a blog post April 9 that most versions are not affected by the flaw. However, as Bloomberg notes, Google added that a version called 4.1.1 Jelly Bean is a “limited exception.”

That version of Android was released in 2012 and is likely to be running on older Android smartphones. According to the most recent statistics released by Google, about 34 percent of Android devices use a version of the 4.1 Jelly Bean software. Though the company said that fewer than 10 percent of devices in use are vulnerable, a Google spokesperson confirmed to Bloomberg that millions of devices still run 4.1.1 Jelly Bean. 

So how can you check to see if your device is affected? You’ll need to go to the Settings menu of your phone and find your way to the About Phone section. There you’ll be able to learn what version of Android you’re running and see if any updates are available.

There’s also a free Android app available that will tell you if your device is vulnerable to the bug.

Whether there is an immediate update to patch this bug is still unclear. Google’s blog post says that “patching information for Android 4.1.1 is being distributed to Android partners.”

A Verizon spokesperson told Bloomberg that the company was aware of the “security vulnerability referred to as ‘Heartbleed,’ ” and that the company was “working with our device manufacturers to test and deploy patches to any affected device on our network running Android 4.1.1.”

We’ve reached out to Google for comment. In the meantime, fingers crossed that you’re not affected.

If you need to catch up on which sites are affected by the Heartbleed bug, check out my comprehensive list here.

Follow Alyssa Bereznak on Twitter or email her here

Read more

'Fast 7' Recruits Paul Walker's Brothers to Finish Late Actor's Scenes

By using his brothers. The "Fast 7" filmmakers announced today on Facebook thatPaul's two younger siblings,Cody and Caleb, are on the film set to help finish some of the late actor's action scenes.

Production was halted when Walker died in a fiery car crash last Nov. — just weeks after he attended Caleb's wedding as his best man Cody Walker, in his mid-twenties and the youngestof the three Walker brothers,is a trained paramedic and now works with is late brother's Reach Out Worldwide charity. Caleb Walker is in his late thirties. "Fast 7" filming resumed justa few weeks ago.

Here is the announcementin its entirety:

A Note to the Fans of FAST & FURIOUS The FAST & FURIOUS saga is about family. The characters are connected by the bond of family, and it is how all of us who have worked together for more than thirteen years feel about each other. It certainly define show we feel about our fans.

Our family experienced an unthinkable shockin November.We had to take time to grieve Paul, the brother we love and lost,and to figure out if we should move on with our film.

We came together and all felt the only choice was to continue.We believe our fans want that,and we believe Paul would want that too. Paul had already shot his dramatic scenes and most of his action for FAST & FURIOUS 7, and it’s among the strongest work of his career.

We have resumed shooting and now welcome Paul’s brothers,Caleb and Cody, into our FAST family. Caleb and Cody are helping us complete some remaining action for their brother and fill in small gaps left in production.

Having themon set has made us all feel that Paul is with us too. We are just under a year away from the release of FAST & FURIOUS 7, and this film is the most important we’ve ever done together.

It will allow the character of Brian O’Conner to live on and let us celebrate Paul in his most defining role.

We wantedto take a moment to speak to our fans directly and thank you for the love and support you always show us as we resumeour work.

Walker's untimely death presented challenges for the film's completion.

Before production resumed, insiders told Yahoo there were several scenes with Walker that had not been shot and that two-thirds of the script needed to be rewritten to accomodate his loss.

Indeed, in the days following his death, studio execs,producers,directorJames Wan, and Vin Diesel were in a scramble to revamp the film and consulted with Walker's family to decide on an option that would be respectful to the late actor.

Rather than have Walker killed off from the popular action franchise,The Hollywood Reporter had sources saying Walker's character,Brian O'Conner, would instead be "retired."

The original"Fast 7" release dateof July 11, 2014 was also shifted to April 10, 2015 following Walker's death.

The film, currently shooting on location outside of the U.S., is on track for its release next year.

Diesel posted a video from the set just yesterday, honoring his fallen friend and co-star by acceptting their MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo, an honor voted upon by the franchise's many fans.

Fans will also get a chanceto see one of Walker's final performances in "Brick Mansions," a high-concept,parkour-packed action-thriller that opens April 25.
Read more

Amazon Smartphone Rumored for September

Amazon is expected to reveal its smartphone in June.
Unnamed sources told The Wall Street Journal that Amazon is gearing up to launch a smartphone in the second half of the year. Like the set-top-box Fire TV, the move is part of Amazon's broad push into selling branded hardware, pitting it against Apple, Google and Microsoft.

According to the sources, the retailers have passed around several prototypes to developers in San Francisco and in Seattle in recent weeks. Amazon is shooting to reveal the phone by the end of June and begin shipping the device in September. This phone will supposedly have a display that renders 3D images without the need for special glasses.

Unnamed sources told the paper that the phone will employ retina-tracking technology embedded in four front-facing cameras/sensors so that the images look 3D on the screen. In addition to the four cameras embedded at each corner of the 4.7-inch screen, the phone will also sport a 13MP camera on the back, a 12MP camera on the front, and a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor. That's a whole lot of hardware, but Amazon isn't out to make money from hardware sales; the company will make its money from customers buying services.

Sources told The Wall Street Journal that the design and pricing of the smartphone is unclear, and that there's a good chance Amazon may alter its launch plans due to performance or "other concerns." Honestly, we've heard for a long time now that the phone is getting ready to make its debut, so take this 2H 2014 with a grain of salt until Amazon actually reveals the device.
Read more

ABS-CBN unit to switch offwireless landline service

A unit of ABS-CBN Corp. is set to discontinue a wireless landline service under the brand bayanPhone Extra on May 16 as it switches to a new platform, according to a published notice issued yesterday.

ABS-CBN’s mobile telecommunications unit ABS-CBN Convergence said its mobile products would be made available to existing subscribers. ABS-CBN acquired the wireless business from then sister-firm Bayan Telecommunications in 2011.

Bayantel is now in the middle of an ownership change, as the Ayala Group’s Globe Telecom is poised to acquire the firm as soon as regulators approve the deal.

For bayanPhone Extra, the Bayan brand was retained while other aspects, like customer service, were outsourced to Bayantel even though ABS-CBN took control of the business, a spokesman said yesterday.

The company was thus providing limited offers for the existing 70,000 to 80,000 subscribers of bayanPhone Extra to facilitate their shift to ABS-CBN mobile.

In its notice, ABS-CBN said the decision to discontinue the mobile wireless landline service was in line with changes in technology.

“Because a new platform will be used, the shift to ABS-CBN mobile products will require a change in phone numbers,” the company said.

“We encourage [customers] to try the new ABS-CBN mobile and experience nationwide coverage, stronger signal for better call quality and reliability and mobile Internet surfing.”

When used with the latest smartphones and tablets, the ABS-CBN mobile SIM allows customers to watch their favorite Kapamilya shows anytime and anywhere through the iWant TV mobile app or site, it added.

ABS-CBN recently ventured into the mobile telecommunications business via a network sharing agreement with Globe. The service, supported by Globe’s infrastructure, already has 250,000 subscribers.
Read more