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Google Is Waging War on Apps That Attack and Steal From Your Phone



Google made sweeping changes late last month to its policies for developers on Play, the official store for apps that run on Android, Google’s smartphone operating system.

The changes, which among other things affect how ads are displayed and permissions sought, are meant to make Android safer so users can download and use apps with confidence. Developers have until later this month to make the changes. Those that run afoul of the new rules after the deadline will find their apps deleted.

If the past few months are any indication, the Play store will experience a major purge. Google does not disclose or publicly comment on how many apps it removes from its store every month. But Priori Data, an app-market research firm based in Berlin, estimates that in the month through Aug. 9, more than 36,000 apps were removed from Google Play.

That may not sound significant compared with the roughly 950,000 apps in the store, but in the same period, the number of apps available on Play only increased by 35,000. That means one app was removed for every two new apps that came to the Play store. According to Zscaler, a security firm, one in every five apps available on Google Play has some sort of problem with it.

The numbers have been fairly consistent. As per Priori’s data, it is not uncommon for between 25,000 and 35,000 apps to be removed in any given month.


The Perils of “Open”

Google makes a big deal about being an open marketplace. Unlike Apple, it does not vet apps before they become available in its store. The idea is to make Android a more welcoming platform, one that is not subject to the whims of the store owner. The problem is that it also makes Android much more vulnerable to attacks.

Early in 2012, Google unveiled Bouncer, an automatic scanner that checks for malware, spyware and trojans when apps are submitted to Google Play. That catches some of the more obviously undesirable apps — the ones with bad code.

But it misses apps that infringe on copyright, contain what Google considers undesirable content (hate speech, sexually explicit material, gambling and so on), and ones that more skillfully hide their malicious nature. Even so, as the number of apps seeking approval goes up, the speed at which Google allows them onto its marketplace is going down. Until last year, apps went live on Play within five minutes of submission. It now takes several hours, according to one developer.

Google also encourages users to be vocal about negative experiences so it can find and remove bad apps. But some malicious apps are very clever indeed. Joji Hamada of Symantec, a large computer security company based in California, recently found a spate of Japanese scam appsthat require users to willingly and very consciously take a series of steps that eventually result in the phone owner being slapped with an “annual fee” of 315,000 yen ($3,100) just to look at some dirty videos.

hree developers known to upload malicious apps. Symantec

Even apps that are less clever can cause damage to phones, Android’s reputation, and the bank balance of both users and Google. The stories, once you start looking for them, are endless. Some 2 million people downloaded one of 32 apps that installed malware masquerading as free apps before the apps were pulled earlier this year. Others fall for anti-malware apps that turn out to be phony.

Not all removed apps are malicious. Some are taken down by the developers. Others run afoul of Google’s policies. Many are just frustrating and pointless: “Ad-related apps probably make up the majority of those removed from stores,” Hamada told Quartz. “Developers can make healthy profits from display advertising such as pop-ups, displaying notification ads at the top of the screen.” In addition, adblockers are also banned from Play, though people can still download such apps elsewhere.

Closing In

Still, being a “closed” system like Apple’s App Store is not easy either. Despite an extensive review process that can take as long as two weeks before an app is approved, undesirable apps manage to sneak into the App Store as well. One of the most common problems is copycat apps.

When a new app becomes popular, developers simply copy the icon and name and reap the benefits of easily fooled users. Worse, some developers complain that Apple is slow to respondto their requests to remove the imitators. Malware also manages to sneak in. Yet Apple’s store retains the trust of both consumer and business users. Google has managed to catch up to Apple in the number of apps it offers and far exceed iPhones in market share. But trust is something it is still fighting to establish.

Little surprise then that Google does all it can to remove offending apps as swiftly as possible. Hence Google’s new policy that explicitly bars certain things, like allowing users to pay through a non-Google mechanism. If apps are forced to accept payment only through Google, it should in theory make it easier for Google to ensure such payments are legitimate, safeguarding its and Android’s reputation.

But that will take time. For now, Google Play remains a tempting target for scammers and attackers. ”A relatively typical fraudulent app can be spotted, reported and removed in about half a day as we know what we’re looking out for,” Hamada said. “However, scammers can also just as easily post up a new one the next day. Half a day is all they need to make a quick profit.”



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Swarm Summit and Tech Expo returns this year, slated for 22nd – 23rd November



By Reporter

Hive Colab has partnered with ICT Association of Uganda (ICTAU) and will this years hold another edition of the Swarm summit. This year’s exhibition will be at UMA show ground between 22nd to 23rd Nov. 2019.

This year’s exhibition will be themed “Celebrating Uganda’s Digital Transformation”. The Swarm summit and Tech Expo is aimed at recognizing the different levels of development of Uganda’s digital landscape, showcasing the different entities working to create a harmonious tech ecosystem in the country.

“From its humble beginnings as the first tech hub almost 10 years ago, Hive Colab has supported the entrepreneurial spirit of Uganda’s in technology. Three years ago we launched the annual Swarm Summit to provide a stage where Uganda’s digital entrepreneurs could share their innovations and their stories,” said TMS Ruge; Co-founder and Director, Hive Colab. “This year, we’re thrilled to expand on that spirit with a partnership with ICTAU to launch this year’s Swarm Summit and Expo. We’re thrilled to provide a larger stage to showcase the technological innovations shaping Uganda’s digital economy,” he added.

The summit celebrates Uganda’s top business and technology minds building enterprises powering Uganda’s emerging digital economy.The Expo is open for the public to attend. To attend or exhibit register here

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Ugandan Digital Agency “Definite Creations” ranks 9th among top Web Design companies in the world



Ugandan website designing company Definite Creations has been ranked among the top global website designing companies by Yahoo Finance Magazine. The Ugandan website designing giant beat over 1,500 participating companies to a top slot.

Definite Creations is a premier digital agency in Uganda providing compelling digital solutions in professional website design and hosting services, search engine optimization and social media marketing, mobile Apps and software development to help businesses achieve more.

Participating in this ranking and emerging 9th out of the top 25, Definite Creations managed to beat over 1,500 participating companies from different countries based on price, portfolios, reviews, leadership and expertise.

Speaking to Definite Creations about this milestone, Lodi Daniel, the founder and CEO of Definite Creations admits that it’s a very humbling experience having your company feature on prominent magazine like Yahoo Finance, “I would like to give the glory back to God and thank all the team at Definite Creations for the great work they are doing thus far. And this is our renewed commitment to continue providing quality and effective Digital marketing services to our clients and urge businesses to embrace Digital to spiral their business growth” He added.

“Definite Creations is currently serving clients in Uganda, South Sudan, South Africa and this ranking will provide opportunities for us to tap into the global clientele”.


The survey was carried out by DesignRush, a B2B market place that features the top agencies around the world, including the best Digital Agencies, Logo Design, Branding, Digital Marketing, Website Design, ecommerce Web Design Companies, and more.

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Infinix to unveil a phone with the latest technology



By Staff Writer

Infinix Mobility’s newest gadget brings science fiction to reality with the Augmented Reality.

The tech company is rumored to unveil its hottest new innovation on 8th July 2019 which includes Augmented Reality (AR)core, AR measure and Quick note. Infinix Mobility has proved extremely impressive setting a trend in the smartphone industry with its latest technology in the upcoming device, the NOTE6 aimed at providing users with reasonably priced device with a higher level of technology.

“We are moving from being just a smartphone company to bringing the high technology to everyone at affordable prices and the pretty cool NOTE6 is the beginning of greater innovation. The NOTE6 may not only be a phone with the AR core but is a device below One million shillings with such great features for everyone.” Marketing Manager, Ms. Gladys Liu said.

The NOTE6 AI powered X-pen comes with a lot of interesting functions which automatically detects and connects phone numbers, reminders, alarm clocks from the content recorded.

In addition, the X-pen has Intelligent gesture which can quickly erase the modified content, export pictures / format easily to spreadsheets, word document and handwritten font is easily translated into text.

The NOTE6 is rumored to have triple rear cameras, with a 3 days battery life and a tremendous upgrade in the RAM and storage capacity providing a user with space enough to store over 15,000 pictures, videos and a smooth user experience without lagging.

The NOTE6 will be available in three colors.

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