Security researchers have uncovered a malicious app that secretly signs users up for premium content without their knowledge.
The app has been downloaded tens of millions of times by Android users, despite being removed from the Google Play Store back in June 2019.
It’s called ‘a.i type’ and is a keyboard app that lets you customise the on-screen keyboard of Android phones like those made by Samsung, Motorola or Huawei.
However, in the background it is signing up – and paying for – various premium services that the user may not even be aware of. That’s the message from Secure-D, a team of security specialists from Upstream Systems. They found a huge amount of suspicious mobile transactions and traced it back to the app.
‘Ai.type’s popularity and useful features have been used to disguise systematic and worrying activity,’ the team explained in a comprehensive report.
‘This happens in the background without the user being aware and includes fake ad views and attempted digital purchases. While the activity is partly targeted at advertisers, it affects users in the following ways:
‘Subscribes users to premium services depleting their mobile data and adding charges that eat into their pre-paid airtime. In many emerging markets, using pre-paid airtime is the only way to pay for digital services.
‘Reduces battery life, even when the device is not in use, due to the unseen background activity. May overheat the device and affect its overall performance.’
Naturally, the advice is to delete this app if you’ve got it installed on your phone. But the team concluded it was part of a larger problem of mobile ad fraud run through freely available apps.
‘To avoid falling victim to data theft and unwanted purchases or subscriptions, Android users should immediately check their phones to see if they have any suspicious app installed,’ the authors wrote.
‘In most cases, Google Play is a safer source of Android apps – but even apps from legitimate sources can be compromised. Before any installation, users should check the app’s reviews, developer details, and list of requested permissions, making sure that they all relate to the app’s stated purpose.’
With just over a week left until Pokmon Sword and Shield’s release, all sorts of juicy Pokmon information is now leaking like a Sobble across the internet.
We won’t discuss the latest – and very extensive – leaks in detail, but if you do want to see them for some reason the information is easy enough to find – such as in this ResetEra thread which details everything found so far. (It’s worth noting there are no immediate spoilers when you click on that link, and each leak is separated into sections – so if you want to see the new Galarian forms but not the full list of Gen 8 Pokmon, you’re safe.)
And if you don’t want to see anything, it’s worth clicking away now and shutting off your internet for another week.
Interestingly, this latest information only serves as further confirmation of the notable Pokmon Sword and Shield leak from earlier this year. The ‘Affleck Leak’ (named for the image of Ben Affleck posted alongside it) actually dates back to May, where an anonymous 4chan user posted a bunch of information that, at first, seemed a little Farfetch’d.
However, with each new trailer it’s become apparent the Affleck leak was indeed accurate – the reveal of Team Yell, for example – and now the latest leaks are corroborating it further.
Below is a screenshot of the original 4chan post – which includes details which have now been confirmed as well as some information yet to be officially announced, so scroll down at your own risk (there’s only text here though, no leaked images of new Pokmon, promise).
Epic Games has given Jarvis from FaZe Clan a lifetime ban on Fortnite, after he posted videos showing how to cheat in Battle Royale.
YouTuber and FaZe Clan member Jarvis Kaye has apologised to his 2 million subscribers for using aimbots in Fortnite Battle Royale, after he revealed he’s earned a permeant ban from Epic Games.
Rather than cheating during a competitive match he uploaded videos showing him using aimbots (which fire automatically at opponents) in both solos and playground modes.
Kaye argues that he only made the videos as entertainment and never had any intention of using aimbots competitively.
I’m going to take accountability for my actions and I understand completely why this has happened, I just wish I had known how severe the consequences were at the time and I would have never thought about doing it. I love all of you who still support me, this is not the end.
Using aimbots, or hacking Fortnite in anyway, is expressly forbidden by Epic Game’s terms & conditions, but some have argued that Kaye’s punishment has been unfairly harsh.
Many fans have started using the hashtag #FreeJarvis, pointing out that many people have done the same thing and only earned a ban of a couple of weeks.
Xxif and Ronaldo were both caught cheating in the Fortnite World Cup qualifiers and yet were only banned for two weeks, and were still allows to compete in the rest of the World Cup.
The counter-argument is that Epic Games has actually sued YouTubers before, for promoting hacking software, which is essentially what Kaye was doing it, and that rather than a one-off offense his videos could’ve encouraged many others to cheat as well.
Whether their decision will remain final is unclear though and fans are hoping that they’ll allow Kaye back, following his apology.
Mark Zuckerberg “should pay a price” for what he is doing to democracy, Hillary Clinton has said, as she expressed doubts about whether free and fair elections were even possible in the wake of Facebook’s decision to not factcheck political advertising.
Speaking in New York at a screening of The Great Hack, a Netflix documentary about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate cited the threat to upcoming elections in both the US and UK as she made the damning remarks about Facebook’s decision to allow politicians to lie in adverts posted to its platform.
Her intervention comes amid speculation she may mount a third bid for the presidency.
She said it was inevitable that false information on Facebook would have an impact on elections “because propaganda works”. In 2016, she said fake news on Facebook that Pope Francis had endorsed her opponent, Donald Trump, “really did have an impact” and predicted “it’s only going to be more powerful going forward because it is more well tested. They know what they were successful at.”
She added: “And we are getting warning signals all the time about what is happening right now and how it is likely to affect our next election.”
Cambridge Analytica used illegally harvested Facebook profiles to target voters in the US election but Clinton said this was just the “tip of the iceberg” in terms of the challenges facing democracy. Nonetheless her harshest remarks were reserved for Facebook.
“When Facebook is the principal news source for more than half of the American people, and the only source of news that most of them pay any attention to, and if it announces that it has no responsibility for the airing of false ads … how are you supposed to get accurate information about anything, let alone candidates running for office?”
Asked if she thought there was any connection between the closed-door meeting Zuckerberg had with Donald Trump at the White House and the subsequent decision by Facebook to change its policy around factchecking “false, deceptive or deliberately misleading content” by politicians, she said she couldn’t “draw any conclusions about closed-door meetings, not only with Trump but with Tucker Carlson [of Fox News] and with [rightwing website] Breitbart and with many others that have been going on at Facebook quarters”.
But she went on to say: “If I were of a conspiratorial mindset, I might suggest that there seems to be some connection.”
Clinton said she believed we were seeing “a war on truth” in which the “manipulation of information” served to further the interests of a set of “incredibly wealthy people who believe they can do whatever they want to do”.
She also drew attention to the connections between Brexit and the Trump campaign that she said she had not been aware of at the time. She had been “somewhat taken aback” by the Brexit result, she said, but “I didn’t, at that time, see the direct connection. I didn’t know about all the involvement of the same players in Brexit, the same players in our election.”
She said The Great Hack had been “a difficult film for me to watch” but also “so true to my own understanding of what had happened”. She said people needed to see the film because “still to this day there is a sense of disbelief about a lot of what has happened”.
The documentary, directed by Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, examined the use of data by Cambridge Analytica by the Trump campaign to target “persuadables” or floating voters and how the Russian government used Facebook’s platform to subvert Clinton’s campaign.
Clinton described how, when the first reports started coming in of Russian involvement, her team had tried to raise the issue but it had been impossible to get anyone to take it seriously.
“When the Russians started dumping emails out around our convention and my campaign went out and tried to talk about that on television they were basically laughed at. It was like: ‘Oh yeah, right, now she’s going to blame the Russians.’”
She pointed out that it had been proved that the Russian government, as well as stealing emails, had also stolen her campaign’s voter data. “And then you find out that Paul Manafort is giving polling data to a Russian who has obvious ties with Russian intelligence.
“And you piece all this together and you can’t make it up. And because it’s hard to make up, it’s hard for people to believe because it’s so far out there.”
The situation only seemed to have become worse, she said. “Everyone knows it’s still going on and it will be that much harder to combat.” And she said the amount of money going into the 2020 Trump campaign combined with exhaustive testing had already put it streets ahead of her fellow Democrats.