Samsung sued over ‘lackadaisical’ Android security updates

Samsung is being sued by a Dutch consumer group for its alleged lackadaisical approach to security updates for its Android phones.

The Dutch Consumers Association (DCA) claims that an incredible 82 per cent of Samsung phones do not have the latest version of Android installed.

It blames the Korean giant for failing to prod customers to update their software and notes that regular updates are necessary to “protect consumers from cybercriminals and the loss of their personal data.”

The lawsuit follows the collapse of talks between Samsung and DCA aimed at resolving the situation. The DCA sent a letter to the phone manufacturer back in December, and held a number of meetings. But they “did not lead to the desired result,” and so it’s going to court. It claims Samsung is guilty of unfair trade practices.

The DCA notes that it’s not just Samsung that is apparently failing consumers but that it has chosen to take it the tech goliath because it is by far the largest manufacturer of Android phones in the Netherlands.

“Consumers are given inadequate information about how long they will continue to receive software updates,” DCA director Bart Combe said in a statement. “[We are] demanding that Samsung provide its customers with clear and unambiguous information about this. Samsung moreover provides insufficient information about critical security vulnerabilities, such as Stagefright, in its Android phones. Finally, [we are] demanding that Samsung actually provide its smartphones with updates.”

Eco, e-slow system

It has long been an issue that even when Google provides a security update, it take a long while for its to filter down to people’s non-Google Nexus phones because of the complex eco-system built around the platform.

Unlike Apple, Microsoft and Google Samsung does not prod its customers to update their phones or explain why they need to do so, leaving potentially millions of people open to known security holes.

According to DCA, Samsung is also very slow at releasing updates, presumably because it wishes to check it is compatible with its flavor of Android, or in order to add new features. Samsung customers have also noticed for some time that it updates different phones with different software versions at different times – and typically not with the latest version.

That said, it is only fair to note that Google does tend to put out a lot of Android updates, not all of which are security updates.

In response to the lawsuit, Samsung put out an official statement saying it was working on improving its updates: “We have made a number of commitments in recent months to better inform consumers about the status of security issues, and the measures we are taking to address those issues. Data security is a top priority and we work hard every day to ensure that the devices we sell and the information contained on those devices are is safeguarded.”

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Windows 10 tips and tricks: 5 tips for a better Windows 10 experience – SiliconANGLE (blog)

I took the plunge a few days ago and claimed my free upgrade to Windows 10. As I upgraded from Windows 7 (I skipped Windows 8 after experiencing the horror of it on my partners laptop), the interface took some getting used to.

After poking around for a bit, I found a few things every new Windows 10 user should immediately customize, tweak or even switch off outright.

From setting up the Start menu to improve your workflow, to turning off annoying notifications, accessing old favorite functions, protecting your privacy and making everything look just so, take some time to set up Windows 10 with these five tips.

Personalize and organize the Start menu

While Windows 10 brings back the Start menu, it has retained some of the features that were available on the Windows 8 Start screen, like live tiles.

When you install Windows 10, you will see programs on the left and app icons on the right, some of which are live tiles such as the current weather, but you can customize it to display what you want to see.

Add an app to the list by clicking and dragging the icon from the programs on the left of the Start menu. Alternatively, you can choose Pin to Start by right clicking an app icon.

Right click on any App icon to either Resize it or remove it completely by selecting Unpin from Start.

Windows 10 Start menu

Once an app has been pinned to your Start menu you can drag it to any position. Alternatively, you can group certain apps together and provide it with a relevant name. Once apps are in a certain group, you can move the entire group by clicking the horizontal lines icon next to the group name.

You can also customize the size of the Start menu, by clicking and dragging the edges of the menu.

Customize which notification you receive

Windows 10 has a notification area, located in the lower right-hand corner, which will alert you to app updates, tips etc. It can be a handy feature for some notifications, but an annoyance for others; fortunately, you can customize the notification area.

RELATED: Microsoft has now launched its first low-cost Windows 10 phone

Click Start > Settings > System > Notifications & actions area, where you can select which notifications you will see and whether or not they will appear on the lock screen.

Scroll down and you can switch notifications on or off for individual apps.

Clicking on the Notifications button, in the lower right-hand corner of your screen will also show you a list of Quick Actions. Select Quiet Hours so notifications will not bother you during certain hours.

Windows 10 notifications area

Access the old Control Panel and other hidden areas

While Windows 10 has a new Setting screen, you are still able to access the old Control Panel that Windows 7 users will be most familiar with.

Right-clicking the Start button, or pressing the Windows key and X simultaneously, will allow you to select Control Panel, as well as Device Manager and Run command prompt.

Personalize your screen

Just like its predecessors, Windows 10 allows you to personalize your background picture and change various colors.

Click Start > Settings > Personalization (or simply right click on your desktop screen and select Personalization).

Under Background you can choose one of the Windows 10 default background pictures or Browse to select your own.

Under Colors you will be able to choose an accent color that will have an effect on certain icons and window borders. Scroll down to the bottom of the Colors section; turn on Show colors on Start, taskbar and action center and your selected color will show on these sections.

Under the Personalization area you will also be able to select which image appears on the Lock screen as well as save a collection of various backgrounds, sounds and colors under Themes.

Finally under Start, you will be able to customize how your Start menu works and for the users out there who love the full screen Start menu from Windows 8, you can still have it in Windows 10. Under Personalization > Start > make sure Use Start full screen is switched on.

RELATED: Microsoft readies its next major Windows 10 Fall Update releaseProtect your privacy on Windows 10

There are new features on Windows 10 that allow Microsoft to collect more data from its users and by default all the settings are turned on. It is, however, possible to turn them off.

When installing Windows 10 you have the option for easy or custom installation. If you have not installed Windows 10 yet, go for custom installation, which will allow you to turn off advertiser information collection, Wi-Fi sharing, location tracking etc. right from the get go.

First up, when you install Windows, choose the link to install Windows using a local account, rather than signing in with an existing account. While you may lose out on some cloud-based features, less of your data will be shared with Microsoft.

You can still make an adjustment to your account if you have already installed Windows 10, click Start > Settings > Accounts and create a new local account and remove the existing account.

Advertising

Microsoft will send your data to advertisers so that they know what ads to show you. Adjusting the settings will not stop the adverts, but it will prevent them from seeing what you are doing.

Go to Start > Settings > Privacy > General > switch Let apps use my advertising ID to off.

Location

Go to Start > Settings > Privacy > Location and choose which apps can or cant use you location or alternatively you can get Windows to stop tracking your location completely.

Cortana

Cortana, Microsofts digital personal assistant, will remember everything you tell her and to provide better recommendations will monitor what you do on your computer.

Click on the Magnifying glass icon in the taskbar > click the Gear icon and turn Cortana off completely. There is also a link to manage what she already knows about you.

RELATED: Microsoft ‘kills off’ Project Astoria, its plan to emulate Android apps

Go to Start > Settings > Privacy > Speech, Inking & Typing > make sure Getting to know you is switched off so Cortana stops learning about you.

These are only a few of the privacy settings that you can adjust, go through the full list under the Privacy section and switch off any you are not comfortable with.

Main image: screenshot via Microsoft Collen KrielCollen Kriel is a beat writer for SiliconANGLE covering consumer technology with a focus on mobile. He has a passion for words, the Internet, the Web and all things tech. He endures a minor fascination with people who define themselves by the brand of smartphone they own. Prior to writing for SiliconANGLE he worked as an account executive in the IT industry, directly for, or in association with companies like Mimecast, IBM, VMware and Micros. He is an avid traveller currently making his way around South East Asia Latest posts by Collen Kriel (see all) SIGN UP FOR THE SiliconANGLE NEWSLETTER!Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team. SIGN UP FOR THE SiliconANGLE NEWSLETTER!Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

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Apple App Store prices are rising

APPLE USERS have less than 72 hours to grab a bargain in the App Store before price rises come into effect in certain territories.

Prices in Canada, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, New Zealand, Mexico and Israel are set to go up to offset the rate of inflation against the US dollar. Apple has already nudged prices in Australia, Sweden and Indonesia.

Canada and New Zealand will get a new 99c price point, mostly for in-app purchases, while subscribers will get notice before they next renew their subscription. Russian and South African subscribers will need to manually reactivate their subscriptions which will be cancelled automatically in accordance with local laws.

It’s a good job too because the price rises are quite steep. Take Canada, where the Tier 1 price will go up 20c to 1.39.

It’s a far cry from Steve Jobs’ day when he told people that he cared about the price, rather than the currency in front of it. At the time the dollar exchange rate with sterling was two to one, so iPods, for example, were significantly more expensive.

It is good news for developers, however, who will start to see a more consistent rate of return from their apps in these countries with a weak exchange rate.

It’s a particularly good time to promote your app in Romania because the government has just reduced the VAT rate from 24 percent to 20 percent, so you’ll start to get more of the money. App prices in Romania will remain as current.

There’s nothing to suggest, at least for the moment, that we’re going to see similar rises in the UK as we got stung this time last year and, of course, there’s no sign of any change in the US. It’s unlikely that Apple will change its overall price structure until the inflation issue is stabilised because it would end up at square one in certain territories.

There’s no exact time for the price changes but it will be before the weekend, so get spending if you’re in one of the affected regions.

The recent festive season was a bumper one for Apple. The firm reported that $144m was spent in the App Store on new year’s day alone.

Windows 10 Migration: 4 Tips To Help IT Prepare – InformationWeek

IT professionals have a lot to consider when contemplating a migration to Windows 10. These four tips will help make upgrading as smooth as possible for yourself, and your enterprise end users.Microsoft's 2016: More Windows 10, Hardware Advances, Research Gains

Microsoft’s 2016: More Windows 10, Hardware Advances, Research Gains

(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Enterprise IT professionals I talk with in the course of my daily work seem evenly split about whether or not to upgrade to Windows 10 this year. Some tell me they’re sticking with Windows 7/8 for at least another 12 months, while others want to migrate sometime this year.

More often than not, those seeking to move to 10 happen to be the ones who got caught rushing to migrate from XP after support went dark. And to avoid that mistake again, their plan is to move to the latest client OS as soon as is reasonably possible.

Wherever you stand in your own decision-making process, we’re here with four tips to help you prepare for your company’s Windows 10 migration when the time is right for you. We’re skipping many technical upgrade details in this discussion. Instead, we’re focusing on four broad factors to consider that will help make the migration to Windows 10 as smooth as possible for yourself, and your end users.

1. Upgrade aging hardware

Migrating to Windows 10 presents an ideal time to upgrade aging desktops and laptops as well. Doing so could make your life easier. True, the hardware requirements for the new OS are mostly the same as Windows 7/8. And, there’s a relatively trouble free in-place upgrade process. Still, in my experience, it’s always less painful and creates more positive feelings if you hand your users shiny new hardware to go along with a new OS.

2. Consider application compatibility

Prior to deploying a new operating system, the painstaking task of application compatibility verification must occur. Testing usually starts on lab machines, slowly expanding to include IT and a handful of volunteer employees who work with a specific subset of applications.

[ The countdown to 1 billion continues: Microsoft Confirms Windows 10 Now On 200m Devices. ]

When you’re doing this, be sure to look beyond fat-client applications. Web-based apps especially those that require Internet Explorer must be comprehensively tested and potentially modified to work with the latest OS. Windows 10 uses Microsoft’s new Edge browser. Try to avoid the need to put Windows 10 in its Internet Explorer backwards-compatible “Enterprise Mode” if at all possible.

3. Think about how to handle updates

One of the biggest differences between Windows 10 and previous Windows operating systems is in how updates are handled. Microsoft has staunchly taken to the auto-update approach for Windows 10. By default, updates will automatically be downloaded and installed onto client hardware. This is a drastic deviation from the “no hurry” patch testing and rollout processes that go on within most IT departments today.

Many IT professionals believe, with good reason, that OS updates will render critical applications incompatible and create a host of headaches. At the same time, current IT update practices are far too slow, in my opinion, and create situations where the company lags so far behind in terms of critical updates that the entire organization is put at risk.

(Image: Michal Krakowiak/iStockphoto)(Image: Michal Krakowiak/iStockphoto)

To help alleviate the stress of automatic updates while speeding up the enterprise rollout process, Microsoft believes it has found a happy medium in what it calls Windows Update for Business. This is an added layer of control for administrators of Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions. Windows Update for Business allows specific updates to be deferred for a period of time. Use that extra time to assess and fix any incompatibilities on the application side as opposed to simply not updating at all. Windows Updates for Business is a relatively new feature rolled out in November 2015.

4. Prepare for end-user training

Thankfully, Microsoft has taken a step back from the drastic user interface changes we saw with Windows 8, and has made Windows 10 much friendlier to those accustomed to Windows XP and 7. The general focus on logging in/out, accessing applications, local and shared folders, printers, and new security features will likely be tops on most training lists. All of these tasks will be quite intuitive for users who are accustomed to the older versions of Windows. But working with the new Edge Internet browser, which replaces IE, and understanding some of the more advanced Windows 10 features may involve a steeper learning curve for your users. The key to successful training will be to touch briefly on tasks with which users are already familiar with or can intuitively understand and spend the bulk of your training time on the newer, more advanced features your users are likely to encounter.

In my opinion, 2016 is shaping up to be an ideal time to migrate your enterprise users from Windows 7/8 to Windows 10. While it might cause a bit of pain in terms of application compatibility and update philosophy, it positions your organization to focus less on long-term OS operability, and more on providing a better experience to your end users. And that’s right where you want to be.

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Andrew has well over a decade of enterprise networking under his belt through his consulting practice, which specializes in enterprise network architectures and datacenter build-outs and prior experience at organizations such as State Farm Insurance, United Airlines and the … View Full Bio

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Facebook boobs again as it censors iconic ‘sexy’ Little Mermaid landmark

FACEBOOK PHOTO algorithms have censored a statue of a fish for being too raunchy. The bronze statue of Hans Christian Andersen’s character The Little Mermaid, depicting the fish-girl with her breasts au naturelle, as is the custom in mermaid fashion circles, was caught by the electronic decency police despite being a work of art on public display.

The Little Mermaid, later christened Aerial by Disney in the film based on the fairy tale, has been a regular feature in Copenhagen harbour since 1913. The bronze statue of the un-Disneyfied norks-and-all version of the debutant scale-tail is a major tourist attraction.

little-mermaid-censored

Danish news site Ekstra Bladet explained that Social Democrat MP Mette Gjerskov took a picture of the statue to link to her blog, before getting a rejection message from Facebook stating that the image had “too much bare skin or sexual undertones” that were not for “artistic or educational purposes”.

It’s not the first time that Danish art has been censored by the social network. C W Eckersberg’s Woman Standing in Front of a Mirror, painted in 1841, fell foul of the same porn-filter after an attempt to post it by none other than the Danish Tourist Board.

Gjerskov has confirmed that after an investigation, Facebook said that The Little Mermaid is a valid piece of art, and that its nudity is exempt from the Victorian piano-leg cover-up rules. It went on to clarify that photos of paintings, sculptures and other art depicting nudes is acceptable.

At the end of last year the Electronic Freedom Foundation created a consortium dedicated to reducing Facebook and Twitter takedowns. Meanwhile in the UK Sky has launched a porn-filter which is on by default, although it’s not known whether bronze statues of mermaids are likely to fall foul of the system.

It is probably a compliment to the sculptor that the algorithms found her so anatomically accurate. Nevertheless, they made a boob mistaking the half-fish for a real nudey lady. Perhaps they just did it for the halibut.