Android 4 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich) update issues for Nexus S devices

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011 | Gene Teo | Comments Off on Android 4 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich) update issues for Nexus S devices

Recently Google started updating Nexus S smartphones to Android 4.0.

There are reports circulating that Google is occasionally pausing the update process while they monitor progress and feedback. If you are affected by a pause, when you go to Settings > About > System Updates you will be told “Your system is up to date”, even if you’re not on Android 4.0.

If you were able to download the update, click the “Reboot and Install” button, and then see “Your system is up to date” (when again, the update to Android 4.0 hasn’t happened), this is apparently a different problem – see the picture below, and that’s pretty much all the information we have at the moment.

Scrrenshot of the Google Mobile Help Forum post on the Nexus S OTA Update to ICS bug

From the Google Mobile Help Forum

Updating millions of phones is hard, and there are a lot of slightly miffed outraged people out there wanting this update. If you haven’t been able to update, just wait until any bugs have been fixed, and the update process resumes. You will get a more reliable patch as a result.

In the interim, prepare for the update by backing up any important files from the USB storage area of your phone. Just connect your phone to your computer via USB cable – it will show the file storage area just like a USB drive.

To get the best upgrade experience many will factory reset their phones just before or just after the upgrade. You can backup your application data, WiFi passwords, and other settings to Google servers so they can be easily restored after a factory reset. On your Android 2.x phone go to Settings > Privacy > Back up my data

Samsung Galaxy Devices to get Android 4 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich) in Q1 2012

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011 | Gene Teo | Comments Off on Samsung Galaxy Devices to get Android 4 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich) in Q1 2012

Picture of the Samsung GALAXY S 2

The Samsung GALAXY S 2

Update 9 Mar 2012 – it begins!

Hot on the heels of Google releasing an upgrade to Android 4 for the Nexus S, Samsung has announced that their Galaxy product line will get their Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) upgrade in the first quarter of 2012.

The products that will get the upgrade are:

  • Samsung Galaxy S2 (sometimes written as “Galaxy S II”)
  • Samsung Galaxy S2 LTE
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
  • Samsung Galaxy R
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus

Of course, it’s the Galaxy S2 owners who will be most excited – and there are many of them! In New Zealand, Samsung has a 28% share of the smartphone market, compared to 13% for Apple. In contrast, Apple has the tablet market all sewn up with 79% market share, vs. 15% for Android.

Sadly it seems that owners of the still-excellent Galaxy S (the predecessor to the Galaxy S2, released in March 2010) will miss out on an upgrade to Android 4/ICS – it’s not mentioned at all in the announcement.

The end of Internet Explorer 6

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011 | Gene Teo | Comments Off on The end of Internet Explorer 6

Infographic of IE6 market share as of November 30 2011

IE6 market share as of November 30 2011 from www.ie6countdown.com

Internet Explorer version 6 (IE6) was first released with Windows XP in 2001. A decade later, around 8% of computers connecting to the internet are still using it. This is a problem because old software is a security risk, and in the case of IE6 creates an additional workload for web developers, who have to take extra steps to make sure their website works with an old browser.

However, the end is near. Some days ago Microsoft announced that starting in early 2012, they will start automatically upgrading IE6 to the most recent version supported on the computer being upgraded. The goal is to reduce IE6 usage to less than 1% globally.

If you are still using IE6, make plans to upgrade as soon as possible. Old software does not “wear out”, but it does become obsolete. And because outdated software makes it easier for an attacker to take over the computer it’s installed on, using it contributes to internet crime and malware transmission.

Follow the progress on at www.ie6countdown.com

Android 4 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich) now availible for Nexus S devices

Monday, December 19th, 2011 | Gene Teo | Comments Off on Android 4 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich) now availible for Nexus S devices

Screenshot of the Twitter post with the update news

Over the weeked Google announced via twitter that the next version of Android (version 4) is being deployed to Nexus S smartphones. Android 4.0 (codenamed “Ice Cream Sandwich”) has some design changes, and makes better use of swiping to interact with apps and notifications. See the excellent Wikipedia article for a more comprehensive list of features. Also, there is now built-in support for taking screenshots – press Power and Volume (Down) at the same time to automatically save one.

Reviews of Ice Cream Sandwich are generally very positive. If you have a Nexus S, just go to Settings > About > System Updates to get started. It is about a 130MB download, so make sure you’ve got a good WiFi connection before starting.

 

New PuTTY — security vulnerability

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011 | Jim Cheetham | Comments Off on New PuTTY — security vulnerability

There is a new version of the excellent & venerable PuTTY tool, due to a security vulnerability that might expose your session passwords in memory.

http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/wishlist/password-not-wiped.html contains the details of the problem, and http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html will help you find the files you need to address the problem.

Netograph

Thursday, December 8th, 2011 | Jim Cheetham | Comments Off on Netograph

Dunedin-based security researcher Aldo Cortesi has just launched netograph.com, a project that analyses the data websites store on your machine when you visit them.

It reports on the off-site resources that make up a page, things like remote images and third-party JavaScript. It also identifies persistent storage in the form of browser cookies, HTML5 cookies and Flash object storage.

Sample Netograph website report

Plugins are available for Chrome and Firefox that allow you to preview the Netgraph report for a site before visiting it. Currently the project is scanning all links mentioned in submissions to Reddit, Hacker News, Delicious, Pinboard, and Digg.

Privacy Monitor

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011 | Jim Cheetham | Comments Off on Privacy Monitor

The Information Security Office is dreaming of a White Christmas this year.

Especially now that we have a Privacy Monitor …

Following on from the post on Instructables.com that showed how to hack an old LCD monitor by removing the polarised film and re-inserting it into a pair of glasses (http://www.instructables.com/id/Privacy-monitor-made-from-an-old-LCD-Monitor/) we did pretty much the same thing to create our Christmas Decorations this year :-

Direct Link: https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/infosec/files/2011/12/ISOwhitescreen.flv

 

Online Education from Stanford University – and it’s free

Friday, November 25th, 2011 | Gene Teo | 2 Comments

In October 2011, Standford University offered a class – Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (AI) – online, for free.The instructors, Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig, are well-known in the AI field. 3 million people visited the website, and 35,000 signed up and are doing the course right now.

It’s different compared to other online classes (e.g. MIT OpenCourseware) that just post course content online. The Standford classes also involve interaction with the teaching staff – online students can submit questions and attend office hours via Google Hangouts (video conferencing powered by the Google Plus social networking platform).

The good news – there are more online courses coming, with teaching starting in January 2012:

Computer Science 101
Design & Analysis of Algorithms I
Game Theory
Software Engineering for Software as a Service
Cryptography
Probabilistic Graphical Models
Machine Learning
Natural Language Processing
The Lean Launchpad
Technology Entrepreneurship

You don’t get course credit for completing a course, but the personal satisfaction should be more than sufficient!

The easiest way to detect a phishing email

Monday, November 21st, 2011 | Gene Teo | Comments Off on The easiest way to detect a phishing email

There are a number of ways to decide if an email is genuine. Often, people sending phishing emails are not native English speakers, thus there may be basic spelling and grammatical errors. Or the fake website they built is not entirely convincing. Or the URL (i.e. the website address) in the address bar looks suspicious.

All of those problems can be fixed with enough attention to detail. They could hire a freelance proofreader to check for errors and build a more accurate fake website.

In my opinion, the best way to decide if an email is legitimate or not is to ask. Make direct contact with the organisation or person the email is supposedly from, and see if they know about it. Don’t reply to the original email, as the return address often leads back to the scammers. Instead, look up contact details in an online phonebook, or by going directly to an organization’s website.

Not only does this give you an authoritative answer, you are also alerting the organization that’s being targeted, giving them more time to react.

Which emails should you be cautious about? Any that request personal information (e.g. passwords, addresses) or money.

 

Porn and gore posted to Facebook? [updated 21 Nov 2011]

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 | Gene Teo | Comments Off on Porn and gore posted to Facebook? [updated 21 Nov 2011]

Update (21 Nov 2011, 12:54pm NZST): This may be caused by malicious Javascript that is being copied and pasted into browsers address bars. It is speculated that people are being tricked into doing so.

Many reports are surfacing that pornographic or disturbing images are appearing on Facebook, via news feeds. On Facebook, a news feed is a list of someone’s activity that is seen by their friends (or the entire internet, for posts that are public).

Often, these events are caused by inadvertently giving permission to a malicious Facebook Application to post on your behalf. Often people are tricked into doing this by clicking on a link that promises something else – like a free iPad.

The Sophos blog post about this problem suggests that the people whose news feeds have been hijacked don’t seem to be aware of what is being posted under their name. As far as I can tell, it’s impossible to hide a post from the person who posted it – you should always be able to see what you, or any apps you’ve authorized, are posting. Just click on your name at the top right of the Facebook page to see what is in your news feed.

To revoke permissions from any rogue Facebook applications, click the down arrow at the top right, then go to Account Settings > Apps