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Microsoft Will Pay Hackers $30,000 For Finding Flaws In The New Edge Browser

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Today, Microsoft released the first beta of the all-new Edge browser. The company is now inviting anyone who wants to get a sneak peek to download the app… and inviting hackers to find ways to compromise it. Microsoft will even pay cash for their exploits.

The new Edge browser, canary channel (Lee Mathews/Forbes)

The new Edge browser, canary channel (Lee Mathews/Forbes) LEE MATHEWS/FORBES

That’s not as strange as it might seem. It’s actually quite common for a company like Microsoft to offer security researchers rewards for reporting software vulnerabilities. There’s good money to be made hunting “bug bounties” these days.

With Edge inching closer and closer to its first stable release, Microsoft isn’t messing around. Edge needs to be as secure as it can possibly be when it’s released to the general public, and so the call went out for help finding and patching weaknesses.

Researchers can bank up to $30,000 by discovering “high impact vulnerabilities” in either the beta or the developer release of the Edge browser. They can target any OS that Edge will run on: Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, and even Mac OS.

The $30,000 top prize will be reserved for bugs that are true showstoppers. An exploit may, for example, have to allow the attacker to break out of Edge’s sandbox — a virtual container that isolates code running in Edge from the rest of the operating system.

A properly-implemented sandbox makes software much harder to hack, which is why Google added one to Chrome. Chrome has been a difficult target for hacking teams at events like Pwn2Own and that has a lot to do with its sandbox.

But a sandbox doesn’t make an app bulletproof. Chrome has fallen on multiple occasions, because given enough time and opportunity hackers will find a way to defeat just about anything. That includes the new Edge.

With the big re-launch coming, Microsoft wants to batten down the hatches. Offering the most secure browser around could be the key to make big gains early on, especially in enterprise environments where IT administrators might deploy an app to hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of users to keep networks as secure as possible.

Since Microsoft is offering up its own bug bounty program, the new Edge browser will reap the benefit of outside help on two fronts. Edge is based on Chromium, the same open source code that powers Google Chrome. One of the ways Google keeps Chrome secure is by offering bug bounties to researchers who discover vulnerabilities.

There are plenty of reasons you might want to try out the new Edge. It’s a very slick browser and it’s built on the same base as Google Chrome, so there’s a minimal learning curve when you switch. It may also wind up being the most secure browser around now that Microsoft is willing to make it rain, and that’s a pretty good reason to switch browsers in 2019.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/leemathews/2019/08/20/microsoft-will-pay-hackers-30000-for-finding-flaws-in-the-new-edge-browser/#29a3ed504482

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Gmail’s dark mode is rolling out to Android phones. Turn it on now

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With Android 10Google lets you apply a systemwide dark theme across its new mobile Android OS, and you can easily turn it on in individual Google apps on your phone as well, from Calculator and Calendar to YouTube. But Google doesn’t let you apply it everywhere, and a few popular apps — including Chrome — lack a dark-mode setting. Gmail has been one of them, but it’s no longer a holdout, as Google has started to roll out a dark-mode setting for Gmail on Android 10. Google is pushing the update out slowly, so it’s not available to everyone yet.

Dark mode is increasingly in demand. Before Android took it on, the popularity of dark modes for apps was already growing, for Facebook Messenger and the Slack and Reddit apps, for example. And Apple’s also following the dark mode trend, as iPhones and iPads ($249 at Walmart) will also get a dark theme with the release of iOS 13 this month.

The new version of Apple’s mobile operating system will apply the theme broadly, from wallpaper, widgets and notifications to Calendar and Messages.

With dark mode, you can conserve a bit of battery life and your phone’s screen will be easier on your eyes at night. Google first added dark mode to an Android Pie update earlier this year, but the theme didn’t show up everywhere. In Android 10, dark mode is much more widespread, and apps that use the default system theme will automatically adopt the new dark mode when you turn it on, inverting dark and light colors. 

Not all of Google’s apps use the system default theme automatically. Along with Gmail, you’ll need to turn on dark mode in Calendar, for example, and YouTube. Here’s how to turn it on in Gmail on Android 10.

Turn on the Gmail dark mode setting in Android 10

gmaildarkmode
In Android 10, you can now apply a dark theme to Gmail.Google. Screenshot Clifford Colby/CNET

While many of Google’s Android apps will adopt a dark theme when you turn it on in overall settings, you need to flip it on separately in Gmail.

1. In the Gmail app on your phone, tap the hamburger menu in the top left.

2. Scroll to the bottom of the list, and tap Settings.

3. Tap General Settings.

4. At the top of the list, tap Theme.

5. Tap Dark or, if you’ve already set the dark theme as your system default, tap System. default.

Set dark theme as the system default in Android 10

For those apps that automatically adopt the default system, here’s how to turn on the dark theme.

1. In Settings, tap Display.

2. Near the bottom of the list of settings, toggle on Dark theme.

You can do more with Gmail than just change how it looks, of course. You can keep spammers from tracking you, for example, and unsend messages to avoid regret.

Source: https://www.cnet.com/how-to/gmails-dark-mode-is-rolling-out-to-android-phones-turn-it-on-now/

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Instagram’s Reportedly Working on a New Tool Which Replicates TikTok’s Key Features

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There’s one thing that you can be absolutely certain of with every new social media trend these days – replication.

Any time you see a new tool, a new app, a new trending function, you can bet that other platforms will seek to copy it, in an effort to maximize their own potential, for one, but also, to limit the impact of the competition. If you can get all the latest features and tools in the app/s you already know and love, there’s no need to download and check out any others, right?

Evidently that theory works, at least to some degree, as this week, reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong has found that Instagram is once again replicating a competitors’ features, this time with TikTok in the firing line.

Instagram 'Clips' example

As explained by Wong, Instagram is working on a new, TikTok like tool called ‘Clips’:

“Just like TikTok, “Clips” allows users to record segments of videos into a single video Story. Just like TikTok, users can overlay music on clips. Just like TikTok, users can adjust the speed and timer of each video clips.”

So, just as it’s done with Snapchat’s Stories, AR masks, YouTubeHousepartySquad and a range of other apps and functions, Facebook, through Instagram, is looking to add in yet another similar function in order to fend off competition, and keep its 2.7 billion active users (across its “family of apps”) from straying to these shiny new offerings.

The strategy does make a lot of sense. TikTok has been steadily rising over the last year, and now claims to have more than 500 million active users, though that figure hasn’t been officially updated for some time. There have also been some questions over the app’s capacity to retain its users, with “a significant majority” of new users said to be abandoning the app within 30 days of downloading, and reverting back to the platforms on which they already have established friend networks.        

That’s where Facebook, in this case through Instagram, wins out. While new apps are able to gather attention, Instagram has over a billion users, and is available in regions where many other apps have yet to launch. By releasing copycat features, Facebook can stifle new app growth, often beating them to market in these new areas, despite its version being a copy, and maximizing their use on the platforms which users are already familiar.

Stopping users from even downloading these new apps is a key first step, so if Facebook can copy the same tools and keep users engaged, and in-app, they’ve already won a significant part of the battle.

As such, it’s no surprise to see Instagram looking to copy TikTok, or any new app and tool. It may seem a little cheap, a little tacky even to be so blatantly copying your competition. But it clearly works. Snapchat’s growth has stagnated since Instagram stole Stories, while Houseparty was sold to Epic. You may not like how Facebook goes about squeezing out smaller challengers. But it works.

But will it work for TikTok?

As noted, there are already questions about TikTok’s long term viability, and the company has been secretive about its ongoing engagement stats. That would likely suggest that there is some truth to the aforementioned issues with user retention – and if people can create TikTok style clips within Instagram instead…

Replication seems like a questionable tactic, but Facebook’s dominance continues to expand.  There’s no word, at this stage, on an official rollout of this new Instagram option. 

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WhatsApp: Hackers on the prowl, protect yourself

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Users are being urged to update their WhatsApp smartphone apps immediately because of a security bug that allows hackers to take over your phone by simply calling it, whether or not you answer.
These hackers could get hold of all your personal information.
They act on your integrity and sometimes send out pornographic posts and inciteful posts, as if you sent them!
They will change your phone number to theirs and replace you in whatever chat group you belong to.
For instance, Mr. Lucas Ajanaku, whose phone was hacked yesterday narrates his ordeal, “I received a call from a number about 6.50pm in the thick of production. The caller introduced himself as one naval captain. The person that came to my mind was one Capt. Olayiwola of NIMASA. We belong to the same WhatsApp group with Dele Adesina, Femi Falana (SAN) and many others from my town in Ekiti.
“He started by saying he noticed I don’t usually contribute on ‘our platform’ and I told him he was right because I am a very busy person. I told him my wife was also on the platform and draws my attention to important developments there.
“Then he broke the ice: there’s a group programme that’s coming up by 10pm, he would want me to be part of it. I asked, what programme, and he said it’s going to be beneficial for me because experts will share their success tips and offer advice on the need to have multiple income streams. I told him I don’t have the time as I would be tied to production but he said I could hook up any time I was free. My phone beeped and he told me he had sent a code for me to be part of the programme. I checked the code and he demanded to know the four-digit stuff, which I read out to him.
“He already knew my name since that preceded the conversation. A few minutes afterwards, a message came from WhatsApp that I had exited the app. I was asked to verify. Instead of verifying, I restarted my phone in the hope that it would cancel out the tech reaction. But the verification request popped up again. I drew the attention of my guy in the ICT department to it. He encouraged me to do the verification.
“At speed of lightning, these scam messages started rolling in like a dammed river losing its fetters. Before I could say Jack, people that knew me and what I stood for started calling, wondering why such messages should emanate from me.”
In order to prevent such things from happening to you, do the following immediately:
•Go to the bottom right hand side of your WhatsApp main page
•Select Settings
•Click on Account
•Click on Two-step verification
•Enter PIN (Choose a six-digit PIN you will remember)
•Confirm your PIN
•Input your email address
(Use a valid email address)
•Confirm your email
•Save your selections
With the above precaution, if someone wants to change your settings, WhatsApp will ask them for the two-step verification and without it the account won’t open.

Source: https://www.sunnewsonline.com/whatsapp-hackers-on-the-prowl-protect-yourself/

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