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25 Sep 2013
by James Westhafer
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The Evil Twin of Apple’s iMessage

The Evil Twin of Apple’s iMessage

Unofficial iMessage App Removed from Google Play

Google Inc. removed a popular app from the Play Store on Tuesday for violating its store policies. Titled “iMessage Chat”, the app enabled users to send and receive text messages through Apple’s iMessage platform, allowing them to bypass traditional SMS (short message service) texting charges imposed by mobile carriers. The app was received with great fanfare when it first appeared on the Google Play store on Sept. 12, but soon drew major concerns when it was revealed that confidential user information had been compromised.

Intrigued app analysts took a deep dive into the network traffic of “iMessage Chat” and revealed some alarming details. […]

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10 Jul 2013
by James Westhafer
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Apple App Store Turns 5

Apple App Store Turns 5

It’s hard to remember a world without Instagram, Angry Birds and Evernote, but such a place existed only five short years ago. Today, July 10, marks the fifth anniversary of the Apple App store, a revolutionary digital application distribution platform that transformed the way society thought about mobile devices.

After initially offering 500 apps for download five years ago, the App store is quickly approaching one million active apps after reporting over 900,000 active apps in June 2013. These numbers alone are impressive; however, they do not account for activity in other app marketplaces. With Apple spearheading the mobile app movement in 2008, other big corporations soon followed suit as Google launched Google Play (formerly the Android Market) in October 2008, Amazon released the Appstore in March 2011 and Windows announced the new Windows Store in September 2011. […]

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08 Jul 2013
by Reggie Pierce
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Fake Apps Offer Jay-Z’s New Album For Free – Official App Pulled from Google Play

Fake Apps Offer Jay-Z’s New Album For Free – Official App Pulled from Google Play

Jay-Z and Samsung’s collaborative app, JAY Z Magna Carta, has been pulled from Google Play. (A cached version of the official app’s page can be found here.) Described as being one of the most controversial album launches in history, Jay-Z’s latest work launched exclusively on Samsung phones. The app attracted millions of downloads as well as the attention of fraudulent app developers. The retail version of the album is set to debut on July 9th, but IP Lasso found an app containing the entire album for free a day ahead of release. […]

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08 Jul 2013
by Reggie Pierce
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McAfee: Android Malware in Fake Jay-Z App

McAfee: Android Malware in Fake Jay-Z App

McAfee is reporting that a malware infected fake version of Jay-Z’s much anticipated app has hit Android devices. The app contains political anti-NSA statements, and collects sensitive data from unsuspecting users. It appears identical to the official Jay-Z app created by Samsung.

On July 4th the official Samsung app revealed Jay-Z’s latest album. On the same day, the fake version started resetting phone wallpapers. The wallpapers contained anti-government sentiment including “We are watching you”, and “Obey Us”. In the background the app “sends info about the infected device to an external server every time the phone restarts”. […]

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03 Jul 2013
by Reggie Pierce
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“Brand-Jackers” Use Kids Brands to Collect Revenue and Private Data

“Brand-Jackers” Use Kids Brands to Collect Revenue and Private Data

The Wall Street Journal released a report last Thursday detailing mobile apps that collect data from kids. They found that of “40 popular and free child-friendly apps […] 70% passed along information about how the app was used, in some cases including the buttons clicked and in what order.” With over 50 billion app downloads on Apple’s App Store alone, IP Lasso expects apps like this to become even more prevalent.

“Brandjacking” developers often utilize well-known brands to create apps that look familiar or official in order to attract downloads. These apps are often“free”, but will frequently use unscrupulous tactics to collect private information and money from naive users. […]

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25 Jun 2013
by James Westhafer
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Dwyane Wade: Winning on All Platforms

Dwyane Wade: Winning on All Platforms

The Miami Heat celebrated their 3rd NBA Championship last Thursday, defeating the San Antonio Spurs 95-88. The core players of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James helped the Heat win the title for the second consecutive year, keeping the Larry O’Brien trophy in South Florida for at least another year. This sustained success for Miami not only increases ticket, merchandise and vendor sales for the team, it also helps to boost the personal brands of superstars like Dwyane Wade.

Piggybacking on his team’s most recent championship, Wade released his first official mobile app on Monday. […]

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12 Jun 2013
by James Westhafer
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Apple App Store: 50 Billion App Downloads

Apple App Store: 50 Billion App Downloads

Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) kicked off Monday with the much-anticipated keynote speech. Sometimes called Apple’s “State of the Union”, the opening presentation is an opportunity for the tech giant to showcase new computing technologies and also update both developers and consumers on the current landscape of the consumer electronics market.

It’s hard to believe the Apple app store is not yet five years old. Released in July 2008 alongside the second iteration of the iPhone (3G), the App store was the first of its kind. Amidst the popularity of Apple’s introduction, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Facebook followed suit developing their own platform for mobile apps. […]

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04 Jun 2013
by James Westhafer
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Knock-Off Apps Launch Alongside the Xbox One

Knock-Off Apps Launch Alongside the Xbox One

2 Weeks Post-Launch, Brand Poachers Already After the Xbox One

Amid much fanfare, Microsoft officially announced its new video game console on May 21st, Xbox One. Not only did the announcement quash long-standing “Xbox 720” name rumors, it also ushered in the much anticipated new generation of entertainment systems.

Though Microsoft was quick to act on protecting Xbox One related domain names, they failed to proactively monitor the app marketplaces and safeguard the Xbox One brand. During the launch event on May 21st, IP Lasso indexed all major app stores for apps containing the keywords “Xbox One” and “Xbox 1”. […]

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23 May 2013
by Reggie Pierce
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Bloomberg: Hackers Have Shifted Focus From PC to Mobile

Bloomberg: Hackers Have Shifted Focus From PC to Mobile

Bloomberg released a video this morning outlining the rise of malware on mobile devices.

In order to attract downloaders, rogue app developers often use unlicensed intellectual property from the world’s most powerful brands. These developers hope that the average consumer, or worse yet children, see the logo or brand name and don’t think twice about downloading an app. This can lead to lost revenue for brands, and presents a massive PR risk.

There are over 2 million apps in the wild. Contact IP Lasso to learn how we can protect your brand from being used in mobile malware. […]

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