News

11 Jul 2014
by Reggie Pierce
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FTC Sues Amazon

FTC Sues Amazon

Amazon was sued by the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday, after the retailer refused to make changes to its in-app purchase policy.

This move by the FTC comes in response to thousands of complaints from parents upset by the hefty credit card bills their children amassed through in-app purchases. According to the FTC, children were able to make unwanted purchases totaling millions of dollars on their parents’ devices.

The FTC is seeking a court order that would require Amazon to authenticate all in-app purchases with passwords, along with clarifying and simplifying policies surrounding additional charges, and paying refunds to the parents. […]

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27 Jun 2014
by Reggie Pierce
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Android is Everywhere: 1bn Users and Device Expansion

Android is Everywhere: 1bn Users and Device Expansion

Google’s Android platform now has over 1 billion active users, almost twice the 538 million it had just one year ago. This announcement came yesterday from Google SVP of Android, Chrome, and apps, Sundar Pichai, as part of his keynote address at Google I/O.

Android continues to grow in other ways, too, expanding its reach to laptops, cars, smart watches, and televisions.

As Android slowly makes its way into more and more aspects of those 1 billion users’ daily lives, the potential reward for IP infringing developers and privacy-invading hackers will increase. […]

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25 Jun 2014
by Reggie Pierce
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Yo App More Popular Than Secure

Yo App More Popular Than Secure

Three Georgia Tech students successfully hacked Yo, an app that has soared up the app charts in the last two weeks after a low profile launch in April, with over 100,000 downloads and $1.2 million in funding secured in a matter of days.

The app allows users to send the word “yo” to each other (that’s it), but the Georgia Tech students who hacked it were able to send much more. In an email to TechCrunch, they said: “We can get any Yo user’s phone number (I actually texted the founder, and he called me back.) We can spoof Yos from any users, and we can spam any user with as many Yos as we want. […]

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19 Jun 2014
by Reggie Pierce
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Secret Keys Make Thousands of Users Vulnerable to Data Theft

Secret Keys Make Thousands of Users Vulnerable to Data Theft

The apps you download from Google Play may be unknowingly giving up your private information to hackers.

According to new research from Columbia University’s Jason Nieh, professor of computer science, and Nicholas Viennot, PhD candidate, the software of thousands of apps contain secret keys to third party APIs. A secret key is like a username and password, and with this key hackers can access resources and data from tech giants such as Amazon and Facebook.

Nieh and Viennot report that “Top Developers” promoted by Google Play are not exempt from this issue, and have been found to include this vulnerability in their software. […]

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13 Feb 2014
by iplassomain
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Super Bowl Goes Mobile

Super Bowl Goes Mobile

The Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos played Super Bowl XLVIII in front of 112.1 million TV viewers this year, making the 2014 NFL championship the most watched television program in United States history. Impressive in its own right, this statistic doesn’t include the millions of other viewers who streamed the game live on the FOX Sports Go mobile app. Averaging 525,000 viewers per minute and peaking at 1.1 million simultaneous users in the third quarter, FOX’s mobile simulcast became the most-watched live stream of a single sports event in history.

Following in the footsteps of successful sports streaming apps like WatchESPN and CBSSports, FOX opted to stream the game on mobile devices, continuing a trend that has seen broadcast giants transition towards more interactive television. […]

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16 Jan 2014
by Reggie Pierce
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World Trademark Review: Mobile Apps Explode, Imitators Follow

World Trademark Review: Mobile Apps Explode, Imitators Follow

IP Lasso was recently featured in the World Trademark Review’s February/March 2014 edition. Below is an excerpt from: “Technology watch: mobile apps explode, imitators follow”.

For the full text, click here: [Registration Required]

Since the opening of Apple’s App Store, the number of apps downloaded has soared from zero in June 2008 to 64 billion in 2012 alone. According to a Gartner study, consumers now spend more time on mobile apps than they do browsing the Web. Yet major brand owners still expend most of their resources protecting their brands against piracy in the online world. […]

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17 Dec 2013
by Reggie Pierce
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Domain Market Share Decreases in Favor of Mobile Apps

Domain Market Share Decreases in Favor of Mobile Apps

As New gTLDs continue to dominate the trademark protection headlines, users are leaving the web for smartphone applications.

Nielsen’s latest report, TOPS OF 2013: DIGITAL, indicates that web traffic has decreased for the internets top websites. Meanwhile, there have been double digit increases in mobile app usage. The increase is most likely due to increased smartphone penetration. Nielsen states that smartphone usage “grew from 56 percent at the start of 2013 to nearly two-thirds (65%) of U.S. mobile subscribers by October 2013, and a majority of subscribers used Android (52%) or iOS (41%) smartphones.”

As trademark owners continue to allocate hundreds of thousands of dollars to New gTLDs, many are being caught off guard by unlicensed mobile apps. […]

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20 Nov 2013
by Reggie Pierce
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Repackaged Android Clones: Apps Serve Ads and Invade Privacy

Repackaged Android Clones: Apps Serve Ads and Invade Privacy

Can you tell the difference between a real app and a knock-off?

Sometimes this is easy, but with the ever-increasing proliferation of unlicensed apps, it is becoming more and more difficult. According to a new study from BitDefender, some fakes are even more challenging to spot than you might think. Out of 420,646 apps surveyed on the Google Play app store, BitDefender estimates that 1.2% have been directly copied – essentially stolen – from legitimate developers. In this case, a direct copy is an app that shares over 90% of its code with another app.

Rogue developers are able to download a popular app, reverse engineer its code, add their own code to serve advertisements to users, and then release their version into the Google Play store. […]

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07 Nov 2013
by James Westhafer
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The Cost of Free

The Cost of Free

Why free apps can cost users in the long-run

Everyone loves a free app. A $0.99 or $1.99 app might induce a half-hearted internal cost-benefit analysis, but free apps can be downloaded, installed and trialed at no cost. While free apps provide great benefit to most consumers, they are also subject to invasive permissions, unexpected SMS messaging charges and malware from illegitimate developers looking to scam unsuspecting users. A recent McAfee® report on mobile security consumer trends details just this problem.

Many mobile app permissions endanger users’ privacy, siphoning info on GPS location and account and activity information. […]

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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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