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Three Most Dangerous Types of Android Malware

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Written by Lukas Stefanko, Malware Researcher at ESET

These days, the device in your pocket can do far more than call or send text messages. Your smartphone stores almost every aspect of your life, from memories, captured as photos to personal notes and schedules, log-in details, and various other kinds of sensitive data.

Android-powered devices command more than 70 percent of the mobile operating system market. Add to that the open nature of the Android ecosystem and it’s clearer why these devices bear the brunt of malicious attacks on mobile devices and remain a lucrative target for attackers.

Google has, of course, introduced a number of privacy- and security-enhancing features for Android devices. Just a few days ago, the company announced that it had stopped 1.2 million policy-violating apps from reaching Google Play last year, among other measures aimed at cracking down on malicious apps.

However, this is not to say you should let your guard down when it comes to all sorts of dangers that lurk especially in third-party app stores.

Malware comes in various forms and works in various vicious ways. Watch the video to learn more about some of the most dangerous types of malware affecting Android devices, including:

  • Malicious software that can hold your device and data hostage, possibly “on behalf of the FBI”
  • Malware that steals login credentials and can in some cases bypass two-factor authentication
  • Android nasties that give hackers control over your entire device
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Apps

App Launched to Provide Virtual Support Services for Survivors of Domestic Violence Across the Middle East

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Shamsaha, a women’s focused non-profit organization, has launched a mobile application that will make crisis advocacy services available to women across the Middle East region for the very first time. Shamsaha focuses on women’s empowerment and protection programs, including providing 24/7 free and confidential support services in English and Arabic for survivors of domestic violence.

The new mobile app will ensure that these services will be available to women across the region by connecting them directly with Shamsaha’s trained and certified volunteers based in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Through the app, women will be able to receive emotional and informational support along with referral programs for legal and therapy services. The app will also provide resources and survivor support tools, along with information about Shamsaha’s fundraising activities and trainings.

The mobile application will also act as the driver of Shamsaha’s regional expansion project, which aims to export its unique crisis advocacy program across the Arabian Gulf region. The first phase of the expansion project has commenced with the launch of virtual support services via the mobile app. This will be followed by the second phase, which is to establish in-person support services in collaboration with partners in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Oman.

Shamsaha’s expansion project and the development of its mobile application is being funded by the L’Oréal Fund for Women, which was launched by the L’Oréal Groupe in 2020 to support and empower highly vulnerable women around the world. On the occasion, Shamsaha founder and executive director Mary-Justine Todd said, “We are extremely excited to begin this new chapter in Shamsaha’s growth. When I first founded Shamsaha as a non-profit in Bahrain, I hoped to support as many survivors of abuse as possible and now our certified and culturally sensitive support services will be available for women across the Middle East.”

Shamsaha’s mobile application was also developed with support from the US Embassy in Bahrain and the British Embassy in Bahrain. Shamsaha advisory president Munira Al Shaikh added, “A great deal of hard work, commitment and support has gone into developing our mobile application. We want to thank everyone who dedicated their efforts to making this launch a success, including our most valued partners. We would also like to extend our gratitude to the community in Bahrain and the wider Arabian Gulf for welcoming this unique program and for furthering women’s empowerment and protection activities.”

The launch of the mobile application is in line with Shamsaha’s commitment towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG 5 (Gender Equality) and its target to eliminate all forms of violence against women. Global statistics show that in 1 in 3 women will face some form of violence in their lifetime. This makes Shamsaha’s support services for women, via its new mobile application, essential because Shamsaha operates a number of prevention and response programs in the Middle East region.

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AppGallery Onboards 7Nights

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AppGallery has successfully onboarded 7Nights, as part of Huawei Mobile Services’ (HMS) efforts to foster homegrown lifestyle applications. The partnership grants AppGallery users access to a growing online community to explore the latest lifestyle offerings. This collaboration with 7Nights will add to the growing repertoire of lifestyle-based applications for AppGallery users in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region.

Lu Geng, Vice President of the Middle East and Africa, Huawei Global Partnerships & Eco-Development, said: “At Huawei, introducing new applications for multiple verticals and customer touch points always lays at the forefront of our business strategy. Through our ongoing partnerships, we aim to diversify AppGallery’s portfolio by including a variety of local and regional apps that empower and enhance users’ everyday life.”

Commenting on the partnership, Joseph Khoury, CEO of 7Nights said: “We are pleased to be partnering with Huawei, and we certainly believe that this collaboration will leverage our reach among the audience in the Middle East via the official AppGallery platform. Our app users have shown great affinity to the Huawei ecosystem of products, and we believe this partnership will bolster our product offerings, helping us reach new consumer markets. 7Nights application will transform users’ social lives with incredible dining offers, ladies’ nights, gents’ events and exclusive discounts.’’

AppGallery is a platform that grants users access to apps across many categories, including games, content, and services. The marketplace has over 580 million monthly users and is available in more than 170 countries, and has over 5.4 million registered developers worldwide.

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TikTok to Launch New Screentime Management Tool

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In the coming weeks, TikTok will launch two new practical tools as a part of its digital wellbeing mission to make it easier for its growing community of users to manage the time they spend on the entertainment platform in a single sitting and enable regular screen time breaks, thereby remaining in full control of their TikTok experience.

According to Global Media Insight, the average daily time spent on the internet in the UAE is 7 hours and 24 minutes per person, which is why a new screen time dashboard will give TikTok’s creative community data about how much time they are spending on the platform, with summaries on the daily time they’re spending using the platform, the number of times they opened the app, and a breakdown of daytime and night-time usage available at all times. Users can also opt for weekly notifications to review their dashboard and monitor the time spent in a single sitting.

These prompts will remind TikTok users to take a break after a certain amount of uninterrupted screen time, which they can set as per their choice and convenience. TikTok will also introduce weekly digital well-being prompts for younger members of the community. When users aged between 13 and 17 spends more than 100 minutes on the app in a single day, he or she will get a reminder from TikTok of using the screen time limit tool the next time they open the app.

The new features are in line with TikTok’s goal to promote a safe and positive experience for all its users and ensure that the entertainment platform is equipped to offer the best possible viewing choices for the TikTok community. The entertainment platform is focused on delivering digital experiences that bring joy, entertainment, and enrichment to our community. Part of this includes ensuring that the community have a positive relationship with their devices and allowing them to be more in control of their experiences. This is why TikTok is taking a number of steps today to help support our community’s digital well being as they create, including the new screen time management feature that allows users restrict the uninterrupted time that can be spent on the app.

TikTok is supporting the rollout of the new screen time management tools and encouraging its community in thinking about their digital habits by publishing a new guide, titled “How can I reflect on my digital well-being with my family and friends?” on the platform’s Safety Centre. The guide encourages the TikTok community to reflect more holistically about how they spend their time online – whether on TikTok or elsewhere – and how it makes them feel as they set the boundaries that best suit them.

The tools are part of TikTok’s continuous efforts to nurture its growing diverse global community and develop new tools and initiatives that support an environment where its users can create a customised experience, express themselves and have joy. Commenting on the well-being updates, Dr. Hamed AlNeyadi, the Director Executive Government Relations of IAT/ACTVET and member of TikTok MENA Safety Advisory Council, said “It’s essential that TikTok provides tools to control our time on the platform, this will increase the productivity time for the user and improve their physical and mental health. By providing options for parents to manage and control screentime for their children on TikTok, it helps to promote healthy use and proactively assists the user to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”

Sharing her insights on parenting and online activity, Dr. Lamar Kanafani, MA LMFT Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Supervisor said, “It’s already widely known what the negative mental and physical effects are of screen-time-overuse. So, in my eyes, the first step to helping your kids find the right balance is to get yourselves better disciplined with screen time as well, model it, and put in the initial and ongoing effort to engage physically with your kids. The quality of your relationship with them is key.

Launching within the coming weeks, the new features will be found in the Privacy and Settings, under the section Digital Wellbeing.

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