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WhatsApp has been one of the biggest news stories of the year after Facebook spent $16 billion in cash to acquire the app. Earlier this week WhatsApp was in the news for something that no software firm wants to be associated with- security issues.
A tech consultant earlier this week issued a repot outlining a method that would allow nefarious apps to gain access to the WhatsApp message logs stored on the memory card of the device. The consultant, Bas Bosschert, even offered up code that could be included in an app that would upload the chat logs to a remote server as a game loaded.
WhatsApp has now stepped up to address the issue. A spokesperson for WhatsApp says reports on the issue are "overstated." The company also says that a new version of the app on Google Play now has added security features. Bosschert says that his exploit code still works on the latest version of the app.
NASA is always working on some sort of project to get the masses interested in science and space. About a year and a half ago, NASA rolled out an app for iPad users called NASA Visualization Explorer. The app was designed to share articles, images, and visualizations of satellite data with users.
The problem for users on iOS devices other than the iPad was that the app didn't support other devices. NASA has now announced that the app is available for all iOS devices. That means that iPhone and iPod touch users can now check out the app and its cool images and content.
Users will be able to access the 274 stories that have been published on the app and are in the archives. New stores will be added on Tuesday and Thursday. NASA says that the original app had about a million unique downloads.
VideoLAN has released its VLC media player for Windows 8, which features a 'modern UI' for the touch-capable OS. The company raised $78,136 through Kickstarter, with a beta version of VLC now available for Windows-powered PCs, laptops and tablets.
The beta version of the app has some limitations, with Windows RT devices not currently supported. Subtitle support is limited right now, and the software itself is a little slower than the VLC desktop app, especially when it comes to video decoding. The team at VideoLAN is still working on VLC for Windows 8, so expect the final version to scruff up much better.
A security expert from Double Think has discovered a major security flaw in the way WhatsApp backs up and saves your data that could lead to nefarious users accessing your chat history. Bas Bosschert says that the hole in security lies in the way WhatsApp saves user data when it is manually backed up by the user.
All of the data is stored in the WhatsApp database which is encrypted, but unfortunately the popular messaging service decided to use the same encryption key for every user. This means that a hacker could in theory develop an app that has a hidden side that's sole purpose is to sneak into your Android or iOS file system and copy the data base. Since the same encryption code is used for all WhatsApp users, decryption is quite easy and anyone with a small amount of knowledge on the subject could access your chats.
Bosschert actually developed an app to do exactly what was described above that used a loading screen mask the apps malicious activity. The app was able to acquire and decrypt the encrypted WhatsApp database without fail. WhatsApp did receive an update yesterday, but Bosschert says that this flaw was not fixed. We have reached out to WhatsApp for a comment but a response has yet to be received.
Another mobile tech software developer is filing for its Initial Public Offering (IPO) but is this another case of a company not knowing true value? Today King, the developer of popular mobile games such as Candy Crush Saga, has officially turned in its F1 filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission. King is seeking to raise $532.8 million with about 22.2 million shares valued at about $24 each. This gives the company a total valuation of $7.6 billion.
Unfortunately we have seen a similar situation present itself before when Zynga filled its IPO and was valued at $7 billion based on the success of a hand full of mobile games. King's biggest title to date is Candy Crush Saga, with a few other less popular games. It leaves one wondering why a company with a single hit game would value themselves at $7.6 billion, especially since at the moment its entire success depends on Candy Crush Saga staying in the popular favor.
Flappy Bird has been gone for a month now, but the creator behind the game, Dong Nguyen, has finally come out and talked about his super famous game in a feature interview with Rolling Stone.
In the interview itself, Nguyen says that he is "considering" bringing Flappy Bird back, even after all the attention - good and bad - he has received. The Flappy Bird creator says that he the game even saw him hit with threats. Even with the threats, he is exploring his options, warning players to take breaks from the game as it has addictive qualities - a big part of why he took the game down.
Nyugen also talked about the inspiration for Flappy Bird, and how the culture of his home city of Hanoi influenced the game's simple mechanics. He says that the citizens dashing through the city, eyes focused on their smartphones, which is where the simply 'tap' control method made its way into Flappy Bird.
Easter eggs being hidden in video games its a long standing tradition in the programming world, but it is apparently becoming popular in the music world as well. Dubstep super star, Skrillex, has hidden his entire new album inside a new mobile video game called Alien Ride. The game is available for download on both the Google Play Store and in the iTunes App store, and yes you do have to play through the game to unlock all 11 of the tracks.
Recess is Skrillex's first album since his massively popular 2011 hit, Bangarang, the album many credit for making Dubstep popular with today's club scene. Unfortunately there is no mention of Skrillex on the Game or in its credits, but Skrillex is taking credit for the beats that get unlocked. Now all we need is a Flappy Bird clone that plays to a new Deadmau5 album and my life will be complete!
After what seemed like forever, Pebble has finally launched its App Store for Android. While the App Store has been around for the iPhone since February, Android users who own Pebble smartwatches have been left in the dark when it comes to compatibility with their smartphone. The new Pebble App Store for Android allows users to select new screens, and apps and upload them directly to the watch from the App Store via your phone.
The new Pebble App Store also allows users to easily customize and change App settings directly from the Smartphone and negates the need for intensive editing and uploading that Pebble users were subject to before. Do you have a Pebble Smartwatch? Check out the App Store and let us know what you think about it.
Samsung has announced a new streaming music service is has dubbed Milk, something the company worked with Slacker to develop, with the service launching with around 200 radio stations, and over 13 million songs available.
It's quite unique, with a circular dial that is similar to analog radio dials, where you just slide your finger around the dial to "tune in" to various genres of music. Once you've found a station that you like, simply run your finger along the inside of the dial to choose difference channels within that genre.
Competing streaming music services aren't all that intuitive, so it's refreshing to see Samsung thinking outside of the box with Milk Music. Samsung's Ryan Bidan has said that there is a group of consumers that haven't dived into the mobile music market because current services are simply too hard to understand, with people not liking advertising with what consumers have used so far.
As with anything on the internet, Porn always finds a way to infiltrate it, and Twitter is apparently fed up with pornographic material making its way onto its Vine video app. Today Twitter changed Vine's Terms of Service to explicitly ban the uploading of pornographic material or any nudity what-so-ever if it is not classified as artistic or as part of a documentary.
"As we've watched the community and your creativity grow and evolve, we've found that there's a very small percentage of videos that are not a good fit for our community. So we're making an update to our Rules and Terms of Service to prohibit explicit sexual content," the company said in a blog post. "For more than 99 percent of our users, this doesn't really change anything. For the rest: we don't have a problem with explicit sexual content on the Internet -- we just prefer not to be the source of it."
The new rules are inline with several popular apps and social media site's policies on nudity and pornography, but some industry analyst are suggesting that Twitter updated Vine's ToS to appease some of Apple's App Police from making a push to ban the app from the app store. It's still unclear weather or not this change will also effect Twitter itself as the social network has thousands of active accounts from the porn industry.