Cydia developer Saurik exploits and fixes Android’s Master Key vulnerability with ‘Impactor’

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The severity of the Master Key vunerability (bug #8219321) Bluebox Security discovered has been disputed and folks often are willing to look past theoretical vulnerabilities until a widespread zero day goes public. The original claims were that 99% of Android devices were vulnerable but that has since come down with patches and Google updates. Still, with manufacturers and carriers unable to see the long term value in quick (or any) updates to their phones, a huge amount of Android users are out there, unpatched.

(Bluebox has a scanner in the Play store to determine if your Android device is still vulnerable) 

Enter Saurik, the developer/hacker/violinist responsible for the Cydia Jailbreak repository for iOS and Substrate for Android, who this morning, posted  an exploit and a fix (as well as a wonderfully-detailed bug #8219321 writeup) for Android devices that are unpatched. In true jailbreak fashion, the exploit runs from a Mac or PC and in a few steps gives your su/Root access to the infected phone/tablet. While it isn’t as plug and play easy as recent iOS jailbreaks, it is easy enough for anyone who wants to root their unpatched phone to do in a few minutes.

No vulnerability exploit would be worth its salt if there also wasn’t a fix attached and this is no different. Folks who just want a fix that their carrier/manufacterer won’t supply can also use this to make sure they aren’t vulnerable.

We’ve reached out to Google for comment and will report back if we hear anything.

Review: Google Play Edition HTC One is the best of both worlds

There’s no denying it – the HTC One is one of the nicest pieces of Android hardware on the market. When we reviewed it back in April, we called it “a standout, breathtaking Android phone” and boasted about its above-average build quality and crystal clear display. For me, however, there has always been one thing keeping the HTC One from being my go-to recommendation for the best Android smartphone out there – HTC Sense. This is why I couldn’t be any more pleased that Google has decided to release a “Google Play Edition” of the HTC One running stock Android, giving us more hardware options for pure Android devices on top of its Nexus line that ships alongside major new releases.

HTC Sense, the company’s Android UX overlay it uses to help make its phones unique, unfortunately adds an extra layer that affects the overall performance of the hardware considerably. HTC isn’t the only one. We noticed major performance improvements in our full review of the new Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition running stock Android instead of Samsung’s clunky TouchWiz UX.

For these reasons, I’ve been toting LG’s Nexus 4, which up until recently was the only out-of-the-box, stock Android smartphone available on top of above-average hardware. While there’s no mistaking the HTC One’s superior hardware, because of Sense, it continued to take a back seat to my Nexus 4. With Google’s recent introduction of new stock Android devices under the “Google Play Edition” moniker, the HTC One finally has the opportunity to win me over. Read more

More Moto X specs leak, include 4.5-inch display, dual-core processor


Rumors surrounding the Moto X Phone have been coming in at a crazy rate over the past few months, with information regarding design, customization, and more leaking. We’ve known for a while that the device is not meant to be high-end in terms of specs, and new information obtained by The Verge confirms that.

According to a “tipster who has used a CDMA variant of the phone,” it will feature a 1.7GHz Snapdragon MSM8960T processor, which is basically the same as a Snapdragon 600, but dual-core instead of quad-core. The device will also feature 2GB of RAM and a screen “in the vicinity” of 4.5-inches. Things get a tad questionable when it comes to the battery life, however, with The Verge’s source originally claiming that it had a measly 1500mAh battery, but later saying that figure might not be accurate, as it was reported by a software tool. Read more

Motorola sends invites to August 1st X Phone event


Motorola has just sent out invites to an August 1st press event in New York (via Business Insider). The invite simply reads “Moto X,” so it seems pretty clear what the star of the show will be. You can even see the back of the device in the lower right corner of the image. It’s also worth noting that the X in “Moto X” is very similar to past Nexus devices, which shows some Google influence.

The X Phone hasn’t exactly been the best kept secret by Motorola. We’ve seen numerous leaked images and specs for it, with Google chairman Eric Schmidt even caught using the device in public. The X Phone is expected to be highly customizable and affordable. At the AllThingsD conference in May, Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside teased that it would be available on all major U.S. carriers and be manufactured in Texas. Yesterday, Motorola tweeted a picture teasing the USA manufacturing process.

As far as release dates go, we’ve seen documents suggesting an August 23rd launch for Verizon and an August 26th launch for U.S. Cellular, and now that we know when the event is being held, those dates seem pretty plausible. Read more

Report claims Sony readying Carl Zeiss camera lens attachment for smartphones w/ built-in 20.2MP sensor


A new report claims Sony plans to launch an attachment for smartphones that will include a camera lens with built-in sensor, battery, and memory, and connect to a smartphone over NFC or WiFi. The report comes from SonyAlphaRumors, which claims this rumor comes from its top sources (opposed to some of the other stories it often posts from anonymous tipsters and less reliable sources).

There aren’t a ton of details about exactly how the lens would work in terms of integrating with a smartphone, but we’d imagine it would come with a companion app to drive the experience. The report claims it will pack in the same 20.2 MP sensor and Carl Zeiss lens as its $750 DSC-RX100M II digital camera, indicating its price tag might be on the high-end compared to similar camera lens attachments. Another version with a “smaller sensor and larger zoom” is also reportedly in the works.

The site notes that “You can mount it on the smartphone but also use it separately,” which we assume means it will act as a wireless viewfinder of sorts. Read more

Next-gen Nexus 7 specs leak: 1.5GHz quad-core, wireless charging, SlimPort 1080p support, Android 4.3

7-19-2013nexus7productinfo2Previous leaks already provided a look at some of the specs coming in Google’s next generation Nexus 7 tablet that will likely make an appearance at the company’s upcoming July 24th event. We already heard it would come with 1.2MP and 5MP cameras, 4GB of DDR3L RAM, Android 4.3, and start at $229 when it finally hits stores. Today’s leak, via Engadget, provides more specifics:

According to the pic, there’s a quad-core 1.5GHz CPU with the still-unannounced Android 4.3 as the OS. The 7-inch screen size remains, though it’s unclear if there’s a resolution bump to accompany it. Also on board are a pair of cameras: 1.2MP up front and 5MP around back. The two more unexpected tidbits are the addition of Slim Port support for playing 1080p video on your TV, as well as wireless charging.

It’s all but confirmed that we’ll be seeing the new device during Breakfast with Sundar Pichai next week, as the latest retail leak shows that stores will start receiving the device on the 20th.  Read more

Investor disappointment in Google (GOOG) results misplaced, says Warwick Business School professor


While the market response to Google’s quarterly earnings seems to have been lukewarm, the stock price dipping in after-hours trading and at least six analysts lowering their price targets after the company came in slightly under Wall Street expectations, Warwick Business School Associate Professor John Baptista says that the modest performance is a ‘blip’.

Bapista, who has researched the company for many years, said that although Google’s ad revenues have suffered as traffic shifts from the desktop to mobile devices (something Google wasn’t slow to address), the real growth in the future will be in the cloud, with Google ideally placed to benefit …  Read more

Huawei on government allegations it aids Chinese espionage: ‘That’s Racist!’

Photo: Huffington Post

Photo: Huffington Post

Chinese electronics company Huawei has responded to claims by both US and UK governments that it is involved in state-sponsored hacking by describing the allegations as ‘racist corporate defamation.’

It has been suggested that Huawei may be directly supplying information to the Chinese authorities, based on knowledge gleaned about communications networks when supplying networking equipment, with some suggesting that the equipment itself may contain backdoors designed to allow access by the Chinese government. The House Intelligence Committee went as far as advising US companies to stop doing business with Huawei …  Read more

Despite aggressive pushing of Google+, service only gets two percent of social sharing


It’s pretty difficult these days not to have a Google+ account. Sign up for almost any Google service, and you find you’re on Google+ whether you wanted to be or not. But this aggressive approach of pushing accounts on people doesn’t appear to be paying off: a new report by Gigya cited by Marketing Land shows that only two percent of social media sharing takes place on Google+ …  Read more

Leaked US Cellular doc points to August 26 launch for Moto X


The teases for Motorola’s much rumored, upcoming Moto X smartphone keep coming. We already got a look at the device in the hands of Google’s Eric Schmidt, and a leaked video from Rogers confirmed an August release date and some exclusive features like always listening voice control. Today we get what might very well be proof of a solid release date for the device with a leaked memo from US Cellular (via AndroidCentral) pointing to an August 26th launch.

Earlier this month, another document allegedly leaked from Verizon pointed to an August 23 launch for the device, which likely means we’ll see the device launch on a number of carriers that week.

Read more