No device is malware proof – not even iOS. Microsoft is giving us some awesome freebies. Meanwhile, Amazon ventures into a new market.
Apple has always been known as the king of security in consumer electronics. The company’s devices have this fame of not being very prone to malware and viruses. In fact, a lot of people think these devices just can’t get viruses… period.
Needless to say this is false, and today we are seeing testament of this. Palo Alto Networks is reporting on a very nasty malware that gets into your iOS device by attacking an OSX computer. The malware then makes its way to your phone when you plug it in via USB.
WireLurker can hide, download fake apps, take stored personal data and keep communication with the hacker’s servers. Not pretty. Thankfully, it is mainly targeted at Asian users, as it is spreading from the Chinese Maiyadi App Store.
As expected, this will mainly affect jailbroken devices, but the report adds the infection could spread via enterprise networks, even if your iPhone or iPad is not jailbroken.
Opinion: I will never get tired of saying that no phone is immune to viruses, malware and the like. None of them! Be smart about your devices, download from known sources and try to stay safe.
Microsoft has been known for keeping a tight grip on its Office applications. These applications have been some of their strongest selling points. No one wants to live without Word, Powerpoint or Excel. Soon no one will have to… at least on their mobile devices.
The Redmond giant has just announced Microsoft Office apps for iOS and Android will be completely free. No longer will a Microsoft 365 subscription be necessary, deeming settling for a “lesser” office suit unnecessary. The iPad and iPhone apps are available for free right now. Meanwhile, Android tablet users are only getting a preview of the app.
Opinion: The mobile industry doesn’t work like your 90’s and 2000’s computers, and that is something Microsoft is now starting to understand. Applications proliferate only by being accessible. Making Microsoft Office free was key to assuring a successful future in the mobile market.
Here’s another overpriced speaker – one that I may actually want. Amazon is venturing into a completely unknown market with the Echo, which we would call a “smart speaker”. In summary, it’s like a digital assistant and wireless speaker in one.
Much like Google Now and Motorola Touchless Controls, the device is triggered by a specific word, which you can set. Amazon uses the word “Alexa”, but it could be anything. You can then ask “Alexa” anything you need.
You can ask for the time, set a timer, check the weather, listen to the news, play music and much more. It won’t come cheap at $199, but Prime Members can get it for $99 for a limited time. The trick here is that you can’t just buy it yet. You have to request an invite from Amazon first.
Opinion: This is how you launch a device, Amazon. This speaker is helpful, unique and looks very fun. It is a device that doesn’t have much competition. Even if priced a bit high, people will like it. I do find it humorous how you turned the lack of a rechargeable battery into a feature, though: “Dad really likes that Echo just plugs in, so we never have to charge it”.