Vulnerabilities in Google's Android platform may be discovered on a fairly regular basis, but few date as far back as a flaw revealed by Bluebox Security last night, which appears to put almost all Android devices at risk of being hacked. The company's researchers found that hackers can meddle with an application without breaking its cryptographic signature (and thus alerting Android to the changes), allowing 'legitimate' apps to be installed with malicious Trojans capable of stealing and spying on a device's data. Alarmingly, the flaw has existed since the release of the Android 1.6 'Donut' OS four years ago, meaning 99 per cent of current Android devices are now in danger of being compromised. Bluebox warns that that the vulnerability can enable hackers to effectively seize control of the victim's device, granting the ability to spy on texts, emails and other files, make and record calls, steal data, and even establish mobile botnets. Details of the flaw were shared with Google back in February 2013, the blog states, but firmware updates to fix the issue will depend on the device manufacturer and model in question. For more about the vulnerability, follow the link above.
Plans to introduce a new Tech-level qualification with the same status as A-levels have been announced by the government today. The new qualifications are to be introduced in 2014 and will require business or university backing to gain approval. The Tech-levels will be externally assessed in the same way as A-levels and will be the only vocational courses to be considered in league tables. The overhaul means that around 80 per cent of existing vocational courses, many of which government ministers consider to be substandard, will be cut from the tables. The Tech-levels are designed to prepare students for work in a particular industry such as IT, engineering or accountancy. The Skills Minister, Matthew Hancock, said: "High-quality rigorous vocational education is essential to future prosperity and the life chances of millions. The new qualifications will take the same amount of time to complete as A-Levels and will require the backing of the associated professional body or five Companies House registered employers.
Samsung may have already surpassed the 20 million sales mark with the Samsung Galaxy S4. The Korean electronics giant has yet to officially confirm the figure, but sources are quoting top Samsung executives, including head of mobile JK Shin, as backing up the reports. A month ago, Samsung announced that the Galaxy S4 had hit the 10 million unit milestone and, assuming the new reports are accurate, it would make the Galaxy S4 the fastest-selling Android smartphone ever. However, the device has failed to surpass early sales of Apple's iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S - estimates have the iPhone 5 shipping 34 million units in just 100 days. Nevertheless, the impressive retail performance rebuffs speculation that the Galaxy S4 was struggling to make its mark on the smartphone market - recent rumours had suggested that Samsung had scaled back production of the device by up to 15 per cent in June.
Douglas Engelbart, heralded as one of the earliest inventors of the computer mouse, has passed away aged 88. The Internet pioneer's death — reportedly caused by kidney failure — was confirmed by his daughter, Christina Engelbart, in a statement published to the Interesting People mailing list. Engelbart joined the computing movement early on, working at a government aerospace laboratory in California in 1950. Later that year Engelbart had a vision: He saw himself sitting in front of a computer screen full of symbols — a workspace used to organise information and communications, the Times said. Nothing came of his vision, though, until more than a decade later, when he established an experimental research group at Stanford Research International. Engelbart was developing a variety of interactive computer technologies, which he brought to the Fall Joint Computer Conference (FJCC) at San Francisco's Brooks Hall auditorium in 1968. There, he showed off an early mouse prototype — a wooden device with two perpendicular wheels — which he'd invented four years earlier. For more on the life of Douglas Engelbart, follow the link above.