Skip to main content

Today's Tech: Google launches new Nexus 7 tablet and FBI and US Navy enlist Samsung Galaxy range in big blow to BlackBerrry

The first known cases of hackers exploiting the Android 'Master Key' vulnerability have been discovered by researchers from Symantec. The major security bug, which was first exposed earlier this month, has been used to infect two Chinese applications. Hackers have added malicious code to the software, modifying them in such a way that smartphones with the affected apps installed can be controlled remotely. According to Symantec, this malware, named 'Android.Skullkey', enables cyber-criminals to steal personal data and send premium text messages from compromised devices. They can also disable a number of Chinese mobile security software applications. "We expect attackers to continue to leverage this vulnerability to infect unsuspecting user devices," said Symantec. "Symantec recommends users only download applications from reputable Android application marketplaces."

The UK's average Internet speed has shot up by 41 per cent in the last year to 7.9Mbps, whilst the number of people connected to broadband has risen by a quarter to 73 per cent of the country. However, despite posting the best yearly improvement in Europe, the UK's broadband speed is only seventh in the continent, and twelfth in the world, according to network firm Akamai's latest quarterly State of the Internet report, covering the first three months of 2013. Switzerland, posting an average of 10.1Mbps, has the fastest average speed in Europe, closely followed by the Netherlands with 9.9Mbps. Western European countries the UK is ahead of include France, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Italy. France is placed just 38 in the world with a speed of 5.2Mbps, whilst Germany is 20, with 6.9Mbps, an improvement of 20 per cent from last year. In Ireland, although speeds are at 7.3Mbps, the figure represents a negative 1.5 per cent fall from last year. South Korean's enjoy the fastest speeds in the world with with an average speed of 14.2Mbps.

South Korean tech giant Samsung is set to sign a deal with two US agencies, the FBI and US Navy, to supply its Galaxy devices, according to reports. The devices will come preloaded with Samsung's Knox security system, which provides enhanced security to the Android OS and can ensure that only software verified and authorised by the agencies can run on the devices. The move will be a blow to the ailing BlackBerry as the FBI predominantly uses the Canadian firm's smartphones for its 35,000 employees at present. If a shift to Samsung Galaxy devices becomes a trend in US agencies, it will become an even bigger issue for BlackBerry. Of the 600,000 US Department of Defense staff that are handed smartphones or tablets, a vast majority of around 470,000 use BlackBerrys, with just a minority using Apple or Android devices. "Other systems are maturing in their capability to provide greater security with their systems. The level of security with BlackBerry has been above most, but others are moving toward that and are achieving that," Lt. Col. Damien Pickart, a Department of Defense spokesperson said.

Finally, Google's Nexus 7 2 and Android 4.3 launch event is taking place right now. We've already got our hands on the Nexus 7 2's specs but the updated operating system remains a mystery. Check out our live coverage for all the juicy news.