Android phones have been hit by a malware called Judy

Android robotImage

More than 36 million Android devices may have been infected with ad-click malware, a security firm has said.

Researchers at Check Point said they found the malware, dubbed Judy, on about 50 apps in Google’s Play Store.

The apps contain code that sends infected devices to a target webpage, where they generate fraudulent clicks on the site’s adverts to make money for its creators.

The infected apps have been removed from the Play Store.

More than 40 of the apps were from the South Korean developer, Kiniwini, which publishes games to the Play Store under the name Enistudio.

The games, all of which feature a character called Judy, have been downloaded between four million and 18 million times.

‘Hid undetected’

The malicious code was also found in several apps from other developers.

“It is possible that one borrowed code from the other, knowingly or unknowingly,” said Check Point.

Between them, the infected apps may have been downloaded up to 36.5 million times.

Check Point said it did not know for how long the malicious versions of the apps had been available, but all the Judy games had been updated since March this year.

Screen grab of Chef Judy game on the Play StoreImage copyrightCHECK POINT
Image captionThe malware has been named after the main character in the affected games

The oldest of the apps from other developers was last updated in April 2016, which Check Point suggested, means that “the malicious code hid for a long time on the Play Store undetected”.

Because it is unclear when the code was introduced to each of the apps, the actual number of devices likely to have been infected is unknown.

Ad clicks

The apps got past the Play Store’s protection system, Google Bouncer, because they do not contain the malicious part of the Judy code.

Once downloaded, the apps silently register the device to a remote server, which responds by sending back the malicious ad-click software to open a hidden website and generate revenue for the site by clicking on the adverts.

This kind of delivery “has become commonplace”, Andrew Smith, a senior lecturer in Networking at the Open University, told the BBC.

“There are many tools available, and the advantage is that the malware distributor can change them remotely, which makes it difficult for anti-malware software to keep up.”

The apps also display numerous adverts themselves, some of which cannot be closed until a user has clicked on them.

​Reddit adds post geotagging through Foursquare

While Twitter is a social network but wants to become your go-to messaging service, Reddit is basically the 21st century incarnation of a huge online forum – one that really seems to want to become a social network. The “front page of the internet” is adding new features left and right to help achieve that (wise?) goal. Profile pages are being revamped, for example.

And now a new partnership with Foursquare has been announced. This lets users geotag their posts with a location or a venue, thus providing more (though not necessarily useful) context for everything that goes up on Reddit.
This should already be available today. The Foursquare API is used to make the geotagging possible. It’s an opt-in feature, so if you don’t care for it you can just ignore it and go about your day as you normally would. As with competing social networks’ tagging features, if you choose to use the functionality you’ll be given a list of nearby places to pick from, and you can also search for a specific location. Redditors are being assured that neither Foursquare nor Reddit will store or share that data if you never select a location.

​YouTube for Android officially gets bottom navigation bar

Ever since September 2016 YouTube has been testing a new UI for its Android app. This has gone through a few different iterations throughout the testing phase, and today it’s finally ready to officially make it to every single user of YouTube for Android.

The main new thing you’ll see once the update goes live for you is a bottom navigation bar. This features clearly labeled tabs, so you no longer have to wonder what you’re about to tap on. It’s also visible on all pages (except when watching videos).

Account and Library are now separate sections, making it simpler to find what you want. Your videos (playlists, watch history, uploads) reside within Library, while Account and Settings can be reached from your profile icon at the top.

Additionally, the app now remembers where you left off in each tab, and when you go back you can easily pick up from there.

​Intel’s upcoming 8th generation Core processors will have 30% better performance

Theinsane 18-core i9 processorsin the new Core X series are not everything that Intel has revealed today. The company has also outed an important detail about its upcoming 8th generation Core CPUs for the mainstream. These will become available in the second half of this year, as successors to the currently selling7th generation Core SKUs.

Intel says the next generation chips will perform up to 30% better than the ones out today, at least in some circumstances and for some use cases.

The company has seen such a boost in SYSmark 2014 version 1.5, and the quoted improvement applies only to the 15W U-series processors. Intel pitted a 7th generation Core i7-7500U CPU (two cores, four threads, 2.7-3.5GHz clock speed) against an unnamed next generation chip with four cores, eight threads, and 4GHz maximum clock speed in order to achieve the aforementioned result.

Like the 6th and 7th generation Core processors, the 8th generation models will also be built using a 14nm process, but a “refined iteration” nevertheless. The new 8th gen architecture is codenamed Coffee Lake.

​WD and SanDisk unveil new SSDs starts at $100 for 250GB

Western Digital and its subsidiary SanDisk revealed new SSDs using 64-layer 3D NAND memory. They start at an affordable $100 for the 250GB model and going all the way up to 2TB. They are nearly identical, except that the WD drives come in 2.5/7mm and m.2 2280 form factors, while the SanDisk is available only in 2.5 flavor.

Both SSD models are based on a Marvell controller and the higher capacities should offer 560MB/s sequential read, 550MB/s sequential write, also 95K/84K IOPS in random read/write. The base 250GB model is a bit slower, though not by much.

The drives are available in 250GB, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities and will be available in the third quarter of this year, starting at $100 for the 250GB model. Prices for the higher capacities haven’t been announced yet. Theprevious generation Blue SSDoffered 1TB for $300. Anyway, the new drives all have a 3-year warranty and are rated at 1.75 million hours

​Twitter has started filtering DMs from people you don’t follow

For a very long time Twitter’s been trying to make its Direct Messages (DM) functionality into a person-to-person messaging system that people will actually use on a daily basis. You know, like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. Given that it hasn’t yet shared usage numbers just for this feature, we assume it hasn’t succeeded yet. That, however, isn’t stopping it from adding ever more improvements to the DM system.

Case in point: today, the company announced a change in how some DMs are handled. If you have opted in to get DMs from anyone (and not just people you follow, which is the default), then those messages you get from the people you aren’t following will go into Requests, a new part of the Messages tab. This will include new group conversations you’re part of.

If you’ve opted-in to get Direct Messages from anyone, messages from people you don’t follow will go into requests.

— Twitter (@Twitter)May 30, 2017

Once you’re in that section of the app, you’re able to either delete or accept any such inbound messages. Those who’ve sent you DMs will not know if you’ve seen them or not until you choose the “accept” option. You also need to pick that before you can watch media sent through such a DM, though alternatively you can opt to reveal the media prior to accepting the message. Note that deleting one DM from a user will not stop that person from DMing you again in the future – the block function should be used to achieve this effect instead.

​Instagram adds location and hashtag Stories in the Explore section

Over the past few months or so, Instagram has been relentlessly adding new features almost every week. Sure, most of those have been’inspired’ by Snapchat, but it’s still interesting to note how it doesn’t seem to want to slow down in this respect.

Case in point: today the Facebook-owned social network has added two more features – location and hashtag Stories can now be found in the Explore section.
When you enter the Explore tab, you’ll see a Story ring at the top, showcasing Stories that are happening near you. These come from people who have used location stickers. When you search for any location in the world, the Story ring will be there at the top too – with the best Stories happening in that spot.

Hashtag Stories are coming to Explore too. These will help you easily find Stories that are related to your interests – or any specific hashtag, really. So when you search for a hashtag, a Story ring might be at the top of the page, filled with Stories that use that hashtag. These are created by people who have used location hashtags in their Stories.
If your Story is shown in such a way, a line at the top of your Stories viewer will tell you how many people saw it. If you want to use location or hashtag stickers but don’t want your Story to appear in Explore, just tap the X in your Stories viewer list.

Location Stories are available in Explore starting with Instagram version 10.22, which is now rolling out through theiTunes App Store for iOSandGoogle Play Store for Android. Hashtag Stories in Explore will be landing in the coming weeks.