Thursday, July 11, 2019

“Google adds an 8-bit Wimbledon Easter egg game in Search - 9to5Google” plus 2 more

“Google adds an 8-bit Wimbledon Easter egg game in Search - 9to5Google” plus 2 more


Google adds an 8-bit Wimbledon Easter egg game in Search - 9to5Google

Posted: 11 Jul 2019 05:16 AM PDT

Wimbledon is not only just one of the most classically British events, but it's also one of the biggest sporting events on the planet. Which is why Google has added a neat little 8-bit Wimbledon Easter egg game that you can play right now in Search.

Even if you're not a massive fan of tennis, you really owe it to yourself to give this Wimbledon game a try. The tiny randomized characters whack the ball over the static net in a sort of portrait Pong-style clone that gives you points for the returns you make.  I have seen luchadores, cats, astronauts, dogs, and even an Android in full pixel art glory.

It's as easy as swiping left or right on your mobile or pressing your right and left arrow keys on a laptop or desktop browser. The more returns you make, the faster and harder it gets. On desktop the controls are much easier and less "loose."

The Wimbledon tournament finishes by July 14, so we don't anticipate this neat little time killer to stay around for much longer afterwards, if at all. Originally shared by Google UK on Twitter (via Android Police), we wonder if many people are finding the game by chance?

To enjoy this little Google-made Wimbledon Easter egg, search for "Wimbledon" on Google, then swipe right on the results and fixtures section until you see a small pixel art tennis ball. Then select that and you're good to go.

To be honest, as an Englishman, when I think of Wimbledon, I think of the infamous Crazy Gang and Vinnie Jones rather than tennis, but this is a quaint little 8-bit game that isn't too difficult to blast a few minutes away. Let us know your high scores in the comments section below; the highest I've achieved so far is a pitiful 17.

More on Google:


Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:

The top 10 Google searches of 2018 - Business Insider

Posted: 16 Dec 2018 12:00 AM PST

As 2018 draws to a close, Google is looking back on the top searches of the year.

Google narrows down the top-trending searches in the world over the past 12 months, terms that had the highest spike in traffic this year compared with 2017. These are not necessarily the terms that were searched the most often.

The year has been rife with tragedy — with the high-profile deaths of Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, and several others. But 2018 also brought a royal wedding and an exciting World Cup.

Here are the top-trending Google searches of 2018:

A New Android Malware Affects 25 Million Smartphones. Here's What You Need to Know About the Dangers of Open Systems - Inc.

Posted: 11 Jul 2019 05:08 AM PDT

An Israeli security company says that a new malware it calls "Agent Smith," replaces good apps on your Android device with versions that serve up ads in a profit-making scam. The security company, Check Point, says that the malware "currently uses its broad access to the device's resources to show fraudulent ads for financial gain." 

The researchers went on to say that this malware "could easily be used for far more intrusive and harmful purposes, such as banking credential theft."

That means that ads could, at least theoretically, be designed to mimic elements of the user interface in an attempt to obtain passwords, payment information, or other personal information.

In fact, the researchers say that "with the ability to hide its icon from the launcher and hijack popular existing apps on a device, there are endless possibilities to harm a user's digital [or] even physical security. Today this malware shows unwanted ads, tomorrow it could steal sensitive information; from private messages to banking credentials and much more."

To date, the researchers say that the malicious apps, traced to an internet company based in China, have affected users of third-party app stores in countries like India, though some U.S. users have reportedly been infected as well. 

The apps take advantage of several loopholes in Android, some of which have been patched but require users to update their OS and/or apps to take advantage of added protection.

Before I get to the part where you find out whether your device is infected, and what to do about it, let's talk for a minute about those third-party app stores and open systems.

Open versus closed systems.

One of the complaints about Apple, for example, is that, as a closed system, the company controls the device, the operating system, and the app store. Anyone can build an app for the iPhone, but in order to get it on the device, you have to follow Apple's rules and get their approval. 

That's not necessarily true with many Android app stores, meaning that users are increasingly at risk for this type of attack since Google doesn't dictate what developers can or can't do with Android apps. 

Even Google's own app download store, Google Play, isn't immune. A report this week from another firm, CSIS Security Group, says that a malicious app called Updates from Samsung was downloaded 10 million times before Google finally pulled it from the store. 

In that case, the app, which was presumably meant to provide updates for your device, would attempt to trick users into paying for what would otherwise have been free.

Say what you want about Apple's lockdown approach, but it's hard to argue that a model that puts users at risk for these types of attacks is better for consumers overall. Since Apple serves as the gatekeeper and has a financial incentive for keeping malware off of iOS devices, as a result, far fewer of these types of attacks have occurred.

How to know if you've been affected and what to do.

That said, you're probably wondering how to tell if your device has been infected by this most recent malware, especially since the malicious app does have an icon that appears on the home screen.

If something seems off, like perhaps you open an app like WhatsApp that doesn't normally show ads but you see strange ads, you could be infected. Or if you're regularly using third-party app stores like 9Apps, which is especially common in the areas of highest infection, you should take steps to protect yourself.

In that case, you'll need to search for apps with strange names like "Google Updater" or "Google Update for U." If you find those, delete them immediately, and then make sure that you are using the most current version of Android for your device. Once you've completed those steps, you should make sure you are running the most up-to-date version of your apps as well.

Finally, it's probably a wise idea to stay away from shady app download stores that don't offer the same level of protection as Google Play. It might also be time to reconsider whether the supposed benefits of an open system are worth the security risk. 

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

“Google adds an 8-bit Wimbledon Easter egg game in Search - 9to5Google” plus 2 more


Google adds an 8-bit Wimbledon Easter egg game in Search - 9to5Google

Posted: 11 Jul 2019 05:16 AM PDT

Wimbledon is not only just one of the most classically British events, but it's also one of the biggest sporting events on the planet. Which is why Google has added a neat little 8-bit Wimbledon Easter egg game that you can play right now in Search.

Even if you're not a massive fan of tennis, you really owe it to yourself to give this Wimbledon game a try. The tiny randomized characters whack the ball over the static net in a sort of portrait Pong-style clone that gives you points for the returns you make.  I have seen luchadores, cats, astronauts, dogs, and even an Android in full pixel art glory.

It's as easy as swiping left or right on your mobile or pressing your right and left arrow keys on a laptop or desktop browser. The more returns you make, the faster and harder it gets. On desktop the controls are much easier and less "loose."

The Wimbledon tournament finishes by July 14, so we don't anticipate this neat little time killer to stay around for much longer afterwards, if at all. Originally shared by Google UK on Twitter (via Android Police), we wonder if many people are finding the game by chance?

To enjoy this little Google-made Wimbledon Easter egg, search for "Wimbledon" on Google, then swipe right on the results and fixtures section until you see a small pixel art tennis ball. Then select that and you're good to go.

To be honest, as an Englishman, when I think of Wimbledon, I think of the infamous Crazy Gang and Vinnie Jones rather than tennis, but this is a quaint little 8-bit game that isn't too difficult to blast a few minutes away. Let us know your high scores in the comments section below; the highest I've achieved so far is a pitiful 17.

More on Google:


Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:

The top 10 Google searches of 2018 - Business Insider

Posted: 16 Dec 2018 12:00 AM PST

As 2018 draws to a close, Google is looking back on the top searches of the year.

Google narrows down the top-trending searches in the world over the past 12 months, terms that had the highest spike in traffic this year compared with 2017. These are not necessarily the terms that were searched the most often.

The year has been rife with tragedy — with the high-profile deaths of Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, and several others. But 2018 also brought a royal wedding and an exciting World Cup.

Here are the top-trending Google searches of 2018:

A New Android Malware Affects 25 Million Smartphones. Here's What You Need to Know About the Dangers of Open Systems - Inc.

Posted: 11 Jul 2019 05:08 AM PDT

An Israeli security company says that a new malware it calls "Agent Smith," replaces good apps on your Android device with versions that serve up ads in a profit-making scam. The security company, Check Point, says that the malware "currently uses its broad access to the device's resources to show fraudulent ads for financial gain." 

The researchers went on to say that this malware "could easily be used for far more intrusive and harmful purposes, such as banking credential theft."

That means that ads could, at least theoretically, be designed to mimic elements of the user interface in an attempt to obtain passwords, payment information, or other personal information.

In fact, the researchers say that "with the ability to hide its icon from the launcher and hijack popular existing apps on a device, there are endless possibilities to harm a user's digital [or] even physical security. Today this malware shows unwanted ads, tomorrow it could steal sensitive information; from private messages to banking credentials and much more."

To date, the researchers say that the malicious apps, traced to an internet company based in China, have affected users of third-party app stores in countries like India, though some U.S. users have reportedly been infected as well. 

The apps take advantage of several loopholes in Android, some of which have been patched but require users to update their OS and/or apps to take advantage of added protection.

Before I get to the part where you find out whether your device is infected, and what to do about it, let's talk for a minute about those third-party app stores and open systems.

Open versus closed systems.

One of the complaints about Apple, for example, is that, as a closed system, the company controls the device, the operating system, and the app store. Anyone can build an app for the iPhone, but in order to get it on the device, you have to follow Apple's rules and get their approval. 

That's not necessarily true with many Android app stores, meaning that users are increasingly at risk for this type of attack since Google doesn't dictate what developers can or can't do with Android apps. 

Even Google's own app download store, Google Play, isn't immune. A report this week from another firm, CSIS Security Group, says that a malicious app called Updates from Samsung was downloaded 10 million times before Google finally pulled it from the store. 

In that case, the app, which was presumably meant to provide updates for your device, would attempt to trick users into paying for what would otherwise have been free.

Say what you want about Apple's lockdown approach, but it's hard to argue that a model that puts users at risk for these types of attacks is better for consumers overall. Since Apple serves as the gatekeeper and has a financial incentive for keeping malware off of iOS devices, as a result, far fewer of these types of attacks have occurred.

How to know if you've been affected and what to do.

That said, you're probably wondering how to tell if your device has been infected by this most recent malware, especially since the malicious app does have an icon that appears on the home screen.

If something seems off, like perhaps you open an app like WhatsApp that doesn't normally show ads but you see strange ads, you could be infected. Or if you're regularly using third-party app stores like 9Apps, which is especially common in the areas of highest infection, you should take steps to protect yourself.

In that case, you'll need to search for apps with strange names like "Google Updater" or "Google Update for U." If you find those, delete them immediately, and then make sure that you are using the most current version of Android for your device. Once you've completed those steps, you should make sure you are running the most up-to-date version of your apps as well.

Finally, it's probably a wise idea to stay away from shady app download stores that don't offer the same level of protection as Google Play. It might also be time to reconsider whether the supposed benefits of an open system are worth the security risk. 

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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