Aggressive in-app advertising in Android – 10 minute mail

Recently, we’ve been noticing ever more dubious advertising libraries in popular apps on Google Play. The monetization methods used in such SDKs can pose a threat to users, yet they pull in more revenue for developers than whitelisted ad modules due to the greater number of views. In this post we will look into a few examples of suspicious-looking ad modules that we discovered in popular apps earlier this year.

One of the applications we researched was a popular app that allows users to ask questions anonymously. Integrated into the code of an earlier version of the app was the module com.haskfm.h5mob. Its task was to show intrusive advertising (in breach of the Google Play rules) when the user unlocked the phone.

Code for displaying ads when the screen is unlocked

In other words, the module can show ads whether the app is running or not. The ad can simply pop up on the main screen all on its own, causing a nuisance for the user. We passed our findings to the app developers, who promptly removed com.haskfm.h5mob. However, this module remains interesting from technical point of view.

In this application to receive advertising offers, the module connects to the C&C servers, whose addresses are encrypted in the app code.

Decrypting the C&C addresses

The C&C response contains the display parameters and the platforms used to receive ads.

The most interesting parameter here is appintset, which specifies the delay before displaying the first ad after installation of the app. In our example, it was set to 43.2 million milliseconds, or 12 hours. This delay makes it much harder for the user to find the culprit for all the ads that suddenly appear on the screen. Also, this technique is frequently used by cybercriminals to trick automatic protection mechanisms, such as sandboxes in app stores. The main parameters are followed by an extensive list of addresses of advertising providers with request parameters for receiving offers.

Earlier we detected a similar ad module in apps without a payload. For example, the code in the app com.android.ggtoolkit_tw_xd, which we detect as not-a-virus:AdWare.AndroidOS.Magic.a, contains the same features and is managed from the same C&C as the com.haskfm.h5mob module. However, this adware app has no graphical interface to speak of, is not displayed in the device’s app menu, and serves only to display intrusive ads as described above. It looks something like this: adware_in-app_video.mp4

While, as previously mentioned, the creators of the application described in the first example, promptly removed the ad module, not all Android developers are so conscientious. For example, the Cut – CutOut & Photo Background Editor app does not hesitate to treat users to a half-screen ad as soon as the smartphone is unlocked, regardless of whether the app is running or not.

Likewise the Fast Cleaner — Speed​Booster & Cleaner app.

In both apps, the library com.vision.lib handles the display of advertising.

Display of advertising

At the time of writing this article, the developers of both apps had not responded to our requests.

Note, however, that adware is not always about greed. Often, app developers are not versed in advertising SDKs and lack the necessary skills to test an integrated advertising library, and therefore may not fully understand what they are adding to their code. The danger for users here is that a dubious library could unexpectedly make its way into an app as part of a rank-and-file update. And it becomes extremely difficult to figure out which of a dozen recently updated apps is the source of intrusive advertising.

IOCs

MD5

1eeda6306a2b12f78902a1bc0b7a7961 – com.android.ggtoolkit_tw_xd
134283b8efedc3d7244ba1b3a52e4a92  – com.xprodev.cutcam
3aba867b8b91c17531e58a9054657e10 – com.powerd.cleaner

С&C

ti.domainforlite[.]com/st/hg
uu.domainforlite[.]com


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Insidious Android malware gives up all malicious features but one to gain stealth – 10 minute mail

ESET researchers detect a new way of misusing Accessibility Service, the Achilles’ heel of Android security

ESET researchers have analyzed an extremely dangerous Android app that can perform a host of nefarious actions, notably wiping out the victim’s bank account or cryptocurrency wallet and taking over their email or social media accounts. Called “DEFENSOR ID”, the banking trojan was available on Google Play at the time of the analysis. The app is fitted with standard information-stealing capabilities; however, this banker is exceptionally insidious in that after installation it requires a single action from the victim – enable Android’s Accessibility Service – to fully unleash the app’s malicious functionality.

The DEFENSOR ID app made it onto the heavily guarded Google Play store thanks to its extreme stealth. Its creators reduced the app’s malicious surface to the bare minimum by removing all potentially malicious functionalities but one: abusing Accessibility Service.

Accessibility Service is long known to be the Achilles’ heel of the Android operating system. Security solutions can detect it in countless combinations with other suspicious permissions and functions, or malicious functionalities – but when faced with no additional functionality nor permission, all failed to trigger any alarm on DEFENSOR ID.

By “all” we mean all security mechanisms guarding the official Android app store (including the detection engines of the members of the App Defense Alliance) and all security vendors participating in the VirusTotal program (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. According to the VirusTotal service, no security vendor detected the DEFENSOR ID app until it was pulled off the Play store

DEFENSOR ID was released on Feb 3, 2020 and last updated to v1.4 on May 6, 2020. The latest version is analyzed here; we weren’t able to determine if the earlier versions were also malicious. According to its profile at Google Play (see Figure 2) the app reached a mere 10+ downloads. We reported it to Google on May 16, 2020 and since May 19, 2020 the app has no longer been available on Google Play.

The developer name used, GAS Brazil, suggests the criminals behind the app targeted Brazilian users. Apart from including the country’s name, the app’s name is probably intended to imply a relationship with the antifraud solution named GAS Tecnologia. That security software is commonly installed on computers in Brazil as several banks require it to log into their online banking. However, there is also an English version of the DEFENSOR ID app (see Figure 3) besides the Portuguese one, and that app has neither geographical nor language restrictions.

Playing further off the suggested GAS Tecnologia link, the app promises better security for its users. The description in Portuguese promises more protection for the user’s applications, including end-to-end encryption. Deceptively, the app was listed in the Education section.

Figure 2. The DEFENSOR ID app on Google Play – Portuguese version (translates roughly as: “Your new Defensor app available for: / Individuals / Legal entities / From now on you will have more protection when using your applications, encryption for end-to-end users”)

Figure 3. The DEFENSOR ID app on Google Play – English version

Functionality

After starting, DEFENSOR ID requests the following permissions:

  • allow modify system settings
  • permit drawing over other apps, and
  • activate accessibility services.

If an unsuspecting user grants these permissions (see Figure 4), the trojan can read any text displayed in any app the user may launch – and send it to the attackers. This means the attackers can steal the victim’s credentials for logging into apps, SMS and email messages, displayed cryptocurrency private keys, and even software-generated 2FA codes.

The fact the trojan can steal both the victim’s credentials and can control also their SMS messages and generated 2FA codes means DEFENSOR ID’s operators can bypass two-factor authentication. This opens the door to, for example, fully controlling the victim’s bank account.

To make sure the trojan survives a device restart, it abuses already activated accessibility services that will launch the trojan right after start.


 

Figure 4. The permission requests by DEFENSOR ID

Our analysis shows the DEFENSOR ID trojan can execute 17 commands received from the attacker-controlled server such as uninstalling an app, launching an app and then performing any click/tap action controlled remotely by the attacker (see Figure 5).

Figure 5. The list of commands DEFENSOR ID may get from its C&C server

In 2018, we saw similar behavior, but all the click actions were hardcoded and suited only for the app of the attacker’s choice. In this case, the attacker can get the list of all installed apps and then remotely launch the victim’s app of their choice to either steal credentials or perform malicious actions (e.g. send funds via a wire transfer).

We believe that this is the reason the DEFENSOR ID trojan requests the user to allow “Modify system settings”. Subsequently, the malware will change the screen off time-out to 10 minutes. This means that, unless victims lock their devices via the hardware button, the timer provides plenty of time for the malware to remotely perform malicious, in-app operations.

If the device gets locked, the malware can’t unlock it.

Malware data leak

When we analyzed the sample, we realized that the malware operators left the remote database with some of the victims’ data freely accessible, without any authentication. The database contained the last activity performed on around 60 compromised devices. We found no other information stolen from the victims to be accessible.

Thanks to this data leak, we were able to confirm that the malware really worked as designed: the attacker had access to the victims’ entered credentials, displayed or written emails and messages, etc.

Once we reached the non-secured database, we were able to directly observe the app’s malicious behavior. To illustrate the level of threat the DEFENSOR ID app posed, we performed three tests.

First, we launched a banking app and entered the credentials there. The credentials were immediately available in the leaky database – see Figure 6.

Figure 6. The banking app test: the credentials as entered (left) and as available in the database (right)

Second, we wrote a test message in an email client. We saw the message uploaded to the attackers’ server within a second – see Figure 7.

Figure 7. The email message test: the message as written (left) and as available in the database (right)

Third, we documented the trojan retrieving the Google Authenticator 2FA code.

Figure 8. The software generated 2FA code as it appeared on the device’s display (left) and as available in the database (right)

Along with the malicious DEFENSOR ID app, another malicious app named Defensor Digital was discovered. Both apps shared the same C&C server, but we couldn’t investigate the latter as it had already been removed from the Google Play store.

Indicators of Compromise (IoCs)

Package Name Hash ESET detection name
com.secure.protect.world F17AEBC741957AA21CFE7C7D7BAEC0900E863F61 Android/Spy.BanBra.A
com.brazil.android.free EA069A5C96DC1DB0715923EB68192FD325F3D3CE Android/Spy.BanBra.A

MITRE ATT&CK techniques

Tactic ID Name Description
Initial Access    T1475 Deliver Malicious App via Authorized App Store Impersonates security app on Google Play.
T1444 Masquerade as Legitimate Application Impersonates legitimate GAS Tecnologia application.
Discovery T1418 Application Discovery Sends list of installed apps on device.  
Impact   T1516 Input Injection Can enter text and perform clicks on behalf of user.
Collection T1417 Input Capture Records user input data.
Command and Control T1437 Standard Application Layer Protocol Uses Firebase Cloud Messaging for C&C.



Lukas Stefanko


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Google Adding Dark Mode Support to Google Search App for iOS and Android

Google is adding Dark Mode support to its Google Search apps for iOS and Android, with the new feature to begin rolling out tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time.



Google says that it wants to give search app users more options to customize their Search experience, and when ‌Dark Mode‌ is enabled on Android 10 and iOS 13, the Search app will be displayed in ‌Dark Mode‌. The same goes for Light Mode, with the feature following the overall system settings.

‌Dark Mode‌ can also be enabled or disabled using the Google app settings on iOS and Android, which enables ‌Dark Mode‌ for iOS 12 users as well as ‌iOS 13‌ users.

Dark mode is rolling out on Tuesday, and Google says that it will be available to everyone throughout the week.

Tags: Google, Dark Mode

This article, “Google Adding Dark Mode Support to Google Search App for iOS and Android” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Hackers Exploit Ad Networks to Launch Phishing Attacks against Android Users – Disposable mail news


The hackers are exploiting mobile ad networks that take the android users to malicious websites. After this, hackers can either steal personal user information or attack the victim’s Android device with spams.

The Google play store has more than 400 apps that come with ads as a means to generate money for app developers. But recently, the hackers are exploiting these ad networks with the help of an SDK (Software Development Kit). The SDKs help app developers earn money, and the hackers are inserting code to attack the ad network.

According to the research done by Wandera, which is a mobile security firm, the hackers send domain and URLs to the users via the ads. The distribution systems are called Startapp, that allows the hackers to swamp the android device with spams and malicious websites. Startapp isn’t responsible for any of the malicious content distributed. However, it is funded by a few agencies that distribute its malicious content. Startapp hasn’t responded to the questions of its involvement in this cyberattack. “Our researchers wanted to explore a service that wasn’t associated with a single well-known advertiser, such as Google or Facebook, so they took a closer look at the framework from StartApp, which would presumably provide app developers with ads from a wider variety of advertising networks,” says Wandera’ research report.

It also says that more than 90% of the distributed through the Startapp framework originate from a single ad provider.  Wandera, however, didn’t identify the provider’s name, but Cyberscoop has identified it as “AdSalsa.” AdSalsa is a digital marketing firm that operates from Spain and is responsible for ads that direct users to these malicious websites.

“We help app publishers and developers turn their apps into successful businesses by using advanced data insights to identify relevant campaigns across direct and programmatic channels for each publisher’s unique users. Over 400,000 apps have already integrated our lightweight, easy to incorporate advertising SDK. When combined with our mediation options, you can begin earning revenue from your apps in minutes,” says StartApp on its website.  Experts at Wandera found 700 apps on Google play store using StartApp’s SDK feature. Google, however, has removed 47% of these SDKs, according to Wandera.

The exploitation of this advertising, which has now become malvertising, is creating problems for the app developers to secure their apps.


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Lucy: A File Encryption Android Malware that for Ransomware Operations – Disposable mail news


A malware that attacks Android smartphones has increased its Maas (malware-as-a-service) operations with file encryption capabilities to carry out ransomware attacks.

The malware, according to cybersecurity experts, is called “Lucy.” The Lucy gang is a group of Russian hackers who became famous two years ago by launching the Black Rose Lucy service, a malware that allowed Botnet attacks on android smartphones.

According to Checkpoint Research, “Because the Android accessibility service can mimic a user’s on-screen click, this is the crucial element for Black Rose to carry out malicious activities. Once the accessibility service is enabled, Black Rose can quickly shuffle through screens to grant itself device admin privileges.” 

The Lucy service allows its users to attach files on vulnerable devices, which ask for $500 as a ransom in the browser window. The message says that it comes from the FBI, and the user must pay the ransom because he is found guilty of storing adult content on his android smartphone.

The FBI note here aims to frighten the victims into paying the ransom to hackers. The hackers demanding payment from their victims based on legal consequences is blackmail, as it is entirely unethical. The victims are blackmailed for storing pornographic content and visiting adult websites.

To make the ransom more serious and believing, the hackers say that they have the victim’s photograph and location, which they have posted on the FBI’s criminal investigation website. The ransom should be paid within three days of the notification, if not, the penalty triples, says the message warning.

It may sound strange, but the hackers don’t demand cryptocurrency payments. Instead, they ask for credit card credentials, which is odd because, in most of the cases, the ransom is asked in terms of cryptocurrency as it is easy to cash in.

According to Check Point Research’s 2010 data, “The Black Rose dropper family samples we acquired disguise either as an Android system upgrade or image files. Samples primarily leverage Android’s accessibility service to install their payload without any user interaction and forge an interesting self-protection mechanism.


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Top 10 Best General Knowledge Android Apps – 10 minute mail

In the 21st Century of Technology, there are lots of things which can change day to day life (Almost 90% of the things) and that what we carry on our hand and guess what’s that? Yes! that is an Android smartphone. This single device is very useful if it comes in knowledge field. Besides hacking itechhacks going to share some general knowledge apps to increase your brainpower. Like we already wrote about English apps for Android. – Best General Knowledge Android Apps

15 Best General Knowledge Android Apps
15 Best General Knowledge Android Apps

In the same way, to boost general knowledge there are many android apps. With the help of these apps, the student can study even when they are out of the home,  traveling and even when they have no books for study. General knowledge apps for android save the cost of buying hard books.

Top 10 Best General Knowledge Android Apps


In this article, we are trying to serve you the best top 15 GK Android apps which will help you to learn many latest things happens in the world.

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#1. iProf Study Buddy.

iprof-study-buddyiProf is an amazing android app that provides more than 35000 courses in each and every field. You can download and start your course. It provides a course for GK, programming languages, maths, physics, chemistry, computer software, etc. It is another good option to choose in all general knowledge apps for android. Approximately 5 million users download this App. It requires Android 4.0 and higher version. It is one app for all types of courses.

download-from-playstore#2. General Knowledge.

general-knowledgeIt is one of the best in all android GK apps available on Google Play store for Free. It provides 32000 plus general knowledge Questions. One of its best features is that it does not require an internet connection. In this App, you can continue from the current question where you leave later or you can directly jump to that question. It requires Android 2.2 or other higher versions. Approximately 1 million users install this App.

download-from-playstore

#3. Daily Current Affairs And GK.

Daily current affairs app iconDaily current affairs app icon is another popular in list of general knowledge app for android, which also provides you the Current Affairs on daily Bases. It provides general knowledge in Hindi and English. It also gives you a practice of multiple choice question papers. It enables us to check our progress on a daily basis and we can also check our weak and strong areas. Approximately 1 million users download this App.download-from-playstore

#5. Daily Hunt.

daily-huntdaily-huntDaily Hunt is another popular in all general knowledge apps for android, which provides useful information About the daily news and current Affairs. It supports many different languages. It also provides e-books, daily news on a regular basis. one user can also select many different languages. It is one of the best ways to increase general knowledge. It requires Android 2.0 and higher versions. Approximately 50 million users download these Apps.

download-from-playstore

#6. GK India.

GK india app iiconGK India app iiconGK India is one of the best General Knowledge App about India. It is available on Google Play store for free. It is best suitable for those users who prepare the GK test for Indian Govt jobs like Railway, Army, Navy, etc. It requires Android 2.0 or other higher versions.This App contains more than 3000 general knowledge questions. Approximately 5 lacks of users download this App.

download-from-playstore

#7. Wikipedia

wikipediaWikipedia is one of the most popular non-profit encyclopediae. It is also available on google play store for free. It provides general knowledge about all the world. It contains 32 million articles in 280 different languages. It also shows the location which is in the article on Google Maps. It also provides searching for facilities and picks description from wiki data. It requires Android 4.0 and a higher version of Android. Approximately 50 million users download these Apps.

download-from-playstore

#8. Aptitude Test And Preparation.

Aptitude Test and Preparation Android AppsAptitude Test and Preparation Android Apps. It is one of the awesome aptitude test and general knowledge app which is available on Google Play store for free. It enables us to select questions in different categories. Questions are added on a regular basis. It is best suitable for engineering and medical students. It also includes a logical reasoning questions with detailed descriptions and formulas. Approximately 1 million users download this App.

download-from-playstore

Wrap Up: These are the best general knowledge apps for android, where we easily access the latest current affairs and all stuff to boost awareness. if you know more general knowledge apps then do comment below and let me know I’ll add it on the list of top 10 Best General Knowledge Android Apps. Don’t forget to share this article.

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Google Doubling Down On Efforts to Protect Android Users – Disposable mail news

With the rise in the in-application subscription scams on Android, Google subsequently announced the introduction of new Play Store policies intended to forestall such scams in the near future.

The American multinational technology additionally pledged to provide Android users with direct assistance in the form of notifications when a trial is going to turn into a paid subscription, or a subscription is going to renew consequently.

The new policies announced that demand application developers offer clear info about the obligations associated with subscription models and free trials, and provide a simple and easy way through which users can cancel subscriptions.

These latest policies are a small part of a more extensive Google campaign, aimed especially at ensuring the privacy and security of Android users.

The newly announced policies focus mostly on fleeceware, a form of application that ‘manipulates’ trial periods and membership models to defraud victims. This kind of application usually burdens the user with complex terms and conditions, further enshrouding unjustifiable subscription commitments.

As a component of the new prerequisites, developers must distinguish with enough clarity between features accessible free of cost and those accessible only to paying subscribers.

Thus, Google will convey an admonition to users when a free trial is set to end or when a subscription longer than three months is because of turn over.

The firm will likewise give warnings if a user endeavors to uninstall an application attached to an on-going subscription.

The new policies are said to take effect on June 16, so users should take particular consideration whenever handling of in-application subscriptions on Android in the meantime.

Apart from this, the company took the initiative to remind developers that its new assessment procedure will produce results in August, which will require developers to gain approval from Google before requesting location data from the end-user.

Further Play Store ‘tweaks’ are likewise in the pipeline, which will reportedly address issues related to illusive content and applications.


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Biometric Data Exposure Vulnerability in OnePlus 7 Pro Android Phones Highlighted TEE Issues – Disposable mail news

In July 2019, London based Synopsys Cybersecurity Research Center discovered a vulnerability in OnePlus 7 Pro devices manufactured by Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus. The flaw that could have been exploited by hackers to obtain users’ fingerprints was patched by the company with a firmware update it pushed in the month of January this year. As per the findings, the flaw wasn’t an easy one to be exploited but researchers pointed out the possibility of a bigger threat in regard to TEEs and TAs.

Synopsys CyRC’s analysis of the vulnerability referred as CV toE-2020-7958, states that it could have resulted in the exposure of OnePlus 7 pro users’ biometric data. The critical flaw would have allowed authors behind malicious android applications with root privileges to obtain users’ bitmap fingerprint images from the device’s Trusted Execution Environment (TEE), a technique designed to protect sensitive user information by keeping the Android device’s content secure against illicit access.

As it has become increasingly complex for malicious applications to acquire root privileges on Android devices, the exploitation of the flaw would have been an arduous task and might also be an unlikely one given the complexity of the successful execution. Meanwhile, the fix has been made available for months now–
ensuring the protection of the users.

However, the issue with Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs) and Trusted Applications (TAs) remains the major highlight of Synopsys’s advisory released on Tuesday, “Upon obtaining root privileges in the REE [Rich Execution Environment], it becomes possible to directly communicate with the factory testing APIs exposed by Trusted Applications (TAs) running in the TEE. This attacker invokes a sequence of commands to obtain raw fingerprint images in the REE,” it read.

While explaining the matter, Travis Biehn, principal consultant at Synopsys, told, “Of course, people’s fingerprints don’t usually change. As attackers become successful in retrieving and building large datasets of people’s fingerprints, the usefulness of naïve fingerprint recognition in any application as a security control is permanently diminished,”

“A further possible consequence is that fingerprints become less trustworthy as evidence in our justice systems.”

“…this vulnerability shows that there’there are challenges with Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs) and Trusted Applications (TAs); these are software components that are opaque to most (by design), expertise is limited, and typically involve long supply chains. These factors together mean there’there are opportunities for organizations to make a mistake, and hard for security experts to catch at the right time,” he further added.

The flaw would have allowed attackers to recreate the targeted user’s complete fingerprint and then use it to generate a counterfeit fingerprint that further would have assisted them in accessing other devices relying upon biometric authentication.


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Android users may face hacker attacks under the guise of applications about coronavirus – Disposable mail news

Cybercriminals attack users of Android mobile devices using malicious applications disguised as legitimate information software about the new COVID-19 coronavirus infection. After installing the malicious app, the hacker gained control of the victim’s Android device through access to calls, SMS, calendar, files, contacts, microphone, and camera.

Hackers continue to exploit people’s fear of spreading the virus: malicious applications were found by experts on sites with domains associated with the coronavirus. Researchers have not yet discovered such applications on the Google Play Store.

Experts report that the apps were created using the Metasploit tool used for penetration testing. This software allows anyone with basic computer knowledge to create malicious applications in just 15 minutes: it’s enough to configure Metasploit for your goal, select the exploit and payload.

Such applications can easily gain control of the device. After launching on a device running on the Android operating system, the application hides the icon from the screen so that it is more difficult to detect and remove it.

Vasily Diaghilev, head of Check Point Software Technologies representative office in Russia and the CIS, says that in the current situation, the most alarming thing is how quickly and easily malicious applications can be created and reminds us of the need to follow the rules of digital hygiene.

Check Point researchers previously reported that more than 30,103 new coronavirus-related domains were registered in the past few weeks, of which 0.4% (131) were malicious and 9% (2,777) were suspicious. In total, since January 2020, more than 51 thousand domains associated with the coronavirus have been registered.


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Apple and Google Partner on COVID-19 Contact Tracing Technology to Be Added to iPhone and Android Smartphones

Apple and Google today announced a joint effort that will see them using Bluetooth technology to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.



Apple says that user privacy and security will be central to the design of the project.

Since COVID-19 can be transmitted through close proximity to affected individuals, public health officials have identified contact tracing as a valuable tool to help contain its spread. A number of leading public health authorities, universities, and NGOs around the world have been doing important work to develop opt-in contact tracing technology. To further this cause, Apple and Google will be launching a comprehensive solution that includes application programming interfaces (APIs) and operating system-level technology to assist in enabling contact tracing. Given the urgent need, the plan is to implement this solution in two steps while maintaining strong protections around user privacy.

Starting in May, Apple and Google will release APIs that enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities. These apps will be available for users to download from the iOS App Store and Google Play.

In the coming months, Google and Apple will work to enable a broader Bluetooth-baed contact tracing platform by building this functionality into their underlying platforms.

Apple says that this solution is more robust than an API and will allow more individuals to participate, if they choose to opt in, and it will enable interaction with a broader ecosystem of apps and government health authorities.

Tag: COVID-19 Coronavirus

This article, “Apple and Google Partner on COVID-19 Contact Tracing Technology to Be Added to iPhone and Android Smartphones” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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