Between an industry-wide push to encrypt all web traffic and the newfound popularity of secure chat apps, it’s been a boom time for online privacy. Virtual private networks, which shield your web traffic from prying eyes, have rightly garnered more attention as well.
BETWEEN AN INDUSTRY-WIDE push to encrypt all web traffic and the newfound popularity of secure chat apps, it’s been a boom time for online privacy. Virtual private networks, which shield your web traffic from prying eyes, have rightly garnered more attention as well. But before you use a VPN to hide your online shopping from the IT department at your company—or help protect yourself from state surveillance—know that not all mobile VPNs are created equal. In fact, some are actively harmful.
“These days, many people know what a VPN is and what they can do with one,” says Kevin Du, a computer security researcher at Syracuse University and IEEE senior member. “Not many people know what a bad or flawed VPN can do to their devices, because they don’t know how VPN works.”
VPNs have been around for years, as have their attending trust issues. But while previously VPN enthusiasts were mostly a core base of desktop users, the mobile boom and app store accessibility has created an explosion in mobile VPN offerings. And while some are genuinely looking to offer security and privacy services, plenty do more harm than good.
In a recent in-depth analysis of 283 mobile VPNs on the Google Play Store from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, researchers found significant privacy and security limitations in a majority of the services. Eighteen percent of the mobile VPNs tested created private network “tunnels” for traffic to move through, but didn’t encrypt them at all, exposing user traffic to eavesdropping or man-in-the-middle attacks. Put another way, almost a fifth of the apps in the sample didn’t offer the level of security that’s basically the entire point of VPNs.
Read the rest at wired.com
Amid complaints that Google Play is always switching on GPS, it appears Google has made it impossible to prevent the app store from tracking your whereabouts unless you completely kill off location tracking for all applications.
If you’re not keen on this, the options are not great: you can either delete Google Maps and/or Google Play, or you have to repeatedly turn your phone’s location services on and off as required throughout the day, which is extremely irritating.
“Kind of defeats the purpose of fine-grained privacy controls,” Al-Bassam noted, adding: “Google is encouraging developers to use the Play location API instead of the native Android API, making an open OS dependent on proprietary software.”
Google was not available for comment.
Google, it seems, is very, very interested in knowing where you are at all times. Users have reported battery life issues with the latest Android build, with many pointing the finger at Google Play – Google’s app store – and its persistent, almost obsessive need to check where you are.
click to test your website
Close to 70 percent of Americans now own a smartphone, and two-thirds of all adults and a whopping 90 percent of young adults use social networking sites like Facebook. Both are experiencing massive amounts of online engagement outside traditional structures.
If your organization has a website (and especially if you engage in fundraising), it is imperative that your Internet presence look and work properly on mobile devices as well as on full-size displays.
As Google continues its quest to “make the web more mobile-friendly,” businesses with websites built only for desktop computer viewing are at risk of slipping in search rankings. In 2014 Google started using websites’ mobile performance in the algorithms that determine where a site places in search rankings. Websites that look just as good on smartphones as they do on desktop computers actually get a boost in search rankings.
There are many ways to manage your website’s content. Some site owners completely build their own website from scratch. Others may use an existing software package from a company like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla, which can provide a theme, design, and templates. When using existing website software, the site owner doesn’t build the whole site by creating code, style sheets and scripts, but only provides the content (such as photos, images, and text).
At LocalCause, we build websites using content management systems that automatically detect the device being used to view your site and optimize the layout on the fly to deliver the optimal experience regardless of whether your visitor is using a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer.
Ready to get started?
Google’s mobile-friendly ranking algorithm that is launching on April 21st will be on a page-by-page and real-time basis but how long will it take to roll out and how do you know if your page qualifies to benefit from it?
Since we know this algorithm will be significantly larger in impact compared to the Panda and Penguin algorithms, webmasters are kind of anxious about the release.
Yesterday, Google answered a series of questions in a Google+ hangout on the topic of this new mobile-friendly ranking algorithm. The three things we learned were:
(1) The algorithm will start rolling out on April 21st and will take a few days to a week to completely and globally.
(2) You are either mobile-friendly or not, there are no degrees of mobile-friendliness in this algorithm.
(3) The fastest way to see if your web pages are mobile-friendly is to see if you have the mobile-friendly label in the live mobile search results now. If not, check the mobile-friendly testing tool, which should match the live Google search results, whereas the mobile usability reports in Google Webmaster Tools can be delayed based on crawl time.
Update: check the comments section for answers to questions we weren’t able to get to during the live event→http://goo.gl/VB9qPT In this live Q&A session, we’ll answer your questions about the upcoming mobile-friendly ranking change (http://goo.gl/WEAZcX). Post your questions to the Q&A panel or in the comments below.
Need help getting your website mobile-friendly? Drop us a line!
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By Pete Pachal
Star Trek‘s universal translator is here, and it’s on your phone. Google is updating its Translate app on Wednesday, and, as rumored, the new version includes automatic language detection in conversation mode, so having a conversation between two people who don’t speak the same language is actually possible.
Once you’ve selected the two languages being spoken, Google Translate can now tell which one is being spoken at any moment. With no need to manually toggle them, conversations can be more natural.
Word Lens will work without an Internet connection
The update to Google Translate also integrates Word Lens, which instantaneously translates written text. Previous versions required the user to take a picture of text and mark which words they wanted translated; Word Lens means you only need to hold the phone up so the text is visible onscreen, and the app will translate the words before your eyes.
By Raymund Flandez
Eighty-four percent of nonprofits, including many of the nation’s largest charities, haven’t made their donation websites easy to read on mobile devices, one of several flaws that can cost them significant contributions, according to experts who studied 150 charities and other organizations.
Is your website mobile-ready?
Texting while driving makes you 23 times more likely to be in an accident. It’s like driving blind for five seconds at a time—long enough to cover the length of a football field. Cellphone-related walking injuries have quadrupled in the past seven years, leading to about 1,100 people admitted to the emergency room last year alone. Using your phone while on the go is very dangerous, so let’s talk about how you can do this incredibly stupid thing while probably not dying..
Texting while driving makes you 23 times more likely to be in an accident. It’s like driving blind for five seconds at a time-long enough to cover the length of a football field. Cellphone-related walking injuries have quadrupled in the past seven years, leading to about 1,100 people admitted to the emergency room last year alone.