Samsung has been disabling the update feature of the Windows operating system on their computers, and in the process may have left their users highly vulnerable.
A researcher, Patrick Barker, announced on Tuesday that his investigation determined that the South Korean tech company has been crippling the Windows Update process for Microsoft’s operating system on their desktop and laptop computers.
Barker, a debugging expert who is a Microsoft certified professional was alerted to the situation on a forum.
He found that Samsung’s own updating process, SW Update, was behind it all.
Specifically, he found a distinct command in the OEM software that led to the Windows Update being shut off.
The immediate concern that was presented was, there was no discernable way to tell if the SW Update was conducting the internal patches and fixes that Microsoft directed their update to do.
Industry observers were surprised and gravely concerned for good reason; if neither update program was fully functioning, the computers would be exposed to malware that specifically goes after already-patched computers.
Microsoft did confirm to the press that it was aware of the situation and that they had reached out to Samsung concerning the problem.
In order to protect their users from a serious security flaw, Samsung Electronics is poised to provide patches on all of their smartphones.
The vulnerability was detected within the Swift Key software on Samsung smartphones.
Specifically, it lies within the update process.
The SwiftKey keyboard software is used to predict emotions and words as one types.
The app can also be obtained from the Apple and Google online stores.
The security risk is present on close to 600 million of their smartphones, and even if the app isn’t used it’s still at play.
In an email on Thursday, the company detailed their plans to make upgrades to their Knox security software to address the problem.
Knox is available on all Samsung smartphones released since 2013 beginning with the S4.
The company had no immediate word on what it plans to do concerning devices older than the S4. The process is expected to take a few days to complete.
Samsung is dealing with another setback in its mission to compete heavily with Apple and Google in the mobile payment services battle.
Reversing course from earlier statements, Samsung Electronics Executive Vice President Rhee In Jong said that Samsung Pay will make its debut along with its next mobile device in September.
Presumably, that device will be the next version of their popular Galaxy Note smartphone.
The company had previously confirmed a July release for Samsung Pay at the beginning of March.
Jong went on to say that they wish to expand the service past the Galaxy Note and Edge to lower-end devices as they increase their presence in China, Europe and South America throughout the rest of the year.
Samsung had been positioning itself for a strong entry into the world of mobile payments and e-commerce by first partnering with MasterCard and Visa and acquiring LoopPay, a company that enables retailers to accept payments via smartphones.
However, the recent debut of Android Pay by Google and Apple’s already established mobile payment service could possibly cost Samsung valuable ground depending on what they will offer once Samsung Pay finally announces its debut to the world.
Electronics and mobile giant Samsung has begun the groundwork for new technology developments in fingerprint scanning.
According to reports from the United States Patent Office, the company has obtained a patent for a device that can gain fingerprint recognition without needing one’s touch.
It first works by a user holding up their fingerprint in front of the camera on a mobile device.
The new technology searches for a precise match stored in its memory. It also maneuvers the camera focus to obtain that exact match and provides a guide for users to help with the fingerprint recognition.
The patent was approved by the U.S. Patent Office, but was initially filed in the Intellectual Property Office of South Korea two years ago.
Coincidentally, the patent approval was made public on the same day that Google announced that fingerprint readers would be a part of their new mobile payments app, Android Pay.
The new scanner will also be a focal point of Samsung’s own mobile payment service set to be launched this summer.
Owners of the Samsung S6/S6 Edge complain that the software that controls memory management appears to be set too aggressively, which closes background apps prematurely.
According to a current Samsung S6 user: “I’ve noticed it refreshes or restarts a ton of apps after I come back to them after a short amount of time and it never puts me where I last left off in the app. Even my two year old phones keep apps open longer.”
Others complain about excessive RAM usage that one can only improve by manually shutting down apps or rebooting the handset. The next version of Android lists that its RAM management will be improved, so there may still be hope for users of Samsung S6 phones.
Samsung is forecasting a drop in profit of around 30 percent for the first quarter, as compared to the same period as last year.
According to a report here, Peter Yu, an analyst with BNP Paribas, said “I think the reason Samsung struggled last year is they just looked boring…Everyone caught up…When it came to Android phones everything now just looks the same. If you cover up the brand, you couldn’t tell the difference between the Chinese smartphones and the Samsung smartphones.”
The SecuTABLET is BlackBerry‘s tablet offering, and with this tablet, the focus is on security.
The result of a collaboration between Secusmart, a BlackBerry subsidiary, and Samsung, the tablet is a reworked Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5.
Dr. Hans-Christoph Quelle, CEO of Secusmart GmbH, said in a press release “Security is ingrained in every part of BlackBerry’s portfolio, which includes voice and data encryption solutions…National and international government customers have entrusted their voice and data communications with the Secusmart Security Card for years. This same technology is what secures the new SecuTABLET. Working alongside IBM and Samsung, we have added the last link in the chain of the Federal Security Network. Subject to certification of the SecuTABLET, German government agencies will have a new way to access BlackBerry’s most secure and complete communications network in the world.”
“The SecuTABLET closes a supply gap and opens up for government and administrations an opportunity to derive greater benefit from digitization and the mobile Internet, with system integration as a fundamental success factor,” said Stefan Hefter, Senior Management Consultant with IBM. “We have contributed our longstanding expertise as a system integrator for mobile solutions. The technology used to make mobile apps secure by means of so-called wrapping has already proven its worth in the United States.”
Apple is now the leader in smartphone sales according to a report by Gartner, as reported here.
Apple sold 74.8 million smartphones in Q4 2014 to Samsung’s 73 million units. Lenovo placed third in the report.
For the full annual result, Samsung actually beat out Apple, selling 307.6 million units to Apple’s 191 million units.
Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta said in a release “Samsung continues to struggle to control its falling smartphone share, which was at its highest in the third quarter of 2013…This downward trend shows that Samsung’s share of profitable premium smartphone users has come under significant pressure.”
The Electronic Privacy Information Center is requesting that the FTC investigate Samsung’s Smart TV voice recognition service.
They have filed a complaint with the FTC stating that the voice recognition violates federal communication privacy laws.
Samsung recently was the subject of complaints from users that they were being listened to, and recorded by their Samsung Smart TV’sFTCFTC via the voice recognition feature.
Read more of this story here.
Samsung Smart TVs are sending unencrypted data throughout the Internet, according to a report by The Guardian.
Data from voice commands and searches are available for hackers to snoop because of this issue.
Samsung has been in the news recently for questions regarding their Smart TVs listening and recording conversations, as well as Samsung Smart TV’s serving ads to users who watch movies from their hard drives.
Originally thought to be encrypted, it’s been revealed by a security expert that the data is not encrypted while in transit.
Some Samsung Smart TV models are sending out both audio and text unencrypted — giving hackers the ability to view the words that users speak to the TV. Personal information regarding the TV itself is also sent without being encrypted.
Samsung told the Guardian “Samsung takes consumer privacy very seriously and our products are designed with privacy in mind. Our latest Smart TV models are equipped with data encryption and a software update will soon be available for download on other models.”