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Chromecast exploit could allow hackers to hijack your dongle and play whatever they like [VIDEO]

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 06:41 PM PDT

Chromecast Featured ready to cast

WARNING: Your Chromecast is no longer safe… from hackers with the time and knowledge to build a hacking device out of a Raspberry Pi. As far fetched as that may sound, it is possible. In fact, one man — a security consultant named Den Petro — actually went through the trouble of creating a little proof-of-concept device he calls the “Rickmote.”

The tiny device — built using an affordable Raspberry Pi — takes advantage of an exploit that allows it to easily hack into your Chromecast and play whatever video (or music or pictures) it liked, with no way for you to regain control. Because Rick Astley’s famous music video was the streaming media of choice, that’s how the device found its name.


How it works is the Rickmote floods the Chromecast with de-authenticate packets, a normal function found in the WiFi standard. It’s only because of the unique way the Chromecast handles deauth commands that makes it susceptible to hijacking. When faced with too many deauth commands, Google’s dongle will simply boot into setup mode, making it easy for a very bad person to connect to the dongle and stream whatever they liked.

In fact, the Rickmote doesn’t even need to be connected to your secured WiFi network to hack into the Chromecast, making it all the more threatening (or annoying, rather). Since this is actually how the Chromecast was designed to work, it seems unlikely Google will make an attempt at addressing this newly discovered “exploit” unless they revised the hardware somewhere down the road.

So what are the odds you find your Chromecast hijacked and playing the most exotic adult movies the internet has to offer? Extremely unlikely. First, the prankster would need to be in range of your network — as well as one of their own — in order to stream their own media to your Chromecast. Once they got out of range, the Chromecast would be yours to setup again. For now, we’re sure your Chromecast is (probably) safe.

[Bishop Fox | via Raspberry Pi | TechCrunch]

HTC smartwatch makes brief appearance in behind the scenes video

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 04:42 PM PDT

htc-smartwatch-large desk

2014 is the year of the smartwatch and with Android’s leading manufacturers all releasing their take on the “modern timepiece,” there was little doubt HTC wouldn’t follow suit with their own entry. Last week we got a possible first look at what HTC could be planning for their wearable, showing a square-ish design along with HTC’s trademark BlinkFeed on a small scale.

If that leak wasn’t enough ya (perhaps you were really hoping for a round watchface a la the Moto 360) it appears HTC may have slipped and shown off their upcoming watch in their latest behind the scenes design video. Spotted by HTCSource, the video was actually uploaded to YouTube nearly 2 weeks ago but it’s only today the discovery has been made public.

htc-smartwatch desk close up

Once again, we’re seeing that familiar square design as it appears on one designers desk and after zooming in, HTC’s familiar BlinkFeed clock widget can be made out. Okay, so that one is a little tough to make out but the video continues showing one designer working on a 3D render of the watch. For a split second, we even get a look at the back which appears to have some kind of connecting points near the bottom.

htc-smartwatch-animation GIF

We know, it’s not much but with Android Wear being all the rage these days, we’re sure you’re already trying to weigh your options. Not only that, it’s always fun to search for little Easter eggs — whether unintentional or not — in behind the scenes videos like this. Not sure how HTC managed to let this one slip by.

LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live kernel sources now live in AOSP

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 03:44 PM PDT

Android Wear 1

For those with knowledge in these matters, (read: Android devs/modders/tinkerers), Google has just uploaded the kernel sources for both the Samsung Gear Live (Sprat) and LG G Watch (Dory) t0 AOSP. Like with saw with the Android L release, it appears Google is once again going with a partial upload for “kitkat-wear” (Android-4.4w_r1), meaning GPL repositories only.

When it comes to us regular folk, this wont do much good. But as so often is the case with the Android modding community, this should help ROM developers in tweaking devices from the stock software that may otherwise hold our smartwatches back from greatness. Google says they plan on doing a full push for Android’s next milestone release, so we’ll have a while to wait before then.

For devs looking to do some tinkering, you’ll find everything you need via the download link below. Cheers.


Samsung answers 4.7-inch iPhone 6 rumors with the 5.2-inch Galaxy S5, but does bigger always mean better? [VIDEO]

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 02:39 PM PDT

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs iPhone 6 commercial

We can’t pinpoint a specific phone launch or event, but we know at some point during the last few years, the tables quickly turned on Apple. No longer was Jobs and Co. leading the pack when it came to smartphone hardware and software, but instead, they were playing catch up with Android and her many manufacturing partners.

Take a quick look at current high-end Android devices and you’re sure to find smartphones with better multitasking, huge batteries and full HD 1080p displays — all key areas where the iPhone can still be found lacking. We know this. We’re sure many of your friends or family know this. It’s no secret. Apple’s strategy is the long term, and in order to keep consumers crawling back for more they purposely hold back many hardware features in order to introduce them in later models, piece by piece.

iphone 6 leak

Image credit: uSwitch

For those that haven’t been keeping up with Apple news as of late, the manufacturer is gearing up for yet another “major” hardware redesign in the upcoming iPhone 6. It wasn’t too long ago Apple was prosecuting leakers, but it seems current management is much more lenient. As a result there have so many leaks of the upcoming iPhone 6, we now have a pretty darn good idea of what to expect. So what is the single feature that will blow everyone’s minds come this September? Just like with the iPhone 5, Apple fans can finally look forward what else, but a larger display.

Enter Samsung who is now capitalizing on current iPhone rumors in their latest ad spot. In order to keep consumers from once again waiting for the next big thing, they need to convince people not only is it not that great, but it’s already here. The commercial depicts a situation almost eerily similar to one I’ve experienced myself. On one side you have an iPhone user excited about rumors of the iPhone 6 (finally) having a larger display.

In typical Samsung fashion, his friend dickfully reminds him the next big thing is already here, showing him the gargantuan display of the Samsung Galaxy S5. Like in Samsung’s previous ad spots, the ad once again attempts to drive home the point that iPhone fans are silly/ignorant/dumb and if only they’d allowed them, Samsung would gladly free them from playing catch up the rest of their lives under Apple’s reign. But are we comparing apples to oranges?

Look no further than the Samsung Galaxy S3 or HTC One X to find Android users have been enjoying larger devices with 4.7-inch displays since early 2012, at time when the iPhone 4s and its 3.5-inch display was still dominating the market. Android has long remained ahead of Apple when it came to giving consumers what they wanted: bigger display sizes. This much is true. But bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better.

Some of you may remember a study from a few years back that showed that for many consumers, a 4.5-inch display was ideal screen size. For us, we’re hoping Apple’s choice to make the incremental jump to 4.7-inches for the iPhone 6 means a resurgence of similar sized devices from Android OEMs, a market largely untapped by current manufacturers. You can’t throw a Chevy Suburban at a Porsche and claim that it’s better. For some, a smaller screen size is is what affects their next smartphone purchase — why not face Apple on even ground?

Verizon to start giving back with Smart Rewards

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 12:31 PM PDT


Verizon’s name is typically associated with the carrier’s tendency to bill and charge you for anything and everything they can. They’re often considered the most expensive wireless carrier to do business with. But it looks like they want to change that perception with a new rewards program they’ve announced.

Dubbed Verizon Smart Rewards, the program will allow you to earn points for doing what you already do with your Verizon account today. Whether that’s signing into your My Verizon account and paying a bill or signing up for paperless billing, points can be earned without you having to jump through hoops.

Points are useless without anything to spend them on, though, so what are they offering? Nothing out of the ordinary, really. They’ll have discounts for goods and services from over 200 well-known brands, travel discounts at over 26,000 hotels, and offers on local shopping and dining, all of which are redeemable from your smartphone (likely through either MyVerizon or a standalone app).

You’ll also have opportunities to win NFL game tickets (Verizon being their official carrier sponsor, and all) as well as discounts on Verizon Wireless gift cards and access to exclusive sales and auctions. Sounds like a pretty good deal if you’re the type who likes to get a little something back for all the hard-earned money you spend with them.

The program launches July 24th and folks needn’t look further than the MyVerizon site to get started with the signup process. You’ll be given 10,000 points to start off with, and while we’re not sure just how much you’ll be able to take advantage of with that amount it sounds like you’ll be able to get some of the smallest rewards right away without much work.

The caveat to all this? Verizon warns some users may have to sign up for Verizon Selects, a program that allows them to use location, web browsing and apps usage information to get insight into their demographics. They might also use said information to serve up targeted ads in their apps, on the web, via text message or via email. Not OK with that? Simply refuse to sign up for rewards. Otherwise, enjoy the new benefits!

[via Verizon]

Sony Xperia Z2 (D6503) now available in the US direct from Sony, supports AT&T and T-Mobile networks

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 12:16 PM PDT

Sony Xperia Z2 now available D6503

Call it a sign of the times, but for some diehard Android enthusiasts, this year’s current crop of flagships has been rather lackluster one area or another. Perhaps the only exception was Sony who was first out the gate with their 2014 flagship, the Sony Xperia Z2, introduced back during Mobile World Congress in February.

The phone packed many of the specs we thought would come standard in this year’s flagships: Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, beefy 3,100mAh battery, and a high-res 20.7MP camera. What more could you ask for? Unfortunately for those of us in the US, we’ve been stuck in limbo awaiting any word on availability ’round these parts.

According to the most recent wave of leaks, it now appears the Sony Xperia Z2 could be headed to the states as a Verizon exclusive — not exactly the best news for those of us on networks like AT&T or T-Mobile. But we now have a way out. The GSM compatible Sony Xperia Z2 (D6503) is now officially available for purchase online (sort of, it’s backordered) direct from Sony. While it’s true the phone has been available for quite some time via 3rd party retailers, this marks the first time it’s finally available from Sony.

Pay no mind to the listing of a Snapdragon 800 processor on the device’s Sony listing, we’re sure it’s only a slip up. As for the rest of the specs, you’ll find the device has everything it needs to operate on both AT&T and T-Mobile networks, LTE included: UMTS HSPA+ 850 (Band V), 900 (Band VIII), 1700 (Band IV), 1900 (Band II), 2100 (Band I) MHz GSM GPRS/EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13, 17, 20).

Of course for many, a $700 smartphone isn’t something they can justify to the wife after seeing next month’s statement. Guess it’s the best we can do until the phone is officially available for purchase from other carriers, whether subsidized or through early upgrade offers. That’s if it ever launches outside of Verizon. We’ll continue keeping our fingers crossed. In the meantime, I have some buying to do…

Buy the Sony Xperia Z2 on Sony Store

Analysts expect T-Mobile to have another good quarter

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 11:40 AM PDT


T-Mobile threw an online parade and celebrated the fact that they were considered the fastest growing wireless carrier in the United States last quarter. They did so with over 2 million net additions on the back of their most bold and brilliant marketing campaign yet — Uncarrier. So will they be able to boast similar numbers for Q2?

That’s going to be tough to say without an official report, though some analysts believe T-Mobile will be able to post results that are just as pleasing. UBS analyst John Hodulik predicts that while T-Mobile won’t be able to match or exceed the 2 million net additions of last quarter, they will still add enough customers to maintain their “fastest growing” sash.

He predicts they’ll do so with roughly 7% of growth in Q2, which is still pretty good performance compared to what T-Mobile was able to pull before they started the Uncarrier movement. It’s important to set the stage early for the numbers: a decline from last quarter might indicate that last quarter was a spike. Coming down from a spike is still pretty good as long as the drop isn’t drastic.

We must also consider that T-Mobile didn’t make nearly as many huge Uncarrier moves this quarter (unlimited data for popular music apps and free iPhone trials) as they did in Q1 (which included them footing the bill to leave your wireless carrier, giving free international roaming and more). T-Mobile promises that even more is in store for Q3 so it’s possible they still have enough tricks in the bag to sustain growth this year.

We’re still waiting for T-Mobile to finish crunching the numbers and fully unveil their Q2 results, but we’ll be sure to bring you the full details as soon as they turn up. Let us know if you were one of the millions who have switched to T-Mobile recently by dropping a line below!

[Investors via TmoNews]

HTC One Remix said to launch this Friday July 24th on Verizon Wireless [RUMOR]

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 10:48 AM PDT

htc one remix evleaks

HTC unveiled the HTC One Mini 2 way back in May, but we’ve been waiting for word on exactly what the Taiwanese manufacturer had in store for the device here in the states. With HTC and Verizon getting all buddy-buddy for the launch of the M8, it only makes sense they’ll do it again for the One Mini 2.

As revealed by @evleaks,it appears the HTC One Mini 2/ HTC One Remix is scheduled to launch this Friday, July 24th on Verizon, only a few short days time. The phone has been the subject of almost countless leaks these past few months, discovered in a recent FCC filing and even Verizon Wireless’ own YouTube channel after the carrier inadvertently posted the phone a bit early on their account showing a 4.5-inch display and “cutting edge features. Guess it’s no surprise then to hear a release was only around the corner.

Word on the street is this device might throw in an extra GB of RAM for good measure (the price of Verizon branding on its face?), giving fans of smaller smartphones even more reason to rejoice. Well, those on Verizon anyway.

Two more HTC tablets on the way?

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 10:14 AM PDT

HTC logo misc

We still have yet to hear much about HTC’s supposed plans to bring a Nexus Tablet soon, but rumors are already swirling that they have more planned for the pipeline. Murmurings of “T7″ and “T12″ tablets are said to be in the works by the Taiwanese company according to @evleaks.

And that’s pretty much all we know for now. The model number trend of “T” followed by a number follows the HTC Volantis / Nexus tablet’s “T1″ internal codename being thrown around. We’re not sure if the numbers themselves are hinting at anything, or if there’s any solid reason that the numbers increase by five.

We imagine HTC won’t want to return to the tablet scene with too many options of similar ilk so it wouldn’t be odd to suggest one of these could be a palm-ready 7-8 inch option while the other one stretches the it out to the traditional 10-inch mark. I’d ponder whether the numbers correlated to size, but we somehow doubt the “T1″would come with a 1-inch display.

All that said, though, we don’t really know much of anything about any of these devices at this point and it’s starting to make us antsy. We don’t care which tablet we hear about at this point — we just hope we hear something before the cows come home.

Download the Destiny Beta companion app for Android

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 07:59 AM PDT


Gamers know that the Destiny Beta has been alive and kicking on PlayStation 4 since last week, and that it’ll be headed to Xbox One folks this Wednesday. No matter which console you’re rolling with you’ll want to make sure you’re equipped with the companion app for one of 2014′s most anticipated titles.

The Destiny app will give you on-the-go access to information about your character (known as a Guardian), including stats, weapons, armor and all your accomplishments. You’ll also be given a map of The Tower, the landing pad for Guardians between missions. Furthermore, the app allows you to keep tabs on your Grimoire Score which can go toward unlocking new gear.

Destiny, a first person shooter by the makers of Halo, tells the story of a future earth — one that reached great technological heights thanks to the appearance of a mystical being known as “The Traveler.” But earth soon became desolate and the human race faced extinction thanks to the arrival of a blood thirsty alien race.

The game is an open world experience not unlike an MMO: you and your “fireteam” (two of your best buddies, natch) go out into these areas of earth to carry out missions to help save the human race. You can go it alone if you want, but don’t be surprised if you’re joined by completely separate groups of Guardians on your travels. Then there’s the crucible (PVP multiplayer) where glorified pissing matches between these heroes kick off.

Having played Destiny the past few days I can say it most certainly does deserve the hype it’s getting, and it’s one to look out for once it launches September 9th. As for the aforementioned app you can give it a go by downloading it for free from the Google Play Store. Find a link below.

Is this the next version of the Moto G?

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 07:13 AM PDT

moto g2 leak

A successor to the Moto G might not be the most exciting Motorola product we’re on the lookout for this year, but it doesn’t keep us from getting a bit giddy about the latest rumor to have surfaced. Mellando No Android claims that the image you see above is a prototype for the next Moto G.

Not surprising is that the device is expected to be named the Moto G2, but will it be worthy of a nice, bug “successor” tag? Here are the specs that it’s said to pack once it finally sees the light of day:

  • 720p display with 320 PPI (which would be roughly 4.6 inches)
  • Quad-core processor with Adreno 305 GPU (Snapdragon 400?)
  • 8MP camera (up from 5MP on the original Moto G)

That isn’t going to turn a ton of heads alone, but we have a feeling this will look impressive up alongside an inexpensive price tag (which is likely what Motorola is going for if the original is anything to go by). The rest of the device reveals a design language akin to what we got on the Moto E — it’s rather conservative and ordinary, but does include front-facing speaker grills. It’s not meant to be flashy, but it should look good enough that anyone who wants one won’t feel bad to carry one. Let’s hope an announcement isn’t far off.

Sprint LG G2 update finally brings KnockCode

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 06:27 AM PDT

When LG first showed off KnockCode, their tap-based pattern unlocking mechanism for devices that support KnockOn, they promised it’d be headed to many of their latest smartphones. The LG G2 certainly wasn’t going to be left out as it was their 2013 flagship, but it seems to be taking quite a bit of time to make its way to all of the variants swirling about.

Sprint’s version can finally add itself to the list as KnockCode is the feature attraction in a new software upgrade going out today. You can see the feature in action on the LG G Pro 2 in the video above. While not mindblowingly different from a traditional swipe to unlock pattern, LG touts KnockCode as more secure because it doesn’t leave drag marks that can tip a would-be snooper off to your lock-screen pattern.

lg knock code

The software version for the upgrade is ZVD, and aside from the aforementioned addition of KnockCode we aren’t treated to much. We’re sure there are many under-the-hood changes that users won’t really notice, but whatever they are Sprint didn’t feel it necessary to list them. 

You can check for the upgrade by heading to Settings > About Phone > System Updates > Update LG Software. We can’t imagine the upgrade is very big, but it’s worth charging your phone up a good deal and hopping onto a WiFi network just in case.

You can create Google Now reminders from Google.com’s desktop site

Posted: 21 Jul 2014 05:54 AM PDT

google now reminders from google

Google’s added a quick new feature to their desktop and mobile website that should make life easier for those who rely on Google Now reminders. You can now set reminders right from within Google Search with a simple search query.

Typing something like “remind me to go grocery shopping” or “remind me to get pizza when I’m in New York” will not return typical Google results — you’ll see a box that allows you to set a reminder for a certain time or when you reach a certain location.

When that time comes or when you do mosey over to that place, you’ll get a nice reminder through Google Now either on your phone, your tablet, your Android Wear smart watch or your Chrome-equipped PC. It’s small, but it’s nice for folks who can’t bring themselves to speak commands (like in an office environment) or if you don’t want to do too much typing on small displays. Give it a shot over at Google.