Google will start disabling Google Messages from working on “uncertified” Android devices!

Starting from March 31, 2021, Google will start disabling Google Messages from working on “uncertified” Android devices. 

This sudden update will not affect most of the people. However, it does arise some questions related to “uncertified” Android devices. Such as, what is an “uncertified” Android device, and how do you make sure you’re not using one? 

What is Uncertified Android Device? 

Devices which are not certified were not able to pass Google’s Android compatibility test to ensure they meet Google’s quality and security standards. 

Some of the newly launched Android devices were uncertified for the time being but are certified now as the process is complete. 

In some cases, an uncertified device could mean the manufacturer was not able to submit the device for Google’s certification, or was not able to pass the test. 

According to Google, using an uncertified Android device carries several risks. For instance, 

  • Devices that aren’t Play Protect certified may not be secure. 
  • Devices that aren’t Play Protect certified may not get Android system updates or app updates. 
  • Mobile applications that aren’t Play Protect certified aren’t licensed and may not be real Google apps. 
  • Apps and features on devices that aren’t Play Protect certified may not work correctly. 
  • Data on devices that aren’t Play Protect certified may not back up securely. 

Above mentioned security risks are the reason Google is banning Google Messages on uncertified phones.  

Without the Play Store verifications, Google can’t ensure the app’s end-to-end encryption is properly configured, which could leave your messages and personal data compromised. 

On the other hand, all uncertified android phones are not dangerous. In some cases, rooting your phone or making other system-level modifications will revoke a device’s certification. 

How to know if your device is certified or Not? 

Rarely an average person is using an uncertified Android device — but it is possible. Some uncertified devices are from well-known brands that Google no longer supports. For example, some of the Huawei devices are uncertified and cannot currently apply for certification in some regions. 

To confirm your Android phone is certified you can check via the Google Play Store settings. 

  1. Open the Google Play Store app. 
  1. Tap on the three-lined button on the top-left corner of the screen. 
  1. Select “Settings” from the sidebar. 
  1. Scroll down to the “About” section. Under “Device Certification,” it will say either “certified” or “uncertified.” 

If your phone is certified, you can continue using Google Messages without any issue. If not, then you will have to find a new messaging app or a new device (or unroot your device).  

IT Consultants can help you in all sorts of IT Solutions and can develop custom mobile applications for you, whether you own Android phones or iOS. 

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Update: Microsoft Implements Windows Zerologon Flaw ‘Enforcement Mode’

Zerologon flaw is one of the critical matters discussed recently. Microsoft has decided to take this matter into its own hands as companies have not yet updated their systems to address Zerologon flaw.

After careful consideration and investigation, the tech giant – Microsoft has decided that from Feb 9, it will by default block vulnerable connections on devices that could be used to exploit the flaw. Some of the Microsoft’s Active Directory domain controllers are prone to be affected by Zerologon flaw.

Domain controllers of Microsoft Active Directory will respond to authentication requests and verify users on computer networks.

A successful exploitation of the Zerlogon flaw will allow unauthenticated attackers with network access to Active Directory’s domain controllers to completely compromise all Active Directory identity services.

The new initiative taken by Microsoft in which Domain Controller enforcement mode is implemented that “will block vulnerable connections from non-compliant devices,”.

Domain Controller enforcement mode requires that all Windows and non-Windows devices use secure RPC with Netlogon secure channel.

Unless customers have explicitly allowed the account to be vulnerable by adding an exception for the non-compliant device.

Secure RPC is an authentication method that authenticates both the host and the user who is making a request for a service.

This new implementation is an attempt to block cybercriminals from gaining network access to domain controllers.

Unauthorized access will eventually be used to exploit the Zerologon privilege-escalation glitch (CVE-2020-1472).

The Zerologon flaw, with a critical-severity CVSS score of 10 out of 10, was first addressed in Microsoft’s August 2020 security updates.

Starting Feb. 9, Microsoft said it will enable domain controller “enforcement mode” by default, a measure that would help mitigate the threat.

Considering the current situation of the internet and cybercrimes, this implementation would help businesses and individuals to minimize the risk of hacking.

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Millions Switch to Telegram and Signal after the Big Update by WhatsApp

Due to privacy concerns and growing anxiety over the power of the biggest tech companies, encrypted messaging services have become the world’s hottest apps.

People all over the world use mobile applications for nearly every purpose, starting from messaging, games, services to online banking and much more.

Millions have moved to Signal and Telegram due to recent changes by WhatsApp. Over the past week, millions of people have downloaded both apps highlighting huge hike in its usage.

Signal just like WhatsApp allows messages to be sent with “end-to-end encryption,” meaning only the sender and receiver can read the content.

Telegram on the other hand, offers some encrypted messaging options, but is popular for its special feature of group-based chat rooms where people can communicate and talk about several topics.

WhatsApp’s new update resulted in mass migration that, if it keeps happening, could weaken the power of Facebook and other big tech companies.

On Tuesday, according to Telegram more than 25 million users were added over the previous three days, pushing it to over 500 million users.

According to estimates from Apptopia, On Monday alone, nearly 1.3 million users were added on Signal.

Nearly all of Signal’s new user adoption is coming from outside the United States. As of Wednesday, the company said it was the No. 1 app in 70 countries on iOS devices and in 45 countries on Android devices, with India being one of the biggest areas of new user growth.

For both Signal and Telegram, new installations came from users in Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil and dozens of other countries, based on data from Apptopia.

Even for businesses WhatsApp is a popular app for marketing purposes, but due to this new privacy user update. They are already looking for alternatives to spread their word.

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US Govt Warns Chrome Users to Update Chrome or Risk Remote Takeover!

The new version of chrome includes 16 new security fixes.

The United States Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency – CISA recently issued an alert for all Chrome users to update their web browsers to address vulnerabilities.

This particular concern can be easily exploited by attackers to take control of computers.

According to Google, Chrome Stable version 87.0.4280.141 is being rolled out for Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS and Linux distributions, and contains 16 security fixes.

Out of all these fixes, 15 are rated as high severity, with the most serious vulnerabilities. These high severity security fixes are allowing remote code execution in the privilege context that Chrome is already running in.

The vulnerabilities include seven use-after-free memory corruption bugs, including one in the Blink rendering engine.

Also, an out-of-bounds-write vulnerability in the V8 Javascript engine.

The V8 CVE-2020-15995 bug could be easily exploited via a specially crafted web page to cause memory heap corruption, as reported last month.

While the awards for the V8 and the CVE-2021-21115 use-after-free in Safe Browsing bugs are yet to be determined.

It is noticeable that Google paid out US$111,000 in bug bounties to other researchers reporting vulnerabilities in Chrome.

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New Microsoft Teams Updates are live Now!

It looks like 2021 is going to be all about new updates in almost every digital product and platform. Microsoft Teams users will be witnessing many new useful updates this year.

New updates are seen as one of the many useful updates, introducing some amazing new features. One of the biggest updates is support for virtual breakout rooms, this feature will enable meeting organizers to set up different rooms or groups for individuals to brainstorm before re-joining a larger session.

This feature is currently only available in Government environments but is expected to launch for other Teams users in the coming weeks.

Another very useful feature that is being recently introduced is the five-minute advance notification of a meeting and a pre-join experience. This feature will enable users to check all the settings including audio, video and some improvements to video playback performance.

Apart from this, IT Consultants have been constantly working to develop smart collaborative environment that can boost company’s performance eventually.

More updates on the way

Another cool features that is being introduced is real-time translation for several languages including; French, Russian, Italian, Hindi, and more.

In addition to the above updates, Cortana will now allow individuals to join and manage meetings with voice controls. As, we all know that Microsoft Teams Integration have been very useful in collaboration and communication among businesses in this world Pandemic i.e., Coid-19.

Microsoft has said that in addition to the new features confirmed in its December update, it is also working on several other additions, including a new history menu and an enhanced search experience. Expect those features, as well as others that have yet to be announced, to appear at some point in 2021.

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