If you own a Samsung Phone, you’re at Risk!

Galaxy S6 Edge

If you are a Samsung Galaxy owner here is some news for you that is definitely worth taking a look at.

A Security Flaw Could Potentially Put A Massive Number Of Samsung Galaxy Phones At Risk.

The worrying announcement comes in the form of a security flaw that lets attackers install malware on to your device or, alternatively, eavesdrop on your phone calls.

Chicago-based security firm NowSecure has published a report that claims the bug lives in the SwiftKey keyboard software, which is installed on more than 600 million Samsung devices. It states the bug can allow a remote attacker, which is capable of controlling a user’s network traffic, to execute an arbitrary code on the user’s phone.

The most worrying thing though is that there is no option to uninstall the SwiftKey keyboard, if it’s there, it’s there for good.

An attacker can secretly install malware on a user’s device, access the camera, microphone and GPS, and listen in on calls and messages, change the way other apps behave and even steal photos and text messages.

NowSecure also claims it notified Samsung on this problem towards the end of last year. Samsung did provide a patch to amend the problem to network operators earlier in 2015 but it’s not known if this patch was made available to many users by the networks.

Potentially effected devices include; Samsung Galaxy S6, S5, S4 and the S4 mini.

A Leaked Picture Shows Samsung Galaxy S5 In Gold ahead of MWC 2014 unveiling!

It seems like there is no end to the leaks related to Samsung’s 2014 flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5, ahead of its official announcement.

A new leak tips that Samsung will also be introducing the Gold variant of its much-anticipated Galaxy S5 smartphone at the Barcelona event, scheduled on 24 February 2014.

A purported image of Vodafone’s inventory system, which shows a Samsung Galaxy S5 Gold smartphone listed alongside other devices like Apple iPhone 5s and HTC One. As of now, the alleged image of Vodafone’s inventory system did not reveal many details about the rumoured Galaxy S5 Gold.

Notably, Samsung is famous for launching a number of variants of its flagship devices. The 2013 flagship smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S4, had a number of variants, namely: Samsung Galaxy S4 Active, Galaxy S4 Zoom, and Galaxy S4 Mini. A Gold colour variant of the Galaxy S4 was also launched quite a bit after the device’s global unveiling. However, it seems that the South Korean major might announce the Galaxy S5 in Gold option right at the global launch.

A report on Thursday suggested that Samsung is hoping to wow the world with new smartphone at MWC 2014.

With just few days left in the launch of much-anticipated Samsung’s next flagship smartphone, rumours about the Galaxy S5 are pouring in fast. A recent report indicated that the Galaxy S5 could be unlocked using a swipe over the home button. The report informed that Apple used a sapphire coating for its home button on the iPhone 5s, while Samsung has plans to use a ultra-violet (UV) coating over its fingerprint scanner. In addition, the report also claimed that the Galaxy S5 will be a dustproof and waterproof device.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is also long-rumoured to be launched alongside a new tablet series, believed to be dubbed Galaxy Tab 4, at the side-lines of the MWC 2014.

Earlier reports have suggested that Samsung has plans to launch the Galaxy Gear successor, named Galaxy Gear 2 at the 24 February 2014 event in Barcelona. The latest rumours surrounding the smartwatch indicate it might launch with Tizen OS, instead of Android like its predecessor.

Apple iPhone 5s beats out Samsung Galaxy S4 in sales!

A report from Counterpoint Research surveyed smartphone sales in 33 countries from both distributors and retailers during the month of October. The smartphone on top of the list? None other than the new full-featured Apple iPhone 5s. Somewhat of a surprise, the Apple iPhone 5 was next. You might be asking yourself how this is possible since Apple no longer offers the device. The answer is that it is still available at some third party retailers.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is next, followed by the candy-coated Apple iPhone 5c. Samsung takes the next three spots with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, the Samsung Galaxy S III and surprisingly, the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini. The Galaxy S III is free on contract at a number of carriers.

Next on the list is the Series 30 powered Nokia 105. Rounding out the top ten is the Samsung Galaxy S III mini and the Nokia Asha 501. You might notice that there are no HTC models in the top ten and the list has nothing from LG. The Chinese upstarts are also absent from the list. While Apple and Samsung pretty much monopolized the survey, Counterpoint said that the Nokia Lumia 520 “drove the Windows Phone momentum across prepaid markets of Europe, US, and Asia during October.” That is really not much of a surprise considering how strong sales of the entry-level Windows Phone 8 model have been.
A second study of sales in China showed that Samsung had a leading 18% of the Chinese smartphone market in October followed by the 14% belonging to Lenovo. Apple’s market share in the country more than doubled from August and is now at 12%. Coolpad and Huawei and neck and neck for fourth and fifth place in their own country.

Android 4.3 firmware for Galaxy S4 now available for download

A leaked road map revealed that the Samsung Galaxy S4 will be getting the latest Android 4.3 Jelly Bean upgrade this month and now, a test firmware for the fourth-generation Galaxy S smartphone has been leaked.

The leaked firmware is very close to the final build, which means that there will be no additional features included in the Android 4.3 OS for Galaxy S4. According to SamMobile, the upcoming software upgrade for Samsung’s flagship smartphone will be mostly identical to this ROM, expect for a few bug fixes and minor enhancements.

Samsung is expected to roll out the official Android 4.3 upgrade for its Galaxy S4 smartphone in a week or two. However, there is no official word on that at the moment.

The folks at SamMobile have already done a video preview of the Android 4.3 ROM running on the Galaxy S4 smartphone. Check it out below.

If you are in a hurry and don’t feel like waiting for the official Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update, here’s how to install it.. HOWEVER, please continue with the flashing instructions only if you are sure about what you are up to!

Model: GT-I9505
Country: Open Asia
Version: Android 4.3
Changelist: 1840064
Build date: Tue, 8 Oct 2013 23:29:05 +0000
Product Code: OLB
Download: I9505XXUEMJ3_I9505OLBEMJ2_OLB.zip

– This firmware will WIPE your device (Perform a backup before flashing)
– This test firmware will NOT increase your binary counter NOR void your warranty.
– This test firmware will NOT trigger your KNOX Warranty Counter (If it’s 0×0 before flashing, it will remain 0×0 after flashing and vice versa).
– This test firmware is a pre-release firmware and not official from Samsung.
– We have fully tested this firmware and this firmware works perfectly as any other official firmware.

– Extract (unzip) the firmware file
– Download Odin3 v3.09 (From here or here)
– Extract Odin .ZIP file
– Open Odin3 v3.09
– Restart phone in download mode (Press and hold Home + Power + Volume down buttons)
– Connect phone and wait until you get a blue sign in Odin
– Add AP_I9505XXUEMJ3_1840064_REV06_user_low_ship_MULTI_CERT.tar.md5 to AP
– Add BL_I9505XXUEMJ3_1840064_REV06_user_low_ship_MULTI_CERT.tar.md5 to BL
– Add CP_I9505XXUEMJ3_1840064_REV06_user_low_ship_MULTI_CERT.tar.md5 to CP
– Add CSC_OLB_I9505OLBEMJ2_1765174_REV06_user_low_ship_MULTI_CERT.tar.md5 to CSC
– Make sure re-partition is NOT ticked
– Click start button, sit back and wait a few minutes.
– If you encounter any issues with the firmware (Any FC, Bootloop etc)
– Boot into recovery mode (Home+power+vol up)
– Then choose reboot and you should be good to go!

Galaxy S 4 Explosion Burns Hong Kong Home!

A Hong Kong couple have been displaced after an exploding Samsung Galaxy S 4 smartphone burst into flames, burning their house to a crisp.

The man, identified in the original Xianguo.com report only as Mr. Du, claims that his phone, battery, and charger were all legitimate Samsung products, but that’s now difficult to confirm since his home and everything in it were destroyed.

Hong Kong House Burned Galaxy S 4

According to the translated report, Du sat on the living room sofa playing the game “Love Machine” on his charging GS4 when it suddenly exploded. In the heat of the moment, he threw the device onto the couch, which caught fire. The flames then spread to the curtains and the rest of the house, “out of control,” Xianguo said.

Du, his wife, and his dogs managed to escape the house unscathed; neighbors were temporarily evacuated as firefighters fought the flames. Almost all of the couple’s furniture and appliances burned to ash, the news site said, adding that their Mercedes parked outside was also damaged.

Whether or not the true cause of an entire house fire was a singular 5-inch smartphone remains to be seen, though a fire department investigation initially resulted in a report of “no suspicious circumstances.”

Samsung did not immediately respond to PCMag’s request for comment, but told Xianguo that it will “carry out detailed investigations and tests to determine the cause of the incident.”

Last year, a Galaxy S III owner in Dublin was driving in his car when the device caught fire.

Cell phone safety is increasingly becoming an issue in Asia, where two cases of iPhone shock occurred within a week of each other this month.

In other news:

Samsung caught cheating in Galaxy S4 benchmarks

Cue the Lance Armstrong and Alex Rodriguez jokes, Samsung has been caught using performance-enhancing code to beef up the Galaxy S4′s test scores. It’s been discovered that the tech giant has programmed the handset to increase its clock speed during certain benchmarks.

The claims were initially made in the forums of popular 3D graphics site Beyond3D, and have since been confirmed by the hardware specialists over at AnandTech. The S4 specifically enables full speed GPU during testing, and then reverts to slower speeds for everyday usage…

Here’s the original claim from Beyond3D:

“I’m currently doing GPU overclocking and voltage control in the kernel for the 5410/i9500 and was screwing around with what was supposed to be a generic max limit only to be surprised by what it actually represents.

This GPU does not run 532MHz; that frequency level is solely reserved for Antutu and GLBenchmark* among things. The GPU on non-whitelisted applications is limited to 480MHz. The old GLBenchmark apps for example run at 532MHz while the new GFXBench app which is not whitelisted, runs at 480MHz. /facepalm”

So essentially, the Exynos 5 Octa (5410) SoC in the international version of the Galaxy S4 has a 533MHz GPU clock that’s never used. The handset runs apps and games at 480MHz, likely due to battery life and other compromises, but switches to 533MHz for certain benchmarks.

anandtech samsung benchmark

Here’s AnandTech’s findings:

“Running any games, even the most demanding titles, returned a GPU frequency of 480MHz – just like@AndreiF alleged. Samsung never publicly claimed max GPU frequencies for the Exynos 5 Octa (our information came from internal sources), so no harm no foul thus far.

Firing up GLBenchmark 2.5.1 however triggers a GPU clock not available elsewhere: 532MHz. The same is true for AnTuTu and Quadrant.”

And what’s worse is the site found the same behavior (on the CPU side) in Qualcomm versions of the Galaxy S4, as well as other processors. This seemingly indicates that Samsung isn’t just cheating on benchmarks for one handset, but it’s more of a widespread company policy.

So why does any of this matter? Well for starters, it’s very misleading. What if someone were to compare benchmark scores on multiple handsets, and buy the S4 based on it coming out on top? Or what if you bought it thinking it could handle graphics-intensive tasks, and it couldn’t?

What Samsung needs to do is start opening up these higher GPU speeds to all apps/games, or stop using them to game test scores. It’ll be interesting to see what, if anything, comes of this discovery and if any other handset makers, like Apple, are guilty of similar behavior.