LATE IN 2016, SECURITY research firm Check Point Software revealed a security breach that could affect more than one million Android devices worldwide. Known as Googlian, the program gains access to authentication information for Google services, including Gmail, Google Drive, Google Photos, Google Docs, and more. Devices running Android versions 4 (nicknamed Jelly Bean and KitKat) and 5 (Lollipop) are at risk. In the pockets of today’s users, that accounts for more than 74 per cent of all active devices. The Googlian malware infects phones by hiding in apps that
appear totally legit and tempt users further because they’re free. These apps live in third-party app stores (outside the Google Play Store), but Check Point says that many users also download them by clicking on phishing links in emails and text messages. Once the malicious software is installed, it sends key device data to Googlian, allowing it to root the device and gain near-complete control over its operations. At this point, Googlian becomes especially sneaky.
It downloads its own control module onto the device, which mimics user behaviour, making it difficult to detect. This also lets it dig out
authentication information, and install apps and adware. By doing this, Googlian is actually able to artificially bump up the ratings of its malicious apps, further tempting users to download them and enter the vicious cycle. At the time, Google assured users that the company’s security team has worked closely with Check Point in their investigation of the Googlian malware. According to the post, the security team has been working on measures to protect users from what it terms “Ghost Push” apps, which are most often downloaded outside the Google Play Store and work to install malicious software
on their own post-download. To check if your account is breached, visit gooligan. checkpoint.com. If your credentials are among those compromised, Check Point suggests a clean installation of your operating system. A clean install (or “flashing”) a device is a long, multi-step affair, so you may want to head to your device manufacturer’s website for help. Once that’s done, reset your Google account password. While you’re already in the process of resetting, make sure to create an ironclad password. Consult Google’s own tips for creating strong passwords.
DID YOU BUY THE TESLA POWERWALL sometime in the last couple of weeks? You should have waited: Tesla has released a new Powerwall, with a 13.5 kWh capacity, priced at $10,000 in Australia. The new battery has more than just a beefed capacity. There’s improved peak-power handling, a built-in inverter (which will save you some money), and both a DC and AC version. The warranty has also improved, with a guaranteed 70% capacity left after 10 years for normal solar use, or 70% capacity after 37.80 MWh of throughput in other uses. While many armchair analysts have jumped in claiming the new unit can pay for itself in as little as six years, most of these calculations
continue to neglect aspects including efficiency losses and battery degradation over time. They also tend to be quite misleading, by using a combined solar and battery system, rather than looking at the total set up an operating costs of each. So it’s up to us to present the brutal financial realities of bolting a big lump of batteries to your wall. THE MATHEMATICS OF POWER Thanks to variations in use and regional power pricing, calculating payback times is very complex, so we take a more comparative approach. The Powerwall 2 is warrantied to deliver 37,800 kWh over 10 years from the actual battery, or around 10.4 kWh a day.