Computers

The Tech Corner is a technology news and advice column presented each week courtesy of Melvin McCrary at Georgia Computer Depot in Cedartown. 

Easy-to-use apps allow anyone to create Android ransomware

Hackers are selling ransomware kits in an attempt to spread threats more easily. This is so that even a non-tech user can create their own ransomware and distribute the threat to a wider audience.

The WORSE — You could see a massive increase in the number of ransomware campaigns during the next several months — thanks to new Android apps available for anyone to download that let them quickly and easily create Android ransomware with their own devices.

Security researchers at an Antivirus firm have spotted some Android apps available on hacking forums and through advertisements on a social networking messaging service popular in China, which let any wannabe hacker download and use Trojan Development Kits.

How to create your own Android ransomware

With an easy-to-use interface, these apps are no different from any other Android app apart from the fact that it allows users to create their custom mobile malware with little to no programming knowledge.

To create customized ransomware, users can download one such app (for obvious reasons we are not sharing the links), install and open it, where it offers to choose from the following options, which are displayed on the app’s on-screen form:

If the user hasn’t before, the app will prompt him/her to subscribe to the service before proceeding. The app allows the user to start an online chat with its developer where he/she can arrange a one-time payment.

Chrome testing option to mute audio on annoying websites

The Google Chrome team is currently testing a new option that will allow users to permanently mute audio coming from a website (URL).

This option is not available by default in Chrome Canary, and a small trick is needed to make it appear in current distributions. Just follow the steps below:

Step 1: Find your Google Chrome Canary icon/shortcut and double click on it.

Step 2: Select “Properties” from the drop-down menu.

Step 3: In the “Target” field, add the following text “— enable-features=SoundContentSetting” and hit “Save.”

This is not a final feature, and because it made it into testing under the Canary branch doesn’t mean it will be included in the Chrome Stable version.

You can follow how work and discussions go around this feature’s implementation on this Chromium source code review page.

Previous “under testing” features that made it in the Chrome Canary builds include pop-up warnings for when malicious Chrome extensions hijack the browser’s proxy settings or its new tab page.

Android accessibility settings everyone should be using

Many accessibility options are unique to the particular device or Android version that you have. There are some stock Android accessibility settings you’ll find everywhere, like TalkBack, font size, captions and ‘’touch and hold’’ delay time settings, but there’s lots more, some that are really cool like using your LED flash as a notification LED. So take a look through your particular device’s settings and see what you can make use of. Here’s the five I think are the coolest though.

1. Magnification gestures

You know how we’ve shown you cool one-handed Google Maps gestures in the past, like for zooming in and out? Well, you can do the same thing system wide with the magnification gestures accessibility option. If you enable the option you can triple tap to zoom in and triple tap to zoom out again. If you triple tap and hold, you can temporarily magnify your screen and pan around, then just release to go back to normal. It’s a super useful feature once you start using it.

2. Text-to-Speech

Probably the most well-known of all accessibility features, you may have even used this already. All you need to do is have the Google Text-to-Speech engine enabled and then download the language pack you want.

I use Text-to-Speech as a simple way to finally get through all the content I save to Pocket for later reading. Which I never get around to. So I simply hit the menu button in an article I’ve saved to Pocket and let Google read the article to me while I prepare dinner. That, my friends, is the definition of laziness! But I prefer to call it efficiency.

3. Negative colors/Color adjustment/Invert colors

If you have a Samsung and don’t really like the dark background vibe, you can simply go into the accessibility settings and check the box next to Negative Colors. You will now have a white themed TouchWiz interface.

The same thing works on the LG G3 too, where it is called Invert Colors, but as you can see in the topmost image, you might get some pretty whacky color combinations. Likewise, both Samsung and LG’s accessibility options allow you to adjust screen and content colors for your particular visual needs.

4. Talkback/Explore by Touch

Talkback is awesome, especially if your eyesight is as bad as mine or you’ve lost your glasses. You can even use this if your screen has issues, as long as your touchscreen is still responsive. Once you’ve enabled the option, whatever you tap, press or activate will be spoken aloud to you. Explore by Touch is the same thing under a different name. The additional settings for TalkBack are enormous and definitely worth checking out further.

5. Interaction control

Interaction control appears on Samsung devices either through the accessibility menu or by pressing Home and the Volume Down buttons.

It lets you turn your motion gestures and screen timeout settings on or off, but the coolest part of it is that you can block off specific areas of the screen from responding to touch input, like the status bar or notification shade, for example.