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Blackberry refuses to die, plans to secure Android

(TECH NEWS) Blackberry heard you and has decided to collaborate and listen. They’re back with a brand new invention: KEYone, a secure android.

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Zombie phone

Rising from the electronics grave, BlackBerry is reportedly planning on licensing its own secure Android operating system, BlackBerry Secure.

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In February, multinational electronics company TCL unveiled the BlackBerry KEYone, a premium Android handset that gained BlackBerry some much needed attention.

KEYone

The KEYone is a relic of forgotten times, featuring a full keyboard made of physical buttons rather than the now standard digital offerings. This apparently was popular enough that BlackBerry is now attempting to license out its BlackBerry Secure platform to other device makers.

Last year, Blackberry announced it will cease manufacturing hardware since they’ve been losing for quite some time, with a whopping 47 percent revenue decrease for the quarter to add insult to injury.

However, their custom software is in high demand.

Now the company is reportedly in talks with several Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) besides TCL to run its software on non-BlackBerry Android devices. According to the company, “there is an amazing amount of products that run Android and since we are able to make a very secure Android, we think there are a lot of opportunities.”

Alex Thurber, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Mobility Solutions at BlackBerry noted, “We have a number of different contracts that we are working on right now. We expect some to be announced soon. We have an agreement with Optiemus for the India market for BlackBerry Secure.”

Optiemus is one of three companies (including TCL and BB Merah Putih) that license the BlackBerry brand to sell phones. Similar to HMD Global’s deal with Nokia, this allows Optiemus to manufacture, distribute, and market devices under BlackBerry’s name.

BERRY, BERRY SECURE

BlackBerry Secure will include security features currently enabled on all its Android devices, but license to other companies. The company is also looking into using the operating system for securing Internet of Things devices.

Currently, all of BlackBerry’s Android phones come with a DTEK security suite, which helps users monitor which apps are using features to access information. This includes monitoring whenever an app takes photos, assesses your location, edits your contacts in any way, or utilizes your microphone. An overall security rating ranging from poor to excellent lets users know where they stand.

At this time, it’s unclear if updates will be available for every device that uses BlackBerry Secure, or if new licensing deals will only include apps.

#KEYone

Lindsay is an editor for The American Genius with a Communication Studies degree and English minor from Southwestern University. Lindsay is interested in social interactions across and through various media, particularly television, and will gladly hyper-analyze cartoons and comics with anyone, cats included.

Tech News

How to stimulate your brain, and develop your skills with Virtual Assembly

(TECH NEWS) With many places mandating social distancing and shelter in place, how are you supposed to network, learn, or have fun? With Virtual Assembly, that’s how!

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Virtual Assembly

Before you were all forced to stay home for the good of all humanity, you might have planned your monthly social calendar using websites like Eventbrite or MeetUp.com to find local events. These are great resources if you are looking to make new friends, take up a new hobby, get involved with a social or charitable organization, or network with fellow entrepreneurs.

Well, just because you are no longer heading out to happy hours and social gatherings, doesn’t mean you can’t go to some events – virtual events that is.

Virtual Assembly is a crowdsourced website with over 200 free, high-quality virtual events, courses, tools, and volunteering opportunities. They believe that social distancing shouldn’t mean social isolation. The Virtual Assembly website is updated daily with new events hosted by people and organizations across the country.

The straightforward website is easy to navigate with events searchable by date or type. Search for online courses, creative gatherings, networking opportunities, VR museum tours, and so much more. The world may be a little crazy right now, but it’s only forcing people to be that much more creative.

We’ve all being forced to slow down, but there is so much to do besides laying on your couch staring at the news reels all day. This could be the perfect time to learn that new hobby you’ve been eyeing or finally get some creative relaxation you have been putting off.

Social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders are going into effect across the county. With many lockdowns and stay-at-home orders being extended, some indefinitely, many are left looking for ways to fill their time and maintain a sense of normalcy. Virtual Assembly could be just the tool you need to help make your social isolation feel a little more social.

If you’ve looking for ways to stay connected with the world and get out there (but not actually, please stay home) during the pandemic, Virtual Assembly is here for you. You can visit their website to see what events are happening or you can subscribing to their newsletter to be among the first to hear about the latest virtual events.

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Woven is the secret productivity weapon for remote teams

(TECH NEWS) Woven helps you keep track of your digital calendar in the age of remote work. It has great integration and alerts to keep you on track with ease.

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We are now several weeks into social distancing and remote work. Hopefully, you’ve begun to settle into a routine and you find yourself able to take a look at the situation around you instead of just fighting to keep your head above water. Managing, or being a part of, a remote team comes with its challenges.

Working remotely has the potential to blur the lines between work and life. As you try to schedule time to see family and friend’s virtually, it can become difficult to manage all your different digital commitments. This is especially true if you use multiple calendar systems such as Microsoft Outlook for work and Gmail for your personal life.

If you’re riding the struggle bus, Woven can lend a helping hand. This next-generation smart calendar released a suite of tools designed to help maintain productivity and collaborate better. Woven allows you to schedule meetings with people directly from your calendar. Share one-off scheduling links with anyone anywhere – eliminating the need for a bunch of third party apps. You can even send a link through iMessage. Woven also helps you schedule meetings with multiple people by building group polls and sharing availability with other participants.

One of the key tools in the Woven suite is Zoom integration.

Zoom meetings work to keep everyone together, but scheduling them and keeping track of your calendar can be a remote work nightmare. Using Woven, you’ll be able to turn those weird Zoom meeting URLs into simple “join call” buttons, streamline your entire day, and reduce the Zoom overwhelm. This can eliminate a source of unnecessary stress as you do your best to be a productive employee, or business owner, through the current global situation.

Other powerful tools joining Woven’s suite include, “Home” which highlights your important meetings for the day and “Analytics” which gives you actionable insights on how you spend your time. You can review it daily and weekly to ensure you’re spending your most valuable asset on the things you care the most about.

If you’re struggling to manage your new remote workflow and keep track of your digital appointments, consider trying Woven. It is currently available for free download for Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Windows.

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Zoom banned by Space X? Why?

(TECH NEWS) Just because an app is most used doesn’t mean it is most trustworthy, Zoom has some glaring security faults most people didn’t know about.

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Video conference apps are the glue currently holding large parts of workforce together. If you’re working from home either as a result of the quarantine or business as usual, then you’ve likely heard or used the common go-to app, Zoom. Recently, Zoom has made some troubling headlines regarding privacy concerns so much so that SpaceX employees are now banned from using the app. This comes soon after an announcement by the FBI warning about call hijacking and harassment now aptly named “Zoombombing”.

An earlier report this week by The Intercept shows that Zoom does not provide end-to-end encryption between call participants. The company also has the ability to view call sessions. As SpaceX is a federal contractor whose customers include NASA and the Department of Defense, the company is classified as an essential business. The decision to ban Zoom usage came from a memo from founder and CEO Elon Musk.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has reached out to Zoom addressing security concerns. Other security researchers have discovered flaws in Zoom’s software where hackers can gain access to users’ cameras or microphones.

As if it couldn’t get any dicier, the iOS version of the Zoom app is found to send data to Facebook regardless if a user has a Facebook account. As of March 2020, Zoom’s privacy policy made no mention of the data exchange.

ZOOM CEO Eric Yuan announced the company is focusing on solving its privacy and security issues. He’s vowed that over the next 90 days, Zoom will prepare a transparency report showing information related to data requests in addition to diverting all engineering resources to resolve “trust, safety, and privacy issues.”

Considering how many video calls will be made in the near future, and that we don’t know when Zoom will be trustworthy here are some paid and free options. It seems that even your computers aren’t safe during the pandemic.

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