Google to get rid of passwords on Android, replacing them with ‘trust score’

Google to get rid of passwords on Android, replacing them with ‘trust score’

Google wants you to stop using passwords. Why? Simply using a password isn’t considered very secure anymore. Made obvious by the fact that companies are getting hacked left and right with mass amounts of passwords exposed. Not to mention many people just aren’t using secure passwords in the first place. Another option is two-factor authentication, and it’s a good step-up. It requires something you know (your password) and something you have, like your phone or email. When you login with your password, you are sent a code via text or email. You then enter that code to complete the login. Although this is very secure, it’s also quite a hassle and takes more of your valuable time. Enter Google’s Trust Api. The Trust API is always running the background. It monitors how you use your device. Such as typing behavior, vocal inflections, facial recognition, and location. It then assigns a score base on how sure its you using the device.  Apps can then use this score to log you directly, without the need for a password. Depending on the app it may require a better score to login. For example a banking app would require a very high score, where as a game would be fine with a lower score. If the app doesn’t like the current trust score rating it may ask for your password just to be sure. “Why couldn’t it just know who I was, so I don’t need a password? It should just be able to work.” – Daniel Kaufman head of Google’s ATAP team. This is a great solution because it can be more...
Keep GPS enabled without draining your battery

Keep GPS enabled without draining your battery

Many people often disable GPS on their phones to try and save power. While this does work, it’s not for the reason you might think. You might assume that the phone is turning off the GPS hardware. However, the GPS hardware never turns off; it’s always on so it can be used by 911 and some Google location services. Enabling/disabling GPS in Android is really a permission setting. What’s happening is your blocking apps from being allowed to access the device’s location. Since apps can’t access the location, GPS isn’t being used and needing the extra power. So how can you leave GPS on and save power? Simply find what apps are using GPS in the background and disable those that don’t need it. Let’s discuss an easy way to do this. Finding the battery hogs First we need to find out what apps are accessing your location and draining power. Baked right into Android is a couple of tools to help you with this.   Location Settings First, you can see which apps are requesting your device’s location often. Go to your phone’s Settings -> Location.  You’ll see a list of apps that have accessed your location recently. The list is ordered by the most recent location requests first. So if something is requesting your location a lot, it will be at the top. It will also tell you the impact it has on your battery. If anything is showing as High battery use, or is near the top of the list it may be the culprit.   Battery Settings Now check out the battery settings in Settings...
Find Your Lost Android Phone Without a Tracking App

Find Your Lost Android Phone Without a Tracking App

If you lost your Android smart phone and didn’t have a tracking app installed on it you might still be able to find it. After working on Where’s My Droid for 6 years I have learned many tricks that can be used to track a device even if you didn’t have any tracking app at all. Your best bet: Android Device Manager Google’s Android Device Manager comes pre-installed on all Android 2.2 and newer devices. So unless your device is really old you’ll be ready to go. It’s not as powerful as Where’s My Droid is but it can get the location by GPS and ring. It does have a lock and wipe ability, but that requires extra setup on the device. If you didn’t do that then those features won’t be available to you. Check it out at https://www.google.com/android/devicemanager   Remote install ‘Plan B’ on an older phone Now I know I said you needed to have some kind of app already installed but, if you have an older phone, running Android 2.0 – 2.3.4, you can still remotely install an app for tracking. You see, in Android 3.0 Google changed how remote installs work. When you push an app to your phone from your computer the app can’t run until it’s opened on the device at least once. This is a security measure to prevent malware from being pushed to a device. Old devices don’t have this so they are free to run as soon as the remote install completes. To install Plan B go to the Google Play store on your computer and search for Plan...
How to track a stolen Android phone

How to track a stolen Android phone

If your phone gets stolen you may feel sad, angry, and even violated knowing a thief now has your whole life in the palm of their hand. You need to get that phone back and fast before they fence it on eBay. Warning: You should never go looking for your phone if it was stolen without help. Once you have been able to confirm a location of the device contact the police and ask them to escort you. Now, let’s track down that phone and get your life back. First, did you have a tracking app like Where’s My Droid installed? If not that’s OK, there is still hope. We are going to talk about using Where’s My Droid here and if you don’t have that installed you can read this post for some other options. Using Where’s My Droid Where’s My Droid has many security features to prevent a thief from getting your personal information and aid in you getting your phone back. Below we will talk about the steps you should take. Lock it down The first thing you should do is lock your device. By locking the device it will engage a screen lock that will prevent the thief from viewing your personal information as well as making sure they can’t remove Where’s My Droid or alter its settings. Lock your device with a text by sending your lock attention word followed by a 4-6 digit PIN. For example, with the default attention word “wmd lock 1234”. From Commander, click the Lock tab and enter a 4-6 digit PIN and click the “Lock” button.   Track...
How to find a lost Android phone

How to find a lost Android phone

If you have lost your phone you may be wondering, now what? Don’t panic you have several options. You do need to act fast, the longer you wait the less chance you’ll have of recovering your phone. If you had your phone stolen read this post. The process is similar but we have a few extra tips to help you out. First, did you have a tracking app like Where’s My Droid installed? If not it will be harder to track, but it can be done. For more information on tracking your phone without an app installed view this post. Using Where’s My Droid to find your phone There are two different methods to use Where’s My Droid, either by texting or from the online interface called Commander. Find with texting Requirements: Device must be turned on The device must still have service in order to get the texts Have opened the app at least one time to complete install Using the texting option is the most reliable, but can be a little tricky to use. It’s more reliable because it doesn’t require the device to have a data connection and it can be used even if you didn’t setup the app ahead of time (You still must have opened the app at least once on the device though). To activate a feature simply send a text message from any phone to your “lost” phone that has the app installed on it. In this text message you will put your attention word for the feature you want to activate. Below is a list of features and their default attention...