The Technology Behind Your Touchscreen

August 20th, 2013

Touchscreen on smartphone, tablet

Chances are, you use a touchscreen every day. Whether on your smartphone or a tablet, we tend to take the technology for granted. Have you ever considered how that touchscreen works?

Ian Rodricks wrote about the three “vital components” in every touchscreen for IndiaNIC.

  • Touch Sensor

You see that clear, glass panel on your phone or tablet? It’s not the display screen, but rather the touch sensor. The display screen lies behind it. The sensor uses electrical signals that are altered when you touch the screen. This is how it determines where and how the touch occurred. 

  • Touch Controller

The touch controller translates your actions on the touchscreen and turns it into data the PC understands. So, when you pinch to zoom, the touch controller relays that message to the PC and you see your display zoom. 

  • Software Driver

The PC and the controller speak the same language because of the software driver. The driver tells the PC how to interpret the signals sent from the touch controller. Usually, the driver used is like the mouse driver in a desktop PC. This way, your finger on the touchscreen acts like the mouse pointer moving across your home PC screen. 

Touchscreens are incredibly easy to use, but have only been affordable for mass produced devices for the past several years. Unfortunately, they are sensitive and fragile.

If you’re having trouble with a touchscreen device, call Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335. We fix smartphones, tablets, mp3 players and more.


Android Vulnerability Compromises Your Security

July 25th, 2013

Android phone

At the beginning of July, a vulnerability on Android phones was discovered, which allows hackers to gain access to your data or even take control of your phone. Listening to phone calls, taking photos and stealing passwords is all possible if your phone is exploited.

To their credit, Google acted quickly to try to seal up the hole in their mobile operating system’s security. The patch they released takes time to be sent out to every subscriber, which means hackers were still able to take control of phones for weeks. It takes time for updates to filter down from Google to your handset because there are so many different manufacturers making Android phones. Each manufacturer and network operator checks the update before sending them out and sometimes modifications are needed to run with customized user interfaces.

BBC News reports this delay in patching lead to the first reported cases of hackers exploiting the so-called ‘master key’ bug. A trojan virus was added to two otherwise legitimate apps in China.

Users should remember that while Google’s Play app store is monitored and apps checked for malware, any apps downloaded outside Play aren’t verified. That’s where many users come in contact with viruses and malware.

To keep your phone and your data secure, only download verified apps. For security software and other measures to make your phone as safe as possible, contact Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335.

Your Phone’s SIM Card Vulnerable To Hackers

July 23rd, 2013

Sim card

We all have mobile phones. In fact, an often quoted statistic floating around the web claims more people have cell phones than have toothbrushes. Whether or not you believe that, you have to believe that hackers view phones as a juicy target.

You may not realize that it’s your SIM card that could be most vulnerable. That tiny little card usually found parked next to your battery gives away a lot of information. Jeremy Kirk, of PC World, reports that their are 7-billion SIM cards currently in use worldwide and many still use a weak form of encryption capable of being broken in mere minutes.

You may still be wondering exactly how outdated encryption from your SIM card results in your data being stolen. Let’s say a cyber criminal sends a piece of code, which can be anything but in this case we’ll call it a malicious software update, over SMS to your phone. Your phone rejects that code because it wasn’t authenticated by a trusted source. However, your SIM card responds with an error message carrying it’s encrypted key. Once that encryption is broken, the cyber criminal has the key and can send any malicious software they want to your phone and your device will accept them as coming from a trusted source.

SIM cards were thought by many to be the final piece of unhackable tech in your phone. These new revelations reveal that new security measures are needed to protect you from evolving cyber crime tactics. In order to keep your phone secure and your data safe, contact Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335. We use the latest security software and measures to keep criminals out of your private data.

What You Need To Know About Free WiFi

July 17th, 2013

Free WiFi

Free WiFi is available everywhere, which is great to keep you and your devices connected to a high-speed internet connection. Those free networks, though, are notoriously lacking in security and provide opportunities for cyber criminals to take advantage of you.  David Gorodyansky highlights some reasons for concern when using free WiFi while traveling this summer for Forbes, but his advice rings true even if you are just hanging around your hometown.

Do you have security software installed on your home computer? Chances are you wouldn’t think of surfing the internet at home without some sort of antivirus protection at least. Now, do you have similar software on your phone? For most people, the thought of protecting their smartphone has never entered their mind. Those same people use their phone to not only surf the web, but also to book reservations, make purchases and check their bank account. One could easily argue that your phone should be even more secure than your home computer.

Mobile devices are also often lost or stolen, which gives the thief immediate access to all the information you’ve accessed with that device. Phones have lock screens and apps to prevent access to your personal data and similar preventative measures are available for laptops and tablets.

For the specific problem of using unsecured mobile hotspots, there are encryption services to make your personal experience safe. By utilizing one of these services, you are free to take advantage of free WiFi but won’t be sacrificing security. Even with provisions in place, however, it’s a good idea to take some precautions. Encryption and other protections make it very unlikely for outsiders to steal your information, but not giving out personal information makes it completely impossible. If possible, refrain from making purchases or reservations with your credit card on your phone’s browser. Those can usually wait until you’re in the most secure environment possible.

To secure your mobile devices and to learn more about encryption services, like VPNs, contact Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335. They’ll not only make sure you have the most up-to-date security software, but also teach you about safe surfing habits.


Vulnerability In Smartphone Security Leaks Your Data

July 16th, 2013


If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a smartphone user. And if you’re a smartphone user, chances are you’ve been wondering lately about how secure your phone is. The NSA has been spying on you, but perhaps more troubling is the likelihood that ordinary citizens have had access to your phone and all the data you access it with.

Adam Clark Estes, of Lifehacker, details a recently discovered, and fairly sizable, hole in Verizon’s security that allows anyone with a little desire and know-how to hack into your device and monitor your activity. After learning of the weakness in their security, Verizon was quick to patch it, but this news creates a number of questions for all smartphone users.

The team that exploited Verizon’s security says there are more holes just waiting to be breached. That goes for Verizon and nearly any other provider in the U.S. Also, for any hacker who gained access to a device before the update to security still has access.

The lesson here is that none of us are safe when using smartphones. If you haven’t been victimized yet, it’s only a matter of time. Your provider’s security clearly isn’t enough to protect your data and information, so invest in something more substantial. Bring your device to Geek Rescue to make it fully secure. Our Geeks give you a variety of options to keep any device safe from hacks, viruses and malware. Come by or call us at 918-369-4335.