Tag Archives: iphone

Apple Drops New iPhones and iOS

Apple, being the trillion dollar company that it is, has just dropped yet the latest version of its iPhone. The new devices, the iPhone XR iPhone XS and XS Max,  are the new flagships of the Apple product line.  The XR is replacing the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus  and bringing updates like Face ID and an edge-to-edge design.

But lets get one thing straight; these phone won’t come cheap. The iPhone XS will come with  64GB, 256GB or 512GB of storage for $999, $1,149 or $1,349 respectively. Throw another $100 on top of that for the iPhone XS Max with the bigger display ($1,099, $1,249 or $1,449). But even with the new features you can only choose from three colors, silver, gold and space gray.

The iPhone XR will start at $749 for 64GB, with 128GB and 256GB also available for $799 and $899. But you do get a better color selection. Apple offers white, black, blue, yellow, coral and red for this model.

In case you’re trying to decide which is best for you the  XR is the entry-level iPhone for this year. In case your money ain’t ready for the new top of the line XS and XS Max. The XS and XS Max are the exact same phone with the difference being two different screen sizes. These are the top of the line models with a better display, better cameras and made with rugged stainless steel.

But aside from the price and pretty pictures these phones will come with some new features that may interest you. These include dual SIM capability allowing you to use the phone with two different numbers. One for work, one for personal calls. Or for people who use prepaid phone cards. If you travel a lot the dual SIM comes in handy to load up SIMs from regional carriers.

Another new feature of the phone is the camera. Look, Apple is getting closer and closer to making taking pictures, professional quality pictures, as simple as ramen noodles.  These new phones offer new photo features like HDR or “high dynamic range” that allows you to blend several pictures together to get a wider range of shadows and highlights. You can’t do this with a normal camera.

The camera also eliminates the split second or two between the time you hit the button and when the picture is actually taken. Known as shutter lag, Apple solved this problem by allowing the phone to take pictures constantly when the camera app is open. These pictures are sent to a buffer then deleted once you do snap the picture saving the image.

Another feature of the camera is called the Bokeh control that allows you to bring the background into focus on your pictures. Pretty cool huh? 

Being worth $1 trillion means you ain’t no one trick pony. Apple is just as good at software as hardware. The company also announced the release of its new iOS operating systems.

If you’re using an Apple desktop computer the new MacOS Mojave is the next major update to the Apple’s operating system. It drops on September 24.  Mojave features a new dark mode for better visibility and legibility, stacks for keeping your desktop nice and neat and an updated Finder that lets you do more without launching another app, a new screenshot app and support for FaceTime calls with up to 32 people.

Last, but not least. Apple updated its HomePod device. Apple is bit behind the only other trillion dollar company in the world, Amazon, when it comes to smart speakers. But Apple did offer a few upgrades for the HomePod including searching for songs by asking Siri about specific lyrics. You can also make and take phone calls from the device and ping that new iPhone (or the old one) in the event you lost it somewhere in the house.  Apple’s HomePod now offers a feature that Alexa already had; multiple timers. This feature lets you keep the HomePod in the kitchen playing music and while timing that cake in the oven. If you can’t decide between the Alexa and the HomePod you should read this article.

 

National Cyber Security Awareness Month – Mobile Security and Accounts

Mobile security of your smartphone or tablet, is not rocket science. You can take simple steps to secure your devices and online accounts that protects you from being an easy target. Let’s start with your passwords.

Passwords

You need to change them and do so on a regular basis. Please don’t be lazy about this simple task. Anyone who knows anything about you can probably guess your password. Especially if you d0 something stupid like use you dog’s name, the street you live on, your favorite shoe designer or sports team. People do these things and, to make it worse, they keep the same password for years. Or, dumber still, they use this same password on all their online accounts. So anyone who guesses it can then take over your life. How do hackers know you well enough to guess your passwords? Facebook! Never, ever, use the same password for multiple online accounts!

Change you passwords at least every six months. Use a lot of numbers and special characters and mix them up good. Your password should look something like this “L*gg46&#wEvF?.” Ugly huh?  And hard to remember too. Well try a password manager. They are easy to use and free. CheckThe Best Free Password Managers of 2017from PC Magazine.com.

Device safety

Do you know what your device is doing? It does all kind of things when you are using it, and when you’re not. Practicing good cyber security means understanding what your device is doing and how to spot trouble and stop it. Take the time to learn all about your mobile device.

Make sure you update your phone’s operating system and apps regularly. Companies are always finding flaws and security issues and they issue updates and patches when they do.

Online accounts

Consider this, any account you have online can be monitored to see what recent activity has occurred.  Ok, so who does not have a Facebook or social media account of some kind?To see what’s happening with your Facebook account click here.  Facebook offers all its users a page that will tell them if someone has been accessing their accounts. If you have a Twitter account click here, for Google click here.  These links will take you to the pages you need to monitor your account activity. Do yourself a favor and bookmark them for future use. It doesn’t take long to check these sites for unusual activity. And check them regularly.

You will also find ways to block any unauthorized activity on your accounts. Some apps and services allow you to set up alerts that come to you via a text message or email when something funny is happening to your accounts. They will also alert you when you log in from a new device or from a different location.

Check your apps

Another thing you need to do is check the app permissions on your phone or tablet. Apps communicate with their maker regularly. Most of the time its things like performance reports if the app crashes or updates. But trust me, it is communicating. You need to understand what your phone is doing and what permissions it has to access your data. Apps can do things like monitor your position using GPS, copy your text messages, access your contacts and spy on you using the on-board camera. Most people don’t realize how much data their phone and the associated apps give away.  Don’t just click on the “accept” link when an app asks for permission to access your phone’s features.  Investigate and ask yourself, why?

 Apps from third party vendors are a good source of trouble. Games, shopping apps, email apps, any app can be malicious. Hackers count on you not looking at the app too closely, especially the part about permissions to access things like your email, camera or GPS. Think it can’t happen to you? Think again!

You should also be aware of a new threat that is hitting mobile devices, it is known as ad and click fraud. It is a direct result of clicking on a link in an email or text message. Clicking on mysterious links is a s good way to introduce malware into your device.

Free Wi-Fi

Set up your phone to ask permission to join open wi-fi networks like you find at Starbucks. These open networks, or free wi-fi, are havens for hackers. When you are traveling make sure you know what the hotel or airport wi-fi name is. A new tactic for hackers is to set up their own wi-fi networks close to or inside the hotel. They give their wi-fi a name similar to that of the hotel’s. If you are not paying attention you might get on a hacker’s wi-fi. Hackers can see everything you do if you are on their phony network and that could be big trouble. Learn to you use a VPN or tether your device to your smartphone for secure Internet access. Better yet, get your own wi-fi hotspot. Many of the major cellphone service providers offer them.

Now you know.

 

How to Safely Buy a Used Smartphone

African-Americans rely heavily in their smartphones. We use these devices for everything from email to banking to reinforcing our faith.  So buying used technology like a smartphone, laptop or tablet could be a disaster if you don’t know what you’re doing. Saving money is the objective for African-Americans but saving yourself some headaches ranks right up there as well.

How should black people buy used technology? What should we be looking for? How do we avoid scams and just outright junk?

First of all stay away from Craigslist.  I am not saying you can’t get some good deals but Craigslist is crawling with scam artists. Why take the chance? Look into refurbished products. The refurbished technology market is a great place to shop and many of the tech devices are factory refurbished. This means that they are repaired and re-conditioned by the maker to their standards. And many come with the proper guarantees and warranties to ease your fears. Some products you find on the refurbished market are simply returns that have never been used. Others had minor damage from shipping or were flawed and repaired for re-sale.

You probably know that a new smartphone could run you as much as $750 for the new top of the line models.  As a matter of fact Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 8 smartphone will break the bank at over $900. You can sometimes get a discount on a new phone by signing a contract but you still pay in the long run.

As I said, the best kind of used smartphone is a refurbished phone. They are fully tested, factory reset, and certified. Buying a refurbished phone, usually last year’s model, is close to the experience of buying a new phone. Let’s be real, there are often minor upgrades to this years model over last year’s. But the price difference can be hundreds of dollars. And do you need all the fancy tricks, bells and whistles anyway?

Buying a refurbished iPhone from Apple is a great move. Apple takes great care and pride in it’s used products.  For example, your used iPhone will have a new battery, the outer case will look and feel brand new and probably is. It will come in a brand new box with all the needed accessories. All that and a one year warranty. Try that on Craigslist!

If possible always buy directly from the manufacturer or certified re-seller. These companies are highly motivated to sell problem free used products.

So where do you buy factory refurbished smartphones? Try Amazon, Apple, Best Buy, Samsung, or Walmart.   Also check eBay and Blinq.com.

If you buy a used phone from another source make sure you follow these tips.

  • Check the device throughly for damage and functionality. Make sure it works as it should. Sort of take it for a test drive.
  • Check for tell tale signs of it being stolen like being unable to unlock it or not having accessories like the charging cord.
  • Check for contacts, messages and photos on board. This may indicate the phone was lost or stolen.
  • Apple iPhone comes with several apps that can only be deleted through jail breaking. These apps are camera, photos, music, clock, settings, messages, phone, mail, Safari, App Store, weather, reminders, calculator, calendar, iTunes, Newsstand, videos, Compass, Game Center, contacts, stocks, voice memos, Notes, Passbook and Maps. If any of these are missing don’t buy!
  • Search the iPhone for “Cydia.” This application is present on almost all jailbroken iPhones as it gives access to Cydia apps.
  • Connect your iPhone to your computer and use the iTunes “Restore” function. Once the restore process is complete, you can be certain your phone is not jailbroken.
  • Never buy a phone that is not fully charged.
  • Finally the U.S .wireless industry trade group, CTIA, has launched a tool called the Stolen Phone Checker, which lets you look up whether a phone has been reported lost or stolen. You simply go to the website and enter the IMEI, MEID or ESN number. Keep in mind that these companies keep a database of stolen phones and will not allow the phone to connect to any service if it is reported stolen.
If you want to buy an unlocked phone capable of being used on any service then you may want to check into Amazon. The ‘sell you anything’ company is expanding its unlocked phone marketplace.  Unlocked phones are a growing market because people want to save money and have the flexibility to go with any service they desire. And let’s not forget that many carriers are no longer offering the subsidies and free phones with a contract like they used to.
 
 Now you know.
 
 

 

 

Buying vs. Leasing Technology Hardware

ID-100103472

Courtesy Dream Designs

Lease or buy technology hardware?  Black consumers need to ask themselves this question because, as I have said before, Black people don’t play when it comes to money. 

Consider your cellphone; cell phone carriers have long practiced the art of selling you a cellphone with their service without actually selling you a cell phone. You know the deal, sign a two year contract and get the cellphone for free or at a discount. Cellphones have never been cheap and the true price of the phones are buried in your wireless bill. Now cell carriers are dropping those two year contracts, slashing monthly fees and creating new programs for the actual cost of the phone.  The option of buying or leasing a phone has become serious money choice.

Consider this, cheaper phones means a cheaper bill every month. If you are sensitive to the steep price of some of the more advanced phones you can drop your monthly bill by selecting a cheaper phone. 

But lets face it; the best way to save big money is to keep your old phone. Think about it, do your really need the latest smartphone just because it’s the newest thing on the market? That is what the cellphone makers want you to think!

Once your current phone is paid for that cost comes off your bill putting $20-30 a month back in your pocket.  Before the death of two year contracts service providers didn’t lower your bill even if you didn’t upgrade to a newer device.

If you must have a new phone for whatever reason you can always buy a nice refurbished smartphone. They are often just a year or two old and much cheaper than brand new phones. Many of these phones are refurbished by the manufacturer and are hard to tell from new. Finding these phones is simple just search online.

You have to do the math and see where your best deal is. Sprint and other carriers are offering some interesting deals where you get to upgrade the phone every two years without actually buying it. Sprint comes right out and says you are leasing it.

At the end of the lease you have the option of turning in the old phone (just two years) and getting an upgrade and keep paying. Or you can pay off the balance on the phone and just pay for the monthly service. 

AT&T recently has changed its phone plans making it tough to own a phone. Where it once offered three plans AT&T now offers only two. The new plan, titled AT&T Next Every Year, offers an annual upgrade and lets you trade-in your current phone as long as you’ve paid 50 percent of its retail value. The other option, AT&T’s Next plan, offers a 30-month financing plan. With AT&T Next you trade-in your phone after two years as long as you’ve paid 80 percent of its value. You also have the option of 24, 18 or 12 month lease plans. But you need to check the fine print on these plans. Both plans require you to trade-in the financed device meaning there’s no option to simply pay one off and start fresh with a new device or just buying a service plan. You just keep paying. The cellphone industry is getting tricky so you need to seriously consider buying versus leasing your next phone.

Another area to consider lease versus buy is your home Internet connectivity. Ask yourself this question; how long have you been leasing you Internet router and cable modem? Probably years. Now do the math. How much would a new router and modem cost you that you own free and clear? As little as $99 each. The average person can save as much as $250 dollars a year depending on the combination of router and service you currently pay for.  Starting to get the picture?

Here are a few things to think about when considering leasing versus buying a router and modem. To start make sure the equipment you buy is compatible with your Internet providers networks. You can usually find that information on their website or give them a call. Also consider technical things like learning how to configure it for maximum performance and security. If you have multiple wireless devices in your home you must consider how your router will perform and that includes television and telephone service. Some routers have a limited number of devices it can service effectively. Finally, if you have trouble or a breakdown of equipment you are responsible for repair or replacement of the equipment. 

With a lease you won’t have these worries. You just call your provider and problem solved.

Now you know.

 

 

Protecting Your New Smartphone and Yourself

canstockphoto20668245Christmas is over and you got a new smartphone from Santa. This little device can become a vital part of your life. Today’s smartphones can hold vast amounts of data including credit card data and personal information. Protecting your phone means protecting yourself.

As you get to know your new gadget you need to learn when it is misbehaving. There are definitely signs when something is wrong and you need to spot them early. For example any app you download could be a hiding place for malware. Opening an attachment or visiting the wrong website could result in downloading an app that attacks your smartphone and even take control of it.

You should be especially cautious if you have a Android device. According to Forbes.com 97 percent of mobile malware is on Android. Much of the malware comes from unregulated apps. So stick to the Google PlayStore if you are smart. 

But if you have an Apple iPhone or other smartphone better be alert because they are not immune by any means.

According to Alcatel-Lucent’s Motive Security Labs more than 16 million mobile devices were hit by malware last yearZDNet  also reported an increase of 25 percent over 2013 infection. 

So how can you tell if you new smartphone is compromised or infected with malware? Here are the clues.

  1. Strange behavior – One of the first clues that something is wrong is that the phone or apps begin to act strangely.  You phone or the apps may cease working or the phone may crash.  This could indicate that some malicious code on your device is interfering with its normal operation. Sometimes an app may appear suddenly and without you doing anything. This could come from a suspect website. Make sure you know what apps are installed on your phone so you can quickly identify the intruder. Whenever you install an app make sure you carefully examine what permissions the app wants. An app that asks for administrators privileges can be difficult or impossible to uninstall. Use caution and delete any app you do not use. Deny any app that asks you to install it if you don’t know what it is or where it came from.
  2. Mysterious  calls or messages – Get in the habit of checking your call and message history regularly. Malware infections will try to make calls or send messages to expensive international numbers. If this happens you will get the bill and its hard to argue your way out of paying.
  3. Data hogging – Malicious apps will use up your allotted data to communicate with computers operated by cyber criminals. These cyber criminals are sending orders and updates to the malware. And the malware is sending stolen information back to the cybercriminals. Make sure you watch your data usage. If something is eating your data you need to act.
  4. Strange messages – Many cyber criminals use text messages to control malware. These messages can be interpreted by the malware to carry out tasks on your device. Sometimes the malware  is programmed to manipulate message logs to delete the message before you get suspicious. But some crooks don’t bother to program in this function resulting in strange messages appearing in your history. If your friend’s phone is infected you may see a strange message from them and vice versa. Be alert to strange text messages that don’t make sense or are completely unintelligible. Be alert if you get a strange message from a contact. This could mean they have become infected and it could spread to your phone. Be a friend and let them know.
  5. Watch your billExcessive text messages or data usage could cost you money. Examine your bill closely to detect suspicious charges quickly.

Be aware that a lot of malware can get into official app stores.  This malware can, and does, steal credit card data.  African-Americans do a lot banking and other financially related activities through our phones. If you regularly make payments or shop using your smartphone you should monitor your credit card bill and bank accounts for suspicious charges.

Prevention is key.

To enjoy and make the best and safest use of your new smartphone act to prevent an infection rather than trying to recover from a malware infection.

  • Keep your device’s operating system and apps updated.
  • Back up all important data on the device.
  • Use an anti malware and keep it up to date.
  • Buy or download your apps only from official stores. The possibility of downloading malware is lower but not impossible.
  • Use a screen lock. Make sure your code is at least six numbers. A pattern may be easy to guess and less secure than a PIN, and that a password is your best option.
  • Encrypt the content on your device.
  • Avoid rooting or jail breaking your smartphone.

Dangers of Public Wi-Fi

Cyber Security Awareness MonthOctober is National Cyber Security Awareness MonthThe African-American Cyber Report is dedicated to bringing the latest most relevant cyber security news and information to black people. The AACR answers black people when they ask; “What does that mean to me?”

Cyber security has become the single most urgent topic of our age. More people fear having their identity stolen than being robbed at gunpoint or murdered.

 As part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month the AACR is revealing the top cyber security threats of 2015 and the coming new year and how black people can guard against these threats.

Dangers of Public Wi-Fi

Free Internet! What a joy and convenience for business people and travelers when they can access the Internet at will without being charged. Free Wi-Fi is also a benefit to businesses that provide it to customers. Any location that offers Wi-Fi is often filled with people focused on their laptops.  But free Wi-Fi is also a danger to black people who are unaware of how open and free that network connection really is.

Free and open Wi-Fi is a prime hunting ground for cyber criminals. These networks are open and all the information flying through the air is like fresh hanging fruit to thieves. Hackers and cyber criminals are often sitting in the room, and probably at the table next to you, watching the Internet traffic moving through Wi-Fi hotspots. They are collecting information from users that include user names and passwords to websites, personal information from your computer or smartphone. Hackers are even capable of planting malware and viruses on computers without the owners even knowing it. The result is hijacked bank accounts or stolen identities

But if you think that is bad it gets worse. Even if you don’t use the free Wi-Fi you could still be in danger. Many locations, especially airports, offer free charging stations. Well hackers have found those and are hacking phones, laptops and tablets while they are re-charging.

Hackers are using small inexpensive computers called a “Mactan.” They secretly install these tiny devices at charging stations to hack personal devices including iPhones. It is particularly frightening when you realize that free charging stations are popping up everywhere and most are un-attended and insecure. Many times you can find free promotional charging stations at events where many people gather including conventions and sporting events. Beware! Anyone can slip a device inside.

How simple is it? Here are the steps;

  1. Build the “Mactan. Cost, about $50.
  2. Hide the Mactan inside a public charging station and wait.
  3. Someone comes along and plugs in a cell phone for a quick charge.
  4. The virus takes less than a minute to upload.
  5. Done! Your phone or laptop is now infected. The virus can now steal personal information or transmit the phone’s location to a hacker.

Alicia diVittorio, consumer safety advocate for mobile security company Lookout says, “There’s definitely a security risk associated with public charging stations. It can be an open channel for potential attackers. We recommend against using them.”

So how do you stay safe when using public Wi-Fi?

  1. Always use a VPN connection. This software encrypts your data and location from a hacker. You can find the best free VPN software here.
  2. Watch what sites you visit. Stay away from sites that requires a user name and password like your bank,  favorite shopping website, social media or email. Visit those sites from home or a safe connection.
  3. Be aware of your surroundings. Someone may be watching you. Make sure no “shoulder surfers” are watching what you while you cruise the net. Consider purchasing a privacy screen to take along with you. Or at least sit with your laptop screen turned away from everyone else. What about that guy who seems to always be in the coffee shop whenever you go there. Is he a hacker?
  4. Keep your device charged. Make sure your device is fully charged before leaving home and only use trusted power sources. A wall outlet is best. You may want to buy a charger for your car.

Now you know.

 

 

ALERT! Apple App Store Hit with Major Malware Attack ALERT!

Apple_logo_blackClean up operations have begun as a result of what has been described as the worst attack ever on the Apple App Store.

Hackers infiltrated Apple’s normally super secure ecosystem by injecting malicious software into popular Chinese mobile apps. The infection could potentially affect hundreds of millions of Apple users. The incident is raising security concerns as Apple is preparing for the launch of its newest iPhone.

More than 300 Chinese apps are infected including popular instant messaging service WeChat and the Uber ride sharing competitor app Didi Kuaidi. The apps were infected with “XcodeGhost” malware. According to Chinese state media the infection could potentially allow access to private user data including passwords. 

Simply put “XcodeGhost” malware can steal data and possibly trick Apple users into surrendering their personally identifiable information. The creators of the malware were able to manipulate a tool used by legitimate Apple  iOS and OSX developers to create apps. Those developers, without knowing it, created their apps using this tampered-with tool resulting in the malware infection.

In a statement Apple said, “To protect our customers we’ve removed the apps from the App Store that we know have been created with this counterfeit software and we are working with the developers to make sure they’re using the proper version of Apple software Xcode to rebuild their apps.”

News of the malware was released by US-based cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Networks. The company said the malware came from computer code uploaded to Baidu’s cloud file-sharing service used by Chinese app developers.

Affected apps on the U.S. market include;

LifeSmart

LifeSmart version 1.0.45 uninstall immediately.

Oplayer

OPlayer HDLite version 2.1.02 uninstall immediately
wechat

WeChat version 6.2.6 has been patched.

winzip-logo

WinZip version version 4.2  uninstall immediately

1000 walpaper

10,000+ Wall Papers for iOS 7, iOS 8, iPhone, iPod, iPad. version 3.6 uninstall immediately.

CamCard     

CamCard Business version 1.8.1 uninstall immediately.

 

Camscanner

CamScaner Free,CamScanner+ version 3.8.1 uninstall immediately,

Because these apps have come directly from the Apple app store it is unknown if anti-virus software will protect your device. It’s best to uninstall the apps immediately.

Apple has reported that is has removed the affected apps from the App Store.

 

 

App of the Week – Drugs.com Interaction App Suite

We have become a medicated society. It’s a sad fact and a topic for another website. But because of America’s infatuation with pill popping we need to understand the drugs and foods we take in and how they will react inside our bodies. According to the Food and Drug Administration prescription drugs kill over 100,000 people every year. Of that number 35,000 are in nursing homes. Many of these deaths are preventable if the people simply took time to understand what drugs they are taking and talk to their doctor(s) about interactions. You also need to have that in-depth understanding if you are the caregiver or have a loved one in a caring facility. A death or serious medical situation could arise simply by drinking grapefruit juice or eating the wrong foods with prescription drugs.

That is why Drugs.com has been named the App of the Week. The Drugs.com app is actually a suite of apps that cover many areas of drug usage for the consumer and the physician. Drugs.com currently only offers one of these app for the Android platform the rest are on the Apple platform only. We usually frown upon this limitation but this group of apps deserve recognition. Not all of the apps are free but if they prevent a poisoning how much is that worth? Understanding the drugs you are taking is critical for people with chronic medical conditions who must manage an extensive drug regimen, elderly people and people who see more than one doctor for various ailments.

The Drugs.com app suite includes an extremely helpful and powerful Medication Guide for the user. This provides the user a way to look up drug information, identify what pill they have, check interactions and and most importantly set up their own personal medication records. This feature is designed for the mobile user and requires an Internet connection. This app is free and available for Apple and the only app available for Android.

Another feature of the Drugs.com app is the Pill Identifier. Many people, especially the elderly struggle to read the small print on a pill bottle, get drug names confused or simply can’t tell pills apart without help. The Pill Identifier App is a searchable database of pill pictures that contains more than 14,000 prescription pills and over the counter medications available in the U.S. The user can search the database using the text imprinted on the pill, drug name, color and shape. The app is only .99 cents and also requires an Internet connection to view the pill images. It is available only for Apple iPhone and iPad.

The premium version is the Pill Identifier Pro app and is the same searchable database of pill images and sells for $39.95. The entire image database installs directly onto your mobile device, does not require an Internet connection and does not have any advertisements. It is only available for iPhone and iPad.

The Pill Reminder app keeps track of all your medications. When you add a prescription you can also choose to get pill reminders right on your mobile device. The app also allows you to add personal notes, get easy access to vital information about your meds online including information such as as side effects, dosage and safe use during pregnancy. The only thing I would add to this app is an alert that notifies you if a drug you have added to the list creates a dangerous interaction with another drug on the list. How did they miss that? This app is free and only available on iPhone.

Drugs.com is also providing an app for pros. The Drug Reference for Health Professionals is a comprehensive drug reference guide that is rapidly accessible. The app provides critical information about prescribing drugs, including dosing guidelines, drug interactions, potential adverse reactions, warnings and precautions. The entire database installs directly onto your mobile device. The app sells for $39.95, requires no Internet connection and is only available on Apple iPhone and iPad.

A Drug Reference for Consumers app is also available.  It provides easy to understand drug information displayed in a simple and readable mobile format. The consumer can find much of the same information on side effects, dosing, drug interactions, warnings and precautions in the pro version.The entire database installs directly onto your mobile device. It sells for $24.95 and needs no Internet connection. Available only for iPhone and iPad.

 

 

App of the Week Beats High Prescription Prices

Prices for prescription drugs can be extremely high. Even with insurance drug prices can still give you the proverbial sticker shock at the cash register. Insurance companies have a tendency to cover some drugs like generics or selected drugs but not others. And co-pays can vary from 100% to none at all. Some drugs can cost as much as $30-$70 a pill or more.

Getting drugs and medical care is a significant problem for many black people. According to the NAACP 18% of African-Americans below the age of 65 are without health insurance. The report also points out that a greater number of African-Americans and Latinos lack a usual place of health care, and they are less than half as likely as whites to have a regular doctor (HCAN).

But there is an app that can help with the cost of prescription drugs. LowestMed is an app that is available for both iPhones and Android that allows the user to compare prices at pharmacies in his or her immediate area to find the best possible price for prescription drugs.

LowestMed app is free and requires no personal information from the user. All you have to do is search for the FDA-approved drug and LowestMed will give you a round-up of prices for that prescription in your neighborhood. The app also offers discounts for these drugs but this doesn’t require any effort aside from showing the pharmacist a code. You click on the pharmacy, and receive a “discount card” to show the pharmacist in order to get that price.

Getting the needed drugs can become dire if you simply cannot afford drugs that you or a loved one desperately needs. Sadly some people have to choose between drugs or eating everyday. Some drug companies offer services that can help people get drugs at reduced prices if they are in need. Here is a list of organizations that may help you afford the drugs you need.

Partnership for Prescription Assistance

RX Assistance

National Alliance on Mental Illness Drug Assistance

Needy Meds

Medicare.gov

HealthFinder.gov

LowestMed is the App of the Week.

 

ALERT! Malware Hits Apple iOS and OS X ALERT!

For too long too many people have thought Apple products and software were immune from malware and viruses. But Palo Alto Networks has released a new report that suggests things for Apple users are about to change. Researchers for the company have discovered a bug called Wirelurker, which the company says may have already impacted hundreds of thousands of Apple users.

WireLurker, “marks a new era in malware across Apple’s mobile and desktop platforms,” the company said in a statement.

Palo Alto Networks went on to say that WireLurker is capable of installing third-party applications on non-jailbroken iOS devices and can also attack iOS and OS X via USB. WireLurker, unlike any previous Apple iOS and Mac OS X malware, was found hidden in apps downloaded from third-party Mac OS X app stores in China.

“We believe this malware family heralds a new era in malware attacking Apple’s desktop and mobile platforms,” researcher Claud Xiao wrote in a blog post. “It is only the second known malware family that attacks iOS devices through OS X via USB and it is the first known malware that can infect installed iOS applications similar to a traditional virus,” Xiao said.

Apple’s statement on WireLurker says that it has snuffed out the threat:

“We are aware of malicious software available from a download site aimed at users in China, and we’ve blocked the identified apps to prevent them from launching. As always, we recommend that users download and install software from trusted sources.”

Apple has long had a reputation as a very secure product. Not many viruses or malware could penetrate its security standards. One of the reasons was that Apple did not always enjoy the popularity and market share that it currently holds. So hackers never saw Apple computers as an inviting target. Neither is Apple a major provider of servers and other network equipment. Apple also has a very strict developer standards and rejects many apps that you may find on Android and other platforms. You can see the top ten reasons why Apple rejects many apps here.

Even with this new threat to Apple’s security there are some experts that believe that the danger may not be as bad as many would believe. According to TrendLab’s Security Intelligence Blog  “The newly discovered Wirelurker malware affecting both OS X and iOS devices has been covered extensively in the media. While this is a significant incident, some of the coverage appears to have been exaggerated, and might lead users to unnecessary panic.”

The blog makes several points to support its position. First,  TrendLabs reports that Wirelurker is not currently an active threat. That all known variations have already been blocked by OS X, and the command-and-control servers have been disabled. TrendLabs believes that this reduces the threat significantly for Apple users.

Second, no new vulnerability in the Apple software was used to spread Wirelurker. The malware arrived on OS X machines via Trojan apps. Creators of the malware have used pirated apps to spread malware for many years. The malicious apps was detected as OSX_WIRELURK.A.

Finally according to the TrendLabs blog; “Wirelurker has not succeeded in installing apps on non-jailbroken devices.”

Many believe that Wirelurker may have been stopped. That has yet to be seen. Computerweekly.com has offered the following steps to help protect your Apple device from the malware.

  • Businesses should assure their mobile device traffic is routed through a threat-prevention system.
  • Use an antivirus or security protection product for the Mac OS X system and keep it up to date.
  • In the OS X System Preferences panel, under Security & Privacy, ensure “Allow apps downloaded from Mac App Store (or Mac App Store and identified developers)” is enabled.
  • Do not download and run Mac applications or games from any third-party app store, download site or other untrusted source.
  • Keep iOS up to date.
  • Do not accept any unknown enterprise-provisioning profile unless explicitly instructed to do so by a trusted party.
  • Do not pair your iOS device with untrusted or unknown computers or devices.
  • Avoid powering your iOS device through chargers from untrusted or unknown sources.
  • Do not jailbreak your iOS device.

Breaking it down

Apple is as popular among black people as it is other groups. Especially the iPhone. So this is where black people need to pay attention.  You may want to get used to the fact that Apple products are less vulnerable; not immune, to viruses and malware. The stage is set by this malware for others to come out of the wood work. It was inevitable that this would happen. Apple is a global brand and has a huge following. As a result it attracts attention. Hackers love a challenge so there that big pretty Apple sits. So adjust your habits and become more security conscious with your Apple equipment. Because even though Apple runs a tight ship it can’t keep the barbarians at bay forever.