Malware infects Android devices
Malicious apps from a campaign called “Agent Smith” have been downloaded to 25 million Android devices, according to new research by cybersecurity firm Check Point. The apps, most of them games, were distributed through third-party app stores by a Chinese group. Check Point is not identifying the company, because it is working with local law enforcement. About 300,000 devices were infected in the U.S. The malware was able to copy popular apps, inject its own malicious code and replace the original app with the weaponized version, using a vulnerability in the way Google apps are updated. Google already fixed at least one of the Android exploits used by ‘Agent Smith,’ but the fix hasn’t made its way onto every Android phone. It’s a potent reminder that millions of phones around the world are being used without the latest security measures.
Doubts grow over cryptocurrency
Facebook is facing a growing chorus of doubts about its new Libra cryptocurrency project from authorities around the world, before two congressional hearings on the initiative next week. On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Libra raised a host of “serious concerns” around “money laundering, consumer protection and financial stability.” Powell is the latest central banker to express skepticism about Libra, which Facebook announced last month. The scrutiny is set to intensify when the Senate Banking Committee holds a hearing on Libra on Tuesday. The House Financial Services Committee is scheduled to hold a separate hearing about the project a day later.
E-plane maker runs out of cash
Zunum, the Bothell, Washington-based startup developing a small hybrid-electric airplane, has run out of cash, and much of the operation has collapsed. The company promised to develop a family of small jets to serve lucrative short-hop routes with on-demand air-taxi services. A graphic produced by the company showed three different electric aircraft flying over Seattle: a 10-seat plane; a 50-seat plane; and a 100-seat airliner. The credibility of the company’s Silicon Valley-style pitch for a technology shift that would transform aviation was boosted by investments from Boeing and JetBlue. But unless new investors step forward, that fanciful dream is dead.
Hello Kitty fined $6.9M by E.U.
The European Commission fined Sanrio, the Japanese company that licenses Hello Kitty and a range of other characters, about $6.9 million, for illegally restricting where manufacturers can sell the licensed toys, bags and other products. The restrictions led to less choice and higher prices for consumers, the commission said.