And this is another reason why I would never own an Android phone. I have to admit, I have one of the coolest jobs on the planet. I'm paid to penetrate corporations via their network and in person. But by far the best part of my job is simply sitting outside of a place like Starbucks and collecting information from Android users. Yes, there are hacking tools that allow bad guys to collect your (Android users) information, especially if you’re using the free WiFi.
One of the more recent disturbing exploits is designed to hack Android phones remotely. This puts millions of Android users in jeopardy of having their phones and all the information stored on them compromised. The name is Android Stagefright Exploit!
It allows the cyber criminal to hack Android smartphones in 10 seconds! All they have to do is trick an unsuspecting user to visit a hacker’s web page which contains a malicious code file. In simplest terms, when you visit the site your phone now belongs to a hacker.
So what is Stagefright? It’s a multimedia playback library built inside the Android operating system to process, record and play multimedia files such as videos. What was discovered is that the core Android component can be remotely exploited to hijack 95% of Android devices with just a simple trick message or web page.
How it works:
1. The hacker tricks poor Android user to visit a malicious web page containing a video, which will crash the Android’s software to reset its internal state.
2. Once it’s restarted, information about your phone is sent over the Internet to the hackers server.
3. The hacker then sends a custom generated video file to the affected device (your Android), allowing the Stagefright bug to reveal more information about your Android’s internal state.
4. That information is sent back to the hacker, with another video file that contains the malware (the bad stuff), which when processed by Starfright starts executing on the Android’s smartphone with all privileges it needs to spy on its owner.
There you have it. So it may not be wise to store valuable information on your phone. Things like banking information, home address, credit card information and those special photos that have absolutely NO business being on your phone in the first place.
I will be the first to say that I am not a coffee aficionado. In fact, I’m somewhat of an amateur. My taste in coffee ranges from the famous chain coffee shops that EVERYONE goes to, to the cheap coffee I had to inject while serving in the Navy for 20 years. Now that I’m back home, I’ve decided that I want to explore the NEW Houston; the local coffee shops in particular. But in doing so, I want to support independently owned businesses. So my cousin and I decided to take a chance on a little unique coffee shop located in the 6th Ward - northwest of downtown Houston called Catalina Coffee.
There was a real feeling of being a Houstonian as soon as I walked in. We were completely entrenched in exposed brick and industrial design, which gave off a very old Houston feel. There was an obvious respect for local patrons by way of the artwork from native artists on full display. Also, there was acute effort placed on the perfection of presentation when it came to food and drinks. The latte artwork is pretty impressive, which vibes perfectly with the hipness of the little coffee shop.
And the coffee? It was excellent! I had a Caramel Macchiato. I was anticipating a taste of familiarity, but surprisingly it was totally different. There wasn’t an overly strong coffee taste, nor an exaggeration of sweetness. It was by all accounts, perfection. Again, I’m no coffee connoisseur but I’ve been to enough coffee shops across the globe to know good coffee when I taste it.
If you want to taste great coffee all while feeling like a native Houstonian, Catalina Coffee is an excellent choice. There were no laptop techies and wifi surfers, only newspaper junkies and book readers lost in their imagination. It was refreshing to see more of a vintage old school, yet modern coffee shop.
I highly recommend Catalina’s. It’s great place to hang out and catch up with an old friend.