Mobile phone

Why You Shouldn’t Use SMS for Two-Factor Authentication (and What to Use Instead)

Security experts recommend using two-factor authentication to secure your online accounts wherever possible. Many services default to SMS verification, sending codes via text message to your phone when you try to sign in. But SMS messages have a lot of security problems, and are the least secure option for two-factor authentication.

First Things First: SMS Is Still Better Than No Two-Factor Authentication at All!

While we’re going to lay out the case against SMS here, it’s important we first make one thing clear: Using SMS is better than not using two-factor authentication at all.

When you don’t use two-factor authentication, someone only needs your password to sign into your account. When you use two-factor authentication with SMS, someone will need to both acquire your password and gain access to your text messages to gain access to your account. SMS is much more secure than nothing at all.

If SMS is your only option, please do use SMS. However, if you’d like to learn why security experts recommend avoiding SMS and what we recommend instead, read on.

SIM Swaps Allow Attackers to Steal Your Phone Number

Here’s how SMS verification works: When you try to sign in, the service sends a text message to the mobile phone number you’ve previously provided them with. You get that code on your phone and enter it to sign in. That code is only good for a single use.

It sounds reasonably secure. After all, only you have your phone number and someone has to have your phone to see the code—right? Unfortunately, no.

If someone knows your phone number and can get access to personal information like the last four digits of your social security number—unfortunately, this be easy to find thanks to the many corporations and government agencies that have leaked customer data—they can contact your phone company and move your phone number to a new phone. This is known as a “SIM swap“, and is the same process you perform when you purchase a new device and move your phone number to it. The person says they’re you, provides the personal data, and your cell phone company sets up their phone with your phone number. They’ll get the SMS message codes…

Donald Trump Asks World Leaders To Call Him On His Cell Phone. That Can Only Mean 1 Thing.

President Donald Trump is being gleefully mocked over his latest reported request to world leaders.

On Tuesday, The Associated Press reported that Trump was encouraging his global counterparts to call him directly on his cell phone if they wanted to talk to him.

Twitter users were initially keen to point out the problems it could pose:

He doesn’t want transcripts or records of his conversations. He wants to hide his words even from his own administration. https://t.co/H5n869L7mY

— Rachel Joy Larris (@RachelLarris)

The iPhone 8 rumor mill: what to expect, or not

The iPhone 8 rumor mill: what to expect, or not

“You need to look no further than Apple’s iPhone to see how fast brilliantly written software presented on a beautifully designed device with a spectacular user interface will throw all the accepted notions about pricing, billing platforms and brand loyalty right out the window.” – Edgar Bronfman, Jr.

The iPhone rumor mill

2017 is the tenth anniversary of the iPhone; therefore, pundits are expecting significant changes to the existing design. The original iPhone was announced in 2007 where, on January 9, Steve Jobs announced to the world that his company was transforming the iPod, revolutionizing the mobile phone, as well as developing a unique internet device. Experts assumed that Jobs was talking about three different products; however, he stunned the world. He was announcing the first iPhone.

Consequently, every year Apple fans wait excitedly for the announcement of the latest iPhone. Rob Price of the UK Business Insider notes that even though we are still about six months away from the launch of the iPhone 8, the rumor mill is already buzzing with excitement.

While keeping in mind that these are just rumors and that Apple has not made any formal announcements, here are a few of the stories about the latest iPhone that are swirling around:

Screen size

It is anticipated that the next iPhone will have an edge-to-edge screen with curved edges. Apple will reduce the size of the bevels around the screen to allow for a bigger screen. In other words, Apple will…

Android to launch TensorFlow Lite for mobile machine learning

Above: Dave Burke, vice president of engineering for Android, onstage at Google I/O 2017.

Android app developers will soon have a specialized version of TensorFlow to work with on mobile devices. TensorFlow Lite, which will be part of the TensorFlow open source project, will let developers use machine learning for their mobile apps.

The news was announced today at I/O by Dave Burke, vice president of engineering for Android. I/O is an annual Google developer conference being held May 17-19 in Mountain View, California.

With free Alexa calling, the Amazon Echo is now a home phone replacement

The Amazon Echo can do way more than a home phone.
The Amazon Echo can do way more than a home phone.

Every single time I go back to my parents’ home I try to get them to cancel their home phone line. And every time I fail.

I don’t know how much they pay for their phone bill off the top of my head, but whatever it is, it’s too much — especially since they rarely use it, and they have smartphones which I generously pay for.

According to a recently published U.S. Health Department finding, 50.8 percent of American homes don’t have a landline and have a cellphone instead.

Naturally, as cellphones have become ubiquitous, the number of landlines in homes have declined and will continue to fall. There’s simply no need to have a home phone and cellphone — it’s an unnecessary duplication.

Most of the concerns for keeping a landline around (I’ve heard them all, thank you very much dad) usually involve “It’s got better call quality and calls almost never drop” and “I still need it for international calls.” These are just excuses for people who don’t want to break old habits and dump the ol’ telephone.

But hey, who am I to try to save you money. It’s your money and you can spend it paying your telephone company if you want to.

Seriously though, if you want to stop paying for a home phone line, but still want a reliable fixed calling device at home, the Echo/Echo Dot’s new Alexa calling and messaging features makes for a good alternative. It’s basically VoIP.

I just tested the new Alexa calling feature using an Echo Dot and an iPhone with the newly updated Alexa app and it works as advertised. After granting the Alexa app access to my contacts, it showed which of them have the Alexa app installed on their phones or have Echo devices set up. These are the only people you’ll be able to call and send voice messages to through Alexa.

Right off the bat, I noticed the call quality was good. Like really good. My colleague Brett said it sounded just as clear as a regular phone call, which is great because if I’m ever to convince my parents to get rid…

Best Money Tips: Legit Ways to Get Free Internet Access

Welcome to Wise Bread’s Best Money Tips Roundup! Today we found articles on legit ways to get free Internet access, simple life hacks from Reddit, and cellphone secrets that can help you save hundreds a year.

Top 5 Articles

5 Legit Ways to Get Free Internet Access — Light Internet users should check out carriers like FreedomPop and Juno. [Well Kept Wallet]

21 Simple Life Hacks From Reddit — Not sure which side of the road your exit is? The location of the small exit sign on top of the larger road sign will tell you! [PopSugar Smart Living]

6 Cellphone Secrets That Can Save You Hundreds of Dollars a Year — If you have access to Wi-Fi at home and at work, odds are good that you don’t actually need an unlimited data plan. [Money Talks News]

Save More by Keeping a Running Count of “Profitable…

Why the next Amazon Echo and Dot will have a screen

2017 is already going down in history as the year that voice computing went mainstream.

Amazon leads the pack, selling well over eight million Echos and Dots in just two years, and leveraging their Amazon Voice Services (AVS) platform to get Alexa into everything from refrigerators to dancing robots to Ford F-150’s (the #1 selling vehicle in the US for 40 years).

Combined with other voice computing products like Google Home and the potential launch of an Apple Siri speaker this summer, it’s not out of the question that over 25 million more voice devices will ship this year. Despite this growth, voice computing is already showing some core problems in user retention and discovery. According to a new study by Voice Labs, new skills/actions will lose 97% of their users in just two weeks, while less than a third of the 10,000 Alexa skills have more than one review. But this isn’t because voice computing is failing. It’s because voice is only a part of the coming ambient computing revolution.

“Ambient computing” refers to making the capabilities of a place, such as a home, directly accessible to anyone present, without the need for an intermediate device like a mobile phone or computer. If you have ever stood in your kitchen and asked Alexa to play music or turn on the lights, you’ve used ambient computing. (Incidentally, these are the two most common uses of Alexa, each comprising 30% or more of Alexa requests). If you’ve ever had lights with motion sensors turn off when you aren’t in the room, or armed your security system using a wall keypad, you have also used ambient computing. Voice computing is just one of many ways that you can interact directly with your environment.

Voice computing works well for direct interactions when you know exactly what you want, such as asking for a weather forecast, but is critically lacking in other interactions, such as choosing from a list of options, reviewing information, or discovering what capabilities are available. General purpose ambient computing devices will have a range of interfaces adapted to relevant…

Build a 1930’s Style Dieselpunk Cellphone

It’s a golden time for makers. With a handful of components and access to common maker tools, it is now possible to build your own functioning cellphone that makes and receives calls and SMS texts, and even plays FM radio.

Adafruit’s Fona microcontroller, with a GSM phone module, came out around the time I had just discovered dieselpunk (like steampunk, only the era begins roughly in the 1930s and concludes at the end of Word War II), and I was inspired to make a cellphone in an imagined retrofuture style. Something fun and artsy that actually made you think about our relationship to tech and culture.

I started out just drawing sketches on napkins at the coffee shop. I’m no artist, but these little sketches helped me visualize what I wanted.

Most of the concepts I came up with were way too advanced for me. I would have to improve my 3D printing skills (from rank beginner) to make the sketch shown in Figure A.

Figure A

After a lot of thought and some prototypes (Figures B and C), I inched closer to the final concept.

Figure B
Figure C

I kept refining things and finally made a critical design decision. Up until late 2016, I had been trying to “re-invent the wheel” and create custom parts and features that already had available solutions. I thought, “Gee, why not use off-the-shelf parts?”

Finally, I settled on a case I could make that could fit all the off-the-shelf components.

Read articles from the magazine right here on

There were still design constraints. I wanted this cellphone to have the footprint of an iPhone 6. It would be thicker, of course, by about one inch. Then Adafruit released its Feather Fona update. This was a great…

Social Media and Cell Phone Will Determine Fate

In Fatal Crash

Chris Soules‘ fate in the fatal car crash could be determined by his cell phone … and the stakes are high — a possible vehicular manslaughter prosecution.

Law enforcement sources involved in the investigation tell us they’re especially interested to know if Soules was a distracted driver by using his cell phone at the time of the crash. We’re told law enforcement seized his phone and they will be looking at texts, photos, social media posts and his call log.

We’re told Soules loved taking photos of sunsets as he drove down Iowa roads and regularly posted them on Twitter. He has now deleted his Twitter and Instagram accounts.

If it’s determined Soules was using his phone at the time of the crash, our sources say a vehicular manslaughter charge is definitely on the table.

As for the charge he now faces — the felony of leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death — our Iowa law enforcement sources say they believe he’ll be prosecuted but will not be convicted.

Our sources say the fact Soules is famous works against him, because prosecutors don’t want to appear soft on celebrities. Based on what our law enforcement sources…

Woman Says Her Fitbit Device Exploded, Leaving Her With Severe Burns

We’ve heard of exploding cell phones and e-cigarettes. Now, a Wisconsin woman is warning about exploding fitness trackers.

Fitbit owner Dina Mitchell said she was wearing her Flex 2 device last week when it spontaneously exploded on her wrist, leaving her with second-degree burns.

“It didn’t heat up at first, there was no warning, it just, it burst into flames. It exploded,” the Milwaukee resident told WISN News of the April 18 incident.

Dina Mitchell said she suffered second-degree burns from the device.

Mitchell, who said the tracker was a recent birthday present, told ABC News that she received treatment at an urgent care facility for her injury. A doctor there picked pieces of rubber and plastic out of her arm.

Fitbit,…