German researchers recently revealed a major security flaw in Google's Android operating system. They claim the problem affects 99.7 percent of all Android devices and that it can allow someone to hack into your data while you're using an open wireless network, the kind you might find in a coffee shop or airport. The hacker could potentially copy off your authentication information and use that to gain access to lots of accounts.
Google says it's fixing the problem now. It might take a couple of days but Google says Android owners won't have to do anything to get their device righted. While that's a relief, it's not like this is the first time an issue like this has come up. A few months back, a browser extension called Firesheep premiered, which allowed anyone on an open wireless network to spy on what anyone else on that network was doing. The developer of Firesheep says he made it to prove a point about how lax security can be. Since then, sites like Facebook and Twitter have added better security if users choose it.
We talk to Graham Cluley of the security firm Sophos about this issue and ask him, in light of stories like these, whether he would use a network at his local coffee place. Graham admits that as a security guy, his perspective is a bit different than some peoples', but he says no, he wouldn't. He'd be much more likely to use a 3G data network where the speeds wouldn't be as good, it would eat into his data plan, but he would feel a lot more comfortable about putting information out there.
Maybe this is just a good time to start bringing your book or a magazine to the coffee shop instead of the laptop. Read the paper. Talk to someone.
Also in this program, British researchers say the brain of an Apple fan looking at Apple stuff behaves in the same way as a deeply religious person looking at religious iconography.