Fortnite’s not so Epic installer PP

Fortnite. A game the whole world has become addicted to, except for me and my cat, has reached Android. Though with a twist. You won’t find it within the Play Store as Epic have decided to distribute the game outside of Google’s walled garden. Supposedly this is to save on the percentage Google takes for providing a storefront, backend CDN, payment processing and other ancillary services. In reality though, there’s a darker truth.

To install Fortnite you’ll need to carry out a procedure known as side loading also referred to as allowing unknown sources. This is where a device is told to install a program that hasn’t come from an authorised location, like Google Play or the App Store on iOS. Enabling side loading isn’t necessarily a difficult thing to do but it’s dangerous. You’re opening a metaphorical back door to your phone or tablet, allowing other potential nasties inside. All so Epic can save a few pennies per installation, per user.

Now sure you can disable side loading just as quickly. But I’m thinking about the huge swathes of younger players without device security in mind and simply want to play the game. I can see a lot of devices with their side loading features being inadvertently left on.

This is where the ‘fun’ starts.

Mark my words. It’s more a matter of when, not if, hackers start producing viral payloads, Cryptocurrency miners and all sorts of digital nasties, masquerading as the Epic Fortnite installer. If an app asked you to lower your defences, I’d hope you’d think twice about it. Yet, Fortnite cannot install without Android’s side loading capabilities turned on. I fear this will not only leave many devices unsecured, but will train end users that this sort of behaviour is OK. The next time malware tries to get onto a phone it could well be a easier prospect.

Still, at least if you grab the truly official Epic installer it will be trustworthy, right?

Google has just publicly disclosed that it discovered an extremely serious vulnerability in Epic’s first Fortnite installer for Android that allowed any app on your phone to download and install anything in the background, including apps with full permissions granted, without the user’s knowledge.

[…] Google’s Issue Tracker page for the exploit has a quick screen recording that shows just how easily a user can download and install the Fortnite Installer, in this case from the Galaxy Apps Store, and think they’re downloading Fortnite while instead downloading and installing a malicious app, with full permissions — camera, location, microphone, SMS, storage and phone — called “Fortnite.” It takes a few seconds and no user interaction.

Andrew Martonk, Android Police.

Oh for the love of…

01 September, 2018

The future of Mobike is bleak PP

Mobike. A company who’ve put hundreds of push bikes around large cities so you and I can ride around cleanly and burn some calories in the process. Pick a bike up and drop it off wherever you like. What could go wrong?

The Guardian:

Manchester could be the first world city abandoned by bike-sharing behemoth Mobike on the grounds of persistent vandalism and theft.

[…]Every month this summer 10% of Mobike’s Manchester fleet went missing or was vandalised, according to Steve Milton, Mobike’s global communications and marketing leader.

Damn, that’s unfortunate. Still, one city having problems isn’t necessarily indicative of-

Evening Chronicle:

Mobike is reportedly considering whether to continue operating in Newcastle and Gateshead. The bike-sharing firm is said to be assessing its position following continued problems with vandalism.

In Newcastle, bikes have been spotted impaled on fences or dumped in streams, with some even being dredged up by boats from the bottom of the river Tyne.

You see, this is why we can’t have nice things.

This whole situation pisses me right off. A small number of people are damaging, stealing and vandalising these bikes, which could close the service to everyone else. I’m not currently a Mobike member, but I would be if my house was within the catchment area. (I’m so close). Looks like I might not have a chance if this continues.

30 August, 2018

Gather Round, Apple’s September 12th event PP

At first I thought this was a clever play on words because of Apple Park’s shape, but it could hint towards something more. A round 4th generation Apple Watch perhaps?

I’m going to try something a little different this year and live tweet from the @PixelatedPer Twitter account, for those of you who cannot watch the live stream. Once the event has wrapped up, I’ll write up my first impressions on the site. See you then.

30 August, 2018

Back to My Mac is being deprecated PP

According to a Support article published by Apple, the Back to My Mac feature of macOS and iCloud is going away in this Autumn’s release of macOS Mojave. When the feature was first conceived it was designed to give you ‘easy’ access to files and folders stored on your Mac, no matter where it was. I suppose with the continued rise of cloud services and online file storage, the component isn’t as crucial as it once was.

I wonder how long it’ll stick about for older versions of macOS, as it does rely on some Apple service infrastructure on the backend. If Back to My Mac was something you relied upon, consider this as notice served.

28 August, 2018

Streets of Rage 4 PP

Streets of Rage 4

Publisher Dotemu (Wonder Boy, Windjammers 1/2) and developers Lizardcube (Wonder Boy) and Guard Crush Games today revealed Streets of Rage 4, an all-new continuation of SEGA’s iconic arcade brawler series known for its radical fights, jammin’ ‘90s beats and dashing sparring gloves and bandanas.

[…]

Famously known for its non stop action and electronic dance influenced music – scored by Yuzo Koshiro and Motohiro Kawashima – the series has gained the status of cult classic throughout the years. It is considered one of the best beat ’em up series of all time. After many years, Axel and Blaze are finally picking up the fight where they left.

23 years after the last game, Streets of Rage is making a comeback. SoR was one of my all time favourite games back in the day. Hours upon hours slumped behind the Sega Mega Drive with friends, all trying to get the highest score and kill combos. At this point I don’t know who’s to thank for this, but I’ll say this. With Sonic Mania, Two Point Hospital on the way (Theme Hospital’s spiritual successor) and now the next Rage title in the pipeline, Sega are knocking it out of the park.

Here, have a trailer to whet your appetite. Then go and bookmark the official website.

27 August, 2018

The History of Aperture PP

I love reading about technological history, so this article about Apple’s Aperture program is an interesting read. It started life as a professional upgrade from iPhoto and had a high price of $500 accompanying its lofty system requirements, but poor performance and development issues plagued an otherwise impressive feature set. It’s worth five minutes of your time, for sure.

27 August, 2018

Introducing Ghost 2.0 PP

Earlier this week, Ghost 2.0 was introduced to the world. According to their blog, over 1500 commits were made since their first release. There’s a lot to like in the new major release but I won’t spoil it here, so if you’re in the need for a blogging engine then Ghost is a fantastic alternative to WordPress.

Congratulations to everyone involved!

Disclaimer: I originally backed the Ghost project on KickStarter

27 August, 2018

Aqua Screenshot Library PP

Over at 512 Pixels, Stephen Hackett has unveiled a project of his; Documenting every single Mac OS X and macOS release of Aqua, their user interface design language, in screenshot form.

Pin stripes and Brushed Metal and Linen and Rich Corinthian Leather. Transparency and Vibrancy. At times, Apple had led the way into new design trends, and at other times, they have fallen behind the rest of the industry.

26 August, 2018