CNET: FTC warns of COVID-19 contact tracing text message scams. “The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday warned the public about scammers taking advantage of contact tracing to steal your information. Contact tracers are generally hired by a state’s department of public health. If a tracer contacts you, they won’t ask for personal information. If the person contacting you is asking for money or sensitive information like your Social Security number, bank account or credit card number, it’s a scam.”
CNN: Coronavirus training by text message: How some companies are keeping workers informed. “For the past three years, Hello Alfred has partnered with residential buildings to provide a concierge-like service for residents. But on Wednesday, the company announced it is allowing people, regardless of what building they live in, to use its service for food and essential goods deliveries in more than 20 US cities. Unlike many other delivery services, its workers, called ‘Alfreds,’ are employees who receive health benefits, sick leave, and more. The company is providing workers with masks, gloves and hand sanitizer, but it wanted to do more. That meant getting relevant information about coronavirus into the hands of its workers in an easy-to-use way to help protect them.”
The Atlantic: The Divine Origins of the Horny Chain Text. ” At this point in my life, I’m well aware of the unpleasant things that can happen to a person if she doesn’t forward a chain message: She can die, or she can miss out on a chance to make a fortune, or she can disappoint her Father in heaven, or she can have a totally sexless year. These consequences have been threatened for centuries in paper letters, emails—and, recently, smutty, emoji-studded text messages, typically timed to a holiday or major event. They are gross, they are phonetically challenging, and they are extremely compelling.” I guess there are some advantages to getting old; I have never seen one of these.
PopSugar Tech: You Can Delete All iPhone Texts at Once With This Hack, and My Mind Is Blown. “Usually when my phone is in serious need of a storage cleanse, I get rid of old text conversations individually by swiping left and pressing the red ‘delete’ button. It’s time-consuming AF, and I usually give up when I’m about 15 conversations deep and still in need of said storage cleanse. Little have I known, there’s an alternative method that allows you to delete tons of messages at once.”
Ubergizmo: New Text Scam Disguises Itself As A FedEx Tracking Notification. “We buy a lot of things online these days and as such, getting text message notifications letting us know that our purchase has been shipped out is pretty common. However, it seems that there is a new text scam making its rounds that is disguising itself as a FedEx tracking notification, making users more inclined to click on it.”
CNET: US Army says texts about draft are fake. “In the days since Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was killed in a US airstrike, some people in the US received texts saying they’d been drafted into military service. The US Army says those messages are fake.”
Hongkiat: Send Emails to Any Mobile Number With This Chrome Extension. “Afraid of having your urgent email being lost in the recipient’s email account? Why not send it directly to the recipient’s phone number instead. CloudHQ has created an Chrome extension that lets you do just that directly from Gmail itself.” I took a cursory look at CloudHQ and didn’t see anything alarming, but I still wouldn’t use this for anything sensitive.
Neowin: Google introduces Verified SMS and spam detection in Android Messages. “This new feature will verify whether a specified message is truly from a business. This feature is rolling out in nine countries for now: the U.S., India, Mexico, Brazil, the UK, France, Philippines, Spain, and Canada, but more countries will be added over time.”
USA Today: ‘Hundreds of millions of people’ may have had their text messages exposed online, researchers say. “A database housing millions of private SMS text messages was left open online for an extended period of time, a team of researchers at the online privacy company vpnMentor said Sunday. The Texas-based text messaging firm TrueDialog is thought to be responsible for the leak, the cybersecurity experts said.”
BetaNews: Consumers shun social media and apps in favor of emails and texts. “In recent years there has been an explosion in the number of different channels that businesses use to keep in touch with their customers. But a new study from cloud communications platform Twilio reveals that the newer channels aren’t especially popular, with 83 percent of global consumers saying they prefer email when receiving communications from businesses.”
Ars Technica: Researchers unearth malware that siphoned SMS texts out of telco’s network. “Dubbed ‘Messagetap’ by researchers from the Mandiant division of security firm FireEye, the recently discovered malware infects Linux servers that route SMS messages through a telecom’s network. Once in place, Messagetap monitors the network for messages containing either a preset list of phone or IMSI numbers or a preset list of keywords”
CNN: Twitter temporarily suspends ability to tweet via text message after CEO hacked. “Twitter (TWTR) is temporarily suspending the ability to tweet via text messages, days after CEO Jack Dorsey’s account was hacked due to an apparent vulnerability tied to this feature.”
Slashgear: Google Voice voicemail transcript forwarding shut down due to spam abuse. “In an email sent to Google Voice users, the tech giant announced that Google Voice’s SMS voicemail transcription forwarding will be shutting down. It was pretty clear for the reason for the rather abrupt change: spam robocalls.”
CNET: Political campaign texts are working, researchers say. “A new report from Democratic technology company Tech for Campaigns has found that people who received text messages from election campaigns were 1% more likely to vote. The company’s researchers found Democratic campaigns and organizations sent 350 million texts in 2018. That’s six times more than were sent in 2016 and 2017.”
Fossbytes: Google Researcher Finds Nasty iMessage Bug That ‘Bricks’ iPhone. “There are different character combinations that can render an iPhone useless. While Apple has been quick to fix such bugs, this time a Google researcher found a nasty one that ‘bricks’ Apple phones.”