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Driving apps pulled from Google Play for reportedly installing Android malware over 560,000 times

Some of the apps secretly infecting users with malware.
Some of the apps secretly infecting users with malware.

Image: softonic / screengrab

As many as 13 games available to download in the Google Play Store were actually Android malware and downloaded more than 560,000 times, a security researcher said this week.

The apps, listed as car and truck simulators and racing games, are no longer on the store. TechCrunch reports that an Android security researcher found that the games were just a cover to download malware in the background.

A Google spokesperson confirmed the apps were removed from the store, “Providing a safe and secure experience for our users is our top priority. We appreciate the researcher’s report and their efforts to help make Google Play more secure. The apps violated our policies and have been removed from the Play Store.”

The apps all came from a developer named Luiz O Pinto. A page on app discovery portal Softonic lists all the apps the researcher says were infecting users and that Google has since removed. On that site, every app lists zero downloads.

If the 560,000 installs is an accurate number, this is one of the biggest breaches the Google Play Store has experienced. 

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Black Friday VPN deal: Save 72% on 2 years of IPVanish through Cyber Monday

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.
Cyber security is no joke and neither is this great VPN deal.
Cyber security is no joke and neither is this great VPN deal.

Image: pexels

Browsing the internet these days can be dangerous thanks to hackers and scammers trying to steal your info, like credit card numbers and bank statements. However, there is a way to surf the web safely and securely, while saving a bit of cash in the process. 

Enter IPVanish, one of the best VPNs (virtual private network) out there. This trusted service is currently on sale for only $3.33 a month, making it just $79.99 for a two-year subscription during Cyber Week.

SEE ALSO: All the best Black Friday 2018 sales, right in one place

IPVanish is one of the smartest ways to hide your internet browsing history, keep your IP address a secret, and gain the peace of mind that you’re not being tracked by shifty scammers or corrupt companies wanting to get ads in front of your eyeballs.

IPVanish keeps all your personal information and identity 100% under wraps without recording your online activities. The VPN offers encrypted data at home and on the go with coverage options for laptops and smartphones with unrestricted internet access anywhere in the world.

This deal will be live through Nov. 27, 2018 and is for new users only, so be quick so you don’t miss out. The best part of all: Once you sign up, you’ll get to keep this deal price for the lifetime of your subscription.

Black Friday 2018 deals by store

Black Friday 2018 deals by category

Black Friday will kick off a four-day Apple shopping event

Disclosure

Every product here is independently selected by Mashable journalists. If you buy something featured, we may earn an affiliate commission which helps support our work.

Not just one day of sales. Apple is holding a four day shopping event.
Not just one day of sales. Apple is holding a four day shopping event.

Image: Apple

Why should Black Friday be limited to just one day? In 2018, Apple is holding a four-day shopping event from Nov. 23 to Nov. 26. 

It’s a change of pace for Apple. Typically, it holds a one-day sale at retail locations, online, and through the Apple Store App, and the discounts aren’t that generous. 

In the past, Apple has done things like make the 10 percent student discount available to all shoppers, and offer gift cards, like a $150 credit for a Mac purchase. But iPhones usually aren’t part of the deal. 

Apple could go in an entirely new direction for 2018. At a minimum, the gift-card-with-a-purchase promotion might extend through Cyber Monday. Still, third-party retailers like BestBuy, Amazon.com, Target, B&H Photo, and eBay are your best bets for good deals. 

It would be surprising if Apple gave substantial direct discounts. Either way, don’t expect a discount on the new MacBook Air or even the iPad Pros.

For now, it’s a waiting game, but luckily all will be revealed in a few short days. In the meantime, you can add a calendar reminder for Apple’s shopping event here. And keep your eyes on Mashable for the best deals all holiday season.

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LinkedIn is beginning to look a lot like Snapchat

Disclosure

Every product here is independently selected by Mashable journalists. If you buy something featured, we may earn an affiliate commission which helps support our work.

LinkedIn's version of Stories.
LinkedIn’s version of Stories.

Image: LinkedIn

It was only a matter of time: the Stories trend has officially made it to LinkedIn. Yes, that somebody-would-like-to-connect-with-you LinkedIn.

The professional networking service, never one to dive into a social media trend too quickly, is finally dipping its toe into the Stories format.

LinkedIn is testing its own Stories feature with some of its student users in the United States, the company has confirmed. The feature puts short video clips at the top of users’ feeds in the main app to show students about the activities of their classmates as well as those at nearby schools.

Like Snapchat or Instagram Stories, the videos are tappable and will only appear for a limited amount of time (seven days, according to a LinkedIn spokesperson). Unlike Instagram or Snapchat, though, each individual video can be up to 45 seconds — significant longer than the usual 10-second time limit.

The feature has been launching slowly over the past month, but will be available to all college students in the U.S. soon, according to the company. It’s not clear if LinkedIn has plans to expand it beyond university students or to bring it to schools in other countries.

LinkedIn's version of Stories will appear under the heading 'Student Voices.'

LinkedIn’s version of Stories will appear under the heading ‘Student Voices.’

Image: linkedin

But it appears to be aimed at getting more younger users engaged with the professional networking site. LinkedIn may not be as alluring to college students, who may not be ready to start their professional careers yet. 

And while adding Stories to the service is unlikely to make it as popular as Snapchat or LinkedIn, it could help students relate to the service better. Google gave a similar explanation earlier this year as its reasoning behind adopting the Stories format in search.

It’s also not the first time LinkedIn has experimented with features that look more like those of Facebook or Snapchat. The company has also experimented with Snapchat-style location filters for people to use at live events. The service also recently added a new events feature for its members to organize IRL meet-ups.

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Incels.me, a major hub for hate speech and misogyny, suspended by .ME registry

Messages in chalk in Isla Vista, California, after a student murdered six people. He was praised by the "incel" community.
Messages in chalk in Isla Vista, California, after a student murdered six people. He was praised by the “incel” community.

Image: Michael Nelson/Epa/REX/Shutterstock

Incels.me, the toxic misogynistic community of self-proclaimed involuntary celibates, is no more — at least at that web address.

On Tuesday, the .ME registry, which controls the entire .ME domain database, published a post explaining that they — and not a domain registrar like GoDaddy — had suspended the domain. The registry says the domain was suspended over anti-abuse policy infractions based on the promotion of acts of violence and hate speech on the website. Incels.me has been inaccessible since Oct. 15.

Incels.me acted as the main online hub for involuntary celibates, or “incels” for short, who congregated in its forums. The incel community is known for its toxic misogynistic views, identifying themselves as “single without choosing to be so,” and blaming women as well as men in relationships for their own sexual failures.

“The decision to suspend the domain was made after the .ME Registry exhausted all other possibilities that could assure us that the registrant of incels.me domain and the owner of incels.me forum was able to remove the subject content and prevent the same or similar content from appearing on the forum again,” said the post.

The domain registry says it was monitoring incels.me since May after being notified about the website’s possible connection to a domestic terror attack.

Earlier this year, the forum received national media attention after a man attacked a crowd with a van in Toronto, killing 10. The driver, Alek Minassian, identified himself as an incel in online posts. In one Facebook post right before the attack, he wrote “the Incel Rebellion has already begun!” The forum praised Minassian as a “new saint.” This sentiment was not out of the ordinary for the incel community, which praises Elliot Rodger, a misogynist mass shooter who murdered six people in Isla Vista, California in 2015, as a hero. The incels.me forum, specifically, has been host to pedophilic, pro-rape sentiment and calls for more incel-inspired violence. Reddit banned its r/incels subreddit community over similar content in November 2017.

The .ME registry claims that it reached out to the registrant of the incels.me domain through the domain registrar — the company which the domain was actually registered through. 

In this notice sent by the .ME registry in September, it informed the owner of incels.me of a possible suspension due to infractions of the registry’s anti-abuse policies. The registry also explained in this notice how to avoid this suspension by removing the offending content from the site and taking steps to avoid similar content from being posted in the future. 

“Upon inspecting incels.me forum for policy violations on October 15th, the .ME Registry determined that the content that encouraged acts of violence and hate speech still appeared on the forum,” said the .ME registry in its post. “Having witnessed this disregard of not only .ME Registry’s policies and suspension warnings, but also of incels.me forum’s policies the domain registrant formulated themselves, the .ME Registry suspended the domain and decided that it would remain suspended.”

The registrants said in a press release that they were not given notice before .ME Registry took the site down.

The suspension may sound a bit reminiscent of Gab.com being booted from GoDaddy over content promoting violence and hate speech last month after a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. In actuality, the two cases are a lot different. 

GoDaddy, as a domain registrar, simply manages the domains registered on its platform. When GoDaddy informed Gab that they no longer wanted to be its domain registrar, Gab was able to transfer its domain to a different domain name company.

With incels.me, the domain was suspended by a registry, specifically in this case the .ME registry, which runs and maintains the database of all the top-level domains under its management. Incels.me being suspended by the registry means they can no longer use the domain in any capacity, regardless of where the domain was registered.

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