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After I published an article about how electronics manufacturers including Microsoft and Sony illegally void the warranties of consumers who open their devices, I got a flood of emails from people wondering whether federal law protects their right to jailbreak or root their phones. The short answer is yes, it does: Under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975, manufacturers cannot legally void your hardware warranty simply because you altered the software of an electronic device. In order to void the warranty without violating federal law, the manufacturer must prove that the modifications you made directly led to a hardware malfunction. “They have to show that the jailbreak caused the failure. If yes, they can void your claim (not your whole warranty—just the things which flowed from your mod),” Steve Lehto, a lemon law attorney in Michigan, told me in an email. “If not, then they can’t.” In practice, of course, it’s all much more complicated. View the full article
Security experts have documented a disturbing spike in a particularly virulent family of Android malware, with more than 10 million handsets infected and more than 286,000 of them in the US. Researchers from security firm Check Point Software said the malware installs more than 50,000 fraudulent apps each day, displays 20 million malicious advertisements, and generates more than $300,000 per month in revenue. The success is largely the result of the malware's ability to silently root a large percentage of the phones it infects by exploiting vulnerabilities that remain unfixed in older versions of Android. The Check Point researchers have dubbed the malware family "HummingBad," but researchers from mobile security company Lookout say HummingBad is in fact Shedun, a family of auto-rooting malware that came to light last November and had already infected a large number of devices. For the past five months, Check Point researchers have quietly observed the China-based advertising company behind HummingBad in several ways, including by infiltrating the command and control servers it uses. The researchers say the malware uses the unusually tight control it gains over infected devices to create windfall profits and steadily increase its numbers. HummingBad does this by silently installing promoted apps on infected phones, defrauding legitimate mobile advertisers, and creating fraudulent statistics inside the official Google Play Store. View the full article