Weekly Cell Phone News in Review–November 10, 2014

Cell Phones, Social Media and Campaign 2014
Cell phones and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are playing an increasingly prominent role in how voters get political information and follow election news, according to a new national survey by the Pew Research Center. The proportion of Americans who use their cell phones to track political news or campaign coverage has doubled compared with the most recent midterm election: 28% of registered voters have used their cell phone in this way during the 2014 campaign, up from 13% in 2010. Further, the number of Americans who follow candidates or other political figures on social media has also risen sharply: 16% of registered voters now do this, up from 6% in 2010. Story by Aaron Smith for Pew Research.

Restaurant Offers Discount for No Cell Phones
A Sioux Falls restaurant is offering customers a 10 percent discount every Wednesday if they put away their cellphones while eating there. The owners of Sneaky’s Chicken want their customers to talk with each other. “The discount is the incentive, but the real incentive is to focus the attention on the person you are dining with,” said the owner. Customers put their cellephones in a box that the server leaves on the table. Story by Rosemary McCoy for the Angus Leader.

How Attackers Can Use Radio Signals and Mobile Phones to Steal Protected Data
Computers housing the world’s most sensitive data are usually “air-gapped” or isolated from the internet. They’re also not connected to other systems that are internet-connected, and their Bluetooth feature is disabled, too. Sometimes, workers are not even allowed to bring mobile phones within range of the computers. All of this is done to keep important data out of the hands of remote hackers. But these security measures may be futile in the face of a new technique researchers in Israel have developed for stealthily extracting sensitive data from isolated machines–using radio frequency signals and a mobile phone. Story by Kim Zetter for Wired.

Cell Phones are Invaluable to NASCAR Crewmen
One of the most important tools in NASCAR is found in a crewman’s pocket, not a tool box. It’s a cell phone. Phones have become a necessary part of finding speed. They are used to take pictures and videos to be shared with the shop and on pit road to make the job of getting a driver to the front of the pack a lot easier. When Brad Keselowski crashed at Kansas Speedway in October, his Penske Racing crew used a cell phone to take pictures of the damage. That way he could continue to make laps under caution while the team figured out the best way to make repairs. Story by Don Coble for the Morris News Service.

Cellphones a Key Tool for Drug Dealers
Of the technology available for dealers to use, cellphones are most commonly used in the trade. They give drug users instantaneous communication with dealers. And they’re difficult, if not impossible, to trace. Many dealers use pre-paid, disposable cellphones–commonly called burn phones–and constantly change numbers to keep from getting caught. Because the phones are disposable and often paid for with cash, there is no monthly bill or record of subscriber information, including incoming and outgoing calls. Story by Kristina Smith for the Telegraph-Forum.

More Hackers Targeting Mobile Phones to Get Bank Details
Hackers are increasingly targeting mobile phones to get into bank accounts of victims and steal money. A report by Kaspersky Labs with Interpol found that 60 percent of the malicious programs targeting Android devices between August 2013 and July 2014 were designed to steal money or banking credentials. The report focused on Android, which accounts for roughly 85 percent of the mobile device market and 98 percent of mobile malware. Just like other online operations, hackers are moving into mobile because more users access the Internet from these devices. The survey of users registered with Kaspersky found more than 588,000 Android users worldwide faced financial malware attacks, six times higher than the prior 12 months. Story in NDTV Gadgets.

Starwood Testing Smartphones as Hotel Room Key
Tired of losing the key to your hotel room? Starwood’s new Bluetooth-enabled smart locks could be the answer to your problem. Starting last Wednesday in 10 locations, the new smart locks establish a wireless connection with your phone, turning the smartphone into a key to your hotel room. Story by John Oldshue for SaveOnPhone.com.

How Cellphones Are Helping to Revive India’s Folk Music Scene
Spending time in rural India in the past few years, it has been difficult to miss the cellphone, especially in the hands of millennials. It has also been hard to ignore how rapidly the phone has been absorbed in the vernacular social fabric. The cellphone, it appeared, had sparked anew an interest in traditional folk and tribal music in parts of rural India and was contributing to keeping these art forms alive. Being able to record and share pieces rapidly means music that was once only transmitted orally and restricted to archives can now be accessed and circulated amongst a new generation of Indians who live on their multimedia enabled phones. Story by Aditi Deo for The Wall Street Journal.

About John Oldshue

John Oldshue is the creator of SaveOnPhone.com. He worked for over 15 years in television and won an Emmy award for his reporting. He covers long distance and cell phone topics for SaveOnPhone.