Top 10 reasons to root your Android mobile phone or tablet

Some of you may have heard of it in whispered tones : "you can do this (or that) if you would only ROOT your phone". You might wonder what is this "root" thing and what it might do for you ...

How to root the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 GT-P6800

The steps below show how to root the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 GT-P6800. Note that this guide is for the 3G+Wifi version only. Be sure you know what you are doing ...

Singtel 3G APN settings for Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7

One of the first things that I did upon getting my Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 was to ensure that the Singtel 3G APN settings are correct. I've read that you can configure it with slightly more optimized settings as follows ...

Singapore : Telco authority IDA to mandate improved 3G mobile coverage standards, cap mobile roaming charges

IDA, the overall Singapore telco authority, has recently come up with a couple of mandates to try to resolve two of the most pressing issues faced by mobile phone users in Singapore.

Apple nets $46.33 billion revenue, Samsung gets $42 billion in Q4 2011

Tech earning season is in and we are looking at some incredible numbers out there. For Apple's Q4 2011 results, the official press release noted that the company "posted record quarterly revenue of $46.33 billion and record quarterly net profit of $13.06 billion".

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Samsung Galaxy S6 model codes

The Samsung Galaxy S6 model codes for Singapore are as follows :


Note that this is for the regular Galaxy S6, not the Galaxy S6 Edge.

The problem when trying to register the product warranty is that there is no hint of the correct model code on the receipt, or on the box, or in fact anywhere else. After trolling the forums and elsewhere on the net, as far as I can determine, the convention seems to be like this :

  • SM-G920I is the base model code, that is, the regular Galaxy S6.
  • Z, no idea what Z is
  • B, D K, or W would be the color code (B for Black, W for White, no idea about the rest, perhaps Gold and Blue)
  • A, E or F would be the memory size (A for 32GB, E for 64GB, F for 128GB)
  • XSP is the usual Samsung country code (XSP is for Singapore)
There is a huge list of Samsung country codes over at the XDA forum, you can look it up if you like.

So, for example, my regular Samsung Galaxy S6 64GB Black bought from M1 Singapore would then be SM-G920IZBEXSP, while the 32GB model would be SM-G920IZBAXSP.

Might update this when more information is available. Hope that helps.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

10 Ways to Secure Your Internal Network

We see this often. On the outside, you have these imposing fortress walls. Once inside, there are no further defences and everything is wide open to attack. The same applies to networks as well. Once you get past the big imposing firewall, everything on the internal network or intranet is wide open to further intrusion.

So here are 10 ways to secure your internal network. These measures range from the simple to the more draconian.

1. Harden existing machines. Update OS patches as they become available. Keep anti-virus signatures updated at a reasonably high frequency. Nowadays commercial AV vendors push updates to clients multiple times per day. Even the free ones update once per day and that might be good enough for many cases.

2. Reduce the attack surface and minimize exposure by closing unused ports and shutting down unnecessary services. Case in point is the Asus wifi router infosvr issue where a service that wasn't really needed turned out to be a big security vulnerability.

3. Secure remote access protocols. At a minimum, enable Network Level Authentication if you are using Remote Desktop to remotely access other Windows machines. Also, ensure that a minimum set of users is allowed to remotely access these machines. Whether for Windows, Linux or any other OS, remote login is a powerful function. Hand this out only when needed.

4. Ensure encryption is turned on for network traffic wherever possible. This applies equally for client-to-server traffic as well as server-to-server traffic (such as application server to database server).

5. Optionally, go beyond simple encryption by turning on IPSEC with two-way certificates to defeat sniffing, spoofing and other impersonation attacks. Certificate management could be a problem as you would probably need to own an entire PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) setup for this.

6. Setup an intrusion detection system (IDS) to monitor network traffic. This is a given but it is easier said than done, as IDS systems tend to either generate too many or too few warnings and alerts. Tuning an IDS can turn out to be an exactingly fine art in itself.

7. Conduct regular vulnerability assessments. Just about the same network penetration testing tools are available to both attackers and defenders and many of them are free and open-source, so this is definitely doable. It just takes effort and time - or if you have to outsource this, it will take money. Quite a bit of money.

8. If you have a wireless segment, you can follow these 11 guidelines to secure wireless networks. In particular, disable over-the-air management of wireless AP's, and enable the highest encryption levels wherever possible. Whether this is WPA2 (Personal) with a suitably complex password, or going all the way to two-way WPA2 Enterprise with 802.11x EAP-TLS depends on your situation and level of security required.

9. If you are letting public visitors use your internet as a courtesy or as part of your legitimate business operations, use a guest wifi network separate from your internal network. Never shall the two mix.

10. Where possible, for your wifi network, find the setting for and enable AP isolation. This will invalidate certain classes of attacks on the WPA2 protocol on the internal side of the network.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S4 launch date and tech specs (Update 2)

CNET has confirmed that the Samsung Galaxy S4 will be the definitive model at the unveiling on the launch date of 14 March 2013 at the Samsung Unpacked event in New York.

The current thinking regarding the Samsung Galaxy S4 tech specs is as follows :

Processor : Octa-core Exynos 5 / Quad-core Exynos / Snapdragon 600 1.9Ghz

Display : 4.99" 1920x1080 Full HD Super AMOLED (alternatively, SoLux or SLCD)
OS : Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
Memory : 2GB RAM
Internal storage : 16GB, 32GB or 64GB
Camera : 13 megapixel rear with 1080p video recording, 2 megapixel front
Dimensions : 140.1 x 71.8 x 7.7mm
Weight : 138g

The biggest uncertainties remain in the two "biggest" items, namely the choice of processor and the display. To date it is yet to be confirmed whether the processor would be based on the awesome new ARM big.LITTLE architecture which would mean the 8-core Exynos 5 chipset, or a more "normal" quad-core Exynos but clocked at a slightly higher rate, or as some have said, unlikely though it may be, that Samsung would abandon their own Exynos series and go with Snapdragon instead.

As for the display, most are in agreement that it would be 4.99" or you could round it off to 5" if you like, on the other hand the concern is whether Samsung is finally, finally ready with their mass production of their Full HD Super AMOLED display tech or they have to fall back on something else such as Super LCD or some such equivalent. All will be revealed on 14 March 2013, including the official release date, product availability and so on, hence we shall wait and see.

See also :

1. Samsung Galaxy S4 tech specs

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Updates on the Apple vs Samsung Patent War

Latest updates in the Apple vs Samsung patent lawsuit aka thermonuclear war. CNet reports that :

A key patent that Apple successfully used against Samsung in its multibillion-dollar courtroom brawl earlier this year is at risk following a re-examination by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office All 21 claims of U.S. patent No. 7,844,915 - also known as the "pinch to zoom" patent -- were rejected by the Patent Office today, following a re-examination.

That makes 3 major patents invalidated or close to getting invalidated that Apple had been using against the other side :

1. Multi-touch
2. Rubber-banding effect
3. Pinch-to-zoom

Interesting to see that the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is finally making some common-sense decisions after the billion-dollar verdict had already been handed down. It's either that, or as they say, that the wheels of justice move slowly - but they do move.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Samsung Galaxy S4 tech specs

According to and some other tech websites, the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S4 tech specs are rumored to be as follows :

Exynos 5450 2.0GHz quad-core processor based on Cortex A15
5" Super AMOLED Full HD 1920x1080 display
13-megapixel camera

If any of these specifications is even near true by itself, it would be pretty awesome. 2.0GHz quad-core CPU? Unreal.

And that holy grail of all OLED screen aficionados, the Full HD Super AMOLED display, hopefully with a "+" non-Pentile arrangement. If they could pull that off, itwould be a technical coup of the highest order. After all, Samsung did show that they could pull off a Retina-busting 2560x1600 display with the Google Nexus 10, albeit with PLS tech, so the next logical step would be to do something close to that with AMOLED.

However, these are all early stage speculations. The photo is a purported early rendering as well. We shall watch and see what the actual product specs will be like.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 LTE : how to turn off 4G setting, remain in 3G mode

Just had a chat with a Facebook friend, he was asking about turning off the 4G/LTE setting for the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Though I didn't have a Note 2 on hand, I guessed that with the TouchWiz interface and all, it should be pretty similar to other Galaxy phones in the series.

So here's how to do it :

  1. Go to Settings, More ..., Mobile networks, Network mode.
  2. There will be 4 options : LTE/GSM/WCDMA(Auto mode) , GSM/WCDMA and so on.
  3. The 2nd option will leave the phone in 3G mode but disable 4G/LTE mode.

Hope that helps.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mozilla Firefox 14 : setting for new tab to blank homepage

Mozilla Firefox 14 has a new tab feature which by default shows your most recently visited pages. While this may seem to be a convenient feature, it may be a privacy concern as it shows anyone nearby at a glance what your most frequently visited websites are the moment you try to open a new tab.

Actually this "feature" has been implemened since Firefox 13.0 and Firefox 14.0 has just carried on with this setting. There is currently no easily-accessible user interface setting to change that. In order to set your new tab homepage to say a blank page, you need to do the following :

  1. In Firefox, enter about:config in the address bar.
  2. Simply click through when asked about "This might void your warranty". No worries about that screen, it's a joke. Firefox is a free software so you don't get any kind of warranty actually.
  3. Search for the newtab setting by simply typing "newtab" in the search box (as shown in the screenshot above).
  4. Double-click on the setting browser.newtab.url and set it to about:blank which gives you a blank page if that's what you want.
  5. Optionally, you can set this to any other homepage you like.
 While we are here, there is another setting that you might want to change. Similar to the newtab "feature", since Firefox 13, and now also in Firefox 14, the smooth-scrolling setting has been enabled by default. To turn it off, do the following :

  1. In Firefox, enter about:config in the address bar (or remain in the config page if you're already there).
  2. Search for the smooth-scroll setting by simply typing "smoothscroll" in the search box (as shown in the screenshot above).
  3. Double-click on the setting general.smoothScroll to set it to false.

Hope this helps.

(Update : this works for later Firefox versions as well, so far it's worked fine with Firefox 15 and Firefox 16).

See also :

1. How to fix color management problems in Mozilla Firefox


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