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CTN Solutions has been serving the greater Philadelphia area since 1997, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Tip of the Week: Where to Find Your Android Downloads

Tip of the Week: Where to Find Your Android Downloads

Our smartphones have become an indispensable part of our personal and professional lives. As such, we often download various media to them that we want to find again later… unfortunately, this isn’t always so easy. For this week’s tip, we’ll go over where to find those files that you have downloaded.

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Tip of the Week: Android Pie Tips and Tricks

Tip of the Week: Android Pie Tips and Tricks

There are over two billion active devices currently using Android. Most of them that have been purchased in the past year have come with, or have been subsequently updated to, Android 9.0 Pie. With the introduction of their newest mobile OS, Google has ensured that their software powers more mobile phones than any other software in the world. Today, we’ll take a look at some handy tips you can use to get the most out of your Android Pie experience.

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Tip of the Week: Putting Your Old Android Device to Good Use

Tip of the Week: Putting Your Old Android Device to Good Use

Considering how often smartphones are replaced, you’re bound to have a couple of them stashed away for a rainy day. These devices are particularly helpful in the event that your smartphone breaks unexpectedly. There are other purposes to consider. Here are four ways you might be able to use your old mobile devices around the office.


A Portable Trackpad
There are all sorts of applications to pair your old phone with your computer. For example, you could use it as an extra controller for various apps or specialized features, allowing for an alternative way to control media playback, among other functionality.

You can achieve this by using the Touchpad app  on the Google Play store. It’s not perfect, but it’s the safest way to download legitimate apps. You should also run the decision by your IT department, or IT decision makers, to ensure that these apps will be compatible with your technology.

A Universal Remote
An old smart device might be a great way to take control of your other office devices. You can use a universal remote app from the Google Play store to control all sorts of devices around your office, eliminating the need to hold onto that old TV remote. Plus, since you are using just one device for every single television in your office, you don’t need to keep track of multiple remotes. If you have an older smartphone that comes with an onboard IR Blaster, you can utilize it as a TV remote, since many newer smartphones don’t come with one.

A Makeshift Security Camera
There are applications that you can find on the Google Play store that can turn your device into a miniature security camera. You might be surprised by how many different features you can find for this purpose. Boost your business’s physical security presence, all by logging into a web browser. You can even record the footage and have it activated when detecting motion.

Of course, if you want to take your security seriously, you will want to discuss integrating a network-based IP camera security system.

A Donation to Science
If you donate your device to the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, or BOINC, then you will give the organization a valuable tool that allows them to advance various research projects. Resources donated to BOINC have researched the climate, molecular dynamics, genetic sequencing, measuring earthquake magnitude, and much more, all with the intent to make a better and more informed environment.

If this sounds like a better option than letting your devices collect dust in your junk drawer, then download the BOINC app from the Google Play store and select the type of research you want your phone’s resources to go toward. This app will run only if your device has been charged and plugged in, so that your device isn’t being drained. Thanks to it transmitting data via Wi-Fi, you won’t waste any of your data, either.

What are some of your favorite ways to use your old Android devices? Let us know in the comments.

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Tip of the Week: Do You Know What Your Android Permissions Actually Mean?

Tip of the Week: Do You Know What Your Android Permissions Actually Mean?

Downloading an application on an Android device is fairly simple: access the Google Play store, find the app you want to download, and press the button that says install. However, it is also too easy to simply hit ‘Allow’ once the app starts asking for ambiguously-worded permissions. Today, we’ll examine what these permissions actually mean.


It is important to understand that these permissions are not ambiguous by accident. Due to the various responses that different users will have to a request to access certain parts of the device (like the camera, for instance), developers have taken to describing the possible effect of an application’s access, instead of simply saying what it will be accessing.

Therefore, you may find yourself giving your applications permission to access and even alter more than you realized, simply because the permissions your apps have requested didn’t give you a clear idea of what they entail. This can be risky, especially if the app in question was created by an unscrupulous developer seeking access to your information.

If you see the following permission requests, know that they are considered and classified as “Dangerous.” The reasons that these permissions could put your security at risk are included.

  • Phone permissions -- These permissions give an app the ability to interact with your calls and call history however the developer wants. As a result, the app can make calls (including those that use Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP), as well as read and edit your calls list. An app with these permissions can also read your network information to collect data on the calls that you have made, and can even redirect your calls or hang up the phone. Essentially, phone permissions give an app control over the primary function of a cellular phone. While this may sound frightening, it is important to realize that this permission is often asked for so that any app you may be using when you receive a call can be paused. As a result, this is a permission asked for by many games and multimedia apps.
  • SMS permissions -- These permissions give an app the ability to both send SMS messages and read any that are incoming. Not only does this present some obvious privacy concerns, it also means that a criminal could leverage this access to add paid services to your account without your consent.
  • Contact permissions -- As with any of the permissions on this list, there are completely aboveboard reasons that an application would require access to your contacts, as well as the ability to edit them. However, in the wrong hands, your contact list becomes a resource for a spammer to harvest their next victims. It is also important to consider that these permissions grant access to any accounts that your apps use, including Facebook, Google, and others.
  • Calendar permissions -- With these permissions granted, an app can read, edit, and create events in your calendar. However, this also means that an app can review your calendar without restriction, with the ability to edit or remove anything they want.
  • Camera permissions -- These permissions, perhaps obviously, allow an app to utilize your phone’s built-in camera to capture images and video. However, these permissions don’t specify that the app has to necessarily be in use to do so, allowing the app to potentially record your life whenever it wants.
  • Microphone permissions -- Just as the camera permissions allow an app to capture visual content, microphone permissions allow an app to use the onboard microphone to capture sounds and audio. Also like camera permissions, there is nothing that says the application has to be in use for it to do so, and so an app could potentially record anything your device could pick up at any time.
  • Storage permissions -- If granted these permissions, an application can read and write information to your phone’s storage, whether it's in the onboard storage or an added SD card. Like other permissions with the “Dangerous” label, this also means that the app can edit and remove files from your data storage. This is another common permission, as just about every app you download will likely need to store a small amount of your usage data. This includes services that save your login information, like Netflix, to games that store your progress, like Candy Crush Saga.
  • Location permissions -- These permissions allow an app to read your location at any time. Based on what the app is looking for, this location is either very exact (coming from GPS data) or a more general one (based on local Wi-Fi hotspots and cellular base stations). This could create a problem, as a criminal could potentially obtain your location history from the app and use it to establish your behaviors.
  • Body sensor permissions - These are not seen quite as often as other permissions, but you are apt to see them if you use certain accessories (like fitness trackers) and their associated apps to track your health data. These permissions allow the app to access that data. However, there permissions are not related to your device’s native movement tracking abilities.

It is important to remember that most applications that request these permissions are doing so simply in order to do what you want it to do. A messaging application without SMS permissions isn’t going to be able to do its job. Social networks, especially Instagram, need access to the camera in order to take the photos that you edit and share.

However, you should always consider why an app might request certain permissions, and if there is actually a reason that those permissions are necessary for the app to function. If the same messaging application were to ask for body sensor information, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to seek out a different app for your needs.

Make sure you subscribe to the CTN Solutions blog for more IT tips and best practices!

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Secure Your Android During the Holiday Season

Secure Your Android During the Holiday Season

Android is a very common operating system on mobile devices around the world, and because of this, you won’t be surprised to hear that hackers are always trying to one-up security developers. If your business takes advantage of Android devices like smartphones or tablets, you’ll want to consider these 11 security tips that will help keep your organization safe.


Be Wary of Connected Apps
How many apps have you granted access to your Google account? Sometimes you’ll need them for a single instance, and others will have you continuously returning to them for use. If you no longer use one, it’s wise to cut it off from your Google account simply because the more connected your account is, the more likely it is to be compromised. To edit your account’s permissions, go to https://myaccount.google.com/permissions.

Maintain Your List of Connected Devices
Every time you log into your Google account with a new device, it’s added to a trusted list. This list needs to be updated and changed frequently to ensure that your account is only accessed by approved devices. You can check which devices can access your Google account by going to https://myaccount.google.com/device-activity. If you see a device that’s not familiar, remove it and change your password as soon as possible.

Organize Your Devices in Google Play
Every time you make a purchase in the Play Store, you’ll be given a list of devices that are connected to your Google account. You’ll then choose the device that you want to install the app on. This same list is used to find your device if you happen to misplace it. To remove a device that you no longer use from the menus, just uncheck the box for Show in Menus. You can also assign names to your devices so that you can find them easier at a later date.

Activate Find My Device
On that note, Google has a system set up that lets you find your misplaced devices. Open the Settings app and locate the option for Google. You can then select Security and then Find My Device. Make sure to toggle on the setting. Furthermore, you want to make sure that your Location settings are turned on so that you can locate the phone in the event you misplace it. If you access the Find My Device tool in your web browser, you’ll be able to ring your device or find your phone in case you lose track of it.

Use Android’s App-Scanning System
You don’t need a third-party security app to scan your applications for suspicious activity. Google has this feature built into the Android operating system. To set this feature, simply go to Settings and navigate to Security & Location. You’ll see the option for Google Play Protect. Make sure that the option for Scan device for security threats is checked. This sets up an automatic scanning system that can run in the background and make sure your device isn’t threatened. In fact, you’ll hardly notice it’s there, unless you encounter a legitimate issue.

Reconsider Your Approach to Downloading Apps
No technological system is perfect, so you should always be wary when downloading any app for use on your Android device. Consider where the app came from--even if it’s from the Play Store. You never know when you could run into something threatening. Often times, you can check the app’s permissions before downloading it as well, which is a great way to make sure you’re not being tricked into giving access.

Check Your Security Basics
Do you lock your device when it’s not in use? You should have at least a PIN in use for when you set your phone down for a moment. Preferably, you want to take advantage of biometric technology that allows only you to access the device. Make sure that you have at least something standing in the way of any unauthorized access in case you lose your phone while in a public setting.

Watch Your Smart Lock Passwords
Google will frequently save passwords to the device to make it easier for you to go about your business, but this isn’t necessarily safe. You should frequently check which passwords are being saved. If you don’t periodically update it, you might encounter complications when accessing an account.

Do You Have Two-Factor Authentication?
Speaking of security for your Google account, two-factor authentication is one major way you can keep unwanted users out of your account. By using Google Authenticator, you can create single-use codes that must be used alongside your password for access to your Google Account. There are other options available too, but you will want to speak with an IT service provider to make sure that your 2FA solution is business-grade.

Run a Google Security Check
Google has a built-in security checker that can give you an idea of how you’re doing in terms of protecting your account from unauthorized access. To use it, go to this link: https://myaccount.google.com/security-checkup.

Do You Need Third Party Security Apps?
While the security of the Android operating system is a great start, you may find yourself wanting more. If you’re still not satisfied with the quality of your mobile device’s security situation, you can always reach out to a managed service provider like CTN Solutions, who can recommend solutions designed to keep your business secure.

For any lingering questions, thoughts or concerns about mobile security, don’t hesitate to reach out to CTN at (610) 828-5500.

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Have You Tried Google’s Cloud Printing?

Have You Tried Google’s Cloud Printing?

Most people don’t try to print something from their smartphone--particularly because it’s such a new concept. With smartphones quickly becoming just as fast as desktops from just ten years ago, it shouldn’t be such a stretch to suggest printing from them. Thanks to the cloud, you can use your Android smartphone to print something directly from the device.


Consider how often you use your smartphone to access information, including documents or media, via a cloud connection. There’s zero reason to waste time sending messages from one device to another just to print out a form that could easily be printed from your smartphone. By connecting your Android device to a printer via Google’s Cloud Print, you can accomplish so much more without complicating the process.

The first step is making sure that your printer is Cloud Ready--i.e., it’s compatible with the Google Cloud Print service. You can use this web page to find out if your printer is compatible. If it is “cloud ready,” access the wireless setup of the device through your desktop’s printer software. You should be able to find it on your connected desktop. Once you’ve done so, make sure that it’s connected to your wireless network--the same one connected to your mobile device.

Depending on the brand and manufacturer, your printer might need specific instructions for setting up Google Cloud Print. Otherwise, you should see your device in your web browser by typing "chrome://devices" into the search bar. If your device is under New Devices, click on Manage. You should then be able to register the device. When you come back to the chrome://devices, you should see the printer in your My Devices section. You should now be able to select it as a Print destination.

Now download the Cloud Print app on your device. This is an add-on to certain services like Google Docs, Gallery, and other apps. You can then use it by navigating through Settings > Printing > Cloud Print.

Next time you’re thinking about printing a document, consider doing it through your mobile device. All you’ll have to do is access the three-dot menu in the top-right corner and select Print or Cloud Print. Then, select the device to which you are printing.

Do you need assistance with your mobile devices or mobile-related troubles? If so, reach out to CTN Solutions at (610) 828-5500.

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Tip of the Week: The Only Feature Android Oreo Is Missing Is the Cream Filling

Tip of the Week: The Only Feature Android Oreo Is Missing Is the Cream Filling

The latest version of Android, Oreo (version 8.0), was released earlier this year. Has your phone received the update yet? Either way, you’ll want to know what features it has, including how it can help you get more done. Here are five of the many new additions offered by this update to Android Oreo operating system.


Auto-populate Passwords for Apps
Using your smartphone applications, rather than a browser-based application, has various advantages, but only recently has Google allowed users to automatically fill in password fields in anything outside its Chrome browser (with the exception of LastPass users). You can now use it to store passwords for applications that you access frequently, which will surely save you some time.

Picture in Picture
A video conference on your mobile device used to limit what you could do with it. What if you wanted to open an email or collect information from another application? Ordinarily you would have to close the app briefly before reopening it, but now you can simply press the home button, which starts up Chrome’s picture-in-picture mode. This can let you continue your video call while collecting information, taking notes, or looking up something.

Brand New Emojis
We know what you’re thinking--the world could use even more emojis. Although there is hardly any practical use for emojis in the business environment, Android Oreo presents mobile device users with even more little images to augment their communications. Which of the new emojis is your favorite?

Smart Text Select
The desktop keyboard shortcuts, like the Select Text, Copy, and Paste functions, are incredibly valuable for work. Oreo has managed to increase their functionality by implementing a Smart Text Select feature on Android smartphones. It’s much easier to use than dragging your finger along the screen to highlight text.

Snooze Notifications
Chances are that your device blows up with notifications frequently throughout the day, but you don’t always want to check them at that particular moment. In cases like this, you can use Android Oreo’s capability to snooze notifications. Swipe to the right on the notification until a clock icon appears. Next, select the time that you want the notification to appear again. You’ll be able to get back to business and check those notifications at the designated time.

What are your thoughts on this latest version of Android? What are your favorite new features? Let us know in the comments below.

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Lessons Your Business Can Learn From the Galaxy Note 7 and 8

Lessons Your Business Can Learn From the Galaxy Note 7 and 8

Samsung fans are getting geared up for the release of a new smartphone, the Galaxy Note 8. Even though it might seem as though the technology world has moved on from the exploding Note 7, you can be sure that Samsung is still feeling the reverberations from last year’s debacle.


As many of you will remember, the Fall of 2017 saw the debut of the Galaxy Note 7 met almost immediately with a permanent halt in production. A massive world-wide recall was issued by Samsung because of an issue that caused the Note 7’s battery to produce excessive heat and catch on fire. Reports of exploding Note 7s, and the resulting bad press, damaged Samsung’s reputation so much that they’re now struggling to regain market share, with the upcoming release of their Note 8.

What precautions has Samsung taken to prevent Note 8 from exploding? For starters, their phones are now put through an ‘eight-step battery safety test,’ which includes: durability testing, visual inspection, X-rays, charge and discharge tests, tests of total volatile organic compounds (TVOC), disassembling tests, accelerated usage tests, and open circuit voltage tests. Many of these steps were in place before, but have been ‘enhanced’ since the exploding Note 7 batteries.

Additionally, the Note 8 has a smaller battery than its predecessor and is equipped with a stronger barrier between battery and rest of the phone. There have been no safety concerns reported thus far, with the Note 8 still in the infancy of its launch.

One thing that Samsung has had to focus on throughout the last year is mitigating the damage to its reputation. In February 2017, the annual Harris reputation poll showed Samsung ranked as the 7th highest regarded company in 2016, before the Note 7, now to 49th in 2017, after the exploding phone was recalled and discontinued.

The development and production of the Note 8 has Samsung being uncharacteristically transparent with processes, going the extra mile to demonstrate their attention to safety concerns and details. They are aware that the damage caused by the Note 7 will likely be a point of hesitation to many consumers considering a newer Note 8.

We’d love to hear your opinion on this technology hot button issue! Are you going to give the Note 8 a shot? Or are you still hesitant because of the exploding Note 7? How many of you decided to move away from Samsung products all together? Let us know in the comments!

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Warning: Malicious Adware Finds New Way to Spread on Android Devices

b2ap3_thumbnail_security_for_your_it_400.jpgWith many organizations heavily relying on mobile computing, malicious operators have begun targeting the “low-lying fruit” of a business’ IT infrastructure, which is often a company’s mobile devices. Kemoge, a malicious adware strain designed to corrupt Android mobile operating systems, is the latest mobile threat that your business needs to protect itself against.

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Tip of the Week: A Step-By-Step Guide to Broadcasting WiFi From Your Android Device

b2ap3_thumbnail_android_wifi_hot_spot_400.jpgWe all know how touchy WiFi can be, especially when you need it most. A shoddy wireless signal can be especially troublesome if you have tasks that need to be completed, and you need a WiFi connection to complete them. Instead of getting all flustered and calling your ISP, try using your Android smartphone as a mobile hotspot.

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Tip of the Week: 4 Android Device Lock Settings

b2ap3_thumbnail_android_security_400.jpgThe busy business owner keeps sensitive work-related information stored on their mobile device. If he lost the device, it could have disastrous results, especially if the device were to fall into the hands of an experienced hacker or competitor. Just in case, it’s a best practice to always lock your mobile devices. How do you choose the Android lock feature which is right for your unique needs?

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Tip of the Week: Recover Deleted Files on an Android Device with the Dumpster App

b2ap3_thumbnail_the_dumpster_app_400.jpgIt’s no secret that Android devices are omnipresent in the mobile market. However, they have a flaw which some people might not even have realized is there: The lack of a recycle bin for deleted files. Because of this, any files you want to delete from your device will be lost forever upon deletion (though you might be able to ask the NSA for a hand finding them). Thankfully, there’s a fix to this issue with an application called Dumpster.

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