eBay Launches eBay Authenticate to Prevent Counterfeiting

eBay Authenticate

eBay Authenticate

eBay is developing a new authentication program for some of its higher-end items to create a network of professional authenticators it can use to verify that products are legitimate.

Under the name eBay Authenticate, the program will begin with a pilot program in the US for top-end handbags. It plans to spread to more items throughout the year and hopes to grow the program internationally.

When listing an item in the target inventory set—such as high-end handbags—sellers will have an opportunity to opt-in to the authentication service for a fee. In return, there will be messaging on their listing that highlights that the item will be reviewed by a professional authenticator before it’s delivered to the buyer. If the item sells, a professional will authenticate the item. If the item passes inspection, the item will be forwarded to the buyer.

For listings in the target inventory set where the seller hasn’t adopted the authentication service, the buyer will still have the ability to utilize the service for a fee.

To further bolster consumer trust in the program, if a buyer receives an item following inspection and it’s found to be inauthentic, eBay will refund the buyer two times the cost of the original purchase price.

According to eBay, for sellers, the service will help them drive sales, promote products, and get top dollar for their items. For buyers, the service adds another layer of trust to allow them to shop confidently—no matter the price point.

Details on pricing for the service will be shared at a later date.


Article Provided By: Security Magazine

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Should Big Data Pick Your Next Doctor?

Big DataBig Data

This past spring, Owen Tripp, 37, was living the Silicon Valley dream. His latest company, Grand Rounds, had raised $100 million at a valuation said to be about $1 billion. He and his wife had a new baby, their third child. Sure, the noise from the kids–all of them under 6–meant he slept with earplugs, but so what? Life was great.

Then he woke up one morning convinced he’d left an earplug in his right ear. He checked. No plug. But he couldn’t hear anything in that ear. His doctor twice said it was just clogged before recommending an ear, nose and throat specialist. When he pulled up the specialist’s Web page, something didn’t feel right: Her expertise was in swallowing, not hearing. “I’m not feeling super-comfortable with the way this is being looked at,” he remembers thinking. “Why am I being referred to somebody who seems to be more versed in swallowing?”

Most people would just go to that doctor anyway. Or they’d call friends in the hope that someone would know a specialist. But Tripp is not most people: He is the co-founder of Grand Rounds, which is focused on matching patients with the right doctors. The company uses a database of some 700,000 physicians, 96% of the U.S. total, and merges it with insurance-claims data and biographical information to grade doctors based on the quality of their work. The idea is to help people find a physician who will give them the right diagnosis the first time around and link patients with experts who can give second opinions. For individuals, it costs $600 to get a doctor recommendation and $7,500 to get a second opinion.

Grand Rounds won’t provide revenue figures, but employers, including Comcast, Quest Diagnostics, SC Johnson, Wal-Mart, News Corp. and Jamba Juice, pay for the service on a per-employee basis because they believe it cuts down on incorrect diagnoses and unnecessary procedures. Some 3 million employees have access to the service, although only a small percentage use it. At Costco, for instance, 2% of employees used Grand Rounds this year and 60% of those who got a second opinion had their care changed.

The team at Grand Rounds matched Tripp with a doctor in San Francisco. She prescribed a specialized MRI. After the scan, the head radiologist at Stanford called and told Tripp there was a 2.6-centimeter growth–a tumor called a schwannoma–in the nerve that led to his ear.

“My wife is sitting right next to me, and we both start panicking,” Tripp says. “I mean, we’re cool under fire, but inside we’re wondering, How’s this going to work for the kids if Dad’s not here in a few years? We’ve got a 10-month-old child. He’s not even going to remember me. How are we going to talk to our 5-year-old?”

The tumor was likely to be benign, but it still required major surgery. Grand Rounds’ data scientists evaluated not just individual doctors but also entire surgical teams for their experience and skill with a procedure that is performed only 3,000 times a year in the United States. Tripp ended up with a team at Stanford, but he talked to surgeons around the country, who told him he’d have to make a difficult choice: between preserving the ability to move his face and the ability to hear in that ear. For a CEO the choice was obvious: He couldn’t imagine making deals with strange expressions on his face. He was under anesthesia for 11 hours as the tumor was scraped away from the nerve, layer by layer. When he woke up, he smiled broadly. His face wasn’t paralyzed, but he was deaf in his right ear. “I think [the deafness is] a critical reminder of where I’ve been and why we’re doing what we’re doing,” Tripp says.

In 2011 Tripp’s co-founder, Stanford radiologist Rusty Hofmann hatched the idea for Grand Rounds, originally called ConsultingMD, out of “pure frustration.” Hofmann’s office at Stanford was filled with FedEx packages containing medical records from desperate patients who were hoping he could help diagnose problems with blood clots in their veins, his area of expertise. He and his staff would go through the files at no charge. But there was little he could do, and the right records often weren’t included. Could there be a business in triaging all such extra work that came into every academic physician’s office?

Then the idea became deeply personal. In 2011 Hofmann’s son, Grady, developed aplastic anemia, a deadly disease. Grady needed a bone marrow transplant. Normally, marrow comes from a sibling, but neither of the other Hofmann children was a match. Rusty was. Grady’s doctors didn’t know if using his father’s cells would work, but Rusty called physicians at top-tier institutions and found some who had done transplants from parent to child–and they had worked. Grady got the transplant. Also, based on the advice of experts, Rusty cleaned the air-conditioning ducts in his house to cut down on germs in order to protect his son’s weakened immune system. Visitors had to get flu shots. Grady, now 13, has braces, goes to school dances and surfs.

Grand Rounds co-founder Rusty Hofmann. Credit: Tim Pannell for Forbes.Grand Rounds co-founder Rusty Hofmann. Credit: Tim Pannell for Forbes.

The strain on his family was immense. What do people do when Dad isn’t a doctor? “Every aspect of my life was feeling this pain,” Hofmann says. “This has got to change. This cannot be the way we continue for the next 50 years in this country.”

Hofmann had no clue how to turn his idea into a business. An early investor set up a meeting with Tripp at Tootsie’s, a cafe near Stanford. Hofmann thought it was just a meeting to trade ideas. Tripp, who had previously cofounded Reputation.com, which helps people clean up their online records, had an inkling it might be more. The two hit it off instantly. Tripp was the son of a pediatrician and had intended to go into medicine before he got involved with starting one of the first wide-area Wi-Fi networks, in the early 2000s, at Trinity College in Connecticut, where he was a student. He’d gotten addicted to tech. Now he’d found a problem he thought technology could handle. Where Hofmann saw a service to help doctors filter patients, Tripp saw an opportunity for technological disruption.

“I saw this guy who is in the business of saving people,” Tripp says. “That’s why he does it, and that’s what he’s really good at. But he is not scalable. There was just no way that this guy was going to be able to meaningfully reach all the patients who would benefit.”

Hofmann offered Tripp the CEO job that night on the phone, and they met for a follow-up dinner. Hofmann was convinced Tripp would turn him down. Instead, Tripp was so hyped about the meeting that he showed up despite the fact that he was shivering with a 102-degree fever, because he wanted Hofmann to know how excited he was. They didn’t shake hands for fear of sending germs home to Grady, who was still sick.

Grand Rounds’ first product would be to give second opinions, mostly to patients who had severe illnesses like cancer or who were considering big procedures like back surgery. The first 150 cases yielded a shocking surprise: Two-thirds of the time, Grand Rounds’ experts would change the existing diagnosis or prescribe a new treatment. Often the original doctor got it wrong.

Medical errors are estimated to kill between 100,000 and 400,000 Americans annually. That makes it sound like people are dying because of dumb mistakes, but many errors are cases of misdiagnosis or mistreatment. A 2012 study estimated that a third of the U.S. health care budget–then $750 billion–is lost on wasteful care. Yet medicine has resisted one obvious solution: getting an extra set of qualified eyes on every case.

In fact, medicine has gone in the wrong direction. Thirty years ago it was common for insurance companies to require a second opinion before a major surgery. Grand Rounds takes its name from a long-standing medical ritual, in which complex cases are presented to an audience of doctors so that ideas can be exchanged and physicians can be sure they get the right answer. In other words, it’s like doctors’ rounds on steroids.

Of course, Grand Rounds’ investors aren’t in this game just to improve health care. They see a huge upside. Bryan Roberts, a well-known tech venture capitalist at Venrock, thinks Grand Rounds might someday play a role every time a patient picks a doctor. A couple of years ago he started offering Grand Rounds’ services to Venrock entrepreneurs. “Within a couple months,” he says, “I’d gotten three or four e-mails from our entrepreneur CEOs saying things like ‘I think my dad’s alive because you bought Grand Rounds for us.’ ”

Bob Kocher, another Venrock partner, who played a role at the Obama White House in crafting the Affordable Care Act, started a Grand Rounds case on his teenage niece, who had cancer. The second opinion confirmed her diagnosis but recommended freezing her eggs before her ovaries were damaged by chemotherapy. Her original doctors hadn’t suggested that.

Grand Rounds employs a staff of 80 clinicians who interact with patients. The doctors’ job is not to make diagnoses or correct mistakes but to deal with patients directly to help them understand what the experts said. Just handing a sheaf of papers to the patient without explaining it, Tripp says, is not enough to have an impact.

These staff physicians connect with patients, getting medical records and asking key questions, like how far the patient is willing to travel. Then they use Grand Rounds’ database to match the patient with the right doctor. The company’s database grades doctors on factors like where they trained, which other experts they trained with and how often they perform certain tests and procedures, based on insurance-claims data provided by Grand Rounds’ customers. (Too many tests tends to indicate poor medical judgment.) The experts the company trusts are those who do best, according to a machine-learning algorithm, in literally hundreds of categories, including mortality data, readmission and complication rates.

Individuals can pay for Grand Rounds, but the company sees its big opportunity in selling its service to employers that want to reduce their health care costs. Like Costco (which, including part-timers, employs 218,000 people), many of Grand Rounds’ customers self-insure. This means that while Aetna manages its health benefits, Costco is exposed to a certain amount of financial risk. The number of patients who use the service is small but increasing quickly, from about 90 patient cases a month when Costco started using Grand Rounds last January to 150 monthly cases now.

Patients are more likely to trust Grand Rounds than their own insurers. When an insurance company denies a claim, employees just become angry; they’re willing to believe Grand Rounds if its doctors provide the same reason. “There’s nothing like an objective party that is different from the insurance plan,” says Donna Sexton, Costco’s director of employee benefits.

Sometimes, of course, the original doctors got the diagnosis and treatment right, in which case Grand Rounds represents a powerful tool for getting the insurance company to pay. Leslie Nava, a personal trainer, got access to Grand Rounds through Costco, where her husband works part-time to get health benefits. She and her son both have a hereditary disease called neurofibromatosis type 2, which causes noncancerous tumors to grow throughout the nervous system. A tumor on her son’s acoustic nerve was going to rob him of his hearing. The only thing that would preserve his hearing was regular treatment with the cancer drug Avastin. Aetna wouldn’t pay.

“I probably sat there crying for ten minutes,” Nava says. A nurse at the doctor’s office told her that her insurance included Grand Rounds and that she might try the service. She did and was amazed by the personal care she got from the company’s staff physician and relieved when the report came back saying that Avastin was, in fact, the best option. Aetna agreed to pay. “It definitely renewed my faith in the health care system,” Nava says.

Privately held Grand Rounds won’t discuss financials, but it seems to be growing fast. The service is now available to more than 3 million people through their employers. Tripp says that revenue has been increasing 100% a year for each of the past three years and that the company’s customers include four of America’s largest retailers and three major food manufacturing plants, as well as Autodesk and the Wahl Clipper Corporation. He’s particularly proud that Grand Rounds is offering blue-collar workers the kind of medical care once available only to the rich.

“I think that’s a frequent misconception that we are simply trying to help the 1% get 1% health care,” Tripp says. “In fact, it couldn’t be further from the truth. We’re actually helping the 99% or the 90% get the 1% health care solution.” If it works, it will be an amazing case of capitalism improving the world.

Article Provided By: Forbes

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New Network Technologies To Keep An Eye On

6 Upcoming Network Technology

IoT – Internet of Things


The Internet of Things, or IoT, could be one of the most sweeping technological changes of our lifetime, and it’s getting a lot of attention from analysts and the press. In a nutshell, IoT involves installing chips, sensors, and software in a wide variety of objects and then connecting those objects to the Internet. The connected objects might include home appliances, wearable devices, vehicles, thermostats, locks or even small adhesive tags that could be used to track anything.

Manufacturers have already begun rolling out smartwatches, fitness trackers and smart home devices, but this is just the first wave. Analysts suggest that by 2018, there will be 22 billion IoT devices installed. For enterprises, the IoT could represent new ways to communicate with customers, new ways to track employees, and a host of other opportunities. The challenge for IT will be finding ways to store and analyze all the data generated by these new smart devices.

Machine learning and cognitive computing

Since the dawn of the computing era, scientists have been fascinated by the idea of artificial intelligence, and today that idea is becoming reality. Several companies, including IBM, Facebook, Google, Apple and Microsoft are investing in machine learning and or cognitive computing research. These systems function more like the human brain than traditional computer systems. They are able to understand natural language, to identify and categorize the content of images and video, and to make educated guesses and hypotheses in response to questions.

IBM demonstrated the capabilities of cognitive computing when its Watson system participated in — and won — the television game show Jeopardy. Today, only 1% of developers are embedding cognitive capabilities into their apps, but by 2018, more than half of developers will likely do so.

network tech

Adaptive security

As cyberattacks against large companies continue to succeed with alarming regularity, it is becoming apparent that the existing security measures at most enterprises are inadequate to keep up with the rapidly evolving nature of attacks. Gartner recommends that organizations move to an “adaptive security” model that uses predictive analytics to anticipate where attackers will strike next.

According to Gartner, “Relying on perimeter defense and rule-based security is inadequate, especially as organizations exploit more cloud-based services and open APIs for customers and partners to integrate with their systems.” The research firm said that adaptive security will be one of the top 10 strategic technology trends for 2016 and added, “Application self-protection, as well as user and entity behavior analytics, will help fulfill the adaptive security architecture.”

Virtual/augmented reality
Several firms, notably Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Microsoft, will release virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) headsets this year. Some analysts suggest sales of these devices could top 12 million units this year.

VR and AR offer unique opportunities for consumer entertainment, particularly in regards to gaming, but some industry watchers think that VR and AR will have an even bigger impact on enterprises. Companies could use the headsets for design work, engineering, construction, training and communications. Microsoft, in particular, seems to be targeting its HoloLens augmented reality device at this market.

Cloud computing

At this point, cloud computing is hardly new, but this is one trend that isn’t going away any time soon. IDC predicts that by 2018, half of IT spending will be cloud-based. Many organizations are overcoming their security and compliance concerns and embracing the cloud wholeheartedly.

This year, analysts and vendors suggest that hybrid cloud computing models will come to the fore. Look for software makers to release a new crop of tools designed to improve cloud interoperability and automate management of the hybrid cloud.

Smart personal assistants

Consumers have grown accustomed to using voice-activated assistants like Siri or Google Now on their mobile devices, but personal assistants are moving into the enterprise. With the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft put its Cortana assistant onto desktops and laptops, and other companies are likely to follow suit.

In the coming year, analysts expect these personal assistants to get much smarter, thanks to developments in machine learning and cognitive computing. Researchers at MIT, the University of Texas at Austin, and making strides with this technology, which could find its way into enterprise products in the near future.

Article Provided By: NetworkComputing

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Drones Doing Bad; Drones Doing Good (Part 2)


Drones (continued) – Innovative User-Defined Fields

According to Wydner, the system, which was installed by security systems integrator Steve Murphy of Chown Security, Portland, Oregon, had to not only work with existing HID Global identification cards used by students across campus; it also had to have an easy-to-access user repository. “A key feature that really helped us was the ability to add in user-defined fields because we needed to have our own unique key,” Wydner says.

The innovative charm of the access system’s technology, however, is its hand- shaking with other software platforms for a completely interoperable access and room reservation system. To accomplish this, Wydner and his team installed the data management engine (Pinwheel DME from SwiftData Technology). Pinwheel integrates data from the access system along with several other enterprise software solutions employed at the facility, including sophisticated room scheduling, Web calendar and online event registration software (from Dean Evans & Associates) and an enterprise resource planning platform from higher education software provider Ellucian.

However, there were several significant hurdles that had to be overcome by both the OSU IT group and others involved to help make these interoperability goals a reality. An integration of this magnitude had never been done before, so much of the project was uncharted water, comments Murphy. “We didn’t know quite where to begin,” Wydner adds. “We knew that we needed to get all of the user data – our faculty, staff members, and students. We needed some way of defining who is taking a college business class and which system we were going to pull that out of, whether that’s going to be our central student repository, Active Directory or if we were going to go off of Salesforce.”

Wydner said the university eventually decided the best way to bring this information together was to enter it into Salesforce, the San Francisco, California-based firm known for its Web customer relationship management system and its strength in application programming interfaces or APIs. He started a separate project focused on integrating the identification numbers from the campus HID cards into their Salesforce database. Aside from that, the team also had to figure out a way to format the data from Salesforce so that it would be recognized by the access and Dean Evans event management software solutions.

By using the Pinwheel data management engine or DME platform, students are now enrolled automatically based upon the information entered into the Ellucian enterprise resource planning system. The successful integration of these systems would not have been possible, however, without some of the unique features provided by the access control platform with its innovative way of combining the access levels of students and staff members with their respective rights and privileges through a process known as nesting.

Austin Hall also uses an automated lock system which saved significantly on time and manpower.

Door Access and Meeting Scheduling

“The main thing that our faculty and students enjoy about the integration is that they can just walk up to a project room or a meeting room [and] tap their OSU ID on the lock (AD-400 wireless networked locks from Schlage). It then opens up, lets them in, and it also gives them an automatic one-hour reservation on the room,” observes Wydner.

“Multi-tech locks are future-proof and access panels can handle up to 16 locks,” points out Murphy, who believes the project took system integration capabilities to new and innovative heights.

There are other tech trends embedded in such an approach, according to Mitchell Kane, president, Vanderbilt. As compared to security video, it may seem that advances in electronic access control emerge and evolve more slowly. From a hardware perspective, technology moves at a snail’s pace, says Kane. What is more innovatively important is the trend of interoperability with other systems and big data. Until recently, most data integration with access management was through HR or IT databases. Kane sees a trend toward integration with workflow applications, working with data on an automated level, based on logic and analytics.

The multifunctional ability can be viewed as innovative.

That’s the bottom line for Guy Grace, manager of security and emergency planning for the Littleton, Colorado, Public Schools, and who is installing a network-based communication and security system (the IX Series from Aiphone) featuring video entry security, internal communication, emergency stations, and paging. All units and apps in the systems can unlock doors remotely on a network, assist onsite visitors from an offsite location, broadcast emergency announcements and communicate using Power over Ethernet (PoE).

Among the “cool things we get from the technology is the intercom’s ability to record audio and video of visitors on our network digital video recorders or NDVRs. So now we have an extra camera, the ability to record all the transactions at the door in voice and video, the ability to talk to the door from the school and the security office miles away. And also these now can be used as a call for help stations 24/7,” says Grace.

Check Out Part 1

Article Provided By: Security

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Liquid Video Technologies Has Moved


We’ve Moved

Great news for our customers, Liquid Video Technologies has just finished moving our offices from our old home in Easley South Carolina to our new home in Greenville South Carolina. We are extremely happy to be more accessible to our clients and their ends.

Now Liquid Video Technologies is faster than ever!

With the move to our new home, we have increased our ability to serve our clients with a New Server. Also, at our new location, we have a new Fiber connection provided by Charter Spectrum and we are now running at speeds of 100 megs of upload and 100 megs of download.  In just three words, our new Server is Fast–Fast–Fast! The new Server has new SSD-hard drives and significantly more ram. Our Email clients have ready commented on just how much faster their email is running.

Our new location is, 1325 Miller Road, Suited C and we are looking forward to serving our customers from this location for years to come.

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Real Time Translator

In-Ear Translator That Translates Foreign Languages In Real Time

Most of us have found ourselves in the awkward situation of trying to communicate in a foreign language. Sometimes it’s funny. Sometimes it’s embarrassing. And sometimes it’s downright disastrous. But thanks to a new translator device that easily fits into your ear, the days of struggling to speak the local lingo might soon be a thing of the past.

The device is called The Pilot system and Waverly Labs is the company behind this brilliantly simple yet potentially groundbreaking idea. When it hits the shelves in September, the system will allow the wearer to understand one of several foreign languages through real-time in-ear translator. A handy app will allow you to toggle through the languages you want, and the selection includes French, Spanish, Italian, and English. It’ll retail for $129, and you can pre-order one here. Or you can just keep talking to people really loudly and slowly in English. Good luck with that.

The creator says he came up with the idea for the translator when he met a French girl. Here’s how it works in action:

The gadget comprises two earpieces that easily fit into your ears


It will allow real-time in-ear translations in French, Spanish, Italian, and English


A handy app will allow you to toggle through the languages you want

Article Provided By: boredpanda

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Cybersecurity Needs a Moonshot!


“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”

~ President John F. Kennedy, September 12, 1962

Coming out of the 2016 RSA Conference, it is clear we have hit a watershed moment in the history of the IT industry. After several years of hundreds of billions of dollars invested across a range of security technologies, it is self-evident that cyber presents a huge paradox to organizations of all types. The growth of cloud, mobile, and agile computing capabilities has delivered a golden renaissance of innovation.

• The iPhone is the digital equivalent of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

• Amazon Web Services is eating the infrastructure world like a black hole

• Today is a software company, embracing agile development to support business initiatives

In the cybersecurity space, though, we have nearly conceded defeat. People are going around saying: “assume not that you will not be hacked, but that you will be hacked.” How uplifting!

Cybersecurity – It is time for things to change.

Forty-three years ago, when President Kennedy called for a man on the moon, many were skeptical. Today, people are equally skeptical about our ability to re-establish control of our own computing systems.

What happens if this was the time when things changed? What happens if we committed to leveling the playing field between attackers and defenders? What happens if we take a clean piece of paper to how we think about restoring trust to our computing—where cybersecurity enables innovation rather than stifles it?

What happens if we acknowledge that no one vendor has the entire solution?

The vendor part of the cybersecurity industry—yes, I am calling myself out—has failed its customers. Einstein allegedly defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Companies claim to innovate, but all they do is present different versions of old models. A firewall that runs on a software platform is still a firewall. If your cybersecurity is tied to infrastructure, you are leashed to a world where you have to own the infrastructure—sorry AWS, Azure—and more onerously, need to upgrade the infrastructure to upgrade your security.

I would never claim that my company has the answer for cybersecurity. But we represent a movement that unshackles security from the past to make it responsive to the dynamic, distributed, heterogeneous, and hybrid world into which we are moving.

Here are my 7 points to a cybersecurity moonshot program:

1. Turn everything inside out.  We take back our computing from the inside out, from the applications out and not the infrastructure in.  In the cyber world, the perimeter attacker only has to be right once and the defender has to slip once. Why not shift the logic so the attacker only has to make one mistake and the defender will catch it?

2. Trust nothing. Start with the premise that everything is untrusted and establish trusted relationships between users and applications in a granular and controlled way. This is the heart of a whitelist model.

3. Build tighter and tighter segmentation around smaller and smaller attack surfaces.The biggest challenge to granular segmentation has been complex and fragile networks, firewall rules, and outdated application-entitlement strategies. The smaller the surface, the less damage. The tighter the segmentation, the fewer false positives.

4. Make security part of the application life cycle. Today security is most frequently added after applications are built.  What happens if developers are equal participants in cybersecurity? Eliminate the false boundaries among application, infrastructure, and security teams. From a security perspective, all three groups must work hand in glove.

5. Decouple and automate. Infrastructure security has enormous benefits in most cybersecurity approaches but it comes with two distinct disadvantages: what happens when you don’t own the infrastructure (e.g., AWS), and what happens when you do not want to upgrade your infrastructure to keep up with your security needs. Moreover, security that requires detailed oversight and management of every command by human middleware is bound to fail. Computers (and a lot of math) were instrumental to the moonshot program. Algorithms and machine learning will play a role in our cyber future.

6. Manage both sides of the equation: applications and clients. Today people see end-point and infrastructure security as two separate issues. Through Adaptive User Segmentation, it is possible to fuse these two areas and make data center computing more secure.  Do not create gaps in protection.

7. Make security part of the business, not just IT. A lot of pundits talk about Board of Director oversight of IT security. Having been a board member several times in my career, I agree it is a key area of risk that boards must monitor. But long before Board oversight of cyber needs to occur, management teams must make it a priority.  Where is it baked into the reward system of an executive team? Which of the CEO’s direct reports owns cyber end-to-end for a business?

Regaining control of the cyber landscape will not be easy. There is no magic bullet. But a steady plan that both builds on the best practices of today and anticipates and takes action for the world we are moving into presents the last best hope for creating trust again in IT.

Article Provided By: Security Week

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Hackers Are Tapping Into Mobile Networks’ Backbone, New Research Shows



Hackers have been known to use all manner of remote access tools to break into mobile phones, often by finding vulnerabilities in an operating system like Android or even in SIM cards. It’s more rare to try and tap into the network infrastructure that routes these calls for mobile operators themselves. Yet new research shows that one nefarious kind of network surveillance is happening too, across the world.

A survey of a handful of large mobile operators on each continent showed that hackers have been exploiting a key signalling protocol for routing cellular calls known as SS7, to track the location of certain mobile users and in some cases, listen in on calls.

Across a range of operators, 0.08% of SS7 packets being sent across a network in Africa were deemed suspicious. In Asia the rate was 0.04% and in the Americas it was 0.025%, according to research by Dublin based research firm Adaptive Mobile.

While these are low percentages they relate to the millions of SS7 packets being sent every day.

“That can add up to tens of thousands a day which can mean someone being tracked or some fraud transactions,” says Cathal Mc Daid, head of Adaptive Mobile’s cyber security unit. “These are low-volume, high-impact events.”

Location tracking is the most popular reason for exploiting the SS7 protocol, says Mc Daid. His team recorded 1,140 separate SS7 requests to track 23 unique subscribers over a two-day period, with some subscribers tracked many hundreds of times.

There are a handful of known players in the market for selling SS7 vulnerabilities.

One three-person startup called CleverSig was recently selling access to their “remote SS7 control system” for $14,000 to $16,000 a month. Their price was divulged when emails from the Italian information surveillance company Hacking Team were posted on the web.

Other network surveillance companies with names Circles (based in Bulgaria, according to Adaptive Mobile) and the Rayzone group, also operate within the grey area of selling access to their SS7 exploitation platforms to governments and other surveillance companies like Hacking Team.

The going rate for looking up someone’s physical location through the SS7 network, as advertised on the dark web, was about $150 about two years ago, according to Mc Daid. He expects that price hasn’t changed much since. “A lot of those offers have gone underground.” That is partly due to relatively recent press on SS7.

In late 2014 security researchers were reported by the Washington Post to have initially discovered the security flaws that could let hackers, governments and criminals intercept calls through the global SS7 network. Adaptive Mobile conducted its research through 2015 to show that the exploit wasn’t just theoretical but actually being carried out by hackers.

“The news is yes, we are seeing exploits in every operator in every part of the world,” says Mc Daid – though it should be stressed that his team partnered with just one operator per continent to get a representative sample.

Africa and the Middle East seemed to have to highest rates of exploitation, Mc Daid says, adding that he couldn’t name the operators who took part in the research due to agreements with the carriers. Mobile operators have been “surprised this is actually occurring within their networks,” he adds.

“It’s very serious,” says Mc Daid. “The SS7 networks is the cornerstone of how carrier operators work and tens of billions of dollars have been invested in network architecture around the world. It’s not going to be replaced overnight.”

Article Provided By: Forbes

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Nest Builds a Smart Smoke Detector With Fewer False Alarms

Smart Smoke Detector

When smoke alarms aren’t beeping, they often fade into the background of our homes; we rarely check to make sure they’re in working order. So when you remove the batteries to stop the beeping over some extra-crispy cookies, you might forget to replace them and consequently miss an important alert.

The Nest smart smoke detector, from the same creator as the smart thermostat, is a new smart smoke detector and CO detector that actually isn’t annoying. At $129 per unit, the Protect is designed to produce fewer false alarms and avoid that low-battery beep at 2 a.m.; each Nest Protect is connected to your home’s wireless network and to one other through another private network.

Fewer False Alarms

“This is a product that the government mandates that you have to have, that you need to help keep you safe,” Nest Founder and CEO Tony Fadell told Mashable. “Yet everyone has a story about how these things that are supposed to keep you safe are so annoying.”

When Protect notices smoke or CO levels rising, it gives you a verbal “heads up” about the issue. Since each Nest Protect in your home is networked together, that heads-up is specific not only to the type of alert but also to the problematic area.

For instance, if you leave the oven on, each Protect in your home might say, “Heads up, there’s smoke in the kitchen” — an especially useful setting if you’re upstairs and didn’t realize you forgot to turn it off.

You can wave your hand in front of the smart smoke detector to dismiss the beeping — essentially, like pressing snooze on an alarm. As long as the situation doesn’t worsen, then your smoke alarms will never sound.

For severe issues, Protect may opt to bypass the “heads up” warning and simply sound the alarm.

Smarter and Safer

In the dark, the Nest smart smoke detector glows green to let you know it is functioning properly, and built-in motion sensors turn the detectors into a nightlight of sorts. During the day, the motion sensors work alongside the Nest thermostat to optimize its “away” feature.

A mobile app provides low-battery alerts for individual units and sends push notifications for “heads up” and emergency alarm notifications while you’re away from home. In the event of an emergency, the app has one-button access to an emergency number, as well as basic emergency preparedness instructions.

In this case, Nest alarms will not only beep; it will speak aloud, too.

“Studies have shown that children are less likely to wake up to a horn, and are more likely to wake up to a mother’s voice,” Faddell said. Nest recruited voice talent for five different languages that will launch on the smart smoke detector.

“We have a British-English mother, a French-Canadian mother, a Canadian-English mother … We wanted to make sure we went to that level of detail to get it right for the specific region,” he said.

After the Protect goes off, the device will check itself to ensure everything is working properly — removing yet another step for the user. In fact, Protect tests itself every 10 minutes, so you know the device is always in working order.

Ongoing Mission

Smart Smoke Detector

Faddell says the company originally launched two years ago with the whole home — not just thermostats — in mind. Nest products are now available in more than 5,000 retailers, including the recent addition of Target.

“We’re here a lot faster than we thought,” Faddell said. Already a fast-growing business, the Protect has the potential to accelerate that growth even further.

Nest Protect will be available in November at Amazon Best Buy, Home Depot and Apple stores. The smoke detector will be sold in both a wires and battery-powered version and will be priced at $129 per unit.

Article Provided By: Mashable

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Biometric – MasterCard Will Put Selfies to Work for Authentication


MasterCard on Monday announced facial recognition and fingerprint technology that essentially would allow customers to take selfies to help authenticate their identity when engaged in mobile shopping.

The rollout, which is planned for this summer in the U.S., Canada and part of Europe, follows a pilot of biometrics by MasterCard and International Card Services with Dutch participants.

The 750 ABN AMRO cardholders who took part in the pilot were able to complete their purchases without PIN codes, passwords or confirmation codes, MasterCard said. 

Ninety percent of the participants said they preferred using biometric identification over passwords, and 75 percent said they believed biometric identification decreased fraud, the company said.

“The Dutch consumer is very progressive in embracing new technologies,” said Arjan Bol, country manager for MasterCard.

The company is looking into integrating the technology into apps for banking and technology companies to make it easier to use a selfie or fingerprint for authentication.

The announcement comes days after HSBC launched a biometric rollout designed to offer a higher level of mobile protection to 15 million customers in the U.K. by the summer.

The system will allow customers to access their mobile app and telephone banking accounts through voice and fingerprint technology.

It will be expanded to the U.S., France, Canada, Mexico and Hong Kong once those governments provide regulatory approvals for the system.

Facial Recognition and Fingerprints

MasterCard last year tested facial recognition and fingerprint scanning in the U.S. with First Tech Federal Credit Union.

Under that program, employees of the credit union used artificial money and biometrics to test whether cardholders can be authenticated using fingerprint scans on smartphones or facial photographs.

The program was scheduled to run in September and October with more than 200 credit union employees. Participants made virtual donations to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, with facial recognition and fingerprints authenticating their identity.

MasterCard and First Tech introduced the concept for that biometrics pilot at the White House Cyber Security Summit last year.

Customer Acceptance

Consumers will use the dual authentication system if they think it offers them more convenience, said Paul Teich, principal analyst at Tirias Research.

“I like the concept,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “If MasterCard can make it work quickly and unobtrusively at point of sale, then it should help drive mobile payments.”

Using two forms of authentication should drastically reduce false positives, where another person is confused with the consumer, and false negatives, where a person is unable to prove that he or she is the legitimate purchaser, Teich said.

The U.S. Global Entry system has been using a dual authentication system for about five years, he noted. Under the Customs and Border Protection program, people are authenticated using a combination of facial and fingerprint recognition and a passport optical scanner.

Financial institutions have faced challenges in the past over how to promote various payment options, while preserving security, said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

“Traditional methods are not as successful as they might be, mainly because so many consumers opt for simplistic, easy-to-remember and -crack passwords,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “Given those challenges, MasterCard’s concept of using a selfie as a second authentication factor is highly intriguing.”

Biometrics Buzz

Biometrics “is a hot topic of discussion and demonstrations” at Mobile World Congress, said Susan Schreiner, an analyst at C4 Trends, who is attending the conference in Barcelona, Spain. Retina scans and fingerprint technology are “already here and working in smartphones like the iPhone.”

Mobile World Congress producer GSMA has been working with mobile operators on its Mobile Connect platform for mobile transaction authentication. “It’s simple and as easy as tying one’s mobile identity to one’s cellphone number,” she told the E-Commerce Times.

GSMA announced at the conference “that it had reached 2 billion users — and this is just the beginning,” Schreiner said. “As we look to simplify our digital lives, passwords will surely be replaced by the next great app.”

Article Provided By: TECHNEWSWORLD

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