It has been an interesting couple of weeks. Outside of the general news reporting about exploits and cyber attacks, it was hard to ignore the chatter from my own personal network of folks, both in technology and the intelligence community, telling me about the rising attacks from foreign shores.
Even tonight, a media report on CBC’s the National reported about another incident that was undetected until the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre learned about the Chinese-originating cyber attack from the CBC. (See Video).
In the past week, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft succumbed to malware exploits and the other day, Tumblr’s platform (which this site is hosted on) sent a notice announcing a ZenDesk exploit which exposed account-level data for support issues.
Over a few drinks tonight, a respected colleague and I shared the latest thoughts on technology trends and macro geopolitical trends before he shared an interesting tidbit about a friend in Davos exchanging some strong words with a Chinese official over the rise of cyber-attacks from the region. The Chinese official replied back, “You stole our gun powder…” Talk about taking the long-view.
Most troubling is the fact that most media reporting about origin of most cyber attacks appears to very unclear. Some officials in the US intelligence community told western media this week that a China-origin attack was unlikely as the cyber-exploits appear “sophisticated” and of East-European or Russian origin where the underground cyber-criminal networks run deep.
How would we know? It could be spin-doctoring on a much grander scale. I smelled a rat on some of the reporting.
Even worse, Anonymous has functioned trans-nationally without any defined geographical framework very similar Al-Qaeda. Could the attacks purely be Russian, East-European, China or Anonymous? No one really knows.
Recent CBC reports from the past year appear to indicate that “state-sponsored” Chinese cyber-attacks have been economically-tied and part of a newer form of cyber espionage as shown in this video:
On February 21, Malwarebytes’ communications team contacted me about the NBC.com hack the same day which embedded malicious iframe code to spread the Citadel Trojan. It was detected as Backdoor.Agent.RS.
On his blog, Dancho Danchev suggested that the criminals behind NBC.com’s hack may be the same people behind recent fake emails from Facebook and Verizon which directed unsuspecting users to exploit pages.
In other words, NBC.com was compromised for about 15 minutes and the actual iframe with the malicious redirect was embedded in a java-script file located on the web server for NBC.com. It used the RedKit exploit kit to spread the malware and exploited both Java and Adobe Reader. The malware, Citadel, is a reproduction of the Zeus banker Trojan and has the same capabilities of stealing financial information from users. In addition, it can execute subsequent malware by installing Ransomware on the victim’s system. The exploit has since been taken down.
Interestingly, as a long-time user of Malwarebytes, the anti-malware product protects desktops/laptops from this threat due to its behavior-based zero-hour engine that stops new malware that has not been seen before and doesn’t yet have a signature (i.e. antidote) created to update a user’s desktop anti-virus definitions.
Microsoft’s Security Response Center posted this statement about their recent intrusion similar to those at Facebook and Apple.
Whether these exploits are of cyber-criminal, trans-national or state-sponsored origin, what’s becoming more clear for me is the growing requirement of online users to protect their digital profiles, cloud-based files, and financial information pro-actively with as many security measures as possible.
For me, this transformation started with Google products with Google Authenticator to protect online products and products accessed from multiple smartphones and tablets.
I spent a bit of time reviewing Google Accounts over the weekend. As Google continues to expand on its universe plans, it has become clear that your Google Account will become your starting point to a world of services. No different than AppleID, the Google Account is a dominant single-point login dashboard to a myriad of Google services.
As such, I setup 2-step verify because I ‘noticed’ my Google account was accessed from the USA, Canada and GERMANY. Germany? Huh? Yup. Can’t explain it and because my password wasn’t changed in many months, I instantly went into Bourne Identity mode. The 2-step verify commits you to greater security as part of a growing digital existence by not only requiring a password login but also an SMS verification code sent to your phone — you can also add a backup phone (such as your lady’s or mom’s) if need be. As well, if for some reason you get locked out of the ability to access either phone number, Google can generate 10 key codes for your wallet (or safe deposit box with 10 other Bourne Passports) to get access while running from agencies unknown. :-)
Taking the 2-step verify even further, Google even allows you to use Google Authenticator (available as an iOS and Android app - they did list Blackberry but could not find the app within BB App World on my Playbook or BB Curve) to generate codes in real-time to access Google services such as Gmail, Google Plus and Google Drive on “untrusted computers” (think web cafes as a hornets nest for hackers!). You are given the option to “trust this computer” but naturally, you won’t do this on public computers. Is this worth the effort? I definitely think so. Even though we may feel like our personal digital storage is THE ULTIMATE BOURNE stash of data, you’ll save yourself a whole lot of headache from the chaos that comes from a personal data theft scenario.
The 2-step verify from Google even takes it up a notch where you can enter unique, one-time generated passwords with 12-character strings to access your GMAIL account from a myriad of client devices — such as my Playbook, Blackberry Curve, iPhone 3GS, iPad and so on. The process is quite simple and secures your Google Account experience even further. It’s like a Fort Knox of digital management security.
Google even offers a free service that sends a daily update for your Google account activities and highlights # of emails, login and access points. It appears my “U.S. based login” was the result of reading GMAIL from my Playbook or Blackberry Curve and this showed up as Research in Motion.
The fact that I can’t explain my Germany access was the reason I went into Bourke-kill mode and ramped up my security with 2-step verify. While I am NOT an Android fan, I am a huge Google SEO/Adsense (and other products) fan and soon realized that a lot of my work was invested in the Google universe.
Why wouldn’t I take the extra effort to secure my Google services with FREE tools? Thanks Google!
Watch This Video on 2-step Verification:
Recommended you watch and consider if you need the extra protection
While still a Dropbox fan, recent security violations by the company have left me less likely to use them for cloud-based storage and sharing.
Box.com is the grand daddy for total cloud compliance and their robust platform enables you to do a zillion things from the cloud container. I love them but they do require an honest investment if you’re interested in playing the part of Jason Bourne in search of Project Treadstone clues.
That said, I have become a huge fan of Google Drive and opted to make a financial commitment to Google’s service. In return, I cancelled my Apple iCloud investment even as more iOS apps make extensions to Apple’s cloud framework. I might come back as they do offer simplicity and a certain uniqueness to satisfy the mass consumer managing content across devices.
I will admit it. I have been CLOUDED by cloud solutions :-) — I have Amazon Cloud, iCloud, Google Drive, SkyDrive, SugarSync, Box, and DropBox — most fit into the free side of the wallet but a great way to spread your digital assets across services.
In the end, I will give Google credit for putting this useful feature in the marketplace. Never before has security over one’s digital data become THIS important.
While we can never trust ONE entity to all our stuff, it’s good to know that there is choice when it comes to cloud services and data security.
Make the jump to 2-step verify. I think you’ll have more piece of mind.
Two other recommended services I use:
- Why LastPass? - this is a KILLER app and falls under “I can’t believe the price and how would I ever survive without it?” class
- PreyProject.com - track personal devices in real-time anytime, anywhere.
- Matt Damon Says It’s Unlikely He’ll Play Jason Bourne Again (collider.com)
- Matt Damon Doubts He’ll Return as Jason Bourne; Talks ‘Bourne Legacy’ (screenrant.com)
- Living in the cloud… the future of online storage (standard.co.uk)
Nokia Here Maps for iOS. Just installed. Not bad. However, I am one of those that hasn’t encountered dramatic challenges with Apple Maps. That said, like many others, I did like Street View; however, let’s not kid ourselves. I have used Google Maps many times and it wasn’t perfect either.
On Here Maps, getting directions seemed problematic as I couldn’t use my location as the starting point. It could be pebkac but didn’t find it easy and intuitive like Apple maps. I’ll keep at it.
- Nokia Here Maps App Coming To iOS, Apple Should Welcome It With Open Arms (techcrunch.com)
- Google Reportedly Readies Maps App For iOS As Eddy Cue Manages Apple’s Maps Improvements (techcrunch.com)
- Report: Google Maps app nearly ready to submit to Apple (iphonelife.com)
- Nokia’s ‘Here’ maps available now for iOS, but we’re still holding out for Google Maps (venturebeat.com)
Can we believe that “commerce” on the Net is already 20 years old? Gawd, I feel old. :-) It seems like yesterday that I was reading every meaty tech media publication — overflowing with advertisements about the next .com ready to take over some bricks. ;-)
And now I have my hands dirty in m-commerce. :D
How about some data points from Henry Blodget and the crew?
- 2+ billion online
- US new media stock valued at 3x old media stock
- US digital advertising exploding (mobile marketing starting to grow)
- Google Ads dominant but Facebook starting to grow
- TV dying; PayTV subscriptions trending down; Over-the-top video exploding
Old walled gardens replaced by new walled gardens. :-)
I am extremely surprised that online digital advertising is only 20% of total ad spend given that digital is metered and measurable compared to the old Nielsen Family model of blatant assumptions and non-existent metrics. Wow…
Why are we spending dollars to drench eyeballs with “awareness” when some of that money is lost on people who will never buy from you? Could a re-alignment lead to a great depression, of sorts, in the advertising community if everything becomes a measurable, ROI-driven campaign?
Shocking as it seems, TV is still the big spent but look at that metric. Only 42% followed by a close second from online spend. That’s dramatic. Looking to print, we can see why media content companies and news organizations are working hard to install paywalls to make up for lost revenue in print and the “killing of free” in the digital/online realm.
What puzzles me about television is that so many people have moved to time-shift PVR solutions or are viewing content from streaming platforms such as iTunes, Netflix, Hulu etc. Some of the broadcaster platforms like CBC and Globe/CTV are forcing pre-roll commercials before the main programming via tablets to re-coup for lost attention via old TV channels.
Sadly print is dying. When was the last time you read a newspaper or picked up a magazine? The attention economy is fierce.
TV may be next? This is a definite, not a guess. I know more than three handful of folks that have cut satellite and cable plans in exchange for unlimited internet bandwidth to stream to their heart’s content. The 500-channel universe was a sham. We didn’t need 500 channels with the same programming! Quantity never results in quality. Consumers have walked with their feet and wallets to control their media consumption habits and find the content they are interested vs. forced to pay for as part of restrictive telecom/cable bundles.
When I worked at Bell back in 2006, we knew this was going to happen. At the time, we had product roadmaps that included tablets and portable devices for content/media consumption in terms of video, music and games. Today, I stream baby stream! Off my iPad, my Blackberry Playbook, iPhone, Mac and AppleTV. TV? And I am part of the older generation when the Internet was just starting to commercialize and exist as a viable medium.
Google will remain the biggest. Think about it - Google IS everything. And they’re going to make it easier to connect the search to the transaction.
Ecommerce continues to roll with the punches. Cyber Monday and Black Friday specials are the norm online and retailers without their full cards will lose. M-Commerce is starting to infiltrate the holiday special mania too.
US Smartphone penetration on the rise but not surprisingly, old and poor are not shifting. In lower ARPU telecom markets where there is fierce competition for subscriber revenue, it is still a feature-phone game. But this will change.
Emerging markets are growth markets for companies like RIM and with the launch of BB10, they’ll regain lost interest in North America, Europe and more established regions while keeping the momentum moving forward in emerging markets to mitigate efforts by Apple, Google/Android, and Windows from taking share.
No surprises here. A large share of Apple’s sale revenue coming from China.
Being a games guy in career and personal life, I am not surprised. Looking at my category penetration on iOS and Playbook, games are the dominant “app” on my mobile devices.
I am surprised that mobile is only 12% of global Internet traffic but then again, we’ve really only started to take advantage of the mobile Internet since 2007 with Apple’s revolutionary product launch. Prior to that, the world was riddled with Wireless Access Protocols (WAP) which reminded us of the old Vic-20 terminal computer system experience with a 110-baud modem. Yeck….we like visuals and we like colour. Not terminal fonts!
Mobile commerce has taken off with music, apps and video. Now it’s moving into services and physical retail sales. Even so, the view is that mobile usage is high for games, video, and other content consumption but that mobile advertising is still behind the curve and due to the smaller screen size, mobile CPM is much, much different than the online medium. Compared to other mediums, mobile advertising is a “tiny fraction” of other channels.
Even so, $1.25 billion last year is nothing to sneeze at. Tell that to iMobi and others. We don’t hear much about AdMob (Google) or Apple’s iAds but the party is coming. It’s just taking a little longer than expectation. In 2000, at the height of the online dot-com boom, I remember reading briefing papers and notes from the research houses about the near-term m-commerce train. That train ended up arriving almost 8-12 years later. In 2008, while working for an innovative mobile advertising platform startup, we saw great potential and launched in several international markets. However, we were still very early in the game which is what innovation is all about. Most times, tt really is about market-timing, not whether the concept is valid or not.
I question this one. Saturation is huge in established ecosystems and I think people are suffering from app-overload. Must I launch everything to do everything? Steve Jobs said people don’t search but rather find things with apps. Heck, I am trying to “find” my app and Apple’s weak search capability on iOS doesn’t get me to where I need to go in terms of discovery on device or within the iOS AppStore. It’s no wonder they acquired Chomp! to make things more socially relevant and tethered.
We’ll see — great potential for unique differentiation in app store mechanisms as new ecosystems come on-stream with Windows Phone/Microsoft and RIM’s BB10 release.
Sure - most apps are free because freemium is in. Less and less are willing to pay up front without a free before you buy sequence. People don’t want to waste hard-earned content dollars on a guess. Also, review systems are gamed far too often that the entire review platform is at risk as becoming a verifiable medium of trust.
Mobile may appear to be a two-horse race but it could become a four-legged monster. Windows Phone launched too much fanfare and there is a lot of hope and belief for RIM’s Blackberry BB10 platform. Is the world really small that it can only support two platforms across 7 billion souls…..overtime? Bullshit.
Even though developer interest is strongly rooted in the iOS and Android camp, there’s room for Windows Phone, RT and BB10 simply because these are fresh new channels for eyeballs and content consumption on a new device. Since buying my Blackberry Playbook, I have been finding some really unique (non-iOS) apps on the platform by innovative developers and that is the beauty of choice.
That said, the risk is that many people have already invested in their platform of choice and leaving can be costly. Time will tell if the first-mover advantage in mobile is far more real than it ever wars online. The barriers are quite different with mobile.
The good news is that my friends at K-W will be releasing two new BB10 devices on January 30, 2013. Great news and the rumour mill suggests, “we haven’t seen anything yet!”
Source: Business Insider
One of the many reasons I wanted the Playbook was for digital books. After RIM diluted the Android opportunity due to legitimate reasons surrounding malware risk in that ecosystem, I was surprised that Amazon had still not developed a native Kindle app for Playbook.
The last speculative claim about a Kindle app on Playbook shows up in Google search results as far back as January 2012. C’mon Jeff. That isn’t cool.
No offense to the folks at Kobo but I committed myself to the Amazon ecosystem due to early investments on the iPhone and iPad. Now with the Playbook in my arsenal of devices, I don’t want to start a new ecosystem to access the same books. That said, if price starts to play into this, I am willing to play off different ecosystems but for now, Amazon is my main repository for books. In fact, I’ve been an Amazon customer for so long (like 1999), it’s pretty hard to break free of the Bezos distortion field.
So I decided to write Jeff Bezos yesterday and emailed him to three of the known email addresses. Like before, I received a response from his executive offices the next day. Not bad and very Apple-like. I’ll thank Steve Jobs for setting the precedent.
Thorsten, watch out. :-)
My email to Jeff was pretty straightforward. I discussed my “investment” into their ecosystem, my use of Kindle apps on the iPhone and iPad including Cloud Reader and even described my unfortunate experience and huge disappointment with Kindle Keyboard.
Amazon’s reply didn’t focus on the Kindle Keyboard experience but it did appear to carry some positive news. I can’t say for sure if this is an affirmative affirmative from Tranquility Base Bezos but if Amazon is smart, they’d get the Kindle App ready for Playbook.
Kindle for BlackBerry Playbook is not yet available, but stay tuned. You can view our Kindle apps currently available and discover when we’ve released Kindle for BlackBerry Playbook by following the link below:
I was instructed to try the Cloud Reader which I didn’t do at the time of the email or as of this writing.
With all the mobile/device launches this week (Google, Windows, Apple, Yahoo!), this really is a race of devices, ecosystems and services. It reminds me of the old triple-play telecom-bundling models that I was party to (when I worked at Bell) and even now as telecom providers struggle to fight against the onslaught of wholesaler entrants that simply compete on price.
In this new world of digital content, platforms and devices, de-bundling has become far more costly than a simple “bill discount” since digital content investments have already been made. And people hate paying up for the “same thing” to make a switch.
Do the right thing Jeff. Get the Kindle Playbook app out to the base. I am sure this will win you some more “likes” in the social media landscape. ;-)
- Amazon Going Up Against Apple In The Education Market (techcitement.com)
- VIDEO: Jeff Bezos calls iPad Mini a Kindle Fire rip-off, sort of (mobile-ent.biz)
- New BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 Update Now Available: 3 Reasons to Download (blogs.blackberry.com)
- RIM Rolls PlayBook 2.1 Update, Improves BlackBerry Bridge, Data Security, And Android App Support (techcrunch.com)
Disclaimer: I generally agree that Apple made a bad mistake in how they released Maps. They should have allowed Google Maps to exist under iOS6. As well, they should have released their own Maps as a “beta” product.
That said, I have yet to experience any Maps issue that caused a global media sh*tstorm. Maybe I didn’t do enough brute testing but you get my point. Even Consumer Reports did their own tests and found the product to be reasonable. Maybe not good enough, but good.
Anyhow, I used the product on my #3GS over the weekend and noticed a small link to their page acknowledgements. I had no idea how much aggregated data Apple was using in its Maps product!
Have a look at this list:
- Tom Tom
- MultiNet North America
- Statistics Canada (via Tom Tom: Road Network File, 2006 Census Population and Dwelling Count Highlight Tables)
- Canada Post Corporation
- Department of Natural Resources Canada
- Mulitnet SouthEast Asia
- Base Data - Bakosurtanal
- Macao Special Administration Region Government-Cartography and Cadastre Bureau
- MulitNet Europe
- Denmark, DAV
- MultiNet France
- IGN France
- Georoute / IGN France
- Michelin data
- Northern Ireland Ordinance Survey of Northern Ireland
- Norway: Norwegian Mapping Authority
- Norway: Public Roads Administration
- Map Solutions
- MultiNet Russia
- Switzerland: Swisstopo
- Netherlands: Topografische
- Netherlands: Dienst Voor Het Kadaster En De Openbare Registers
- Apeldoorn 2006
- Business Data Listings, Acxiom, 2012
- Map Data, AND
- CoreLogic Inc.
- Map and Postal Data, DMTI
- Business Listings Data, Factual
- Map Data, Getchee
- Increment P Corp (Japan)
- Australia: Map Data Services Pty Ltd.
- MDA Information Systems
- Urban Mapping
- Israel: Waze
- Department of Natural Resources Canada
- CGIAR Consortium for Spatial Information
- Flickr Shapefiles Public Dataset, Version 1.0
- GeoNames and Contributors
- GlobeCover, ESA and UCLouvain
- Royal Mail data
- OSDM, Commonwealth of Australia
- U.S. Census Bureau
- U.S. Department of State
- U.S. Geological Survey
- National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration
- Apple’s new vector Maps work great for offline browsing (edibleapple.com)
- Apple pushes out first improvements to Maps, restores NYC landmarks (theverge.com)
- Consumer Reports: iOS6 Maps “Competent Enough”, iPhone 5 Ranked Top Smartphone (techcrunch.com)
I was compelled to edit this for the masses. ;-)
So I take it VentureBeat has a very picky bone for music, EH? Never realized the tech site had “America’s Got Talent” judgment in it. Ah well, can’t keep people happy. Judging by the comments to their article, it is even-steven between the “really angry for absolutely no reason” folks and the “I liked it” crowd. Hint: Next time you want to draw attention to your site and article, use catchy words in your headline like “awful music” - bound to do two things (1) high conversion clicks (2) spawn an entire set of reactions. Be controversial - it’s good for Google Juice!
C-l-a-s-s-i-c-s to get some RAP and FUNK in ya! I think RIM’s crew had fun doing the video above so to the rest of you, LIGHTEN UP! It’s called LIFE.
@jason: I used the Apple maps app this weekend to go back and forth to Napa on somewhat confusing back roads (at times) and found it *delightful*! Turn-by-turn navigation on a stunningly large screen made it feel like a dedicated GPS unit. There were just as many errors in Google Maps when it launched I’m certain, it’s just that people were so amazed by the DHTML nature of GM back then that they were more forgiving. Everyone please shut up about Apple maps. It’s a great 1.0, and sure it will take time to get Japan and Russia and some backroads lined up, but it’s a stunningly beautiful product in its first effort. Really people - 5:41PM
Well said Jason! I have used it in Toronto area (no back roads!) and it was fine. That said, I would have opted for Apple to tell Google IF they wanted to have an iOS6 version available, then go right ahead. Where they really messed up was by removing Google Maps outright vs. default. If that happened, I am certain the media shit storm over this would have been non-existent. Probably proves the tech media has nothing to write about really OR everyone is writing about Apple maps for Google juice goodness!
- Source: Apple Aggressively Recruiting Ex-Google Maps Staff To Build Out iOS Maps (techcrunch.com)
- Wozniak: new Maps ‘disappointing’ but problems overblown (macnn.com)
- Schmidt: new Google Maps app for iOS not yet submitted (electronista.com)
- Apple Actively Recruiting Ex-Google Maps Employees (macrumors.com)
- In defense of Apple’s Maps (thetechblock.com)
- One not-so-secret reason Apple built its own Maps for iOS 6 (Talkcast) (tuaw.com)
- Google Maps Has 7,100 Employees Working on it (webpronews.com)
- It Looks Like Google Wants To Put More Ads On Maps (webpronews.com)
- Apple Reportedly Had Over a Year Left on Maps Contract with Google (macrumors.com)