4 November 2010 | Jim Thornton
Yesterday's network architecture simply does NOT suit today's proliferation of multimedia, data, and mobility in a broadly connected world.
21 December 2009 | Richard Chow
You can’t avoid the cloud computing topic these days. As usual, the extreme viewpoints are the most visible -- cloud computing is either marketing hype, or game-changing. If you turn to security experts, it’s either “nothing new” or a “focal point". While there’s some truth in each viewpoint, it’s a little hard to untangle what’s really going on. An oft-quoted survey from IDC reports security is the biggest concern with cloud computing. We did our own series of interviews with different members of the cloud ecosystem, and asked them to identify the security/privacy issues and the concerns of their customers.
5 November 2009 | Richard Chow
Privacy should be the biggest concern for users of location-based social networking apps like Foursquare, Google Latitude, Loopt, and others. Will these companies store and analyze your location traces to figure out what ads to show you as part of their business model? You can deduce a lot about people from their locational traces: where they sleep and work and play, what stores and restaurants they like, who they spend time with, more.
13 October 2009 | Markus Jakobsson
With the recent news that Amazon launched a mobile payments service, I have to wonder if fraud will go through the roof. But Amazon wisely invented 1-Click payments to reduce user burden, and soon this feature will apply to mobile users. All of this is very nice and convenient for the user. Except if you're among the 8+ million users a year who lose their mobile phones. Then it becomes very nice and convenient for whoever finds your phone.
9 September 2009 | Markus Jakobsson
It’s nearly impossible for anti-virus protectors to keep up with the pace of malware – producing descriptions of what that malware looks or acts like – around the clock, especially with close to a million new and unique malware instances every day. But what if you can use the circumstances of software installations and executions to tell what kind of software it is without even looking at the code? This information can auto-inform anti-virus protectors, and can be used to provide immediate advice to a client machine, which turns to the “centralized [malware] nervous system” to ask whether a particular piece of code is safe to install or not.
1 September 2009 | Markus Jakobsson
Online criminals have many tools for committing fraud and theft, including phishing and, increasingly, malware. A more acute problem is mobile malware, which will pose a serious threat to mobile communications as smartphone use explodes. The inherent limitations of smartphones – power, memory, bandwidth – make most anti-virus tools unsuitable once the rate of malware instances reaches a certain threshold, because smartphones can't handle the updates that PCs currently have to. So what happens when malware authors start developing viruses for smartphones at the rate they currently do for personal computers? We may not have to wait long to find out, because mobile platforms are rich with data and are convenient payment platforms ripe for defrauding. We must find better solutions before it's too late. And we can't use current strategies to combat the problem, because the mobile context is so much more vulnerable and resource-constrained.
17 August 2009 | Elaine Shi
How many times a day do you enter passwords in different places AND multiple times in the same place? While passwords are the most widely used method for authenticating users to computer systems and protecting our information, they're also difficult to remember, inconvenient, poorly used, and not always secure. There are multiple ways to authenticate us (something we know, have, are) -- but why not use our habits or routines to implicitly authenticate us?
5 August 2009 | Bo Begole
One of the best features of the new class of U.S. mobile smartphones is that they're finally capable of reading QR (Quick Response) codes. These codes, which already appear all over Japan and Korea, are 2D bar codes typically displayed on something -- such as a poster, webpage, magazine ad, or store window -- and captured by a phone camera. The phone decodes the image and launches the appropriate application to see the text, browse the website, send SMS, or call the number that was contained in the QR code. In all these scenarios, the phone is reading the QR code. But you can also turn this model on its head by having the phone display the code to be read by another device.
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