Posts Tagged ‘Authentication’

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The Winners of WSJ’s Data Transparency Weekend

April 17, 2012

magine installing a service on your cellphone that lets you see all the data – from location to address book info – transmitted by your phone. Or a simple website where you and your friends could have private chats that couldn’t be read by the most aggressive spying agencies. Or a service that lets you know how many tracking codes are on a site before you clicked on it.

Lam Thuy Vo
One of the coders at the Data Transparency Weekend models the official T-shirt from the event.

Over the weekend, more than 100 computer programmers built those tools and many more at the Wall Street Journal’s first-ever Data Transparency Weekend in New York.

The event was an outgrowth of the Journal’s extensive reporting about how companies and government’s are increasingly using technology to collect personal data. The event was designed to promote the creation of tools that let people see and control their personal data.

After a weekend of coding, nearly 20 projects were submitted for judging on Sunday. The entries were judged by Alessandro Acquisti, professor of information technology and public policy at Carnegie Mellon, Sid Stamm, Web security and privacy strategist at Mozilla and Andrew McLaughlin, former deputy chief technologist at the White House and vice president at Tumblr.

Danny Weitzner, the deputy chief technologist at the White House, handed out the certificates to the winning teams. The winners were:

Outstanding Scanning Project: TOSBack2 – a project to scan the Web to build a “living archive” of all privacy policies online.

Outstanding Education Project: PrivacyBucket – software that lets users of the Chrome Web browser view the type of demographic estimates that Web tracking companies make about them based on their Web browsing history.

Outstanding Control Project: Cryptocat – an instant messaging service that lets people engage in encrypted chats inside their Web browsers or on their phones. Extra bonus: the program lets people generate random numbers (which are needed for encryption) by shaking their phone – allowing the creators to say that their program is powered by dance moves.

Judge’s Choice Award: Site Scoper – a website that scans for tracking files and sensitive content on websites before you visit it.

“Ready for Primetime” Award: MobileScope – a service that lets people see what data is being transmitted without their knowledge by their cellphone. It also offers ad-blocking and do-not-track services for cellphones.

The judges also dreamed up their own three award categories:

The Zuckerberg/Systrom Memorial Award for Opportunistic Optimism Award: Pestagram, for its blatantly commercial mashup of hot Web technologies Instagram and Pinterest.

Best Listener Award: The Price of Free, for the fact that the project was generated by Professor Acquisti’s speech kicking off the weekend, in which he challenged participants to find ways to quantify how much people are paying with their data for free services.

And, finally, The Soup Cans and String Winner: Ostel, for its work on technology that allows people to make encrypted cellphone calls using voice-over-the-Internet technology.

Source: The Winners of WSJ’s Data Transparency Weekend

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Biometric market set to grow to $14.685 billion by 2019.

March 26, 2012

Frost & Sullivan has carried out a new assessment of the global biometrics market that predicts 2010 revenues of $4.49 billion will increase to $14.685 billion by 2019. Universal adoption of biometric passports will be the driving force in this growth as so-called eGates are implemented at borders around the world. Portable devices used by the police and the military will also become increasingly common in the fight against crime and terrorism, according to the report. Frost & Sullivan also suggests that biometrics will be almost universally adopted in the identification of citizens through IDs, driver’s licenses and healthcards complete with biometric capabilities. Research analyst Krzysztof Rutkowski explained: “The civil and military biometric market will be highly influenced by the universal adoption of biometric passports. This will pave the way for the adoption of other measures, such as eGates, that will enhance the biometric possession experience.”

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Health Officials Seeking More Secure Mobile Devices

March 14, 2012

Mobile devices, from smartphones to tablet computers, are increasingly used in hospitals and other health care settings. But regulators fear that manufacturers have not taken adequate steps to safeguard privacy and security with the technology.

To help seal those gaps, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched the Privacy & Security Mobile Device project. The initiative will be managed by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC) Office of the Chief Privacy Officer and the HHS Office for Civil Rights.

The project also will work to develop case studies to help communicate to health care providers how to secure and protect health information when using mobile devices. An example of a provider use case scenario is the health care provider who is at home and on call, using a laptop to read a patient’s electronic medical record.

“The rationale behind this specific project is that the use of mobile devices in health care has skyrocketed in the last year,” said Joy Pritts, JD, chief privacy officer for ONC, in an interview. “The concern is that health information is some of the most sensitive information that there is.”

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Researchers: How ‘leaky’ smart phones give up their crypto keys

March 4, 2012

Smart phones being used for sensitive transactions leak data that can be used to recover the cryptographic keys securing connections, researchers say. CPUs from as far away as 30 feet, said Benjamin Jun, vice president of technology at Cryptography Research Inc.

The data can be analyzed to reveal the cryptographic keys being generated and used. “That distance was a surprise to me,” said Jun, who is presenting results of the research at this week’s RSA Conference.“What we’re trying to do here is not show the limits of what can be done,” but to determine the amount of data leakage and demonstrate the dangers it poses, Jun said. By analyzing power consumption in the CPU during cryptographic processes, data — including crypto keys — could be extracted.

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RSA Unveils Industry-Leading Capabilities For Threat Information Sharing

February 28, 2012

“A shortage of specialized security expertise is a serious challenge for most organizations dealing with advanced threats,” says Bret Hartman, RSA’s chief technology officer. “Collaboration with outside partners is often the most efficient and convenient way to scale advanced threat capabilities and talent. Technology solutions such as RSA’s experimental collaboration platform will help companies with limited experience in advanced threats augment their capabilities, and will enable broader sharing of threat intelligence across the industry. We’d like others in the global security community to join us in exploring new methods, such as this type of framework, to share threat information on a much larger scale.”

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Verizon’s ICSA Labs Division Identifies Key Security Threats Aimed at Businesses

January 28, 2012

According to the Verizon “2011 Data Breach Investigations Report,” the number of data attacks has tripled in the past five years, making the need to balance security with risk an even greater priority for businesses and consumers. With this trend in mind, Verizon’s ICSA Labs division recommends that businesses and consumers guard against the following 13 security threats in 2012:

  1. Mobile Malware Is on the Rise. Malware targeting mobile devices will continue to increase, and enterprises will wrestle with how to protect users. Obvious targets will be smartphones and tablets, with the hardest hit likely to be Android-based devices, given that operating system’s large market share and open innovation platform. All mobile platforms will experience an increase in mobile attacks.
  2. Criminals Target and Infect App Stores. Infected applications, rather than browser-based downloads, will be the main sources of attack. Because they are not policed well, unauthorized application stores will be the predominant source of mobile malware. Cybercriminals will post their infected applications here to attempt to lure trusting users into downloading rogue applications. Cybercriminals also will find ways to get their applications posted into authorized application stores. And infections can easily spread beyond the smartphone and into a corporate network, upping the ante on risk.
  3. Application Scoring Systems Will be Developed and Implemented. To reassure users, organizations will want to have their application source code reviewed by third parties. Similarly, organizations will want to be sure that the applications approved for use on workers’ devices meet a certain standard. It is anticipated that the industry will develop a scoring system that helps ensure that users only download appropriate, corporate-sanctioned applications to business devices.
  4. Emergence of Bank-Friendly Applications with Built-in Security. Mobile devices will increasingly be used to view banking information, transfer money, donate to charities and make payments for goods and services, presenting an opportunity for cybercriminals, who will find ways to circumvent protections. To help ensure the security of online banking, the banking industry is likely to begin to offer applications that have strong, built-in security layers.
  5. Hyper-connectivity Leads to Growing Identity and Privacy Challenges. In today’s business environment, more users need to legitimately access more data from more places. This requires the protection of data at every access point by using stronger credentials, deploying more secure, partner-accessible systems, and improving log management and analysis. Compounding the issue are a new age of cross-platform malicious code, aimed at sabotage, and mounting concerns about privacy. Enterprises will no longer be able to ignore this problem in 2012, and will have to make some hard choices.
  6. New Risks Accompany Move to Digitized Health Records. In the U.S., health care reform and stimulus funding will continue to accelerate the adoption of electronic health records and related technologies throughout the industry. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act calls for all medical records to be electronic by 2014, meaning that much work must be done in 2012 and 2013 to prepare.) New devices will be introduced that send sensitive information beyond the traditional boundaries of health care providers, and more and more health care providers are using mobile devices. Along with the need to secure newly implemented EHR systems, securing mobile devices and managing mobile clinical applications will continue to be an ever-increasing focus in the health care industry.
  7. Mobile and Medical Devices Will Begin to Merge. Mobile devices and health care apps will proliferate, making it easier, for example, to transform a smartphone, into a heart monitor or diabetes tester. As a result, some experts believe that industry health care groups will declare mobile devices to be medical devices in order to control and regulate them. As interoperability standards mature, more mobile devices and traditional medical devices will become nodes on an organization’s network. These devices also will share data with other devices and users and, as a result, be susceptible to the same threats and vulnerabilities that computers and other network-attached peripherals, such as printers and faxes, are susceptible to today.
  8. Smart Grid Security Standards Will Keep Evolving. In the U.S., public utility commissions, along with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, will continue to develop smart-grid standards. State PUCs will begin to agree on a standard in the coming year. The government will increasingly require utilities to demonstrate that their smart grid and advanced metering infrastructure solutions protect not only the privacy of consumers and consumer usage data but also the security of the AMI infrastructure. At some point, a single federal framework will supersede state regulations and requirements.
  9. New Concerns Will Surface About IPv6. The federal government is still struggling with the rollout of IPv6-enabled devices as organizations migrate from IPv4. This will be an ongoing concern and IPv6 specific vulnerabilities and threats will continue to cause trouble during 2012. In addition, the other two fundamental mechanisms of the Internet — Border Gateway Protocol and Domain Name System – also now offer a next-generation version. In 2012, many will start migrating to these newer versions, generating a new round of vulnerabilities and exploits.
  10. Social-Engineering Threats Resurface. More targeted spear-phishing — an e-mail-fraud attempt that targets a specific organization, seeking unauthorized access to confidential data – will be the major social-engineering threat of 2012. Efforts to educate user communities about safe computing practices, will continue to be a challenge as the user base of smart devices increases dramatically. Social networking sites will continue to implement protection for users from malware, spam and phishing, but sophisticated threats will continue to seduce users to visit a rogue Website or reveal personally identifiable information online.
  11. Security Certification Programs Will Increase in Popularity. Certifications will continue to increase, especially as the government accelerates IT mandates for its agencies in the areas of cloud and identity; and in turn, the private sector will follow suit. Internet threats will continue to affect business, government and user confidence and wreak havoc on computing devices in the office and at home. The challenge for all testing bodies will be to stay ahead of the ever-changing threat landscape and to evolve testing accordingly. Some testing bodies may suggest certifying the security of companies as a whole, not just their products or services, as a way to build trust online.
  12. ‘Big Data’ Will Get Bigger, and so Will Security Needs. ”Big data” — large data sets that can now be managed with the right tools — will be popular in 2012 as more companies derive greater value through analytics. Companies will use the data to create new business opportunities while empowering evidence-based decision making for greater success. However, companies will need to secure this data in order to achieve the gains they seek.
  13. Safeguarding Online Identities Will no Longer be Optional. With the rampant growth of online identity theft, consumers, businesses and government agencies are seeking ways to better protect their identities. These groups will look to the private sector to provide a cost-effective solution that helps to safeguard their identities and create greater online trust.

“The proliferation of Internet connectivity, mobile devices and Web applications are helping to enrich lives and advance global business opportunity in new meaningful ways,” said Roger Thompson, emerging threats researcher, ICSA Labs. “But in this new era of hyper-connectivity, which is compounded by the blurring of lines between our professional and personal lives, it’s everyone’s responsibility — whether as a business user or a consumer — to safeguard our online activities and interact with technology responsibly to protect our assets, identity and privacy.”

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Data Privacy Day 2012: Not Necessarily a Cause for Celebration

January 28, 2012

Businesses and consumers around the globe will observe Data Privacy Day on Saturday, Jan. 28th.  Now is the time  for businesses to assess risk management practices that relate to data security and where they are able to make improvements.