October 20, 2015

Digital currency is poised to reinvent how startups are funded

The blockchain allows digital items to be both authentic and scarce. Beyond simply providing the backbone for digital currency like Bitcoin and Litecoin, the blockchain can also be used to publish inalterable public records of, for example, asset ownership. Chroma Fund offers blockchain-based digital share certificates for each company that investors fund. Because the blockchain can be used to verify the authenticity of digital items, digital items can then achieve scarcity similar to that of a physical, material good. While the Chroma Fund share certificate is not a paper, because its authenticity is tied to the blockchain the share becomes a unique, discrete item that can be traded and sold with trust.


Internet of Things standards groups get ready to rumble at CES

Having a house full of locks, lights, appliances and thermostats that can communicate with each other and the cloud is critical to getting value from those purchases. For example, a connected door lock is worth a lot more if it can tell a thermostat that you’ve come home and the heat should go on. Unless all the pieces come from the same company, they need a shared, cross-vendor language for finding and understanding each other. AllSeen is offering its AllJoyn framework to fill that need. OIC is promoting its own standard and a reference implementation called IoTivity. The first full version of the OIC standard was completed last month.  Apple’s HomeKit system, and the Weave platform developed by Nest, now part of Google’s Alphabet universe, may also give those standards a run for their money.


Mercedes-Benz liberates the road to autonomy with connected car app

Users of the Mercedes Me app will no longer have to worry about getting into a freezing car on a winter morning or a hotbox on a summer afternoon, and accidentally locking themselves out of their cars will also be a thing of the past. The app, for iPhone and Apple Watch, will allow consumers to monitor a vehicle’s vitals and temperature from afar, as well as to lock and unlock the door from even further away than a remote-operated key. “When designed and developed right, connected apps can offer consumers the utility and convenience they desire,” said Sep Seyedi, CEO of Plastic Mobile. “In turn, brands are not only supporting the post purchase journey but continuing to drive brand awareness and engagement. It’s a win-win situation for both brands and consumers.”


Deutsche Telekom Said to Weigh New Antitrust Complaint Against Google

The move by Deutsche Telekom would make it an official complainant in the case, allowing the company to provide information and potential evidence on why it believes Google abuses its control over Android. The evidence could include data on which mobile services the carriers’ tens of millions of users regularly access on their cellphones. Such information could help European competition officials decide whether to bring formal charges against Google linked to the region’s Android investigation. Competition authorities have been focusing their attention on Google’s Android operating system, which powers more than 80 percent of the world’s smartphones, according to Gartner, a research firm.


The Estimation Game - Techniques for Informed Guessing

A big problem with being numbers-driven is that you often don’t have the numbers. This is especially true when contemplating designs for systems that don’t yet exist. The more cheaply and quickly you can make reasonable estimates of those numbers, the more designs you can consider, the better your final design will be. Fast and cheap answers allow you to explore a larger space of possibilities, kind of like how you can now research the specs and reviews of different cars before you step onto the lot. This kind of exercise is often called a “Fermi estimation”, after a legendary incident in which Enrico Fermi dropped bits of paper into the shockwave of a nuclear test to estimate its yield.


Predictive Analytics Business Case is Simpler Than You Think

To craft the specifics of the business case, concisely define the business issue that will be addressed. Assess the current environment and offer a gap analysis to show the difference between the current environment and the future environment). Offer a recommended solution, but also offer alternatives. Detail the specific value propositions associated with the change. Create a financial analysis summarizing costs and benefits. Support the analysis with a timeline including roles and responsibilities. Finally, detail the major risk factors and opportunity costs associated with the project. For complex initiatives, break the overall project into a series of shorter projects.


Virtual Reality App Innovates the Experience of Music

More and more, recorded music is being thought of as a free market. After a while of trying to catch up with that, I just didn't want to roll with it anymore. So I kind of stopped putting out CDs, really focused on the live show and what I could do more in person and that experience. That's a very difficult thing to reproduce—there's no screen, headphones, speakers, even through a theater it's so low resolution compared to being in person. The body language, the little tiny tics people make, the audience, the resonance of the room.


Artificial intelligence: Should we be as terrified as Elon Musk and Bill Gates?

AI is already creeping into military use with the rise of armed drone aircraft. No longer piloted by humans, they are carrying out attacks against enemy targets. For now, they are remotely controlled by soldiers. But the question has been raised of how long it will be until the machines are given specific humans or groups of humans--enemies in uniform--to target and given the autonomy to shoot to kill when they acquire their target. Should it ever be ethical for a machine to make a judgment call in taking a human life? ... Certainly governments are going to want to get involved with laws and regulations, but the tech industry itself can pre-empt and shape that by putting together its own standards of conduct and ethical guidelines ahead of nations and regulatory bodies hardening the lines.


QARK: Android App Exploit and SCA Tool

Ever wonder why there isn't a metasploit-style framework for Android apps? We did!  Whether you're a developer trying to protect your insecure app from winding up on user devices, an Android n00b or a pentester trying to pwn all the things, QARK is just what you've been looking for!  This tool combines Static Code Analysis with source-sink mapping, teaching by detailing misconfigurations, citing research detailing the issues and automatic exploitation into one, simple to use application!  Our tool will review any Android app, either from source or APK, highlight version specific issues, detail your app's attack surface, inspect all your app components for misconfigurations and allow you to create on-demand proof-of-concept attack applications.


Is it Still Possible to do Phone Phreaking? Yes, With Android LTE

Google said it is working on a software patch for Android which will be released next month. Apple's mobile operating system, iOS, is not affected, according to CERT.  Android's problem is with its permissions. On 3G networks, there are separate network domains for data packets going over the Internet and phone calls, which go through circuits. But with LTE, voice and data go over Internet. Android's permission that governs phone calls doesn't matter since calls are no longer going through a circuit-switched network, Kim said. That opens up an interesting avenue for attack. For example, if a victim can be tricked into downloading a malicious Android application, it could, for example, initiate a video call over the data channel.



Quote for the day:

"Action is the foundational key to all success." -- Anthony Robbins,