BetaNews Staff

Pavlok wristband motivates wearers with an electric shock


Have you ever needed a helping hand to break a bad habit? Maybe you want to stop hitting that ever-tempting snooze button on the alarm, or have finally convinced yourself that now would be the right time to give up fast food.

Or, you might have set yourself the target of going to the gym every day and just need a little bit of extra motivation every now and then.

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Hand over your child and get free Wi-Fi


A handful of London residents unwittingly agreed to give up their first-born child when signing in to a public Wi-Fi hot spot as part of an experiment carried out by the Cyber Security Research Institute.

A "Herod clause" was included in the T's and C's, which promised free Wi-Fi if "the recipient agreed to assign their first born child to us for the duration of eternity".

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Occupy Hong Kong protesters are locked in a technology arms race with the Chinese government


Thousands of protesters have flooded into the heart of central Hong Kong over recent days to demonstrate against the Beijing government's plans to phase out the semi-autonomous province's democratic elections by 2017. The campaign seeks to blockade Hong Kong's financial center, and represents the first major challenge to the rule of the new Chinese President, Xi Jinping.

For anyone confused by the protests, here's a bit of background: when the UK handed the territory of Hong Kong back to China in 1997, the Chinese government agreed to a policy of "one country, two systems" that allowed the city a high degree of control over its own affairs and kept in place civil liberties unseen on the mainland. It also promised the city's leader would eventually be chosen through "universal suffrage". That appears to not have been entirely true, and it's got thousands of people taking to the streets.

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Say hello to Amelia -- the 'cognitive knowledge worker' set to transform business


As 2014 races into the home straight, a new artificially intelligent computer system has been unveiled with the promise of transforming the global workforce. She's called Amelia.

Named after the American aviator and pioneer Amelia Earhart, the intelligent system is designed around the idea that it can shoulder tedious and labor-intensive tasks, freeing up its human co-workers to focus on more creative opportunities.

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ASUS MeMO Pad 8: Neat Android tablet that's also affordable [Review]


While we all await the arrival of the next Nexus from Google -- and the wait isn't likely to be very long now -- other low cost Android tablets are trying to attract both our attention and our cash. Asus has a good track record in this respect. Lest we forget, Asus was in fact Google's partner for the last Nexus tablet, though it looks like Google may be ringing the changes in terms of a hardware partner this time round.

Anyhow, what we have here is the MeMO Pad 8, the latest in a line of smaller format, lower cost tablets from Asus that are designed to cater to our desire for a larger than phablet screen that's still potentially pocket-friendly in size and wallet-friendly in price. The MeMO Pad 8 will set you back around £160.

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Touch ID on iPhone 6: Still hackable


Apple's recently released iPhone 6 is susceptible to the same fingerprint forging attack as the iPhone 5s, according to the latest security research.

Mark Rogers, principal security researcher for mobile security firm Lookout, used techniques which are well-known to police officials and prototypers to access the device.

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iPhone 6: Lovely, but not groundbreaking [Review]


The new iPhone, as every smartphone fan knows by now, is not in fact one phone, but two. And unlike last time Apple launched two handsets at once, this time you don't have to choose between a cut down version (the iPhone 5c) or a full-fat version (the iPhone 5s).

This time, while there are some differences between the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, apart from screen size they are subtle ones, and your choice is primarily about size -- do you want a 4.7-inch screen or a 5.5-inch one? This review is of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, kindly provided by Three -- our review of the iPhone 6 Plus will follow.

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Apple: Most OS X users shouldn't worry about Shellshock

Satisfied Happy Businessman Relaxing Office

Apple has admitted that most OS X users have nothing to be concerned about when it comes to the bug that has been dubbed "worse than Heartbleed".

In a statement the firm admitted that it is already working on a software update for advanced UNIX users that repairs the major exploit that can be used by hackers to gain access to connected devices by inserting malicious code into the "Bash" command shell in OS X and Linux.

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IBM and Bancroft team up for a specialized cloud-based education program


IBM has announced a partnership with Bancroft, a provider of specialized services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, which will supply a cloud-based educational program.

The collaboration will enable staff and students to access more than 300 educational and clinical applications securely via an iPad.

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How to protect yourself from the Shellshock Bash bug


A worrying new security vulnerability has muscled its way onto the Internet, and world-leading security experts are saying it's even worse than this year's Heartbleed fiasco. Called "Bash" or "Shellshock", the security flaw is inherent to a computer's shell. This is the user interface that accesses operating systems like Command Prompt, and means that many Linux, UNIX, and some BSD systems (including Apple's OS X) are vulnerable. Worryingly, the ubiquitous nature of the bug means that a large percentage of software is engaged in constant interaction with the shell. Consequently the bug can infiltrate software in a number of different ways.

So what can you do to protect yourself against this frightening new bug, and how can you avoid Shellshock? Well, the answer is basically the same as it's always been. There's no special tool or patch that'll keep you protected from Shellshock. It's just pure, common-sense cyber security.

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Shellshock Bash -- What every business needs to know


A worrying new security vulnerability means that all Apple Mac computers, about half of all websites, and even internet connected home appliances are all vulnerable to hackers. Security experts are saying it's even worse than this year's Heartbleed fiasco. But what is Shellshock exactly, and what does it mean for the security of your business?

Shellshock exploits a vulnerability in Bash. Bash, an acronym for Bourne Again Shell, is a command-line shell used by many UNIX computers. UNIX is an operating system on which many others are built, such as Linux and Mac OS. So if any part of your business runs on a Unix-based operating system, it could be vulnerable.

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The Ryder Cup is the most technologically advanced golf event ever


This year's Ryder Cup in Scotland is one of the most technologically advanced golfing events, thanks to the introduction of Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFIT).

Spectators receive a special wristband with their tickets which allows them to take part in various activities around the course, such as the BMW car display, the Ryder Cup Experience with Standard Life Investments and the 'Walk the Course' competition from Active Scotland.

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Taiwan could ban Xiaomi smartphones over data security concerns


Xiaomi has found itself under scrutiny due to concerns that it may be a security threat, with the Taiwanese government expected to make a decision on the smartphone company within three months. It is unclear whether this could lead to a ban on Xiaomi's low-priced smartphones in Taiwan.

A statement on the website of Taiwan's executive branch on Tuesday referred to the fact that some of the company's smartphones automatically send user data back to the Xiaomi servers in Beijing, resulting in a risk of security breaches.

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Building your own financial services with 'Financial Lego' APIs

Lego dollar

The success of the The Lego Movie released earlier this year is testament to the cross-generational appeal of Lego -- its popularity has remained steadfast over the last few generations -- and it will certainly remain relevant in the next generations to come. Without a doubt, Lego is one of the most popular toys of all time. Lego engages people of all ages because it offers unlimited building possibilities. As the Lego pieces interlock in infinite ways, you have the ability to create whatever you like.

So how does this relate to the world of enterprise? Over the last few years the financial world has witnessed the rise of "Financial Lego" API solutions for the enterprise, built by specialized FinTech firms. In other words, there are now many FinTech firms which focus on particular segments of the financial value chain such as international transfers or payroll processing. These technology firms optimize these processes so that they are more efficient, more convenient and less expensive than banks or other traditional institutions -- and are offered up as bespoke services to businesses through APIs.

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Treasury Management Systems are invaluable in the fight against fraud


Fraud is a constant danger for companies around the world, with its ability to damage the bottom line, and reputation, of even the most profitable of firms. Far from being an isolated risk, a recent report from J.P. Morgan showed that almost two thirds (61 percent) of companies had experienced attempted or actual payment fraud in 2012. These incidents of fraud can be both internal, with employees leveraging access and understanding of internal processes to steal from the company; and external, with outside individuals or groups trying to obtain sensitive financial or customer data.

As such, companies need to protect themselves by instigating strict internal procedures for financial transactions, as well as locking down access to data from outside sources.

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