Coming to the end of 2014, it's time to start looking to what the year ahead may have to offer. After gazing into its crystal ball, Juniper Research has compiled a list of what it expects to be the biggest technology trends of 2015. Topping the list is a focus on security. Juniper Research predicts that there will be greater interest in encryption and tokenization, as cloud storage providers battle to regain customer trust.
The launch of Apple Pay will help to drive an increased interest in biometrics to help with security, but 2015 is also predicted to be the year that wearables really take off. Now that Apple has entered the arena, there should be a greater focus on aesthetics and smaller players will increase in popularity. Tied in with both security and wearables is a predicted jump in the use of NFC -- for payments, authentication, health and more.
A report recently issued by PWC suggested that wearables adoption will mirror the phenomenal rise of tablets in the enterprise. Apparently a fifth of adults in the US already own a wearable tech device and additional sales could top 130 million units in 2018. Enterprise vendors are watching these predictions carefully and starting to anticipate their arrival into the workplace with dedicated platforms, such as Salesforce1.
Although many applications being developed are for medical workers and white-collar users, it is not difficult to see why wearables also offer great potential for the same-day delivery industries. They provide a significant opportunity for achieving service improvements through more seamless interaction with customers. Added to this, proof of delivery is more secure and evidence to refute claims of lost or damaged consignments can be captured automatically, potentially without the customer even realizing it. Customer service benefits aside, wearables also support hands-free working, which means productivity and efficiency levels can be further improved on existing rates achieved from using 'traditional' mobile devices.
Sony Pictures Entertainment faces being left completely red-faced after reports began to emerge that it contributed to its latest data breach by storing thousands of passwords in a folder entitled "Password".
Personal details of some 47,000 employees and actors have been leaked online in recent days and the much-publicized leak contains confidential details including social security numbers and reams of other tidbits, according to The Telegraph.
Gamers today found that they were unable to connect to the PlayStation Network. In what appears to be a hack attack, the gaming network as well as the PlayStation Store were knocked offline. Claiming responsibility this time is the hacking outfit Lizard Squad.
Sony has not revealed any details about what has happened yet, but it's clear that the outage did not come as a result of routine maintenance. Lizard Squad tweeted a message that seemed to claim responsibility for the downtime: "PSN Login #offline #LizardSquad".
New information which was obtained via a freedom of information request in the UK has found that there has been a worrying increase in the amount of data breaches which are caused by human error.
The figures were brought to light by an FOI request made to the Information Commissioner’s Office by Egress Software Technologies, an encryption provider.
Amnesty International hit out at a court ruling that found communication surveillance carried out by UK secret services did not breach human rights. Amnesty UK and Privacy International brought the case to court following revelations by Edward Snowden that showed GCHQ (UK secret services) and the NSA had been spying on people by monitoring their correspondence.
But a panel of judges found that the actions of GCHQ do not contravene the European Convention of Human Rights. Amnesty said the result was "disappointing if unsurprising" and indicated that it will appeal at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
The latest monthly report from internet security specialist Doctor Web shows that whilst Windows and Android users have no cause for complacency, November saw substantial numbers of malicious programs aimed at Mac OS X and Linux platforms.
Trojans remain the most popular form of attack making up 8.7 percent of all malware detected. Trojan.InstallCore.12, which installs different adware, toolbars and browser extensions, ranks first. BackDoor.Andromeda.404, which downloads other malicious programs into an infected system when commanded to do so by intruders, ranks second.
On November 20, WordPress announced a critical cross-site scripting vulnerability in the Internet’s most popular and widely used content management system. Initially discovered by Jouko Pynnonen with the Finnish IT company Klikki Oy, the vulnerability could allow anonymous users to compromise websites running versions of WordPress prior to 3.9.3.
This is an extremely serious vulnerability by virtue of the fact that it impacts millions of websites across the Internet and could allow an anonymous user to gain complete administrative control of these websites and potentially the underlying operating system. According to WordPress statistics, about 86 percent of all WordPress sites were using a vulnerable version as of November 20, 2014. Exploited sites could then be used to attack other users, or if the operating system is compromised, the machine could be used as part of a botnet. Reports indicate that this vulnerability is being actively exploited and that exploit code has been made available on the Internet for others to use and modify.
It's looking like the latest store to fall victim to cybercriminals is women's clothing chain Bebe Stores. Signs of the problem emerged earlier this week when fraudulent charges started to crop up on people's credit cards. What linked each of the victims was the fact that they had shopped in Bebe Stores.
KrebsOnSecurity reports that stolen customer details have been made available for sale on the "cybercrime shop" Goodshop. The timing is interesting as the data seems to have been put up for sale immediately after Black Friday and Cyber Monday -- a period when sales are much higher than normal.
PayPal, currently owned by eBay, is one of the most popular methods for moving money online. Of course, as Microsoft knows from Windows, with popularity comes problems. People are going to poke and prod in an effort to find soft spots. Sometimes the intention is to help fix things, sometimes to exploit the problems.
Security researcher Yasser Ali is on the good side, but he still has released details of a vulnerability that shows how easy it can be to hack PayPal. However, before you get all worked up, the payment service fixed the problem before Ali announced it. It also paid him in gratitude for the information.
As the IT landscape changes and employees are more likely to be accessing cloud services on a range of devices, it's important that they remain properly protected from threats.
Cloud-delivered security service OpenDNS has announced that it's opened up its platform to other security vendors to fight attacks through intelligence sharing.
Like any company, Google wants to appeal to as many people as possible. Google Docs has been tweaked to increase its appeal to enterprise and business users, and Gmail is constantly primped and poked. Appealing specifically to children is not an entirely new idea for the search giant -- Google Code-In is targeted at 13-17 year olds, for instance -- but now Google is setting its sights on a younger audience.
Talking to USA Today, Vice President of Engineering at Google, Pavni Diwanji explained that the company is looking to create new versions of its products that are "fun and safe for children". Starting next year, the company will launch new versions of existing services, this time aimed at those aged 12 and under.
As part of an on-going battle against malware and abuse of the social network, Facebook has joined up with security firm ESET. The partnership follows on from the news back in May that Facebook was working with both Trend Micro and F-Secure to try to combat the threat of malware. The addition of ESET makes a trio of security partners, and Facebook has incorporated the company's technology into its own security systems.
Facebook hopes that by combining the power of F-Secure, Trend Micro and ESET, it should be possible to block the appearance of more malicious links from newsfeeds. The thinking is that adding more security providers will helps to catch even more malware without the need to rely on users having antimalware software installed.
The CAPTCHA is a truly annoying creation. It prevents robots and scripts from pulling content from websites, or spamming them, which is great for website owners and hosts, but irritating for site visitors because it forces them to "prove they are human" by solving a challenge. This usually involves reading and entering some distorted text into a box, although there are other variations.
I personally find them hugely irksome as sometimes they fail to recognize when you get the words right, and sometimes they let you through when you get the words wrong. More importantly, they waste your time. Thankfully, the days of the CAPTCHA are numbered, as Google has come up a human-friendly solution.
While Dropbox for Business is nothing new, there's no getting away from the fact that Dropbox is seen essentially as a consumer level tool. Part of the reason for this -- apart from the occasional security slip-up -- is the fact that it has not been possible to use Dropbox in conjunction with third party tools at an enterprise level. Now this changes thanks to the arrival of the Dropbox For Business API.
The API is yet to be officially announced -- although rumors have been circulating for a little while -- but internal documentation obtained by TechCrunch shows that the launch is imminent, possibly as early as tomorrow (Wednesday December 3rd). Once launched, developers will be able to use the API to produce their own secure Dropbox-based apps and services.