BetaNews Staff

Insights on RCS and how it will replace SMS [Q&A]

Smartphone closeup

Over the past 25 years, SMS text messaging has become the most personal and ubiquitous form of communication in the digital era. In fact, it hasn’t simply held its ground, it’s actually gained momentum -- with global consumers preferring to communicate with businesses through this intuitive channel. As technology continues to bolster SMS capabilities, a new form of mobile messaging known as Rich Communications Services (RCS) is making waves in the mobile revolution.

Leading the charge, OpenMarket has joined forces with Google to help businesses realize the full capabilities of RCS messaging for customer engagement. We caught up with its senior market development manager Oisin Lunny, to learn about the company’s recent partnership with Google and details on what’s fast becoming the next generation of A2P (application to person) texting -- RCS.

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How the dark web creates a fraud pandemic

Hackers laptops

The statistics continue to chill. Two point three million estimated fraud victims in the UK alone in 2015 according to the ONS. 173,000 confirmed reports of identity theft amongst CiFas members (largely utilities and finance companies) in 2015.

From a consumer perspective the chances are that over a period of three to four years you are now more likely than not to be a victim of a successful fraudulent act of some kind.

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CIA's internal hacking tools rival those of the NSA

central intelligence agency website cia

Debate and discourse around WikiLeaks’ announcement about a series of leaks from the CIA continue unabated. Codenamed "Vault 7," WikiLeaks claims this is the largest classified information leak to have come from the CIA to date. Added to that, only one percent of documents have been made public so far.

From the leaked documents it’s become clear that the CIA has created its own internal hacking capabilities to rival that of the NSA. It may be more tactical than strategic -- but with exploit sets including Android, IoS, Samsung TVs, Linux, Mac, zero day attacks and more, it could certainly give the NSA a run for its money.

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Businesses want rugged two-in-one devices

Detachable keyboard tablet laptop hybrid two in one 2 1

Organizations are very much interested in equipping their mobile workforce with detachables, according to a new report by Panasonic.

Released during CeBIT 2017, it says detachable devices with screens ranging from 12 to 13.3 inches are in the "sweet spot," when it comes to screen size. The second key element to a well-built device is ruggedization.

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Building an Alexa Skill without using the SDK

amazon echo

Amazon has written a "Hello World" example for building an Alexa Skill. At first glance, it looks like just what you need to get into Alexa Skills development because it's short and clear. But take a second look and you'll notice it requires an external dependency.

It brings in the alexa-sdk npm package. I'll show that not only don't you need the alexa-sdk to teach Alexa a Skill but you might actually be better off without it.

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A pioneer's guide to Alexa

echo amazon

Have you seen Star Trek? If you haven’t, you should. One of the pieces of future tech that is quietly on display throughout the show is the ability to talk to the computer. Whether it’s asking the computer where someone is or ordering a cup of earl grey tea, the computer has no problem understanding the questions it is asked, and who’s asking them.

Amazon’s Alexa products claim that they are this shining vision of the future! Not only that, you can write your own apps for the platform. Amazing! Right? Well, we’re not quite there yet. So, what are the challenges and limitations? Is there anything we can do to hack our way through the tough parts? Can we achieve our dreams even if we emerge a bit bloody and beaten? Let's find out.

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Machine learning pays well in the UK


If you are a developer looking to earn some serious cash, you might want to consider becoming a machine learning specialist. According to a new report by Stack Overflow, entitled "Developer Hiring Landscape Report," machine learning specialists earn 24 percent more than what’s the average among developers on the British Isles.

That's £56,851 a year.

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How to create your first Alexa skill


For the last couple of weeks, Graham, Marcel, Sinem and I, from Red Badger, have been experimenting with Amazon’s Alexa Echo Dot. An Electric Hockey Puck that uses voice recognition powered by Amazon Alexa voice assistant.

In this post, I’d like to explain how one goes about creating their first Alexa skill.

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Why ethical hacking is the top job of 2017

White hat hacking

61 percent of UK businesses believe they will suffer from cyber crime in 2017, according to new research from Mimecast. These anxieties are justified: two thirds of large UK businesses were targeted by cyber criminals last year.

As the threat posed by cyber crime increases, businesses now invest more than ever in training, technology and skills -- global cyber spending is predicted to reach $1 trillion by 2021.

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What challenges do Industrie 4.0 projects face?

smart factory robot

Algorithms are at the heartbeat of Industrie 4.0 projects, according to Gartner, and that’s going to result in 30 percent of Industrie 4.0 projects sourcing algorithms from leading algorithm marketplaces by 2020.

That means a jump of less than five per cent, compared to what we currently have in the market.

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The role of IT decision makers in purchasing new technology

decision decide IT flowchart

IT decision makers (ITDM) in the EMEA region serve as their company's "gatekeepers" and primary influencers, when it comes to choosing new technology purchases for the company. This is according to a new report by Spiceworks, which digs deeper into the roles of ITDMs and business decision makers (BDMs) when it comes to purchasing new technologies.

The study, "ITDM vs. BDM: Tech Purchase Superheroes," says BDM’s role is to "give final approval for technology funds and purchases."

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Privacy under the Trump administration: What you need to know


Donald Trump became president on January 20, and already his administration is embroiled in so much controversy that the last two months feel more like two years. Through a steady stream of executive orders, the president has run roughshod over former the Obama era.

For example, Trump imposed a travel ban primarily affecting Muslims, curbed the Affordable Care Act, and pushed out other campaign pledges as fast as he could. It has been painful to watch this new leader of the free world flail about like an unruly toddler as he struggles to annul the Obama legacy.

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5 things to keep in mind when building an Alexa skill


A team of us at Red Badger, which consisted of myself, Marcel, Graham and Roman, had two weeks to play around with Amazon’s Alexa and build a sommelier skill to recommend wine pairings to your food. We’re writing a four-part series to take you through what we learned from our varied perspectives.

There’s been so many blog posts written about the rise of chatbots and Voice User Interface (VUI), some even marking 2017 to be the year of the bots.

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User-Agent based attacks are a low-key risk that shouldn't be overlooked

security eye

Old, unpatched vulnerabilities allow hackers to take over systems using the User-Agent string -- an elementary part of virtually every HTTP request.

It is a known fact that while the majority of vulnerabilities discovered or reported are fixed by the vendor and a patch is issued, many systems end up not being patched in a timely manner or even at all, for that matter. There are many possible reasons for that, the most common being:

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Three penetration testing tips to out-hack hackers

Hacker silhouette

It should come as no surprise that hackers have been busy lately. According to my go-to resource on hacking stats, the Identify Theft Resource Center, breaches jumped from 780 in 2015 to 1,093 in 2016. Is there a way to take a proactive approach to data security that doesn’t involved investing in more firewalls or virus protection software and ultimately get to the real-source of vulnerabilities?

Yes and yes. The answer is penetration testing, or pen testing for short. It’s a white-hat approach that challenges organizations to expose the vulnerabilities inside their own systems by understanding how a cybercriminal could exploit their internal information.

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