Bluetooth Just Got A Little Faster and A Lot Safer

Read original story on: Ars Technica

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has approved a new version of the Bluetooth standard. Besides improved speed and support for IPv6 and 6LoWPAN, Bluetooth 4.2 also adds new security features preventing unauthorized users from hacking your Bluetooth signal and using it to track your phone and devices as you move about, a clear attempt to address privacy concerns.

WhatsApp Ups Security Measure With End-To-End Message Encryption

Read original story on: Wired

Ever since the SnapChat hack a few weeks back, security issues on messaging apps have been raising concerns. So it is definitely a welcome surprise that the most recent update to WhatsApp’s Android app includes strong end-to-end encryption, developed in partnership with Open WhisperSystems, that is enabled by default. This means that WhatsApp won’t be able to decrypt the messages itself, even if the company is compelled by law enforcement. For now, it’s unclear when such feature will come to iOS, but it’s still a huge step towards better mobile privacy for millions of Android users.

Google Addresses Security Concerns with Physical USB Key

Read original story on: Lifehacker

With news of security breaches popping up everyday (this week so far: credit card breach at Staples stores and targeted phone system hacking), strengthening digital security has become a growing concern among consumers. To address this issue, Google is now launching a two-step verification feature with Security Key, a physical USB security key that only works after verifying the login site is truly a Google website. Such a move clearly indicates Google’s intention to move away from the single password standard for consumer security. Whether the users would be willing to sacrifice a little convenience for added security measures, however, remains to be seen.

On Trend: Blame It On The Third-Party Service

Here’s the newest budding “trend” in the tech industry: when your app gets hacked and users’ privacy compromised as a result, don’t take the blame, but point your finger at an incompetent third-party application for its failure. In the span of one week, both Snapchat and Dropbox have resorted to this tactic after news of major security breaches broke. Snapchat is specifically naming as the leak source, while Dropbox vaguely faults “several third-party apps”.

One troubling implication with this blaming game is that by choosing and trusting poorly secured third-party application with their personal data, the users have no one but themselves to blame. Snapchat even specifically noted in a statement that “Snapchatters were victimized by their use of third-party apps to send and receive Snaps, a practice that we expressly prohibit in our Terms of Use precisely”.

But still, the truth remains that Snapchat and alike could at least take partial blame for not managing their APIs and monitoring third-party services better. It is common practice for big-league social services like Twitter and Facebook to develop official APIs for better control over third-party apps, yet neither Snapchat nor Dropbox has released one. With more users turning to third-party apps for features unavailable in the main app, cloud-based services like these are in need of better regulation over their APIs. Resorting to a clause buried deeply inside a lengthy Terms of Use is not going to help eliminate the security concerns, and it is our hope that such “trend” will not catch on.

3 Reasons Healthcare Could Favor Google Over Apple (And 1 Reason Patients Might Not)

With its grand entry into the healthcare industry, Apple looks to leverage its enormous consumer brand popularity and loyalty into building a centralized “data hub” for healthcare. But its primary competitor Google, with its own Android healthcare apps, could eat into Apple’s share with its popular apps, enterprise-friendly approach, and budget-conscious pricing.

As valid as these reasons are, there is one factor that cannot be ignored: data security and privacy. Google has long been known for monetizing whatever data it can obtain. Apple, on the other hand, has recently updated its privacy policy, emphasizing that it is “not in the business of collecting data” for marketing purposes. Not only does this make iOS easier to comply with health privacy laws than Android, it also helps put patients and healthcare practitioners at ease.

Attention! There is A New Security Loophole On Your Smartphone

Researchers from Stanford University have discovered a new privacy concern on smartphones: the gyroscope. They found that not only were the gyroscopes sensitive to phone vibrations, they could also pick up the frequency of minute air vibrations around the device, which gives them the capability to serve as unauthorized microphones that eavesdrop on your personal conversations. This new finding could potentially bring a new set of regulations regarding the use of gyroscopes on digital devices.

30 Brands Join ANA’s Anti-Fraud Initiative

30 members of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) have joined forces to tackle the prevalence of fraud in digital advertising. The brands will be teaming up with fraud-detection company White Ops to conduct a month-long research on this subject, hoping to produce some actionable insights for combating the digital frauds. The effort is definitely timely and noble, but it seems doubtful that such a guideline could remain relevant and applicable, given the speed at which our technology, and correspondingly, the market are evolving. As we reported, a brand’s digital presence is now an easy target for cyber attacks, and it is crucial for the brands to develop a stronger sense of awareness and supervision on this issue.