“Cyberschizophrenia” in the US Government

“Cyberschizophrenia” in the US Government

In the last few days, the US Government both mandated and rejected the same method of cybersecurity.

It’s called Second Factor Authentication, specifically a One Time Passcode (OTP) sent by Short Message Service (SMS). So, together, its a “SMS OTP,” which is basically what happens when you receive a 4 to 6-digit security code to your  cell phone as a text message after you enter your username and password.  You must enter this security code (usually) on the same screen where you entered your username and password as an extra factor of security to complete online registration and/or to sign in to an account.  The shorthand for all of this is sometimes referred to as Continue reading ““Cyberschizophrenia” in the US Government”

Second Stagefright Attack (Averted?)

Second Stagefright Attack (Averted?)

A serious vulnerability was discovered today with a common picture file type called “Tagged Image File Format, or TIFF.  It is an older type of file, but you probaly have many of then somewhere in your computer right now.  Every now and then, a new way to hack a computer is discovered before any bad guys figure it out. Thankfully, that happened in this case.

The vulnerability was reported yesterday by Tyler Bohan of Cisco Talos.   He said: Continue reading “Second Stagefright Attack (Averted?)”

Five Reasons iPhone-5 Excludes NFC

Five Reasons iPhone-5 Excludes NFC

Based on Apple’s press conference on September 12, their strategy can be described as: change customer behavior now, encourage an upgrade later.

The Apple wallet going to be called, imaginatively, “Apple Wallet.” It works without an NFC chip, relying instead on geolocation to determine if an iPhone user is in the proximity of a compatible terminal. Geolocation is clearly not permanent solution because it includes obvious problems, such as: unwanted notifications (if you ever want to be notified that you can use your Starbucks card, for example, you’ll be notified whenever you can possibly use your Starbucks card, whether you want to or not), and imperfect functionality indoors (when you are in a shopping mall, GPS has a hard time figuring out exactly where you are).

So if geolocation is not the ideal permanent solution, why did Apple exclude NFC from the iPhone 5? Continue reading “Five Reasons iPhone-5 Excludes NFC”

Will Mobile Payments Become a Format War?

Mobile Payment products either use the current payment system, or challenge the current payment system.

It is called a “Format War.”  Two or more companies with different products compete for your attention.  Of course, as a consumer, you get to choose the product you want.  If you don’t like it, certainly you are free to switch to another product. However, since companies know this, they can make it incredibly cumbersome for you to do so.

Mobile Payments could be heading toward a format war, and the first casualty could be consumer privacy.  On one side are all of the mobile wallet and mobile payment products that are based on the existing payments system in use around the world today.  On the other side are alternatives to the existing payment system, which could bypass the processors or schemes that are the backbone of the payment system. Continue reading “Will Mobile Payments Become a Format War?”

The SmartPhone Wallet is Now Available

A torrent of advertising and promotional marketing is heading your way to try to get you to use new services on your SmartPhone at retail stores.  Perhaps you have already seen some, or signed up for some.

At stake is the future of the credit card system that moves over $11 Trillion per year from consumers to retailers. Some of the largest companies in the world think this system should change, starting now.  Other, equally large companies think everything should stay the same.

And these two sides are already lining up on a battlefield, with you standing in the middle.  And, if you are not careful, the first casualty will be your privacy.

Continue reading “The SmartPhone Wallet is Now Available”