Mobile Security: Crunchy on the Outside, Soft on the Inside

When we hear of mobile malware (especially on Android) growing 163 percent or infecting 32.8 million devices in 2012, it’s easy to understand why having a security strategy and solution for employee-owned devices is essential. However, what can sometimes get lost, especially for organizations looking to bolster their security posture, is how to prioritize security across your environment.

To be clear: establishing a perimeter defense in your network is important – very important. But if you’re a company that hasn’t already covered the basics, where should you begin? Many companies are now realizing that security is not just about holding the enemy at the gates, it’s also important to understand when the enemy is already within them. A good security posture starts by assuming you are compromised and then asking the hard questions: “Would I even know if I were compromised? What is the enemy doing? How can I stop them once they are inside?”

Security doesn’t start with BYOD – that’s just one aspect of a much larger picture. Should you really be focused on the doors to your house when the foundation is crumbling? Enterprise security shouldn’t be built like an M&M – crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside – it should be crafted more like a jawbreaker – hardened from the inside out. Of course, you want everything hardened, but you can’t tackle all aspects of your infrastructure at once. You need to prioritize based on risk and value. Attackers are after intellectual property and they have a particular appetite for credentials to help them come and go as they please. Build concentric circles of defense starting with your critical infrastructure, then extend to your application and database servers, and then encompass other sensitive systems like finance and your highest risk end-user systems (e.g., remote users, publicly accessible systems, etc.).

Also, what is a perimeter these days? When it comes to securing mobile devices and cloud computing, your corporate assets are being accessed from around the world, in Internet Cafes and homes, and by devices that don’t travel through any “known” perimeter (3G/LTE networks, etc.). Authors of advanced malware are currently targeting endpoints and servers with more regularity than mobile devices. Mobile attacks tend to be focused on small financial gains, not stealing intellectual property. So what we saw in the past with hackers changing dial-up modem settings to expensive toll lines and pocketing the cash, we now see with mobile hacking and expensive premium SMS messages; cybercrime – not cyberespionage.

Mobile devices still represent security vulnerabilities because of the unprotected credentials and company documents they store. The data on these mobile devices could always be used in more advanced attacks on desktops or servers in the future. So it should be part of your strategy to secure employee-owned devices that are not under your primary control. All I’m saying is start at the center where the data and systems are easily identifiable and there are proven technologies that exist to stop advanced threats from executing in your environment. As you extend your security layers, you will be left with a security posture that’s more sour than sweet for cyberattackers.

via Mobile Security: Crunchy on the Outside, Soft on the Inside | Bit9 Blog.


[Tech] It’s Official: Google Glass Is Here!

While Apple iWatch rumors continue to slog their way through the blog-o-sphere, Google has upped the ante. Google’s Glass is not a rumor, it’s real. In addition (according to Google) you can get one by the end of 2013 by entering and winning a special contest.

At least, Google calls it a contest. There are some unique rules. First, you have to pay $1,500 for your Glass, if you win. Also, you have to travel to New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles to pick your prize up. (UPS is not available.)

If that isn’t enough, you have to come up with a really creative idea about how you will use your Glass. If you need help coming up with ideas, Google has released a video entitled How it Feels [through Glass] that provides a behind-the-lens view of the Glass experience.

Google hasn’t specified how many “winners” there will be – supposedly, that will depend on the number of “really creative ideas.”

CNET reported that Glass will be able to connect via Bluetooth to both Android phones and the iPhone, while pulling data from Wi-Fi and using the 3G/4G feeds from the connected phone. Glass will not have its own cellular radio.

Comscore study on mobile retail shopping

Key findings –

– 4 in every 5 smartphone users – 85.9 million in total – accessed retail content on their device in July.
– Amazon Sites led as the top retailer with an audience of 49.6 million visitors, while multi-channel retailers including Apple (17.7 million visitors), Wal-Mart (16.3 million visitors), Target (10 million visitors) and Best Buy (7.2 million visitors) also attracted significant mobile audiences.
– Among both iPhone and Android users, Amazon ranked as the top retailer attaining a reach of 43 percent among iPhone users and 55 percent among Android users, with visitation to the Amazon Appstore largely accounting for the higher reach among Android users.
– Apple commanded a much stronger and expected 33.5 percent reach among iPhone owners compared to 7.3 percent among Android users.
– Females accounted for a higher share of time spent on retail destinations at 53.4 percent of minutes on desktop computers and an even greater share of retail minutes on smartphones at 56.1 percent
– 70.7 percent of smartphone retail visitors under the age of 45 compared to 61.1 percent of desktop users
– Among smartphone audiences accessing retail destinations, nearly 1 in every 3 had a household income of $100k or greater, with this income segment driving a comparable 31.2 percent of minutes spent on retail sites and apps.


Mobile Apps Rankings

Wondering why Apple (AAPL) is sinking so much effort into building its own Maps application? Because it doesn’t want Google (GOOG) to gobble up all the revenue from big-name mobile applications. ComScore has published its most recent monthly review of the top iOS and Android apps in the United States ranked by unique visitors and has found that Google captured 5 of the top 6 spots with Google Maps, Google Play, Google Search, Gmail and YouTube. In fact, Facebook (FB) was the only non-Google app to crack the top 6, although it also had the benefit of being the most-visited app in the entire country by a margin of more than 10 million unique visitors. iTunes was the only Apple app to crack the top 10, meanwhile, as it ranked eighth with roughly 46 million unique visitors last month.

CES 2013: Sony unveils Xperia Z, 5” FullHD dust and water resistant smartphone

Could Sony have created something that can finally compete in terms of technology and looks with the big two. The video below is pretty impressive and the phone does look fantastic, will be really interested to see it.

Mobile Trends to Watch: Augmented Reality in Commerce

What Exactly is Augmented Reality?

When we think of Augmented Reality (AR), many of us conjure up images of Hollywood movies—Minority Report, Iron Man and Avatar—that have utilized this “futuristic” technology to tell fantastical stories. But AR is not just a made-up technology to help sell movie tickets; it is a relatively new technology that is slowing gaining traction in the mobile world. AR blurs the line between what is real and what is generated, all by computer graphics. describes AR in a very simple way, “It is the art of super-imposing of computer generated content over a live view of the world. It is quite literally the practice of enhancing what’s already around us.” A very simple use of AR is during an American football game. The reality is the footage of the game of football, and the augmentations are the arrows of the players’ movement or the first down line that doesn’t exist on the field but the viewer can see on the picture beamed over the airwaves and to a television screen thanks to the addition of a graphical overlay.

We are starting to see AR slowly become integrated into our everyday lives – colleges and universities offer AR apps to help new students learn more about campus buildings, politicians are utilizing AR for the upcoming November elections, and even educators have started to integrate AR into their classrooms.

Retail/Entertainment Industry and Augmented Reality

Because of the proliferation of mobile phones and technologies, AR has moved away from being a “gimmicky” marketing tactic to a full-on marketing strategy used to engage customers and provide a fun retail shopping and entertainment experience.

Just last weekend, my husband and I took our two children for a late afternoon trip to downtown Austin to watch To the Articic 3D at the Bob Bullock Museum/IMAX theatre. While waiting to go inside the theatre, I noticed that a poster for the movie Flying Dinosaurs included instructions on downloading the Junaio AR app to “make the dinosaurs come alive!” When I aimed my iPhone at the movie poster, my kids got a kick out of the flying pteranodon that appeared on the screen and had even more fun pretending they were flying right beside it! Even though we had already bought tickets to another movie, my kids are already talking about coming back to watch the flying dinosaurs movie because of the fun they had with the AR app. My observation – the AR app obviously worked! My children had fun, they were engaged and now they want me to bring them back to the theatre where I will gladly pay $20 for another set of movie tickets. Well played, National Geographic!

For retailers and entertainment brands, AR is a very compelling selling point because it is a unique way to make traditional advertising more interactive and exciting and is an easy way to feature valuable brand and product content without tying up shelf space. In just three simple steps, AR can create an “endless shelf” of product information, giving customers a memorable shopping experience:

  • The consumer waves a mobile phone camera over product packaging or bill board
  • The consumer “shoots” the marker on the package
  • The consumer has instant access to product information in a “cool” and interactive format.

According to the “Mobile Augmented Reality” report by Juniper Research, the installation of mobile augmented reality apps in smartphones and tablets is expected to reach 2.5 billion per year by 2017. That is 3.5 times the number of downloads recorded by Angry Birds in 2011. Not surprisingly, the report also stated that retail and entertainment will drive adoption.

“Adding AR to a magazine and encouraging readers to download and try it is a great way of educating consumers about what AR can offer them, but we won’t see an explosion in user numbers until major retail brands embrace and adopt AR in their own apps,” said Charlotte Miller, research analyst, Juniper Research.

AR has yet to make a large splash within the entertainment and retail industry, but its time is coming. IBM recently announced an augmented reality app for grocery stores wherein shoppers can create their own profiles of features that matter the most to them. Then, as a shopper browses the aisles, they can point the mobile phone video camera at merchandise to see info such as ingredients, price, reviews, and discounts that apply that day. For example, you could tell the app that you want a cereal brand that is low in sugar, highly rated by consumers and on sale at a low price. When you pan a shelf of cereal boxes the app revels which cereals meet the criteria. Without a doubt, this type of app (based on augmented reality technology) is another way to help brands understand their loyal customers better, and in a non-intrusive way.

On the other side of the pond, German grocery chain Edeka Hessenring, in cooperation with Ball Packaging Europe has developed a promotional campaign using AR to promote the chain’s new Cool Cola drink. The Cola can sports an animated 3D animal character that can be viewed using a sticker on the packaging and downloading the AR mobile app. When the customer points the phone’s camera at the eye-catching zipper design, the cartoon character poses in every photo taken with the camera. Edeka Hessenring encourages shoppers to pose together with the life-size figure and post the pictures on Facebook. This is a great example of not only engaging in a cool way with consumers, but incorporating social media into the AR campaign so that the grocer’s customers can share the fun with their friends, creating a viral effect for the promotional campaign.

My Favorite Augmented Reality Apps

It will be very interesting to see how retailers, brands and entertainment companies will use AR to engage with their customers in fun and exciting ways. I have no doubt that by this time next year, even my own mother will be very familiar with the term augmented reality! Until then, see below for a few of my favorite AR apps/features that are all the rage right now:

  • IKEA Virtual Catalogue – In a cost-savings move, the Swedish furniture giant has turned its traditional catalogue into a virtual one, complete with AR and 3-D graphics. iOS and Android users who download the Ikea catalog app, will be able to unlock video features, interactive experiences with products on the page, photo galleries and additional decorating inspiration.
  • Bloomingdales test virtual dressing room in NYC – In addition to clothes and accessories, technology was in vogue at Bloomingdale’s during New York’s Fashion Week, which took place Sept. 5-13. At 20 store locations, the high-end retailer temporarily opened virtual fitting rooms, called Swivel, which allowed shoppers standing in front of kiosks to see in 3D how items from its fall collection looked on them with just a few hand motions in front of a screen. On-screen tabs connected to the web let shoppers then share those images with friends via e-mail or social media.
  • New Walmart Interactive Store Signage – As part of a marketing strategy for Nickelodeon’s new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV series, Walmart has launched an AR app that lets customers interact with in-store signage. According to Jeff Tate, category marketing manager at Walmart Canada, “Users can interact with signage that is placed throughout the store transforming a regular shopping trip into an adventure.”
  • And because I am a sucker for funny marketing gimmicks that involves shocking shopper mall customers, watch this great video of augmented reality to promote Lynx body products for men.
  • For more examples of augmented reality in action, check out

Catherine Seeds is the Vide President of Ketner Group, a PR and marketing communications agency headquartered in Austin, TX.

Photo Credit: ZonkioDC 

How Placed maps mobile app usage down to the store

Hey, mobile developers, have you ever wondered where users are when they interact with your apps — as in down to the level of whether they’re in a Starbucks or the McDonald’s right across the street? A Seattle-based startup called Placed has a novel approach to mobile-device data that it claims can tell you just that, a capability the company thinks can change the way developers think about everything from targeted advertising to product design.

Placed, new technology for location analytics

for more information click on:

Google pulls an Apple with its (slightly misleading) Nexus 7 ad

Google’s having no problems getting its Nexus 7 tablet out the door to tech geeks — yesterday we learned that the 16 gigabyte model has sold out due to high demand. Now Google is getting ready to target the average buyer with its first Nexus 7 TV commercial.

The ad shows a father and son bonding over the 7-inch tablet during a camping trip. It feels a lot more human than Google’s previous ads (though some of its Google+ ads were getting there), and in many ways it could be mistaken for a heartwarming Apple ad. And just like Apple’s Siri ads, it projects a very idealized (and almost fantastical) view of the product.

Google Earth Goes 3D

During a special event this week, Google announced the latest developments for its Google Earth and Google Street View products and we can already tell you, that what’s coming will be a lot of fun.

Thanks to an all new technology, Google is able to create photorealistic 3D interactive maps of entire cities, allowing you to explore a city with Google Earth in a helicopter like view.

40+ voice searches on Android Jelly Bean [Video]

We spotted this video that showcases voice search on Android. If it does work like this the future could really be voice search. More to follow….