AuthorLucas Mearian

Apple joins industry effort to eliminate passwords

In a somewhat unusual move for Apple, the company has joined the Fast IDentity Online (FIDO) Alliance, an authentication standards group dedicated to replacing passwords with another, faster and more secure method for logging into online services and apps.

Apple is among the last tech bigwigs to join FIDO, whose members now include Amazon, Facebook, Google, Intel, Microsoft, RSA, Samsung, Qualcomm and VMware. The group also boasts more than a dozen financial service firms such as American Express, ING, Mastercard, PayPal, Visa and Wells Fargo.

“Apple is not usually up front in joining new organizations and often waits to see if they gain enough traction before joining in. This is fairly atypical for them,” said Jack Gold, president and principal analyst at J. Gold Associates. "Apple is often trying to present [its] own proposed industry standards for wide adoption, but is generally not an early adopter of true multi-vendor industry standards.

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How blockchain could help block fake news

In 2018, a video of former President Barrack Obama surfaced on YouTube explaining how easily technology could be used to manipulate video and create fake news. It got more than 7.2 million views.

In the video, Obama explains how we live in dangerous times when “enemies” can make anyone say anything at any point in time. Moments later, it’s revealed that the video was itself faked.

Whether its news articles, images or video, fake and misleading content has proliferated across the internet over the past five or so years. One possible solution to the problem now being proposed would standardize how content is delivered online, with anything outside those standards not trusted.

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MIT researchers say mobile voting app piloted in U.S. is rife with vulnerabilities

Elections officials in numerous states have piloted various mobile voting applications as a method of expanding access to the polls, but MIT researchers say one of the more popular apps has security vulnerabilities that could open it up to tampering by bad actors.

The MIT analysis of the application, called Voatz, highlighted a number of weaknesses that could allow hackers to “alter, stop, or expose how an individual user has voted.”

Additionally, the researchers found that Voatz’s use of Palo Alto-based vendor Jumio for voter identification and verification poses potential privacy issues for users.

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BlackBerry says its new Digital Workplace eliminates need for VPN, VDI

BlackBerry has unveiled its Digital Workplace platform, a web portal and workspace for secure online and offline access to corporate on-premise or cloud content,  including Microsoft Office 365 resources.

Digital Workplace, announced last week, integrates a secure browser-based workspace sold by Awingu, a Belgium company that penned a partnership with BlackBerry in 2018. Businesses can access their legacy Windows, Linux, SaaS or internal web apps, desktops and files inside of Awingu’s secure managed browser. Awingu's unified workspace runs Windows, Linux, web and intranet apps.

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BlackBerry says its new Digital Workplace eliminates need for VPN, VDI

BlackBerry has unveiled its Digital Workplace platform, a web portal and workspace for secure online and offline access to corporate on-premise or cloud content,  including Microsoft Office 365 resources.

Digital Workplace, announced last week, integrates a secure browser-based workspace sold by Awingu, a Belgium company that penned a partnership with BlackBerry in 2018. Businesses can access their legacy Windows, Linux, SaaS or internal web apps, desktops and files inside of Awingu’s secure managed browser. Awingu's unified workspace runs Windows, Linux, web and intranet apps.

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Why the Fed is considering a cash-backed cryptocurrency

The Federal Reserve is investigating the potential of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) as the backbone for a new, secure real-time payments and settlements system.

The move toward a form of government-backed digital currency is being driven by Fintech firms and a banking industry already piloting or planning to pilot cash-backed digital tokens, according to Lael Brainard, a member of the U.S. Federal Reserve's Board of Governors.

“Today, it can take a few days to get access to your funds. A real-time retail payments infrastructure would ensure the funds are available immediately – to pay utility bills or split the rent with roommates, or for small business owners to pay their suppliers,” said Brainard, who serves as chair of the committees overseeing Financial Stability and Payments, Clearing and Settlements.

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UEM to marry security – finally – after long courtship

The days of enterprise security being a separate entity from mobile and desktop endpoint management are coming to an end, which should delight infrastructure and security teams who’ll eventually have more powerful machine learning-enabled tools at their disposal – and a single console through which to control them.

Security around mobile and desktop infrastructures has traditionally depended on what's being managed; you purchase one for mobile devices and another for the rest of your endpoints, whether laptop or desktop.

While security threats are growing, particularly phishing attacks via email, SMS or hyperlinks, the amount of money companies spend on mobile security appears to be shrinking. And yet, the percentage of organizations that admit to having suffered a mobile compromise grew in 2019, according to a Verizon survey.

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UEM to marry security — finally — after long courtship

The days of enterprise security being a separate entity from mobile and desktop endpoint management are coming to an end, which should delight infrastructure and security teams who’ll eventually have more powerful machine learning-enabled tools at their disposal — and a single console through which to control them.

Security around mobile and desktop infrastructures has traditionally depended on what's being managed; you purchase one for mobile devices and another for the rest of your endpoints, whether laptop or desktop.

While security threats are growing, particularly phishing attacks via email, SMS or hyperlinks, the amount of money companies spend on mobile security appears to be shrinking. And yet, the percentage of organizations that admit to having suffered a mobile compromise grew in 2019, according to a Verizon survey.

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U.S. Air Force to pilot blockchain-based database for data sharing

The U.S. Air Force (USAF) is planning to test a blockchain-based graph database that will allow it to share documents internally as well as throughout the various branches of the Department of Defense and allied governments.

The permissioned blockchain ledger comes from a small Winston-Salem, N.C. start-up, Fluree PBC, which announced the government contract this week. Fluree is working with Air Force’s Small Business Innovation Research AFWERX technology innovation program to launch a proof of concept of the distributed ledger technology (DLT) later this year.

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Iowa Caucus chaos likely to set back mobile voting

A coding flaw and lack of sufficient testing of an application to record votes in Monday's Iowa Democratic Presidential Caucus will likely hurt the advancement and uptake of online voting.

While there have been hundreds of tests of mobile and online voting platforms in recent years – mostly in small municipal or corporate shareholder and university student elections – online voting technology has yet to be tested for widespread use by the general public in a national election.

“This is one of the cases where we narrowly dodged a bullet,” said Jeremy Epstein, vice chair of the Association for Computing Machinery’s US Technology Policy Committee (USTPC). “The Iowa Democratic Party had planned to allow voters to vote in the caucus using their phones; if this sort of meltdown had happened with actual votes, it would have been an actual disaster. In this case, it's just delayed results and egg on the face of the people who built and purchased the technology.”

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