Monthly Archives: June 2018

Apple to launch its own digital health features in iOS 12

At Google I/O in May, the company introduced a series of time management tools for Android users that help better manage screen time, track app usage, and limit the phone’s ability to distract, including a “shush” mode which turns on Do Not Disturb by flipping the phone over, and a “wind down,” color reduction mode for bedtime. Now, it seems Apple will follow suit with its own digital wellbeing features in an upcoming release of the iOS mobile operating system, a new report claims.

According to Bloomberg, Apple will introduce a new set of digital wellbeing features for iOS users at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Jose on Monday.

The tools will be later released as a part of iOS 12 operating system for iPhone and iPad devices, which typically arrives in the fall.

The report was light on details in terms of which specific metrics Apple will track, but says those details will arrive in a new menu inside the Settings app in iOS 12.

The initiative, called “Digital Health,” will monitor how much time users spend on devices, but it’s unclear if it will also include tools that help users silence their phones using new gestures or settings, or otherwise disengage from their devices.

The digital wellbeing movement is part of a fairly recent course correction for Silicon Valley tech companies, which are now being held accountable for the addictive nature of the devices, apps and services they’ve created.

From the beginning, tech company engineers and designers were encouraged to make their products ever more engaging by taking advantage of specific design patterns that prompt regular, addictive usage of their products, and those that increase users’ time spent in apps.

But more recently, some tech execs have come to espouse regrets for what they’ve built. Former Facebook president Sean Parker stated Facebook’s design exploited weakness in the human psyche to addict users, and said he worried about what it was doing to kids’ brains. Meanwhile, former Google exec Tristan Harris launched a coalition of technologists and activists called the Center for Humane Technology, which aims to encourage “humane design” – that is, design that reduces distractions and stress, and keeps people from being hooked on their devices.

Now the industry giants are putting some of these principles into practice.

Facebook earlier this year changed how its News Feed operates to reduce users’ time spent on the site in favor of well-being. Instagram last month introduced its first time well spent feature, by informing users “you’re all caught up” when they’ve viewed all the new posts. Google launched parental control tools in its Family Link service that allow parents to limit kids’ screen time, and introduced the above-mentioned digital wellness features for Android in May.

If Apple were to avoid the topic, it would be the odd one out at this point.

The new digital wellbeing tools will likely be detailed during Monday’s WWDC keynote address, and may include some additional protections for children through an update to iOS’s parental controls. We do know that more robust parental controls are at least coming, as Apple promised this explicitly following criticism from major shareholders about children’s iPhone addiction.


via:  techcrunch

The Pentagon is working on a radio wave weapon that stops a speeding car in its tracks

Vehicular terrorism is on the rise, but technology under development by the U.S. Department of Defense could save lives by disabling a weaponized car before it ever reaches its target. The Pentagon’s Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program (JNLWD) is working on a device called a Radio Frequency Vehicle Stopper to address the prevalence of vehicle-based attacks targeting civilians, Defense One reports.

To prevent this kind of violence and other kinds of vehicular attacks (an unauthorized car rushing behind a military security gate, for instance), the Pentagon’s Radio Frequency Vehicle Stopper points high-powered microwaves at a vehicle, disabling its electrical components via the engine control unit and making the engine stall out. You can watch the technology in action in the Department of Defense video below.



As Defense One reports, the group is developing two versions of its technology, one with a 50-meter range small enough to fit in a truck bed and another larger version with a range of more than 100 meters designed to remain in place. The latter would particularly be useful in the kind of open public spaces that lend themselves to violent vehicular attacks in popular urban areas like markets and shopping hubs. This kind of technology is only becoming possible now due to breakthroughs in powering the concentrated beams emitted in these kind of notoriously energy-hungry weapons.

While vehicle-based attacks were once rarely observed outside of war-zones, they’ve occurred with increasing frequency in high-density urban areas and tourist destinations in recent years. As the attack in Toronto last week proved, the results are effortlessly deadly to unsuspecting pedestrians. It’s unfortunate that such a device is necessary at all, but if they were to become readily available, these Radio Frequency Vehicle Stoppers could discourage the rising trend of vehicular attacks, protect victims when they do occur and help law enforcement obtain additional intelligence by apprehending suspects without resorting to lethal violence.



via:  techcrunch

How to get your company ready for a security audit

These days, everything and everyone is connected, which means that security has become a real headache for most companies. And more so since last Friday, when it became mandatory to comply with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – especially since infringing it can spell real trouble for companies that haven’t taken it into account.

There’s no doubt that the proliferation of new threats, together with the complexity of the latest attacks, is driving companies to push security towards the top of their list of priorities. This in turn leads to greater investment in cybersecurity by companies. According to data supplied by Gartner, we’re talking about an 8% increase in cybersecurity spending for this year, or to put it another way, a total of $96.3 billion dollars.

Even though companies are strengthening the implementation of protection strategies for their systems, cybercriminals are also stepping up their efforts to exploit new weaknesses. All of this means that maximizing company security is now more than ever an absolute must for any organization.

Evaluate your company’s security

Given this current context, it becomes abundantly clear that companies must make sure the defense strategies they have in place for threats are performing to their full potential. To this end, carrying out a security audit can be a good way to find out the state of your company’s protection systems. This way, the analysis you carry out will provide an insight into the main risks your company is exposed to, its strengths, as well as where it can improve. Then, from here, the security teams can use the results as a starting point to design and implement a cybersecurity strategy which suits your company’s needs. But how can we get ready for this security audit?

Guidelines for drawing up a security plan

One of the very first steps in any security audit is to create an inventory of all devices. It’s absolutely essential to classify each and every device that is connected to the network (desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, multipurpose devices, and security systems integrated into the network) to have an accurate idea of what it is that needs protecting. It’s also important to keep this inventory up to date so that, when devices are added or removed, there are no surprises in the activity log.

As well as classifying every kind of device that needs to be protected, it’s also vital to carry out a periodic evaluation of the software used by the company. This means that companies must classify the software and firmware applications that are being run on each device on their network, and determine what software they need to run so that they can perform their tasks within the company.

Apart from this, it’s crucial to implement secure settings. That means any operating system, browser, and even printer, must be configured with security in mind. At the same time, in order to stop security breaches and make applications more secure, it is of utmost importance to apply patches or updates that will keep the system secure.

Finally, controlling shadow IT (IT systems and solutions built and used inside companies that have never been explicitly approved by the organization) is of vital importance to ensure an environment which is 100% secure.

What happens if there is a security breach in a company?

The effects of a cyberattack on an organization can be devastating, and even if we have a prevention protocol in place alongside a great security team, breaches happen. Therefore, it’s crucial to have a Security Incident Response Plan (SIRP) to face up to these threats. Planning an incident response strategy includes setting up a way to evaluate the situation, identify the kind and severity of the attack (the nature of the attack, where it came from, the possible intent, and the systems and files at risk) and a way to notify, document, and review these incidents and the possible damages suffered by the company.

Although carrying out a security audit is a task that requires a great deal of time and commitment, it is something that is simply unavoidable. It is the only way we can effectively draw up a plan to strengthen the company’s protection against cyberattacks and security breaches. The key is to have a detailed insight of everything that is happening on the company’s devices and networks in order to drastically reduce the attack surface.


via:  pandasecurity