From anti-virus software to fingerprint sensors, smartphone users can expect big things in security measures as hackers increasingly target them, according to a recent report. According to a new study by ABI Research, the number of smartphones protected by advanced security software will increase dramatically over the next five years. “Although malware has been seen in mobile handsets, in the past it has not done much damage,” says ABI Research vice president Stan Schatt. “But smartphones have access to more sensitive data every year, and security must be tightened to prevent the theft or loss of important business information. Users – especially those who are part of business’ mobile workforce – can expect to see security client software loaded on a mobile terminal, and a service to remotely lock a handset, erase its data, or locate it, according to the report. Furthermore, ABI said that large enterprises will buy mobile device management platforms to use within their IT departments, and smaller enterprises or even consumers will use managed security services, as wireless carriers increasingly offer security services to their customers.
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Despite the efforts of legitimate marketers, email security programs and spam filters, if a recent study published in the Southern Medical Journal is correct, spam may be worth its weight in gold for the weight loss industry. Results of a study conducted by Joshua Fogel., an associate professor of the business program at the department of economics at Brooklyn College, and Sam Shlivko, showed that the promise of quick-fix weight loss was a big draw. Some 18.5 percent of those who described themselves as suffering from weight issues bought products, while 5 percent of those without those hurdles purchased them, the study said. Open rates were also high with more than 40 percent of those with weight problems opening messages. “It appears that many young adults are turning to spam email as a way to address their weight problem concerns,” Fogel said. “This is of concern as there is no quality control for what is advertised in spam email. These products can range from harmless to potentially dangerous.” The U.S. Centers for Disease Control said that less than half of U.S. adults are at a healthy weight.
While it may not get a spot on ESPN’s primetime schedule or have a documentary made about it as has happened with the World Seried of Poker and the National Spelling Bee, 15 “all star” hackers recently competed in the U.S. Cyber Challenge, according to a report by CNN. The contestants of varying ages and states of employment- who were huddled in a conference room at a Washington, D.C. hotel – may have been competing for more than bragging rights, according to the event organizers. Organizers said that the competition is aimed at identifying young people with exceptional computer skills and inspiring them to join the ranks of cyber security specialists needed to protect systems used by the military, industry and everyday people as “the top guns in cyber security.” Begning in June and encompassing several earlier rounds, winners were brought to Washington to compete in NetWars as a moderator threw a series of computer hurdles and roadblocks to further challenge the hackers and test their knowledge about computer vulnerabilities by hacking into target computers, while defending their computers from attack. Chris Benedict, 21, of Nauvoo, Illinois was named the winner.
If you’re unfortunate enough to be caught in a natural disaster, but fortunate enough to survive, you might want to thank the hacker community for the ability to let your family know that you’re OK almost instantaneously. Random Hacks of Kindness is an event sponsored by the World Bank and NASA, as well as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. Groups of professional programmers gathered to create useful tools for first responders and victims to use in case of natural disaster, with a prize for the most useful contribution. FEMA administrator Craig Fugate delivered the keynote address, in which he praised the coding experts for their efforts. Among the contenders was a creative widget that allowed users to instantly post location-specific information across multiple social networks, which could allow first responders to share information more effectively. Another project attempted to use laptops, routers and sundry internet-connected devices to act as a mesh network, to be activated if normal networks crashed. But the eventual winner was the “I’m OK” app created by a team from NASA, which allows users to bypass wireless networks clogged by disaster-related traffic and instantly inform a pre-existing list of family and friends that “I’m OK.”