Government Pursues ‘Zero Trust’ Approach to Cybersecurity

The “zero trust” policy envisioned by President Biden in May when he signed an executive order to improve cybersecurity has begun taking shape with the release last week of a draft blueprint by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). While Biden’s order covers the public and private sectors “and ultimately the American people’s security and privacy,” zero trust focuses on identifying and implementing best practices for the federal government’s digital platforms and processes. Deployment will take years of investment and effort. To help jump-start the initiative, some primers have hit the news feeds. Continue reading Government Pursues ‘Zero Trust’ Approach to Cybersecurity

Facebook Apologizes for Providing Researchers Flawed Data

Facebook apologized to researchers this week for data released years ago but only recently outed as inaccurately representing how U.S. users interact with posts and links. Reaching out via email and on a conference call with 47 people, the social media giant attempted to mitigate the harm caused by academics and analysts who have already spent about two years studying what they now say, and Facebook seems to agree, is flawed data about how misinformation spreads on its platform. The problem was identified as Facebook having underreported by about half the number of U.S. users and their data. Continue reading Facebook Apologizes for Providing Researchers Flawed Data

European Union Members Are Concerned Over GDPR Delays

European Union nations are voicing discontent over delays in enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) implemented in May 2018. Earlier this month Ireland announced a $266 million fine against WhatsApp, after haggling to boost the original sanction of up to $59 million by the Irish Data Protection Commission (WhatsApp parent Facebook has European headquarters in Ireland). The situation has prompted calls to revise how the 27 EU member countries participate in overlapping cases, with expanded pan-EU rules also under consideration. Continue reading European Union Members Are Concerned Over GDPR Delays

Judge Loosens Apple Stranglehold on App Developer Profits

Apple’s notoriously strict terms of doing business in its App Store appear to be loosening. A federal judge has ordered the company to allow developers to offer customers alternative payment methods after ruling that all payments go through Apple violate California’s unfair competition laws. Apple is ordered to within 90 days begin allowing developers to include in their apps payment links to processors other than the App Store. Developers now see a path to avoid handing Apple commissions of up to 30 percent for handling sales through the $100 billion online market.  Continue reading Judge Loosens Apple Stranglehold on App Developer Profits

Twitter Asks Developers to ID ‘Good Bots’ Using New Badge

Twitter is testing a new feature that allows bots to self-identify with a label on their account profiles. Although the feature will allow users to differentiate automated accounts that perform legitimate services — such as retweeting news, providing customer service, PSAs or community alerts — it will not flag the problematic “bad bots” that spread misinformation and spam. Last year, Twitter requested developers specify if an account was a bot, who was powering it and its intended use. The new automated accounts to designate “good bots” will be issued to more than 500 accounts for testing and feedback before they are made available to all developers. Continue reading Twitter Asks Developers to ID ‘Good Bots’ Using New Badge

SEC Probe of SolarWinds Attack Concerns Corporate Execs

A Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into the 2020 Russian cyberattack of SolarWinds has corporate executives concerned over the possibility that information unearthed in the probe will expose them to liability. Companies suspected of or known to have been downloading compromised software updates from SolarWinds have received letters requesting records of all breaches since October 2019, raising fears that sensitive cyber incidents previously unreported and unrelated to SolarWinds may be revealed, providing the SEC with details that many companies may never have wanted to disclose. Continue reading SEC Probe of SolarWinds Attack Concerns Corporate Execs

Tech Firms Raid Security Flaws with ‘Bug Bounty’ Programs

In the security world, “bug bounty” programs are becoming more common, from Facebook to the Department of Defense. Hackers who can reveal the hidden vulnerabilities of a device, system or corporation can reap significant financial rewards. Apple launched its program in 2016 and offers payouts of up to $1 million for the most elusive flaws. The tech giant reportedly spent $3.7 million on such exercises in the 12-month period ending in July 2021, during which time Google shelled out $6.7 million and Microsoft spent $13.6 million. Such programs have become a valuable tool in security maintenance, putting hackers’ inquisitive natures to productive use.  Continue reading Tech Firms Raid Security Flaws with ‘Bug Bounty’ Programs

Amazon’s POS System Will Take on Shopify, Square, PayPal

Amazon is developing a new point-of-sale system designed to lure small businesses that use Shopify, Square and PayPal for checkout needs. The new POS system manages in-store and online transactions, adds Amazon checkout options, provides inventory counts and offers business analytics. The system also integrates with existing Amazon services, including the Prime membership program, the One palm-based identification technology, and the Flex delivery network. Amazon also reportedly tasked its “Project Santos” team with a POS system that could be sold to third-party sellers. Continue reading Amazon’s POS System Will Take on Shopify, Square, PayPal

Twitter Introduces ‘Communities’ for Moderated Discussions

Twitter is testing Communities, moderated discussions around specific topics. The concept is designed to provide a venue for discussion of hobbies and interests, apart from the madding crowd dominated by news and politics. Members of Twitter Communities can post tweets expressly to Communities such as #DogTwitter and #SkincareTwitter. Only other members will be able to reply. Much like Facebook Groups and Reddit’s subreddits Community moderators control who joins, inviting and removing members, establishing guidelines and topics.  Continue reading Twitter Introduces ‘Communities’ for Moderated Discussions

Social App Spending Projected to Hit $17.2B Globally in 2025

Global consumer social app spending is expected to hit $17.2 billion by 2025, up from $6.78 billion in 2021, according to a study by San Francisco-based mobile analytics firm App Annie. That’s a 29 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over five years — a brisk pace credited mainly to live streaming. By 2025, the lifetime total spend on social apps is expected to reach $78 billion, according to App Annie. Meanwhile, time spent using social media the globe over totaled a whopping 740 billion hours for the first half of 2021, with 548 billion hours devoted to live streaming. Continue reading Social App Spending Projected to Hit $17.2B Globally in 2025

El Salvador First Country to Make Bitcoin a National Currency

Amidst political turmoil and economic struggle, El Salvador has announced it is adopting Bitcoin as its national currency, becoming the first country in the world to do so. But things got off to a rough start this week as the Bitcoin e-wallet went offline for several hours as consumer download demand overwhelmed government servers. El Salvador President Nayib Bukele said the country will spend more than $225 million to launch Bitcoin. Global Bitcoin enthusiasts supported the initiative by buying $30 of Bitcoin, but that didn’t prevent the currency from declining 9.9 percent Tuesday evening. Continue reading El Salvador First Country to Make Bitcoin a National Currency

Microsoft Acquires Clipchamp as New Tool for Video Creators

Microsoft announced it is acquiring Clipchamp, an in-browser video creation and editing app that can be used on everything from social clips destined for YouTube to promos and business presentations. Combining “the simplicity of a web app with the full computing power of a PC with graphics processing unit acceleration,” Microsoft says Clipchamp is a “natural fit” with the existing cloud-based productivity suite of Microsoft 365 for families, students and business. With a template-driven approach and wide variety of filters, Clipchamp is a prosumer tool that has garnered more than 17 million registered users since launching in 2013. Continue reading Microsoft Acquires Clipchamp as New Tool for Video Creators

Pixalate Raises $18.1M to Combat Click Tricks and Ad Fraud

Analytics firm Pixalate has announced $18.1 million in growth capital for connected TV and mobile advertising initiatives. The new round brings total capital raised to $22.7 million for the 9-year-old firm, which specializes in fraud prevention, privacy protection and legal compliance via offices in Santa Monica, Palo Alto and London. The move comes as Pixalate rises to meet the challenges of enterprise clients fending off bot attacks, ad fraud and other malicious threats. Malware incursions by intruders like Puppeteer siphon tens of millions of dollars in annual ad revenue, according to Pixalate. Continue reading Pixalate Raises $18.1M to Combat Click Tricks and Ad Fraud

‘Vans World’ Opens Shop in the Metaverse via Gamer Roblox

Lifestyle apparel firm Vans has teamed with Roblox to bring skateboard destination “Vans World” to the online gamer’s vast audience. The creator of iconic footwear for boarders of all stripes is the latest brand to plant its flag in the metaverse, where kids are spending increasingly large chunks of time. Sony Music Entertainment, Gucci, BMG, Warner Bros. Pictures, Hasbro and Nike are among the firms that have partnered with Roblox, a global social platform with its own currency that in Q2 reported more than 42 million daily users who create and share immersive 3D experiences. Continue reading ‘Vans World’ Opens Shop in the Metaverse via Gamer Roblox

TikTok Creator Marketplace Connects Brands and Influencers

TikTok is pushing out its Creator Marketplace API, which allows partner firms to optimize campaigns using first-party data and platform integration. The Creator Marketplace aggregates TikTok’s influencers, sharing basic stats that helps them connect with brands that can then mount, manage, measure and track campaigns within the app. The new API takes this to a new level with features including demographic filtering and real-time campaign tracking. Formally debuted in June 2020, Creator Marketplace aggregates TikTok influencers with at least 10,000 followers and 100,000 video views in the last 30 days. Continue reading TikTok Creator Marketplace Connects Brands and Influencers