AudioMob & Targetspot Join Forces To Revolutionize In-Game Advertising

Posted in Commentary with tags , on July 8, 2020 by itnerd

Online, in-app gaming is an estimated $65billion (£51billion) industry with huge, highly engaged audiences ranging across all age groups, gender and geos. Gaming has never been more popular than in the current moment with 45% more time now devoted to the medium since the Covid-19 crisis. Yet in-app advertising, which forms a significant portion of this revenue, has always posed a challenge for both publisher and advertiser, where traditional video and display advertising can be disruptive to the gaming experience. This can sometimes have a negative impact on both the developer (with users leaving the game) and the advertiser, where a disruptive format can potentially alienate the consumer and cause some negative feeling toward the brand.

AudioMob and Targetspot provide a solution to this problem and are delighted to announce their partnership across North American, UK and continental European markets. AudioMob technology allows for the seamless and elegant implementation of rewarded audio advertising within the gaming environment. This allows for an audio advert to play while the user is playing the game, thus enabling brand messaging and advertising that compliments the user experience rather than disrupting the flow. This format, when aligned with the Targetspot suite of propriety targeting and programmatic advertising technology and their experience as a world leader in the digital audio space, plays perfectly to the strengths of both audio advertising and the gaming experience, where highly engaged and relevant audiences can be reached in a way that maximises the message to the consumer while not detracting from the strengths of the medium.

About AudioMob

Operating out of Google Campus London, AudioMob is the brainchild of ex-Google and Facebook alums Christan Facey and Wilfrid Obeng. AudioMob, backed by some of the savviest investors in the industry, is the only company in the world to offer a holistic in-game audio ad solution welcomed by developers and advertisers alike. Its platform enables developers to better monetise their games while keeping players loyal and advertisers a seamless and highly effective gateway to an untapped gaming audience. For the first time gamers can enjoy their gaming experiences while being rewarded for listening to ads. 

About Targetspot

Targetspot, a division of AudioValley, is the world’s most advanced digital audio advertising platform. The company’s broad and diversified offering allows publishers and advertisers to cast, play and sell their digital audio assets. As a pioneer in audio streaming, ad serving and programmatic advertising, Targetspot connects advertisers, publishers and listeners through proprietary technology and cross-device solutions.

For more information visit www.targetspot.com

Guest Post: Darktrace Discusses A Sophisticated Phishing Campaign Leveraging Microsoft Teams

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 8, 2020 by itnerd

With the move to remote working having surged, the number of active daily users on Microsoft Teams has grown to 75 million, up from 20 million this time last year. Similar trends are being seen across Slack, Zoom, and Google Meet. With these SaaS applications becoming a staple in Canadian’s working lives, businesses should anticipate cyber-criminals to begin leveraging their household names and trusted reputation to launch email attack campaigns.

Darktrace’s AI, Antigena Email, picked up on one such attempt last month while deployed in passive mode at a multinational conglomerate – identifying 48 incoming emails that impersonated a Microsoft Teams notifications, but in fact came from an unknown sender and rare domain. The attacker was targeting employees alphabetically, seemingly working methodically through the address book.

With so much of the Canadian workforce moving to a more long-term work from home arrangement – and conference calls utilizing programs like Microsoft Teams a big part of the day-to-day – it’s imperative for businesses to safeguard themselves against threats. 

Apple Expands Independent Repair Program To Canada And Europe…. And Here’s Why I An Not Impressed With This

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 8, 2020 by itnerd

Apple today announced two things related to its Independent Repair Provider Program that I have been critical of. I’ll get to my criticisms later. But here’s what they announced:

  • Over 140 providers are part of the program in the US.
  • The program is expanding to Canada and Europe.

So this is good news, right? Well, not exactly. I wrote about the fact that the terms and conditions that Apple puts on these repair providers are pretty unbelievable. Including having customers sign documentation saying that Apple will not warranty repairs made by these repair providers, and that there must be signage visible that says that the repair providers are not authorized. And I have zero reason to believe that has changed. Thus I am not at all impressed by this. While this is news and I should likely write about it, it is something given the facts at hand is hard to take seriously.

ATTOM Data Acquires Home Junction

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 8, 2020 by itnerd

ATTOM Data Solutions, curator of the nation’s premier property database, today announced it has acquired Home Junction Inc., a real estate data technology company that specializes in building high quality geographic boundary datasets for neighborhoods, school attendance zones, subdivisions and more.

The strategic acquisition of Home Junction will expand ATTOM’s already robust data warehouse by adding proprietary school and neighborhood boundary data, crime, points of interest and demographics. ATTOM will continue Home Junction’s commitment of servicing real estate agents, teams and brokers with a suite of products that include custom websites and data widgets. 

Click here to view ATTOM’s Table of Data Elements

Founded over 10 years ago, Home Junction’s goal is to provide brokers, agents, teams, lenders, insurers and others with the ability to integrate vast amounts of property data into their internal and external web applications. The synergy of the two companies will strengthen ATTOM’s competitive positioning in the enterprise data licensing marketplace and the consumer & investor real estate search market. 

Aptum launches Managed Disaster Recovery as a Service

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 7, 2020 by itnerd

Aptum, a global hybrid cloud and managed services provider, has introduced its Managed Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) offering, allowing businesses to minimize the risk of IT service downtime from any type of disruption, including ransomware and malware, and focus instead on strategic priorities. 

Aptum’s Managed DRaaS relies on enterprise-grade replication software to back up customer data in near real time and maintain operations to mitigate disruptions, planned or unplanned, whether misconfigurations, attacks or natural disasters at the customer’s primary site. The solution uses the cloud to protect data offsite and allows customers to order and power up virtual machines (VMs) on demand in the event of a failover. Businesses can customize the offering to suit their specific needs, such as file-level restore or full or partial failover of systems.

Aptum will work with customers to build a Managed DRaaS solution that meets their overall Business Continuity Plan objectives, backed by 24×7 support, 365 days a year from service centers in North America and Europe.
Features of Aptum’s DRaaS include:

  • Low Recovery Point Objective (RPO) – the measure of the maximum tolerable amount of data to lose in a failover – to protect the customer’s virtual production infrastructure
  • Allows point-in-time rollbacks to protect against malware and ransomware·  Provides machine level, file level, partial or full restore
  • Offers non-disruptive failover testing for validation purposes·  Provides ability to create dev/test environments using production data and software in an isolated and secure infrastructure
  • Offers a remote disaster recovery site without the up-front cost associated with a second infrastructure stack

Aptum DRaaS is available immediately with supported environments including HyperV, VMware and Azure.

TikTok And Other Chinese Apps Could Be Banned In The US

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 7, 2020 by itnerd

The U.S. is “looking at” banning TikTok and other Chinese social media apps Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News:

His comments come amid rising tensions between the U.S. and China and as scrutiny on TikTok and Chinese technology firms continues to grow. When asked in a Fox News interview if the U.S. should be looking at banning TikTok and other Chinese social media apps, Pompeo said: “We are taking this very seriously. We are certainly looking at it. We have worked on this very issue for a long time,” he said. “Whether it was the problems of having Huawei technology in your infrastructure we’ve gone all over the world and we’re making real progress getting that out. We declared ZTE a danger to American national security,” Pompeo added, citing the two Chinese teleommunications networking companies.

This comes after TikTok and other Chinese apps got banned in India. Not to mention that TikTok is a security nightmare. Now some of this is because of politics as well. After all, the current US government doesn’t like China. But plenty of teens and millennials like TikTok. Thus any ban would likely spark a reaction from those groups.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Palo Alto PAN-OS: Authentication Bypass in SAML Authentication Discovered

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 7, 2020 by itnerd

A critical severity authentication bypass vulnerability in certain configurations of Palo Alto Networks PAN-OS devices using Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) authentication has been discovered.

On June 29, 2020, Palo Alto issued a security advisory for PAN-OS versions with SAML authentication enabled and the ‘Validate Identity Provider Certificate’ option disabled (unchecked). Improper verification of signatures in PAN-OS SAML authentication could allow an unauthenticated network-based attacker to access protected resources.

Mark Bell, EVP of operations at Digital Defense, Inc., a provider of vulnerability and threat management solutions had this comment:

The fact that these devices are generally externally facing and the simplicity of exploiting the Palo Alto PAN-OS vulnerability significantly increases the threat exposure. Bad actors are probably already scanning the internet looking for vulnerable instances.

Here’s some specific details about this issue. Affected versions of PAN-OS are:

  • PAN-OS 9.1 versions earlier than PAN-OS 9.1.3
  • PAN-OS 9.0 versions earlier than PAN-OS 9.09
  • PAN-OS 8.1 versions earlier than PAN-OS 8.1.15
  • All versions of PAN-OS 8.0 (EOL)

This issue does not affect PAN-OS 7.1

This issue cannot be exploited if SAML is not used for authentication.

This issue cannot be exploited if the ‘Validate Identity Provider Certificate’ option is enabled (checked) in the SAML Identity Provider Server Profile.

Palo Alto Networks provided a patch for this vulnerability and indicated they are not aware of any malicious attempts to exploit this vulnerability at this time.

The Digital Defense Vulnerability Research Team is developing checks for the condition for its Frontline.Cloud vulnerability management solution as more information is made available.

Study Shows That Every Router Has Flaws…. Here’s How To Minimize Your Risk

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 7, 2020 by itnerd

Most people think that home routers are “plug in and forget” items that allow them to get their devices onto the Internet with having to think about it any further. Except that they aren’t “plug in and forget” devices. They provide security for your home network, which means that you have to make sure that the firmware is up to date. That also requires that the vendor of the router is on top of security threats and the like, and that they are putting out firmware for you to install.

That’s where this study from the Fraunhofer Institute for Communication comes in. It involved 127 routers from seven manufacturers and found the following:

  • The researchers compared the firmware images from each tested router with known vulnerabilities and exploits, and the findings were disturbing. Many of the routers were found to be affected by hundreds of known vulnerabilities. Not a single router tested found to be without at least one known vulnerability. And 46 of the routers tested had not received an update in the last year. And 22 had not updated in the last two years. In the worse case, some routers were found to have not been updated in five years.
  • Even when routers had received updates, 50 were found to used hard-coded qualifications: The username and password were encoded into the router as a default, meaning that attackers could easily gain access.

Then there’s the question of who makes security a top priority. Here’s the answer:

Nonetheless, vendors seem to prioritize security differently. Especially AVM does a better job than the other vendors regarding most of the security aspects. However, AVM routers are not flawless as well. ASUS and Netgear do a better job on some aspects than D-Link, Linksys, TP-Link and Zyxel.

Now while I could quibble about aspects of this study, I think the study paints a pretty stark picture. And router companies need to up their game. But until they get around to doing that, here’s my advice to minimize your risk:

  1. Buy a router from a company that is known to have frequent updates to their products, and who has a track record for updating their products over the long term.
  2. Check for updates frequently and apply them ASAP. Because hackers are not looking for routers that are up to dat. They’re looking for the ones that aren’t.
  3. Check the router logs from time to time to make sure that there’s no funny business goin on in terms of someone trying to break into your network.

Bye Bye, So Long, Farewell…. Clearview AI Leaves Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 7, 2020 by itnerd

Canada’s Privacy Commissioner has announced that facial recognition software provider Clearview AI will no longer offer its services in the country. Let’s break this announcement down:

Clearview AI has advised Canadian privacy protection authorities that, in response to their joint investigation, it will cease offering its facial recognition services in Canada.

This step includes the indefinite suspension of Clearview AI’s contract with the RCMP, which was its last remaining client in Canada.

I read that as Clearview AI doesn’t like to be investigated as it clearly has something to hide. So it’s picking up its marbles and going home.

The investigation of Clearview by privacy protection authorities for Canada, Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec remains open. The authorities still plan to issue findings in this matter given the importance of the issue for the privacy rights of Canadians.

An ongoing issue under investigation by the authorities is the deletion of the personal information of Canadians that Clearview has already collected as well as the cessation of Clearview’s collection of Canadians’ personal information.

The privacy authorities appreciate Clearview AI’s cooperation to date on the ongoing investigation, and look to the company’s continued cooperation as it is brought to conclusion.

As well, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada will complete its related investigation into the RCMP’s use of Clearview AI’s facial recognition technology.

The joint investigation was initiated in the wake of media reports which stated that Clearview AI was using its technology to collect images and make facial recognition available to law enforcement in the context of investigations. Reports have also indicated the US-based company provides services in a number of countries to a broad range of organizations, including retailers, financial institutions and various government institutions.

Given the investigations are ongoing, no further details are available at this time and interviews are not possible.

I read that as Clearview AI’s problems are not going away anytime soon despite the fact that they picked up their marbles and went home. And it shouldn’t stop as Clearview AI looks like a really shady firm from the perspective of the casual observer. And there’s still the question of if the firm will delete the photos of Canadians if you ask them to. So I for one am happy that Clearview AI is gone from Canada. Let’s hope that other countries, such as the US and the EU really put the screws to them as well.

Dell Technologies Rolls Out Payment Flexibility Program

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 6, 2020 by itnerd

As organizations continue to navigate the changing business landscape impacted by COVID-19, their ability to quickly pivot spending priorities is more essential than ever. There isn’t an option to move away from tech or stop maintaining infrastructure — especially with the extension of remote work, the increasing need for automation and emerging technologies like 5G, AI and machine learning.

Dell Technologies is committed to offering the flexibility businesses need to adapt and thrive through this crisis, to help manage shifting priorities, stay agile, preserve capital and access essential technology.

As companies re-evaluate their IT priorities to drive business forward into the “new normal,” Dell Technologies has rolled out the Payment Flexibility Program for businesses that need to reduce up-front IT costs and free up resources. It is built on the strong foundation of Dell Financial Services (DFS) and Dell’s industry-leading end-to-end IT portfolio, and offers various customizable offers that help businesses manage cash flow.

About the Payment Flexibility Program:

  • 0% interest rates for all Dell Technologies server, storage and networking solutions
  • Ability to defer the first payment up to 180 days on all data center infrastructure and services to help manage cash flow
  • Short term options for remote work and learning with 6 to 12-month terms and refresh options for laptops and desktops
  • One year term to flexible consumption offerings in the Dell Technologies On Demand program
    • You can scale usage of Dell Technologies converged, hyperconverged, hybrid cloud, storage and data protection solutions and only pay for what you use
  • This commitment extends to Dell’s channel and global alliance partners with DFS accessible to thousands of partners
  • The offers under the program are valid through July 31, 2020

In addition, Dell is also making $9B in financing available this year to help fund critical technology and IT infrastructure needs including running the business, taking care of staff and accessing essential technology.