Archive for November 16, 2023

Nothing Is Bringing iMessage To Their Phones…. Good Luck With That

Posted in Commentary with tags , on November 16, 2023 by itnerd

 A couple of days ago, Nothing shared it has plans to add iMessage compatibility to its newest phone through a new app called Nothing Chats:

Nothing Chats is a first-of-its-kind app developed in partnership with Sunbird, which allows you to message other iMessage users via blue bubbles on your Nothing Phone.

At Nothing, we believe in windows, not walls. If messaging services are dividing phone users, then we want to break those barriers down.

If you’re in the US, Canada, UK or EU and have a Phone (2), you can download the Nothing Chats app on the Play Store from Friday. The app is currently in Beta, and we’re working hard to bring Nothing Chats to more places. If it’s not available in your country just yet, sign up for our newsletter and we’ll let you know as soon as it is. 

Now you’re likely asking why Nothing is partnering with Sunbird to do this. The answer is simple. Nothing needs to break into the North American market to be successful. And right now they haven’t been able to do that. And part of that reason is due to the fact that iPhones along with iMessage is pretty dominant in North America. Take teens for example This story suggests that a lot of them get iPhones because there’s peer pressure not to be a “green bubble” person. Which is a problem if you’re anyone but Apple.

Here’s the problem with this strategy by Nothing. Sunbird is a company that has been trying to bring iMessage to non-Apple devices for some time. And they’ve had some success doing so. But they’ve been allowed to exist because Apple hasn’t decided to go after them as Apple likely does not see them as any sort of threat. But this partnership with Nothing may change that view. And as a result, Apple may decide that Sunbird and Nothing along with them need to be taken care of. Thus I would not be surprised if on the day that this feature launches, if not before then that some sort of legal action is taken. Because Apple loves its walled garden. And it will not allow anyone or anything to get past the walls.

TELUS Invites Ontarians To Join Their New SmartHome+ Beta Program

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 16, 2023 by itnerd

TELUS is seeking tech enthusiasts and environmentally conscious Ontarians to be the first to join the TELUS SmartHome+ Beta program that will help shape the future of smart home technology.

By joining the SmartHome+ Beta program, participants will get an exclusive look at their new SmartEnergy product, an innovative, first of its kind product in Canada that enables customers to save on their energy bills. Participants will also get early access to our new Home View smart camera plan, which offers crystal-clear video day and night, and seamless real-time motion detection.

Customers signing-up for the TELUS SmartHome+ Beta program will also receive:

  • Free smart home devices and special discounts to our TELUS SmartHome+ subscription plans
  • Exciting incentives, such as savings on monthly energy bills as well as a chance to earn TELUS rewards for simply providing feedback on our products and participating in surveys that will help us evolve our service offerings.

Interested customers can now sign up for our program and eligible customers will be contacted directly to enroll in the program starting as early as January 15, 2024.

You can visit the TELUS website to learn more about the TELUS SmartHome+ Beta program.

Canadian iPhone “Batterygate” Class Action Heads Towards A Settlement

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 16, 2023 by itnerd

A reader of this blog pointed me towards this website which appears to be legitimate. The website give details about a settlement related to several class action lawsuits filed in various Canadian provinces. Here’s the TL:DR:

Apple has agreed to pay between $11,137,500 CAD and $14,427,500 CAD (the “Settlement Funds”) in consideration of the full and final settlement of the claims of Class Members, including but not limited to the Class Action and the Proceedings (the “Settlement”). In return for the payment of the Settlement Funds, the Settlement provides that the claims of all Class Members asserted or which could have been asserted in the Class Action will be fully and finally released and the Class Action will be dismissed.

The Settlement is not an admission of liability, wrongdoing, or fault on the part of Apple, which denies the allegations against it.

The hearing to decide whether to approve the Settlement and the payment of Class Counsel Fees will take place on January 29, 2024 at the courthouse at 800 Smithe Street, Vancouver, British Columbia.

The people eligible for any settlement include anyone who owed an Apple iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, SE, 7 or 7 Plus smartphone device with iOS 10.2.1 or later (for iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, or SE) and/or iOS 11.2 or later (for iPhone 7 or 7 Plus) installed or downloaded, before December 21, 2017. In that case, that would be my wife and I which is why this will be on our radar screens.

The website then goes on to explain what the next steps are. At present there’s nothing that anyone needs to do unless they are going to opt out of this or object to this. Thus I would recommend keeping an eye on this website if you’re part of the class so that you get what’s owed to you.

Hell Has Officially Frozen Over…. Apple Will Adopt RCS Later Next Year

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 16, 2023 by itnerd

Google for a while has been pressuring Apple to support RCS. But Apple has steadfastly resisted this. And the last time I wrote about this topic, I said this:

Apple has nothing to gain by supporting RCS. They are perfectly fine with the status quo as it works for them. And until there’s a real incentive to change course, they won’t. Google needs to sell them something other than “You could fix texting for Android users and to stop teenagers from bullying each other!” Because Apple won’t ever care about Android users. Except the ones that the can switch to an iPhone.

Well, my jaw hit the ground when I read this on 9to5mac:

In a surprising move, Apple has announced today that it will adopt the RCS (Rich Communication Services) messaging standard. The feature will launch via a software update “later next year” and bring a wide range of iMessage-style features to messaging between iPhone and Android users.

Apple’s decision comes amid pressure from regulators and competitors like Google and Samsung. It also comes as RCS has continued to develop and become a more mature platform than it once was.

The reason behind this move isn’t hard to figure out. The EU wants Apple to open up iMessage to others. Apple doesn’t want to do that so adding RCS to the Messages app allows Apple to say “look we support our standard, plus we support RCS and plain old text messaging. Are you happy now EU?” Now whether the EU would be happy with this is an open question. But I can see from Apple’s perspective how this is the “least worst option” for them. Let’s see how the EU reacts to this.

Open Systems Secure Web Gateway as a Service Brings New Security and SaaS Simplicity to Zero Trust Access

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 16, 2023 by itnerd

Open Systems today announced the general availability of its Secure Web Gateway as a Service offering. Open Systems Secure Web Gateway is a cloud-based, comprehensive web security solution that combines advanced threat protection, secure access controls and intelligent web filtering to provide organizations with a secure and productive web browsing experience. As with all Open Systems’ offerings, Secure Web Gateway comes with 24/7 support from exclusively level-3 engineers, which means customers can rely on top-of-the-line expertise.

Open Systems Secure Access Experience revolutionizes secure network access. It simplifies connections for hybrid workforces, maximizes secure access investments, and ensures availability and security. Secure Access Experience allows businesses to focus on revenue-generating activities, adapt to changing needs, and gain control and confidence. In today’s complex environment, the platform provides cost-effective secure access and improved business outcomes.

Open Systems Secure Web Gateway as a Service key features include:

  • Flexible deployment options: Secure Web Gateway can be independently deployed from Open Systems backbone, a customer’s cloud platforms or their premises. This allows for the best performance and cost-effectiveness by respectively setting security controls as close as possible to the users and leveraging the customer’s existing investments.
  • Threat protection: The service uses real-time threat intelligence and advanced web filtering to detect and block malicious URLs, phishing attempts, malware, and other web-based threats. It helps prevent data breaches, infections, and data exfiltration by proactively identifying and stopping malicious content before it reaches your network.
  • Content filtering and policy management: Organizations’ web access policies are tailored to their needs using Open Systems intuitive management interface. Control and enforce browsing rules based on user profiles, content categories, and more. This empowers you to manage web access efficiently while promoting compliance with your organization’s security policies.
  • Advanced reporting and analytics: Gain valuable insights into your organization’s web traffic and security posture through detailed reporting and analytics. Monitor user behavior, track web usage patterns, and identify potential security gaps to proactively address threats.

Additional Resources

Google Canada Reveals The Top Searched Gifts This Holiday Season

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 16, 2023 by itnerd

Shopping habits have significantly shifted over the years as Canadians become increasingly digitally savvy shoppers. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday around the corner, Google Canada is revealing new insights around how Canadians plan to shop this holiday season, and the top searched products under a number of categories. 

Whether Canadians are looking to revive cargo pants, up their hair and nails game or contemplate whether the iconic Mattel hunk is truly “Kenough” for gifting this holiday season, Google Canada’s has the top searched items for holiday shoppers along with additional insights on how Canadians are shopping this season here.

Here’s what Canadians are searching for leading into Black Friday/Cyber Monday*:

Top trending toy searches
Dune Lego
Blox Fruits Plush
Pomni Plush
OVO BearbrickToddler Balance Bike
Wood Play Kitchen
Marvel Action Figures
BarbieTrain Set
Top trending apparel searches
Carhartt beanie
Vessi shoes
Birkenstock Clogs
Cargo pants
Ugg slippers
Nike Air Force 1
Patagonia Fleece
Lululemon Bag
Top trending consumer electronic searches
Dyson headphones
Bose soundbar Remote car starter
Xbox 360
iPhone 15 Pro Max
Nintendo Switch Games
Garmin Forerunner 45 Watch
Sonos speakers
Sony Alpha Camera
Top trending beauty searches
ELF lip oil
Dior lipstick
Clinique black honey
Nail stickers
Bubble moisturizer
Press on nails
Aquaphor lip balm
EOS body lotion
La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5
Maybelline vinyl ink

Source: Google Search Trends.*

Salesforce Releases The Future of Tech and AI Predictions & Trends report

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 16, 2023 by itnerd

As we look ahead to what 2024 will have in store, Salesforce’s top executives have just shared their predictions and insights for the year based on market analysis, customer conversations, and more in the company’s new Future of Tech and AI Predictions & Trends report. 

As a global leader in AI CRM software, Salesforce leaders are on the front lines of the latest trends, technologies, and challenges impacting businesses. Some of the trends and predictions that they have for 2024 include:

  • Data will continue to get democratized — and smarter. This means 2024 will see a strong focus on data privacy and compliance.
  • AI will transform enterprise, so businesses that don’t embrace AI will be left in the dust.
  • AI brings a new era of cyber security, meaning cyber defense will take shape to address new threats.
  • AI will hypercharge efficiency and we will all get familiar with the term “semantic query.” As AI grows smarter and more businesses embrace it, we will inch closer to autonomy.
  • There are possibilities to use AI for good but only with equitable access.
  • AI will modernize work and transform the office into a smarter workplace, plus change how we think about (and measure) human productivity.

The report with all of Salesforce’s 2024 predictions, is available here


These 2024 predictions follow recent Canadian-specific survey data from Salesforce earlier this fall, which found that:

  • On average, employees believe generative AI will save them 4 hours per week. However, 55% agree that they don’t have the skills to use generative AI effectively and safely.
  • While 62% of employees use or plan to use generative AI at work, 79% believe generative AI introduces new security risks.

The Need for Fresh Thinking And Innovative Technology On Black Friday And Cyber Monday

Posted in Commentary on November 16, 2023 by itnerd

Black Friday and Cyber Monday, originating from American tradition, have become global shopping phenomena. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, kickstarts the holiday shopping season with significant discounts, while Cyber Monday extends these deals to online shopping. These events attract huge crowds, drive major sales, and symbolize the peak of consumer spending, reflecting the retail industry’s global economic significance. Both days have influenced shopping habits and sales tactics worldwide.

In the following commentaries, Don Boxley of DH2i, Steve Santamaria of Folio Photonics, and Seth Blank of Valimail stress the need for enhanced cybersecurity and data management solutions during events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, while Carolyn Clark of Simpplr highlights the pivotal role of the Employee Experience (EX) in impacting Customer Experience (CX) and profitability during these peak shopping periods. 

The common thread across each perspective is that whether it is data security, email authentication, or improving the employee experience, strategic thinking and innovative technology solutions are essential for ensuring a successful holiday season and year-round success.

Don Boxley, CEO and Co-Founder, DH2i

“Virtual private networks (VPNs) have historically been a staple in securing online communications, but their inherent vulnerabilities and rampant misuse have exposed business organizations and their customers to various risks. For example, during peak shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, cybercriminals have exploited VPNs to manipulate prices, commit fraud, and gain unauthorized entry to areas such as payment systems. In addition, VPNs not only open the door but leave it wide open to network credentials, identity, and credit card theft. 

To address these challenges, security-focused organizations must deploy Software-Defined Perimeter (SDP) technology as a robust solution that effectively mitigates these risks. SDP adopts a ‘zero trust’ approach, ensuring that trust is not assumed for any user or device. It rigorously verifies user identities and security postures, reducing the risk of unauthorized access, even in the presence of VPNs. Additionally, SDP offers application-level access policies, network segmentation, and real-time monitoring, enhancing cybersecurity defenses. It empowers businesses to navigate the complexities of heightened online shopping activity during events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday securely, safeguarding both their operations and customer experiences.”

Steve Santamaria, CEO, Folio Photonics

“As we step into the 2023 holiday shopping season, it’s a time filled with the promise of joy and cherished moments with family and friends. However, for data management professionals across the globe, it also signifies a period of heightened vigilance and increased stress. The reason behind this heightened alertness is crystal clear – the holiday season ushers in a surge of cyber threats, ranging from phishing attacks to ransomware campaigns. 

In response to these challenges, enterprise-scale, immutable active archive solutions have emerged as a critical defense mechanism. These solutions offer a robust suite of benefits that address our cybersecurity concerns. Immutability stands as a formidable defense against data tampering, ensuring data integrity. Robust encryption and comprehensive audit trails bolster security protocols, enabling organizations to surpass stringent compliance requirements. Automated data retention policies simplify information management, while scalability helps to ensure uninterrupted operations during peak holiday traffic. Moreover, sustainability practices align with environmental goals, and unwavering regulatory compliance remains the linchpin of data integrity.

As we navigate the evolving data protection landscape during this holiday season, IT professionals are primed to fortify their strategies. By embracing these transformative solutions, they not only protect data but also preserve customer trust, promising a secure and sustainable holiday shopping experience for all.”

Seth Blank, CTO, Valimail (

“Tis the season – with Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner, email marketers are already full steam into their holiday campaigns, and savvy consumers worldwide are preparing to pounce on the seasonal deals. Unfortunately, these times of excitement and joy also open the door to a darker side of the season: fraud, phishing, and other malicious activity preying on that same holiday urgency.  And while cybersecurity specialists are diligently working to thwart the efforts of the bad actors, this year is noticeably different.

Recent announcements from Google and Yahoo are causing the worlds of marketing and cybersecurity to collide as email authentication standards shift from recommended security best practices to non-negotiable email marketing requirements: unauthenticated messages will be rejected. In other words, SPF, DKIM, and DMARC authentication protocols are effectively moving from the SOC to the boardroom. It redefines the baseline for email marketing.

While official enforcement will start in February, astute marketers are actively collaborating with their cybersecurity peers to update their security posture early. This prepares them for the looming February timeline and provides an avenue to increase trust with their customers and protect their brand’s reputation this holiday season. Ultimately, in a landscape where every message counts, aligning with these standards will empower marketers to distinguish themselves, engage their audience effectively, and help ensure that this shopping season is a remarkable success.”

Carolyn Clark, Vice President EX Strategy, Simpplr

“Black Friday and Cyber Monday, pivotal events in the retail calendar, have profound implications for the Employee Experience (EX) and, by extension, the Customer Experience (CX), both of which are inextricably linked to a company’s profitability. 

During these peak shopping periods, employees often face intense pressure to manage increased workloads, which makes a robust EX critical. Companies that invest in their employees’ well-being through comprehensive training as well as supportive and unified work environments, enable their workforce to deliver exceptional service. This commitment to EX pays dividends in CX, as happy, empowered employees are the bedrock of positive customer interactions. In turn, satisfied customers are more likely to make purchases and become repeat patrons, driving sales and fostering brand loyalty. Ultimately, the synergy between positive EX and CX during these high-stakes sales events can lead to a significant uptick in profitability, illustrating that a company’s financial success is closely tied to how it treats its employees.”

New Attack Exploits Middle East Crisis To Solicit Donations For Kids Basic Needs In Charity Scam

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 16, 2023 by itnerd

Threat actors are known to capitalize on geopolitical events to manipulate victims into sending money, and the recent events in Gaza and Israel are no exception. 

In relation to this, Abnormal Security has published a recent attack detected in which cybercriminals attempted to solicit fraudulent charitable donations for children. 

The attackers encourage recipients to donate funds to cryptocurrency wallet addresses, claiming the money will be used to provide basic needs: water, medical care, and Internet access. 

According to the research, the campaign targeted 212 individuals at 88 organizations. Abnormal Security breaks down the cryptocurrency donation attack, what makes it notable, and why it is difficult to detect.

You can read the details here.

GuidePoint Security’s October 2023 Ransomware Report Is Out

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 16, 2023 by itnerd

GuidePoint Security has released the GuidePoint Research and Intelligence Team’s (GRIT) October 2023 Ransomware Report, revealing a 32% decrease in ransomware victims. The report analyzes ransomware by country, industry/threat actor trends, and notable events, including:

  • The US, still the most impacted nation by victim count, experienced an 83% decrease since last month. Germany saw a massive 76% decline. The UK saw 43% more than its average across 2023. Iran stood out this month, with October representing its second-highest monthly total.
  • Once again, manufacturing was the most targeted industry, and retail came in second. Ransomware groups regularly target the sensitive education and healthcare verticals, which saw a slight but notable decrease of 14% yet continue to appear in the top five.
  • LockBit’s ransomware victim count was 24% lower than its average monthly count in 2023. In October, the threat actor spotlight was on NoEscape, whose victims saw an almost 50% increase. In addition, Alphv’s activity decreased by 44%

You can read the full report here.