Archive for the ‘episode’ tag
Wired writer Mat Honan got hacked over the weekend, and lost almost everything.
His MacBook, iPad, and iPhone were all linked to Apple’s iCloud, and the hackers used that service to wipe everything on all three devices, including all the photos he’d taken of his one-year-old daughter. They also got into Honan’s Gmail account (they deleted it), his Twitter account, and Gizmodo’s Twitter account. On the latter two, the hackers posted a string of racist and homophobic messages.
Honan has described the hack in remarkable detail. He learned how it was done in the course of a long conversation with one of his hackers, who revealed many of the secrets.
The details show that the hack was only possible thanks to an appalling lack of security in iCloud — and a correspondingly bad security process at Amazon.com.
While people like Apple founder Steve Wozniak may point to this episode as an example of how our cloud-based future is going to create “horrible problems” — when everything is connected, hackers can get access to everything — the episode actually contains a few more specific lessons.
You need two-factor authentication
Cloud-based services need to two-factor authentication, so that a password alone is not enough to unlock your account. And you need to use it, when it’s available.
Google offers a particularly good implementation, in which you have to enter a passcode sent to your phone before you can log in on a new, untrusted computer. (Even more securely, you can install Google’s Authenticator app on your phone, and let that generate the codes you enter.) A would-be hacker can only get access to your account if they know your password and have access to this code, which in most cases would require having possession of your phone. (And you did remember to set a lock code on your phone in case you lose it, right?) A well-implemented two-factor authentication process is very difficult to bypass.
“Getting into Amazon let my hackers get into my Apple ID account, which helped them get into Gmail, which gave them access to Twitter,” Honan wrote. “Had I used two-factor authentication for my Google account, it’s possible that none of this would have happened, because their ultimate goal was always to take over my Twitter account and wreak havoc. “
Apple needs to get its act together
Apple needs to offer two-factor authentication for its services, and it needs to close a gaping hole in its password recovery process. Until it does, you should not use iCloud.
Currently, the only protection offered for iCloud is a password. If you’re using iCloud, make sure that it’s a secure password, not some short, stupid password. Remember, this is protecting your entire digital life (or at least, that portion of it that you’ve trusted to Mac products that work with iCloud).
Even worse, it’s trivially easy for a hacker to bypass the iCloud password. All he or she has to do is call up Apple tech support and provide the account’s email address, a billing address, and the last four digits of a credit card on file. Honan verified this twice over the weekend in calls with Apple tech support, and was able to repeat the exploit in the Wired offices.
You absolutely should not use iCloud with the “Find My Mac” feature, which includes a remote-wipe capability. That might make sense for your phone, but how likely is it that you’re going to misplace your MacBook? Using this feature merely opens your computer up to a hack, the risk of which is worse than the risk of losing your MacBook in the first place.
Amazon needs to get its act together
The hackers got access to Honan’s Amazon account through an almost ridiculously easy process, which Honan describes in his article. Basically, all you need is the account holder’s name, email address, and billing address — all easily available information for many people.
Once in, Amazon’s interface let them see the last four digits of all the credit cards on file. One of those was the card Honan used with his iCloud account, which then let the hackers unlock iCloud.
“In short, the very four digits that Amazon considers unimportant enough to display in the clear on the web are precisely the same ones that Apple considers secure enough to perform identity verification,” Honan wrote. He continues:
“The disconnect exposes flaws in data management policies endemic to the entire technology industry, and points to a looming nightmare as we enter the era of cloud computing and connected devices.”
Honan is right: The lack of consistent security policies across cloud-based services, and the corresponding tight connections between many of them, open up a host of vulnerabilities. He wasn’t the only one victimized by this exploit: He notes that he’s spoken with other people who have been hacked the same way.
More problems like this are surely coming. Cloud providers’ readiness is very poor, security executive David DeWalt told me recently. But before you blame “the cloud” for these security flaws, remember that the flaws are traceable to specific companies’ security policies.
The industry needs to take this issue seriously, or all cloud services — and the people using them — will suffer.
Filed under: VentureBeat
Happy Days is famous for jumping the shark. In an episode near the end of their run, the writers ran out of ideas and want so far to please the masses that they wrote a script in which Fonzie, wearing a leather jacket, rode water skis up a ramp and over a shark.
Since then, the kind of people who like to say, “no one goes there anymore, it’s too crowded,” are happy to point out when a popular organization jumps the shark.
The thing is, there isn’t one shark. There’s your shark, my shark and their shark. The masses have a different shark than the early adopters do.
For some, Apple has already jumped the shark. A new upgrade or a new TV commercial might be a step too far, and they walk away, sad that yet another cutting edge organization has succumbed to mass mediocrity. For others, they’re just feeling safe enough to take a shot, and the shark is nowhere in sight.
The insight is to have the empathy not to confuse your shark with the shark of the kind of person you’re hoping to delight. Choose your customers, choose their shark.
It’s almost silly to own an iPad or iPhone without a case — they’re such fragile devices. But not every case is a good one. In fact, we learned in this episode of Fly or Die that not every case even fits.
We decided to look at TwelveSouth’s BookBook iPhone case, Hard Candy’s BubbleSlider iPhone case, and the Candy Convertible iPad case by Hard Candy. Only one stole our hearts and minds, and even it is a bit bulky.
The BookBook iPhone case from Twelve South is the only case in the bunch that I’d even consider. It’s made of premium leather, looks like a slick little novel tucked away in your pocket, and holds your credit cards, ID and cash all in one place. It costs $59.99, which is a bit steep, but at the end of the day it’ll protect your phone and add a little flare to your daily accessories.
However, it’s a tad girthy for a girl’s pair of jeans (though presumably would do fine in a purse). If you’re holding the phone up to your face to talk, you have the extra credit card flap in your face, which is awkward, but that’s what headphones are for.
Then we move to Hard Candy’s offerings. In both cases, with the Bubble Slider and the Candy Convertible for iPad, the cases simply don’t fit the devices. Granted, the Bubble Slider is made for the iPhone 4 (which is why it makes zero sense that Hard Candy would send us the caes now), but even still it’s a bit pricey for what it does. The Bubble Slider is one of those plastic cases that breaks the fall by breaking. For $34.95, the value proposition isn’t good enough for me.
But where I get really frustrated is with Hard Candy’s Candy Convertible iPad case. It simply doesn’t fit. I like the idea of a card holder and the way it transforms into a stand, but if the case doesn’t fit and lets the iPad slip around within it, it’s probably not a good choice. Especially for $44.95.
“Viral video” has taken over the web. With over 3 billion hours of video being watched every month on YouTube, everybody is talking about the latest YouTube sensation or viral hit. PBS takes a look into the world of viral video in the latest episode of their web-original series Off Book.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Awhile back, he invited me to join the Brave Ad World podcast, during which we discuss the latest industry news, and our point of view on what’s happening in the social media marketing industry. It’s been an honor to participate on his show. And I can tell you that whether or not our schedules align, the podcast’s content is always solid. And at usually about 30 minutes or so, it’s focused on substance.
In this week’s episode, we discuss everything from YouTube’s Potential as a News Resource, LinkedIn’s Engagement Updates, the Satisfied Google+ User Base, Foursquare’s New Local Updates and Highlight’s First Major Update Since Launch.
The Samsung Galaxy S III continues to be one of the hottest Android phones we’ve ever seen. When I reviewed the phone, I said flat out that this is the phone you’ve been waiting for. And after John and I got another good look during an episode of Fly Or Die, we both gave the Galaxy S III a Fly. But one thing we haven’t really addressed is durability, which is why we thought you might want to take a look at this drop test by Gizmo Slip.
Spoiler Alert: I’ll now be talking about the results of the video, so jump past the break if you want to watch before reading.
There isn’t a whole lot of good news to share after watching this drop test go down. The Galaxy S III almost survived unscathed from the first drop, a four-foot fall on its back. Unfortunately, the glass of the camera cracked as the 8-megapixel rear camera tends to jut out the phone a bit.
The second fall, however, is where things really start to devolve. A corner drop from four feet totally destroyed the corner of the phone and sent a crack all the way from the bottom right corner of the phone to the top left corner of the screen. “For funsies,” Gizmo Slip dropped the phone one more time from four feet on its face. That didn’t actually cause much damage, except for a little more scratching on the corner.
I said it before and I’ll say it again: a phone of this caliber shouldn’t be made of plastic. It was my one big complaint when the Galaxy S III was released, though I’m sure there are reasons for a plastic paneling. Either way, however, the plastic didn’t do much to protect the beastly phone, so if you’re a new or future owner, be sure to pick yourself up a case and be careful.
[Hat tip to Gizmo Slip for the video]
Hulu released a new, chromeless video player on Saturday, in an effort to improve the viewing experience for users of its web site. The new player is designed to give viewers easier access to their settings, and has also added a 10-second rewind feature to enable viewers to quickly skip back and re-watch their favorite moments of a program.
The new player groups all of a video’s settings — facial recognition, closed captioning, and the like — all in one place, and the player automatically detects and adjusts video quality based on the available bandwidth. And when you pause a video, the player highlights program and episode information, along with how much time is left in the show or movie you’re watching.
When shows finish, Hulu now lets you choose from a group of comparable shows to watch next, or lets users auto-play the next selection, making the experience more like watching TV uninterrupted. For instance, at the end of an episode of The Office, I was recommended new episodes of fellow NBC comedies Parks And Recreation and Community.
But one of the most important new features is the 10-second rewind feature, which lets users quickly skip back and re-watch certain moments of a show — for instance, if there was a funny joke, or if they maybe missed a crucial line in a drama. Being able to skip back without pausing or scrubbing the timeline of the video player is pretty cool.
Even though Hulu’s focused on expanding availability of its content on tablets and connected TV devices, it still get a sizable audience on its website. Video players on the web have come a long way over the years, and Hulu’s interface just continues to improve. I mean, can you believe the Hulu player used to look like this? It looks positively clunky by comparison.
In the latest episode of mediabistroTV’s “Elevator Pitch,” host Alan Meckler meets with Yago Amerlinck Huerta, whose startup, Wyst, gives users the ability to send a digital message in a bottle from their iPhones.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Getting Lost In Social Discovery
originally published in MediaPost’s Social Media Insider
“Social discovery” is one of the hotter buzzwords these days, referring to how people can tap friends’ implicit and explicit recommendations to experience something new. At first, it sounds like more jargon, but when you experience it firsthand, you can get a sense of what it really means.
Consider a recent Sunday afternoon. I had been cooped up more than usual, a self-imposed internment following an ironic summer cold, and took advantage of the extra time indoors to watch every episode of the most recent “Battlestar Galactica” series during a five-day stretch. Forcing myself to leave home on a day with heat that was only stifling and not paralyzing, I ventured to the New Amsterdam Market at New York’s South Street Seaport. After snacking on lobster rolls and Dutch pancakes, I was ready for a detour – or a quest, courtesy of Traveler’s Quest.
Traveler’s Quest is a mobile game that epitomizes social discovery. Players hunt for virtual treasures and earn points reburying them as far as possible from the point of discovery. For the especially aggressive hunters, players can buy maps to reveal the locations of treasures hidden further away. Yes, it all sounds pretty silly if not pointless, but as opposed to most mobile games, Traveler’s Quest creates relationships between the players and their physical surroundings. Often, treasures are just out of reach, so players are motivated to go out of their way to nab them. This gets back to social discovery – discovering a place one didn’t intend to go to, in search of something shared by another person.
Now let’s return to that stifling Sunday. A few treasures were buried downtown past the market, with the furthest a good 10 blocks out of the way of where I planned to go. In Manhattan, 10 blocks is a short walk when you’re going from point A to point B, but a hike when it’s out of your way. Still, I was in need of fresh air, and I had to clear my head, after nights of dreaming that everyone I knew was a Cylon. Traveler’s Quest fulfilled my need to pursue an unplanned course.
Walking further south, I stumbled upon Stone Street, a vibrant alley crammed with outdoor seating, and an old favorite spot when I worked near Wall Street back in my eMarketer days. It was just out of the way of the treasure, but I took this detour. Not only did I discover the street, but I discovered two friends, Noah Brier and Faris Yakob, wrapping up their brunch over beer, and they invited me to join them. It was, at that moment, surreal. I was on a street I hadn’t visited in years, having wandered in that direction thanks to a relatively obscure mobile application for the sole purpose of collecting a worthless virtual good.
Logically, it made no sense. It’s not like Traveler’s Quest is designed to connect people with long-lost friends and nostalgia-inducing side streets. Yet I’ve also discovered that the most unexpected social interactions come from taking a route I didn’t intend to take at a time I wasn’t supposed to take it. It’s like when I was driving up to Lake George and pulled off a random exit to drive two miles to a McDonald’s all because a “30 Rock” episode had my wife and I hankering for a McFlurry, and I ran into a former coworker. That happened without any digital technology beyond GPS, but Traveler’s Quest creates far more occasions for something like that to happen. As you hunt for virtual treasure, it encourages you to get lost. Getting lost is the most reliable route to social discovery online, offline, and where the digital and physical worlds meet.
At Sparksheet we’re proud to call ourselves a multiplatform magazine and today we’re adding yet another platform to our content arsenal – a podcast!
We’re big believers in the power and intimacy of audio and agree with folks like Mitch Joel and Jay Baer that podcasting is an undervalued and underutilized medium.
Called “Good Ideas” after our trusty tagline, the podcast will allow us to delve deeper into some of the content, media and marketing stories we explore on Sparksheet.
In our first episode, we explore the increasingly relevant phenomenon of country branding (also known as “nation branding” or “place branding”) through the lens of one of the most successful country brands out there: Brand Brazil.
We speak to one of the world’s leading country branding experts and sit down with two marketing profs (a Brazilian and a Canadian who runs a Brazilian exchange program) who help us unpack how Brazil transformed itself in the minds of travellers from “the land of favelas and corruption” to “the land of joy and creativity” in just a few short years.
It turns out that many Brazilians have a more nuanced view of the country’s rising brand than those of us looking in.
FutureBrand’s Country Brand Index (we speak to Gustavo Koniszczer, Managing Director for Spanish Latin America)
Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing (the Sao Paulo business school where Ilan Avrichir teaches)
Brazil Goes Social: The Rise of the Brazilian Digital Middle Class (our Feature Article on Brazil’s changing social pyramid)
Thanks to Nicolas Lebel who wrote and performed our theme. The song at the end of the podcast is “Samba a Dois” by Los Hermanos.
“Good Ideas” was produced by myself, Spafax Online Editor Jasmin Legatos and Sparksheet Editorial Assistant Sophie Woodrooffe.
Special thanks to our interviewees and everyone else who made this pilot episode possible. Let us know what you think!