Big News in the Virtual Currency World

by kurt.vanderwal on July 31, 2014

In what’s been a very tumultuous year for Bitcoin—with the closing of its largest exchange (Mt. Gox), the loss of more than 750,000 bitcoins, and a 70 percent drop in value of bitcoins, recent news has proponents of this virtual currency excited again.  Over the past few weeks, three big announcements were made that appear to solidify the future of Bitcoin:

  • Dish Network announced that it will start accepting bitcoins as payment from customers, making it the largest company to date to join the virtual currency world.
  • Not to be out done, Apple recently announced that it may allow its developers to create apps that exchange bitcoins, provided they adhere to local laws.
  • The IRS provided guidance on how virtual currency should be handled for U.S. federal tax purposes.  The guidance states that virtual currency is to be treated like property, and not currency, for tax purposes.  This guidance appears to show the United States government’s acceptance of the virtual currency.

These announcements demonstrate that while Bitcoin has hit a few bumps in the road, there continues to be consumer demand and business/government acceptance of this technology.

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Mobile Security

by Ajinkya Patil on June 28, 2013

In today’s world everyone just loves their nifty devices. People use smartphones for communication, tools and also as a means of planning and organizing their work and private life.

Statistics say “Four of Five employees use their personal device at work, which makes them productive & happy”. Here are some more surprising stats.

  • Percentage of Americans who use their personal mobile device for work:  81%
  • Percentage who allow others to borrow their devices: 46%
  • Percentage who store work email passwords on their phones: 35% 
  • Percentage who haven’t activated their auto-lock feature: 37%
  • Amount of BYOD activity that is going unmanaged: 80%
  • Increase in employee productivity when using mobile apps: 45%
  • Increase in mobile device malware detection across all platforms in one year: 155%

 The statistics come from GartnerOvum, IBM, VerticFlurryMagic Software, Motorola and Harris Poll. Hopefully these stats will help you make effective decision of managing mobile devices.

 Threats to Mobile devices are:

  • Theft—the biggest risk always comes from user not from the technology. A mobile device left unsecured not looked after carrying personal and business falls into the wrong hands leads to data leak. Loss or theft of device is possible as it is handy. 
  • Rogue Apps —nowadays there are apps for everything freely available on market viz. Android play store and Apple app store. Malicious apps uploaded in application market working as spyware or malware and stealing the data can be a concern. Some example being the Droid dream group of malware app developers uploaded 50 apps on android market, later they were removed by Google kill switch. However, risk of rogue apps stealing data remains, until they are identified and removed.

Another example is use mobile components with Zeus banking Trojan on windows phone that would hide and read SMS’s for transactions using OTP (One-time-password). 

  • Vulnerabilities —Most of smartphones, tablets use android now-a-days. However, maximum numbers of devices use the old versions exposing them to known vulnerabilities. Upgrading to latest version is important because in case of Droid dream malware it did not affect latest version of android. Statistics below show that maximum android users are still running android Gingerbread.

Source – developer.android.com

Mobile devices have become new vector to gain authorized access to corporate data. We need to manage the devices effectively to avoid compromise of corporate data using these devices. Briefly by:

mobile management

Managing access—access to corporate systems/applications from mobile device (e.g. Email) needs to be traced i.e. devices connected should be visible on a console or logged. On-device security is most important if it is connecting to corporate systems.

Managing Apps—if business allows using business and personal apps the devices should be scanned to remove malicious apps to avoid data theft.

Managing lost or stolen devices—it should be possible to remote wipe and track the device from web console.

Mobile devices are not just a trend anymore. It’s here to stay and the demand for it will only grow stronger. BYOD can offer tons of benefits if implemented and managed properly.

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Doctor iPad

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Business Email on Employee-Owned Smart Phones

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Earlier this week I was sent a question asking if we had seen any best practices for policies regarding email access on personal smart phones not owned by the company. The best practices are similar to what you would find in acceptable use policies for VPN access or corporate smart phone access, but they also [...]

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