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New App Grades Facebook Apps on Privacy


By Tony Bradley, PCWorld

When someone plays Zynga’s Words with Friends on Facebook they obviously expect to share that experience with whichever Facebook contact they play against. However, by authorizing Words with Friends–or other Facebook apps–users might be sharing much more than they’re aware of.

Facebook is a social network. By definition, the point of being on Facebook at all is to share with others. However, people like to choose which information to share, and who to share it with–they’re funny that way. Apps that collect or share information without the explicit consent of the user are shady, and infringe on the privacy users expect.

Some app developers do a much better job than others at protecting user privacy.Jim Brock, founder and CEO of PrivacyChoice, explains in a blog post, “Facebook doesn’t control or enforce app privacy practices, so it’s up to users to know the privacy risk

To help users help themselves PrivacyChoice has launched PrivacyScore–a privacy report card that grades Facebook apps on how well they respect the user’s privacy. PrivacyScore is a Facebook app as well. You simply type in the name of the app you want to check, and PrivacyScore will return a grade between 1 and 100. The PrivacyScore rating considers a variety of factors, including the privacy policies of the app vendor, and how the app handles personal data.

Don’t bother trying to get a grade on PrivacyScore itself. The PrivacyChoice started out indexing and rating the most popular apps, and does not have comprehensive coverage of all Facebook apps. Its FAQ claims that it is continuing to expand its app coverage.

via New App Grades Facebook Apps on Privacy | PCWorld Business Center.

Facebook gears up to announce ‘life-saving’ tool


Computerworld – Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is taking to the network news Tuesday to announce a new tool that is supposed to have the power to save lives.

ABC News announced Monday that reporter Robin Roberts will interview Zuckerberg about the new tool on Good Morning America Tuesday morning. The interview will be conducted in the social network’s new offices in Menlo Park, Calif.

Facebook declined to say what the new tool will do or what it will be called.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg also will get in on the press rounds and will talk about the new tool with Diane Sawyer on ABC’s World News program. According to ABC, Sandberg will talk about the personal stories that led Facebook to release the new tool.

Snippets from both interviews will be aired on Nightline and ABCnews.com.

While Facebook has not revealed what the tool will do, Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, said the social network is in the perfect position to come up with something really helpful.

“Facebook has location info, so it knows where you are,” Kerravala said. “It also knows who you are and who is in your network, including family. With that kind of information, they could build an applet that allows you to broadcast emergency messages through Facebook.”

That kind of

via Facebook gears up to announce ‘life-saving’ tool – Computerworld.

Analysis: Microsoft Moves To End iPad’s Free Ride On Windows

April 30, 2012 Leave a comment

By Kevin McLaughlin, CRN
April 27, 2012    7:51 PM ET

Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT) believes the iPads and Android tablets its customers are using to access Windows desktops using virtual desktop infrastructure are under-licensed, and its new Windows 8 Companion Device License aims to plug this loophole.

“When you look at the number of iPad devices in the enterprise that are basically accessing and running Windows 7, using and getting the value of the software, there wasn’t a monetization of that for us that was associated with those things,” Ross Brown, vice president of solution partners and independent software vendors in Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Group, told CRN earlier this week.

Microsoft’s unveiling of the CDL did not go over well, as some partners and customers interpreted it as a naked attempt to slow the iPad’s march into the enterprise — understandable since Microsoft isn’t requiring it for Windows RT tablets — while others predicted it would put a damper on VDI business.

Most surprising, though, was that some people interpreted the CDL as some sort of new, hardball tactic on Microsoft’s part. Truth be told, Microsoft has always had a skittish view toward VDI, and has always been unapologetic about its Windows licensing terms.

For example, Microsoft does not offer its hosting partnersa Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA) for Windows 7, but partners can offer desktops-as-a-service using Windows Server and Remote Desktop Services.

Microsoft partners can sell hosted Windows 7 desktop-as-a-service through VDI as long as the end customer has an existing licensing agreement with Microsoft. However, partners must also have dedicated physical hosts for each customer, and this extra hurdle negates multi-tenancy and essentially renders this option moot.

What’s ironic about the hubbub over the CDL is that it actually represents a sort of compromise on Microsoft’s part. And that’s unusual, because the words “compromise” and “Windows” usually don’t occur in any conversation about Microsoft licensing.

Here’s the situation Microsoft faces: Under its current VDI licensing terms, customers who use devices not covered by Software Assurance — like iPads, thin clients, and contractor or employee-owned PCs — must buy the Virtual Desktop Access license subscription, which costs $100 per device annually.

But according to virtualization experts, many Microsoft customers are not adhering to the VDA requirement — some willingly, others because they simply don’t realize it is required.

“The complexity of licensing with respect to VDI is now such that Microsoft has effectively made it impossible for any enterprise IT manager to ensure compliance,” said Simon Bramfitt, founder and research director at Entelechy Associates, a Concord, Calif.-based virtualization consultancy.

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Analysis: Microsoft Moves To End iPad’s Free Ride On Windows

April 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

Microsoft has no mechanism in place to remotely track whether or not they are in compliance, but some customers could be looking at much higher licensing costs if they were to face an audit.

“There are many organizations out there that have deployed VDI and do not understand the licensing, and they are all out of compliance,” said Mike Strohl, president of Entisys, a Concord, Calif.-based solution provider. “They’re not thinking about iPads and smartphones and all the extra endpoints.”

The CDL could clear things up, partners say, as it gives customers the right to access corporate desktops through VDI on up to four personally owned devices. Microsoft has not said how much the CDL will cost, but customers with large numbers of VDI-equipped iPads are obviously going to be fine with the CDL if it costs less than the VDA.

The alternative for Microsoft would be to stage mass audits of customers that use VDI with tablets to ensure compliance with the VDA. Such a move would likely be a PR disaster for Microsoft, though — one that would make the recent uproar over the CDL look tame by comparison.

Jon Roskill, Microsoft’s vice president of worldwide partner sales and marketing, told CRN earlier this week that the company will rely on customers to do the right thing. “Our whole software licensing methodology is based on trust and will continue to be,” he said.

There is no doubt that Microsoft is favoring Windows RT tablets by not requiring the CDL, but this isn’t part of a strategy to keep Appleout of the enterprise: Microsoft just

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

wants to get paid. Partners want Microsoft to get paid, too, and no one is advocating that Microsoft give Windows away for free.

According to one solution provider with nationwide reach, the issue is not whether Microsoft has a right to monetize Windows VDI more aggressively; it is the impact on the channel of having to learn yet another licensing option.

“What is getting to organizations is the layers and layers of licensing: The Remote Desktop Services CAL, the VDI Suite, and the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack. All of these are on top of VDA and CDL licensing,” said the source, who requested anonymity.

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Most IT, security pros see Anonymous as serious threat

April 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Anonymous Español: Anonymous

Anonymous Español: Anonymous (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Lucian Constantin

April 23, 2012 10:12 AM ET

IDG News Service – The majority of IT and security professionals believe that Anonymous and hacktivists are among the groups that are most likely to attack their organizations during the next six months, according to the results of a survey sponsored by security vendor Bit9.

Sixty-four percent of the nearly 2,000 IT professionals who participated in Bit9’s 2012 Cyber Security Survey believe that their companies will suffer a cyberattack during the next six months and sixty-one percent of them chose hacktivists as the likely attackers.

Respondents had the option to select up to three groups of attackers who they believe are most likely to target their organizations. The choices were Anonymous/hacktivists, cybercriminals, nation states, corporate competitors and disgruntled employees.

Anonymous was chosen by the largest number of IT professionals overall, but there were some differences based on the type of organization. For example, nation states was the top choice for people working in the government sector, while those working in retail selected cybercriminals as the top threat.

According to Verizon’s 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report, hacktivists stole the largest quantity of data in 2011, but they were responsible for only 3 percent of the total number of breaches.

Respondents choosing hacktivists as a more likely source of cyberattacks than cybercriminals is similar to how most people fear flying more than driving, even though, statistically speaking, it’s far more likely for someone to be involved in a car accident than in a plane crash, said Bit9 chief technology officer Harry Sverdlove.

The truth is that you are less likely to be attacked by Anonymous or hacktivists — depending on what public statements you make — than to be attacked by a cybercriminal enterprise or a nation state, he said.

Despite considering Anonymous the top threat, when selecting the method of attack they are most worried about, 45 percent of respondents chose malware, which is generally associated with cybercrime rather than hacktivism.

Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) and SQL injection, two attack types most commonly favored by hacktivists, worried only 11 percent and 6 percent of respondents, respectively.

Sverdlove believes that the reason why most IT professionals fear attacks from Anonymous is the bad publicity such attacks generate. If you’re attacked by Anonymous the world is going to know because the announcement will be on Pastebin in 24 hours, whereas if you’re attacked by cybercriminals, people might never find out, he said.

Despite this, almost 95 percent of respondents feel that data breaches should be disclosed to customers and the public. Forty-eight percent believe that companies should disclose the breach occurrence as well as what was stolen, while an additional 29 percent believe that companies should also disclose how the breach occurred.

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Most IT, security pros see Anonymous as serious threat

April 30, 2012 1 comment

Over half of those surveyed, 54 percent, believe that the most important machines in their business environment are the infrastructure servers. Forty-eight percent selected file and database servers, 46 percent selected Web and application servers and 45 percent chose email servers. Multiple choices were allowed.

When asked on which business machines they believe their cybersecurity protections to be most effective, the surveyed IT professionals chose them in a similar order. Forty percent believe their cybersecurity is strongest on infrastructure servers and only 26 percent believe it’s strongest on endpoint machines.

Sverdlove thinks that respondents over-evaluated the strength of cybersecurity on their Web and database servers. As validated by a recent report from Hewlett-Packard, a lot of companies are far more vulnerable on their servers than IT professionals realize, he said.

HP’s 2011 Top Cyber Security Risks Report, which was published on Wednesday, said that 86 percent of Web applications used by businesses are vulnerable to some type of injection attack that can be exploited by hackers to access internal databases.

More than half of IT professionals who participated in Bit9’s survey believe that implementing best security practices and better security policies can have the biggest impact on the strength of an organization’s cybersecurity. Only 15 percent of respondents felt that better technology will have a better impact and only 6 percent favored government regulation over other actions

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