News

Facebook Offering Rewards for Bug Discoveries in Oculus Rift

Posted in News on 22 August 2014
If you’re a virtual reality aficionado, there may be a way to make money from your passion.
 
Facebook is now including Oculus Rift, its virtual reality gaming glasses, in its bug bounty program. The social network doled out $2 billion last month to purchase the maker of the device: Oculus VR. Oculus Rift is expected to hit the market later this year or in early 2015.
 
Now that the Oculus Rift headsets are part of the bug bounty program, users can report bugs to Facebook for a monetary reward. Those who notify the firm of small or minor glitches will receive the minimum reward of $500. The reward increases based on the severity of the bug discovered and there is no maximum payout. Last year, the social network shelled out $1.5 million in bug bounties.
 
Facebook security engineer Neal Poole told The Verge most bugs are in Oculus’ messaging system, but he anticipates that could change when the device — Facebook’s first hardware product — goes on the market.
 
“A lot of the issues that come up with Oculus are not necessarily in the hardware yet,” Poole told The Verge. “Potentially in the future, if people were to go explore and find issues in the SDK or the hardware, that is definitely of interest to us.”
 
Oculus first gave a demonstration of the Oculus Rift prototype at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June 2012. Since then, its invention has generated a lot of interest. The company launched a Kickstarter campaign in August 2012 to further develop the product and surpassed its $250,000 goal in just four hours. It had secured more than $1 million within 36 hours and, by the time the month was up, it had managed to raise more than $2.4 million.
 
Oculus is Facebook’s second multi-billion-dollar purchase this year — it snapped up messaging app WhatsApp in February for $19 billion.
 

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Chairless Chair Geared Toward Safety, Productivity

Posted in News on 22 August 2014
Wearable Ergonomic Device Being Created
 
Have a seat without ever sitting down.
 
It sounds odd but a new product being worked on by Noonee is exactly that, a chair that is not a chair but still provides support and relieves stress on one’s body. It’s being pitched as a means to help productivity among factory workers while lessening the fatigue and stress they face each day at work.
 
Explained in a simpler way, it’s the latest ergonomic creation that could truly benefit companies and employees.
 
“It enables a completely new experience of resting your legs while moving around. Our innovation is based on robotic principles for Bio-Inspired Legged Locomotion and Actuation, and on the principles of Passive Dynamics research,” the company’s website explains. “Integrating the knowledge and insights gained from these research approaches has allowed us to overcome the weight and power constraints of wearable mechatronic systems.”
 
The Chairless Chair is lightweight and worn on the legs directing bodyweight toward the heel of the wearer’s shoes. The device itself does not touch the ground meaning users can still walk with it on but, when working in a stationary position, supports normal muscle function in the lower limbs.
 
The team behind the product says the Chairless Chair addresses not only productivity but safety concerns for companies across the globe.
 
“Safety concerns must be addressed for all groups represented in the workforce, especially those related to injuries due to awkward postures or repetitive stress,” the site says. “Such injuries result in heavy costs, including medical expenses, operations down time, workers compensation premiums and retraining. These costs are a major burden for companies and their employees and can be reduced by using adequate preventative measures.”
 
The patent for the Chairless Chair is still pending.
 

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Instagram Gives Businesses Needed Tools

Posted in News on 22 August 2014

Advertisers Can Track Their Work on Photosharing App

Companies that have been using Instagram can finally find out if their efforts have been paying off.
 
While it has been nearly a year since the Facebook-owned app introduced advertising, those companies taking advantage of the photo-sharing network have never been able to track their impact to see if users have been paying attention. Until now.
 
“We’ve heard from brands that having more insight into how people engage with and respond to their photos and videos is an important part of evolving creatively,” Instagram posted on its blog Wednesday. “We’re excited to announce that over the coming weeks and months, we’ll begin rolling out a new suite of tools to help brands better understand the performance of their paid and organic content on Instagram.”
 
This should be music to the ears of companies who have been using Instagram to reach existing and potential customers. The new ad tools, including a dashboard interface for performance tracking, allows businesses to analyze if the app is helping them reach out.
 
One of the coolest things though, as pointed out by Tech Crunch, is the ‘ad staging’ aspect where ads can be built, previewed and worked on prior to being sent out on Instagram.
 
“We’ve worked closely with several of our advertising partners to make sure these tools meet their needs. We’re now making them available to all Instagram advertisers, whose feedback will help us improve the product before releasing it to additional brands later this year,” the blog post explains.
 

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Five Ways Businesses Can Thwart Cyber-Data Attacks

Posted in Tips on 21 August 2014

You’ve probably heard about (and may have been personally affected by) the cyber-attack on Target last year, but did you know these crimes continue to occur every day?

In an era of increasing online connectivity, cyber-crime and cyber-terrorism continue to have an impact on businesses and individuals across the globe. Hackers in various countries employ their skills and software to break into company databases to obtain sensitive information about these businesses and their customers.

Data hacker targets include credit card numbers, banking information, Social Security numbers and business operational information. They use this data for various purposes, including:

  • Cybert-errorism. Individuals opposed to Western values or practices may wish to thwart the profits or aims of business or government entities and cause harm to the country as a whole.
  • Financial gain. Some cyber-criminals seek to use the financial or identifying information of their victims to obtain money for their own use or that of their employing organization.
  • Political purposes. Evidence indicates that some cyber-attacks may be linked to foreign governments who seek to gain information to use for themselves (or against the U.S.).

Regardless of their intent, cyber-criminals represent one of the most serious current security threats to business, individuals, and the government.

Recent attacks on Texas companies indicate continued vulnerability

Despite the international nature of cyber-crime, a recent data breach hit close to home when two Texas companies discovered they had been targeted:

  • Houstonian Hotel, Club and Spa. On July 8, more than 10,000 guests of the Houston luxury retreat discovered their credit card data had been snatched by cyber-criminals in amalicious software attack. The breach occurred between Dec. 28, 2013 and June 20.

After the U.S. Secret Service alerted Houstonian staff of the breach on June 10, they acted quickly to secure their customers’ information. They replaced and overhauled their existing systems, then employed a data forensics firm to assist with strengthening digital security. They also informed the affected customers by e-mail.

  • Spec’s liquor stores. One of the largest liquor store chains in Texas, Spec’s, discovered a data breach in March that occurred between Oct. 31, 2012 and March 20. According to the retailer, about five percent of customers’ transactions became exposed to hackers, including those using credit and debit cards and checks.

To help customers recover from potential harm caused by the attack, Spec’s offered potentially affected individuals free identity theft protection and credit monitoring for the coming year.

How businesses can keep their data safe

Modern businesses retain a great deal of electronic records, from customer contact and transaction information to their own financial records. To combat the increasingly sophisticated threat posed by cyber-criminals and terrorists, companies must implement new security methods, such as:

  1. Electronic access control. Building security features, such as rack-level electronic locks and RFID card readers, only authorized personnel to gain access to areas where sensitive information is kept.
  1. EMV cards. Microprocessor chips embedded within credit cards create uniquely coded transaction information with each purchase. This tool — already common in Europe and likely to become so in the U.S. — offers better security than traditional “mag stripes.”
  1. Point-to-point encryption. Also known as “end-to-end encryption,” this method uses a complicated process to encrypt credit card information from point-of-sale (POS) transactions. Data travels to a secure outside site, which prevents interception as the POS terminal transmits information to a payment processor.
  1. Securing cloud data. While information stored in the cloud is never completely safe, businesses can use techniques such as creating unique and complicated passwords, encrypting files, and using encrypted cloud services.
  1. Including mobile devices in security plans. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops are as “hackable” as desktops and other infrastructure, but many companies fail to secure these devices properly. Encryption and malware protection applications are essential for mobile devices. In addition, individuals who travel internationally for business should takemeasures to ensure authorities don’t seize their sensitive mobile data.

Fort Worth criminal attorney Jeff Hampton notes theft is a serious crime in Texas, whether it occurs virtually or in person. Businesses and individuals can protect themselves by staying abreast of the latest security trends and threats, as well as remaining cautious whenever they give sensitive information to other parties.

 

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UPS Latest U.S. Company to be Hacked

Posted in News on 21 August 2014
UPS is warning customers their private data could be in the hands of hackers after 51 U.S. stores in 24 states were breached.
 
The malware intrusions, which affected one percent of the 4,470 UPS stores in the U.S., occurred between Jan. 20 and Aug. 11. According to a UPS press release, anyone who used a debit or credit card in one of the affected stores during that time could be affected.
 
Customer information such as names, postal addresses, e-mail addresses and payment card information was all vulnerable before the IT security firm UPS hired secured the firm’s computer systems.
 
“We apologize for any inconvenience and impact this incident may have had on our customers,” the company said.
 
“At this time, we are not aware of any reports of fraud associated with the potential data compromise.”
 
UPS is notifying customers whose data could be impacted. The company is urging them to keep an eye on their account activies for discrepancies. UPS is also offering free identity protection and credit monitoring services for one year to anyone who used a credit or debit card at one of stores hit by the hackers.
 
UPS Store president Tim Davis apologized to all of his company’s customers.
 
“I understand this type of incident can be disruptive and cause frustration.  I apologize for any anxiety this may have caused our customers.  At The UPS Store the trust of our customers is of utmost importance,” he said. “As soon as we became aware of the potential malware intrusion, we deployed extensive resources to quickly address and eliminate this issue. Our customers can be assured that we have identified and fully contained the incident.”
 
Stores were affected in Arizona, California, Colorado, Conneticut, Florida, Georgie, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
 

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E-mail Security on the Rise as Yahoo and Microsoft Implement Encryption Measures

Posted in News on 21 August 2014

E-mail messages are more secure than ever before thanks to encryption implemented by webmail providers like Yahoo and Microsoft, Facebook notes in a new blog post.

Facebook, of course, noticed the change because of the massive number of notification e-mails it sends each day. The social network, in May, reported only 28.6 percent of its outbound notification e-mails were successfully encrypted and passed strict certificate validation.

10599484_1491051214468358_2086725489032706108_n“Since STARTTLS encryption requires both sides to deploy it, we encouraged others to take the next step,” reads the post. “As a result of recent changes by major providers, most notably Microsoft and Yahoo, 95 percent of our notification emails are now successfully encrypted with both Perfect Forward Secrecy and strict certificate validation.”

STARTTLS is a type of webmail encryption that uses Transport Layer Security encryption to make it more difficult to intercept e-mails.

Since the news broke late last year of the National Security Agency’s clandestine gathering of Yahoo’s data, the firm said it planned to implement 2048-bit key encryption as soon as possible.

As of March 31, traffic moving between Yahoo data centers became fully encrypted. The latest in security best practices, including supporting TLS 1.2, Perfect Forward Secrecy and a 2048-bit RSA were implemented not long after.

Yahoo has also promised its Mail service will be encrypted end-to-end sometime next year, making it compatible with the end-to-end encryption that Google has planned for Gmail. This means any e-mails sent between the two services will be completely secure. Once both Yahoo Mail and Gmail are fully encrypted, that will cover a large swath of webmail users — about 700 million. More than 425 million people use Gmail while Yahoo Mail users total about 273 million.

Microsoft also promised to go the 2048-bit key encryption route.

The firm said customer content moving between its customers and the company would be encrypted by default and all of its key platform, productivity and communications services would encrypt customer content as it moves between its data centers.

Microsoft also promised to use best-in-class industry cryptography to protect these channels, including Perfect Forward Secrecy and 2048-bit key lengths and said all of the measures would be in place by the end of 2014.

 

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Snapchat Expanding Into News, Advertisements

Posted in News on 21 August 2014
News, video clips and advertisements could all be coming to you soon, only to disappear.
 
Snapchat, the popular app for image sharing that makes the pictures disappear a short time later, is reportedly looking to expand its service to include news stories, movie clips and advertisements. Snapchat first surfaced on Android a little more than two years ago and allows users to share images with those pictures disappearing after one to 10 seconds.
 
Having grown in popularity to where, last year, the company reported 400 million picture messages were being sent each day.
 
With those numbers, it was only a matter of time before the app expanded and it will this fall, reportedly.
 
Snapchat, in recent weeks, has been meeting with advertisers and media companies, The Wall Street Journal reports. Those meetings have been about a new serviced entitled Snapchat Discovery where users will see varied content including advertisements.
 
Having advertisements appear through the service, PC Mag reported, may not sit well with users but it also marks the first time Snapchat has a guaranteed cash machine. Taco Bell and GrubHub have used SnapChat in the past to reach out to potential customers but the new plan would be the first time advertisements are included in the app’s daily routine.
 
Snapchat Discovery is slated for a fall launch.
 

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Front End/ UI Developer

Posted in Jobs on 20 August 2014
A social media company that develops apps that identifies trending content and integrates it with the person's social networks is looking for a talented Front End / UI Developer to join their team in their offices in North Dublin city.
 
You will be buidling the company's web experience using cutting end front end technologies. 
 
JavaScript is your second nature, you will have strong experience with the core staples- HTML5, CSS3, XML, Ajax etc.
 
 
What You Need
- Third level qualification in Computer Science, Mathematics or a related discipline, or relevant Front End / UI Developement experience
- 4+ years' Front End / UI Development experience
- Solid experience with JavaScript, and JavaScript libraries like jQuery (essential!!!), also YUI, DOJO etc.
- HTML5, CSS3, XML, Alax is required
- Experience with Bootstrap
- Experience integrating with API services
- Well organized with ability to multi-task
- Good knowledge of different browsers- IE, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera etc.
- Detail orientated who sweats every pixel and obsesses overy every line of code to provide an immaculate user experience. 
 

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8 tips to make yourself an office standout

Posted in Tips on 20 August 2014
You’ve started your new job and seem to be settling in nicely. You’ve put the finishing touches on your desk space, could easily ace a quiz of coworkers’ names and are long past sharing that embarrassing story at your first staff meeting. Maybe you’ve even impressed the CEO a time or two. 
 
While there’s good reason to celebrate that you’re excelling in your current role, now’s not the time to rest on your laurels. Just because you’re all settled in and no longer the “newbie” doesn’t mean you have to stop proving yourself and stepping out of your comfort zone. 
 
Rocking your job responsibilities is key, but let’s face it, it’s no longer enough in today’s working world. Everyone I know in marketing and PR, particularly my fellow young professionals, are all going above and beyond to set themselves apart, both in their respective workplaces and within a fiercely competitive industry. 
 
So, what can you do to stand out? Newbie or not, here are eights steps to help you shine among your coworkers and in a crowded field of industry pros. Following these steps is going to take some extra time and effort on your part, so start tapping into that same drive that you had during the job search process. After all, that’s what led you to where you are today. 
 
1. Get involved. Be committed to going beyond your job responsibilities to improve the company overall. Get a feel for what committees and programs your office has to offer, and see where you’d be a good fit. Even if it’s the party planning committee, getting involved shows that you’re a well-rounded individual who is invested in the workplace. 
 
2. Write for the company blog or newsletter. You wouldn’t be in this industry if you couldn’t write. Since nearly every company has a blog and newsletter nowadays, don’t let your skills go to waste. This is also a chance to share what you’ve written via your personal social media accounts. 
 
3. Take initiative on your team. Now that you’re more comfortable in your role, step up and offer to take the lead on team projects. This shows great initiative and gives you the chance to put your leadership skills on full display. This tactic also helps ease the burden on your boss and allows you to work with team members with whom you may not get to interact as often. 
 
4. Join a local professional society. Whether it’s your local PRSA chapter or niche groups focused on areas such as tech or content creation, it’s time to get involved outside of work. This is the perfect opportunity to network and take on a leadership role. Chances are others around your office are already members, too, so look to them as resources. 
 
5. Volunteer. Use your industry skills for the greater good by volunteering for a nonprofit organization, political campaign, or something similar. You never know who you’re going to meet, and it never hurts to hone your skills outside of the office. 
 
6. Choose a mentor. Many offices and professional groups have mentor programs in place, so take advantage. If this isn’t your reality, personally reach out to someone you admire around the office or industry. Sure, everyone’s busy, but keep in mind that the people you admire were once in your place and are probably more than willing to give you a few pointers over coffee. 
 
7. Be a mentor. You don’t need to be a senior staffer to serve as a mentor. Professional groups often have mentoring programs through which you can work with young professionals or high school and college students. Many times your own alma mater will invite you to do the same for current students. Don’t hesitate to pay it forward to new hires at your office, who will welcome your help in learning the ropes. 
 
8. Network. Attend professional events around town and travel to regional and national conferences whenever possible. Be proactive in seeking out these opportunities, as networking helps you with everything from getting connected to practicing the all-important elevator pitch. And don’t forget that you can also network internally through company events. The free food isn’t the only benefit to attending those! 
 

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Google Gearing Up for YouTube Supscription Music Service

Posted in News on 20 August 2014
Google’s highly rumored and much anticipated YouTube music subscription service may soon become a reality.
 
The final details of the on-demand streaming music service, dubbed YouTube Music Key, are currently being worked out, Android Police is reporting.
 
According to the report, Music Key will offer audio-only ad-free music and offline playback. Google, at the same time, will rebrand Google Play Music All Access to Google Play Music Key. Google has also already acquired the domain YouTubeMusicKey.com.
 
The cost for both services combined is $9.99 per month, although users can first give it a try with a free 30-day trial.
 
The technology titan has added more than 20 million high-quality tracks to Music Key, which include complete albums, organized into artist discographies.
 
The ad-free subscription service was originally to have launched last summer and was then put on hold until late last year. In December, however, it was announced YouTube’s music service had been further delayed.
 
Pieces of code spotted during a teardown of YouTube 5.3 by Android Police late last year revealed the service would have the following characteristics:
 
• Users will have the ability to save entire playlists for offline playback, although it looks like YouTube uploaders will be able to specify that their videos cannot be cached.
• The option to have background music playing while users utilize other apps. Offline playback and background listening will also be part of Music Pass, but may only be available to those who subscribe.
• Uninterrupted playback will mean no ads on millions of songs.

So far, there has been no indication when the new service will be launched
 

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