In what was a mind-boggling series of events in real time, one Associated Press hack and a false tweet about the White House sent the stock market into a momentary free fall. Twitter hopes to stop intrusions like that in the future by introducing a two-factor authentication process, Wired has learned. When this offering will be available to users is unknown.
The company has been working on this at least since we talked to them in November, and became more apparent when it was seeking to hire engineers with specific experience with login security. Why has it taken so long? That’s a question that only Twitter can answer.
Google rolled out its two-factor authentication offering in 2011, but Microsoft only just introduced their own last week. Making additional authentication steps mandatory for all users is a non-starter, since any friction standing between a social service and engagement would be a nightmare.
Having said that, this type of authentication is something that every verified account on Twitter should have had long ago. When Twitter verifies an account, it’s saying that it’s gone through some type of procedure to approve that the person or entity is who they say they are. Keeping that integrity safe is essential to the entire concept.
In Twitter’s defense, a two-factor authentication for accounts that might be used by multiple parties in multiple locations, such as in the AP’s case, could be a hard problem to solve. In Google’s two-step process, as well as Facebook’s, you’re sent a text message with a code to enter when logging into your account from an un-authenticated device:
How something like that will work for an account managed by multiple people is a head-scratcher.
Until two-factor authentication rolls out, it’s smart to be vigilant when it comes to clicking on unknown links, and it’s always a good idea to change your password from time to time. Word of advice, though: Don’t make your password something like “APm@rketing.” That could get hacked at any time, no matter who you are, but especially if you’re the Associated Press.
[Photo credit: Flickr]
Go here to read the rest: Twitter Is Testing Two-Factor Authentication Internally, And It Can’t Come Soon Enough
After my panel on Friday at SXSW, Paul Underwood of Deloitte and Will Lovegrove, CEO of Datownia, approached me to talk about their companies. Their viewpoints demonstrate the direction of enterprise app development and the shift to a developer-centric IT world.
Datownia’s spreadsheet-based API platform and the scale of Deloitte’s internal apps marketplace represent two trends: Datownia shows the types of tools that are emerging to solve the he complex and intricate nature of building and connecting apps; Deloitte points to the need for ways to share and organize the rush of apps that enterprise developers are creating at unprecedented rates.
Datownia offers what it calls an API-as-a-Service. It turns a spreadsheet into an API by connecting it through Box or Dropbox and then connecting it to the Datownia platform. Once created, business data or IT systems data can be shared through the spreadsheet and accessed by any number of developers.
Deloitte has built its own “App Center,” which offers 146 apps, said Underwood, who works in the Office of Technology Innovation:
We use a common RESTful web service architecture and two HTML5 front ends (one for phones one for tablets/pc). The HTML5 front ends are embedded into native containers for iOS, Android, BB, and Windows Phone (similar to PhoneGap, but our own implementation). App Center’s UI follows an Single Page App pattern which allows us to embed the UI into the container and provide as native an experience as possible.
As companies build more apps, the value of PaaS will become apparent. Companies will not build tens of thousands of apps internally on an IT infrastructure meant for email, Word docs and old-school mission-critical apps. It’s likely they will use PaaS providers either externally, internally or both to create new apps and atomize the systems of record, such as SAP for business software or Salesforce for CRM. Those PaaS providers will then push those apps to an internal marketplace or the any number of external ones out there.
For Deloitte, the app store is a way to extend influence inside and outside the company, Underwood said. Apps are delivered in a variety of methodologies. It’s a mix of internally developed apps, vendor-produced, white label, and hybrid ones made by Deloitte and different vendors.
Deloitte is so large and there are so many teams with mobile initiatives that its difficult to conceptualize of a standardized delivery model being successful. Personally, I’ve seen the best apps come from hybrid vendor-internal teams. Vendor management is becoming an increasingly critical skill for our mobile enterprise initiatives. One of the major reasons we built App Center was after realizing the explosion of enterprise app development underway at Deloitte, we needed a place to discover what was being done and better define what excellence in mobile enterprise means. An ugly pointless app on a public app store erodes our brand. App Center brings apps to the light of day, both the good and the bad. Ultimately we hope this openness drives quality.
The influence of an intensive developer-centric model gives weight to PaaS. For example, Deloitte is adding more PaaS offerings in addition to App Center to support the various member firm goals, Underwood said. “
I think the model is changing the value prop for IT in our complex corporate structure. We may have differing opinions on what PaaS means, but that topic deserves its own email.”
Abstracting the hardware of internal and external infrastructures has allowed Engine Yard, a PaaS provider, to put its platform behind the walls of a corporate data center. Oracle recently made an investment in Engine Yard, providing the IT giant with a service it can pop into a customer’s infrastructure.
As more apps get developed, complexities in the workflow is an issue that PaaS providers can help solve. Moving data from data stores or between apps is often a manual task. Datownia’s service abstracts the issues that developers have had in passing information between developers, IT and business users. But it does not solve the lack of common data standards around APIs. I caught up with John Musser of Programmable Web fame here at SXSW on Saturday. Musser said that it will be some time before we see open data standards, so in the meantime there will be smaller steps to take. REST-based APIs and JSON are examples of this.
But in the end, developers need easier ways to connect data sources so apps can have more depth. Datownia offers a way to sync data, which can make it easier to build out the apps users need. PaaS providers can serve as a data-”normalizing” environment so these new types of apps can be built. App stores are a natural fit and should become far more complex as evident in just the initial manifestations of Deloitte’s homegrown app store.
We’ll see how fast the demand is for internal app stores. As they do become more common, you can expect that the PaaS market will play a vital role and help fulfill the promise of turning the enterprise into a developer-centric environment.
See original here: How App Stores Can Become A Catalyst For A Developer-Focused IT Universe
Google hosted the second edition of its exclusive TED-like “Solve for X” gathering last week and today, the company posted some of the videos from the event. Just like last year, the point of Solve for X 2013 was to hear about moonshot ideas – the kind of proposals that, as Google puts it, “address a huge problem, suggest a radical solution that could work, and use some form of breakthrough technology to make it happen.”
Last year, our own Sarah Perez covered the launch of the updated website, which at that time didn’t include any of the new videos and features Google announced today.
In their blog post today, Solve for X hosts Megan Smith and Astro Teller write that these moonshot ideas “aim to make something 10x better, not just 10 percent,” and Google wants to celebrate the audacity of the moonshot attempt itself. This year, Solve for X featured the likes of Flaminia Catteruccia, who suggested a shift “in our approach to stopping the spread of Malaria” and Keith Black, who proposed a simple eye exam to diagnose Alzheimer’s 20 years before symptoms appear. The most science fiction-like proposal of this year’s crop probably came from Peter Diamandis’ and Eric Anderson’s asteroid mining company Planetary Resources.
Because of this, Google also updated the SolveForX.com website to turn it into a forum to encourage this kind of moonshot thinking. Anybody can now submit an idea. Google will review these ideas (which should be submitted in video form) and will post them to the site within about 48 hours.
Google also partnered with a number of other organizations, including X PRIZE, GE FOCUS FORWARD, TED, MIT Technology Review, Singularity University, and ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination to cross-promote their videos on its own Solve for X site.
See the original post here: Google Posts Videos From Its Latest TED-Like “Solve For X” Event, Opens Up User Submissions
If you can do basic subtraction, you might just be more math-savvy than a lot U.S. college students. A new research paper looks at the mathematical prowess of the roughly 50 percent of community college students in remedial math and finds our national math IQ lacking [DOC]. Below are a few questions that a disturbing number of students could not answer:
The researchers argue that since much of math education is blindly following formulas, students are incapable of tracking problems only slightly different than ones they’ve encountered.
If you think that a functioning democracy and 21st century economy depends on a populus comfortable in basic algebra, then this is a frightening statistic. Some have argued (and I agree) that the majority of innovation comes from the top percentile of students, so our mathematical clumsiness won’t mean we’ll all be speaking Chinese in a generation. But, with statistics an increasing part of the democratic process, as citizens, we should all be worried.
[Image Credit: The Far Side]
See the original post: A Few Math Questions That US College Students Can’t Answer
Modria is boldly proclaiming to be “the Fairness Engine for the Internet”, as it launches its online dispute resolution platform to the public.
The premise behind Modria is simple – it’s geared towards helping businesses and organizations settle disputes swiftly and openly, with all parties involved invited to the table.
The building blocks of Modria is the tech used to solve disputes on eBay and PayPal…indeed, Modria was founded by two former execs from the e-commerce giants, and is backed by funding from Esther Dyson, Mitch Kapor, Battery Ventures and Advanced Technology Ventures.
With the launch today, the original platform that was used to solve hundreds of millions of money-based disputes has been rebuilt and opened to any enterprise or government agency.
Modria’s engine is built on conflict resolution research, and taps the knowledge of legal experts. The platform flags and diagnoses customer issues and subsequently drives the negotiation, mediation and arbitration before complaints escalate into a public spat.
Its so-called Diagnosis module collects and organizes all the relevant information about the issue and suggests solutions. The Negotiation module then distills points of contention and enables those involved to talk things through, while it’s also recorded for posterity.
If the parties can’t negotiate their way to a resolution, the Mediation module brings in an impartial third party to clarify issues and run through options. If no mutual agreement can be reached, parties can request a third-party arbitrator to examine the facts and help arrive at a decision.
Along the entire process, users can engage in discussions and submit assets such as text files, PDFs and videos supporting their arguments.
The ultimate goal of Modria, it seems, is to avoid costly court cases.
“Modria is a software custom-built for the age of the always-on economy,” says Colin Rule, founder and CEO of Modria “When so much brand equity rides on a good customer experience, it’s crucial to give everyone a fair hearing and find a fair solution, fast. It’s the foundation for trust. We give customer support teams and legal departments a turnkey solution to resolve customer issues to keep their costs down and turn complaints into opportunities. Our research shows a Fairness Engine can boost customer purchases by almost 20 percent.”
Rule helped build one of the first such conflict resolution systems during his eight years as the Director of Online Dispute Resolution for eBay and PayPal.
“Complaints and disputes are a fact of life in the networked economy, from online marketplaces to online banking,” he added. “They happen hundreds of millions of times a year. What has been missing is a solution that solves these disputes. Modria’s Fairness Engine solves this problem with a transparent and human process. It’s the first step toward a future in which companies and customers around the world settle their disputes amicably outside the overburdened court system.”
Feature Image Credit – Thinkstock