Google acquires audio ID startup SlickLogin

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Google acquires audio ID startup SlickLogin

Warwick Ashford Monday 17 February 2014 08:58

Google has acquired Israeli startup SlickLogin that has developed technology that enables online services to authenticate a user with sound waves.

SlickLogin confirmed the acquisition on its website but did not provide any financial details of the deal.

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Online services that use SlickLogin play a unique sound inaudible to humans over a user’s computer speakers which is picked up by the SlickLogin smartphone app and sent back to confirm identity.

SlickLogin’s technology uses a combination of protocols, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and QR to verify that a user’s smartphone is in the same location as the computer being used to access to the online service.

The technology’s creators claim it offers “military-grade” security as everything is heavily encrypted and the sound transmissions will work only with the user’s smartphone at a particular moment in time.

According to the firm’s website, SlickLogin’s three founders are recent graduates of the Israeli defence force’s elite cyber security unit, and have more than six years’ experience working on cutting-edge information security projects.

The technology can be used either as a replacement for a password or as an additional security layer to enable two-factor authentication.

Google was one of the first online firms to offer two-factor authentication to users, with several others following suit in light of several high-profile leaks of usernames and passwords.

Most two-factor authentication systems in use rely on one time pass cards sent via text message or codes generated by tokens or other special gadgets.

However, text-based systems are vulnerable because if hackers compromise accounts they can change the mobile number set to receive the codes.

SlickLogin eliminates this vulnerability and does not require users to carry around a separate gadget for generating codes as used by some UK banks.  

Some analysts expect Google to use the technology to enable two-factor authentication for Android devices and all Google services.

The acquisition is consistent with Google’s goal to enable easier, more-secure online authentication.

In October 2013, Google confirmed that it is planning a two-factor authentication token, and the firm is also a member of the  Fast IDentity Online (Fido) Alliance.

The alliance is an open industry consortium set up to develop standards for simpler, stronger authentication and recently published draft technical specifications for a new authentication protocol.

The Online Security Transaction Protocol could eliminate the use of passwords in the future by enabling the interoperability of a variety of multi-factor identity checks.

These include include biometrics, Trusted Platform Modules (TPMs), USB security tokens, embedded secure elements (eSEs) and smart cards.

 

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How to Tell if Your Phone Has Been Hacked

December 27, 2012

How to Tell if Your Phone Has Been Hacked

By natalie 7 Comments

We all know that smart devices are pretty clever these days, but does your smartphone or tablet seem to have a mind of its own? If you suspect that it does, it may be infected with malware that can access your private information, secretly control your device and even steal your money through unauthorized charges to your phone bill.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to identify if your device is being overrun by malware:

1. Notice unfamiliar charges on your phone bill? A lot of us ask this question anyway, but it’s a good idea to regularly check the charges on your phone bill. Are there small but significant charges on it that you don’t recognize? Some malware is programmed to send paid SMS messages that get charged to your phone bill and deposited into the bank account of the malware writer.

2. Is your phone acting cray-cray? If your phone starts acting crazy, strangely opening and closing apps, or sending text messages by itself, your phone might be compromised. Malware is written to secretly control your device, and malicious apps have loose permissions that allow them to control more aspects of your device than it seems.

3. Is your battery draining extremely fast? Battery drain can be exacerbated by different factors like network settings or even a totally innocent app that’s just poorly coded. But because malware apps can run constantly in the background, it is inevitable that they will run down your battery much faster than normal.

If you answered yes to some or all of these questions, you should check if your phone has malware by scanning all the apps on your phone or tablet with Lookout Security + Antivirus. You can download Lookout for free from from Google Play. Lookout will tell you if there’s an app holding your phone hostage so you can delete it and get your phone back to normal. Problem solved!

Keeping your phone safe from malware is easy if you take the right precautions when downloading apps. Follow these simple tips to keep your mobile experiences safe and sound:

1. Keep the software on your device up to date. Malware writers design their malicious apps to take advantage of weaknesses in smart devices’ operating systems. By keeping the software on your phone or tablet current, you minimize your risk of being a victim of malware.

2. Be careful around third-party app stores. In the case of mobile apps, its always best to shop the big name brands, and stick with the Google Play Store, Apple App Store, and the Amazon.com app store. If you want to minimize risk of encountering malware, don’t download from random download sites you haven’t heard of before.

3. Be careful where you click. Some malware comes embedded in drive-by-download website links that automatically download a malicious app to your device without your prior approval. Safe Browsing in Lookout Premium will warn you of malicious sites.

4. Download a mobile security app to protect you. Downloading a security app, like Lookout, that has app and link scanning capabilities will help you be safer and better protected on your mobile device.

Flurry Blog – A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A MOBILE CONSUMER

A Day in the Life of a Mobile Consumer

Posted by Simon Khalaf on Thu, Jun 13, 2013
   

The mobile revolution has been dubbed by many as the trillion dollar revolution. While it is still hard for anyone to quantify the overall economic impact of the mobile revolution, it is clear that mobile devices and apps are changing every aspect of our lives. From news consumption, to photo sharing, to gaming, to hailing a cab to depositing a check, every moment has become a mobile moment. In fact, most consumers who have a smartphone or a tablet can’t imagine their lives without these devices and apps. We have become addicted to instant gratification and the back pocket proximity of powerful computing technology.

At Flurry, we have been at the epicenter of the mobile revolution for more than five years now and today we see activity from more than 300,000 apps and three billion app sessions every day, giving us a unique vantage point into the behavior of over a billion worldwide mobile consumers.  

Today, SourceDigital13 we are sharing a peek into a day in the life of a U.S. adult mobile consumer. (We’ll blog some other parts of my keynote in future posts.) For this depiction (see chart below), we have used a random sample of 15,271 U.S. iOS users and we measured their app usage throughout the month of May, 2013. We also cut the data based on a 24-hour cycle to help understand the usage throughout an entire day.

Daytime, Nighttime and Bedtime Are All Apptime

01 primetime chart FINAL resized 600

Many conclusions can be drawn from this chart. Here are a few key observations:

  • App usage steadily increases over the course of the day and ultimately peaks in the evening (unlike TV which remains low then has a dramatic jump in the evening.) This is a big change of perspective for media planners who have been used to weighting their budgets toward evening TV. In an app-centric world, that spend could effectively be spread throughout the day given consumers are reaching for their devices consistently throughout their waking hours. 
  • Wearable computing already arrived with the smartphone. Our data confirms what many of us know from experience: smartphones, tablets and the apps installed on them appear to be glued to consumers 24/7, 365. They are with us when we wake, work, exercise, eat, play and yes, even when we sleep. We have entered the era of “wearable computing” without needing the wearable gear. Even ahead of the mainstream adoption of Google Glass or Apple’s rumored wrist device, consumers are already embracing the wearable lifestyle with smartphones and tablets. 
  • While gaming still consumes a large portion of the time spent on devices, other categories appear to be closing the gap when it comes to consumer attention. With the proliferation of social and photo sharing apps, consumers are switched on and sharing every aspect of their lives. 
  • Shopping and lifestyle apps are used around the clock. Breakfast time, lunch time, dinner time and bedtime have become shopping time.

Millennials Just Might Surprise You

We drilled further into the app usage of young adults age 25-34, a highly-desired segment for brands and advertisers. That segment of the population enjoys high disposable income and has traditionally been a prime target of CPGs, travel, entertainment and retailers.

In the next chart, we have analyzed how app usage by this group indexes against the overall population. (In this chart, 0% represents average usage across all age groups. Positive percentages reflect the degree to which app usage for the 25-34 year old age group exceeds that of iOS users in other age groups.) The results surprised us.

02 Young Adults FINAL resized 600

Given the popularity of game apps you might expect that Millennials drive that usage, but in fact they under-index for game app usage. It’s turns out that it’s the middle aged Gen X-ers who grew up with gaming consoles who are over indexing on games. Millennials also under-index on time in Utilities and News than the rest of the population. The categories in which Millennials over-index are Sports, Health and Fitness; Music, Media and Entertainment; Lifestyle and Shopping.

We then went one step further to break down gender usage within the 25-34 age group. The results are shown in the chart below.

03 MaleFemale FINAL resized 600

Females age 25-34 dramatically over index in the Sports, Health and Fitness category.  They spend over 200% more time in these apps then the rest of the population. Women gravitate toward self-improvement related apps while men gravitate toward entertainment. Males age 25-34 over index in Music, Media and Entertainment as well as Social and Photo-Sharing. They under-index in News & Magazines. Confirming some age-old stereotypes, women 25-34 also over-index in Lifestyle and Shopping in which they spend 75% more time than the rest of the population.

Even with more than a billion worldwide active devices, we are still in the very early days of the mobile consumer age. New apps and experiences are emerging daily.  In the blink of an eye, experiences such as Ubering (the new verb for ordering a cab using the popular Uber app) and Snapchatting (in reference to using SnapChat to exchange ephemeral photos and videos) have arrived in the mainstream of society and soon, we predict, the English dictionary. Just three years ago these experiences, 100% powered by our mobile devices, didn’t even exist.

Many things will change over the next few years but we predict that mobile devices will become even more a part of the fabric of society than they are today. That means marketers and advertisers need to learn how to make mobile a central part of their marketing and media plans, not just an afterthought.

Flurry Mobile Analytic Tool – HOW TO REACH AMERICA’S MOBILE MOMS.

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How To Reach America’s Mobile Moms

Posted by Mary Ellen Gordon, PhD on Tue, Jul 02, 2013  

Apps are telling – they signal our personal tastes and interests. There are probably nearly as many unique combinations of apps as there are devices, and the apps we use reveal a lot about us. Based onPersonas that Flurry has developed for its advertising clients, we are beginning a series of blog posts to shed light on different groups of smartphone and tablet users and their app usage patterns. Moms — who often control household budgets and expenditures — are considered the prime audience for many brands. So we thought, where better to start our Personas series than by examining what moms are doing with apps?

Our analysis for this post relies on iPhone, iPad, and Android app usage during May of this year for a large sample (24,985) of American-owned smartphones and tablets. Discussion of app usage is based on time those devices spent in the 300,000+ apps that use Flurry Analytics.

What Apps Do Moms Use?

Moms, like most other groups, spend a lot of smartphone and tablet time playing games. In fact, on Android, more than half of the time American Moms spent in apps was spent playing games. Similarly, on iPad moms spent about half their time in games, but on iPhone, that percentage drops to a little less than a third of their time. On iPhone, lifestyle apps capture a larger proportion of Moms’ attention (12%) than on iPad and Android devices.

As shown below, the second most popular category among moms on iPhone and Android devices is social networking. On iPad, newsstand (24%) was the second most popular category, demonstrating its strength as a screen for displaying magazine type content. 

FLR130601 Moms are gamers too 

Where Do Moms Over-Index? 

Most mobile consumers spend a large proportion of their app time in gaming and social networking apps, so what makes moms different from the other American owners of smartphones and tablets? Across iPhone, iPad, and Android, American Moms spend more time in education apps than the general population. Also, moms who own an iPhone or an Android device spend a greater share of their app time in health and fitness apps. Unsurprisingly, moms are also heavy shoppers. Android moms over-index for time spent in shopping apps, and iPhone moms over-index for time spent in catalog and lifestyle apps. (For this post, we have honored The App Store and Google Play’s systems for classifying apps. In iOS, shopping apps can fall into either the catalog or lifestyle category, whereas Android has a dedicated “shopping” category.) 

 

FLR130601 Where do moms over index

Moms Own More Tablets And Gravitate Toward iOS

Compared to other American device owners, moms are enthusiastic users of tablets. As shown below, among the general population 25% of connected mobile devices were tablets, but for moms that percentage is 35%. This could be driven by the fact that many parents use tablets for sharing games and stories with their children. 

FLR130601 Moms own more tablets

60% of the smartphones and tablets we looked at were iOS devices. (Note that this number is a function of the installed base of active devices, so does not reflect market shares from sales in recent quarters.) For American Moms, the numbers lean even further toward iOS devices. A whopping 77% of moms own iOS devices while just 23% own Android. There are at least two factors that may explain this.  First, it could be a function of Moms’ greater tablet ownership since iPad dominates the tablet market. Second, surveys show that women in general skew toward iOS devices. The key takeaway is that moms are much more likely to be found using iOS devices than Android devices. 

FLR130601 iOS beat Android

For Moms, Connected Devices Are More For Escape Than Utility

So what can we infer about American Moms based on their app usage? For one thing, it appears that they use smartphones and tablets as a refuge from their busy lives. On average, half or more of the time they spend in apps is spent on social networking and game apps. In this sense, they are not that different from other Americans, but it does show that even busy moms need to escape and socialize, and mobile devices provide a way to do that. 

Apps where American Moms spend a disproportionate share of time relative to other Americans also tell us something about their more serious side. Those apps tend to be improvement-oriented: education and health and fitness, for example. Moms are using their devices to help them achieve personal goals and possibly to educate their children. 

We hope this post gives brands and developers a better idea of where the coveted American Mom is most likely to be during mobile time, and what is capturing their attention. App developers can tap into this valuable group by building experiences that give moms an escape from their hectic day-to-day routine, keep them socially connected, and help them improve different aspects of their lives. Media planners who want to reach American Moms should continue to buy ad inventory in gaming, news / magazine, and social networking apps, and to weight their budgets toward iOS apps.