California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a bill making California the first state requiring smartphone kill switches enabled on new smartphones. Politicians and law enforcement hope the kill switch will help reduce the number of robberies and thefts related to smartphones, especially in metropolitan areas throughout the state. The law goes into effect after July 1, 2015.
A kill switch law was approved in Minnesota, but the California bill was different because the kill switch has to ship on mobile devices already enabled. Consumers have the choice to disable it if they choose they don't want it anymore. If the phone is stolen, the kill switch will render the device useless until a PIN or correct password is entered on the device.
"California has just put smartphone thieves on notice," said Mark Leno (D - San Francisco), bill creator. "Our efforts will effectively wipe out the incentive to steal smartphones and curb this crime of convenience, which is fueling street crime and violence within our communities."
There has been a decrease in consumer confidence when it comes to online financial transaction security, as we've all seen a large number of point-of-sale (POS) data breaches in the past year. Forty-nine percent of survey respondents said they felt vulnerable when shopping online, with 42 percent saying they would use online payment more if they were better protected, according to security firm Kaspersky Lab and B2B International.
Consumers are becoming more aware of online threats, and cyber fraud detection is an important consideration for shoppers. However, users are still not doing a good job of protecting themselves, but 60 percent of survey respondents said it's up to banks and shops alike to ensure payment information is kept secure.
"Many users still feel safer paying cash or using their bank card at a physical point-of-sale, rather than purchasing online with their computer or mobile device, and this reluctance hampers the development of the online payment market," said Ross Hogan, Kaspersky Lab global head of fraud prevention, in a press statement. "To encourage people to start using electronic payment services more actively, banks, online stores and e-pay systems need to reassure users that they are safe from cyber fraudsters."
led Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) successfully destroyed a mock enemy earlier this year, as the U.S. government looks forward to an enhanced missile defense system. The $40 billion project endured three consecutive failed tests, as Boeing struggled to hit targets. Since its launch 2001, the missile defense shield has 65 hit-to-kill out of 81 total attempts.
Boeing is struggling to create a space-like environment on Earth, which previously was explained as an "impossible" problem to overcome. The GMD system, designed to intercept ballistic missiles, wants to destroy targets when they are at the height of their trajectory - and trying to simulate how to destroy missiles more than 60 miles above the Earth's surface is extremely difficult.
"It's hard to reproduce [space-like conditions]," said Cindy Belliveau, Boeing structural dynamics engineer, in a video statement. "You have lots of different stories, and you pick the one that makes the most sense or is the most likely."
It's not uncommon to hear news of a successful cyberattack that causes financial losses and major headaches from government departments or the private sector. However, cyberattacks targeting the financial market could cause significant problems, highlighted by the large volume of attacks targeting banks, credit card companies and retailers.
Regulators and governments are uncertain how to defend against these attacks, with a global "toolbox" in the works to help identify information security procedures. Evidenced by the US Securities and Exchange Commission trying to study cyber resilience, it's going to be hard to clamp down on cyberattacks.
"The issue of cyber resilience is a bit of a sleeper issue, and one that we have to be proactive [about] in terms of making sure the risk management approach is robust," said Greg Medcraft, International Organization of Securities Commission (Iosco), told FT. "Cybercrime has a huge potential impact on markets."
Social media is a great communication method for companies to reach their customers, but has become a successful tactic by terrorist organizations trying to spread propaganda and fear.
The Islamic State was booted from Twitter, but has found success using Diaspora and other social media outlets to spread propaganda, recruit new followers, and share shocking images and statements with those curious enough to look.
"Terrorist organizations have moved their online presence to YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media outlets," said Gabriel Weimann, University of Haifa professor, in a statement to the media. "They have turned to the new media not only because counterterrorism agencies have disrupted their traditional online presence but also because the new media offers huge audiences and ease of use."
The clock is still ticking on Tizen, but Huawei boss Richard Yu thinks that Android and iOS will continue to dominate for the foreseeable future. In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Yu said that his company has no plans to use the Linux-based open-source mobile OS, an OS that is backed by companies like Intel and Samsung.
Carriers have reportedly been asking Huawei to build a Tizen-based smartphone, with Huawei considering it at one point, researching into it. The project was cancelled, as the company feels that Tizen has no chance at being successful. Yu was also asked if Huawei was thinking of building its own mobile OS, but Yu was quick to point out that it isn't hard to build an OS - using Microsoft and Windows Phone as an example - that its the ecosystem behind it that is more important, and much harder to build.
Building a Windows Phone-based smartphone isn't profitable to Huawei, as it finds it hard to convince customers to use a Windows Phone device compared to an Android device. The company has now put all of its future Windows Phone devices on hold, concentrating solely on Android. Yu is aware that Huawei is putting all of its faith, and the future of the company (as we know it now anyway) into Android, but they have no other choice. Yu added that Huawei has a strong relationship with Google.
We will meet the Galaxy Note 4 next week, where it should feature the same Synaptics Natural ID fingerprint technology that is found in Samsung's flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5. Not only that, but the Galaxy Note 4 should feature added functionality compared to the sensor featured in the S5.
SamMobile is reporting that the Galaxy Note 4 should feature two notable changes in its fingerprint sensor, with the first being the ability to control which application opens when you swipe your finger. This allows users to program a specific application to open up when they swipe their thumb, with the app opening up and displaying in front of you instantly - instead of your finger unlocking the phone, and then having to navigate to the app you were going to use anyway.
The second feature is that you will be able to save passwords and log into websites, with the new Web sign-in feature allowing you to visit sites like Amazon, Gmail and many others where your username and password have been remembered. Instead of typing in your password, you'll be able to swipe your finger on the sensor, where the browser will then enter in your credentials for you. These new features will be added to the what the Galaxy S5 is already capable of.
One of Google's most interesting new devices coming is its Project Ara, a modular smartphone. The company has announced that it has inked a deal with Rockship, a Chinese system-on-a-chip manufacturer to build a custom processor designed specifically for Project Ara.
According to project lead Paul Eremenko, the custom processor is a better fit for Project Ara, as the company wanted something more independent for its modular smartphone. Rockchip will achieve this, as it will be a solution that doesn't require a bridge chip. Eremenko has teased that his team has started the second design spiral just last month, and that Toshiba has successfully produced the first revision of a UniPro network switch and bridges last week.
Now that we're into the second design spiral, Eremenko said that we can expect a major new MDK and new developer hardware, as well as their second developers conference later in the year. Google should be showing off its new Rockchip UniPro processor in Project Ara's third design spiral, with a prototype ready to be unveiled early next year.
WhatsApp growth doesn't seem to be slowing down, with its CEO Jan Koum tweeting that the mobile messaging app has over 600 million monthly active users. The tweet from Koum wasn't just to brag about the growth of WhatsApp, but that its 600 million users are actually active, compared to its competitors.
Services such as Kik and Line only report on their registered numbers, so we don't know how popular they are at any given time. When Facebook acquired WhatsApp back in February for $19 billion, the company was edging on 500 million users. A couple of months later, in April, WhatsApp hit the 500 million mark, so it has only taken the company another four months to take in another 100 million users.
Right now, WhatsApp is free to use for the first year, and just $0.99 per year after. With 600 million monthly active users, the company isn't making much of its half-billion user base, but I'm sure we'll see that change soon when the Facebook acquisition closes later in the year.
It wasn't long ago that we were reporting that according to multiple sources, Google were in the process of acquiring Twitch in a deal worth $1 billion. But now Amazon has confirmed today that it has reached an agreement to acquire Twitch for $970 million, with the deal closing in the coming months.
Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, said: "Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month - from The International, to breaking the world record for Mario, to gaming conferences like E3. And, amazingly, Twitch is only three years old. Like Twitch, we obsess over customers and like to think differently, and we look forward to learning from them and helping them move even faster to build new services for the gaming community."
Twitch CEO Emmett Shear had the following to say: "Amazon and Twitch optimize for our customers first and are both believers in the future of gaming. Being part of Amazon will let us do even more for our community. We will be able to create tools and services faster than we could have independently. This change will mean great things for our community, and will let us bring Twitch to even more people around the world."