Hot Topics at Blackhat USA 2013

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Our government’s admitted spying activities have made this year’s blackhat conference more relevant than ever. There are several security training courses being offered at the week long event.

With more than three weeks before the course, the following sessions are already sold out:

ADVANCED C/C++ SOURCE CODE ANALYSIS
ADVANCED WINDOWS EXPLOITATION TECHNIQUES
HANDS-ON HARDWARE HACKING AND REVERSE ENGINEERING
PENTESTING SMART GRID AND SCADA WITH SAMURAISTFU
PENTESTING WITH KALI LINUX
PRACTICAL ARM EXPLOITATION
SOFTWARE DEFINED RADIO
VISUAL ANALYTICS – DELIVERING ACTIONABLE SECURITY INTELLIGENCE

From that list its apparent that mobile/wireless devices are super Continue reading

AT&T “upgraded” my iPhone just now

ATT, Carrier Settings Update: new settings required for your device have been installedToday I received an automatic update from AT&T on my iPhone. “Carrier Settings Update: new settings required for your device have been installed.

I wasn’t aware of what it was all about, but after a bit of searching I found a link on an AT&T blog.

Starting today, customers using iPhone 5 and 4S will begin receiving a software update that includes Wireless Emergency Alerts.

These are government-issued safety messages that include AMBER Alerts, emergency alerts – such as man-made or natural disasters, and Presidential alerts. – See more at: http://blogs.att.net/consumerblog/story/a7790136#sthash.SaAzBxJ0.dpuf

Wireless Emergency Alerts are part of the FCC’s CMAS program and are mandated by law. You may turn off alerts (except for Presidential alerts) if you choose. Go to Settings >Notifications>Turn On/Off.

It will allow for the President (POTUS) to send me messages. Thank you Mr. President! Apparently, I will also get reports of imminent danger and Amber alerts too.

This was friendly. Our government providing us, it’s constituents, with some potentially helpful information. It was also another reminder that through our carriers; ATT, Verizon, Sprint, etc., the government can do just about anything they want with our communication devices.

On Windows Phone Failing

Brian Hall outlines the reasons Windows Phone has been losing out to iPhone and Android, in his ReadWrite Mobile article. He covers missteps by management at the start, but midway through gets to what I think is the heart of it, referencing a 2012 study of common phone use…

Microsoft has designed a smartphone operating system that might be better, maybe even much better, for those things that Microsoft is good at – such as Word, Outlook, Xbox Play. The problem is, those do not seem to be the things that smartphone users want or need.

So, in many instances, desired apps are two clicks away from what the user wants–not good.

The Real Reason Windows Phone Is Failing

Customer Experience Rankings and Stock Market Performance

A new study shows the relationship between a customer’s experience (via Forrester Research Rankings) and financial performance in the stock market. The companies with better customer experience generally beat the S&P 500.

…executives routinely make big investments in other types of initiatives that are notorious for their vague and questionable ROIs: corporate re-brandings, advertising programs, “synergistic” mergers, and even the hiring of highly compensated, star CEOs.

It suggests a double-standard, perhaps reflecting executives’ deep-seated skepticism around the benefits associated with customer experience differentiation.

It was this dichotomy that drove Watermark Consulting to elevate the dialogue – getting executives, even for just a moment, to focus less on project-by-project justifications and more on the macro impact of customer experience excellence.

We’ve accomplished this over the years by studying the total returns for two model stock portfolios comprised of the Top 10 (“Leaders”) and Bottom 10 (“Laggards”) publicly traded companies in Forrester Research’s annual Customer Experience Index ranking.

The results of our latest analysis are in, and they are, in a word, striking…

The Watermark Consulting 2013 Customer Experience ROI Study