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Are passwords on the way out? EyeVerify uses ‘eyeprint’ security

Jan 22, 2013   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  6 Comments

by Leigh Goessl (Digital Journalist/Guest contributor)

Today people rely on passwords to protect digital information. For years, these strings of code have been the “keys” to access digital property. As 2013 arrives, will passwords be enough to protect valuable personal information?

As technology moves forward, an increased number of personal and business activities are conducted online. Many people are accessing their accounts using their mobile devices. As both mobile and use of online services grows, so does the risk of identity theft.

A technology company called EyeVerify says it has a new solution in biometrics. Biometrics are steadily moving forward as an alternate way to authenticate and access information that is widely viewed to be more secure than using passwords. EyeVerify has developed an authentication method using eye vein biometrics.

The company was launched in Jan. 2012. According to the company’s website, EyeVerify’s technology “enables mobile users to authorize transactions and access information in a manner that is secure, scalable, and convenient.”

EyeVerify aligns with the philosophy that passwords are outdated and no longer able to provide the security needed in the modern world and that biometrics will be the future method to protect valuable digital information.

The “brittleness of passwords have become painfully apparent”, CEO Toby Rush said in an email to Digital Journal, noting “Voice and facial images [are] too susceptible to being reproduced. At EyeVerify, we are using a more private biometric, and ensuring we have strong spoof detection enabled in our system.”

Digital Journal asked Mr. Rush a few other questions about the company and what it does

.Digital JournalWhat inspired you to start EyeVerify?

Toby Rush: It wasn’t hard to see trends like mobile and the consumerization of IT are influencing this new era of BYOD [Bring Your Own Device]. Personally speaking, I do more web access on my smartphone than my traditional laptop.Gartner predicts BYOD will become the top technology trend for 2013, with mobile devices surpassing PCs as the most common Web access tool. I agree. That said, I have almost 20 years of experience in mobile development, and many security protocols, especially in mobile, are horribly inefficient, exposing users to identity theft and fraud (e.g. mobile banking).

For instance, passwords, no matter how complex, are too easy to hack, not to mention that most people can’t remember them. Voice recognition can be easily compromised by external elements such as background noise, or a bad cold. And there have been increasing privacy concerns relating to the popular usage of face recognition technologies. While Iris scanning is secure and reliable, it requires extra hardware installation, which makes its implementation extremely cost prohibitive for mobile users or businesses looking for BYOD security solutions.

I discovered the core concept of ‘eyeprinting’ at the University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC) working with Dr. Reza Derakhshani and Dr. Arun Ross, both are leaders in biometric research. It was an interesting research project, and I quickly saw the potential for the mobile market and thus, EyeVerify was born.

Digital JournalHow does EyeVerify work?

Toby Rush: Similar to how fingerprints historically were the standard in identifying individuals, EyeVerify has created the first and only mobile authentication solution that leverages the uniqueness of eye vein patterns to obtain a person’s ‘eye print’.It’s as easy as a mobile user glancing left and right using a regular smartphone camera to image and then pattern match the blood vessels in the whites of the eye. Since your eyeprint has four unique points of reference in each eye, this mobile authentication becomes a stable and convenient alternative to proving you are who you say you are. And, because the authentication also requires a ‘liveness’ detection, no one can steal your eyeprint

.Goals and launch date

Currently, EyeVerify has nine employees and is growing, according to Rush. At this time, the company’s focus is on using this type of biometric authentication in conjunction with mobile devices, but “we are not restricted to that”, he added

.At this time, EyeVerify is in beta and is planning to launch commercially during the first half of 2013.

Visit this link to see a demo video on how it works.

Many forecasts have been made regarding biometrics, along with several other types of biometric initiatives. According to Government ID News, the biometrics market is expected to reach $10.02 billion by 2014.

According to Reuters, nearly 12 million Americans fell victim to identity theft in 2011. Javelin Strategy & Research conducted the study which also noted identity thieves frequently target users of smartphones and social media.

Will 2013 be the year biometrics replace passwords? What do you think?

This article originally appeared on Digital Journal [Link]

Are LinkedIn, Monster killing the recruitment industry?

Jan 16, 2013   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

by Andrew Moran (Guest contributor/Digital Journalist)

Since the growth of LinkedIn, a social networking website for people in professional job positions, many have pegged the question: is the recruiting industry dead? As the employment pool grows and the job vacancies shrink, companies rely on recruitment.

Business Insider published an article last spring that discussed how the headhunting industry, otherwise known as recruitment, was dying. Through websites such as Monster,LinkedIn and Workopolis, companies can find top talents and workers can find the best positions that suit their skills for free.

Indeed, the Internet has forced industries to evolve, while also creating a scarcity in other fields. Before the days of LinkedIn, businesses had to pay headhunters to discover the ideal worker. Nowadays, as these websites offer free services, companies can simply do it themselves without paying an exorbitant fee.

“In November 2008, in one week’s time, I lost 50 job orders. Everything just shut down. I don’t think it ever really came back, or will ever come back,” said Andrea Sobel, a former headhunter for more than two decades, in an interview with the business publication. “I think companies, in the meantime, have pretty much figured out how to do it without agencies, because of the internet mainly.”

With the unemployment rate in the United States hovering just under eight percent and an enormous phalanx of workers seeking jobs, companies may resort to recruitment agencies again in the future. 

Canon Recruiting Group, a recruitment firm for senior banking, IT, medical, insurance and technical professionals, has, perhaps surprisingly, become one of the nation’s fastest growing companies. Founded in 1980 by Tim Grayem, the California-based business has been recognized as one of the top human resources companies in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and sales have grown 584 percent during a three-year period from 2009 to 2011.T

he award-winning company, which maintains 500+ employees, notes that it specializes in hard-to-find and hard-to-fill positions, something that LinkedIn may very well lack because it has, according to its own statistics, more than 200 million registered users in 200 nations and territories.

Aside from recruiting, it also offers staffing solutions, consulting services, such as outsourcing and mergers and acquisitions, and payroll functions – it claims to have never missed a payroll in the company’s history.

For those looking for work, its website consists of a job board that lists professional employment opportunities in the U.S., such as project manager, mortgage closer, government and conventional underwriters and mechanical engineer.

Perhaps a job board is easy to search on and navigate and there is a pool of talent waiting to be tapped, but there isn’t a personalized touch, a trait that recruiting agencies are known to specialize in. Even if budgets at firms are tight, utilizing recruiting experts may pay dividends in the future with an array of professional, experienced, talented and skilled employees to carry out the necessary tasks.

As writes: “LinkedIn needs recruitment to survive. Despite views to the contrary, recruitment companies still contribute the lion’s share of its revenue. LinkedIn is undoubtedly negatively impacting parts of the recruitment market. But it’s not the third-party agencies. It’s the job boards.”

This article originally appeared on Digital Journal [Link]

Facebook unveils Graph Search, steps up battle against Google

Jan 15, 2013   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  1 Comment

by David Silverberg

Today Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed details about a new type of search engine on the popular social network, allowing users to find simple answers to questions about their friends.

If you ever wanted to know who among your friends likes Star Wars or took a photo of London, then the new Facebook Graph Search could be your go-to service.

Today Zuckerberg took the curtain off the souped-up search tool, saying it’s meant to provide users with a “precise answer” rather than a link to an answer by leveraging the data already present on its site.

Facebook says Graph Search focuses on four main areas — people, photos, places, and interests.

For instance, in the search field you can receive results on queries such as “friends who live in my city,” “people from my hometown who like hiking,” “friends of friends who have been to Yosemite National Park,” “software engineers who live in San Francisco and like skiing,” and much more.

For photos results, you can learn about “photos I like,” “photos of my family,” “photos of my friends before 1999,” “photos of my friends taken in New York,” for example.

Searching for places can yield a varied range of results, from “Indian restaurants liked by my friends from India,” to “countries my friends have visited.”

Finally in interests, users can use Graph Search to find “music my friends like,” “languages my friends speak,” “strategy games played by friends of my friends,” and “books read by CEOs,” among hundreds of other queries.

Facebook must’ve known privacy concerns would be raised with this rollout, and in a blog post the company wrote “We’ve built Graph Search from the start with privacy in mind, and it respects the privacy and audience of each piece of content on Facebook. It makes finding new things much easier, but you can only see what you could already view elsewhere on Facebook.”

Graph Search was launched today but it isn’t available immediately to all users. Go here to click on the join Waiting List button to be invited to try the service.

The new product is a direct shot at Google, the search engine leader. “Entering the search market gives Facebook the opportunity to compete with Google and Microsoft by giving advertisers a real use for all the likes and shares they collect on the site,” Washington Post writes.

“If Facebook would decide to become serious about search, it would be in a position to give Google a run for its money,” said Karsten Weide, an analyst with IDC, a financial research company, as Times of India writes.

How is Facebook looking to monetize Graph Search? “This could potentially be a business over time but for now we’re focused on user experience,” Zuckerberg says, according to Forbes.

This article was originally published on Digital Journal [Link]

Associated Press selling ads in 1.5 million-follower Twitter feed

Jan 8, 2013   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

by Andrew Moran (Digital Journalist)

The Associated Press will become the latest news organization to begin selling ads in its 1.5 million-follower main Twitter feed, the company announced. Samsung will be the first company to issue sponsored tweets.

One of the latest forms of advertising, an expansion into mobile and social media advertising, started on Jan. 7 and will end Jan. 11. It will appear twice a day this week and coincide with the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The tweets will begin with “SPONSORED TWEET” and the content will then be provided by the company, in this case Samsung, and handled by individuals that are not affiliated with the wire service newsroom.

“We are thrilled to be taking this next step in social media,” said Lou Ferrara, the AP managing editor overseeing the newsroom social media efforts, in a press release. “As an industry, we must be looking for new ways to develop revenues while providing good experiences for advertisers and consumers. At the same time, advertisers and audiences expect AP to do that without compromising its core mission of breaking news.”

The first tweet was sent Monday afternoon: “SPONSORED TWEET: Stay up to date on what’s trending live from CES 2013 at #SamsungCES.”

Other outlets have done this before, such as Slate, which sold sponsored tweets to Samsung, and various local news outlets. 

Individuals are also cashing in on Twitter advertising, including rapper Snoop Dogg, actress Tori Spelling, star Khloe Kardashian and actor Charlie Sheen.

In 2010, Twitter prohibited third-party insertions of ads into third-party Twitter applications, but sponsored tweets are permitted because they are manually posted and approved, not automated.

It may end, though, as the company has offered “Promoted Tweets” and several other advertising products.

This article originally appeared on Digital Journal [Link]

Why netbooks will soon go extinct

Jan 2, 2013   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

by David Silverberg

The short-lived era of netbook computers may soon be coming to an end. The netbook market will eventually fade away in 2013, this report from Digitimes predicts, thanks in part to manufacturers such as Asustek Compute and Acer to announce they won’t produce any netbooks in the coming year.

As the Guardian notes, Asustek and Acer were the only two companies still making netbooks, while other firms such as Dell were dipping their toes into the tablet space.

The slowdown actually began in 2010, the Guardian writes. “…early that year, sales ‘took a nosedive,’ IDC’s David Daoud told PCWorld, falling from over 2m in Q1 2010 to only just over 1.5m by the end of the year. By the fourth quarter of 2011, US netbook sales had fallen to about 750,000.”

Also to blame is our own activities and functions when it comes to computing needs, GigaOm writes. “Legacy application suites are getting replaced by a seemingly never-ending stream of smartphone and tablet applications. Cloud services for productivity and storage are the new Microsoft Office and hard drive. Touch computing is becoming the norm, not the exception, and mobile operating systems are optimized for it. Simply put: Netbooks are just another example of old-school computing and world is moving on.”

Another contributing factor to netbooks’ decline is the rise of tablets. Shipments of tablets in 2011 overtook those of netbooks – 63m against 29.4m, as the Guardian points out. Tablets can accomplish some of the tasks netbooks were designed to handle and battery life for tablets has caught up with some of the netbooks available.

Do you think netbooks will die a slow death in 2013?