Articles filed under Technology

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  • Banks record callers’ voiceprints to fight fraud Oct 13, 2014 6:07 PM
    “This call may be monitored.” You hear it every time you phone your bank about a lost credit card or an unexpected charge. You may realize your bank is recording you, but did you know it could be taking your biometric data, too? An Associated Press investigation has found that two of America’s biggest retail banks — JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Wells Fargo & Co. — are quietly recording the biometric details of some callers’ voices to weed out fraud. The technology, sometimes called voiceprinting, is aimed at bad guys rather than legitimate customers, but legal and privacy experts alike still have reservations about the practice. “Reducing fraud is a good thing,” said Jay Stanley, an analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union. But he warned that “we can’t anticipate what bright new uses this database will be put to in the future.” Blacklists help banks by alerting them to repeat calls from clever crooks who try to break into people’s accounts armed with personal data gleaned from credit bureau reports or stolen in high-profile cyberattacks like the ones which have rocked Target and other major U.S. retailers. Mark Lazar, a vice president at Verint Systems Inc., said that when combined with other fraud detection techniques, voice biometric blacklists were effectively blocking the bad guys from banks’ call centers. “Within a few months we see a 90 percent reduction in the types of calls these fraudsters are making,” he said. The technology is winning converts fast. Avivah Litan, an analyst with technology research firm Gartner, estimates that by next year, 25 major U.S. call centers will be using some form of voiceprint technology, a five-fold increase over last year. As it stands, seven major American financial institutions are already using blacklists or have run pilots, said Shirley Inscoe, an analyst with the Aite Group, a research and advisory firm. Inscoe declined to identify the institutions, but said they largely saw them as a quiet and effective way of dealing with fraud. “It’s in the background. It doesn’t affect the call in any way,” said Inscoe. “Nobody even knows it’s happening.” Many governments and businesses use voiceprinting openly. A recent AP survey of 10 leading voice biometric vendors found that more than 65 million people worldwide have had their voiceprints taken, and that several banks, including Barclays PLC in Britain and Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp, are in the process of introducing their customers to the technology. But fighting fraud happens more discreetly. One person familiar with Verint’s deployment said that the company’s technology has been at work at Chase’s credit card arm since last year, when Verint’s predecessor, Victrio, was helping screen roughly 1 million calls a month. Two people familiar with how the technology is being used at Wells Fargo said the San Francisco-based bank struck a deal for a similar voice biometric blacklist provided by Israel-based NICE Systems Ltd. NICE and Verint declined to comment on their customers. Chase and Wells Fargo declined to comment in any detail on their fraud prevention strategies. Chase spokeswoman Patricia Wexler said the company was “exploring many types of biometric authentication,” but did not use voice biometric technology with customers. She declined to say whether the company was using the technology to screen calls for suspected criminals. At Wells Fargo, spokeswoman Natalie M. Brown said “... sharing any information about our fraud prevention measures would jeopardize their effectiveness.” Banks may run into trouble when they deploy voice biometric technology secretly, legal experts say. That’s because some states, such as Illinois and Texas, restrict the collection or sharing of biometric data. A confidential company memo obtained by the AP provides some insight into companies’ attempts to build legal cover for their work. The document, dated Aug. 1, 2013, lays out NICE’s plans for the creation of a blacklist shared across a consortium of different companies. It carries advice from NICE to U.S. banks suggesting that they deal with issues of consent by changing the traditional message at the beginning of each call to say: “This call may be monitored, recorded and processed for quality assurance and fraud prevention purposes.” “Creating a voiceprint from the call falls under ‘processing,”’ the memo explains. “Sharing the voiceprints within the consortium is for the purposes of fraud prevention.” Tech and privacy lawyer David Klein, the managing partner of New York-based Klein Moynihan Turco, said he had doubts about whether playing a canned message to callers counted as getting consent to gather biometric data. “It’s at best a passive, assumed consent that they’re obtaining from the calling party,” he said. It isn’t clear that banks are using the suggested language. A recent call to Chase’s credit card support number was met with a recorded message saying: “This call will be monitored or recorded.” Nearly identical language played during a call to a Wells Fargo number. Neither Wells Fargo nor Chase responded to questions specifically addressing the legality of their voice harvesting. NICE confirmed that the memo was genuine. It said the purpose was merely to suggest new language for telephone calls and did not constitute legal advice. Industry observers said that, regardless of the legal issues, few would raise a fuss over the collection of biometric information from suspected criminals. Banks “truly are trying to protect legitimate customers,” said Inscoe. She said the blacklists had to be seen in the context of organized gangs that call banks repetitively to try to break into accounts. The ACLU’s Stanley said he understood the anti-fraud argument but worried about where the technology could lead. “Collection of information about people always starts with narrow purposes that nobody objects to,” he said. “But then it broadens from there and that’s where the trouble can start.”

     
  • Study: Teens use voice search most, even in bathroom Oct 14, 2014 9:10 AM
    For teens, voice search comes as naturally as checking social media and they're getting very creative about how (and where) they use it.

     
  • Mobile revolution shakes up Silicon Valley Oct 12, 2014 7:33 AM
    Smartphones, tablets and other gadgets aren’t just changing the way we live and work. They are shaking up Silicon Valley’s balance of power and splitting up businesses. Long-established companies such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and eBay Inc. are scrambling to regain their footing to better compete against mobile-savvy trendsetters like Apple and Google, as well as rising technology stars that have built businesses around “cloud computing.”

     
  • U.S. investigators expand kid predator-catching app Oct 12, 2014 8:07 AM
    An iPhone app designed to enlist the public’s help to catch fugitive and unknown suspected child predators led law enforcement officials to a suspect less than 36 hours after it became available. A year later, they are hoping to greatly expand their reach by making the app available in Android and Spanish versions, officials announced.

     
  • Leases, loans make it possible for you to go solar Oct 12, 2014 7:11 AM
    A new financing offering could make home solar cheaper and more attractive to homeowners, and keep the adoption of home solar growing. The offer, announced by SolarCity this week, is a loan that allows homeowners to install their own solar system on their roof for little or no money down, and pay less for electricity. Previous plans, while popular, turned off some because the solar company owned the system.

     
  • Review: Stir Kinetic smart desk makes you stand up Oct 11, 2014 7:31 AM
    The Stir Kinetic is probably the world’s first “smart” desk. It has a built-in touch screen, so you can see this either as a desk with a smartphone in it or a smartphone with a desk attached. Stir was founded by a former Apple engineer, making it sort of like the Nest thermostat of desks.

     
  • Review: What the leading map apps can do for you Oct 11, 2014 7:32 AM
    Many people use smartphone apps to map their drive to dinner or find a less-congested route to work. But did you know that you can use them for public transit, too? You can even access some maps offline, when you have a spotty connection or are in the subway. Here’s a look at what leading free map apps can do for you, whatever mode of transportation you choose.

     
  • Report: Teens are officially over Facebook Oct 11, 2014 7:33 AM
    Since children are the future, and no one over 21 really knows what they find “cool,” researchers have devoted many, many surveys to the exact quantification of what it is #teens do online. In May 2013, they were fleeing Facebook’s “drama.” A year later, they flocked back to the network like lil’ lost sheep. Now, a pretty dramatic new report out from Piper Jaffray — an investment bank with a sizable research arm — rules that the kids are over Facebook once and for all, having fled Mark Zuckerberg’s parent-flooded shores for the more forgiving embraces of Twitter and Instagram. Between fall 2014 and spring 2014, when Piper Jaffray last conducted this survey, Facebook use among teenagers aged 13 to 19 plummeted from 72 percent to 45 percent. In other words, less than half of the teenagers surveyed said “yes” when asked if they use Facebook. (A note: There’s no spring data available for the “no networks” option, which is why that spot is blank.) Surveys of this type are, of course, a dime a dozen, and teen whims are as volatile as Twitter’s trending hashtags. That said, Piper Jaffray’s research is pretty thorough: It surveyed a national group of 7,200 students and accounted for variables like gender and household income. Among the survey’s other findings: Kids love Apple products above any other consumer tech brand, though only a sliver — 16 percent — were interested in the iWatch. They overwhelmingly predicted that, by 2019, they’d watch all their movies on Netflix. They’re cooling on Pandora radio, which has seen a host of streaming apps and other competitors crop up in the past five years. Alas, none of this helps explain why teens like the things they do, a question as old and impenetrable as time. Both research and anecdote would suggest, of course, that it has something to do with the presence of adults on the site, as well as the typically high-school plagues of oversharing and infighting. The recent rise of anonymous social apps — things like Whisper and Yik Yak, which is dominated by college students — would also seem to suggest a youthful wish to escape the confines and responsibilities of a fixed online identity. (Facebook certainly seems to worry that’s the case: On Tuesday The New York Times reported that the website was working on an anonymous, stand-alone messaging app of its own.) That should perhaps worry parents, of both the helicopter and cool-Dad variety: You can’t really interact with — or “check up on” — your kids on Whisper the way you do on ye olde FB. (Whisper users don’t have friends and go on under pseudonymous usernames, which, arguably, is the app’s main draw.) Facebook needn’t panic, though. Even if its namesake platform is now totally passe, the kids still love Instagram — so Zuck wins, either way.

     
  • Tech firms cast a wide, and virtual, net for talent Oct 11, 2014 7:36 AM
    At cybersecurity software startup Invincea, some of the developers building the company’s key products never enter its Fairfax, Va., office. They’re not outsourced talent. Instead, they’re full-time employees who work from home offices, wherever they already are. A 50-inch screen in Invincea’s “developer’s bullpen” in Fairfax projects camera feeds of each programmer, grouped in a Google Hangout, a kind of group video-chat. They chime in from Chicago; Ann Arbor, Mich.; San Francisco; Boston; and Blacksburg, Va. “It’s almost like they’re virtually in the same room,” said Chris Greamo, Invincea’s vice president of research. “Email is used, but even more commonly ... folks can chat back and forth.” In the past year, Invincea has responded to the fierce competition for tech talent in the region by hiring four full-time developers who remain outside the Washington area. The 35-person company sells software to federal organizations such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Invincea is hardly alone in casting a wide net. More tech companies are expanding their talent search beyond their region, according to Sandrine Ennis, president and founder of the tech talent staffing firm Talentstream. They are creating what’s known as a distributed workforce, using software to connect geographically disparate employees in real-time. At Invincea, employees use several Web services such as Google’s instant messaging service to communicate, GitLab to manage code repositories, and Confluence, an application that helps teams collaborate on tasks. “These are tools we’d probably have available to our workforce independently, but we just make more use of them during the day with the distributed workforce than we probably would otherwise,” Greamo said. As it struggled to find local tech talent over the past year, Invincea opted not to outsource core software development to another company, although it does outsource tasks such as setting up data center hosting for certain projects, he said. “I think a way to foster passion is for folks to have ownership in the company they’re helping to build. All of our [employees] have some sort of equity ownership in the company, whether they work in D.C. or remotely.” Still, there can be an undesirable effect on camaraderie. “There’s a dynamic that you get when you have folks sitting together — whether it’s the fact that they go to lunch together ... or they go to happy hour or those types of things,” Greamo said. The tech talent crunch extends beyond Washington. San Francisco-based tech company Buffer, which develops an app to let people share pages on social media websites, embraced the idea of a distributed workforce because of the competition for talent in that area. The setup is now part of the company’s permanent corporate structure. Buffer’s entire team — about 25 employees — is scattered throughout the United States, Britain, Asia and Africa, prompting one employee to build an app to keep track of the employees’ time zones. Though the company is officially headquartered in San Francisco, where just a few employees work, chief technical officer Sunil Sadasivan is in Washington, where his wife is completing a one-year internship. He has rented a desk at the Canvas co-working space in the city. “Not all the best engineers are out in San Francisco; they’re all over the world, really,” he said. The entire team meets three times a year during 10-day trips paid for by Buffer. The company hires developers initially on 45-day trial contracts and takes them on full-time if they seem to be a cultural fit. About 70 percent of candidates make it past this trial period. “There are some really key nuances to how people communicate [online] and how that comes across,” Sadasivan said. “Positivity is our first value — so if an email or interaction on [instant messaging system] HipChat comes across as negative, those things are very easy to pinpoint and flag.” Sadasivan said the model has proved to be a draw for potential employees who don’t want to relocate, giving them the flexibility to work from home on their own schedules. But he added that as the team grows, Buffer may need to rethink its communication protocol. “For the most part, we’ve been one monolithic team,” he said. “Now we’re breaking it into smaller and smaller teams ... so you [might] communicate with your small team of three to four people, and being in sync there might be more key” than being in sync with the larger group.

     
  • Stopping Web villains: Cyber attackers have upper hand Oct 11, 2014 7:34 AM
    Every week we hear of a new breach. The recent cyberattacks against JPMorgan Chase not only gave hackers access to tens of millions of emails and home addresses of its customers, but may have been aimed at trying to disrupt Wall Street. Home Depot, Target and other merchants recently have been hit and chief executives have moved cybersecurity to the top of their agenda, according to speakers at The Washington Post’s Cybersecurity Summit on Oct. 1.

     
  • Bionic hands mimic human control with added sensation of touch Oct 11, 2014 7:44 AM
    New advances in prosthetic devices are allowing people with artificial hands to tell when they’re holding something without even looking, and pluck a stem from a cherry without bursting it, two studies have shown. Different groups in the United States and Europe Wednesday reported key breakthroughs in connecting healthy nerves to a prosthesis, giving patients whose hands or arms have been amputated better control of the devices and, for the first time, returning at least some of the sensation of touch. In one study, U.S. surgeons connected electrodes to nerves in a man’s forearm that were stimulated when someone placed something in his bionic hand. The procedure allowed the patient to tell when he was touching something without having to see it. In the other report, Swedish scientists surgically connected a titanium rod to existing bone, nerves and muscles in an undamaged part of the arm, then ran wires through the prosthesis helping the patient control its use more precisely. “What is fascinating about this is the perception of touch actually occurs in the brain, not in the hand itself,” said Dustin Tyler, an associate professor of biomedical engineering at Case Western Research University in Cleveland, who led the U.S. effort. “Losing the limb is just losing the switch that turns that sensation on or off.” Both results were reported Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine. Igor Spectic, 48, said he vividly remembers the first time he felt his right hand again, two years after it was amputated following an industrial accident. Researchers working to craft his prosthetic pulled a curtain to limit his view and then placed a large, hard block into his palm. “I hadn’t felt anything other than pain for two years,” he said by telephone. The new sense of feeling “was amazing. It felt like my hand was actually working, that I didn’t have a prosthetic. That’s how close to reality it was for me.” The new hand allows Spectic to perform routine tasks in a laboratory without serious thought or concentration, he said, including picking up and drinking from a flimsy water bottle without squirting it all over or plucking stems from a cherry without bursting it. The most unexpected benefit was the end of his phantom pain, which he said often felt as if he was fiercely clenching his fist. “That was a bonus they didn’t anticipate,” he said. When researchers vary the intensity, frequency and location of the stimulation, it allows Spectic to pick up the signals for different fabrics such as burlap and cotton, textures like sandpaper, and motion such as a pulse or water running across his hand. There remain several steps ahead. For now, the sensors on his prosthetic arm are taped to the outside of the device, making it impossible to use at home. The researchers are working on an integrated system that would be sturdy enough for routine use. The sensors also can’t yet distinguish between textures, so Spectic only feels unique sensations beyond a tingling or pressure when the researchers deliver the stimulation. The Swedish scientists, meanwhile, developed a fully integrated robotic arm. Their patient, identified only as Magnus, has used the device at home and work for the past year, even sleeping with it attached. The tight connections allow Magnus, a truck driver, to have more precise, natural control over the arm. He can tie his children’s shoes, catch a ball out of the air and even crack an egg on command, according to their report in the journal. Using his old electric prosthesis, an egg or ball would fly out of his hand if he moved too quickly or extended his arm too far. “The major contribution of our work is we have this interface that allows implanted electrodes to become clinically viable,” said Max Ortiz Catalan, a research scientist at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. “Patients can take them home and use their prosthesis for their activities of daily living. We know it’s reliable and long- term,” he said in a telephone interview. Ortiz Catalan is planning a larger study of the devices, currently used only for Magnus, next year. The Cleveland researchers already are working with another amputee and companies to try to devise a prosthetic that incorporates the sensors into the device itself.

     
  • Cyberattacks trigger talk of ‘hacking back’ Oct 11, 2014 7:35 AM
    The recent rash of cyberattacks on major U.S. companies has highlighted the scant options available to the victims, who often can do little more than hunker down, endure the bad publicity and harden their defenses in hopes of thwarting the next assault. But behind the scenes, talk among company officials increasingly turns to an idea once considered so reckless that few would admit to even considering it: Going on the offensive. Or, in the parlance of cybersecurity consultants, “hacking back.”

     
  • The first challenge of a start-up contest: Sorting through buzzwords Oct 11, 2014 7:45 AM
    WASHINGTON -- The ambitions of the entrepreneurs are stuffed into a 170-page Google doc. They want to stop cyberbullying, curb unemployment, lower tuition costs and limit student debt. They want to make it easier to compost and eliminate energy waste, change the way immigrants send money home and moderate police misconduct. “One hundred seventy pages?” says the woman whose job it is to sort through these hopes. Donna Harris, co-founder of a District of Columbia incubator for up-and-coming tech companies, is sitting in a conference room, Diet Coke in hand. Along with providing space and mentoring for young businesses in Washington, 1776 runs an international start-up competition each year. The winner -- chosen during May after rounds of city- and country-level events -- gets a $150,000 investment from 1776, a swath of outside financial help and connections in the industries they hope to work with. Translation: what every entrepreneur wants. By the time all the applications come in (to keep it manageable, cities have different deadlines), Harris and her co-founder, Evan Burfield, will have looked over plans for more than 8,000 companies. On this Thursday in October, they’re starting with just the ones who applied in the D.C. area. “Just” 170 pages of info, from which they will pick 36 companies worthy of making it to the next round. The ideas ranged from a watch that measures a person’s UV intake from the sun to a mentoring system for entry-level teachers. Each company falls into one of four categories: energy, health, cities and, first up in the vetting, education. Harris’s reading glasses go on. The lights go off. Brittany Heyd, the incubator’s director of strategy, uses her laptop to project the document full of applications onto a wall covered in white-board paint. “. . . pioneering next generation content . . . “ “. . . It’s intuitively interactive . . . “ “. . . the Netflix for Impact Careers . . . “ “. . . embedded connectivity solutions . . . “ “What does that mean?” Harris asks. “What do they even do?” Burfield says. “Umm . . . “ “Is there a ‘how it works page?’ “ This is the biggest challenge facing people who want to launch their company further than a website and donations from their mom: Can they explain what they want to do? For the majority, the answer is no. Instead, their pitches are full of buzzwords such as “innovative,” “cutting-edge” and “game-changing.” It makes Harris cringe. Burfield occasionally yells at the proposals: “BUT TELL US WHAT YOU DO!” In some way, they can blame the buzzword-heavy proposals on reality shows such as “Shark Tank” with Mark Cuban during which the focus is on the investments. All the hard work that goes into developing the companies isn’t the focus -- it’s convincing viewers that they too can fix the world’s social ills and make money at the same time. “There’s a certain glamorizing that goes on on these shows and in movies such as ‘The Social Network’ about the start of Facebook,” Harris says, noting that now “it’s Hollywood to talk about” start-ups. That’s why its easy for 1776 to quickly eliminate companies from the competition. If the business hasn’t been thought through, or if it is already being done, it’s not worth letting them compete. “Edbacker is up next,” Heyd says. “We know them, they’re a 1776 member.” Harris and Burfield don’t automatically accept the companies that they work with on a regular basis, but some of those entrepreneurs are better equipped to explain what they do. The words projected on the whiteboard read: “Edbacker is the [online] funding platform for schools. “Purpose: To help schools get funded for everything from small classroom science projects to large scale facilities projects -- all to the benefit of children. “Who it’s for: Parents, teachers, administrators, students, community leaders, PTAs, PTOs, and others looking for an all-in-one school fundraising solution.” This is the kind of idea that it takes, Harris explains. “It has to be understandable, and it has to be compelling.” They reminisce about past ideas that didn’t win but caught their attention: a fuzzy polar bear that changes colors and emotions to tell you if you’re using energy responsibly, an app that made women in India more comfortable to ride in taxi-like sidecars, a phone charger powered through the sole of your shoe. Another test: The business has to be “highly scalable.” The winner of the Challenge Cup might start out as a small business, but the goal is to be a global, multimillion-dollar company. “To get there, you have to be almost delusionally self-confident and incredibly humble at the same time” Burfield says. That was the formula for last year’s Challenge Cup winner, HandUp, a company that aims to revolutionize the process of giving money to the homeless. Burfield and Harris are confident that there’s a company out there just as deserving of this year’s win. But for now, they’re digging for gems in a digital folder of rocks. “. . . a very intuitive way to explore . . . “ “. . . equally revolutionary way to integrate . . . “ Harris’s Diet Coke is almost empty now. “Here we go, again . . . “

     
  • Watson says ‘Hola’ as IBM teaches languages ‘Jeopardy!’ champ Oct 11, 2014 7:43 AM
    To help commercialize the technology famous for beating humans on the “Jeopardy!” game show, new languages such as Portuguese and Japanese are being added to IBM's Watson analytics service this year, said Stephen Gold, vice president of the Watson Group business.

     
  • Data breach at JPMorgan reveals rare growth market for insurers Oct 11, 2014 7:44 AM
    Insurers flush with capital are rushing to grab part of an expanding cyber coverage market that’s been spurred on by high-profile hackings at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Home Depot. Sales are set to double this year from about $1 billion in 2013, according to Bob Parisi, head of the network security and privacy practice at Marsh, the insurance brokerage arm of Marsh & McLennan Cos. The policies can protect companies against lost revenue, lawsuits or even damage to their reputation or brand. “There is a lot of capital looking to find a home,” said Rick Welsh, head of cyber coverage at Aegis London, which sells policies through Lloyd’s of London, the world’s oldest insurance market. “They now see cyber insurance as a once-in-a generation opportunity that is set for growth.” Demand for coverage has accelerated after some of the largest companies in the U.S. revealed that they’d fallen victim to cyber hackers. JPMorgan last week outlined the scope of a previously disclosed data breach, revealing that 76 million households and 7 million small businesses had been affected. Home Depot said in September that a breach put about 56 million payment cards at risk. The number of cyber security incidents globally has soared 48 percent to 42.8 million this year, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey. The average loss for a large company rose to $5.9 million from $3.9 million in 2013. The prevalence of attacks, even at banks with some of the most sophisticated network security, means more work needs to be done to mitigate cyber risk, said Paul Tiao, a partner at Hunton & Williams LLP and former adviser to the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “This is one of the biggest national-security challenges that we have,” Tiao said Thursday during a panel discussion sponsored by the Financial Services Roundtable in Washington. “We have to work together.” Carriers including American International Group, Travelers, XL Groupand Lloyd’s insurers like Aegis and Brit Plc are underwriting policies. Competition helped keep prices flat, even as some claims climb into the tens of millions of dollars, said Marsh’s Parisi. Insurers “wouldn’t be chasing after this risk if they didn’t think they could write it profitably,” he said. U.S. property-casualty insurers accumulated a record surplus after gains on investment portfolios and two years of calm hurricane seasons. That’s heightened their appetite to add cyber-insurance customers, especially among the small-and medium-sized businesses that hadn’t previously purchased the coverage. “They are equally aware of their own vulnerabilities,” said Michael Tanenbaum, senior vice president of professional risk at Ace Ltd. The insurer has seen the number of cyber policies it sells to those businesses rise 60 percent annually for almost four years, he said. Welsh and Ben Maidment, class underwriter of cyber and privacy risk at Brit, said the JPMorgan and Home Depot breaches alerted more executives to the risks. Target Corp.’s board ousted Chief Executive Officer Gregg Steinhafel in May in the wake of a hacker attack that compromised the personal data of millions of shoppers. “We have barely scratched the surface,” Maidment said. “There is growth potential, so naturally more capital is being put to work.” As sales have increased, insurers have added staff and services. Travelers hired former employees of the FBI to help its clients manage risk. AIG and Ace also provide advice on security. Tom Ridge, the first U.S. Homeland Security chief under President George W. Bush, teamed up with Lloyd’s of London to offer cyber insurance. AIG has been offering the coverage since 1999, said Tracie Grella, the New York-based insurer’s global head of professional liability. Sales have increased about 30 percent annually for the past couple years, and are on track to jump about that much in 2014, she said. She said many of the claims AIG receives are tied to human error, such as lost laptop computers, rather than organized attacks. “The hackers are very good, and there are sophisticated attacks out there, but attacks are really happening because of human error,” she said. “It’s really about the human element.”

     
  • App reviews: SwiftKey, Sleep Cycle Oct 11, 2014 7:42 AM
    One of the best updates to the latest version of Apple’s operating system is the ability to use third-party keyboards such as SwiftKey, which gives users different options for typing on the iPhone.

     
  • Chairish launches new app to find used home furnishings Oct 11, 2014 7:41 AM
    Last year, Chairish (“Buy. Sell. Adore.”) decided to fill what it saw as a void by building a curated marketplace for high-quality used home furnishings. This year, it launched an app.

     
  • Nielsen finds errors in TV ratings Oct 10, 2014 8:53 PM
    Previous discrepancies weren’t large enough to reveal the error, which executives of New York-based Nielsen said on a call were minuscule for the vast majority of shows.“What we saw as we went into fall season with new lineup is a difference between affiliate ratings and network ratings we could not explain,” Pat McDonough, Nielsen’s senior vice president of planning policy and analysis, said.

     
  • New app Dash allows you to pay at restaurants without waiting; new experience store opens Oct 9, 2014 2:28 PM
    Kukec's eBuzz column features the new Dash app that allows you to go into select restaurants in the city and suburbs and pay via your smartphone without waiting to sign the bill. More suburban venues are expected to be added soon

     
  • FTC: AT&T to pay $105M for bogus phone charges Oct 8, 2014 4:32 PM
    AT&T wireless customers may want to take a closer look at their old phone bills because they may have money coming back to them. The Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday that AT&T Mobility LLC, a subsidiary of the telecom giant, has agreed to a hefty $105 million settlement after the government accused the company of unlawfully billing customers for hundreds of millions of dollars in bogus charges — a practice known as cramming.

     
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