Posts

Epic Games just gave a perk for folks to turn on 2FA; every other big company should, too

Let’s talk a bit about security.

Most internet users around the world are pretty crap at it, but there are basic tools that companies have, and users can enable, to make their accounts, and lives, a little bit more hacker-proof.

One of these — two-factor authentication — just got a big boost from Epic Games, the maker of what is currently The Most Popular Game In The World: Fortnite.

Epic is already getting a ton of great press for what amounts to very little effort.

The company is giving users a new emote (the victory dance you’ve seen emulated in airports, playgrounds and parks by kids and tweens around the world) to anyone who turns on two-factor authentication. It’s one small (dance) step for Epic, but one giant leap for securing their users’ accounts.

The thing is any big company could do this (looking at you Microsoft, Apple, Alphabet and any other company with a huge user base).

Apparently the perk of not getting hacked isn’t enough for most users, but if you give anyone the equivalent of a free dance, they’ll likely flock to turn on the feature.

It’s not that two-factor authentication is a panacea for all security woes, but it does make life harder for hackers. Two-factor authentication works on codes, basically tokens, that are either sent via text or through an over-the-air authenticator (OTA). Text messaging is a pretty crap way to secure things, because the codes can be intercepted, but OTAs — like Google Authenticator or Authy — are sent via https (pretty much bulletproof, but requiring an app to use).

So using SMS-based two-factor authentication is better than nothing, but it’s not Fort Knox (however, these days, even Fort Knox probably isn’t Fort Knox when it comes to security).

Still, anything that makes things harder for crimes of opportunity can help ease the security burden for companies large and small, and the consumers and customers that love them (or at least are forced to pay and use them).

I’m not sure what form the perk could or should take. Maybe it’s the promise of a free e-book or a free download or an opportunity to have a live chat with the celebrity, influencer or athlete of a user’s choice. Whatever it is, there’re clearly something that businesses could do to encourage greater adoption.

Self-preservation isn’t cutting it. Maybe an emote will do the trick.


Apple – TechCrunch

Apple To Appeal Injunction In US E-Book Antitrust Case: “The iBookstore Gave Customers More Choice”

apple-ebook-price-fixing

Update: Apple says that it plans to appeal the final judgment that was issued earlier today in a U.S. District Court over antitrust practices in e-book pricing, saying it “did not conspire to fix e-book pricing.” The judge in the case, Denise Cote, included restrictions in how Apple could deal with publishers for the next five years, and ordered the appointment of special compliance auditors to make sure it followed the orders of the injunction.

In a statement to TechCrunch, Apple said the following: “Apple did not conspire to fix ebook pricing. The iBookstore gave customers more choice and injected much-needed innovation and competition into the market. Apple will pursue an appeal of the injunction.”

The remarks by Apple set the stage for yet more fractious exchanges, and come as the courts also prepare to set fines for past infringements by Apple which could total hundreds of millions of dollars.

Original story with background on the judgement below:

Apple’s long-running antitrust case over e-book pricing is finally coming to a conclusion, with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York releasing its final judgment in the case, also embedded below. As expected, Judge Denise Cote is imposing various rules on the company that will curtail its power to influence pricing with publishers, by imposing restrictions on how it can negotiate with publishers. This is an important development in the e-book market overall, given that the iPad and iPhone maker accounts for some 20% of sales of e-books, by its own estimation.

In the lead-up to today, Apple was already expressing its opposition with the ruling, saying the court was out just to “inflict punishment.” And that is before we even know the damages in the case, which will not be named until May 2014 and could extend to the hundreds of millions of dollars.

We have reached out to Apple for a response to today’s ruling, and we’ll update this story as we learn more. In the meantime, here are some of the main requirements as detailed in today’s ruling, listed in the document under “prohibited conduct””

– To keep Apple from having too strong a hand in how e-books are priced in the future, Apple has been barred from making special retail pricing deals with publishers — called “most favored nation” clauses, or to enforce any existing MFN deals. Along with this, it’s not allowed to make deals with publishers that will impact how those publishers price books with other distributors who by definition would compete against Apple.

– Apple will have to wait between two and four years to make direct deals with publishers in the future. These are being spaced out and will run as follows: Between Apple and Hachette, 24 months after the date of the judgement; Harper Collins, 30 months; Simon & Schuster, 36 months; Penguin, 42 months; and Macmillan, 48 months.

– Bully clause…. Apple is specifically ordered to “not retaliate against or punish, threaten to retaliate against or punish, or urge another person to threaten to retaliate against or punish any e-book publisher for refusing to enter into an agreement with Apple relating to the sale of e-books or for the terms on which the e-book publisher sells e-books through any other e-book retailer.” This is one that specifically aims at how Apple tried to leverage its relationships with publishers specifically to compete against the likes of Amazon and other booksellers who may have offered e-books at discounts.

– Chinese walls: Apple may not communicate with other publishers about the terms of its negotiations.

– E-book/apps parity: Apple is ordered to treat e-books like apps, subject to the same rules for pricing. That also means when Apple changes its T&C’s for apps, they will also apply to e-books.

– Apple as informant: Apple will have 10-day deadlines to turn over information that “reasonably suggests” that e-book publishers are violating any of these rules.

In a section called “Antitrust Compliance,” the court orders Apple to get its audit committee to an Antitrust Compliance Officer, whose full-time job will be to make sure Apple follows the above orders. That will involve, among other things, making sure employees will report violations as well as watching out for and reporting on them himself. There will also be a court-appointed External Compliance Monitor.

One place where Apple has had a bit of leeway here is in the length of how long this injunction will last. Originally it was going to be for a term of 10 years but has now been cut down to five. We’ll see if Apple chooses to appeal it anyway.

View this document on Scribd


TechCrunch » apple

Susan Kare’s early Mac icons gave computers a personality (photos) – CNET


CNET

Susan Kare's early Mac icons gave computers a personality (photos)
CNET
Millions of people around the world are familiar with the artwork of Susan Kare, but few would be able to connect that name with Apple's early computer icons. The would-be pioneer of pixel-level art had originally intended to become a studio arts

and more »

Read more

Eric Schmidt: ‘Steve Jobs Gave The Best Performance By A CEO In 50 Years’ – TechCrunch

In a conversation with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said that Steve Jobs is probably the best CEO in the past 50 years, maybe 100 years. He said of Jobs: Steve Jobs gave the best performance by a CEO in 50 years …
Read more