Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Facebook completes transition to HTTPS secure browsing by default

107356207 520x245 Facebook completes transition to HTTPS secure browsing by default

Facebook announced today that it is completing the implemention of secure HTTPS browsing for all users. The news comes two years after the company added the feature.

46444 10151722699217200 639719992 n Facebook completes transition to HTTPS secure browsing by default

The company revealed that a third of its users opted in to the feature after it was first introduced. Now, all traffic to Facebook’s website and 80 percent of all going to the mobile optimized version will use a secure connection. The service uses Transport Layer Security (TLS), or Secure Socket Layer (SSL), to protect the connection.

Interestingly, adoption of secure browsing had been growing since 2011. The company said that the rate had reached 35 percent organically before Facebook began switching users over.

1097983 10151722726837200 1170533493 n Facebook completes transition to HTTPS secure browsing by default

While Facebook has switched over to HTTPS by default, it still has more features in the works. The company plans to launch 2048-bit RSA keys, which Google recently began implementing, elliptic curve cryptography, ECDHE key exchange, certificate pinning and HTTP Strict TransportSecurity this fall.

For those interested in the gritty details of transitioning more than 1 billion users to HTTPS, Facebook Security Infrastructure software engineer Scott Renfro has more specifics in his post.

Image Credit: JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images

from The Next Web Feed

YouTube Sensation 'Kickalicious' Impresses at NFL Training Camp


The trick-kicking exploits of one Havard Rugland — better known to the Internet as "Kickalicious" — took him from his native Norway all the way to Detroit for a successful NFL tryout in April

Now the man who just one year ago knew next to nothing about American football is apparently killing it in his first training camp

As of Wednesday morning, Rugland was 11-for-11 on field goals kicked in scrimmage situations at the Detroit Lions' pre-season camp, including a booming 58-yarder that turned plenty of heads, according to an Associated Press report on his progress Read more...

More about Nfl, Entertainment, and Sports

from Mashable

Don't Cross Streams With This 'My Little Pony' Proton Pack


In the Ghostbusters universe, proton packs are weapons used to help weaken and capture pesky ghosts. While this My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic-themed iteration won't banish unwanted specters, it's proof that friendship is magic

Judson Hudson built the proton pack for a friend who loves to cosplay both Ghostbusters and Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony — and he built it almost entirely from scratch, a process that took nearly a year

The sheer level of pink involved means that the exterior differs from any proton pack you've probably ever seen, and it also comes complete with a custom sound kit. Normally, proton packs hum. This one features Pinkie Pie giggling. The Ghostbusters sound is also replaced by Pinkie Pie's "Smile Song." Read more...

More about Video, Entertainment, Diy, Ghostbusters, and Watercooler

from Mashable

Zynga's Threatened At Least One “… With Friends” Startup Before, And It Went Nowhere (So Far)

zynga with friends

The news broke this morning that Zynga is suing the makers of the Bang With Friends app for allegedly infringing its With Friends trademark.

There’s been plenty of media discussion about the case (I was particularly amused by Will Oremus’ suggestion that Zynga has become “the Lindsay Lohan of Silicon Valley startups“), but one thing that I haven’t seen mentioned is the fact that Zynga has tried to stop other companies from using “With Friends” names in the past. Specifically, its lawyers sent a letter earlier this year to a startup called Apartment 7 saying that it had to change the name of its CupidWithFriends dating website, and that it had until May 24 to comply.

Well, May 24 has come and gone, and today’s news reminded me to check in with Apartment 7 co-founder Jared Tame. CupidWithFriends is still up and running, and Tame told me:

We didn’t hear back from Zynga. We told them no and it’s been a little over 2 months now. We mentioned in our response that their non-response would signal a mutual agreement that we would not enter the gaming space and they would not further pursue legal action against us.

Back in May, I reached out to Zynga and Bang With Friends, because it seemed like any complaints that Zynga had with CupidWithFriends would apply to Bang With Friends too, but neither company commented.

Now it seems that they were already discussing the issue. Zynga’s lawsuit, which I’ve embedded below, doesn’t offer a specific timeline about communication between the two companies, but it does say that after “significant” efforts by Zynga to get in touch with the Bang With Friends’ then-anonymous founders, “Defendant engaged in discussions with Zynga about changing the name from ‘Bang With Friends’.” However, it says those discussions were either “a ploy” or that Bang With Friends has reconsidered.

The lawsuit also acknowledges that Bang With Friends isn’t the only company that Zynga has taken legal action against:

Zynga has diligently policed its rights in the WITH FRIENDS Family of Marks against such would-be infringers, including through the use of cease-and-desist letters, by instituting opposition proceedings with the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (“USPTO”) Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, by direct outreach to infringers, and through other means.

So why is Zynga suing one company but not the other? Well, a Zynga spokesperson declined to comment on Cupid With Friends, and Bang With Friends hasn’t responded to my request for comment either. One obvious difference is that Bang With Friends is much better-known — in fact, the lawsuit cites several examples where the press compared Bang With Friends to Zynga’s With Friends family of games. Plus, in contrast to Tame’s statement that he has no intention to go into gaming, Zynga’s suit suggests that Bang With Friends has more competitive plans:

In the weeks since [May], Defendant’s plan to expand its infringing activities aggressively was revealed by a person identified as a “Bang With Friends” investor. To Zynga’s great surprise, this investor stated that Defendant intends “to go from ‘Bang’ to ‘Hang’ to ‘Tennis’ to ‘Games’ to other activities.”

Business Insider noted that Zynga was granted the “With Friends” trademark in relation to “computer game software” and “entertainment services” in June of this year (it already had the trademark on specific titles like Words With Friends), so I suppose there could be more legal action in the works.

Zynga v Bang With Friends by TechCrunch

from TechCrunch

NSA Responds To New Reports On Top-Secret Spying Program, XKeyscore


The National Security Agency thinks we have been misled by The Guardian‘s report of a new tool, XKeyscore, that allows agents to read the content of email and private social media chatter.

“Allegations of widespread, unchecked analyst access to NSA collection data are simply not true,” reads a press release issued by the agency today. “Access to XKEYSCORE, as well as all of NSA’s analytic tools, is limited to only those personnel who require access for their assigned tasks.”

Earlier today, The Guardian released details about the previously top-secret surveillance tool, which reportedly allows authorized analysts to search the name, date, and content of internet communications (picture above). The Guardian argues that this power requires no warrant and was given to scores of analysts, such as their informant, Edward Snowden.

“Our tools have stringent oversight and compliance mechanisms built in at several levels,” continues the report. “Not every analyst can perform every function, and no analyst can operate freely. Every search by an NSA analyst is fully auditable, to ensure that they are proper and within the law.”

However, outspoken critic and Senate Intelligence Committee member Ron Wyden implied that the executive branch has been dishonest in its reporting. After the White House declassified the order requiring Verizon to hand over telephone meta-data, Wyden issued this statement:

“The newly declassified briefing documents released today show that the executive branch repeatedly made inaccurate statements to Congress about the value and effectiveness of the bulk email records collection program that was carried out under the USA PATRIOT Act until 2011. These statements had the effect of misleading members of Congress about the usefulness of this program.”

So, should we believe the NSA? If you trust them.

from TechCrunch Doubles Mobile Packs, Adds Design Templates For Design-Challenged Developers

salesforce is doubling the mobile packs it makes available, adding design templates for developers and a feature for syncing data.

It’s all part of an effort for Salesforce to help clients use its platform to build apps that foster productivity during those hundreds of, what the company calls, “micro-moments” that we face every day. Yes — if it smells like marketing, it usually is. But there is some meat on the bones of this new release even if it is packaged with that trademark Salesforce spin. Here are a few of the highlights.

First, Salesforce is making available four new app frameworks in its mobile pack: Knockout.jsAppery.ioSencha Touch and Xamarin. All are well-known app frameworks in the developer community.

The company is also offering new templates for the design-challenged developers. More than 20 open source HTML5/CSS templates are available that connect with customer data in Salesforce through the mobile packs.

Salesforce is also launching sample mobile design templates for developers to try:

A new syncing feature is part of the company’s Mobile 2.0 SDK release, allowing developers to sync offline data they have created when they go back online: is pushing this concept of the micro-moment so expect to hear more about it from them in the coming months. I can see it now — CEO Marc Benioff, onstage at Dreamforce, pacing in his usual way, talking about all the apps for those micro-moments in your life. That’s fine with me as long as they keep adding substance behind the marketing message.

from TechCrunch

Is Sandra Bullock's 'Gravity' Plot Plausible? We Asked an Astronaut


Newly released trailers for the film Gravity provide an anxiety-inducing look at what might happen if an astronaut were stranded in outer space. Watching Sandra Bullock's character tumble out to the abyss had us wondering: What would really happen?

Instead of taking Hollywood's word for it (or waiting for the movie release), we asked an actual astronaut for his opinion.

Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

More about Video, Movie, Gravity, Astronaut, and Sandra Bullock

from Mashable

Yahoo Acquires Lexity, An Ecommerce Service for Small Businesses

Founded by a former Yahoo search and advertising executive, the startup is Marissa Mayer's 19th purchase for the tech giant.

from Entrepreneur

Investors See Opportunities in Bitcoin's High-Risk Market

A recent panel of angel investors, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs discussed why the cryptocurrency could be a transformative technology.

from Entrepreneur