3G BlackBerry for AT&T May Take Longer to Ripen

Research In Motion has delayed the release of its 3G BlackBerry for AT&T from June to August, according to reports. The postponement may be due to testing of the new device.

A June launch might have placed the device, the BlackBerry 9000, in direct competition for marketplace attention with Apple’s 3G iPhone, which is expected to surface that month. Although rumors are swirling that RIM postponed the launch to avoid being overshadowed by the iPhone, both expected launch dates are only based on speculation, and the two phones are targeted toward different user groups.

RIM spokesperson Ian Twinn declined to confirm reports of a delay, saying, “We’ve never made any announcement regarding this device or any delays. It’s not our policy to comment on agreements and speculation.”

Talk of a delay caused RIM stock to tumble on both the Toronto and Nasdaq stock exchanges Friday; however,RIM shares were slightly higher Monday.

The company’s shares were up US$2.53, at $122.57, Monday afternoon on the Nasdaq. The stock had a year-on-year range of $43.78, from May 1, and $137.01, which it reached Nov. 7.

‘Pure Speculation’

A postponement of the BlackBerry for AT&T could impact RIM’s revenues in the second fiscal quarter, which ends Aug. 30.

Reports of the delay are greatly exaggerated since RIM never announced its official release date, said Needham & Co. analyst Charlie Wolf.

“It’s pure speculation,” Wolf told the E-Commerce Times. “I read the rumor that AT&T told them to delay it. The notion that one carrier can get them to postpone release — and not the No. 1 carrier in this country, at that — sounds far-fetched.”

Apple’s expected June launch of its 3G iPhone is also not set in stone, Wolf asserted. “They didn’t say it was coming in June. Apple may not introduce the iPhone until August.”

Plenty of Room in Marketplace

There’s plenty of room in the smartphone market for all of the major players to benefit from 3G technology in the long term, Wolf added.

“Two months doesn’t matter,” he said. “The common assumption, wrongly, is that these companies are playing zero-sum games, when the reality is that the smartphone market is growing dramatically. Overall, the market is growing so fast, it doesn’t matter.”

RIM and Apple traditionally have targeted different markets anyway. “Even though the iPhone is now enterprise-friendly, the BlackBerry and iPhone are still targeting very distinct users,” IDC analyst Chris Hazelton told the E-Commerce Times.

“Whether this is a delay of a couple of days, a couple of weeks or a couple of months, I just don’t see a huge impact, for that reason. The BlackBerry is message-centric, and the iPhone is multimedia-centric. They’re targeting different populations,” he said.

The AT&T BlackBerry device isn’t RIM’s first 3G smartphone. The Canadian company already launched 3G BlackBerry devices for the Verizon and Sprint Nextel platforms.

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Appdome CEO on Mobile App Security: No Developer, No Code, No Problem

No-code platforms are a key tool for organizations to better secure their own mobile apps.

Mobile software is frighteningly insecure, warns Tom Tovar, CEO and co-creator of Appdome. This is not a tenable situation for mobile app publishers.

The company’s no-code software removes the costly and time-consuming in-house process of building in security and fraud protection. It provides a valid alternative to development organizations hiring outside programmers.

The power of no-code lies in its ability to shift roles from professional programmers to IT workers who can build an app or website. Such tools make it possible for IT to balance convenience and speed with the cost considerations entailed with outsourcing coding projects.

No-code technology enables non-developer users from different business teams such as HR, finance, and procurement to build custom apps without having to write a single line of code. IT workers and others within an organization can build their product by dragging and dropping components and making use of existing app templates.

That scenario is where Appdome comes into play. The company’s technology can be a game-changer for mobile app developers and publishers looking for a hands-on approach to secure Android and iOS mobile apps.

Most development organizations adopting DevOps already have highly automated processes in place. The only way to secure apps without delaying the release and increasing budgets is by automating that process too.

“It is simply too complex, cumbersome, and expensive to do so manually,” Tovar said.

Pivot to No-Code

Founded in 2012 as a mobile software security firm, Tovar joined the company four years later as CEO and co-creator of the Appdome platform. The company has offices in Redwood City, Calif., and Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Appdome is the heart of the company’s mobile app security solution, noted Tovar, who nudged the company towards a no-code solution for mobile app security and fraud prevention.

“The patented Appdome no-code platform employs artificial intelligence and machine learning to build security features into a mobile app binary. This provides all kinds of protections, including man-in-the-middle prevention, data encryption, code obfuscation, jailbreak and rooting prevention, fraud prevention, and more,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Consumers Bemoan Lacking Security

Prominent on Appdome’s website is the “CISOs Meeting Consumer Expectations of Mobile App Security in 2021” report that covers responses from 10,000 mobile consumers in different countries and demographic audiences. It shows clearly that mobile consumers no long will settle for “security awareness,” assertions.

Consumers today have high expectations of security and malware prevention in every Android and iOS app. App makers who fail to comply risk churn and cancel culture in their mobile business.


Consumer expectations of mobile app security

Source: Appdome


Appdome sees its mission as protecting the mobile economy and mobile app users. The security firm does this with a no-code mobile security and fraud prevention platform. It puts the global mobile transformation and DevSecOps adoption in mobile development pipelines.

A large majority (73 percent) of all consumers would stop using a mobile app if it left them unprotected against attack, and 63 percent say security is as important or more important to them than (app) features, Tovar said of the survey’s results.

“Consumers expect that every app is to be secured equally, another major finding from the global mobile consumer survey,” he observed.

Insider’s View About Mobile Security

During our conversation I spoke further with Tovar about no-code technology, and the state of mobile app security and fraud prevention.

TechNewsWorld: How is No-code technology changing the way enterprises develop and use apps?

Tom Tovar: No-code technology is making it much easier for mobile app developers to create secure apps. Most security implementation is still a highly manual process, and skilled security specialists are in high demand and hard to recruit.

It is even more difficult in the mobile app world because iOS and Android require significantly different approaches. A large number of development frameworks from which to choose exist. It is a very complex situation.

How does that impact the development of mobile apps?

Tovar: Security implementations can dramatically slow the delivery of the mobile app. In turn, this can significantly hurt revenue in such a highly competitive space, as well as increase costs.

What are typical use cases for no-code technology in mobile app security and fraud prevention?

Tovar: There are many! Banking apps, for instance, are notoriously insecure, even though they tap into a bank’s most sensitive back-end systems and provide access to customer accounts.

Appdome CEO, Tom Tovar
Appdome CEO Tom Tovar

For example, a white-hat hacker who recently probed the security of 30 apps from a variety of large global financial institutions found that 99 percent of the mobile apps that researchers reverse-engineered contained hardcoded API keys and tokens such as usernames and passwords to third-party services.

Are banking apps an isolated example?

Tovar: No, Fintech relies heavily on mobile apps to deliver its services, and they absolutely must be secure. Health and wellness apps may not seem like they contain valuable information, but they do.

In fact, health records are far more valuable than credit cards on the black market because they contain personally identifying information useful for stealing identities and perpetrating fraud.

Why is Appdome’s software a benefit to DevOps and enterprise IT automation?

Tovar: Shift left in security — finding and preventing defects early in the software delivery process — is a key trend in 2022. Many of the CISOs and VPs of mobile engineering I talk to are looking to implement security earlier in the development cycle.

Our software automates the implementation of security and is fully compatible with the way developers build their apps today. DevOps teams can use the Appdome API to seamlessly integrate the process of building security features with existing build systems and CI/CD pipelines.

This allows DevOps teams to deliver true system-to-system reliability and scale for both their consumer as well as employee mobile apps.

What are the biggest challenges mobile app users face today, and how is Appdome addressing these issues?

Tovar: Consumers are not happy with the “buyer beware” state of mobile app security. They expect publishers to protect them. In fact, more than two-thirds (68 percent) said that publishers have an even higher duty to do so during a pandemic.

Unfortunately, unless a big breach gets big play in the press, there is really no way for consumers to differentiate between secure and insecure apps. So, they are stuck unless publishers find a way to consistently, quickly, and affordably ensure their apps are secure. Appdome provides the means to accomplish these goals.

How does Appdome’s software technology work?

Tovar: Appdome is a security build system that uses patented machine coding to build security features into Android and iOS applications. App makers do not need to make any changes to their mobile apps to build a secure version on Appdome.

The creation software requires no source code, no development experience, and no user data to operate. It also requires no modifications to the mobile applications, no SDKs (software development kits), or manual coding. As a machine, it can complete mobile application security projects with ease, usually in a few seconds.

Securing mobile apps is a simple three-step process. One, upload a mobile app binary (APK or AAB for Android, and IPA or bitcode for iOS) to the platform. Two, select the security features needed to complete the project. Three, click on the Build my App button.

Developers have the choice of using the Appdome console to do this work or build the desired security features to their mobile app using an API. They can incorporate Appdome into their existing DevOps processes with a few lines of code that will connect to our platform and secure the app.

Jack M. Germain has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His main areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open-source technologies. He is an esteemed reviewer of Linux distros and other open-source software. In addition, Jack extensively covers business technology and privacy issues, as well as developments in e-commerce and consumer electronics. Email Jack.

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What’s in Store for Next-Gen Digital Wallets

In this day and age when we are all used to working online with various devices, it is a big plus to have a digital tool to store and present identification and other documents.

The digital wallet has emerged as an app that allows for scanning physical cards and storing payment and other personal information on a device.

Practically every airline today has a single purpose digital wallet app to store boarding passes and other documents, as does every mobile device. The iPhone comes equipped with Apple Wallet, and Google has the Google Pay app which is compatible with both Android cell phones and iPhones.

Identity Proofing Issues

Airline wallets, for example, all use a QR code that serves as an identifier to store information, such as ticket and flight number, date of travel, and seat assignment. But to verify the authenticity of the ticket a passenger presents to board; the airline must look in its backend system to ensure that the ticket is still valid and identity proof the ticket holder via a driver’s license or passport.

The new vaccine passes being issued by states and municipalities to verify Covid-19 immunization face a similar challenge. Those can store information, including vaccination dates and which vaccine the person received, but still require showing proof of identity to verify that the pass belongs to that person who possesses it.

Meanwhile, a restaurant or venue checking a patron’s vaccination status doesn’t also need to know their age, address or whether they’re licensed to drive, wear glasses, or wish to donate their organs.

However, today’s digital wallets don’t offer these options. They simply bind identity to the document presented for verification, such as an airline ticket. This is where identity proofing can provide a killer app to make digital wallets more than just a convenient way to avoid flashing a paper document.

Digital Wallet Checklist

The digital wallet of the future is not about just storing the picture of a document, it’s also about ensuring that scanned documents are valid and provides assurances that it has been issued by a verified source. Therefore, identity proofing must be the cornerstone of any digital wallet.

Biometric support is a key requirement for digital wallets, including fingerprints, facial recognition and live selfies that require users to blink or make other movements to prevent stolen images from being used to hijack accounts and commit fraud.

Digital wallets need to verify and vet every attribute that’s associated with the user’s identity within the wallet, such as the name, address, and date of birth, so that when the user interacts with a service, they can selectively choose to present certain elements of their identity needed to complete a transaction.

The digital wallet should be able to store and encapsulate all identity attributes associated with an individual and present them on as-needed basis.

Security and Identity Assurance

Of course, security is another important characteristic of these new and improved digital wallets. It would be great to say we don’t need to worry about digital wallets being hacked, but as with every other app or device, users need to be concerned about security.

Apart from adopting security best practices to protect the data contained in a digital wallet, developers need to go through a series of certifications to assure consumers that the wallet is certified by one of the industry bodies that organizes identity authentication specifications, such as Fast ID Online (FIDO) or the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

A wallet should be attested and verified to comply with NIST identity assurance levels or the FIDO specifications of how signatures are validated and vetted. Knowing that a wallet has been certified by a recognized standard body like FIDO or the Kantara Initiative gives consumers the assurance that the wallet they’re using complies with accepted security standards.

Digital wallets should also be compatible with one another. In an ideal world, one wallet should be able to meet all our needs, but the environment is still fragmented, as in the airline ticket example.

Developers need to work with organizations such as the Identity Foundation to ensure that all digital wallets are interoperable with each other. That way, they can give consumers a choice of using any wallet they want, as long as the identity documents that contain it can be shared and verified by other technology platforms.

Conclusion

Digital wallet technology clearly represents the future for transacting business online and in the physical world, and for enabling users to take control of their privacy and the information they want to share with service providers.

To meet these requirements, the current generation of single purpose digital wallet apps need to evolve to support multiple use cases and be interoperable with more than just one or a select group of companies.

Rohan Pinto is CTO of 1Kosmos. He previously architected security infrastructure for the Government of Ontario and the Health Information Access Layer for the Province of British Columbia, and is involved in establishing the United States Department of Defense's Security Access Layer using Common Access Cards (CAC). Rohan is also an active member of the Decentralized Identity Foundation and the FIDO (Fast Identity Online) Alliance.

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