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Posts Tagged ‘mobile

Mobile DevOps via VictorOps

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Just noticed this in my VC Deals feed.  I had been thinking about how new mobile applications will change DevOps (and heck, Ops) … glad to see this space being explored seriously by startups like VictorOps.

Until just recently, mobile devices did not provide enough functionality to enable team members to collaborate and contribute. Now, the same device can effectively be the alerting channel, the view into situational information flow and the point of interaction to allow participation

via VictorOps raises $1.58M to helps ops teams get web sites back online — Tech News and Analysis.

Written by John Gannon

January 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm

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Username/password is dead – Mobile is the new identity

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I don’t think username/password can last much longer as the primary means of authentication on the web.  Rampant phishing has made it all to common for unsuspecting “normals” (and even those who are more tech savvy) to inadvertently open themselves up to malicious purchases, or massive promulgation of spam emails and social network comments from their account.  It’s only going to get worse as phishers get more and more sophisticated.

One way to slash the number of successful phishing attempts would be for B2C sites to start adding mobile-based authentication as part of their login process on top of the usual username/password combo.

Yes, this would negatively affect the user experience, as the user would need to provide more info than username and password at login, but it would reduce the attack surface of a typical internet user dramatically.

With this type of authentication scheme, when you login with your username/password pair, your phone is called if the username/password combo is accurate.  At that point, your cell phone will ring, and you’ll need to pick up and press a button to show that you are indeed the person who just entered that username/password info.  This is a powerful concept because if the phisher doesn’t have your phone, and he/she can’t do any damage.

For added security, a site could also use the phone authentication to protect certain critical operations post-login (e.g. a mass delete, a message to a large number of contacts, a purchase above a certain pre-set threshold).

No consumer site has tried to “sell” me this kind of two-factor authentication lately as part of their user experience.  However, if that site is buying or selling anything on my behalf, I’m open to a slightly more clunky user experience in order to add another layer of protection.

There are companies who provide two-factor authentication as a service, but clearly it is not terribly popular in the consumer web or B2C world (or, maybe just with the sites I use — as I never bump into it).

Is the user experience so poor that it’s not worth implementing these solutions?  Basic two-factor auth is not that hard to build, so I can’t imagine that it would be a technology issue (or a cost issue if working with a 3rd party web service that provided this functionality).  Or do the consumer sites themselves and their customers not really see this (phishing) as an existential threat?

Seems intuitively that mobile and / or multi-factor (e.g. phone + username/password + something else) authentication is a big area of opportunity given the current trends in phishing and security, but maybe I am missing something.

What am I missing? :)

Written by John Gannon

January 9, 2012 at 10:26 pm

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Goodbye Palm Pre, hello Android

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I guess it is apropos that I type this blog post on my new HTC Hero.  Just bought it to replace my Palm Pre which had a cracked screen.  The Pre was a good phone and I would have kept it had it not broken, but now that I have had a taste of Android and the Hero, I don’t know if I could go back. 

The main advantage of Android is definitely the huge array of available apps.  Any of the major mobile apps that you would want are available on the Android marketplace.  The other big plus for me has been the email.  Email was definitely an Achilles heel for the Pre (esp. After having used a Blackberry for a year).  No real shortcuts to help speed typing and terrible sorting and search capabilities.  Also, the calendaring functionality was not very good. Both or these things were important as I use my phone quite a bit for work. 

Written by John Gannon

July 10, 2010 at 1:57 pm

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