AT&T and Sonim announce the XP8, a $699 ultra-rugged phone for public safety workers

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We don’t often see much into the world of ultra-rugged smartphones and tablets as “normal” consumers, though we catch glimpses from time to time from the likes of CAT and such. These devices take many steps beyond the Galaxy S Active series in terms of durability. Since AT&T seems to be fond of these phones, it and Sonim have announced the XP8 for use on FirstNet. This phone looks like one solid piece of technology and, despite its middling specifications, it will cost a whopping $ 699.

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AT&T and Sonim announce the XP8, a $ 699 ultra-rugged phone for public safety workers was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Facebook latest: video issue emerges; firm blocks data brokers; tech workers say they will delete accounts

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Concerns over Facebook’s privacy policies don’t appear to be diminishing. Some users taking advantage of the opportunity to download an archive of all the data Facebook holds in their account are discovering a surprise: it includes videos they shot but never posted …



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57% of CIOs say mobile workers hacked in last year

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57% of CIOs believe mobile workers have had a security incident in last 12 months

More than half of CIOs (57 percent) believe that their mobile workers have either been hacked or have “caused a security incident” in the last 12 months, according to a new report from mobile connectivity company, iPass.

The iPass Mobile Security Report 2018, researched by Vanson Bourne, surveyed CIOs and IT decision makers in 500 organisations from the US, the UK, Germany, and France.

It found that the majority of CIOs (81 percent) said their organisations had experienced Wi-Fi related security incidents in the last 12 months, with cafes and coffee shops (62 percent), airports (60 percent), and hotels (52 percent) being the most common locations for problems.

Putting the why in Wi-Fi

Risks include the use of insecure hotel or cafe networks, hacking attempts, shared data or systems access, divulging login credentials, or the receipt of malware. In some hotels, for example, Wi-Fi users may be able to see other devices on the network and, if those devices have sharing enabled, be able to access private files.

The problem appears to be most acute in the UK, where 81 percent of respondents said workers had experienced security problems using the free Wi-Fi in cafes, in particular. Many cafes require users to register devices or credentials, and access is offered in return for marketing data.

The surveys’ respondents also reported security incidents in other public spaces, such as train stations (30 percent), exhibition centres (26 percent), and on planes in flight (26 percent).

“Mobile professionals are taking matters into their own hands, frequently taking security risks in their pursuit of staying connected,” says the report.

Mobile working is becoming the norm for many enterprises, with industry analysts Strategy Analytics predicting that there will be 1.75 billion mobile workers by 2020 – one quarter of the entire global population.

At the same time, mobile security threats are on the rise too: according to the McAfee Mobile Threat Report Q1 2018, 16 million users were hit with mobile malware in the third quarter of 2017 alone.

BYOD: Bring Your Own Danger?

Despite bring your own device (BYOD) schemes now being a mainstream IT policy, an overwhelming 94 percent of IT decision makers said BYOD had increased mobile security risks, while 92 percent said they were concerned that their growing mobile workforce presented significant security challenges.

“Despite the large number of people working remotely, Gartner says fewer than a quarter (23 percent) have been supplied with a mobile device by their employer,” says the report. “This leaves enterprises open to security risks, as they do not have control over the security settings or capabilities of devices that are being used.

“Enterprises are in a Catch-22 situation when it comes BYOD. Many enterprises realise it can improve not only employee productivity, but also wider job satisfaction. However, there is a trade-off with potential security risks.”

The mobile conundrum

“Given the amount of high-profile security breaches in recent years, it’s not surprising that this issue is on the radar of CIOs,” said Raghu Konka, VP of engineering at iPass.

“The conundrum remains: how can they keep their mobile workers secure while providing them with the flexibility to get connected anywhere using their device of choice?”

One solution is to ban employee use of free hotspots entirely; more than one-quarter (27 percent) of organisations are taking this hardline approach, while 40 percent ban their use sometimes. A further 16 percent plan to introduce a ban on public Wi-Fi in the future.

This suggests that some aspects of the mobile working culture may be on the wane.

However, with many employees working remotely or flexibly via their own devices at least some of the time, such bans may be impossible to enforce or police. This is particularly the case if organisations still expect to see productivity gains from flexible working, and still demand access to their employees while they are travelling or out of the office.

“As most electronic devices only have a Wi-Fi connection, banning mobile workers from accessing free-Wi-Fi connections at coffee shops, hotels, and airports is akin to cutting off your nose to spite your face,” says the report.

Virtual privacy

A better approach is to use virtual private networks (VPNs). In 2016, iPass found that 26 percent of companies were confident that mobile workers were using a VPN every time they went online, and this has jumped to 46 percent in 2018. However, that still means more than half of organisations (54 percent) aren’t confident about mobile VPN usage.

“While putting a blanket ban on accessing public Wi-Fi hotspots could initially appear to stop the security problem at source, the fact of the matter is that mobile workers will stop at nothing to get themselves online. There’s no point in putting roadblocks in their way without also providing a solution,” said Konka.

“With a secure connection through a VPN, enterprises can have confidence that Wi-Fi hotspot usage will have a positive, rather than negative, impact on their business.

“The key for organisations is to educate mobile workers about today’s security threats, and to provide them with the tools to remain productive and secure,” he added.

But is it that simple?

The report adds, “There are several barriers preventing mobile workers from connecting to VPNs, including the fact that mobile workers might not want personal data to run over the corporate network, and connecting to VPNs can take extra time.

“[Therefore] the challenge lies in building employee knowledge of the importance of using VPNs every time they go online, and how to connect to one in a quick manner.”

Internet of Business says

The key with mobile security is not to regard it primarily as a technology problem demanding a technology solution, but to see it first and foremost as a matter of common sense and enforceable policy.

Assume everyone is watching or listening and proceed from that point. After all, hackers – and journalists – are well aware of people’s lack of common sense in public spaces.

Then add technology, and mix to taste.

Read more: GDPR: Consumers demand more data privacy from the IoT

Read more: IoT Security: How to fight attacks on health, energy, and transport

Read more: Reports reveal critical need for IoT cybersecurity upgrade

Read more: IIoT security: How to secure the ‘Internet of Threats’, by IBM


The post 57% of CIOs say mobile workers hacked in last year appeared first on Internet of Business.

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Canadian startups are attracting more international workers thanks to Trump’s immigration policies

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U.S. workers are flocking to Canada for other reasons.

More than half of Canadian startups have seen a rise in international tech applicants — most of whom are from the U.S.— since the beginning of 2017, according to a new survey. Some companies even saw international applications quadruple.

Toronto-based tech innovation hub MaRS conducted the survey among 55 high-growth Canadian startups with U.S. exposure and an annual revenue of more than $ 1 million. About 82 percent of companies that saw an increase in international interest had applicants from the U.S., followed by India and China.

These companies cited visa and immigration policies, which have become stricter (PDF) and less certain under Trump, as the main reason for growth in international hires. That means engineers from India and China are flocking to Canada in higher numbers than before. U.S. workers are applying as well but for different reasons, including political uncertainty in the U.S. Canada has also made it easier to work there by enacting a program, Global Skills Strategy visa, that expedites international visas.

Engineers were the most common job for which Canadian startups hired international applicants.

Tech job platform Hired found last year that U.S. tech companies are asking to interview fewer international candidates. It looks as though domestic candidates could soon become scarcer as well.

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Seoul will turn off workers’ PCs to curb excessive overtime

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South Korea has a serious problem with overtime. A typical government worker puts in 1,000 more hours per year than their equivalents in other countries, which could easily affect their long-term health. Seoul's Metropolitan Government may have a s…
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Instacart says it mistakenly withheld tips from some of its workers

It also overcharged some customers.

Instacart’s tumultuous relationship with the workforce that picks and delivers groceries to the company’s customers just took another hit.

The $ 4 billion grocery-delivery startup admitted in a blog post on Friday that it had mistakenly withheld tips from some of its workforce, and failed to waive service fees in some instances when its customers requested to.

Instacart blamed the errors on a technical “bug, related to product updates made at the end of 2017,” co-founder and CEO Apoorva Mehta said in the post.

“We sincerely apologize for this and we are committed to doing better going forward,” he said.

The company said it would pay out the tips to affected workers, refund customers who had waived a service fee that was still charged and provide both constituencies with itemized lists of the affected orders. The company said the glitch “impacted less than 1 percent of Instacart orders during this time period.”

I’ve asked Mehta for an explanation of how they discovered the bug, as well as the total value of withheld tips and wrongly charged service fees. I’ll update this post if I hear back.

The news comes about a year after Instacart workers were in an uproar over changes that made it much harder for them to receive tips. The company implemented a service fee in late 2016 that it said it would disburse to its workforce in an attempt to even out pay between its lowest and highest earners.

It initially removed the tipping option as part of this change, before relenting and adding it back. But when it did, it made the tipping feature much harder to find. It has since made it more prominent and has made changes to how it describes the service fee after settling a class-action lawsuit for more than $ 4 million.

But over the last few months, workers occasionally complained of missing tips on internet forums where Instacart workers congregate. Some also spoke of Instacart customers who said they waived the “service fee” — which Instacart allows — only to find that they it had still been charged to their order. It turns out this was the case.

Instacart, founded in 2012, has increasingly become the No. 1 ally of grocery store chains in their battle with retail giants like Walmart and Amazon. Following Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods, the startup signed new delivery pacts with giant grocery holding companies Albertsons and Kroger and expanded deals with Costco and CVS.

Whole Foods was an investor in Instacart and its largest customer.

Instacart employs a mix of full-time and contract workers who pick grocery orders off the shelves inside the stores of partnering grocers and deliver those goods to customer doors. But frequent changes to this workforce’s pay structure has sown distrust among swaths of Instacart workers.

Today’s revelation may not help.

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Cat’s S61 is an ideal phone for blue-collar workers

Two years ago, I was shown a Cat-branded smartphone with a thermal camera for people who work in construction and other outdoors-y, get-your-hands-dirty professions. I wasn't the target market, of course, and struggled to judge whether the feature wa…
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Apple’s most talented workers can’t stop walking into doors

Apple Park Glass Walls

Apple recently completed its brand-new headquarters in Cupertino, California. The giant UFO-shaped building — the most expensive building in the US — is sprawling glass-and-steel manifesto, a very physical manifestation of Apple’s ethos to always put design first. And, in the most Apple way possible, putting form over function is causing some problems.

According to Bloomberg, Apple employees keep walking into the glass panes and glass pods littering the building. Attempts to make things safer by putting Post-It notes on the most dangerous doors have been struck down by Apple leadership, since it interferes with the building’s design.

“Surrounding the Cupertino, California-based building are 45-foot tall curved panels of safety glass,” Bloomberg reports. “Inside are work spaces, dubbed “pods,” also made with a lot of glass. Apple staff are often glued to the iPhones they helped popularize. That’s resulted in repeated cases of distracted employees walking into the panes, according to people familiar with the incidents.”

Although Apple Park has received rave reviews from architects and Apple fans, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard that employees aren’t enamoured with their new office. Last year, John Gruber reported that Johny Srouji, the head of Apple’s silicon design team, didn’t like the layout either:

When he was shown the floor plans, he was more or less just ‘f*** that, f*** you, f*** this, this is bulls***.’ And they built his team their own building off to the side on the campus. So they’re not even in — not only are they not going along with the open floor plans, but Srouji’s team is in their own building. And maybe internally they’re saying it’s for security or that’s there’s a logical reason for it, but my understanding is that that building was built because Srouji was like, ‘f*** this, my team isn’t working like this.’

 There’s also been criticism that the open-plan design isn’t condusive to a good working environment for Apple’s software engineers, who need a simple environment with a lack of distractions to work well. Maybe that’s why Apple’s software has been problematic lately.

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Austin tech workers saw the biggest jump in salary last year

Austin tech workers made $ 202,000 on average, adjusted for cost of living, the highest in the U.S.

Tech workers in Austin saw the sharpest salary increases, making 7 percent more on average last year than they did the year before, according to new data released today by Hired, a job search marketplace, in their annual State of Global Salaries report.

Workers in Los Angeles and Washington D.C., were close behind Austin, making 6 percent more year-on-year, while workers in San Francisco saw a 5 percent increase.

Based on gross pay, tech workers on average made the most in San Francisco ($ 142,000), followed by Seattle ($ 132,000), New York ($ 129,000) and Los Angeles ($ 129,000). But with cost of living adjustments, Austin tech workers made the most at $ 202,000 per year, followed by Los Angeles and Seattle, both at $ 182,000.

Average tech salary adjusted for San Francisco cost of living

“A couple of things are happening in Austin, a low cost of living, no income tax, and you already had a tech ecosystem there” said Hired CEO Mehul Patel. All these things he said, are leading to companies like Facebook, Google, and Dropbox investing more in the area and lifting average pay for tech workers.

The report measured pay in 13 different cities and pulled data from 69,000 job seekers on the Hired platform applying for tech worker roles, defined as software engineers, designers, product managers, and data analyst positions.

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