Thursday, September 09, 2010

Why Cyber Crimes are Thriving in Canada and Profitable

It is no secret.  Cyber crimes are growing in most countries.  In 2009, cyber crime in America grew 22%.  According to the US Treasury Department, Cyber Crime Has Surpassed Illegal Drug Trafficking as a criminal money-maker.   The trend in Canada is unknown but I would bet it follows the same growth pattern.  Statistics Canada, where my tax dollars go to fund this type of research, seems incapable of making any report on cyber crime since 2002 available.  While not publicly available, I saw a report yesterday during an ITAC call that showed reported incidents increased to over 200,000 incidents per month!  That is reported.  Now imagine the ones that are unreported.

I suspect the crime incident numbers are much higher due to our total lack of infrastructure to deal with cyber crimes.  While this seems like a brash statement to make, I make it from practical experience.  Earlier this year I found myself as the intended victim of a cyber crime.  I quickly realized what was happening and collected all the evidence that any prosecutor would require to punish the scammers.  I had a phone number I could call them at, an internet address, IP address, saved emails and recorded telephone conversations.  I tried to report it.  Guess what???  Not one single agency in Canada was willing to take any action against the criminals.  Vancouver City Police said not their concern, call the RCMP. RCMP Fraud department and various other departments reacted with a belief that PhoneBusters was properly equipped to handle this.  Upon contacting PhoneBusters, I quickly realized they only take reports.  Again, not one single agency would lift a finger to go after the criminals.

But hey - don't take my word for it.  Consider this:

Scenario: Imagine you just found out that your IT systems are being scanned and attacked right now and you have information about exactly  who and where the attack initiates from.  You find out that it is a criminal group who is responsible for other crimes and they are not relenting.   What do you do?

Exercise:  Try to find any authority in Canada (Police, CSIS, phone busters, etc.) who will actively take the case and go after the attacker (prosecute, arrest, stop, etc.).  Call the local police, RCMP, etc. on the phone, explain the scenario above and ask them to get involved and do something.

Reality:  You will not find one single organization that is willing to do anything.  They all refer you to someone else who at most will take a report and do nothing.

This is very sad and is why the crimes are growing.  What we need is a rapid response team who will actually be available to do something.  Otherwise, Canadians and Canadian companies are going to only be victims while the bad guys make $ millions.

In the meantime, criminals have a free run on Canadians and can basically do what they want for fun and profit.

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Flash on mobile, the facts.

Yesterday morning I got an email from fellow Adobean Danny Winokur in my inbox discussing the state of the union with respect to Flash on the mobile. The synopsis of the conversation went something like this.

Flash Player 10.1 is now beginning to ship in volume on many smartphones.    Many of you may have seen the attached full page Motorola ad which ran on Friday in the NY Times, the Wall Street Journal and USA Today.  There are other similar ads being planned by major carriers and handset manufacturers.  This is the culmination of years of co-development to migrate Flash (not just Flash light) to the mobile.  Some have criticized Adobe for not doing this earlier but the reality is that the technology just wasn't ready earlier (hardware, software and infrastructure).

As the masses are starting to understand that video performance challenges on mobile devices, the truth has started to emerge that many of these issues are not isolated for Flash.  Many of the technical issues are a function of the hardware capabilities and the drivers which expose them.  Just for one example, if you take the same video with the same encoding and use any other player technology, and it is likely to perform about the same or worse than when played using Flash (the problem stems from code on their site which tries to use the hardware decoder for two snips concurrently, while the hardware only allows one - a constraint shared by any player on this hardware).

Flash video performance, along with other video experiences on mobile, should substantially improve.  We are all in still in the genesis days of mobile and the truth is that a consistent experience over multiple screens and devices is a lot of work.  As Adobe rolls out improvements such as StageVideo in future releases, allowing video to be sent directly to the screen (instead of being returned to the Flash Player) after being decoded in hardware, these experiences will get better and better.  This point, among others, is made articulately here: -html5.html?page=1

As others have right noted, the way to get great performing video on mobile devices is for content publishers to encode in ways that are supported by mobile *hardware*.

I don't expect the naysayers to be quiet any time soon.  Several of my brethren on Slashdot have already complained bitterly about the intrusion of Flash onto their devices.  The reality is that it is the users choice.  Adobe, as I understand it, has never been concerned about forcing things on users.  In fact, quite the opposite is true.  The exec's I talk to seem quite concerned about people having the choice.  If they don't want Flash, they can turn it off.  I myself turn of a lot of features on my Nexus 1 Android device when I am not requiring them to save battery life.  When I want my GPS data, I turn it on.  Flash is no different (although it has been architected and engineered not to squander device resources when not in use).   Long live choice!

I am stoked about the future of mobile. It took me a while to get there but now that we are rolling it out, many of the enterprises I am working with are bombarding me with new ideas for extendingh their infrastructure to mobile.  Some of these are simply items like extending a Livecycle ES business process to a Droid device or as complex as dynamic routing changes in task assignment due to geo-location.  Very cool.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

LiveCycle@MAX pick of the week!

This week, I have selected what could be one of the single best sessions at MAX 2010.  Not only is this session extremely relevant to a lot of enterprises as they migrate some enterprise functionality to mobile, it is also taught by my long time friend and business partner Matt MacKenzie along with Stacy Young.  For those of you who do not know Matt, he is an extremely talented architect and probably the smartest developer I know.  Stacy's credentials are simply too long to list and is every bit as talented at Matt!

Matt came to Adobe with me as part of the Adobe acquisition of Yellow Dragon Software and has moved steadily up the rungs of the LiveCycle team.  He is now heavily involved in the outreach of core LiveCycle functionality to mobile platforms.  This is a session I want to attend and trust me, this will sell out fast.  Register today here if you plan to attend.  This one already has a second session added due to popularity and IMO will fill up fast.  

The Mobile Enterprise (click on title to see the official listing)

Registration LINK HERE

Hear from product experts and discover how you can extend your enterprise to iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Mobile, and BlackBerry devices by leveraging the Adobe LiveCycle Enterprise Suite platform. The session will include best practices for integrating business processes, accessing shared content, and developing forms for use on mobile form factors.

Tracks:    Develop
Audience:    Architect, Partner Decision Maker, Web Developer, Application Developer, Business Decision Maker
Skill Level:    General Audience
Product:    LiveCycle ES
Speakers:    Matt MacKenzie, Stacy Young
Tuesday, October, 26th, 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Wednesday, October, 27th, 8:00 am - 9:00 am