“Less than 0.1% of email in the average Gmail inbox is spam, and the amount of wanted mail landing in the spam folder is even lower, at under 0.05%,” Sri Harsha Somanchi, product manager, said in a Google blog post.
“Even still, Gmail spam detection isn’t perfect. So we’re sharing some of the new ways we are supporting the senders of wanted mail, and using the latest Google smarts to filter out spam,” Somanchi further stated.
Google is launching Gmail Postmaster Tools that help qualified high-volume senders analyse their email, including data on delivery errors, spam reports, and reputation. This way they can diagnose any hiccups, study best practices, and help Gmail route their messages to the right place.
The company said the spam filter now uses an artificial neural network to detect and block the especially sneaky spam—the kind that could actually pass for wanted mail.
“We also recognise that not all inboxes are alike. So while your neighbor may love weekly email newsletters, you may loathe them. With advances in machine learning, the spam filter can now reflect these individual preferences,” the blog post reads.
“Finally, the spam filter is better than ever at rooting out email impersonation—that nasty source of most phishing scams. Thanks to new machine learning signals, Gmail can now figure out whether a message actually came from its sender, and keep bogus email at bay.”
BI Intelligence estimates that by 2020 there will be more than 23 billion IoT devices connected to the internet. One of the biggest challenges in connecting so many devices will be in securing them to prevent hackers from controlling them or using them to infiltrate networks and databases. Many low-power IoT devices don’t have the computing power to run antivirus software like a computer.
A recent blog post on EETimes discussed six measures that can be used to protect IoT devices from hackers:
Use a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) for authentication. A TPM is a dedicated microprocessor that integrates cryptographic keys into devices to uniquely identify and authenticate them. Each device then has its own identifier that is encrypted by the keys. This will prevent hackers from hacking and impersonating a device to gain access to home, enterprise, or government networks.
Use the Trusted Network Connect (TNC) standards to check for malicious software or firmware. The TNC standards offer a way to check devices for malicious software or firmware whenever they try to access networks or other devices. This would help prevent hackers from using hacked devices to upload spyware or other malicious software to networks or other devices.
Isolate and remediate infected devices with security software and protocols. If a device is infected with malware or other malicious programs, it needs to be quarantined. The IF-PEP protocol can isolate an infected machine from other devices and networks. There are numerous solutions from security software vendors for clearing the device of the infection once its isolated.
Layered security can limit the damage a hacker can do once device is hacked. A Mandatory Access Control system limits access to certain functions or files on a device for a given user. This acts as a choke point that can prevent hackers from gaining sensitive information through the hacked device.
Data encryption is a must. This should go without saying, but data needs to be encrypted when stored on a device or in transit. The post recommended using a read-only mechanism to obstruct hackers’ efforts to tamper with data on a device.
Secure legacy systems through industrial control systems. To reach their full potential, IoT devices and systems have to be integrated with legacy machines or appliances that were never built to be connected or secured against hacking. Industrial Control Systems can segment that legacy hardware from other systems and secure communications between them with encryption. This, for instance, could prevent a hacker who has infiltrated the network of a connected factory from then taking control of the machinery on the assembly line.
BI Intelligence estimates that spending on security for IoT devices and systems will increase five-fold from 2015 to 2019.
NEW DELHI: The government, after verbally backing the concept of net neutrality for some months, is all set to put it in writing. It is likely to make public this week the telecom department’s report on the subject, which sources say will back the Centre’s stance that the internet should be completely free with equitable access and without any obstruction or prioritization.
The Department of Telecom report – prepared by a team of six officials – is currently with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), and will form framework for the government policy on ‘net neutrality’ along with recommendations of the telecom regulator, which are yet to be submitted to DoT. The principle of net neutrality guarantees consumers equal and non-discriminatory access to all data, apps and services on internet, with no discrimination on the basis of tariffs or speed.
“A panel has the taken the views of all the stakeholders before submitting it to the telecom minister. There were a few critical points of debate such as allowing zero rating plans or not. The report will back the government’s stand unequivocally,” a person familiar with the matter said.
While the government has made its stand in favour of neutrality of the internet amply clear, industry experts and civil society groups say that the fine print of the policy will be critical for implementation.
“A policy supporting net neutrality in the Indian context must block any preferential treatment to any content. This is so because India is a country where all connectivity is slow. Hence, speed matters less than cost in a price sensitive country like ours,” Nikhil Pahwa, the founder of online news portal Medianama and one of the prime movers behind the campaign for net neutrality.
Last week, US telecom regulator, the Federal Communications Commission, slapped a $100-million fine on AT&T alleging the telecom giant was intentionally slowing down internet speeds to its unlimited data subscribers after they consumed a certain amount of data. This the commission said amounted to a lack of transparency on the company’s part. Earlier this year, the FCC, prodded by US president Barack Obama, embraced net neutrality.
Some say the government should either clearly bar a telecom operator from creating or owning content or it must put regulations in place which strictly forbid the telecom operator from throttling or slowing down the content of other providers.
“There could be a blanket ban. Or, instead of just a blanket ban on operators owning content, the government should ensure no content is throttled. The purpose will be defeated even if telecom service providers enter into agreements with other content providers and give certain content preference over the rest,” Prasanth Sugathan, Counsel at Software Freedom Law Center, told ET.
The DoT report will be made public even as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), after finishing a consultation process, is preparing its own report. The consultation, and launch of Airtel’s Airtel Zero plan — under which certain apps can be accessed by users free of charge, with the app makers paying telco for users’ access — caused a furore, especially on social media.
Bharti Airtel’s plan is what is known as zero rating plan when the content provider pays the telco for providing free access to users. Critics say such a plan gives a clear advantage to bigger content providers who can afford to pay, against those who cannot.
“In case a Flipkart app or browsing becomes free whereas a small startup is unavailable to make its app or website free because it cannot pay the telecom operator like a Flipkart. It will kill the small person’s business,” explained Pahwa. “Hence prevention of a ‘carriage fee’ in internet access which could be charged for zero rating or increasing or lowering speeds is a critical issue.”
Trai and Airtel’s plan faced a severe backlash from netizens who overwhelmingly expressed support for maintaining neutrality of internet. The regulator in fact received over 10 lakh responses supporting a free internet in a month, the highest ever it has received on any consultation paper.
Meanwhile, telecom department officials say the government could disallow the controversial ‘zero rating’ plans in its final policy on net neutrality. However, it could make an exemption for delivery of essential government services such as education and health on a preferential basis.
Telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea complain growth of apps, especially the ones providing communication services such as Whatsapp and Skype, have been eating into their messaging revenues and now have the potential to hurt their voice revenues, which makes up over 80% of their business.
Most telcos said that since the apps offer the same voice services as they do, they must be brought under similar rules, which involve payment of licence fees and meet roll out obligations.
Jio, the 4G mobile service from the Mukesh Ambani-run Reliance due to launched later this year, has on its part called for a regulatory framework for voice and messaging apps which will ensure that the likes of WhatsApp comply with all security guidelines that mobile phone operators need to follow, while supporting key proposals of rivals like Airtel, Vodafone and Idea.
Supporters of net neutrality though say any move to regulate content providers will stifle innovation. They add that the security rules proposal indirectly seeks to burden innovative application providers by increasing cost of providing services.
“Do you really want the government to decide which app should be allowed to offer services in the country? Do you think Whatsapp could have grown in this country if it had to take permission from the Indian government?” Pahwa asks.
The first time I got lost in San Francisco I stood on a street corner for 30 minutes throwing my hands up and talking wildly as bus after bus passed me by, heading the wrong direction. The next day I was still loudly fuming over the woes of public transportation when my roommate said those five little words: “There’s an app for that.” The second time I got lost in San Francisco I was ready. I whipped out my navigation app and found the closest line. It took me a record four minutes to figure out which side of the street to stand on, then I was on it, flying over the slopes of Nob Hill.
Fast-forward 6 months and I had mastered some routes, could navigate a few neighborhoods without relying on Google Maps, and no longer noticed the stench of MUNI, which had become like the familiar scent of a good friend. Everything was easier. “Thank you, app,” I said to myself on my way to the office, the park, the store. I couldn’t comprehend how San Franciscans lived before smartphones. “Are they wizards?” I wondered. (Spoiler: they’re probably not.)
Like many other daily routines, once transportation went mobile, most of us forgot how we did it before. This can be as troubling as it is exciting. Troubling because we wonder where technology is taking us and how it’s affecting our minds as it steadily becomes an extension of us. Exciting because you can do things faster, better, and while juggling several other things in a way that wasn’t possible just 10 years ago. It’s no mystery that big cities welcome new technology before the rest. Chaos begs creative solutions, and with “Internet of Things” becoming our new reality, we’re on the brink of technological advances unlike any in history.
Regardless of your opinions on the tech-ification of society, it’s already inescapable. Giants like Amazon and newer players like Withings are pioneering inventions that help you live smarter. By 2016, 19 billion “things” will be connected to the internet. You can buy in like me and the many other San Franciscans expressing gratitude to their apps each day, or you can take to the backstreets where there are no sensors (yet) detecting road weather conditions or monitoring traffic. Either way, here are some of the “things” that are already among us, and a few you can expect to see soon enough.
- Wearables that track and analyze your movement, heartbeat, and more.
- Smart home technology that learns your behavior and adjusts to your preferences.
- Automated lunchrooms at Fortune 500 companies that stock and serve without human help.
- Bluetooth health meters that monitor patients’ vitals remotely.
- Scales that analyze your BMI and the air quality in your home.
- 3D printers that can print in chocolate, magnetic material, and who knows what else.
On The Horizon
- Smart fridges & dishes that track expiration dates, build your shopping list, and monitor your diet.
- Smart cars that will drive to you and park themselves (already here, just not yet legal).
- Smart cities where everything connects to everything, basically.
Now and tomorrow, we prioritize connections. Connecting with your home, with your body, with your city in new ways. The Internet of Things isn’t just about the next invention you probably don’t need—it allows our environment to adapt to us so we can better engage, learn, and live within it. Apps are units of this progress, putting connections in our pockets and paving the way to a tomorrow where you never worry about the bus. There’s an app for that.
Analysts, investors and all eager Apple fans are gearing up for the Worldwide Developers Conference, or WWDC, from June 8-12 in San Francisco. The company plans to reveal many interesting products, be it hardware or software. Apple has now confirmed that the keynote will be streamed live from Moscone Center. According to the invitation, the event is about to become ‘The epicenter of change.’ Here’s a closer look at what we can expect at WWDC 2015.
1. iOS 9
There’s a lot being said about iOS 9 and how it might be the clear-cut star of the event. As per rumours, Apple’s biggest addition will include taking on Google Now with a new iOS initiative internally called Proactive. According to 9To5Mac, Proactive will leverage existing features such as Siri, Contacts, Calendar, Passbook, and third-party apps ‘to create a viable competitor to Google Now’. The company also has plans to introduce a new smart home app for iOS 9 called ‘Home’. The new app will allow a user to set up new smart home products such as Wi-Fi garage door openers, smart thermostats akin to Nest’s Learning Thermostat, and wireless door locks with iPhones and iPads.
Additional features included may revolve around a new security system called Rootless, that is called a huge kernel-level feature for OS X as well as iOS. It is aimed at preventing malware, improving safety of extensions and will prevent administrative-level users from accessing certain data on the devices. It is also said to be huge blow to the jailbreak community.
For Apple, iOS 9 is all about change. The company has penned down a new strategy as well, as it expects to widen the time/life span of support for its older devices including the iPhone 4S. Needless to say, this will help the company maintain a foothold in emerging markets where people don’t really replace a high-end device every time its new variant arrives. All in all, Apple isn’t worrying about designing a flashy new OS, but will rather focus heavily on improving stability and optimisation for their yet to release iOS 9.
2. Apple Watch
It’s been over a month since we witnessed Apple’s smartwatch, but it seems like the spark for the device has already dialed down. As of now, Apple has only only released its first OS update which include a few bug fixes and new language support. But apart from this, developers see the watch’s main benefits as saving time or the labour of frequently taking out a phone. In conversation with 9to5mac, Apple’s senior vice president of operations Jeff Williams revealed that a software development kit designed to create Watch-native apps would be released during WWDC.
This implies that we can expect third party apps which will not find the need to be paired to the iPhone at all times, but will able to run independently on the Watch itself. Rumour has it that the company also has plans to replace its favoured font Helvetica Neue across iOS 7 upwards with a custom-designed San Francisco typeface, according to this report.
3. Apple’s new streaming music service
Apple’s upcoming music streaming service, which is based on the recently acquired Beats, will reportedly be dubbed Apple Music. What is rather interesting is that this new service will be resemble Apple’s now-defunct Ping social networking system, which was officially closed on September 30, 2012 and replaced with Facebook and Twitter integration in iTunes. Apple is most likely to unveil the new streaming music service at WWDC, according to the Wall Street Journal and is said to cost $10 per month and provide unlimited listening as well.
Re-branding the acquired Beats Music service, the new service could be built into iTunes and the iOS Music app. According to the report, Apple also plans to augment its free, ad-supported Internet radio service with channels programmed and hosted by human DJs. The service is said to debut at WWDC and might launch a few weeks later.
4. Apple’s new television service
Speculation is mounting that Apple’s take of the future of TV is going to be focused on delivering a new type of service, rather than a new piece of hardware. Wall Street Journal had reported that the new service would have about 25 channels, anchored by broadcasters such as ABC, CBS and Fox and would be available on Apple devices such as the Apple TV. The recent announcement of HBO Now also supports rumors that Apple is interested in streaming TV content. The service’s retail price is expected to be $15 a month.
5. Apple Pay
Apple Pay, which was a hit with over a million activations in 72 hours, may have a few announcements lined up at WWDC. Apple is expected to introduce a new rewards program for the payments service. The company could finally announce its expansion plan for Apple Pay to more countries such as India, Europe, Middle East and Africa, as rumoured last year. Details on Apple pay announcements for WWDC and scarce.
Apple may finally officially launch its home automation platform, HomeKit and WWDC. HomeKit is a set of tools in Apple’s iOS 8 software designed to work with smart home devices. The company announced the home automation platform at its conference for developers last year, but devices compatible with the software have yet to appear in stores.
According to a report, accessories for Apple’s HomeKit will hit stores this month. The HomeKit app called Home may also be introduced as part of iOS 9. Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said in a statement last month that, “HomeKit has been available for just a few months and we already have dozens of partners who have committed to bringing HomeKit accessories to market and we’re looking forward to the first ones coming next month.”
7. OS X 10.11
The potential name for Apple’s next OS X operating system codenamed OS X 10.11 Gala is most likely to have a preview at WWDC. The OS X 10.11 will most likely focus heavily on bug fixes, optimization improvements, and security enhancements, much like the iOS 9. According to rumours, Apple may convert many IMAP-based applications like Notes, Reminders, and Calendar to its own iCloud Drive system, improving communication in these apps between devices and increasing security.
A trusted Wi-Fi feature will allow Macs and iOS devices to connect to authorized wireless routers without additional security measures. It would add more heavily encrypted wireless connection for non-trusted routers.