Saturday, 30 April 2011

3M Privacy Filters Update

I have blogged about 3M's privacy filters before and their gold filter still remains, in my opinion, the best privacy filter on the market. If you want to find out more about that one and why you need a privacy filter, see my previous blog post "Why do I need a privacy filter? (3M's new Vikuiti Gold Privacy Filter)". I also blogged about their mobile phone privacy filter.

The problem with their mobile phone privacy filter last year was that it was only available in their standard grey louvered filter, so didn't work well with accelerometer phones that can be used in portrait or landscape modes - you had to pre-select which orientation you wanted to use your smartphone in. Also, the light transmission wasn't as good as the gold filter nor was the touch quite as good after applying it.

Well, they've addressed this and lanuched a new filter for mobile phones and slates at InfoSecurity Europe. The filter is now significantly thinner with excellent touch response and better light transmission - they also have a clarity measure which makes the screen easier to read with the filter (it does kind of work, having seen an iPad with only half the screen covered). They also have (in the lab) a grey louvered filter in two planes. This stops people from being able to read the screen if they aren't directly in front of it and deals with mobile phones and slate devices that can be used in the two orientations. This filter isn't available yet, but 3M told me that they were targeting the end of this year for these new filters. 3M also assured me that the new filter with double-louvers will be no thicker than the current one. This, combined with 3M's great adhesive that allows for a simple application, will make 3M's new privacy filters for mobile phones and slates the one to have, especially as they double as screen protectors.

Unfortunately they only do pre-cut versions for iPhones, iPads and HTC phones at the moment. If you don't have one of these then you will have to either cut it yourself or get a third party to cut one for you.

Friday, 29 April 2011

InfoSecurity Europe 2011

InfoSecurity Europe is over for another year. Once again there were several interesting companies and sessions worth noting. The 'themes' (if they can be called that) or 'hot topics' were cloud security again, social media and mobile access/the consumerisation of IT. The big difference seemed to be in the attitudes of people - more 'how can we reduce the risks to an acceptable level?' rather than 'we can't secure it, so we won't allow it!'

We are seeing a shift in the types of systems end users are accessing the corporate network from. The IT department are no longer dictating what will or will not be allowed. More and more users want to use their own personal devices, such as iPhones or iPads, on the network. In the past IT departments have resisted this and said no to the users. However, this attitude is beginning to change and there were a raft of organisations with solutions to help secure these devices and manage the data they contain. However, an awareness of risk and what it means to consumer devices and ownership must be understood beforehand.

With cloud security a big issue, and still stopping some organisations from adopting cloud services, I decided to speak to some of the cloud services providers about their security. Many of them couldn't give me the real technical details, but some of them did have some reassuring things to say. Unfortunately, not all services are equal and organisations are still going to have to do a lot of research on the providers and make sure that they ask to see independant reports on the security of any potential provider. Make sure you ask them the difficult technical questions and only use their service if you are happy with their answers. Again, always remember that you can't outsource risk, so think carefully about what you want to use the cloud for.

Social media is still an issue that some organisations are solving by blocking it and others are ignoring. With the latest generation of products, again we can be quite granular with the level of access granted to social media, so a default blocking isn't necessary in all circumstances. The (ISC)2 have conducted a very interesting survey on security that shows some interesting trends, not least of which is that 49% of organisations block Facebook and around 20% don't monitor social networks at all. As social engineering and backdoors through user activity are some of the main causes of problems, this is worrying. Indeed, the survey showed that security professionals put education and policy mechanisms as the top 6 security security solutions required, with software and technologies coming in 7th and 8th respectively.

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