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Windows Phone

This tag is associated with 3 posts

OneNote – now also available for Mac and more

Working at Microsoft made me completely re-think how I work. On one hand I enjoy the mobility and the capabilities to work wherever and whenever. While this also has the danger that I don’t sufficiently separate work and private life it has the upside that my productivity has greatly increased. One of the central elements for such a mobile workstyle are the appropriate tools as carrying around paper is simply not practical any more. My central worktool for taking notes and sharing them is OneNote. I am doing more and more with it and don’t just use it for collecting my thoughts but extend it to my colleagues for projects.  When I share a OneNote page everybody can work on it online and offline and it synchronizes without problems once connection is available. I have it available on all devices being it my laptop, tablet or phone.

While I write rarely about Apple products I wanted to share that OneNote is now also available for Mac and it is even free. With this OneNote is available on all the platforms being it PC, Mac, Windows tablets, Windows Phone, iPad, iPhone, Android and the web and they are always in sync. I recommend to have a look at it and maybe that gives you the opportunity to re-think how you work. Check out the Video below for some ideas. For more information see the original blogpost.


FaceNiff – who is posting your Facebook updates?

So, you are sitting at Starbucks or at the airport or any other relatively crowded place and you have Facebook open or twitter or Amazon. You look to your right and see a nicely dressed woman/man tap on his/her mobile. Maybe you are smiling – thinking that he/she texts too much. Well – think again – because your seemingly nice neighbor might be in that second updating your Facebook status, adding weird “Friends”, posting a twitter message or rummaging through your Amazon shopping basket.

What? How? Why? These are the thoughts that might run through your mind. Well it’s easy – because there is a new app in town running on Android. It’s called FaceNiff and it highjacks everybody’s Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Amazon and Nasza-Klasa account (more to come) that has it open on the same wireless network. It’s not really much new – firesheep did more or less the same a while ago but now it’s even less obvious and even easier (watch the video on here). It is a shame that the platforms that are affected did not take the firesheep warning serious and secure their systems better and maybe they learn from it. However, I see the problem at least as much in the mobile platform. Android is in effect an open platform. If you have an app that runs on it – you can install it. It might be easier or harder but even something that is just out there to download can be put on a rooted device. This leaves the door wide open to take the step to develop mobile platforms into mobile attack platforms. The mobile devices get more and more powerful and they are so unintrusive – the perfect platform for the new cyber criminal. And yes – I regard everybody that breaks into my accounts as a cyber criminal. There is no glory involved – it is just cheap and it’s exploiting my privacy and might be harmful to me and/or my reputation.

So what should we do? First – think again if you sign into any of the affected platforms when connected to a shared network. Second, show to providers that you support closed platforms. As an example, you will not find FaceNiff on a Microsoft Windows Phone platform because Microsoft (and others too to some extent) has a phone architecture that only lets apps installed through the their marketplace. Only apps get onto the marketplace that have been tested. And there is no jealbreak for WP7 so that option is out too. So you can favor platforms that protect you and you can write to the makers of the less secure platforms and voice your concern. Please do iit if you care. Will it help for the next time you sit at Starbucks? No it will not – but I believe that in time the platform(s) will survive that serve all customers and not just an individual. This is not about telling you what you are allowed to do on your mobile – as long as you are doing something legitimate. Consumers should have a choice, they should be able to make choices. That is what brings us further and boosts innovation. But I also want to have my private and work life on an Internet that is more secure for everybody than what we see today and phone platforms will have a massive impact on that.

So, if you sit at Starbucks next time – maybe look around with a new question on your mind. Who is posting updates on their own – and who on other person’s accounts. You might be surprised.

Phone 7 update: not NoDo – DO

I was one of the lucky ones that got a message that the Phone 7 update was ready for me to be installed. This being the one that brings copy-past to my phone (often called NoDo update). Well – NoDo? I would recommend to DO it! The update went smoothly although took quite a while. The estimate at the beginning was about 23 minutes but ultimately, with backing up the phone and everything that Zune does, it was closer to 45 minutes. For the ones that get nervous during the update when they stare at the Zune screen that doesn’t have any progress indicator – no worries – the indicator is on the phone! And yes – it moves – but it moves slow. Very very slow.

So now I am one of the lucky ones that can cut and paste. No big deal you might think but it helps a lot if one uses the phone as a work tool as regularly as I do. That was one of the things that bothered me when I traded my iPhone with the Windows Phone 7 on my first day working at Microsoft. And I never really looked back. While there are still some features missing that would make it even better I am very happy about the underlaying (security) architecture and it doesn’t surprise me that the phone was left undefeated in a hacking competition (together with Android) while the iPhone and RIM were compromised. Looking at the roadmap of the phone we will see some very exciting things coming! Some of them were already announced like the multitasking and the IE9 integration and others are coming later so stay tuned. And with that Gartner might be not far off with their prognosis that by 2015 Windows Phone will have overtook iPhone and RIM and be the second most used phone OS behind Android.

One word for the people that are tempted to update the phone before the release is available for your phone. There are multiple reports on possibilities to force the update but the most common is probably the tool that Chris Walshie developed. The problem is – do you really know what is being installed on your phone? Pocket PC described the process that the tool is downloading a “compromised” file. Well do I want to trust that the compromised file is really not doing anything that it shouldn’t do? What code is landing on my phone that might circumvent some safety features? I am not saying Chris inserted something on purpose but how long will it take that these Chevron.WP7Updater files are easily downloaded from P2P networks and dubious websites and how certain are you that they only contain what they should contain? I for my part don’t want to find out and recommend to think about it, have some patience (I know – also not my strongest suit and I get the temptation very well) and run the update once it is pushed to your phone. In the meantime – check out the Windows Phone blog for more information.

About the Author

Reto is partner at PwC Switzerland. He is leading the Cybersecurity practice and is member of PwC Digital Services leadership Team. He has over 15 years work experience in an information security and risk focused IT environment. Prior to working at PwC he was Microsoft's Chief Security Officer for Western Europe and also has work experience as group CIO, Chief Risk Officer, Technical Director and Program Manager.

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